Alibi V.28 No.17 • April 25-May 1, 2019 

Best of Burque 2019

Life in Burque

skyline

Best City Politician to Get a Pat on the Back

Tim Keller

Tim Keller won the hearts and minds of this fair city when he walloped Dan Lewis back in November 2017’s mayoral run-off election. Since then, the metal mayor has made his mark by enlisting the community and pouring his vision out in way that shows progress can be made and sustained in Burque. Though he continues to face challenges like ART and this town’s propensity for gun violence, Keller’s got what it takes to move this burg squarely into the 21st century. That plus the fact that hizzoner listens to Slayer is a fine reason to get a pat on the back. (August March)

2) Gus Pedrotty

3) Isaac Benton

Best City Politician to Get a Punch in the Nose

Richard Berry

There’s no argument here, although as readers well know, Weekly Alibi is a left-leaning, progressive organization committed to non-violence and democratic ideals. Even then, we assume the former mayor at least feels like a pariah. ART was his doing after all. For a man who wanted to leave a legacy at least as large as a Chavez or Kinney might have, the awareness that he might be reduced to the level of Saavedra—or even, worst-case scenario, a Ken Schultz-type—must haunt Berry every dang night of his post-mayoral life. (August March)

2) Pat Davis

Best Citywide/Statewide Scandal

ART

ART, the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, remains the Number One scandal here and in the state. That may be because its ruins are so present—and weirdly skeletal, one might add—up and down a Central Avenue corridor that may never see the essence of its new urbanist vision fulfilled. Waiting another year on clean diesel replacement buses and and wishing for a comfy ride up and down the main drag of town may yet happen, we’re told. But at least in the meantime, for now, there are plenty of open places to turn left up and down Central. (August March)

2) Gov. Martinez bodyguard affair

3) Gold King Mine Spill

Best Use of City Money

Helping the Homeless

Clearly Alibi readers realize that one of the biggest issues troubling Albuquerque right now is our city’s vast homeless population. But thanks to the efforts of a progressively minded city council and mayor, the city is now spending money to reestablish, grow and sustain essential programs designed to dig into the problem at the root level. These expenditures include funding for behavioral health programs, emergency shelters and outreach programs that feed and clothe at risk citizens. This humanitarian use of money shows our city is making progress and more humans are finding solutions here in the city. (August March)

2) Education

3) Solar panels

Best Local Athlete

Holly Holm

She’s a mixed martial artist who took the world by storm with her fiesty attitude and hard-hitting technique. Holm started her career as a boxer, moved on to kickboxing and—after defending her various titles 18 times—sought to conquer the brutal world of MMA. Consistently ranked in the top five in the UFC Women’s Division, this native Burqueña has the status of a hometown hero and now adds this reader’s award to her trophy case. Holm will face Amanda Nunes for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight belt on July 6, 2019. Rock on, Holly! (August March)

2) Alex Bregman

3) Sara Yingling

Best TV News Anchor

Shelly Ribando

With fake news circling the internet and easy access to 24-hour news cycles, it can be hard to navigate the world without getting overwhelmed. According to our readers, Shelly Ribando of KOAT Action 7 News is Albuquerque’s most trusted news anchor. Every weeknight at 5, 6 and 10pm, Ribando (along with co-anchor Doug Fernandez) reports on our state’s breaking news with fairness, integrity and passion. Just as we’ve welcomed her into our homes every night, Ribando has shared personal details of her life with us along the way, like her wedding or the birth of her daughter. (Taylor Grabowsky)

2) Marisa Maez

Best TV Weatherperson

Mark Ronchetti

Albuquerque weather is a fickle mistress; we can go through four seasons in one day. KRQE Chief Meteorologist Mark Ronchetti knows this, and Burqueños turn to him for trusted weather news. Since 2006 Ronchetti has been reporting on the weather in the 505 and across the state, from breaking winter storms and summer heat waves to everything in between. This past fall, Ronchetti showed a new side of himself on “Mark vs. The Mountain” where he and his family built the highest house in New Mexico, at the summit of Angel Fire Resort’s ski mountain. Winning over the hearts of Albuquerque with that dreamy smile and general excitement over the very possibility of snow, it’s obvious why Mark Ronchetti took the top spot this year. (Taylor Grabowsky)

2) Steve Stucker

3) Kristen Currie

Best Drag Queen

Bunny Benton Cruise

This powerful and artistic queen has been serving face to the 505 for over two decades and this year's win proves she's not going anywhere. Beloved by the community as New Mexico's Queen Mother and a triple monarch of the United Court of the Sandias, she's known for big hair, bigger charity work and as an overall driver of the drag scene and supporter of entertainers in our city. You know what they say, “the higher the hair, the closer to the Best of Burque.” (Ashli Kesali)

