What makes pozole so irresistible?

EL PASO — As chilly weather sets in and fall finally arrives in the borderland, so does the beloved tradition of making pozole. https://youtu.be/gx1y6wnZmkc

Elva “Raquel” Salas, 60, sells the slow-cooked red chile and hominy stew from home on weekends to earn extra money. The mother of three and grandmother of eight works full-time at a power plant, but on Sundays she sells her homemade pozole to friends, family and others who don’t have time to make their own. Salas uses a recipe from her grandmother’s kitchen. She says it’s all about the seasoning.

Canceled church bazaar season disappoints gordita fans, disrupts vital parish fundraising in El Paso

Normally around this time of year, the church kermes or bazaar season would just be wrapping up in El Paso. Every year, many Catholic churches hold huge, weekend-long fundraisers. They are a tradition in the borderland – large, carnival-like gatherings complete with live music, family games like loteria, and some of the best Mexican food you can find. Think gorditas and elotes. Churches usually do most of their fundraising for the year at these bazaars.

A symbol of perseverance in El Paso, Café Mayapán struggles during the pandemic

Since its opening in 2001, Café Mayapán is known for more than it’s traditional take on authentic Mexican food. It also serves as a center for celebrating Mexican heritage, building community and supporting economic development for working class women. But now it’s struggling to survive, due to the pandemic. “I think it would be a shame if Café Mayapán ends up closing up, because it would be a loss not only for these women, but also for the community” said Aimée Carrillo, a longtime customer. The cafe at 2000 Texas is one of three enterprises run by La Mujer Obrera, an organization dedicated to helping marginalized women.

5 books featuring La Frontera to read during the pandemic

One thing that the coronavirus pandemic has allowed me to do is read. I’ve been able to connect with many stories, characters and settings through the turning of pages. But no matter how connected I can feel to any story, it is deeper with those that feature my homeland on the U.S., Mexico border.What all these books have in common is an understanding of what it is to be somewhere in between two countries – sometimes lost, sometimes more aware than ever. From an odyssey to an identity crisis, from an individual struggle to political battles, these books situate us in the middle of La Frontera and help us understand our history while informing our present.In times of COVID-19, what better way to pass our days than getting to know ourselves and our heritage?1. The Line Becomes a River by Francisco CantúThis book is a memoir from a third generation Mexican-American who is a former Border Patrol agent from Arizona.

Some ways El Pasoans are keeping each others’ spirits up during coronavirus distancing

When El Paso was placed under stay-at-home orders in March, many residents may have felt overwhelmed. But there are signs that the community is trying to stay positive during this pandemic. Here’s a sample of some of what is being shared on social media. Neighborhood notes

To help fight loneliness during while everyone is stuck at home, some residents are doing little things to help keep people’s hopes up. Twitter user @Jara_Films hung piñatas on the West Side that carry messages encouraging anyone walking or driving by to stay strong.

Retirees cultivate Jardin de Milagros to get fresh, healthy vegetables to El Paso food pantries

When Jerry Hobson retired in 2010, he and his wife, Susan, got to work on a plan to turn some old family farmland into a garden of fresh produce for people in need. “We were here with land, water, time, and some nickels and dimes and it was like someone was saying: ‘You kind of have it pretty good, maybe it’s time to share that and give back,’ ” said Jerry Hobson, 74, who retired after a career as a chemical engineer with El Paso’s Chevron Refinery and El Paso Natural Gas. The farm, located south of La Union, NM, near Canutillo, Texas, has been part of his family for a hundred years. Over time it was divided among Hobson’s family members. The three acres that belong to Jerry and Susan Hobson is now known as Jardin de Milagros and provides truckloads of fresh vegetables to area food pantries.

Desert drivers come to their own rescue in El Paso’s off-road community

The sounds of off-road vehicles grinding through the desert in east El Paso County are mostly just a memory now. The sprawling dunes area known as Red Sands is closed and Sheriff’s patrols are turning off-road enthusiasts away to limit the potential for public contact over coronavirus concerns. But, before the closure, the sounds of 4x4s filled Red Sands day and night as groups of vehicles roamed the rugged terrain, climbing over dunes and sometimes getting stuck in the soft sands. That’s when the Texas Rescue Patrol might come to the rescue. The Texas Rescue Patrol is a group of volunteers who are part of the off-roading community who respond to calls for help and try to do whatever they can for stranded vehicles or accident cases, especially in the hard-to-reach areas of the desert.

