September 1, 2004

Cinecultist Takes Albuquerque

We're back kids from our Albuquerque adventure and rest assured, Cinecultist felt no need to pick up any souvenirs of the turquoise, Native American chic or hammered silver varieties. We are a Manhattanite, and thus snear at such things. Something we learned: if it says "Old Town" on the map, it actually means "Tchatchke Town." FYI.

guild.JPGSeeing that we are the Cinecultist as well as an adopted New Yawker, and since we had an extra day of just hanging out in ABQ after the wedding on Saturday, we thought we'd go to the movies. But looking for a movie theater when you haven't rented a car proved trickier than you'd think. Sample conversation: CC: "So is there a movie theater in downtown?" Local w/Mullet & High-waisted jeans [seriously]: "Downtown? You don't want to go downtown." Apparently, downtown ABQ is scarier than all of the greater New York area and we were advised to avoid it. Instead, we took the hotel shuttle down to the Nob Hill area, which is around the university and has little shops and such.

Therein we found the Guild theater which was screening Godzilla this week. Coming up to the ticket window, the man behind the counter yelled, "Are you hear to see Gaud-zee-ya?" Thinking he was mispronouncing Takashi Miike's movie Gozu that the Guild also had a poster up for, we shook our squemish head. Turns out, he was just mimicing the Japanese pronounciation of Godzilla. And he did this schtick with every single ticket window patron. It was adorable. Also, we have to admit that paying $5 for a matinee is such a refreshing thing. Indie screening spaces make CC feel all sunny inside and there's something even more wonderful about them in the sticks. That's real cinecultists at work, fighting the good fight, making 1950s anti-atomic war monster movies available for their community. As we walked out, another guy, perhaps the owner, asked each viewer if they enjoyed the show in the most boisterous voice. Asking CC how we'd heard about the movie, we said we'd were in from out of town and was looking for a movie. "Wow, the marquee hard at work!" He exclaimed, delighted we'd stopped by.

alphaville.JPG Across Central Avenue from the Guild sits the Alphaville Video, an indie video store Cinecultist browsed in while digesting the chicken salad from the Flying Star Cafe before the movie started. Going into indie video stores as good as the Alphaville makes CC think we should get into this racket, if only to sit around watching good movies all afternoon for pay. A real collector's selection with an amazing array of foreign language and Gay & Lesbian films, Alphaville also seems to be hard at work bringing le cinema to ABQ. The clerk behind the counter had on Werner Hertzog's My Best Fiend. Is that too deliciously geeky for words, or what? We were actually sorry we couldn't sign up for a membership right then and there, as CC saw quite a few things we thought we might borrow.

All in all, it was a lovely, relaxing day. It may seem a bit odd to fly thousands of miles to do the very thing we might do if we were at home with a day off (lunch, shop browsing, movie, coffee) but we feel that there's hope for the hinterlands if Cinecultist can do this so easily outside of the Eee Vee. We're a snob, if you hadn't noticed, and though we made it a priority to try New Mexico's green and red chile while there, Cinecultist still needs to go to the movies while on vacation.

By the by, Film Forum is doing a Gaud-zee-ya series, "They Came From Toho: Godzilla and the Kaiju Eiga" right now, running through September 9. Gawd, it's so self-indulgent but here's more pictures from the trip.

Posted by karen at September 1, 2004 9:21 PM