2) Jacquesan Taylor-Stratton

3) Miss Vanjie

Best Drag King

Rusty Nutz

A member of the Albuquerque Kings as well as the DC Kings, two drag troupes that have shaped their performance person, Rusty has been stippling on the stubble for their fair share of drag shows as a male impersonator. Rusty is active in fundraising and awareness for the LGBTQ community as well as a roller derby babe. Though Albuquerque has a low population of drag kings compared to other scenes, they are no less mighty. Rusty isn't so rusty when it comes to getting that crowd to cheer. (Ashli Kesali)

2) Richard Rico Coxx

3) Mic Hunt

Best Radio Station

KUNM 89.9

The radio operations at Ortega Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico deserve your attention. After all, our readers are certain that the sounds emanating from the former dormitory building on the Northeast corner of main campus have some very important meanings to deduce. You can do just that by listening to a station that often features the best our local music community has on offer. From jazz to rock and hip-hop, too, and with programming like Coffee Express, Ear to the Ground and Espejos de Aztlan, you can always hear the best in local music simply by tuning in to this engaging college radio station. (August March)

2) 100.3 The Peak

3) KZRR 94.1 Rock

Best Local Nonprofit

Animal Humane New Mexico

Our readers know that the only way to have a heckin' good time is to give love to our favorite charitable organization. We're giving five paws up for this year's Best Local Nonprofit, Animal Humane of New Mexico. Not only do they help us lame humans find our amazing fur kids, they offer classes and workshops on how to care for our pets and provide clinics to spay and neuter our beloved best friends. Don't know how to care for your favorite buddy?—No worries! They've got you covered with all of their workshops and extremely helpful staff. If you're gonna give money to any nonprofit this year, this is the one! (Courtney Foster)

2) A Light in the Night Community Outreach

3) Outpost Performance Space

Best Annual Charity Fundraiser

River of Lights

Do you remember the first time you went to the River of Lights? It's magical and unfathomable, especially as a kid. This year, our readers decided to honor River of Lights as our Best Annual Charity Fundraiser. All proceeds go to help the ABQ BioPark and it’s a yearly wondrous treat for children and adults alike in the chilly month of December. (Courtney Foster)

2) Doggie Dash & Dawdle

3) Souper Bowl

Best Place to Take a First Date

Sandia Crest

The date begins with the longest aerial tram in the world. Over two-and-a-half miles and taking about 15 minutes to ascend to 10,378 feet, the ride to this year's Best Place to Take a First Date winner is already one of the most popular attractions in Albuquerque—Sandia Crest. Once arrived to the heights of Sandia Peak on a clear day, you can see nearly 11,000 square miles and have an unmatched view of the city lights at night. Whether you take the tram or drive the winding roads up, the fancy restaurants that await you at the top make it an enchanting date spot, regardless. (Courtney Foster)

2) Differential Brewing Co.

3) ABQ BBQ

Best Place to Get Married

Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm

Our readers know that getting married should be the most romantic and magical day of your life. And their voices were heard and validated when they voted for Los Poblanos Historic Inn as the primo place to have your special day. Not only is the surrounding scenery breathtaking, the La Quinta Grand Ballroom is something straight out of a dream. Once the ceremony is over, you still have the amazing reception halls and beautiful rooms to wine and dine your guests. (Courtney Foster)

2) The Bosque

3) Nature Pointe Weddings and Events

Best Reason to Live in Albuquerque

The Weather

Wait five minutes, and it'll change—right? Despite the flip-flopping that our spring and fall gives us, the weather is definitely the reason that most Burquenos stay in our beautiful city. It's no surprise that this is what Alibi readers found to be the Best Reason to Live in Albuquerque. Shorts, tank tops, bikinis, all the way to cozy hoodies and green chili stew—and let's not forget our super-rad monsoon season where we get to sit on our porches and watch the sky fall on us. Albuquerque loves our weird desert climate and all the beautiful things that come with it. (Courtney Foster)

2) Food / Green Chile

3) Arts & Culture

Best Place to Take Out of Town Visitors

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

If you've never been to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, how can you consider yourself a Burqueno?! This has been a staple in all of our lives. And it's the best part of fall for all of us. It's also the easiest and best excuse to get your out-of-town relatives or friends to come visit. Not only is it a joy to see the balloons flying high on your early morning work commute, it's also fascinating to see them up close in person. So call your distant aunt or estranged college friend and get them down here for an amazing experience. (Courtney Foster)

