Rubin Center exhibit explores migrant culture

The works of Mexican artist Betsabee Romero offered a reflection on themes of migration and belonging in an exhibit featured recently at the The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center at UTEP. The exhibit of large-scale sculptures, prints and installations titled Tu Huella Es Tu Camino (Your Tracks Are Your Path) will be up through Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.  

El Paso’s position as a multicultural border city is one of the most defining aspects of its unique character. For Romero, the Rubin Center was a natural landing for her exhibit.

Iconográfika Oaxaca exhibit at Rubin Center until Dec. 14

EL PASO – Oaxaca has become known as a cultural center in Mexico with many art galleries and artisan crafts. An exhibit at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual arts gives a glimpse of life outside of the big cities of Mexico. Titled “Iconográfika Oaxaca: Contemporary Prints, and Works on Paper,” the exhibit showcases artwork that delves into topics of poverty, border relations, immigration, family, and indigenous culture in Oaxaca. The exhibit also features a wide range of art mediums including prints, photography, paintings, tile work, and sculptures. “I think that people coming to this exhibition can get a preview of…

Robot sheriff play co-written by autistic teen rises to the stage in El Paso

When the curtain closed this fall on an unusual play about a robot sheriff and his band of outlaws at the downtown Philanthropy Theater, playwright Robert De La Rosa, dressed in black jeans, cowboy hat, and a bandana around his neck, was there to receive a standing ovation from the packed auditorium. The post-apocalyptic tale, “The Ballad of Roobie Rookie,” that he co-wrote with a local playwright was no small accomplishment for De La Rosa who was diagnosed with autism as a child. His mother, Maria De La Rosa, says her son has never allowed being on the autism spectrum to stand in his way. She first became aware that the youngest of her three children was different when he was three and she noticed him methodically arranging toys and VHS movies on the floor of their Northeast El Paso home. “He would become very involved with that toy, he would just get really happy and flap his hands and that was different to me; I didn’t know why he was doing that,” Maria De La Rosa said.

Vegan merchants sharing their bounty with community shelters

An El Paso couple are providing homeless people and others in need with meals and educational services to promote plant-based living. Roman and Adriana Wilcox, owners and operators of One Grub Community, are following a mission centered on giving back to their community where five percent of their sales and 100 percent of their tips go toward the purchase of healthy food for meals for people at non-federally funded shelters like Annunciation House, Villa Maria, The Opportunity Center and others. “We needed to make sure that we are able to cook together and eat together,” Adriana Wilcox said. “I think that’s when you get the community involved and you’re able to get personal with them.”

Through various “pay it forward” events and demonstrations of plant-based meals, the Wilcoxes keep the community involved. Mayela Duran, housing coordinator for Rapid Rehousing for chronically homeless residents at The Opportunity Center said, last year’s holiday event featured a vegan pozole for the 25 participants who lived in the housing center.

Loot boxes and gacha games dubbed newest forms of gambling

Loot boxes and gacha games where players purchase virtual items have become a topic of debate within the online gaming community according to aficionados and regulators who consider them just another form of gambling. In these online games, it’s not unusual for a player to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy options to customize their favorite character or to purchase weapons and armor. In one published report, a Japanese player spent $70,000 to participate in the gacha game Fate/Grand Order, also known as FGO. The release of Electronic Art’s (EA) online game Overwatch in 2016 and Sony’s mobile game Fate/Grand Order in 2015 have contributed to the international debate. Loot boxes, also called loot crate or prize crate, are an in-game purchase item that contain implements for the players to use.

What can creatives learn from arts communities on the border?

Arizona theater professor Mary Stephens was pleasantly surprised when a recent arts tour bus ride took less than 10 minutes to get from El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico,

“This is my first time to El Paso and Juarez and I’m just so delighted by realizing how close these cities are with each other,” she said. “Families are on both sides crossing all the time, and culture is crossing all the time. Stephens was visiting the borderland for La Frontera: Art+People+Place, a two-day convening on arts in border communities presented by the El Paso Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez. The Sept. 7-8 event was part of the fifth Transborder Biennial 2018 exhibition, which featured the work of 32 contemporary artists that live across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Double identity: Beauty apps make it too easy to change your reality online

Bigger eyes, smaller nose and even a breast enhancement are available through several beauty apps South Koreans are routinely using to modify their virtual appearance. I tried it myself when I was living in Seoul, South Korea, while studying abroad and got hooked. To this day, I still use the apps. Editing your digital image is so easy to do through the apps that many in the younger generation in South Korea expect everyone to tweak their looks. “Editing is so common that you seem to be a rebel without any edit done your looks,” said one app fan, SeungHae Ro.

