El Paso florist teams with New Mexico flower farm to create ethical arrangements

EL PASO – When Juliana Varkonyi and her mother Mary Ibanez decided to open a flower shop, they knew they wanted it to reflect a sense of community and respect for the environment. That’s why they decided to open Desert Modern Florals in Downtown El Paso and then partner with Calhoun Flower Farms based in southern New Mexico. The shop is in the center of the Cortez Building downtown, across the street from the newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza. Ibanez said they chose the downtown location because of the revitalization that is going on right now. She wanted the business to be part of the emerging community.

Art helps tell Holocaust story

Concentration camp survivor David Kaplan says that art speaks louder than words. In 1941, when Kaplan was 12 years old, he and his family were sent to separate concentration camps.  Although he survived four years at several camps, his brother perished in Landsberg, his mother and sister were killed in Majdanek.  

The 88-year-old believes that it is often better for survivors to write poems and create art to represent the Holocaust rather than to simply recount their personal experience. Creating art about a dehumanizing experience like the Holocaust can bring hope to people who are the victims of such traumatizing events.

Things worth knowing about the El Paso Museum of Art

The El Paso Museum of Art makes its home in the heart of downtown El Paso in the world’s largest international border community. Because of this border community, we see art that is rich in the culture and reflects the surrounding areas and history. Many people visit the museum each year but many locals don’t know the unique facts, history or resources that the museum offers. Here are some things worth knowing about our El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA). 1.

Arte en la calle: Cambian los colores de Juárez

Un grupo de jóvenes juarenses se ha dado a la tarea de apoderarse de la ciudad y llenarla de un arte nuevo con el que esperan cambiar la imagen negativa que Juárez carga desde aquella época violenta vivida a partir del 2006. Lo intentarán llenado de color las grandes paredes y muros de la ciudad y especialmente en las colonias abandonadas que sufrieron el éxodo de sus habitantes. Estos grupos de artistas están conformados tanto por estudiantes de la carrera de Diseño Gráfico y Artes Visuales de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ)  como por los llamados “prácticos”, que son aquellos que aprendieron la técnica directamente en la calle, plasmando su experiencia en las bardas de sus colonias, en parques e incluso en las universidades, especialmente en el Instituto de Arquitectura, Diseño y Arte (IADA). Entre los años más violentos de la ciudad (2006-2010), el muralismo fue un modo de expresión y de escape para estos jóvenes que desde entonces buscan darle al mundo una nueva percepción de esta frontera. Reunidos en grupos, mejor conocidos como colectivos, salen a las calles a trabajar, algunos con éxito y un reconocimiento cada vez mayor del público.

Latino entrepreneurs make their mark through microbrewing

El Paso, TX – Carlos Guzmán opened his first bar while he was stationed in Iraq. Well, it was sort of a bar. And it sort of just happened. Guzmán was having a hard time buying liquor in Iraq, so he asked his friends and family to stash some little bottles in their care packages. “Little did I know that within a month we’d have over 50 bottles,” said Guzmán who was in the U.S. Army.

El Paso filmmakers explain why Texas is not Hollywood

El Paso — Lights, cameras, but not much action in this nascent filmmaking community far from Los Angeles, the epicenter of global entertainment. There is no filmmaking infrastructure in this high desert community to entice venture capitalists and support movie producers, directors, actors and ancillary businesses that contribute mightily to the economic engines driving film industry friendly states like New York, Georgia, Louisiana and neighboring New Mexico, local officials and filmmakers said. There are several reasons why Texas is not Hollywood, local industry insiders said. In the last decade, the state has slashed the financial incentives it offers to filmmakers who want to make movies here. Currently, Texas incentives range from 5 percent to 20 percent based on the amount of money a film company is projected to spend before it wraps production in the state.

Borderland Facebook foodies having fun rating restaurants with Juarez celebrity scale

Garnachas y restaurantes Juárez y El Paso is a Facebook group that has been gaining popularity among border residents. It began as a hobby two years ago and now is an online community with more than 50,000 members. The driving motivation for the group is to stimulate Juarez business and entertainment activity following a half decade of a declining economy and business closings sparked by high crime and violence. Group members rate Juarez restaurants and cafes on a scale of one to 10, using colloquial Juarez personalities such as superstar “divo” Juan Gabriel and the well-known clown Niko Lico, and others. For example, ten “Juangas” means the establishment is super good and one Niko Lico, means it is awful.

