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UNM student takes on American Ninja Warrior challenge

  University of New Mexico student Cassie Dierks will be competing for the third time through the American Ninja Warrior challenge course. Dierks previously competed in 2020 on season 12 and in 2021 on season 13. The course features intricate obstacles, including the infamous warp wall, which contestants must make their way through in an attempt to be first through the first of four courses to win the cash grand prize. In both of her past runs, Dierks has wiped out on the second obstacles, called “Lunatic Ledges” and “Overpass.” Going into her third competition, she has adopted a specific training policy to prevent repeating the same mistakes. 

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REVIEW: Pixar's 'Turning Red' is a colorful exploration of family dynamics

  While I was thrilled that Pixar finally returned to making movies with more than one word in the title, I didn’t have much hope for “Turning Red” originally. After all, it’s hard to compete with the classics of the aughts. Despite this, I realized that the film actually leans into the viewer’s nostalgia to soothe the older viewer and draw them into the plot. I immediately enjoyed the setting, color scheme and animation of the movie. The protagonist, spunky Chinese Canadian Mei Lee, isn’t that awkward blend of hyperrealistic and cartoonish character design seen in films like “Encanto” and “Frozen.” 

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ABQ Backyard Refuge program sows homes for wildlife

  When one thinks of a city, wildlife is likely to be the last thing in the mind’s image. But the Albuquerque Backyard Refuge program aims to change that by increasing the presence of wildlife in the city by empowering residents to create sanctuaries for the living creatures who are native to the land.  Through the program, citizens transform their patios, balconies and lawns into diverse environments teeming with life. Residents whose yards meet the standards of the program can apply to certify their spaces as a backyard refuge. “The goal is to create a mosaic of habitats across the city,” said Laurel Ladwig, the program’s director and a graduate from UNM with a master’s in geography.

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REVIEW: 2022 presents a weak slate of Oscar-nominated animated shorts

  The nominees for the 2022 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film showcase a weaker set of nominees than years previous. None of the shorts pushed the boundaries of animation particularly far with most being light on any kind of emotional substance. “Boxballet,” directed by Anton Dyakov “Boxballet” is a brilliant little short out of Russia and easily my favorite of the nominees. We follow a boxer, Evgeny, and a ballerina, Olya, after their initial meeting as they get to know each other and try to decide whether anything romantic might happen between them. Through a familiar story, “Boxballet” utilizes no dialogue, with the entire story being told through the animation and its visuals, culminating in a truly riveting experience.

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Artist welcomed to UNM faculty, Albuquerque

  Delaney Moghanian is a filmmaker and musician who was brought on as a multimedia development specialist with the University of New Mexico’s Adobe Creative Campus. Moganian recently moved to Albuquerque from Los Angeles with her husband, Trevor Marcotte, to expand their production company, New Angeles Productions, and explore a different industry space. Following more than a decade of working mostly on others’ productions, Moghanian wanted to take a step toward independence in Albuquerque. “I’ve kind of been through the gamut in the industry,” Moghanian said. “My husband and I, we own our own production company so we do freelance work … The industry has been burgeoning here and there are lots of opportunities for filmmakers and creators.”

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UNM English professor awarded 2022 Medieval Academy of America Article Prize

  University of New Mexico professor of English Nahir Otaño Gracia was presented with the 2022 Medieval Academy of America Article Prize in Critical Race Studies for her article “Towards a decentered Global North Atlantic: Blackness in Saga af Tristram ok Ísodd” on March 12 during the 97th Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America at the University of Virginia. Having initially been ostracized for her choice to study medievalism, Otaño Gracia was excited, albeit somewhat surprised, to receive the award. “When I started doing this work I was often told it wasn’t a real thing … or I wasn’t taken seriously … I was told, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be here; maybe you shouldn’t be doing this work.’” 