7 quirky El Paso experiences that beat driving to Marfa

Last October I was in Marfa, Texas at the Chinati Foundation—an art wonderland in the middle of nowhere known across the globe for its use of minimalism. It was open weekend so exhibits and galleries were free and open to the public as artists from across the nation flocked to Marfa. Solange Knowles performed a free show at Chinati in the center of a grass field where only fifteen concrete Donald Judd sculptures sit. As an audience member there were only two rules: we all had to be dressed in white and we could not carry cell phones. The whole experience was mesmerizing.

Festival gives El Paso a taste of the Middle East

EL PASO – The annual Feast of the Middle East is an opportunity for border residents to sample great food and learn more about the culture of their neighbors who trace their roots back to the Mideast. Parishioners of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 120 Festival, work for months to prepare authentic specialty dishes and arrange live Arabic music and folk dance for the weekend festival. Guided tours of the church will be available. The 2018 festival will run from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 on the church grounds at 120 Festival Dr. Tickets are $2.

Neon Desert Music Festival caters to local talent

EL PASO – When Neon Desert Music Festival kicked off for its eighth time this weekend, many local bands in the lineup represent the Sun City. From the festival’s inception in 2009, Neon Desert Music Festival has continuously strived to be a yearly music event catering to its host city as a creative outlet “for El Pasoans by El Pasoans”. Cumulatively, NDMF has hosted over 170,000 attendees, with over 40,000 music fans joining last year’s two-day celebration. By reserving 15 city blocks in downtown El Paso, this west Texas music festival is one of the largest venues for a street festival in the state, according to the organizers. This year’s lineup features a mix of well-known artists such as Cardi B, Martin Garrix, Café Tacvba, GTA, and local groups such as SleepSpent, The Swell Kids, Fat Camp, and Gila Monster.

United Way helps millennials give back to the Borderland through RISE

When Hollie Jacobson accepted the job of marketing and communications manager for United Way’s Rise program six months ago, she was so excited about the program’s mission of engaging millennials in community volunteer activities that she recruited her boyfriend, Saul Williams.

The 25-year-old intern for the CEO of the El Paso Children’s Hospital says he didn’t think twice.  

 

“I was raised in El Paso and really care about the city so being able to give back to the community that helped mold me into the young man I am today is a great opportunity,” said Williams, who joined four months ago. “The volunteer projects and speaker series are a great way to get involved as well as stay updated with the growth of El Paso,” he added. The United Way’s extension program called RISE is a unique way for millennials to connect with the El Paso community through hands-on volunteer projects such as RISE for Hunger and informal hangouts. The program took off September 2017 when Stephanie Gorman was hired to run RISE.

Hueco Tanks attracts rock climbers from around the world, but few locals realize what else this Texas state park offers

For about 10,000 years, Hueco Tanks in East El Paso has been a destination for people of all types. The rock formation brings nature enthusiasts from all over the world to practice rock climbing, bird watching, camping and to know about its unique history. But, despite its worldwide fame, many El Pasoans do not know about the picturesque rock formation in their own backyard. “Not a lot of people know we are out here,” said Kendra Moore, park ranger and interpreter at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. Moore provides interpretation tours of pictographs and background information on how the rock formation was home in the past to Native Americans and later to white settlers.

Aspiring Juarez photographers continue to develop one year after National Geographic Photo Camp came to town

Last April, National Geographic photographers Dominic Bracco, Tyrone Turner, and Amy Toensing brought Photo Camp to Cd. Juarez to encourage young people to share their perspectives on life on the border through photography and writing. Now, a year after photo camp, some of the participants reflect on their experience and how their lives changed after participating in this workshop. “This was a really interesting workshop because I didn’t have any knowledge about photography. Although what stayed with me the most is the human side before taking a photo, they made us get to know the person before capturing their portrait,” said Miriam Cortez, 21 years old, a participant of the Nat-Geo photo camp.

Ramen restaurants win over the Borderland with fresh, spicy style

EL PASO – Ramen restaurants are trending in the Sun City, and some are changing the way people see the brothy noodle dish. When you say ramen, many people think of the dry squiggly pasta that comes in cellophane-wrapped blocks or Styrofoam cups most popular among budget-strapped college student. Now restaurants, such as Nishi Ramen in Downtown El Paso, Kaedama near the University of Texas at El Paso and, the newest addition, El Cuartito Ramen on the West Side, are serving up their spin on this traditional Japanese fare. El Cuartito is a small 20-seat restaurant located at TI:ME at Montecillo, in the up-and-coming entertainment district on Mesa Street. Owned by Pan Y Agua Restaurant Group, Octavio Gomez, Nick Salgado and Chef Rudy Valdez, who are behind the successful Crave concepts, Hillside Coffee and Donuts, Malolam, and Independent Burger, decided to give their Mexican flair to their ramen.