2) Old Town

3) Sandia Crest / Tramway

Best Place to Hike

Jemez Springs

This year, our readers showed their values and voted Jemez Springs as the Best Place to Hike. We love this because, not only are the hiking trails remote and gorgeous, it can end with a perfect treat—the hot springs! If you've never taken this trip, you're sorely missing out. Trails fluctuate between beginner and intermediate, and the view is absolutely incredible. Once you're done getting your hike on, you can find some of Burque's most coveted hidden gems and dip yourselves in some of our natural hot spring pools. (Courtney Foster)

2) Sandia Foothills

3) Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Best Bike Trail

Bosque Trail

It's clear that we're a biking city. If you haven't figured it out by our newly redone roads with giant bike lanes, it should be obvious by our wonderful Bosque Trail. Live in the city and want a bit of nature? Tired of biking on the roads and want something beautiful and relaxing? Our readers have got the perfect place for you! Bosque Trail is definitely the nicest, prettiest and easiest place to go biking. With its big trees and close by the river, it feels like you're in your own magical world. This trail spans a good 16 miles so you can ride your heart out! (Courtney Foster)

2) Elena Gallegos Open Space

3) Foothills Trail

Best Place to People Watch

Nob Hill

Nob Hill is the perfect mingling between Downtown and the Heights. You've got your college kids, your Downtown homies and Uptown people coming to shop, eat or get their cocktail on. It's for this reason that Nob Hill is undoubtedly our Best Place to People Watch. If you can find a bench or a sweet outdoor brewery patio to post up on, you'll be sure to get a perfect screenshot of all that Albuquerque is: the weirdoes, the pretty people and everyone in between! (Courtney Foster)

2) Old Town

3) Downtown

Best Outdoor Space

The Bosque

With 16 miles of paved trails, you can hike, bike, jog or skate your way through this gorgeous cottonwood forest. Pass through the Rio Grande State Park and enjoy some public art along the way. With 270 acres of indigenous plants, trees, flowers and birds, you will soon find yourself in your own natural habitat. You can access the trail map and other useful information at cabq.gov, and there's also a guided hike the first Sunday of every month. (Constance Moss)

2) ABQ BioPark - Botanic Garden

3) ABQ BioPark - Zoo

Best Golf Course

Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course

Nestled in Northeast Albuquerque’s Bear Canyon Arroyo, this city-owned golf course boasts 27 holes, reasonable greens fees and plenty of interesting topography. With its rolling fairways, sand traps and three water-hole obstacles, Arroyo del Oso’s primary course is Par 72 for men and Par 73 for women. There’s even an Arroyo del Osos Golf Association that holds monthly golf tournaments for players of all abilities. And to top it all off, Golf Digest Magazine rated it one of the top 50 Municipal Golf Courses in the nation (back in 1981—but still). (Devin D. O’Leary)

2) Isleta Eagle Golf Course

3) University South

Best Bowling Alley

Silva Lanes

The Silva family has been running Silva Lanes for close to 25 years. The alley offers leagues for bowlers of all ages. Punky's Place, the bar inside, features UFC Nights on Saturdays, and drink specials, pool, darts and karaoke every single night of the week. The Silva Lanes website even has the songbook so you can decide what to belt out before you arrive. The snack bar offers tasty treats and Diana Silva and daughter Barbie will help you plan a fun birthday party. Bring your league, date, friends or just yourself for some good, clean fun. Let's bowl! (Constance Moss)

2) Skidmore's Holiday Bowl

3) Isleta Fun Connection

Best Movie Theater

Flix Brewhouse Albuquerque

Back in the old days, you’d have to choose between dinner and a movie. Not anymore. At Flix Brewhouse you can have your cake and eat it, too. That’s right, Flix Brewhouse is the only movie theater in town where you can order a full meal (and beer) and they deliver it to you during your movie, taking date night or any weeknight to a whole other level. No wonder they took home the top spot another year in a row. On top of the blockbusters and new releases every week, check out some of Flix’s special events, from alternative to family to special brewery-themed showings, there’s something for everybody. (Taylor Grabowsky)

2) Guild Cinema

3) Century Rio 24 Plex & XD

Best Museum

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

What makes the New Mexico Museum of Natural History the best museum? The dinosaurs! Well, not just the dinosaurs, but the hard work the museum staff, docents and volunteers do to find those dinosaurs, get them out of the ground and then explain the entire process to the public, while putting those same dinosaurs in the context of where and when we live. That’s what makes the New Mexico Museum of Natural History the best museum. (Clarke Condé)

2) Albuquerque Museum

3) Explora