V.24 No.44 | 10/29/2015

Creative Non-Fiction

Locochon Viente Tres

I am at my breakfast early, making a crude sort of magic which, when properly performed, causes a plate full of huevos rancheros to disappear. As I prepare to initiate the penultimate sacrifice, involving a quarter of a tortilla and the heated albumin and yolk sac of an animal that can only fly short distances, three taggers walk into the restaurant.

An acrid aerosol afterglow is trailing right behind them, molecular and ghostly. Their fingertips are stained with dark colors, greens and greys—the colors of forests and buildings. One of them has a faint golden outline painted around his nose and mouth. It is shaped like a flower or a crude drawing of a heart.

Refugio, also known as El Jefe, does most of the talking. Tilting his head in my general direction, they shuffle over to my table. Furtive glances are exchanged. The three sit, smelling of burnt rope, giving me the once over twice.

Procopio, the oldest one, has big bruised hands. They hang by his side wearily. The tagger with the huffed facial halo calls himself Locochon Viente Tres. He takes a black plastic comb from his back pocket and starts running it through his hair. He does this with flair, a fair amount of compulsion and until his friends look at him narrowly in a fashion that suggests wonder and thirst. Locochon puts the comb away. Embarrassed and slightly dazed, he covers his head with an Albuquerque Dukes baseball cap.

El Jefe addresses me in an ornate vernacular filled with slang and profanity—suggesting formality and deference. He is almost whispering, but not quite. He nods warily and with his palms turned out toward the sky and heaven, tells me about last night. After drinking a grip of forties they realized I wasn't la jura after all—porque Five-O don't wear gaffas like I do, except on the teevee shows their abuelitas watched twenty thousand years ago. Procopio thought those Ray-Bans were some old school mierda and besides his mom looked me up on Facebook. It's all good.

El Jefe nods at Locochon Viente Tres who retrieves an iPhone 6s from under his waistband. He laughs waxenly at my surprised expression. I did not see the phone before, I say, before telling how my phone isn't all that. It is like a relic from the astronaut days—something Gene Roddenberry dreamed up one night after a cocktail party at Trader Vic's.

The three taggers look at me as if I am from another world. I am from another world, I begin to think as they start thumbing through images of their work. The waitress comes by to refill my cup of coffee—a dark elixir with stimulating extra-solar properties I briefly imagine while glancing at their bright and brazen oeuvre.

There are pictures of rusted boxcars transformed by raw color and the acute geometry of experience. The railroad company usually paints the stuff over in a few days El Jefe says. In one of the photos Locochon Viente Tres is standing on top of a newly painted locomotive, frajo dangling from his mouth. He is giving everyone the finger and his eyes are glassy but triumphantly aware.

There is a second set of photos, taken throughout the labyrinthine network of concrete-lined flood control channels criss-crossing the city. The paintings left behind in this forbidden zone of abandoned shopping carts, dead dogs and crumbling tumble-weeds are like cartoons. A bravado of optimism pours out of the tangled letters. It's just like Saturday morning in 1972 but without the Tang, I remark, . El Jefe nods blankly. He continues to flip through that collection with trembling hands, big brown eyes darting around and around the room.

I ask have they heard of Banksy. They think I am putting them on. What kind of fucking artist is that, the one with hands like wooden mallets hisses. No one would have a name like that and if they did, they'd better change it, like soon bro. El Jefe tells me he took a couple of drawing classes at West Mesa High School. Locochon Viente Tres looks out the window of the diner while untranslatable combinations of sans-serif letters tumble out of his mouth as tiny flecks of paint.

When I am done with my fifth cup of coffee, having thereby completed the ritual I previously told you about, I tell the three I gotta go but ask can I write about them this week. That is ATM, that is chido, El Jefe gravely intones. Can I come out and watch them work, one day when the autumn sun is fading into winter, when the hot air balloons are at their height of popularity, I wonder aloud.

Locochon Viente Tres smirks. Using a filthy napkin and a Sharpie, he draws a detailed map, complete with snake-like roads, forlorn rose gardens and remodeled freeway overpasses.

We all get up to leave. El Jefe says to make sure and come by during the day; they think I'm cool, but who knows what their homies will think if I show up after the sun's gone down. Those dudes are hardcore chingones, he reminds me as he lays a Washington on the table and slinks toward the door.

V.24 No.29 | 7/16/2015


The Daily Word in Parisian hostages, lucky prisoners and dead stingrays

The Daily Word

Fitty Cent is bankrupt.

The President is giving 46 people incarcerated for drugs a second chance.

18 shoppers were taken hostage at a mall outside Paris.

Several dozen stingrays died at a Chicago zoo.

David Letterman wishes he was back on the air just so he could make Trump jokes.

Here's how to ask for a raise.

The "F Word" was scrubbed from graffiti on an I-25 overpass, reducing the remaining phrase to "your problems." Here are some constructive ways to deal with "your problems."

A black lab in Pennsylvania had over 70 inanimate objects surgically removed from its stomach.

Cheech Marin turns 69 today!

V.24 No.9 | 02/26/2015

This Week's Instagram Photo Contest Winner!

#alibigraf February 20-26, 2015

It's a good time to be alive when you can pee and snap a photo of stall graffiti in hopes of winning some cool loot from your local alt. weekly!

We especially loved this post by @genevievemueller,

but this post by @durwoodkerbyburger sums up the human experience of using public stalls and therefore is this week's winner!

Congrats to @durwoodkerbyburger! Email to retrieve your surprise and alibi bucks. And thanks to our pals on Instagram who posted. Stay tuned for next week's photo contest guidelines!