Martial Arts organization teaches discipline, respect and self-defense to children

It started with a promise to share the martial art Kai Ki Do with others. “A promise I made to the late Supreme Master Albert Robinson. He was the founder of Kai Ki Do. Myself along with a few other individuals in our organization thought it would be good for the children,” said David Cory, an assistant Kai Ki Do instructor. Cory teaches for the local Kai Ki Do organization and has taught students, ages four to 14, for more than two years a mixture of martial arts, but their core is Shotokan Karate, a form of Karate.

La Cocina De Martha: Food like abuela’s

Martha Flores, 57, says she began her food business seven years ago selling snacks out of a small room in Central El Paso from 5 to 10 at night. “It was corn in a cup, chilindrinas, papa locas, just the good stuff,” says Flores who two years ago expanded the business into a full-fledged restaurant on Montana Avenue named La Cocina de Martha. “I had a dream–my dream was to have my own place, my own restaurant,” said Flores, who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and moved to the United states with her family when she was a child. She graduated from Bel Air High School in 1978 and graduated with her bachelors degree in history from UTEP in 2000. She then accepted a full time day job as a property manager for a local business and ran her mom-and-pop food business at night.

Chalk work leads arts student on a journey to be a working artist

Babak Tavakoli, 25, an Art major at the University of Texas at El Paso, has gained recognition for his chalk art at Hillside Coffee, Independent Burger, Crave, and other locations in El Paso, landing him a new project for Eastlake High School. “I barely recently started getting jobs like this” he said. “I had never been a working artist, just a student artist.” Until about four months ago, Tavakoli never had an Instagram, but when he finally made it he got various request from business owners asking him to embark on art projects to attract people to their businesses. In this case, Eastlake High School’s flag team was in need of a mural-sized banner to travel with for their competitions, and this year the theme was graffiti.

Cheech Marin’s Papel Chicano Dos collection featured at El Paso Museum of Art

The entertainer Cheech Marin is well-known for his “Cheech and Chong” movies and his upbeat, unapologetic humor that has brought laughter to homes around the world for decades. Marin is no longer making movies but he is an avid collector or art, some of it by Latino artists. An exhibit of his collection, Papel Chicano Dos, is now on display at the El Paso Museum of Art through July 17. It features Chicano artists from different border cities such as San Diego and Los Angeles. The show includes 65 different pieces by 24 artists.

Topgolf expands entertainment options for the borderland

MRI tech Patricio Ruvalcaba, a 26-year old El Paso native, was thrilled when he heard a few months ago that a popular new restaurant that caters to golf aficionados and their families was about to open in West El Paso. To celebrate his acceptance into UTEP’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, he recently headed to Topgolf with a group of friends. “It’s a nice atmosphere, different families, different age groups. It’s an overall positive experience and everyone is out here to have fun,” Ruvalcaba said. Another El Paso native, Kristi Albers, also stopped by the entertainment venue just after it recently opened to check it out.

Rubin Center offers a place for UTEP art faculty to display their work

EL PASO – Art History Major Alejandra Valdez recently spent an hour at the DoArt Faculty exhibit on the UTEP campus where she had the chance of seeing for the first time the work of her instructors. She said the experience was “inspiring.” “I felt inspired,” said the 21-year-old Valdez. “I found that some of my professors participated in the exhibit. My art appreciation professor Alexandra McGovern displayed some pieces, my art history professor supervised a description of an art piece that a student wrote and even my advisor Terri Bauer was involved,” she added.

Vendors shop health foods to El Pasoans browsing farmers market

Farmer’s market vendors said they set up booths in El Paso in response to efforts trying to stem preventable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease – the leading causes of death in the county. “We cater to a lot of people that have diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure,” said Ulises Cordova, owner of The Green Ingredient, a business that sells health food at a local gym. “We teach them how to eat right and give them different alternatives.”

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in El Paso County, according to the 2013 El Paso Community Health Assessment. Cordova and his wife started The Green Ingredient after several family members contracted cancer. They have been vendors at the Saturday El Paso Downtown Art and Farmers Market for the past 5 years.

