John Steady. (Annette Baca/

Lyrically complex John Steady sings for the passion

EL PASO – John Steady stretches the title musician to new limits by ignoring musical genre borders and playing multiple instruments while still remaining a Hip Hop lyricist artist at heart. At age 16 El Paso’s Steady began compiling verses in his school notebooks. He still keeps all the old notebooks in a box. Although he admits he’s come a long way from those initial rhymes, he still recognizes his attachment to them. He looks back to what he wrote in his youth and can see how much he has progressed since then, now 10 years later.

Centro de Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos at Oregon St. and 9th St. (Annette Baca/

Puro Borde murals show the colors of hope in the border cities

EL PASO – Local artists from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez have joined together in a network that spans the border, dedicated to painting the streets of both cities with hopeful art to refocus the minds of many who see this area as a war zone. The network known as Puro Borde, consists of more than two dozen artists from the El Paso-Juarez area who help each other exhibit their murals, turning their cities into more colorful communities. They also place their work in local galleries. Self-described “border artist” Arón Venegas, is a member of Puro Borde in El Paso who believes that art communicates with power. Venegas, a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, has worked on a variety of murals with Puro Borde and has exhibited his work in both Mexico and the U.S.

As for creating a sense of pride in a community through public art, Venegas suggests that a single mural cannot have the power that many with the same objective can.

There are many stereotypes about vegans and vegetarians. (Annette Baca/

I’m a vegetarian, not a stereotype – people should eat and let eat

EL PASO – The last day I ate meat, I pulled away from my cheeseburger and found myself staring at the grayish beef patty – ground up carcass. How long had it been dead before being cooked, I wondered. I put it down after that one bite and knew I couldn’t force myself to eat something that had repulsed me that quickly. About a week earlier my sister had taken me to listen to a lecture on animal rights given by the animal rights activist and educator, Gary Yourofsky. He spoke about health myths concerning being vegan and vegetarian.

Mexicans at Night duo playing at M's Lips Lounge in downtown El Paso. (Annette Baca/

Mexicans at Night – The soul of the borderland is an indelible note in their musical scale

EL PASO – Steel walls cut and scar the border, while robotic eyes search for movement like predators for prey and border agents patrol the line in choreographed patterns raising clouds of dust, but none of this can keep out the music. This fixed fence prevents illegal migration and keeps America less subject to foreign influence, but it cannot stop a constant transfusion of Mexican culture from becoming ingrained in the U.S. lifestyle, especially in the borderland. “If we’re from El Paso, we often have U.S.-American tastes…but we also have the Mexican culture in the background somewhere. And I think people from Juarez and elsewhere have the same thing,” said Roberto Avant-Mier, a professor of Communication at the University of Texas at El Paso. He added that the people in the border have two languages, two cultures, several identities, and numerous musical influences, which according to him can come from at least two orientations.