Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Prescience? Can you see m-pyre's future?

HELP: Local Band Suggestions Needed!

Mikaela says:
I'm looking for something specific.

I need a cheesy lounge act for an office party. The theme will be 70s Cruise a la Love Boat.

Not a lot of space, so must be small and fairly quiet. But fun. Funny. Out there.

Does Albuquerque have such a thing?

Good but not too good?

Ponder, people, and get back to me, okay?

Playing Soon at the Guild

Mikaela says:
Join us this Friday @ 8:30 to see:

Paradise Now: On a typical day in the West Bank city of Nablus, where daily life grinds on amidst crushing poverty and the occasional rocket blast, we meet two childhood best friends, Saïd (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), who pass time drinking tea, smoking a hookah, and working dead-end menial jobs as auto mechanics. But Saïd and Khaled may be be living the last 48 hours of their lives... they’ve been recruited for a strike on Tel Aviv. When they are intercepted at the Israeli border and separated from their handlers, a young woman who discovers their plan causes them to reconsider their actions. Winner of multiple prizes at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival, the film was written by Hany Abu-Assad (FORD TRANSIT, RANA’S WEDDING) & Bero Beyer.

And next week (March 10-16) for:
MARCH 10 - 16 (ONE WEEK)
RICHARD PRYOR LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP is one of his best-known concert documentaries, and WATTSTAX, the acclaimed music concert documentary, features Pryor just before his career took off.

Dir. Joe Layton - 1982 - 82m
We celebrate the life of the late comic genius with one of his best concert films, one which departs from the standup schtick with an unsentimental glance at his near-death accident while freebasing cocaine.
“As is his way, he provides voices - often whining, quarrelsome ones - to inanimate objects, including parts of his body, at no time with more eerie effect than when he sets out to tell the audience the entire truth about the accident in which he was so badly burned that he almost died. This, too, begins as a series of gags. ‘Before going to bed,’ he says, ‘it’s my habit to have a glass of no-fat milk and cookies. When I put them together, they exploded. Scientists are still trying to figure out what happened.’ His stories about the accident itself, the long days in the hospital and the therapy he went through are not funny, but they have an honesty that doesn’t for a minute disturb the dramatic line of his singular comedy.”
- Vincent Canby, New York Times

WATTSTAX (5:10, 9:00)
Dir. Mel Stuart - 1973 - 102m
The legendary “black Woodstock” finally gets its due with a restored 35mm print of Mel Stuart's documentary of the epochal 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which drew over 90,000 people. Featuring incendiary performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, the Bar-Kays and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel— plus biting humor from a then little-known Richard Pryor — WATTSTAX is more than a concert film. It also captures a heady moment in mid-1970s, “black-is-beautiful” African-American culture, when Los Angeles’s black community came together just seven years after the Watts riots to celebrate its survival and a renewed hope in its future.

St. Paul's Lutheran

Mikaela says:
For Marjorie who loves churches (but not necessarily church).

Courtesy Flickr by way of Duke City Fix

Saturday, February 25, 2006

East Texas Cornbread: A photo essay

marjorie says...

I don't know what it is about the passing of winter, but I invariably start getting homesick with the first signs of spring, which there certainly are plenty of out in our yard. And this week its got me thinking of my mothers food. I thought I'd show y'all how to make my mother's cornbread. I don't think I've ever been home when there wasn't a skillet of this cornbread ready to be had in my mother's kitchen. Invariably, there will also be a pot of pinto beans .

And, on occasion, black eyed peas--which is what I had a hankering for this weekend. My mom's name, by the way, is Ruth Ann.

Now, my mom calls this cornbread her mother's cornbread.
My grandmother's name was Tess. She raised ten kids on a farm in East Texas (yes, that is where I am from, as opposed to "Texas") and according to my mother baked an awful lot. I wish I had experienced more of my grandmother's cooking, but alas, I have to say that in my mind this recipe will always belong to my mother. But it's sure nice to contemplate the continuity.

So, this is a dry cornbread cooked in an iron skillet and turned half way through. Turning it gives it a nice crispy crust pretty much all around. It goes really well with beans or just about any other thing you might want to sop up. I love it. Here are the ingredients:

You take .75 cup each of corn meal and flour, one egg, .5 tsp baking soda, 1.5 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, and you eyeball the buttermilk.

Put it all in a bowl.

Mix it!

Now, according to mom, in order to flip the cornbread (which is essential) you got to use an iron skillet. It just doesn't work otherwise. You heat up some oil in the skillet and sprinkle in some cornmeal before you put the batter in.

Then you pour in the batter and cook it on 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

When the top gets a little brown, you pull it out and flip it. On the left here, I've pulled it out and am about to flip it.