Juarez bus tours explore shops, history and myths of the border city

Operating for about a year now, the Juárez Turibus continues to be a popular attraction for visitors and Juárez residents alike. The bus tour is sponsored by the Mexican government to attract tourism to the border from the U.S. and other parts of Mexico and give visitors a different point of view about the city. But the variety of theme tours offered has proved a big draw for locals too. Turibus has three different types of tours:
Tour 1 ($6) – Historic District, Plaza la Mexicanidad and Casa de Adobe. There are two five-hour tours daily from Tuesday through Sunday
Tour 2 ($24) – Goes to the Samalayuca Dune Fields Tours are offered twice a month on Saturdays and Sundays.

Teotihuacán: Merece visitar la famosa Ciudad de los Dioses

La ciudad de los Dioses, nombre popular del pirámide Teotihuacán en Mexico, es reconocida internacionalmente por su historia e incredible arquitectura. Una de las mayores atraciones de Teotihuacán es la Pirámide del Sol la cual es la tercera pirámide mas grande del mundo. Teotihuacán recibe alrededor de 2.5 millones de visitantes cada año siendo así la segunda zona arqueológica mas visitada en el mundo por turistas, dejando en primer lugar las pirámides de Egipto. Durante el equinoxio de primavera en marzo mas de 105 mil personas se reunen en Teotihuacán con la creencia de recibir energia positiva y comenzar un año nuevo de una mejor manera. Es un lugar místico que combina historia, cultura y diversion.

Border-inspired Latino artists among 43 in U.S. featured in Smithsonian portrait exhibit

By Luis Gonzalez, SHFWire.com

WASHINGTON – When someone looks into a complete stranger’s eyes he gets a glimpse of the stranger’s personality or character. When the person notices the stranger’s mud-covered feet, she might understand the stranger’s hopes or desperation. Gazing at these strangers for a moment can spark an interest in who these people are and what their stories are. These are the kinds of emotions Gaspar Enriquez and Rigoberto Gonzalez, two of the three Latino artists chosen as finalists for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, hope to provoke through their paintings. Every three years, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery seeks work from artists from all over the country to highlight the art of portraiture.

Despite success of Mexican filmmakers, there’s still a lot of work to do

The recent annual 88th Academy Awards ceremony was surrounded by controversy for its lack of African American nominees, but Latinos at least had the pleasure of watching Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki, Mexican-born filmmakers who worked together on The Revenant, receive major awards. Although Mad Max: Fury Road stole the show by winning six Oscars, Iñárritu and Lubezki took home Best Director and Best Cinematography, respectively, for their work on The Revenant. This marked the third year in a row that a Mexican director has won in the directing category, and this was Lubezki’s third Oscar for Best Cinematography in four years. Iñárritu, who also won Best Director in 2015 for Birdman, is taking Hollywood by storm, as is Lubezki, by having their work recognized widely by the public and awarded top Academy honors. The success of Iñárritu and Lubezki, and a few other Mexican and Mexican American film artists, has created an atmosphere of hope for Hispanics trying to make it big in Hollywood and is inspiring young Latino talent to continue on the path of filmmaking.

Do you have what it takes to beat Disaster Room 915?

The clock is ticking and you have just 60 minutes to complete your mission in order to stop a major disaster. Multimedia reporter Sarah Montelongo takes a look inside El Paso’s Disaster Room 915, where groups take on the challenge to decode clues and solve puzzles to save the world.  

A social media guide for following pope events in El Paso and Juarez

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Pope Francis’ visit to the border Feb. 17 will be a day full of self-reflection and selfies as the faithful gather to hear his message from the streets of Juarez, Mexico, to the edges of the Rio Grande overlooking El Paso, Texas,

The Vatican and local Catholic missions have expanded their outreach on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instragram In an effort to appeal to young followers, Others have joined in with accounts and hashtags to create a platform for their own views ranging from a celebration of faith to drawing attention to their cause. Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular ways to engage in the digital conversations of the

New Twitter emojis

Twitter created five pope-related emojis for the big visit,. There’s a unique image for each stop on the pontiff’s trip to Mexico – Mexico City, Michoacan Mx, Cd Juarez, and Chiapas Mx. The Ciuidad Juarez emoji, activated with the hashtag #PapaenCDJ, shows the Cathedral de la Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
The Angel of Independence is used for Mexico City #PapaEnCDmx
There’s a temple for Chiapas #PapaenCHPS
There’s another cathedral for Michoacan #PapaenMich.