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REVIEW: ‘After Yang’ is far from robotic

  This review contains spoilers Following his quiet and subtly beautiful debut “Columbus” in 2017, expectations for writer and director Kogonada’s next project were extremely high. But going from a subdued romance set in a small Midwestern town to a sci-fi drama about a family’s robot breaking down would be a daunting task for any director. Luckily, Kogonada deftly handles this weighty task in “After Yang,” while retaining the detail and quiet beauty that made his directorial debut so appealing. “After Yang” premiered on Showtime on March 4 as a part of Showtime and A24’s streaming partnership. 


Catopia Cat Café searches for fur-ever homes for cats

  Nearly 700 cats have found their homes in the span of three years through Catopia Cat Café, a space that houses cats that are up for adoption in a cozy café environment. Around 20 cats roam the café at a time, laying on cat towers or meowing for customers’ attention. Customers can pay about $10 to get in for an hour and can also purchase food or drinks and relax on a couch or study at a table. All of the proceeds made in the shop go directly back to the cats.

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OPINION: Oscar-nominated live-action shorts center trauma and loss

  This review contains spoilers for “Ala Kachuu - Take and Run,” “The Long Goodbye,” “The Dress,” “Please Hold,” and “On My Mind” This year’s nominees for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film all center around the human response to trauma and the isolation that can often follow.  If you want some unspoiled recommendations, I’d say “Ala Kachuu - Take and Run” is brilliant, “The Long Goodbye” is quite good, “The Dress” would’ve been amazing were it not for one fatal mistak eand “Please Hold” and “On My Mind” are solid. If I had to pick my preference to win, I’d go with “Ala Kachuu - Take and Run.”


REVIEW: ‘Fresh’ delivers a delicious but ultimately stale take on horror

This review contains spoilers If you’re squeamish, beware. Hulu’s latest original movie “Fresh,” the feature-length directorial debut from Mimi Cave, tries to shock and disturb with its subject matter, cannibalism, but in the end, it failed to surprise me or subvert many of my expectations. The film does feature a fantastic performance from Jonica T. Gibbs as Mollie, which makes the film entirely worth a watch. “Fresh” hinges on the idea of miraculously finding a good guy in a tidepool of gross, asshole hipster fish that live in the ocean of dating apps. Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Noa, whose chance encounter with the suspiciously funny and handsome Steve, in a great performance from Sebstian Stan, leads to a spontaneous getaway that neither are sure to forget.

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UNM photo student Anna Rotty draws from environment, memory

With the sun beaming overhead, the wind blowing a gentle breeze through her hair, Anna Rotty can often be found on walks, getting inspiration from the environment and memories. This student is deeply immersed in her first year pursuing a Master of Fine Arts with a focus in photography at the University of New Mexico. “I feel like the most myself when I’m making art and interacting with the world in that way, kind of paying attention and slowing down and observing and then creating something new,” Rotty said. Rotty is usually working on several projects, often series, over a period of time, playing with ideas of memory and nostalgia. 

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‘Beyond Van Gogh’ comes to Albuquerque

  The traveling art exhibit “Beyond Van Gogh,” which opened on Wednesday, March 2, invites visitors to explore the paintings of renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh through a series of immersive video projections and audio recordings. The exhibit, located in the Sawmill District near Old Town, consists of room-filling projections of Van Gogh’s paintings with digitally added movement and motion. The exhibit showcases over 300 of Van Gogh’s paintings, according to the “Beyond Van Gogh” website. “Beyond Van Gogh” opens with background information on Van Gogh and his life, focusing much of its information on Van Gogh’s correspondences with his brother, Theo. The information is projected while Van Gogh’s paintings sit behind the text.


UNM art professor Ellen Babcock explores traditional, nontraditional practices

  With a variety of skills under her belt, both traditional and nontraditional, University of New Mexico associate art professor Ellen Babcock excels in the art world knowing she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “If you’re an artist, you don’t really want to be doing anything else. It’s its own satisfaction,” Babcock said. Babcock is experienced in both painting and sculpture but has been more concentrated on painting in the last five years. She said painting is a faster process and isn’t dependent on physics like sculpting is.


