It’s hard to believe, but Best of Burque has been around for 21 years. That’s 21 years of growing and changing as the city we love grows and changes around us. While digging through the archives in preparation for this issue, our newest editorial team member Amelia Olson got all misty-eyed and nostalgic as she came across names like Marty Chavez, Natural Sound and Madstone. Please enjoy her curated selection from BoB’s past 10 years.(Please note: These blurbs are reproduced as they were originally published and reflect the housestyle at the time.) (TB)
Carla Aragon—KOB-TV Eyewitness News 4 anchorwoman
505. I'm addicted to this stuff. It's so good, you don't even need the chips! Just drink it!
Best Bargain Store
Big Lots. It's like a treasure hunt ... and best of all, you can walk away from the place with a bag full of goodies for under $20.
Best Movie Theater
Madstone. I love the atmosphere and I don't have to compete with the kids for the snackbar.
Best Local Wine
Gruet Brut Sparkling Wine. It's one of New Mexico's best kept secrets—my husband and I love to have a glass in our backyard atsunset!
Best Breakfast Burrito
The No. 9 at Golden Pride/Frontier Restaurant. After an out-of-town trip, that's the first place I stop for my greenchile fix.
Eyewitness News 4. I'm no fool, I want to keep my job.
Dan Solis—Veteran Slam Poet
Best Local Politician to Go Bar-hopping With
It's gotta be Manny Aragon. I imagine Manny would have the hookup wherever we went, no waiting for a table. Hell, we probably wouldn't even have to pay for a drink in most places. He's sure to know and tell stories about New Mexico politics and politicians that would never even be hinted at by the press. And if we did have to pay, hopefully he would pick up the tab cause he would be loaded with dough from all, the, uh ’political gifts' he has received over the years.
Best Reason To Vote Bush in 2004
If you're rich, white and you love sexist, racist, homophobic, hypocritical, avaricious and moronic liars and murderers.
Don Schrader. I love the way he is who he is all the time with no apology.
Don Schrader. The TV show is a bit much. Also when it's cold, put some clothes on!
Best Day Trip
Spence Hot Springs in Jemez, stopping off at Los Ojos on the way back for beers, grub and pool.
Best Radio Station
Best Radio Personality
Erica Viking. She's funny, intelligent and articulate and provides a strong counterpoint to the chauvinism of the blockheads she works with.
KUNM's Marcos Martinez. The one time he did the “FreeForm” afternoon show it was the best I've ever heard.
Best Coffee House
RB Winnings Coffee. It's very relaxed, the coffee is great and they do a lot for the community with the events they host.
Best Local Brew Pub
Kelly's—their Robust porter is the best.
Best Downtown Bar/Jukebox
Best Nob Hill Bar
I still miss Jack's, but Joe's is the next best thing we have.
Best Line to Use In Order to Get Yourself Out of A Traffic Ticket No Single Winner The next time you hear the shrill cry of a police siren, try fabricating an emergency which drove you to drive at that ridiculously fast pace. Sure, you could apologize with watery eyes and pray for a warning, but a nifty excuse might just get you off Scott free. A potentially horrible (and preferably raunchy) excuse, such as a "pee emergency" or a rather violent case of explosive diarrhea (sound effects a plus!) will have the gunslinging peace keeper fleeing faster than you can say "Rodney King." If this proves ineffectual, consider the gender of your cop. If clearly a male (Freddy Mercury mustache, oversized shades), simply mouth a single word to topple the unsuspecting officer: menstruation. If your cop happens to lack a penis, you lack an excuse. But sometimes actions speak louder than words, particularly actions that involve your crotch. Awaken your inner Fabio, don your leather and prepare to toss that ticket to the flames. If you happen to be irredeemably ugly, good luck. You're gonna need it.
Best Local Bookstore Page One The best all-around local bookstore goes to Page One this year in a total landslide. Whether you're shopping for magazines, calendars, knick knacks, software or good old ordinary tried and true books, Alibi readers think Page One is the place to go. Second place went to Bound To Be Read. Third went to Bookworks. Fourth went to Bird Song. Title Wave got plenty of votes, too, as did the Book Stop in Nob Hill.
Best Jewelry Store Ooh Aah Jewelry Fans of this store don't just say the name. They act it out as if they're softcore porn stars on an after-midnight Cinemax flick. “Ooh! Aah! Baby!” Yes, most voters believe that if you want to send your mate into an orgasmic fit, don't worry about what you're doing under the sheets. Just head over to Ooh Aah Jewelry and fork out for a piece of cool jewelry. That's better than good sex any day of the week, and it lasts one hell of a lot longer, too. Matí got second this year. IMEC in Nob Hill scored third.