V.24 No.8 | 2/19/2015

Art Scenester

Rewriting Graffiti

Reverberate Her Lines puts women at the center of street art’s positive possibilities.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
V.23 No.51 | 12/18/2014

Book Review

Boom For Real

Widow Basquiat: A Love Story

A revealing and sometimes dark love story shows that pioneering ’80s artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was more than the “Radiant Child.”
V.23 No.29 | 7/17/2014
“Root Chakra”

Arts Feature

Chakra and Awe

Graffiti writer taps into universal calligraphies

In her very first gallery show, subversive Burque artist Kailani melds darkness with light-filled spirituality.
View in Alibi calendar calendar
V.23 No.19 | 5/8/2014


Wherein the readers write ... about graffiti and APD.
V.23 No.18 | 5/1/2014

[click to enlarge]
CC BY Chicago Art Department
Wherein Weekly Alibi readers write. This week’s feedback was concentrated on APD, psychogeography, graffiti, basketball and Asa Mullins. (P.S. Commenting on is easier than ever: Join the conversation.)
V.23 No.17 | 4/24/2014
Artist: Monsh
Lisa Barrios •

Arts Feature

The Words of the Prophets are Written on Arroyo Walls

Albuquerque's spray-can psychogeography

Love graffiti or hate it, a map of a city of the unseen awaits you on Albuquerque’s streets.
V.23 No.15 | 4/10/2014

Crib Notes

Crib Notes: April 10, 2014

What do you know about this week’s New Mexico news? From a lesbian couple’s lawsuit against a local photo studio to happenings at LANL, test your savvy with our weekly pop quiz.
V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014
“El Barteño” by Chale

Art Scenester

A Passion for Paint

The photos presented in Duke City Graffiti focus on vibrant, high-value productions, art pieces that force the audience to respect the talent involved, whether or not they agree with the medium.
V.22 No.49 |


The Daily Word in assisted suicide, a lost-then-found Johnny Cash album and spying on gamers

Sandia Peak Ski Area announces early opening

The Daily Word

New Mexico to consider legalizing assisted suicide.

Sandia Peak Ski Area is opening early this Friday.

City of Albuquerque spends a lot of money settling lawsuits and now some settlement details are available to public online.

Denver City Council amended the weed law so it is OK to blaze on your front lawn, balcony, etc.

Obama shook hands with Raul Castro at Mandela's memorial.

In other Cuba news, Russia plans to forgive 29 billion dollars owed to her by the tiny communist country.

Yet another way the NSA is spying on everybody all the time.


Previously unknown Johnny Cash record to be released.

Great collection of (NSFW) ancient Pompeii graffiti.

Learn what a "sun dog" is.

Joan Jett demanding Sea World stop blasting her music at Shamu.

The rent is still 2 damn high.

Christiane F. has a new book, says she's dying.

V.22 No.41 | 10/10/2013
Oh, Banksy, you so crazy ...
[click to enlarge]


Better Out Than In: Britain’s Banksy Hops Across the Pond

Banksy has hit Broadway.

Today marks the tenth day of British street artist Banksy’s “residency on the streets of New York.” The artist’s website proudly declares that his famous—some might say infamous—work will be surfacing on the streets of the city that never sleeps for the month of October. The exhibit is titled Better Out Than In.

So far, there has been a new piece on a wall or vehicle every day—with the exception of the day when Banksy posted an ambiguous but clearly opinionated YouTube video on the Syrian War to his site. Among the street art is an intricately detailed rainforest scene in the back of an old delivery truck, the addition of the words “The Musical” to random graffiti around the city (ex. “Occupy! The Musical”) and the popular “THIS IS MY NEW YORK ACCENT … normally I write like this” spray-painting (below) on the Westside. All pieces are viewable on the street artist’s website and are now accompanied by a numbered tag, and a tongue-in-cheek audio component accessible by Banksy’s 800 number, 1-800-656-4271.

More than a week in, and it seems as if the city of New York hasn't yet decided how to respond to Banksy’s pieces. While the first was painted over within 24 hours—as the satirical American voice at the other end of the 800 number predicted—others are rapidly being removed from their original locations to auction. This presents an interesting dilemma; some wonder if—in such a cultured city—removing the murals is preservation of art or its destruction. According to The Guardian, Bristol's City Council polled citizens a few years ago about Banksy's art, and 97 percent voted that when a Banksy image appeared in public domain, it should remain.

While this conundrum is certainly one to mull over, this may be a good time to recognize some of Albuquerque’s own great street art, sanctioned and otherwise. Albuquerque, another city rich in art and culture, has long integrated street art into the urban landscape. Three years ago, 516 Arts hosted an event called STREET ART: A Celebration of Hip-Hop Culture and Free Expression, which left street murals around downtown Albuquerque. Participating artists included Chris Stain, who left a large painting of a solemn, silhouetted working man at Second and Central. Native Burqueño Ernest Doty was charged as the controversial, anonymous Rainbow Warrior, a street artist who spilled smile-inducing spectrums over buildings across the city. At least one of these rainbows remain untouched; whether that's due to cultural appreciation or inability to cover them up, I couldn’t say.

For more street works around the Duke City, check out the Street Art Albuquerque Facebook Page, which includes photos of acrylic and spray-painted works and the streets where they’re located. And to keep up with Banksy’s exhibit from the Duke City, visit the site or check out the #banskyny tag on Instagram.(Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to motivate all artistic adolescents to begin scribbling property that is not your own; some things are best left to the, er, more experienced.)

V.22 No.35 | 8/29/2013


Hyperlocal Style

Artist Jaque Fragua returns to the streets

Urbane meets urban when an Albuquerque muralist and a Santa Fe clothing brand team up.
V.21 No.28 | 7/12/2012


Rowdy’s Dream Blog #257: I watch a TV report on the “Smudger.”

My pal L points to a TV report on the "Smudger," a local terrorist who draws huge black pictures over entire city blocks at night.