Alibi Volume 19, Number 10
March 11, 2010
Dear Albuquerqueros: Ustedes will always have a special place in my heart, since the Alibi was the first paper with huevos to print my ¡Ask a Mexican! column. Unfortunately, I can't live in your wonderful town since my demented homeland of Orange County, Calif., needs me to expose skinheads and pedophile priests on a regular basis. But fate is bringing me back to Albuquerque this week on account of a book I'm working on—Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (And Soon, the World)! It'll be released next year and deal with how "Mexican" food has evolved in the United States—and I'll devote a whole chapter to the Land of Enchantment, because the rest of the States used to like "Southwestern" food until pinche taco trucks became popular.
... and finds true love. The Alibi’s Joseph Baca responds to hard-hitting questions about the Land of Enchantment.
If you’ve never heard of Gustavo “The Mexican” Arellano and his syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican!, printed weekly in 37 newspapers throughout the U.S., you must be living on the hinterlands of pop culture. In his column, which has a circulation of about 2 million, Mr. Arellano uses scholarship, acerbic commentary, irreverent humor, cynicism and simple smarts to break down racist boundaries and answer the most straightforward questions about Mexicans. Questions regarding differences among the broad spectrum of Latinos the world over are addressed. No cultural group is safe from his biting wit, as whites, Chicanos, Filipinos, Guatemalans, Chinese, blacks and even Argentines are all fodder for his humor.
Local company stimulates gamers’ sense of touch
Haptic technology is to our sense of touch what graphics are to our sense of sight, explains Tom Anderson, CEO of Albuquerque company Novint. “Our technology gives you a sense of touch in computing,” he says. “You hold onto the handle of our device, and you can move it right and left and forward and backward like a mouse, but you can also move it up and down.” It controls a cursor on the screen, Anderson describes, and when that touches something, motors in the device turn on. It gives the operator the sense that they’re touching virtual objects.
The special session of the Legislature accomplished in four days what was impossible in 30: reaching an agreement on how to plug a $600 million gap in next year's budget. Legislators did it because the pressure was on—and because a lot of preliminary work was done the week before. That work at least provided a starting point for heavy negotiations.
Spectators entered the courtroom, greeted one another and chatted animatedly while they waited for the jury. Some hugged the plaintiffs, the 11 demonstrators who had been among hundreds in Albuquerque on March 20, 2003, to protest the war in Iraq. Seven years later in District Court, after two weeks of testimony, the verdict was due. The news vans were parked outside. Would the jury find that the Albuquerque Police Department stepped over the line that night by donning riot gear, launching tear gas grenades, and shooting pepper-ball guns and beanbag rifles?
Dateline: England—A sales assistant at a WH Smith store in Chichester, West Sussex, refused to sell a woman a pair of children’s safety scissors over fears that the mother might allow her daughter to use them unsupervised. Nadine Martin was at the store purchasing art supplies for her 3-year-old daughter. When the youngster placed the plastic scissors, which were marked “3+” on the checkout counter, a female sales assistant asked, “Will you be supervising her?” Mrs. Martin told the Telegraph newspaper, “She called another woman over and said it was company policy that because my daughter had put the scissors on the counter it called into question whether she would be supervised using them. I can’t believe a parent can’t buy plastic scissors. They were clearly labeled and had ‘3+’ on them. There was a queue of about four people and it was embarrassing.” In protest, Martin left the store without purchasing any of the items she and her daughter had picked up. “Customer safety is of paramount importance to us,” a WH Smith spokesperson told the Telegraph. “To that end, we insist our staff complete regular training updates to remind them of their obligations both legally and in accordance with our own policies.” The spokesperson went on to admit that, “On this occasion a staff member may have been a little overzealous in their interpretation of that training and we apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment that may have been caused.”
Multi-use art space, coffeehouse and general neighborhood hangout The Kosmos is getting into the movie biz. Kind of. This weekend, The Kosmos will host several screenings of Jamin Winans’ much-praised ultra-indie fantasy film Ink. Ink spins the story of an 8-year-old girl who becomes a pawn in a metaphysical war being fought between the forces of light and darkness. Kidnapped and taken to a freaky alternate dimension, our heroine must fight her way back to the real world and bring salvation to her desperate father. Screenings will take place Friday and Saturday, March 12 and 13, at 8 p.m. There will also be a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. The Kosmos is located at 1713 Fifth Street NW. For more info, log on to www.thekosmos.org. To scope out a trippy trailer for Ink, head to their YouTube channel or their website, doubleedgefilms.com.
Lots of baa, but no humbug in this raw, open-eyed elegy for the American cowboy
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, the husband-and-wife filmmaking team behind Sweetgrass, apparently prefer the term “recordist” over the term “director.” Walking out of the theater as the end credits roll on their latest documentary, you might be inclined to agree.
“Ugly Americans” on Comedy Central
Comedy Central gets freaky with its new animated series “Ugly Americans.” Like a lot of shows, “Ugly Americans” follows the crummy work environment and lousy personal life of one average American schmuck. In this case, our schmuck is luckless twentysomething social worker Mark Lilly (voiced by Matt Oberg). Mark works for the Department of Integration, a New York agency dedicated to providing job counseling to fresh immigrants. The twist here is that, in Mark’s world, these immigrants are just as likely to include vampires, zombies, aliens, werewolves and giant chicken people as they are to consist of your average Third World refugees.