Best Place to Buy New Music Natural Sound Natural Sound has been an institution in this city for years. It ain't the biggest store in our little village, but its employees know more about the music they peddle than most DJs. It's a great browsing store, and it's got a fantastic selection of CDs by local bands, too. Second went to Charley's, another staple of musical life in Burque. Third went to Flipside.
Best Visual Artist Leo Neufeld Master of portraiture Leo Neufeld takes home the prize for best visual artist this year for his unpretentious down-home paintings, mainly of ordinary people. This year, second place went to Dan Greenwood. A third place tie went to Randy Cooper, Roger Evans and Ted Slampyak. Beyond that, votes came in for almost every artist under the Albuquerque sun.
Best Public Sculpture Chevy on a Stick I know you're not going to believe this—hell, we hardly believe it ourselves—but that gorgeous hunk of elevated car known throughout the civilized world as Chevy on a Stick swept the competition for the 86th consecutive year. It's real name is “Cruising San Mateo I,” of course, but the name bestowed on it by the masses is so much catchier, don't you think? It sounds like something you might order from the ice cream man on a hot summer day. Delicious, sweet and—let's face it—so very, very cool. A distant second was Glenna Goodacre's “Sidewalk Society,” located right outside the Hyatt Downtown. Right behind Goodacre's bronze city dwellers were the new giant pots located in the median along I-40. Strangely, Don Schrader didn't get a single vote in this category this year, although that stupid rocket outside the Atomic Museum in Old Town got a couple of nods. Tom Waldron's controversial green cone sculpture that was planned for the tiny intersection park at I-40 and Louisiana got a vote, too.
Best Place to Admire the Utter Insanity of Ultra Right Wingers: From a distance The Republican Party is like one massive ape. Be amused by its alien ways; observe it swinging from one branch of government to another. But get too close, joint your finger at its inhumanity, and you will end up smothered in its vengeful waste. As such, the best place to admire the utter insanity of ultra right wingers is definitely at a distance.
Best Nob Hill Bar The Cellar Bar at Zinc Last year O'Niell's was everyone's favorite Nob Hill bar, and this year's write-in votes reflect a collective grieving process over the loss of that longstanding Irish pub. “O'Niell's is gone, but Zinc is pretty nice,” wrote one voter. An understatement, to say the least. Zinc beat out heavy hitters like Kelly's Brewpub, Martini Grille, Gecko's and Il Bar at Scalo. Why bother wasting time on figuring out which one is best? We make it a point to continue our research on this particular matter pretty much every night of the week.
Best Item You Can Make Out of a Weekly Alibi As usual, the most popular answers included toilet paper, bird cage-lining, campfire starter and a pirate hat, but we were looking for something a little more creative. “Shoe protectors at work” was interesting, if somewhat puzzling. “Rifle silencer” was disturbing but not nearly as terrifying as “condom.” Ugh! Gross. Really. “You self grandising (sic) bastards” got one well-deserved vote. “Knee brace,” “disciplinary tool” and “blood soaker-upper” were other interesting ideas.
Best Community Action Group Downtown Action Team These guys, who always take home a prize in the top three for this category, stole first place this year. And with the continued revitalization of Downtown, it's a good thing, because we're going to want them around as the city's heart continues to transform. A close second by only two votes is the Albuquerque Assistance League, last year's winner. And only two votes behind them is 1000 Friends of New Mexico, with the Southwest Organizing Project only one vote away. Dozens of other organizations were listed this year as well, which makes you realize how many hard-working, caring people in this city are doing their part every day. Sort of warms my cold, cold heart. Oh, and add one more vote for Don Chase, even though one man can't really qualify as a community action group. Can he?
Best Wasteful Use of Local Tax Dollars Montaño Bridge Look, you did it again. Your ambivalence is astounding. The pots (not Easter eggs) on I-40 took a very close second and the Paseo extension nabbed third. One depressed fellow voted for “everything,” while “Marty's Clean Team vests” racked up a few. Also, a few crackpots think “art” is wasteful, although someone else clarified this a little further by voting for “bad art.” Who can argue with that?
Best Bowling Alley Silva Lanes If you're in the mood to roll some balls around (don't look at me like that), head over to Silva's for a good time. Other top-notch places to partake in one of America's favorite games are Holiday Bowl, which won second, and Leisure Bowl at a close third. Strike!
