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REVIEW: ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ never quite finds its rhythm

Cooper Raiff announced a strong presence in the indie film scene in 2020 with his breakout debut “Shithouse.” Made on a mere $15,000 budget, it was enough to garner the attention of one Dakota Johnson, who produced and stars in Raiff’s latest outing, “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” for which Raiff won not only an Audience Award out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but also a $15 million distribution deal with Apple TV+. The film may not be enough to get everyone to clap their hands like its title-inspiring song, but it might be enough to get you to bob your head with the beat.

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5 and Why: 5 suggestions for restful summer activities

The middle of summer can be a nerve-wracking time for students. With half of break near gone and the next semester fast approaching, it can often feel as though we’ve wasted our free time and not done all that we’d planned. However, summer is also a time of rest and relaxation to recharge for the coming semester: the only time in a year where students have the opportunity to be alright with not accomplishing anything. Incoming University of New Mexico senior Alli Arend offered us five activities she uses to relax over the summer.


Albuquerque celebrates Juneteenth

The city of Albuquerque celebrated Juneteenth this weekend in Civic Plaza with numerous speakers, musicians, community leaders and artists. Leading the organization of this event was Nichole Rodgers, the city of Albuquerque’s African American community and business liaison with the Office of Equity and Inclusion. City Council member Klarissa Peña helped introduce the festivities with a proclamation regarding the city’s celebration of Juneteenth and the need for continual support of the Black community.

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‘Neptune Frost’ strikes a ‘unanimous gold mine’

Released in the United States June 3, 2022, the Afrofuturist musical “Neptune Frost” is a singular delight, jam-packed with strong political motion, fantastical design elements and powerful, moving music; it is truly unlike anything I have ever watched before. The directorial debut of prolific musician and actor Saul Williams, co-directed by Anisia Uzeyman, “Neptune Frost” follows the interconnected stories of Neptune (Cherly Isheja and Elvis Ngabo) and Matalusa (Bertrand Ninteretse), a pair living under a dystopian totalitarian government known as the Authority whose tales intertwine when their meeting sets into motion an otherworldly technological force.

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18-plus comedy club set to open in downtown Albuquerque

On Thursday, June 23, the Albuquerque comedy scene is set to grow richer with the opening of Dry Heat Comedy Club, a new club owned by comedian and former University of New Mexico student Sarah Kennedy and horror writer Kelli Trapnell. Kennedy and Trapnell, married, decided to rent and open the club together earlier this year, inspired by similar performer-owned spaces in Denver. Prior to this, Kennedy hosted a podcast titled “Comedy Ghost Town” in which she explored the reasons Albuquerque did not have a comedy club — when she started, she had no idea this was where her journey would end up.

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Local community center provides safe haven for queer youth

Just over a year after opening its doors, the New Mexico Black Cat Cultural & Community Center is paving paths for community members to find their passion for performance in an LGBTQ-friendly sober space. Partnering with a battery of other local nonprofits in the Albuquerque area, New Mexico Black Cat is working to provide a comprehensive curriculum in the arts to all.

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‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ is a landmark of sapphic cinema

Released in 2019, Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire'' made waves during awards season, quickly achieving superstar status among crowds of cinephiles. With all of the hype that surrounded the film, it can be easy to forget just why the film has made a name as a queer cinematic classic. For the uninitiated, the film follows an artist, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), commissioned for a particularly difficult wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), who is set to marry a Milanese nobleman she has never met. Prior to the movie, Héloïse had already exhausted one painter  by refusing to pose, so Marianne must paint her in secret; romance ensues.

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Sistine Chapel exhibition comes to Albuquerque

The renaissance arrived in full force in Albuquerque last Friday, June 10 with the opening of “Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” at Expo New Mexico’s Creative Arts Center. The exhibit, produced by SEE Global Entertainment Inc., brings life-sized replicas of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes to New Mexico. Since its inception, the exhibit has opened in 53 cities across the world. The goal of the exhibit is to allow those who may not be able to afford a trip to Rome the opportunity to connect with some of Michelangelo’s most iconic works, according to exhibit producer Tobias Lerman Matonte.

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Albuquerque children talk summer fun

With the arrival of summer and the ushering in of warmer weather also brings about summer vacation for most students at the University of New Mexico. This summer, consider taking a page from the books of these children; take joy in the time that you have in this broad community with the people that you love.