The Week in Sloth
SXSW season has arrived, and you know what that means: During the next couple of weeks a disproportionate number of touring bands will be making pit stops in Albuquerque on their way to and from Austin. Among the packs of troubadours is a little piece of old Albuquerque. Two thirds of Mighty Tiger, a dreamy rock band from Seattle, is comprised of one half of the late Oh, Ranger!—Boyd Reno and Luke Heath. Imbued with the Reno-and-Heath touch—sad guitar and cheeky lyrics placed in a squirming pop context—Mighty Tiger is ever-so-slightly reminicent of their earlier local projects, but with more mature, higher fidelity results. See Mighty Tiger perform live on Tuesday, March 16, at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) with fellow Seattleite Grand Hallway, along with Albuquerque's Bellemah and The Giranimals. The show begins at 9 p.m. and $5 gets you in.
When Victorian dandyism and new media art collide
Describing the work of Alfred Darlington, known on stage as Daedelus, is no easy task. The experimental Los Angeles-based, Ninja Tune-backed electronic musician and producer inhabits realms of emerging technologies, oxymoronic juxtapositions and avant sound. A vanguard concerned with invention, he was among the first to use an instrument called a Monome box in live performance, all the while dressed like a 19th century sophisticate. Prior to his first performance in New Mexico, we questioned Darlington by means of electronic communiqué.
The Scrams, The Dirty Novels and Broken Water at Burt’s Tiki Lounge
How long has it been since a band has not only hit Burque but hit it over the head, taken it hapless prisoner in a trashed garage and subjected its collective ears to hip-swivel rock? Fifteen years and change I’d say, harking back to the lo-fi ruckus of The Drags when it was acceptable to not only rock but to roll. The Scrams haven’t forgotten that a band can maintain dance-worthy melody while playing as loose as a pair of two dollar shoes. No costumes, no front, no shtick but a pure adrenaline injection to your spinal cortex that dares your feet to stay still. You can see it happen live this Saturday on a triple-threat bill at Burt’s.
During the last half of this month, various underground entities will do their best to jointly exploit the talents of local lunatics and the wealth of weirdos traveling to Texas in an event known as Albuquerque Southwest by No Fest. Show info can be found at www.myspace.com/albuquerquediy.
Regret is a terrible emotion with which to live. It can gnaw at you for years, trapping you in a sad cycle of longing and self-recrimination. Do not let this happen to you. The deadline for our seventh annual Photo Contest is nigh. Go to alibi.com and click on “Photo Contest 2010” for all you need to know about how to enter. Get your submissions in by 11:59:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 14. Like most things that happen on the Ides of March, late entries are unlucky and will not be considered. The Photo Contest issue hits the streets on March 25. Don’t hate yourself for missing out.
Tricklock’s one-woman Waste Her
Juli Hendren may not have sought to change our perceptions of violent activism when she started composing Waste Her, her new one-woman show playing at Tricklock Space. But she clearly intended to explore how people move from enthusiasm to extremism, and why they come to view destruction as the only viable solution to the world’s ills. Inspired by the real-life exploits of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) between the early '90s and the early Naughts, Hendren conceived of Waste Her after reading Outside’s September 2007 interview with Chelsea Gerlach.
Anne Frank: A History for Today
“Will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” wrote Anne Frank while her family hid from the Nazis in a secret annex in Amsterdam. “I hope so, oh I hope so very much ... ”
Fine dining is always in season
Because I had to be out the door in 45 minutes, the hostess at Seasons recommended I sit at the dining room bar, where I took the bartender’s recommendation on a Silver Coin margarita, and focused on the menu.
Not with a bang, not with a whimper, not even with your favorite local beer blogger (yes, me) writing for the Alibi. No, there is an even surer sign of the end times than boiling seas and Sarah Palin: Golfer John Daly has all but given up beer. The man who made it cool to be a golfer has found religion, sobriety and a slimmer figure, after Lap-Band surgery allowed him to shed 115 pounds. The surgery makes it difficult to ingest carbonated drinks, and Daly says it takes him an hour to finish a beer, which he rarely craves anymore. How could a man who named one of his children after a rehab center he attended reject the liquid that greets me in the morning and tucks me into bed at night? A man who once used a beer can as a golf tee, who was arrested for being passed out at Hooters, who sported a mullet before some hipsters tried to make them ironically cool, though still hideous? (What makes Daly’s mullet cool is the fact that he rocked one while playing professional golf alongside robotic stuffed shirts.)
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was called "the most famous actress the world has ever known." She did a few films in the early days of the cinema, but most of her work was in the theater. At age 70, she played the role of the 13-year-old Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I commend her on her refusal to act her age and recommend that you make a comparable effort in the coming weeks. For example, if you're in your twenties, try something you thought you wouldn't do until you were at a very ripe age. If you're over 50, be 25 for a while. It's an excellent time to do this kind of time-traveling.