Best Adult Establishment T.D.'s If you really want to roll some balls around, you may be in need of an adult establishment. Albuquerque's favorite place to get the ball rolling (I just can't stop) is T.D.'s, known to be one of the classier strip joints in town (I hear the one on San Mateo is especially tasteful). Castle Superstore was close behind, where you can pick up all of your naughty needs. The News Stand snagged third.
Best Thrift Store Savers Savers rocks, voters say. As one person put it, "It's all about the fragrance." But whether you're seeking a 20-pound calculator, fancy outfit or Army-issued camo pants, you can't go wrong with Savers. Thrift Town, with its even cheaper discount days, and Buffalo Exchange, thrift for the hip, tied for second. The Bargain Box rounds out the list at third place.
Best Ethnic Supermarket Ta Lin Super Market For the Burque's Best respondent who asked, "what the hell is an ethnic supermarket?" I have two words for you: Ta Lin. This ethnic supermarket paradise is on the corner of Louisiana and Central, and visitors can easily spend their entire day roaming through Ta Lin's aisles. Everything from fried bananas to live lobster to Japanese sponge cake desserts are there for the taking. Each of the store's aisles corresponds to a different point on the globe and their seafood department has a ton of fresh fish while their deli has an entire section dedicated to salami. 99 Bahn Oriental Supermarket on Gibson received second place.
Best Local Band Overall Black Maria Sweet mother of eardrum-brutalizing delight, you all picked Black Maria again for best local band, though whether you can actually hear them after a few go-rounds with those giant stacks is another question. Electronic musician Brian Botkiller (purveyor of breakbeat, drum and bass, and chillout) managed a second-place win in the best band category. Hardworking alternaband Old Man Shattered grabbed third.
Best Nonprofit Organization Assistance League of Albuquerque A community is measured by how well it treats its citizens, which is usually something that can be pinpointed in the quality of its nonprofits. Albuquerque must be filled with some of the most philanthropic citizens in the Southwest, because we have a slew of great community organizations. This year, the Assistance League of Albuquerque won the hearts of our readers and snagged first place. From delivering "chemo caps" to cancer patients and booties, blankets and afghans to preemies, to giving 25,000 teddy bears to traumatized children, the Assistance League has a long-standing place in the community. Watermelon Mountain Ranch, a no-kill animal shelter dedicated to outreach and therapeutic programs, came in second while the Roadrunner Food Bank placed third.
Best Elected City Official Mayor Martin Chavez Albuquerque has some kind of love/hate thing going on with its mayor/king. It can't be emotionally healthy for our city to choose this guy as the top city official and the “Worst Political Stinkeroo.” Sounds like Burque has daddy issues. Also, it's worth mentioning that though Gov. Bill Richardson took second place in this category, he's not actually a city official. He's the governor of the state. That's the boss of all New Mexico. Third-place champion Council President Debbie O'Malley, on the other hand, is actually an elected city official, so if she claims second place on her résumé, no one will complain.
Best Use of Local Tax Dollars Schools When it came to telling us what they want out of their hard-earned tax dollars, our readers gave it to us straight and simple: Schools. Libraries. Road repairs. No fancy streetcar systems or quieting of the trains. Just the essentials. Hear that, city officials? Remember it come election season. Hell, remember it all year.
Most Wasteful Use of Local Tax Dollars Red Light Cameras Just when you think you're sick of hearing about stupid camera citations, one shows up in the mail, and there goes 100 bucks—at the very least. The camera program is said to pay for itself. Money from the tickets funds the cameras' purchase and operation. We're not really sure if that counts as tax dollars, exactly, but it's certainly taxpayer money. The glowing Tricentennial Towers rang up a bill of more than $800,000 and won the distinction of a silver medal in this honorific category. The widely joked about giant pots on I-40 roped the bronze. What's with all the hostility toward public art?
Best Radio Station KUNM 89.9 FM Albuquerque's beloved college radio station finally plowed its way into the top spot this year with its eclectic, homegrown programming, knocking previous corporate radio front-runner 100.3 The Peak into second place. 104.7 The Edge snagged third—a product of its heavy promotional efforts and DJ "edgifying" effort over past year..
