Latinos gaining influence in the pages of comic books

American comic books have traditionally been dominated by white male characters that are wealthy and powerful and reflect the dreams of a once-mainstream audience of white boys. Women and minorities have been hugely underrepresented in comics or, if there were characters from a minority background, they would be presented in a racially stereotypical way, often with their race or ethnicity shaping their super power such as the Zorro-like swordsman El Aguila or the Chinese-American girl Jubilee who shoots fireworks from her hands. But times are changing as awareness grows that the high proportion of white men working in the comics industry is not reflective of the greater population and the potential readership market. The data crunching website recently ran the numbers and found that while attendance at comic book conventions split fairly evenly between genders, only one in four comic book characters is female. Now, as the comics industry is trying to better reflect the market’s demographics, Latinos are slowly growing in influence.

Shakespeare gets border style in bilingual Romeo and Julieta performances in El Paso

Courtesy KCOS El Paso

KCOS, El Paso’s PBS station, and Shakespeare on the Rocks, El Paso’s premier classical theater company, are partnering this winter to present Romeo and Julieta, a bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play. Set in 19th century Mexico, in this version of Romeo and Julieta, the Montagues speak English, the Capulets speak Spanish, and together English is spoken.  The aim is to contextualize Shakespeare into a more local and familiar setting. Romeo and Julieta will be presented in four different venues throughout our border community between January 22nd and February 1st. Venues include UTEP, La Fe Cultural and Technology Center, the Philanthropy Theater and even a performance at UACJ in Juarez.  All performances are free and open to the public.

5 underreported stories of 2014

By Wesley Juhl –
WASHINGTON – While important stories about the Ebola crisis, Islamic state group and nationwide protests dominated headlines this year, the news media neglected other important stories. Several prominent journalists met at the Woodrow Wilson Center in December to discuss the most underreported stories of 2014. No one at the event would admit to missing an event outright – one journalist said that would be tantamount to admitting to malpractice – but they shared news they said should have gotten more widespread attention. 1. Loose nukes in Pakistan
Pakistan has at least six nuclear sites and could have as many as 200 nuclear devices by 2020.

Popular Latin American foods show common characteristics, diverse accents

Food is often called a universal language that brings people together. There is much diversity among Hispanic cultures, but we can find some familiar experiences in the foods that we eat, and how we eat them. Living on the U.S., Mexican border I see the similarities between many popular Mexican dishes and the Puerto Rican staples my mother would prepare. Here is a look at three standard Puerto Rican dishes and their counterparts found in traditional Mexican, Cuban, and Dominican cuisine. 1.

Diseñador jóven fabrica ropa de sueños

El Paso- Hace un año, Héctor Fabián Ruiz, de 24 años de edad, cumplió su sueño desde niño al comenzar su propia línea de ropa en El Paso designando ropa para familiares y amigos. Inspirado en los búhos ahora se ha convertido en uno de los jóvenes diseñadores con más auge en la cuidad. “Desde que estaba en kínder, me encantaba dibujar, pintar y ahora que estoy grande me gusta mucho la moda, especialmente la ropa de modo urbano”, dijo Ruiz, que actualmente estudia diseño de moda en EPCC. “La idea de fabricar ropa fue de uno de los miembros de mi familia, el me dio una idea muy grande y por eso estoy haciendo esto ahora”, comentó Ruiz. Desde hace tres años, Ruiz trabaja tiempo completo en Talecris Rescursos de Plasma (TPR), por sus siglas en inglés, un centro de recolección de plasma.

Two young girls dressed up to celebrate the Fourth of July take in the scenic view of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, from Tom Lea Park on Rim Road. Photo credit: Kate Gannon

Borderzine’s  top stories of 2014 readers showed a wide range of interests in the most viewed stories of 2014. Not surprisingly, among our top-ranked stories and columns were issues of immigration and border policies ranging from a migrant humanitarian crisis and immigration reform to a call for deporting an ill-mannered Canadian pop-star. Also popular were stories about the economy, small businesses and sustainability efforts. Other top stories looked at drugs, corruption, abuse and human rights struggles. Still, many readers also found inspiration in family tradition and an exhibit of street art.