And then you can see the bottom side after I've flipped it (check out the pot of black-eyed peas, ready to go!). Flipping it, as you can imagine, is an acquired skill. I think I might have been just a tad premature in this case, but I'm still working on it. That's all I can really say about that.

My final cornbread in the skillet picture didn't turn out, so I had to take another one after the cornbread had already, um, been dug into! As you can see, after re-flipping it upon taking it out a final time, the top has an excellent crust, exactly the way it should be.

And this is how I like to eat it...

Don't forget the pepper sauce!

My mother says that she's never thought her cornbread was as good as her mother's. Well, I don't know what to say about that, other than that I sure like the cornbread I grew up with. And I can certainly say that my cornbread isn't as good as my mom's. In the end, maybe its just simply all about cornbread being made by your mother that makes it so darn good.

I'm sure that when reading through this, my mom and maybe my sisters, are recognizing that black skillet without the handle. Yeah, I grew up with it and I snagged it--thanks mom! As this photo-essay demostrates, I am a total sentimentalist.

Finally, not to leave my dad, Jerry, completely out of this lovefest...
what in the *world* you ask is this:

Well, that's what I think of as my dad's snack, and I figure just about everyone who grew up in the South will recognize it for what it is: cornbread in a glass of buttermilk. And that, folks, is definitely an acquired taste!

Friday, February 24, 2006

My Top 5 movies of the year

Maggie says:
Thinking movies tonight... again. Oscar season is heating up and I'm itching for March 5. There are going to be some tough choices that night; it makes me nervous just thinking about it. (While it's on my mind, check out this great article on the Supporting Actress category if you're a movie nut, too.)

I really love and respect lots of the nominated movies this time around. For the first time in a long time, I feel like the Academy finally nailed this year's nominations (I still cringe when I recall that Gladiator actually won Best Picture in 2000). Every category is stacked with incredible films and incredible performances, and I feel truly lucky to be a moviegoer this year. If only every year were like this!

That said, here are the films that I personally liked the best this year, the ones that affected me personally and touched me on the level that movies really should.

  • Brokeback Mountain. It's almost cliche to include this film because it's on everyone's list this year and is almost certain to win Best Picture. But it's gotta be on my list, because it was so beautiful and powerful and poignant, and quietly so. This movie captures love, longing, repression, duty, and appearances so damn well. It has the quietest moments in it, moments of such beauty and intensity that in a dark theater I felt like I couldn't breathe as I watched them happen. A movie that takes your breath away just by the look in someone's eyes is a remarkable accomplishment.
  • The Squid and the Whale - Loved this one for so many reasons. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are amazing. The kids blow me away. It's about what it means to be a parent, a spouse, a child, a sibling, and a friend. How do you manage all that when you imagine yourself brilliant (or purposefully not) and there are books to read and write and tennis matches to play? How do we act out what we can't talk about? What is the moment when we begin to see through someone for the first time? What about when we first see through ourselves? "My brotha" and "philistine" are used geniously here. And the soundtrack and the pure '80s intelligencia of it are perfect.
  • Hustle & Flow - On Charlie Rose, Terence Howard explained that the director of the film, Craig Brewer, kept hounding him to take the role, but Howard wanted nothing to do with a hustler pimp. Brewer finally got him to read the script with this line: "If there's a lie on one page, you never have to talk to me again." And that's exactly why this film is so good. It defies every single easy stereotype you might imagine a film about a pimp would exploit. It's honest. It reeks of this absolutely Southern thang, this Memphis spirit and feel, without being "A Southern Movie." It couldn't have been made anywhere else and feel this way. It's true. And Terence Howard is just amazing to watch here, with a supporting cast that never stops.
  • Junebug - This movie just touches me. I wrote earlier that watching it was the first time I've ever heard a real Eastern NC accent on film (don't even get me started on the intricacies of the Eastern NC accent!), which is portrayed by the elusive artist who's the cause of the movie's family reunion. But this movie is waaaaay more than that. It's a secret snapshot of a family with problems it won't confront, brothers torn apart by potential, what it means to leave home and become an outsider, the differences between our public bravado and private insecurities, and how elusive trust can sometimes be. Amy Adams is incredible, incredible, incredible in her role. She's this force of a girl who's pregnant and cheery and excited by newness and beside herself with her enthusiasm for her new sister-in-law with the most truthful breath of fresh air I think I've ever seen. She nails what it is to be a cheerful person yet to struggle internally with doubt, to love your in-laws with the same force they brush you aside with, to believe in your husband despite all evidence you should not, to force yourself to be excited about a happy future and only cry about the past a little bit, at night, when you're alone. Oh, man. See this.
  • The Constant Gardener - The funny thing about this movie is that the first time I watched it, it lost me about halfway through. It just wasn't the right time, or mood, or something. But I watched the end of it the next day and immediately rewatched the entire thing, in shock that I wasn't completely captivated from the start. The great things about this movie are the marriage of Justin and Tessa, the politics at the root of the story, Rachel Weisz, and director Fernando Meirelles. In the commentary, it's noted that Justin is a man who "accidentally married his conscience." That line nails it. This is a man steeped in caution and incrementalism, yet Tessa is a force of nature, an activist who respects Justin's careful nature as much as she refuses to budge from her passionate stance on life. That balance is remarkable to watch, as is the structure of the movie that really allows us to fall in love with Tessa as Justin discovers just who he married. Rachel Weisz is really remarkable here, she just is. And as a lesson in the ugly world of pharmaceutical industries using poor countries as testing grounds, it's devastating. To me, no one could bring this together more than Fernando Meirelles, who also directed City of God. I think it takes someone from a poor country himself, from a place routinely used and abused by foreign powers and corporate entities to see this picture as a whole. Where other directors would see poverty, Meirelles sees vibrancy. Where other directors would see faceless residents in shacks, Meirelles sees communities of strength. Where other directors would see Africa as sand and darkness, Meirelles sees it with the most vibrant colors you can imagine. This movie becomes an absolutely riveting story of a relationship born again in its destruction, a global horror story told in the smallest, most personal of ways.