Best TV Personality Steve Stucker Never mind the name. Steve Stucker is not only an amiable animal advocate, bringing adoptable critters to his appearances on KOB Channel 4, he's also the guy our readers like to look at the most when they turn on the telly for their news and weather updates. And who can blame them? With teeth that bright, how could we not be entranced? KOAT Channel 7’s Cynthia Izaguirre also took home the love from our readers with her second-place win, and meteorologist Mark Ronchetti (or should we say Mark Ron-cutie?) from KRQE grabbed third.
Building Most in Need of Restoration Sunshine Theater The beautiful and the crumbling—it's a tale of one building, standing against time, a tortured home for Insane Clown Posse, KRS-One and The Specials, among many others. Our readers believe it is clearly the one building in Burque most in need of some tender lovin' repairs. La Posada Hotel and the Hiland Theatre walked away with the honors for second and third place, respectively.
Best Place to Take Out-of-town Guests The Tram Great Aunt Martha and Uncle Joe are visiting for the weekend. They want to get a sense of what your chosen city is all about, but they don't have time to explore all the chile stops and paleterias in your neighborhood. Where's the one place to take them for the archetypal Albuquerque experience? According to our readers, that place is the Tram. And we agree: What better to way to see the whole city than from a metal basket hovering hundreds of feet above the ground? Seriously, everyone loves the Tram. It's bookended by hiking trails and has some of the best views in the city. And we suspect Aunt Martha will love it, too. Other hot spots for out-of-towners include Old Town, which racked in enough votes for second place, and El Pinto restaurant, which made third.
Best Local TV Commercial Beaver Toyota Oh, Beaver Toyota. What is it our readers love so much about your commercial? Is it the incredible production value? The unparalleled bargains on your top-of-the-line vehicles? Linda's stunning fashion sense (dig those tight pants)? We're not really sure, but there's one thing we can say: Our readers like your stuff. Thanks for the good times.
Most Overlooked Issue With an ever-bubbling battle for control between city administration, Albuquerque Public Schools and state government, readers seem to be saying the quality of education for Burque students is getting lost in the stewpot.
Best New Law You voted it No. 1 here, but you also put it as No. 2 in the Worst New Law category. Clearly, Burque's divided when it comes to the stamping out of cigarettes in New Mexico. On one hand, nonsmokers are happier in puff-free environments. But on the other, shouldn't business owners have the right to decide what legal activities to allow on their properties?
Best Locally Shot Film You could make a strong case that, after taking home Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, Best Director and Best Film, No Country for Old Men was the best film released anywhere in the world during 2007. It's no wonder then that No Country won for Best Locally Shot Film. We can only hope the Coen Brothers will be back to the Land of Enchantment soon.
Best Busker Fast Heart Mart Fast Heart Mart doesn't just talk the sidewalk talk; it walks the sidewalk rock. Rain, shine or mounted horse cops on the street, FHM gives the finger to holding down a job and high-fives the common man with a snare drum and that unmistakable double-necked acoustic guitar.
Best House Not Designed by Bart Prince "North Valley Tile House" Bart Prince may not be the only T square-inclined citizen of Burque with a dare for flair. Whoever created this ocular confection, we applaud you.
Best Park for Ice Blocking Netherwood Park (aka Pregnant Park, near Indian School and Princeton) To non-natives: Ice-blocking is a summer pastime in this desert city. First, buy a block of ice. Some supermarkets and gas stations carry them—call around. Head to your nearest grassy slope. Fold a towel to put on top of your ice block, have a seat and slide on down. The Alibi makes no guarantees of safety—particularly if inebriation is occurring simultaneously.
Best Independent Video Store Burning Paradise Video From mainstream hits to independent and foreign film, Kurly Tlapoyawa operates and owns the only independent video store in Albuquerque and has a great new location on 115 Harvard SE. Kurly is a great guy, stuntman and moviemaker. Everybody should know him and find him on Facebook.
Best Burqueño “Lynette” / Lauren Poole A la modies! For the first time in our lifetime, someone has stolen the title from our resident tan, nearly nude philosopher. You're all mad or what, Schrader? Not even. That dude lives by the principles of forgiveness and stuff. But Lynette, shooooot, this is her Albuquerque now, nuh? And there are other notable people doing good work, too. Like cannabis activist Bryan Krumm; (un)Occupy protester Brittany Arneson, who faces disciplinary action from the University of New Mexico; Youth Development, Inc. President Chris Baca; Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya; and charming Neil Patrick Harris.
Worst Council Decision: "Doing nothing about excessive cop shootings" wrote one respondent. The Lead/Coal project got several mentions, too. The decision to redistrict Benton's seat away got some attention, as well "hanky panky" with Quote ... Unquote's contract to run public access channels 26 and 27. And red-light cameras came up again, though there are fewer people who miss them than folks who are celebrating their demise.