Decades of helping migrant farm workers leads to founder of El Paso shelter meeting the Pope

EL PASO – When Carlos Marentes decided to help migrant farm workers who slept on cold sidewalks in Downtown El Paso he never imagined it would one day lead him to meeting the Pope. Marentes, who opened El Centro de los Trabajadores Agrículturas Fronterizos (The Border Farmworkers Center) in 1995, was one of three people selected from the U.S. to take part in the World Meeting of Popular Movements conference at the Vatican in late October. The conference was an open discussion about poverty, unemployment, loss of homes and land that affect people around the world. Marentes was surprised to receive an invitation to the conference. “I was meeting the pope,” Marentes said.

Take warning signs of dating abuse seriously, mother warns

EL PASO – When 16-year-old Monica Sanchez started dating high school senior Jorge Gurrola her mother warned her of his history of abusing other girlfriends. “I’m not stupid, it wont happen to me,” she told her mother, Maria Sanchez. But it did happen, Maria Sanchez said. Gurrola was jealous and possessive causing him to begin verbally abusing Monica Sanchez and threatening to hurt both of them if Monica hurt their relationship. Her mother would try to talk with her when she came home with bruises.

Despite economic challeng, Anthony Wright, 24, is focused on his dream to run in the 2016 Olympics.

UTEP track star steps up training to take a run at Rio 2016 Summer Olympics

EL PASO — Anthony Wright came to a crossroads early in life – follow a life of drugs and crime like other kids in his neighborhood, or follow his dream of being a world-class track star. Now, a few months after graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso in May 2104, Wright, 24, is about to do something only a select few dream of doing. A dual citizen of Germany and the United States, he is training to secure a spot on a team to compete in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in Brazil. “I’ve always been drawn to sports, soccer, basketball, and I always gathered around the groups that always isolated themselves with sports,” Wright said. “I am good at it and I think it’s amazing the ability the human body has and what it can do.”

The 5’9, 190 pound athlete with dark brown hair and eyes peppers his conversations with German phrases like Guten morgen (Good morning), and Wie geht es ihnen?

8 things to know when considering becoming a go-go dancer

Go-go dancing might seem like an easy job. You just get in front of people at a club or party and dance, right? Wrong. There is so much more to it than just moving around. As a former go-go dancer I learned the hard way that it takes more than just looks and moves to succeed.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Street Art (Photo Gallery)


EL PASO – On December 12 Catholics the world over, especially in Latin America, celebrate the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In Mexico this is one of the most important holidays of the year. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. She is called La Reina de Mexico the Queen of Mexico and is quite a cultural icon. In 1999 Pope John Paul II proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe a patron saint of all the Americas. Photography students at UT El Paso compiled this gallery of images of Our Lady of Guadalupe seen on murals and signs throughout the city.  

Literary readings add culture to Juárez bus rides

CIUDAD JUÁREZ—Every fifteen days Edgar Rincón and his wife Verónica Martínez along with their two children Diego y Elena, walk towards the footbridge in front of Plaza Juárez Mall, to wait for the ruta, the city’s public transportation. This might seem like an everyday event in Juárez, a place where most of the people use rutas as their main form of transportation, except that when the Rincón Martínez family gets on the bus, they distribute free booklets that contain poems and stories that later they read aloud. En Espanol: Hoja de Ruta le trae cultura a ciudad Juárez

“—Hey you up there, Ignacio, tell me if you can not hear a sign of something or see some light somewhere—” Martínez, 42, proclaimed when reading the story, Do you hear the dogs barking? from Mexican writer Juan Rulfo to a diverse group of passengers. “We are surprised to see children, men, everybody, very interested in the reading,” Martínez said.

