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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Albuquerque Journal - "Here's a Q-Tip for you: ¡Viva Burque!"

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Here's a Q Tip for You: ¡Viva Burque!

By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer
The city of Albuquerque's official nickname — The Q — has been a thorn in the side of a growing revolution of city dwellers since it was rolled out a little more than a year and a half ago.
The revolution has been led by the anonymous subject of today's column. The Q drives him mad. Not because he's got any particular beef with the 17th letter of the alphabet, but because of what it represents: "We as citizens were never asked what we wanted to call ourselves," he says. "It was brought upon us. I think it's strange, this whole idea of branding a city."
Since Mayor Martin Chávez's desire to come up with a city brand resulted in the official Q logo, billboards have advertised Albuquerque as The Q; the mayor's radio show is called "The Q Hour;" local shopping cards are Q Cards; the annual Downtown music fest was named the "QJam;" and the new bicycle borrowing program is being named Q Bike.
The mayor is a happy early adopter of the Q. "I just like the heck out of it," he said when the logo was rolled out.
Outside of official channels, The Q isn't exactly spreading like the flu. Ever heard anyone say, "I'm spending the weekend in The Q"? Or, "I just moved to The Q and I'm lovin' it"?
Ever heard anyone outside official channels use The Q in any context, ever?
Spending about 30 seconds on Google reveals what we all suspected: The Q did not spring from the loins of originality.
The Q is an arena in Cleveland (still time to get Monster Jam tickets!); a gay dance bar in Lincoln, Neb.; a hard rock radio station in El Paso (and a host of radio stations elsewhere); the subway train that goes to Coney Island in Brooklyn; and the nickname of Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass.
(It is also the odd devotion of a librarian at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, who has a trippy Web page devoted to "facts and fancies concerning the seventeenth letter of the alphabet.")
So back to our anonymous hero, who fought back and launched the Burque movement. With a Web site and T-shirts and bumper stickers for sale — and a You Tube video showing how to make your own Soy de Burque shirt — he has reclaimed some control over what he wants his native city to be called.
He opts for Burque because that is how he grew up shortening Albuquerque. While his shirts have shown up in shops and on chests around town, he has remained unnamed through it all, opting for Burque to get all of the attention.
"I'm just a guy on the street. I'm just another regular old citizen," he says. "It's not about me and I don't want it to be about me."
The Burque movement has spurred quite a little nickname war — one that Burque is winning on the streets.
Or was winning.
Then came the dark day late last year when the city's new blue curb side recycling bins were delivered. It's hard to do battle with a city-funded blue army.
"I was driving down the street and everybody had their canisters out and I just saw Qs everywhere," he says. "I thought, 'What can I do? It's this thing that's just being pushed on us.' "
What happened next will help explain why Mr. Burque likes to remain anonymous.
"I stared at it for a little while. Then I got some vinyl and cut out some stencils and went out and put my own little mark on it."
And the official Q became BurQue. Seditious or delicious, depending on your point of view.
The Duke of Burque is excited about the possibilities for all those Q's as Albuquerqueans receive their recycling bins. He points out that those without stenciling skills can use a "Soy de Burque" sticker to amend their Q.
"I think people can go crazy with it," he said. And then added judiciously, "I'm sure it's city property, so I'm not encouraging anybody to do anything with them."
He's also not pushing Burque — that would be as bad as what the city is doing.
"You can call it Albuquerque. You can call it ABQ or Duke City. You can call it The Q. You can call it Burque," he says. "It's about where do we live? Who are we? Shouldn't we have a voice in this?"
If you've never had any trouble spitting out "Albuquerque," all four pesky syllables and two Q's, feel free to continue. If you want to be the first in the city to actually say you're "from The Q," well, good luck. If you're thinking of joining the Burque Brigade, please, some words of advice. Practice rolling your r's. And, remember, Burque does not rhyme with turkey.
You can reach Leslie at 823-3914 or Read all of her columns at Copyright Albuquerque Journal.

For more information regarding Soy de Burque, visit


leslie said...

i am absolutely FUMING. and because of this, i almost caused an accident today. two actually because i saw TWO of these #$&^@# things. let me share:
driving northbound on coors, there is a new street sign for dellyne and ANOTHER for st. joseph's dr. with...let me compose myself...a dark blue sign with a black Q in the background...a stupid, idiotic, blasted Q. i consider myself yo be a reasonable burqueno, but when we are facing the economic times we are facing now and a perfectly good, fully functional street sign is replaced via MY HARDWORKING MONEY with an ego booster for MY mayor, i get super pissed. not mad, not angry, flat out pissed. i get that he doesn't give a rat's whatever about our economic wellbeing, but to have it shoved down my throat like this is incredibly offensive.

holy expletive.

captain mando said...

wow. i would have to def agree with leslie on this one. i have been away from the burque for 2 years and i miss it dearly. i am def goin to purchase a shirt if they are still available to represent here in west virginia. it doesnt matter where i am in the world, it could be 20 years from now, and i run into a fellow burqueno, and when we refer to home as the burque, i wont be able to help but feel nostalgic. you cant tell me a street sign or recycling can are going to have that sort of affect..