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Albuquerque families show their pride

Before, during and after Pride Month, conversations on LGBTQ+ rights and history remain relevant in conversations amongst family units. Families walking through the Albuquerque Pride Parade and festival on Saturday, June 11, expressed the importance of advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, especially with their children, to ensure that they feel accepted at home. One Albuquerque parent, Celerah Hewes, brought her young daughter, Evie Rutledge, to Pride to celebrate the community and show her support for the community and current politicians who support LGBTQ+ rights.

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UNM filmmaker takes New Mexico by storm

Maliaq Kairaiuak is now entering her senior year at the University of New Mexico, having spent the last four years exploring the local film industry. In this time, she has worked a variety of roles on a handful of sets, even creating her own documentary last summer, titled “STEM’d From Our Ancestors,” which is currently making its way through the film festival circuit. Despite her great successes in the New Mexico documentary scene, Kairaiuak only recently took up an interest in film. Having had a career running cannabis corporations in Alaska, leaping to a new state to pursue a new career has been hard but good work, according to Kairaiuak.

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REVIEW: ‘Crimes of the Future’ is quintessential, classic Cronenberg

“Surgery is the new sex,” says Kristen Stewart in the trailer for legendary body horror maestro David Crononberg’s latest film, “Crimes of the Future.” This line could easily be shoehorned into a number of Cronenberg’s films given his obsession with the intersection of technology and human desire. This doesn’t mean “Crimes” is simply a rehashing of old ideas, though — more accurately, the film sees Cronenberg doing what he does best surrounded by a cast and crew doing what they do best, too.

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REVIEW: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ spectacularly soars above the competition

The list of legacy sequels that outperform the quality and craft of their original movies welcomed a new member memorial day weekend with Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick” releasing in theaters across the world. With a careful story focusing primarily on character and relationships rather than franchise and easter eggs, Kosinski and screenwriters Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christpher McQuarrie created a film that builds on and lifts the original to greater heights.

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PLAYLIST: Back to school slay-list

We’ve all been going through changes lately, but the transition to university can be a particularly frightening and singular challenge for many. Luckily for you, the struggle of change is a topic often obsessed over by many great artists. Editors from the Daily Lobo have come together to make a playlist to get you through both foul and fair weather as you move into your first year of college.

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5 and Why: 5 mental health tips for new students

With the end of the spring semester comes the end of our first year back to in-person classes after the COVID-19 pandemic. In anticipation of this upcoming fall semester, the University of New Mexico’s psychology department advisors came together to give us five tips to survive another post-pandemic year.

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Ask the Editors: First-year advice

Heading into college, you’ve probably received countless bits of advice ranging from high school teachers advising you on behavior that college professors won’t tolerate to your parents or other adults encouraging you to take advantage of your youth and make the most of the college experience. Through all the noise, it’s hard to decipher what’s helpful from what’s not. Here, three Daily Lobo editors have compiled their best advice, student-to-student, for those just starting out at the University of New Mexico.

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OPINION: Top 5 coffee shops near campus

With a fresh batch of incoming freshmen making their way through Albuquerque for the first time, I’m certain one burning question remains on their mind: what is the best coffee place in town? In no particular order, here are five fairly walkable coffee spots near campus worth the visit.

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UNM graduate to join New Mexico State Ethics Commission

  After four years at the University of New Mexico studying international studies and political science, is anxiously awaiting her May 14 graduation. Musa’s mark on the University, specifically regarding the securing of financial assistance for New Mexico residents, will not be forgotten as she moves forward with a career in political media. Musa is already set to work as the communications manager for the New Mexico State Ethics Commission for a year following her graduation, and afterwards she hopes to continue her studies in political media with a master’s degree either at UNM or elsewhere.

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OPINION: Why I don’t want to get an MFA in creative writing

  In a letter to a friend written at the peak of Virgo season, Anton Chekhov wrote: “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress.” Wikipedia touts that he is “considered one of the greatest writers of all time,” Russian or otherwise. But he was never a student of the arts; he spent his days watching human beings fall apart and doing what he could to reverse the human condition, something that is temporary, painful, and disgusting to look at. I graduate this week and people are very curious about what I’m going to do with my dual degree in English and Russian. Most people assume graduate school is the immediate next step, but studying what, they ask? 

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UNM grad helps writers and refugees

  Hot off the release of the 2022 edition of “Limina: Nonfiction Review,” former editor-in-chief and University of New Mexico graduate Indica Simpson has been busy celebrating her hard work and looking forward to her post-graduation plans. Simpson, graduating with a bachelor's degree in international studies and a double minor in Arabic and peace and justice studies, left her home town of Fallon, Nevada with her heart set on studying medicine at UNM. After her first year, though, Simpson realized that this wasn’t the field for her.

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