Alibi Volume 19, Number 35
September 2, 2010
A user’s manual for conquering Albuquerque
The last four years of my life have been spent as an itinerant police reporter. I’ve traveled the world: Alamogordo, Oklahoma, Belen.
Because you never know when your bad chemicals may go on parade
The University of New Mexico Psychiatric Center (2600 Marble NE, 272-2800) offers a “full spectrum” of mental health and psychiatric care for citizens of New Mexico. According to hospitals.unm.edu, the center was established in 1967 and is the largest community mental health provider in the state with telehealth and telemedicine links throughout our communities, schools, corrections facilities and more. In 2008, the center admitted nearly 1,500 patients, while outpatient clinics experienced more than 190,000 visits, so they probably know their business.
Finding the next Nemo, Felix, Desdemona or Mr. Sprinkles
Sometimes you move from one city to another and show up a cat short. Cats are angry beasts and will run off when they sense something is personally unacceptable. Sometimes a significant other leaves and takes them. In either case, it’s important to move forward and quickly replace those missing kitties and pooches. Most importantly, you should adopt shelter pets. There are plenty of good animals waiting for homes. There’s no need to buy a $2,000 Mongolian vole hound when a perfectly fine mongrel can be had for less than $100. Hell, my cat Scoop Satanica ran me 10 bucks at a lucky sale at the Humane Society. She has, of course, since racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and lost man hours.
When you need somebody, not just anybody, to extinguish the flames engulfing your car
Sometimes the police are necessary. I remember back in college I had some neighbors who threw a screaming kegger / vomit party every night of the week. They asked me to simply come over and tell them if they were being too loud. One time they savagely killed a goat. I found the police to be a better option. They will come over any time day or night, with guns, and tell the neighbors to be quiet. It’s a pretty good deal, needless to say. That so many police substations are memorials to fallen officers is worth noting and appreciating.
Public servants and the most direct ways to harass them
Here they are, your beneficent elected officials. Call them often and tell them what a great job they are doing. They love to hear from their constituents.
Should you become lost, just remember: The mountains are to the east.
For the truly new-to-Albuquerque, some explanation of how this town is laid out is necessary. While I was doing my research, I found there’s not a whole lot of information out there on the Trumbull and La Mesa neighborhoods, an area that’s been rebranded the “International District” in recent years. Locals once referred to it as the “Warzone.” I used to deliver pizzas in the neighborhood and never had a problem, so I’m sentimental about it and understand why residents of these neighborhoods resent the label. Of course, only the truly sub-moronic criminal element would mess with the pizza man, and here’s why: Pizza joints comp the local police with free pies. Anyone who screws with the pizza guy also screws with the boys in blue.
When odds are you’re looking to gamble
Personally, I refuse to gamble unless there are short people and horses involved. A jockey friend once told me that it’s a sucker game. Well, with God as my witness, I am that sucker. There is no better day than one spent at a horse track—the fresh air, the beautiful animals, the chain-smoking old men inside playing the simulcast races. Ah, sweet: looking through the program to find the oddly named creature to wager my two dollars on and then yelling as he or she runs the mud track, the trumpet music, the ridiculous jockey uniforms, the old Mexican men and their long-toed boots.
Three nature-filled trips that are close to home and far from ordinary
Get out and see some wildlife before it’s all gone. New Mexico is home to seven federal refuges, two of which are fairly close to Albuquerque. Visit fws.gov/southwest/refuges/nmrefuges.html for a full list of federal preserves in New Mexico.
If member-owned, not-for-profit banking spikes your interest
Open an account at a credit union. They’re the closest thing this country will ever come to socialism. Ah, socialism. Some have membership requirements. Call to find out.
Where to buy, sell and trade
Sometimes a person needs a couple of bucks to get through.
There are always banks, loan sharks and parents. Title loan businesses advertise being able to help a person make it to payday or borrow money to go on vacation. Of course, they don’t mention that interest is so high, the borrower may end up rolling bidi cigarettes in a shop in Karachi.
That leaves you with the old standard: the pawn shop. (Some of the title loan joints are trying to pass themselves off as pawn shops, by the way.) I recently traded a set of wedding rings for bagpipes, wedding rings not being an item that is transferable to the next fiancée. It turns out diamonds aren’t forever. But bagpipes are.