Tu Late Night, El Late Night De Juarez

El Late Night con Badía es un programa por internet único en su clase en toda la frontera entre los Estados Unidos y Mexico. El programa está hecho al merito estilo americano de un late night show original y incluye un monologo, entrevistas, música, entretenimiento, y skits. Los conductores de el programa son José Antonio Badia y Eduardo Espinosa, y está escrito por 6 escritores que se juntan cada semana para juntar sus ideas y crear un show para sacarle una carcajada a su público. José Antonio Badía, de 36 años, lo cual es el conductor principal del programa comento: “La parte importante para nosotros del formato, es esta parte Fronteriza. Somos de Juárez crecimos con este formato del Late Night, esta parte de nuestra vida, no nos hace ni gringos ni menos Mexas, nos hace gente que quiere entretener, y ese formato a funcionado por décadas y décadas.

Small frame shop had big role in displaying border artists

In Northeast El Paso is a small shop with B.B. King on the loudspeakers and bold green letters that read “Framing Concepts.” This is Alfredo Sanchez’s domain – a frame-making mecca that helped display the works of Gaspar Enriquez, Tom Lea, and Hal Marcus. Sanchez, now 67, has been framing for over 40 years, opening his own frame shop in 1995. “I’ve always been interested in art. High school, college, and stuff like that.,” he said.

Graphic design exhibit ‘No Literal’ in Chicago questions the incorrect use of the Spanish language

By Rocío Villaseñor 

Spanish has become the second most used language in the United States. According to a Pew Research Center report from September 2017, “the Latino population in the United States has reached nearly 58 million in 2016″ and more than 37 million speak Spanish. However, not all Spanish speakers speak or write it correctly, and the media have not helped to improve this situation because most of them do not respect the accent marks, and many do not use the tilde on the eñe letter. En español: La muestra gráfica “No Literal” en el Instituto Cervantes de Chicago cuestiona el incorrecto uso del idioma español

The graphic exhibit ‘No Literal’ by Peruvian journalist and designer Elio Leturia tries to illustrate the situation through 12 posters. These compositions portray different cases, including incorrect translation from English into Spanish.

Working hard for the money, El Paso drag queens enjoy creative outlet

Putting layers of Elmer’s glue on his eyebrows is the first step in creating a perfect look. Alexander Wright, who goes by the stage name Rumor, will spend most of his Saturday planning the perfect drag performance. Five hours of the day will be dedicated to applying make-up, and the rest will go toward selecting a variety of dresses and songs for the night’s performance. “Drag is an artistry, you get to create different concepts and test your creativity,” said Wright, who has been doing drag for a year and is currently the reigning Sun City Miss Pride. “Applying makeup is like an oil painting from afar it looks great and cute, but when you get close, you can see all the railroad tracks.”

His first performance was at a local benefit show at Touch Bar and Nightclub in East El Paso.

12 El Paso bands and musical artists you should know about

Over the past 30 years in El Paso, the hard-core rock band At the Drive-In has mostly stood alone as the city’s prominent breakthrough group on an international level. But the music scene in the Sun City has changed in the 14 year hiatus of the iconic punk band – with music taste in the city diversifying, new venues opening, old ones closing and many bands have come out since then. If you’re from El Paso here’s who you should know. 1. Pissing Razors

This heavy-metal band formed in 1996 in El Paso, and although then-drummer Danny Garcia moved the band to New York, the band’s inception can largely be credited to the metal scene and love for heavy metal that continues to be a constant in El Paso.

Behind the scenes of the Sun Bowl game, association works to make El Paso shine

While El Pasoans geared up for the holiday season and winter break, the Sun Bowl Association was working around the clock. Staffed by a seven-member, full-time crew and relying heavily on volunteers, the Sun Bowl Association juggled the 43rd annual Sun Bowl Andeavor All-America Golf Classic, the 81st Sun Bowl Association Thanksgiving Parade and the 56th annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Invitational basketball tournament in the past weeks, but those events all lead up to the biggest event – the Hyundai Sun Bowl. “It’s more like a juggle that has a lot of things in the air,” said Bernie Olivas, executive director of the Sun Bowl Association. “I knew what I was getting into and when I hire people I make sure that they know what they’re getting into, but we love it.” Olivas said working long hours is just part of the job.

El Paso has many Christmas events to keep anyone busy

The holiday season is here and it is only fair to say that El Pasoans have a unique style of celebrating. Despite temperatures in the 60’s with no sign of snow this fall, El Paso still makes the best out of the sunny weather. According to a study by WeatherUnderground.com, last year the average temperature was 60 degrees with no snowfall at all. So how do El Pasoans make themselves get in the holiday spirit? Besides the family atmosphere El Pasoans celebrate, the city makes its greatest efforts to plan daily activities that people can enjoy for the course of the winter.