El Paso’s unique style shines in holiday gifts and supporting local businesses

EL PASO/SUNLAND PARK — From fresh local produce and artisan foods to hand-woven baskets and natural soaps, Ardovino’s Desert Crossing in Sunland Park, New Mexico is one popular local spot to get a taste of El Paso and New Mexico specialties. Julia Cipriano, owner of Of The Earth Beads & Jewelry, greets potential customers with a genuine smile at her booth. She tells shoppers that she can adjust any piece of handmade jewelry to their liking. She calls it negotiation. “Once I make something, even if I make a duplicate, it’s not an exact duplicate,” said Cipriano, who has been beading bracelets, earrings and necklaces since childhood.

5 pizza combos worth trying in El Paso

EL PASO—My love for pizza is undeniable. I find it fascinating that you could eat pizza every single day of your life and never repeat the same combination. Delectable, creamy cheese that melts in your mouth is the one layer that’s a constant among many variations. Usually, it is the endless toppings that range from spicy meats to fresh vegetables on top of a delectable crust make pizza unique. I decided to take my infatuation of pizza eating to the next level by driving to several of El Paso’s locally owned restaurants to try a diverse range of pizzas.

Immigrant rights advocates bring protest, Aztec dance, prayer to free detainee in El Paso

El Paso – Alexi Cruz may not have realized he had friends in this border community until he was on the verge of being deported. Cruz, 24, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has lived in the U.S. since he was 14 years old, was detained in early November by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after his car broke down on the way to Arizona. He was on his way from his home in San Antonio to see his mother in Arizona because authorities had apprehended his sister. His wife, Anayanse Garza, said that Cruz sought help after his car broke down in New Mexico near the Arizona border and was questioned by law enforcement officers about his residential status. The Border Patrol was called to pick him up.

Womens T-shirt – Black / Sexy / Long Sleeve

Women looking for a sexy new shirt to wear on dates or during a night of recreational activities will love this must-have shirt from dresshead online. The front of the shirt is deceptively modest, with solid black fabric covering up the woman’s front. However, the sides, sleeves, and back are made of a mesh material that provides a seductive see-through look. The combination of these two fabric choices give the shirt a flirty, fun, and daring appeal. The shirt also features a wide collar that extends out and allows a teasing peek at the wearer’s shoulders.

Endometriosis, a painful stealth disease, attacks women under many disguises

EL PASO — Melissa Ronquillo, was a teenager when she first experienced some painful and bewildering pelvic cramps and pain that radiated down her legs. The mystery discomfort continued for years until at age 24 it was diagnosed as endometriosis

“I have painful cramps, pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, nausea, and back pain not only during my cycle but in between, as well as when I exercise.”said Ronquillo,33. The Mayo Clinic describes endometriosis,which affects 176 million women and girls worldwide, as a painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of a woman’s uterus, referred to as the endometrium, grows outside. The symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue and in more severe cases infertility. Although there is no known definitive cause for the disorder, there are many treatments available to make life with endometriosis easier.

El Paso marchers join global protest against kidnapping of Mexican students in Ayotzinapa

EL PASO—With their fists raised in mid-air, more than 80 persons including students, and teachers, marched through downtown streets shouting out against the kidnapping and suspected killing of Mexican students in Ayotzinapa in the state of Guerrero. They started the march Friday, November 21,at the University of Texas at El Paso, ending at the main doors of the Mexican consulate. “Who has the leadership, the students or the government that killed them!” they shouted. Photo gallery: El Paso march, vigil demands justice for Mexican students
En español: Marcha en El Paso da grito de apoyo a Ayotzinapa
Voces / Commentary: Condenan en El Paso la muerte de los estudiantes y la corrupción en México

Different groups gathered in this march. The students came from the organizations Ayotzinapa Sin Fronteras and the Master of Social Work Student Organization.

Today’s parents challenged by tech trends changing childhood experience

EL PASO – Vanessa Canales has seen her daughters — ages 2 and 3 — give up playing with dolls and switch to spending long hours every day glued to the family’s iPad and her iPhone. And she’s all for it. “Parents are becoming too over protective when it comes to allowing children to incorporate technology in their play time. They must realize the importance it will have later on in their life,” said Canales, 30, a nurse at Las Palmas Medical Center. But widespread public concern that technological devices may have negative effects on young children, such as a lack of social skill development and even obesity, have driven some of the world’s leading technology innovators to put a damper on their children’s use of mobile tools.

