Monday, June 20, 2005


A buddy of mine was in town visiting this past week. I’ve known Greg seemingly forever, since even prior to playing in little league together. The goal was to entertain this guy, yet make sure he absorbed the general laid-back “feel” of the southwest that I enjoy almost as much as I do the sunshine.

Unfortunately, the Isotopes were on the road, so he had to settle for a tour of Isotopes Park. Of course, one of the beautiful things about baseball is that the stadiums themselves are often so interesting that a true fan can be entertained without the sights, sounds, and smells of an actual ballgame.

We also did a considerable amount of touring about both on foot and in my truck as I wanted Greg to see that various sections of Albuquerque.

Meals were consumed at fine downtown locations including Nick’s Crossroads Deli and Pearl’s Dive. One day we were treated to a FREE lunch at Boston’s Gourmet Pizza and a 20-mile-long stretch limo ride courtesy of KRST 92.3 FM after my wife won their weekly contest.

This photo depicts Levi, one of the three wacky on-air personalities who comprise the “Get Up Gang.” The other two hosts, Kristina and Dawson, were much better at keeping at a safe distance from my camera than was Levi. In addition to the free food and the luxury ride, they gave us a stack of FREE cds and a fistful of jokes to do with as we please.

While watching a high-speed chase in California on one of the restaurant televisions, I overheard that a movie starring Jennifer (Lopez) and Antonia Banderas was being filmed in Albuquerque. I made note to try to find one of the filming locations later that afternoon, as that would most certainly impress my pal.

As it turned out, it was surprisingly easy to find a set. While walking about downtown, we crossed through the plaza and I noticed that a corner window of McGrath’s Bar and Grill in the Hyatt was being converted into a discount electronics store. That certainly didn’t seem right, so I guessed that it was probably going to be a location for a scene to be shot in the near future. We continued walking through the 4th Street Plaza and soon stumbled onto some freshly painted fake graffiti, a horribly out of place newsstand and another “going out of business” electronics store. I knew without question that this would be the location of a movie scene, and shoved my buddy into one of the adjacent bars with an outdoor patio so we could watch as things developed.

We discussed the movies I’d worked as an extra on as time passed, and watched as members of the Downtown Action Team cleared the majority of the homeless from the immediate area. Our waitress confirmed that they would indeed be shooting a scene for the film Bordertown at that location. We watched as a good number of extras arrived and wondered about until they were corralled into a nearby staging area. A light breeze helped cool the plaza as a local band played covers of Santana tunes on a low stage in front of one of the other taverns. It was as nice of a day as one could hope for. The filming began after about 5 or 6 beers, and it was only then that we realized that the scene was only extras walking through a busy city street, and that we would not see any stars.

The fact that no stars were present didn’t stop one of the staff from telling me I couldn’t take any (more) photos of their set. As IF!

The highlight of the afternoon was watching a homeless man steal a clipboard from four women who were promoting BMW. Not long after he stole the clipboard, the women confronted him. Just when I thought that things might get ugly, one of the women asked, “What if we stole your cane?” At that point, I wasn’t exactly sure whom I felt sorry for. All things ended on a positive note though after the man chased them down and returned the clipboard, and they gave him a BMW t-shirt. It makes sense to me that a homeless person is better off with a new t-shirt than a used clipboard anyway.

This photo depicts Factory on 5th owner Jerry Miller filling out an information card in exchange for a free t-shirt. While one of the women eyes me with suspicion, her partner nervously scans the crowd for the homeless man who had snagged their clipboard.

Greg and I also made a day trip out along the Turquoise Trail, including quick tours of Golden, Madrid and Cerrillos. It goes without saying that we enjoyed cheeseburgers at the Mine Shaft Tavern. With bellies full, we conducted a lightning stop tour of the various pueblos along the remnants of the pre-1937 alignment of Route 66.

As with most visitors, Greg’s trip to the Land of Enchantment ended with a short drive to the Albuquerque Sunport and a swift kick in the pants. Thanks for taking the time to come out buddy! It was great seeing you.

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