Best TV Meteorologist Steve Stucker (KOB-4) There's no costume too silly to wear, no dog too unadoptable to showboat, no glorious New Mexico weather too temperate to report. Steve Stucker makes the morning that much more ... Stuckerful.
Best Thing Burqueños Say Híjole, you guys! A la vergas is all kinds of dirty. Umberrrrs. Red or green? Oh si. Just go Christmas. Want a coke? You don't EVEN know. Eeeeeeeeeeee. Bueno-bye.
Best Thing That Doesn't Exist Anymore Remember back in the day? You guys miss: 24-hour Frontier, A&W drive-in, the Alvarado Hotel, Aztec Motel, Beach Waterpark, Bow Wow Records, The Dukes, Golden West, Insomnia Coffee House, Laffs Comedy Club, manners, Okie's Bar, Pulse, "that broke-ass house on Silver and Cornell," UN dance club, Winrock and YesterDaves.
Best Place To Witness the Internet Ruling the World Just past the confusing and awkward intersection of Girard and Central, there are two ghost buildings that once housed a lot of feelings. Late fees, rental specials and an impossible carpet that can only be found on the floors of a video rental store or in city buses ... Hollywood Video and Blockbuster once provided a full Friday night of movies. Now they stand, empty and lonely, but have somehow managed to stay lonely together. Between the internet and Netflix, the new popular girl in school, these buildings wait to be useful once more.
Best Place to Face Your Own Mortality You once drank whiskey from a plastic bottle and sang karaoke in your neighbors backyard. ... only to wake up for work two hours later. A breakfast burrito would mend the tiniest of hangovers and you would repeat day after day. But now? Now you find yourself at Sister dancing to music you don’t recognize with people who have birth years in the 1990s and you know you have to be up in eight hours. Time to go home. Without a refrigerator full of coconut water and a drawer of Emergen-C’s, you can’t afford 37 hours in bed.
Best Place To Show Off Your UV Tattoo It’s becoming increasingly difficult to shine bright like a diamond if you are one of the few luminescent people on planet Earth who have a UV tattoo. A quiet little secret hushed by natural light and boring normal lightbulbs, your UV ray tattoo can break free and reveal itself to the world while you dance at the most noteworthy club in downtown Albuquerque, Effex Nightclub. So go ahead, relive that 17-year-old desire to be simultaneously hidden and permanent that prompted you to get that Zia in glow-in-the-dark ink.
Best Place to Feel Like You’re on Drugs Without any of the Fun Parts of Actually Being on Drugs In a vast sea of neon skinny jeans and solid $2.80 tank tops, it’s easy to feel insignificant. At Forever 21 in Coronado Mall, music plays so loudly from every direction that you’re like a small animal locked in an ill-timed demise. By the time you’re safely in your car, you find yourself with awkward fitting faux silk dresses and weird smelling cardigans. What happened to you? Who were you in those dark moments, aimlessly walking from room to room trying to decipher if you’re an S, M or L? Sweating and jittery, you vow to never go back again.
Brett and Rennie Sparks aka The Handsome Family
Best Theater Performance: Local Madame Butterfly at the National Hispanic Cultural Center: Opera Southwest has been quietly putting on wonderful operas all year-round in Albuquerque. I don't have to drive to Santa Fe anymore to get my fix of beautiful arias. I cried and cried during Madame Butterfly last year and then noted that the man behind me was fast asleep. Opera produces an altered state in all of us.
Best Place To See A Ghost The Albuquerque Press Club There are so many strange passageways inside that strange log cabin on the hill that after a few drinks, it seems you are wandering an Escher-like mansion. The tops of all staircases are usually inhabited by a lone woman in a black cape who disperses into thin air as soon as you reach her. Delightful!
The Thing Albuquerque Doesn't Have, But Needs Most Prairie dog love and understanding Every time a bunch of prairie dogs finds a nice bit of grass or even a bit of forgotten dirt to build themselves a town within our city's confines, there are people immediately pushing them out with poisoned hay and other nastiness. Can't we somehow find a way to make space for these adorable, intelligent animals? Will it really ruin your shopping experience to have them peeking out of holes along the grass between Babies“R”Us and Target? There has to be a way that we desert-dwellers—who already embrace a different kind of beauty by living here—can embrace the look of medians and roadsides with holes dug in them. Think of it as underground art.