REVIEW: ‘It's What I Do’ showcases life through lens of conflict photojournalist

  Pulitzer prize-winning conflict photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir “It’s What I Do: A Photojournalist’s Life of Love and War” is about more than just photojournalism. In a novel-like fashion, Addario weaves a complex tale of love, pain and exploration as she recounts her life, from the early years of her career in Latin America to her evocative documentation of women in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Addario begins her memoir discussing her home life, and while it initially seems irrelevant in the overall theme of intense, adrenaline-filled conflict photojournalism, the chapter serves as a bedrock to fully understand Addario’s roots and values that drove her to pursue such a career. 

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Digital vs. film photography: Two UNM professors’ perspectives

  As a painter considers what paints they need to execute their latest idea, a photographer must ask themselves what medium they will choose to bring their photograph to life. Typically, this comes down to two options: digital or film? When digital cameras first came into the consumer scene in the 1980s, professional and casual photographers alike were hesitant to make the transition due to poor image quality, according to a CNET article that tracks the history of the digital camera. It wasn’t until the development of digital single-lens reflex cameras and the invention of cell phone photography that digital became the main photographic medium.

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Artists flourish at ABQ Artwalk, in local practices

The first Friday of every month, artists take over downtown Albuquerque with their locally made art while live music drifts through the streets and tasty smells from food trucks waft through the air. The most recent ABQ Artwalk was held on March 4 and many local artists attended to show off what they have created over the years. Bearface, a local artist, has “been part of Artwalk since day one,” which was in 2017. He has been practicing art since he was a teenager and is currently passionate about creating abstract art. He wants everyone to try their hand at art.


REVIEW: ‘The Batman’ is a long, dark success

  Prior to its release, “The Batman” seemed destined to be another attempt from DC Comics to distinguish themselves from Marvel. From the casting of Robert Pattinson as the titular crimefighter to director and co-writer Matt Reeves’ dark vision for Gotham, “The Batman” seemed to be further demonstration that DC is seemingly more focused on telling individual, more creatively risky stories rather than establishing grand multiverses. This time around, it still works mostly in their favor. Generally speaking, the film doesn’t deviate much from what we’ve come to expect a “Batman” movie to contain: some sort of villain with a grand plan to expose a larger evil within Gotham. Oh, and Batman is in the middle of all of it. 

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UNM students strike gold with original sitcom pilot ‘Jackpot!’

  On March 2, the University of New Mexico’s sitcom boot camp class held a live table reading of the pilot episode of their original sitcom “Jackpot!” at the Colloquium auditorium. “Jackpot!” is about slick swindler Cesar who forms an unlikely partnership with a childish tech genius Hershel as they delve into the world of cryptocurrency in an effort to get rich quickly. It was received with hearty laughter from those in attendance. The distinct contrast between the two main characters is integral to creating enough conflict for a successful sitcom, according to writer Alice Marshall. 

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5 and Why: 5 ways to honor Women’s History Month

  With March comes Women’s History Month, and University of New Mexico senior studio art student Taylor Wachs is excited to celebrate. She shared five ways to honor women for Daily Lobo readers. Represent women artistically Wachs believes art is a great way to represent people, problems and solutions. She is taking part in a large photographic mural for Women’s History Month and said it’s a great means for representation and appreciation. This, Wachs said, is a kind of project she’d like to see more of. “We’re designing a whole wall in the art building … a whole public art program,” Wachs said. “Doing something like that is always good.”


Kirsten Buick ready to take helm as director of Africana Studies

  Intensely passionate about mentoring students, Kirsten Pai Buick is ready to lead Africana Studies as director at the University of New Mexico. Africana Studies, which was voted to move to department status by the Faculty Senate last week, will teach undergraduate students and, eventually, graduate students. “The history of African Diaspora people in this country is fascinating, and it’s a story that can’t be contained to one discipline, and so the multidisciplinary nature of Africana Studies means that we also have our eyes trained on political science and sociology and art and theater and dance and English … Just any place on this campus that you could point to, African Diaspora people are there,” Buick said.

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