7 essential apps for border residents during the pope’s visit

These seven free apps can help make life easier for people in the Borderlands when Pope Francis visits Juarez on Feb. 17. Best All-in-One Catholic app
Catholic Mega App

This is your best bet if you want the most information in one spot. This app links you to the Eternal Word Television Network which provides live streaming of all papal events, along with commentary as the events are happening. The app also includes links social media profiles for the pope.

Some of the best music in the world starts with this Las Cruces family of French horn makers

LAS CRUCES, NM — The best things in life are made by hand and that holds especially true for Jim Patterson of Patterson Hornworks, currently one of a handful of designer-makers of custom hand crafted French horns in the U.S.

Patterson and his wife Cora work together from their home with their sons, Philip and Ian. They have lived and worked here since 2005. This unique world-class instrument making facility started with a repair shop in 1995 in the Los Angeles area. “This all started from doing repairs,” says Jim as he looks over a Double Descant French horn brought in by a customer. Jim, 59, originally from the Los Angeles area, started his musical career at an early age.

Life of activism shines through in Mexican-American artist’s colorful works

 

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Arturo Avalos grew up in area of town known as Segundo Barrio, one of the oldest immigrant neighborhoods in the city. As a first generation Mexican American, Avalos said the discrimination he experienced as a child growing up has had a deep impact on his art and life. In elementary school he discovered his passion for drawing and was often scolded by teachers to complete his classwork instead of doodling. At the age of 12 he became a young activist after the mostly Mexican-American workers at Farah, a garment manufacturing company where his sister and neighbors worked, went on strike because of low wages, no medical benefits, work quotas and better working conditions at the company. “I volunteered and did what they needed, handing out flyers, explaining our position,” said Avalos.

6 things that make El Paso’s Rubin Center an exceptional art space

A faint sound of a motor engine rumbles in your ear as you enter the building. When you look to your right, high above the ground, there’s a video of a couple of people floating in air and you automatically feel like you’re in space. The flying, the colors, and the vast, clean space make “Territory of the Imagination,” the Rubin Center’s exhibition and the celebration for it’s 10th anniversary, entertainingly futuristic. “In our tenth anniversary we wanted to think about where we were at and so in a playful way, we are looking towards the future. These are all futuristic topics and imagery,” Kerry Doyle, managing director, said.

Artist Margarita Cabrera works through challenges to engage communities on social, political issues

EL PASO — Translucent white porcelain clays, rulers, pencils and pieces of guns are scattered in Margarita Cabrera’s workspace as she peacefully sits inside her sanctuary surrounded by her sculptures and creations. Cabrera, a local sculptor, educator and mother of two, focuses her art on the difficulties related to immigration. “I address issues of cultural identity, labor practices, craft, community, empowerment, and violence,” Cabrera said. Cabrera, 42, was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, but moved to the U.S. at around the age of 10, when her family was in search of better opportunities. Her inspiration to become an artist began in childhood.

Icons & Symbols Exhibit: Artful perceptions of the borderland

The UTEP Centennial Museum opened its doors to the Icons & Symbols of the Borderland exhibit this past October, featuring art from 22 JUNTOS artists, demonstrating the story of the borderland, through their own personal interpretations. Founded in 1985, JUNTOS Art Association is a non-profit organization promoting cultural appreciation of the diversity of the border community through the arts. The exhibit was the brainchild of artist and curator Diana Molina, who is also executive director of JUNTOS. The objective of the exhibit is to “provide a more powerful depiction of the borderland,” by including a diversity of artistic representations of the border. According to Molina, many of the personal interpretations in the exhibit take into account the European and Indigenous influence on border culture.