Hey, Ladies! Guess who's wearing the pants now?

Mikaela says:
You are! The International Skating Union officially changed the rules in 2004, allowing ladies skaters to wear pants for the first time in the history of the sport.

And guess what else? You look fabulous. Skating? Conservative? Um...yes!

But we've come a long way, baby. All the way to Turino!

Slutskya looking anything but...

Sarah Meier from Switzerland. Battle of the bulge? We don't care!

Really, when you're facing the death spiral, should you really have to worry about catching your skirt in those pesky thighs?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

La Siringitu Vegetarian Cafe

Maggie says:
Marjorie and I ate at La Siringitu last night. The word was it's the go-to place for vegetarian soul food in town, so these two soul food lovers had to check it out. Our verdict: yummy. Just don't go in a rush...

Service was s-l-o-w. I'm talkin', awkwardly slow. As in, after being there for ten minutes the sole waiter told us he'd be back to take our order in "another five or ten minutes." Slow, but the kind of slow where you nervously check yourself and think maybe life is too rushed, maybe there's nothing wrong with sitting here for a really, really long time without even a glass of water. Maybe I should just relax and revel in girl talk and take my time... so we did. And it was worth the wait.

The space is beautiful, and would be the perfect setting for a vegetarian dinner party. Great art on the walls, a homey vibe. Apparently the menu is prepared new every day, which I love. The concept of eating what's fresh and locally available is best embodied by restaurants who start new daily, so I support that.

For dinner, you pretty much have two options: a huge combination of food for $13.50, or a choice of three items for $7.50. Marjorie and I went with the 3-choice dish, and didn't come away at all hungry.

We both had barbecued tofu, which was perfect and bursting with smoky flavor. We also both had macaroni and cheese (it was a comfort food kind of night). Marjorie ordered yams for her third choice, and I ordered black-eyed peas, only switched to a veggie combo when they ran out of peas (sniff, sniff).

Such good food. Really. So flavorful, so comforting, so nice.

Check them out for a relaxing dinner sometime. Just don't take a watch with you.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

See you there!


The world-renowned Pajama Men will present three nights of ferociously unforgettable comedy.

WHAT: Pajama Men (self titled—formerly called SABOTAGE: in fine form)

February 23, 24, 25 at 8pm

With one special showing of their award winning hit

Pajama Men in Stop Not Going February 25 at 10pm

WHERE: UNM ARTS Lab Garage at 131 Pine St., NE

(Just north of Central, One block West of University)

Tickets at the Door

$15 (highly suggested donation) 505-720-1842

Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez are The Pajama Men, winners of the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival Double Act Award, as well as critical acclaim and awards at festivals and venues across Europe and North America. The Pajama Men’s shows have often been called “indescribable.” They are known for swapping and changing characters in a split second, weaving together multiple story lines, and engaging in some of the most unique and hilarious physical comedy you will ever see.

Alan Hindle of Canada’s Globe and Mail writes, “Faster than whippets whip, these two super-clowns melt through endless layers of comedy and you have no idea how much is improvised, rehearsed or the result of a comic blackout from which the two performers will emerge hours after the show, soaked in sweat and each other’s spit, wondering what happened but feeling closer to God.”


Following the Pajama Men performances here on their home turf Second City presents The Pajama Men for a month run at the Steppenwolf Garage theatre through Steppenwolf’s Visiting Company Initiative. This marks the first collaboration between The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre Company – two of Chicago’s premier theatrical organizations.

“When we discovered this incredible comic pair at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we knew that they deserved to perform on a very special stage in Chicago – not a late night run or an off-night cabaret experience,” notes Second City Theatricals President Kelly Leonard.