Book Review: Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall, by Daniel Chacón

 

By Lucrecia Guerrero

Kafka in a Skirt, Daniel Chacon’s most recent collection of short stories, opens with a bang that lights up a corner of the existential darkness, but only enough to make us wonder if indeed there is nothing, nada. “In the Closet,” one of the numerous flash fiction pieces in the book, gives us an adolescent protagonist who has been ordered by his mother to clean that “chingadera” out of his closet. He tells the reader that even though he got down on his knees to search his closet, he “didn’t know what [he] was looking for, but [he] somehow knew [he] would spend the rest of [his] life looking for it.”

I read somewhere that it’s often said that readers read to gain insight into others but that, in fact, readers read to gain insight into themselves. I suspect there is considerable truth to that. Have not many readers, at some time in their lives, feared that they will spend, or have already spent, most of their lives looking for an elusive and indefinable something?

Kiki’s – How a little neighborhood restaurant grew to be a community tradition

El Paso is a city packed with mom-and-pop Mexican restaurants – humble spots tucked in amid neighborhood shops that many non-locals might not even notice as they drive by. Places, like Kiki’s at 2719 N. Piedras. It is off the beaten path, but after more than 40 years, this Central El Paso eatery has grown into a local institution that attracts fans from across the city. Kiki’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar was established by Paula Yardeni in 1976. The name Kiki’s comes from Yardeni’s daughter who was just a toddler at the time.

The man behind the school: Vietnam vet known for advocating for disabled in El Paso

It was the end of the Vietnam War and many soldiers were on their way back home. Many were coming back with the after effects of war – PTSD, depression and physical disabilities – to a country that didn’t yet understand how to address such things. Spec. Rafael Hernando III said he was advised not to wear his uniform as he returned home to El Paso, but he refused to do so. He thought about how much it meant for him to serve, and the price he paid for it with the loss of his legs from a landmine.

How El Paso’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes to life

Twenty volunteers have been working in a Central El Paso warehouse since May to get floats ready the Sun Bowl Association’s 83rd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade is one of the organization’s premiere events to promote the Tony the Tiger Sunbowl football game Dec. 31. This year the holiday event theme is Bobble Heads on Parade. The Sun Bowl Association welcomes Hyundai of El Paso as the new sponsor.

Gloria Osuna Pérez honored with exhibit reminding us of her artistic legacy in El Paso

Gloria Osuna Pérez spent less than 15 of her 52 years on earth in El Paso. But the Chicana artist continues to be celebrated as a local treasure decades after her passing. Marking the twentieth anniversary of her death from ovarian cancer, the El Paso Museum of Art is featuring “Beyond Portaits,” an exhibition in honor of her work and iconic style. Osuna Pérez was born in Madera, California in 1947. As the child of migrant farm workers she worked the fields picking fruit and witnessed the rise of the Mexican-American civil rights movement.

SoldierCon: Comic books and cosplay for the troops

FORT BLISS, Texas – Sgt. Joshua Rodriguez dresses up in his Texas National Guard uniform every day but at the recent SoldierCon, he dressed up as an Umbrella Corporation mercenary from the Resident Evil video game series. Rodriguez has served in the guard for six years as a transportation operator and this is the first year he attended SoldierCon – a convention that invited plenty of cosplay, where comic book super hero fans dressed up as their favorite character. “It has given me a new outlet to explore my cosplay. It’s amazing to see the creativity,” Rodriguez said.

Momentum grows for Border Tuner public art project linking El Paso, Juárez

Border Tuner, a major new public artwork by internationally renowned visual artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, is set to take place in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez in November 2019. The interactive art installation will highlight the complex connections between Juárez and El Paso through a series of nightly conversations and performances that involve residents from both sides of the border and beyond.  

The project is designed to shine a light on unity between the two sister cities and the people of both the U.S. and Mexico and aims to help the border community reclaim its own narrative in the national spotlight. “Those of us who live and work here in the El Paso-Juárez border know how interlinked our two communities are and know how important we are to one another’s culture and history,” said Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center for Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso. “As the nation’s attention has turned to the border increasingly in 2019, its important that we share our story and reclaim our narrative as one border community. This project aims to highlight the many ways in which Juárez and El Paso are interconnected.”

 

What is Border Tuner?