BorderSenses celebrates 15 years of showcasing literary arts community

ELPASO ­– One snowy day in 2000, a trio of UTEP Creative Writing MFA students set up 50 chairs for a public event to release a local literary journal. Amit Ghosh, Jonathan Gonzales and Joseph Martinez were astonished when 90 local attendees showed up for their “goofy” idea, the first edition of BorderSenses. “The project (cost) was $339. Each of us put in exactly $113. I still have the paper,” grinned Ghosh, a former teacher who now works in the Information Technology field.

‘Romeo and Julieta’ opens door to future bilingual productions in the borderlands

For bilingual, bicultural border cities like El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, the story of two lovers whose miscommunication leads to their tragic death does not sound far fetched. Although Shakespeare’s plays were originally written in English, many, like Romeo and Juliet and Othello, have been performed all over the world in bilingual fashion to attract a broader audience. For this year’s 27th season of the local acting company, “Shakespeare on the Rocks,” Artistic Director Hector Serrano directed for the second time a bilingual version of Romeo and Juliet at the binational Chamizal National Park near downtown El Paso. The bilingual Romeo and Julieta play embodies the mission of The Chamizal, which commemorates the diplomatic negotiation between the United States and Mexico through the Chamizal Treaty. This new treaty, which ended a border dispute over land in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Río Grande River as the international boundary, negotiated the borderline because the river had naturally moved leaving Mexico with less land than was originally granted in the 1848 Treaty.

These 4 treats are worth tracking down at El Paso’s Mexican snack shacks

When I first moved to El Paso from Arkansas, my definition of Mexican food was tacos, guacamole and quesadillas. After living here for 10 years now, I have expanded my palette and grown to enjoy even more Mexican foods and snacks than I knew existed. I’ve come to enjoy authentic Mexican plates at restaurants like tacos al pastor, tampiquena, and aguachiles. But, I have also grown fond of some more unusual culinary treats available at local snack shacks anchored in parking lots around town. Not the newer trend of gourmet food trucks, which come replete with chefs from California and Las Vegas, but the simple mom-and-pop snack spots closer to El Paso border style.

Luchando por el bienestar social y la saluda pública

 

EL PASO — La lucha contra el uso de drogas y la prevención de enfermedades de transmisión sexual (ETS) ha sido enfocada por el Programa Compañeros A.C. en las dos comunidades mas vulnerables — las personas que se inyectan drogas y sus parejas y los hombres que tienen sexo con hombres. Esta observación llevo a Nora Gallegos unas de los directores del programa a tomar acción rm Juarez igual que en El Paso, no solo en la cuestión de enfermedades de transmisión sexual, sino también en el impacto del consumo y uso de drogas en la comunidad. “En el camino nos dimos cuenta que había dos poblaciones en ese entonces un poco más vulnerables, las personas que usaban drogas inyectadas y sus parejas sexuales y los hombres que tenían sexo con hombres”, afirmó Gallegos. La lucha contra el uso de drogas y la prevención de enfermedades de transmisión sexual (ETS) en la frontera de Ciudad Juarez/El Paso, han sido los motivos principales que han llevado a la fronteriza Gallegos a ser reconocida en varias ocasiones. Uno de sus mayores logros fue una celebración que se llevó a cabo en la Casa Blanca en el mes de mayo donde Gallegos fue reconocida por su labor comunitaria.

Health coalitions key to helping high-risk groups, says Mexican community organizer honored by U.S.

 

EL PASO — With more than two decades in the battle against against drug addiction and sexually transmitted diseases here and in Juarez , Programa Compañeros has successfully focused on the two most vulnerable communities — people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men. It was the realization that these were the ideal groups to target that led program director Nora Gallegos and her team to take action, not only in the STD’s area, but also on drug use in both cities. “As we went we found out that there were two communities that, at that time, were a little bit more vulnerable; the people that used injected drugs and their sexual partners, and men who had sex with men,” said Gallegos. The fight against the use of drugs and the prevention of STDs in the border cities has given Programa Compañeros widespread recognition in both countries. Gallegos was honored at the White House in May, where she was recognized for her community work.