“Steppenwolf is excited to extend our Visiting Company Initiative to our friends at Second City, in hopes of expanding the artistic dialogue among our collective audiences,” says Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey.

Check out www.steppenwolf.org and www.secondcity.com for more info.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy V-day, Lloyd, We Love You!

Mikaela says:
This is the first year in many that I've noticed Valentines Day. It's everywhere, and it helps that I have a sweetie that makes me all cheesy.

Even so, it's good to remember that this is a constructed holiday. A holiday co-opted like so many by our capitalist consumer economy.

There are fun things about it this year. One highlight was a rundown on NPR of really obnoxious ads trying to get men to buy really ridiculous things using Valentines Day as an excuse: a propane fireplace, high-speed internet, hair removal at a spa, a furnace with digital thermostat...

And the best thing about today so far was a Washington Post feature about our favorite movie man ever, Lloyd Dobbler from Say Anything, who explains our obsession with all things John Cusack. We all know John is a bit of an asshole, and he's never really lived up to his greatness in any other role. But Lloyd Dobbler wouldn't have been so Lloyd without him. So we forgive him for all his faults. Even Ice Harvest. Happy Valentines, Lloyd and John. We heart you always.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A-Store 25% off sale!

Maggie says:
My favorite store in town is also the one that gave me my first job when I moved to ABQ a few years ago. It's the A Store, the little place that sells everything under the sun, yet seems strangely hidden at the corner of Central and Carlisle.

Thanks to the A Store, I:
  • have a growing-slowly-but-surely Le Creuset collection (but sorry folks, I think they stopped carrying it)
  • drink the best coffee in town (you can't buy O'hori's beans anywhere else in ABQ)
  • am obsessed with Kiehl's lip balm and L'Occitane shea butter hand cream
  • have Vietri and Waechtersbach dishes
  • got to play with really nice furniture that I'm not mature enough to own yet
But enough about me. Here's the big news:

Everything in the A Store is 25% off!

That's right. Well, almost everything. So go check out one of ABQ's best locally-owned stores (and except for the co-op, Nob Hill's oldest locally-owned store) and support local economic development. (Not to mention buy some pretty things.)

Tell Jay, Josh, and Hans that I sent you!

Another irresistible sentence

Maggie says:
Happened again. Found my next book to buy via a sentence that I can't resist:

"I believe you have to reach a certain age before you understand how much life really is like a novel, with patterns and leitmotifs and turning points, and guns that must go off and people who must return before the ending."

It's from "The Last of Her Kind," by Sigrid Nunez. Stay tuned for a review...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

February's Stars

Mikaela says:
Brian Francis continues to amaze. He’s a star-shit expert. With m’s pegged. I mean dead-on target. Eerie! Eerie, I tell you! Wanna know yours? Be amazed here.

ARIES: You may not know how you're going to navigate or even find the turning point you feel approaching, but I suggest you go entirely on intuition. From where you are now, you cannot get to the wrong place. Though there is an element of chance involved, that's the opening through which a rare kind of awareness will enter the equation of your life. Move slowly rather than quickly; look in all directions rather than straight ahead. Remember to look up and down. You are anticipating a turn to the left or the right, when really the curve develops in an entirely different direction. Likewise, if you find yourself expecting certain specific outcomes, you'll only get in the way of the wide diversity of possibilities that are making themselves available to you now. Just because you cannot see them, or even conceive of them, does not mean they're not there.

CANCER: There's no way to know for certain whether a developing financial arrangement will work out the way you anticipate, but you can take one step at a time and make your moves entirely on trust. The mystery is greater than you think, and the potential for exchange and for gain is greater than you think. There are new factors in an old equation that will focus and move energy despite the fact that little has seemed to work in the past. As for potential loss? This is always possible, but certain lessons you've learned in the past six months will be instructive in helping you maintain sufficient clarity to see the way things are developing and avoid all the more obvious errors, assuming you keep the counsel of the people you have come to trust for their feedback and clarity. Remind yourself often: you're not in this alone.

VIRGO: It may seem like one particular idea you're working with is meeting only obstacles and competing influences from what seem like more important responsibilities. Note, first, the existence of a belief that precisely this will happen once you start to open up to your deeper levels of creative power. It's a common situation that creative people face, particularly those with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. This may seem frustrating until you recognize that the delay or snag is merely a testament to the power of your mind. Though it's not an absolute, to a great extent, what you deem to be true will apparently be that way. I suggest you put some genuine effort into determining what you believe, and deciding consciously what you want to believe. Despite the overwhelming level of activity in your life, you do have space to stop and consider these things. In fact, that's the missing ingredient.

Big P.S.: GIRLS, I think Brian Francis may be HOT!?!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Looking for something fun to do Friday?

Mikaela suggests:
Check Out ch'Yonda!