Music Beyond Borders brings together student musicians

LAS CRUCES — The Esperanza Azteca Symphony Orchestra of Ciudad Juarez and New Mexico State University Philharmonic Orchestra came together to highlight “Music Beyond Borders” with joint concerts on both sides of the U.S., Mexico border. More than 100 student musicians performed a variety of pieces including Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Márquez’s Danzón 2, Gershwin’s Summertime conducted under the baton of teachers Simón Gollo of NMSU and Maestro Jove García of Esperanza Azteca. “This concert means a lot to me because it represents the union of these two countries and how we see each other,”said Grace Garcia, a student in Azteca Esperanza orchestra. Student musicians aged 12 to 24 years-old performed together. “Everyone is really talented I had the pleasure to play with them, I felt really comfortable and I loved all the pieces that we play,” said Ana Patricia Gonzalez, a University of Texas at El Paso student.

Mom remembers when Hollywood came for El Paso’s babies in filming ‘The Border’

Martha Romero’s favorite movie star is her son. Nicholas Romero was only six weeks old when he debuted in “The Border,” a movie filmed in El Paso in 1980 starring Jack Nicholson, Valerie Perrine and Elpidia Carillo. Nicholas was one of several infants used to play Carillo’s son. “Aw, that’s my baby,” Romero recalled saying when she saw the movie for the first time. Romero said that having her newborn in a movie was a fascinating experience.

Controversial ‘Godspell’ opens season for El Paso children’s theater group at new home, First Presbyterian Church

Kids-N-Co chose the musical Godspell as the El Paso children’s theater company’s first performance at First Presbyterian Church, the group’s new home. The play, written by Stephen Schwartz, interprets the Book of Matthew through acting, singing and dancing. “If seventeen-year-old blue-haired Jesus doesn’t float your boat, that’s okay,” said director Rachael Robbins, 22. “It doesn’t float my mom’s boat either. She might not come to see the show but that’s okay because that’s everyone’s personal interpretation and this is my interpretation and this is my cast’s interpretation.,”

The pastor of First Presbyterian Neil Locke performed in the play and encouraged Kids-N-CO to choose Godspell for the spring performance, despite concern it could be controversial.

‘Uncaged Art’ exhibit gives voice to migrant children detained in Tornillo tent city

The experiences of migrant children detained in a Texas tent city are on display at a rare exhibit of their art at UT El Paso’s Centennial Museum. Among the pieces the students created was a white Catholic church made of construction paper, popsicle sticks and yarn. Other students created dresses made of cloth with depictions of their homeland. Tornillo’s detention center, also known as the Tornillo tent city, opened June 14, 2018, and it came to symbolize the mass detention of migrant children under the Trump administration. Over the eight months of its operation.

3D printer a transformational gift for Borderland art students experimenting with new materials

A new 3D printer gifted to the UTEP Department of Art will allow art students to break boundaries in the arts to create unique sculptures, models and forms that have the potential to go beyond what they can do with their bare hands and sculpting tools. “It provides an amazing opportunity for them to think about their studio practices in a different way,” said Vincent Burke, associate professor of art who specializes in ceramics. “It brings new technologies, new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing – so it’s a tremendous opportunity for the students.”

Burke said ceramics is known to be labor intensive since most artists use their hands to mold clay. Although the 3D printer does help, it can still be challenging and time consuming as one sculpture can take from 45 minutes to three hours. “The clay has to be just the right consistency.

Art lovers unite to launch new community gallery in Five Points neighborhood

What began as casual coffee shop chats among five El Pasoans has developed into an ongoing friendship and a joint creative venture. Edward Reyes, Jacqueline Aguirre, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Humphreys, and Aryk Gardea met by being regulars at Joe Vinny and Bronsons Bohemian Cafe on Piedras Street in Central El Paso. After discovering a shared appreciation for art, they decided to work together to support their vision of a community gallery. They secured a narrow space next to the coffee shop and opened Galeria Cinco Puntos in January. Gardea, whose background is in art with a BFA in ceramics and painting from UTEP and a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in sculpture, pitched the idea of launching the gallery with an exhibit featuring the Horned Toad Prints exchange.

A look at what’s on at the 2019 Chicago Feminist Film Festival this week

Five films with a Hispanic flavor will be screened at the Chicago Feminist Film Festival, which began February 27 and runs through Friday, March 1st. The Film Row Cinema of Columbia College Chicago is hosting the fourth edition of the festival, which is free and open to the public. Three productions from Colombia, Spain and Cuba with local directors stand out, together with two productions from the United States directed by Latino filmmakers. In addition, migration, and refugees and racism are the protagonists of four other films, a feature film and three short films. Most screenings will be followed by a debate, in some cases with the presence of the directors. Migrantes y refugiados son los protagonistas de cuatro filmes que se proyectarán en la cuarta edición del Festival de Cine Feminista de Chicago.