Two first-edition paperbacks of Breakfast of Champions can’t be wrong
Ah, the recycled life—thrift stores, resale shops and vintage clothing boutiques. Where else can one procure a bowling shirt, a used copy of Lolita and a Herb Alpert record in one stop? Spend a buck or two at these joints and defeat the big-box bullies.
Half a block from the children’s hospital in Minneapolis is a comfortable old Victorian house that’s been converted into a health clinic dedicated to teenagers. Patients don’t have to grapple with the monolithic main hospital or sit in waiting rooms stuffed with crying babies and coughing seniors. Instead of dealing with terse or stodgy providers, they are seen by staff members who are experts in adolescent health care and who, most importantly, actually enjoy teenagers.
We are a country at war. And not just with immigrants. Reading the news these days, who can tell which brown people absorb the most American vitriol?
The chupacabra hasn’t reared its ugly head in Albuquerque lately. In fact, it’s been almost exactly three years since the last local sighting on the Westside. But many believe the creatures are out there, sucking the blood from goats (chupacabra means “goatsucker” in Spanish) and other livestock. Descriptions of the chupacabra vary widely, but the typical version is a creature 4 to 5 feet tall. It has short, powerful legs, long claws, and terrifying black or glowing red eyes. Some claim it has spikes down its back; others report seeing stubby, bat-like wings.
Dateline: Japan—A 30-year-old factory worker has pleaded guilty to burning down his family’s home after his mother threw out some of his action figures. Yoshifumi Takabe testified in Kobe District Court in western Japan that he became suicidal after losing several of his toy robots. Yoshifumi described the toys as partners with which he wanted to spend his life, ABC News Australia reports. In retaliation for his mother’s housecleaning, Yoshifumi poured kerosene inside the home and torched it, saying he wanted to die in the fire with his other “precious” robots. According to reports, the bulk of Yoshifumi’s action figure collection consisted of toys from the popular Gundam animated series. The fanboy’s 55-year-old mother told the court she frequently complained to her son that the toys were cluttering the house. She said there were enough to fill 300 boxes. The fire, which was set on Aug. 9 of last year, completely destroyed the family’s two-story wooden house. No one was injured. Presumably, all of Yoshifumi’s Gundam figures were lost in the blaze.
The Albuquerque Film Festival survived its sophomore outing this past weekend, and by all indications it was an extremely successful second year.
Romantic comedy about long-distance relationships comes up short
It’s common knowledge that you don’t go into a restaurant 10 minutes before closing time—odds are you’re gonna get served warmed-up leftovers, end-pieces and floor sweepings by people who just wanna go home already. The same is true, more or less, of the film industry. By September, the general population is back at school/work, the vacation funds have dried up and box office receipts have plunged precipitously. As a result, you aren’t gonna see a bunch of $100 million blockbusters hitting the local cineplex this time of year. The action movies, horror flicks and romantic comedies you’re getting from now until Thanksgiving are all gonna be strictly C-grade material.
“Regular Show” on Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block has become so crowded with live-action series (“Children’s Hospital,” “Look Around You,” “The Mighty Boosh,” “Delocated”) that it’s getting to be a treat to see an actual cartoon. Thankfully, CN is adding a couple of major new animated shows this month with the cartoon spin-off of MAD Magazine (called, simply, “MAD”) and the ironically titled “Regular Show.”
The Week in Sloth
Hear that sound off in the distance? No, it’s not paranormal phenomena sometimes experienced by Northern New Mexicans who attended too many loud acid rock concerts back in the summer of love. It’s the second annual Taos Mountain Music Festival. On Sunday, Sept. 5, the Taos Ski Valley will host performances by Gov’t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Shemekia Copeland, Radio La Chusma, Mia Borders and Mariachi Calor. In addition to live music, there’s a “Strawberry Fair” where food, drink, arts and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as a puppet-filled, bouncy castle-furnished, activity-laden “Kidzone” for little ones unimpressed by guitar solos. Tickets to the all-day fest are $42 in advance, $48 at the door—children under 10 get in for free. To purchase tickets, call (505) 886-1251 or go to taosmountainmusicfestival.com.