Cook off settles title of El Paso’s top taco

As El Paso native Monica Maldonado sipped a refreshing aqua de horchato and sampled crispy chicken flautas at the 2015 Mexican Food Cook Off in Union Plaza, she admitted being a little embarrassed that this was only her first time attending the event. “While I was standing at the food truck I was talking to two ladies who came all the way from California to El Paso. It’s their third time coming here and I live in the North East and had never heard of the event up to this year,” Maldonado said. But many El Pasoans did turn out Sept. 18 to enjoy the festival atmosphere and sample the tastes of local restaurants like Desert Rustic Kitchen, Delicious, Molalam and Taquizas.

La gran poesia debe de comunicar y trasmitir emociones, señala premiado poeta español

EL PASO — El pelicano atisbando su pez desde las alturas se desploma como una flecha cayendo al agua y se transforma al mismo momento en la imagen de la madre del poeta cuando estaba ella en coma. Los intensos momentos de la vida de Fernando Valverde emocionan e impactan sus versos. Al escribir poemas, Valverde, 35, dijo que trata de expresar los mismos momentos como el que describe en su poema “La Caída” en donde la imagen del pelicano es se convierte en la de su madre. “La poesía tiene que comunicar”, dijo el poeta catedrático. “Hay que estar pendientes de la realidad, del mundo y tratar de contarlo lo mejor que uno sepa sin perderle el respeto a la poesía en favor de un falso prestigio académico que no conduce a ninguna parte.”

Creative writing department brings Cuban poet to UTEP

EL PASO — With the current expansion of its nationally recognized program, the Bilingual Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas, El Paso has created new opportunities for the students and the local community including an online MFA in bilingual creative writing that transcends typical collegiate writing programs elsewhere in the nation. Recently, the department has brought in two prominent international poets, one from Cuba and the other from Spain, for poetry readings that drew several hundred students and local residents to the UTEP campus. Cuban poet Luis Lorente in September gave a well-attended poetry reading, followed by Spanish poet Francisco Valverde in October, and this week UTEP’s Andrea Cote-Botero, associate professor of the Creative Writing Department, will launch her newest book of poetry La Ruina Que Nombro. “The department of creative writing is making a great effort to bring important poets to our area especially those poets who are of special interest to our community,” said Cote-Botero. Lorente is an award-winning poet and is widely known for Esta Tarde Llegando La Noche (Night Coming this Afternoon) which won the Casa de las Americas prize for poetry in 2004, and Mas Horribles que Yo, ( More Horrible Than I) which won the Critics Award in 2006.

Arcade bar mixes nostalgic games with 80’s-inspired cocktails

The 80’s are making a comeback and they can be seen everywhere from skinny jeans to song artists like pop singers Bruno Mars who infuses his music with the retro sounds of the 80’s. Even soda companies are revamping their cans with throwback designs and big screens everywhere flooded with 80’s remakes like The Exorcist, Evil Dead, RoboCop, Karate Kid, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, to name a few. While many marketers and businesses are just now jumping on the 80’s trend, El Paso businessman and high school teacher Alex Macias has been stuck in that past decade for years. “Since I was young I always wanted to open up my own arcade. It was such a huge part of my childhood,” said Macias, 43, who has been collecting and repairing arcade games for over ten years.

Dos delfines traen una nueva aventura acuática a Juárez

CD. JUAREZ –Isis y Luna son dos delfines provenientes de la ciudad de León que llegaron aquí recientemente para convertir a esta frontera en su nuevo hogar. La empresa juarense Mundo Acuático Anita inauguró desde el pasado mes de mayo un nuevo parque llamado “Anita Nueva Aventura”, abriendo las puertas de un delfinario para deleitar a todos los fronterizos. “Este proyecto viene de aproximadamente un poco más dos años, lo que es el delfinario de aquí de Ciudad Juárez”, comentó Alfonso Téllez, el entrenador de los delfines. La alberca tiene dimensiones de 20 metros de largo por 18 de ancho y seis metros de profundidad y fue construida especialmente para ellas.

Fiesta Juárez continues to grow

 

CD. JUAREZ — Thousands of Juarenses gathered at the Chamizal Park during a month of Fiesta Juárez as this city continues to move away from a dark decade of violence forward to family fun and entertainment. Fiesta Juarez offered music, sports, mechanical games, a circus, rodeo, charrería and art exhibitionsfor in September and October. Performances were spread out over three different stages at the fair. Foro fiesta de las estrellas where national and local artists performed.