Gaspar del Alba’s latest book belongs in the Latinx literary canon

In 1999, the Mexican poet Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz began her transformation into becoming a Chicana. The 17th century Hieronymite nun, one of Mexico’s best poets, was already dead by about three hundred years before the term Chicana came to be used, but nonetheless, with the publication of Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s ground-breaking novel, Sor Juan’s Second Dream, she became a Chicana feminist icon. Today Chicana intellectual activists know who she is and how important she is to Chicana identity and resistance. She was too brilliant to want to get married to some “hombre necio.” She wanted to develop her mind and resist convention. Gaspar de Alba’s novel may have been part of a late 20th century Zeitgeist that liberated feminine images from male historical narratives and redefined their socio-political significance, like Sandra Cisneros did for La Malinche, but it is certain that de Alba’s book influenced Chicana feminist interpretation of Sor Juana’s life.

Love Letter to Sunset Heights mural highlights border history

It took three years to bring a love letter to El Paso to life in the historical neighborhood of Sunset Heights. Pearl Properties unveiled the mural, Love Letter to Sunset Heights, during the neighborhood’s annual tour of homes last fall. The mural is painted on the side of the Pearl apartment building at 220 Yandell, which overlooks I-10. The Pearl’s owners commissioned Alejandro Lomeli as the artistic director in charge of the painting, but the project didn’t happen overnight. Lomeli, who has lived in three different Pearl buildings – including the one where the mural is now – went off to work as a steelworker in Albuquerque for a while as funding for the project was secured along with permission from the El Paso Historic Landmark Commission.

Explicit lyrics in Latino music worries some, but simply reflects popular culture experts say

The Dominican Republic recently decided to ban certain Latino music due to obscene language, sexual content, and lyrics that talk about drug trafficking and consumption. Critics in other Latin American countries are claiming that explicit music is having a negative impact on the their culture. But some scholars say the content that offends one generation is just part of a normal evolution for popular music and society. Roberto Avant-Mier, a professor of communication at the University of Texas at El Paso specializing in popular music and film explained that music and society have a reciprocal relationship. “I know for a fact music has an effect on society but also, society has an effect on music.

What language do you play in? Online gaming chatter a mix of voices in global matchups

The success of the early online multi-player games like Doom laid the groundwork for successors like Halo and more recent titles such as Fortnite. Since then, there have been significant improvements in network capabilities that now allow hundreds of thousands of people from English and non-English-speaking countries all over the world to play a game together. So what happens when you connect with someone that speaks a different language than you do? Many players use microphones to communicate so this creates an obvious barrier. But Luis Rodriguez says that there have always been ways to get around such language barriers if a player is willing to look for them.

This artist is asking how border residents think about air, water, land

Zeke Peña, an illustrator and cartoonist has spent most of his work as an artist living on “la frontera,” the border, reflecting the reality and issues faced by Chicano and Mexican-American generations. “I think about how the border identity is binary. It isn’t about this side or that side, it’s way more complicated. But that’s the beauty of it,” he says. Sitting in battered, squeaky wood chair in front of a drafting table that displays his work in his studio, the 35-year-old Peña looks the part of a committed artist with his black-rimmed glasses and his shoulder-length dark curly hair and black ball cap.

Rare look at Mexican photographer Manuel Carrillo’s work in color on display at UTEP library

The photo collection of Manuel Carrillo – one of Mexico’s most influential photographers – resides at UTEP’s Special Collections Department and his work is often compared to that of famed American icon Ansel Adams despite both photographers being widely known for different types of photography. Carrillo focused on photographing the people of Mexico, while Adams concentrated on landscapes, but both were wildly influential, said David Flores, UTEP’s photo archivist. “Carrillo was passionate about the people (of Mexico) who worked for a living, showcasing his gente (people) in a humbling light with his photographs,” Flores said. The collection, containing about 14,000 negatives, 10,000 prints, 3,00 slides and seven linear feet of papers, also contains numerous publications with Carrillo’s work or biographical information, according to Flores who dealt with the images first-hand. The collection also includes many awards and trophies, while the prints vary in many sizes from contact sheets to giant mural-sized enlargements.