Referencing the innovative producer-turned-puffy-wigged-murderer, The Kill Spectors are a psych-punk duo split between Austin and Northern New Mexico. The geographic conundrum has made for a slow-paced start. Few have heard, much less witnessed, the band’s '60s girl group and early punk-inspired rocking. But while the story of The Kill Spectors begins at the end of 2009, the bigger story starts years ago.
“ ... the exciting sounds of ... The Drags”
I still remember how I fucked up the hearing in my right ear: crushed by the crowd and pressed up against the P.A. at the Dingo Bar for the cacophonous trash ’n’ roll of The Drags.
An orgy of Burque bands (as displayed in an orgy of red, blue and black typeface) tone it down for a Super Awesome Acoustic Showcase. See I is for Ida, The World on Fyre, Ya Ya Boom, The Grave Of Nobody’s Darling, Lousy Robot, The Booty Green, The Oktober People, Shoulder Voices and others unplug their giant trumpets from their giant amps on Friday, Sept. 3, at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW). Admission is a bargain at $5, and the show starts at 9 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Dandee Fleming’s lottery of songs
Dandee Fleming is a longtime piece of the Albuquerque rock jigsaw. In addition to co-owning the Blackbird Buvette and scooting around with the Pharaohs Scooter Club, he plays guitar for Lousy Robot, The Porter Draw and probably 50 other bands. Below you will find a lottery of songs from the Dandee library.
Adobe’s A Life in the Theatre
A Life in the Theatre makes stage acting seem like writing: You throw your soul into the black and uncaring void until you go crazy. At least actors can see the audience, out there in the dark. A writer has to assume people are picking up the paper. Maybe I’m just being dramatic.
SITE Santa Fe tries to extend its branches a little too far
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with moving image arts. It was September of 2002, somewhere on the upper spiral of New York City’s Guggenheim Museum. I entered a little room and there, projected on the wall, was Shirin Neshat’s “Passage,” an approximately 12-minute film depicting the funeral processions of Iranian men and women. I happened to walk into the screening room just at the beginning of the film and sat through it twice, unable to articulate what I had just seen and felt. Afterward, I wandered through the rest of the exhibition Moving Pictures in something of a daze.
An all-you-can-sit-through buffet is on the menu for theater lovers this week with three plays opening around town. Let’s go through this in alphabetical order so it’s easier to remember. First, Crimes of the Heart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of three down-on-their-luck sisters who reunite as adults, plays at The Vortex (2004 1/2 Central SE). Crimes opens Friday, Sept. 3, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 26. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (6 p.m.) shows cost $15—except for Sunday, Sept. 5, which is pay-what-you-wish. Get ’em at vortexabq.org. Next, the search for an elusive whale takes the stage with Mother Road Theatre Company’s Moby Dick at The Filling Station (1024 Fourth Street SW). Thursday and Friday shows start at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Moby Dick runs from Friday, Sept. 3, to Sunday, Sept. 26. Tickets are $16 and are over at motherroad.org. Finally, an imaginary conversation between Picasso and Einstein is the setting for Auxiliary Dog’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile. This one also runs from Sept. 3 to Sept. 26, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. Sunday performances. Picasso will set you back $14 and you’ll have to call 254-7716 for tickets.
A couple of weeks ago I got a whiff of roasting chile. All of a sudden it’s fall, and I am reminded once again of how New Mexico made me her own.
When good things come in pretty packages
My favorite Vietnamese restaurants are the durable type. With worn floors, and few frills beyond a TV on mute and perhaps a jungle of real and fake plants, those tired-looking dives are often full of Vietnamese customers, and for good reason. They serve the real stuff, unfiltered and unedited for an American audience.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): In an old comedy sketch called "One Leg Too Few," a one-legged man comes in to a casting agent's office to audition for the part of Tarzan in an upcoming show. The agent is as diplomatic as he can be given the fact that the role would best be played by a strapping young man with exceptional running and leaping skills. "It's possible that no two-legged men will apply," the agent tells the applicant, "in which case you could get the part." Don't be like the one-legged man in this story, Aries. While I usually encourage you to think big and dream of accomplishing amazing feats, this is one time when you should respect your limitations.