Fire, dance, fun fuel Odd Lab entertainment project

Odd Lab, a flow arts entertainment troupe, found a new level of expression while preparing for its performance at El Paso’s Chalk the Block festival in October. “This pushes us to a theatrical production standard that we’ve never had the incentive to really accomplish,” said Georgina Armendariz-Ramirez, director and coordinator of the group. Find out more about Odd Lab at their website here. Members of Odd Lab, who practice on Rim Road overlooking the city, spent up to 12 hours a day perfecting their skills and planning for the 7th annual Chalk the Block, which drew more than 30,000 people to Downtown El Paso October 10-12. The group unveiled a 20 minute Shadow Box Theatre show as well as a 40 minute fire show that were developed especially for the festival.

At 80, El Paso folklorico pioneer Rosa Guerrero still lets faith guide her steps

EL PASO – Dressed in a bright orange jacket adorned with a necklace and a crucifix pendant, Rosa Guerrero flashes a warm smile, projecting the trademark youthful spirit and upbeat stamina that belie her approaching 80th birthday. “Age is just a matter of the mind,” Guerrero said as she sipped her cranberry and orange juice drink, a mix she concocted herself. “If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.”

Guerrero’s long resume in the professional dance world has not weighed her down. An avid dancer in all types of genres, a dance teacher of students that range in age from two-year- olds to 100-year-olds, and an ambassador for Mexican folkloric dance, her love for dance is evident in the rhythm of her hand gestures and expressive nature. “I started dancing in my mother’s womb,” Guerrero exclaimed as she sculpted a simple dance move with her hands.

Border job growth tied to better college prep, school funding

EL PASO – Political and community leaders on the U.S.-Mexico border are promoting improved college graduation rates as a key to future economic development in the region. The importance of increasing the number of college graduates to attract and fill high skill, high paying jobs was a big part of the discussion at the 2014 Border Legislative Conference Sept. 12 in El Paso. The conference brought together civic, political and business leaders from both sides of the border to talk about issues of trade, commerce, mobility and education. “There must be a push for higher education in order for the border region to succeed,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.

Award-winning writers team up in Texas to broadcast unique national showcase for creative writing

EL PASO – A little stubble on his face, a fedora hanging on an empty microphone to his right, Daniel Chacon is ready to record Words on a Wire, a KTEP-FM weekly radio show that showcases some of the best in creative writing. The show, in its fourth year, is attracting listeners throughout the borderlands and beyond. That’s no surprise to the creator of the show, Chacon, a University of Texas at El Paso associate professor of creating writing and novelist who has a reputation around campus as being somewhat eccentric. A lover of reading and books since childhood (his favorite book as a child was “Danny and the Dinosaur”), several years ago Chacon began thinking about doing thought-provoking radio interviews with accomplished writers. After discussing the idea with then chair of the UTEP creative writing department, Benjamin Alire Saenz, they agreed to approach El Paso’s public radio station KTEP-FMA with the idea.

Smith-Soto’s street photography – the human condition, one frame at a time

With one quick motion of his finger on the camera shutter release, David Smith-Soto erases the boundaries of time and eternalizes an intimate instant as two lovers stare into each other’s eyes. “It’s a glimpse of intimacy,” said David Flores, photographer and special collections archivist at the University of Texas at El Paso. “This is life one frame at a time.”

The black and white photograph taken in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2000 entitled “Lovers” is one of 26 prints in David Smith-Soto’s street photography exhibit in the Glass Gallery at the University of Texas at El Paso,

Photo Gallery: The Street Photography of David Smith-Soto

Smith-Soto said he was pleased to show some of his 60 years of photography to a large audience, but that the purpose of the show was to raise funds for journalism student internships. “We need to send out more students into the world, so that means we need more funding for that,” said Zita Arocha director of Borderzine, UTEP’s online bilingual magazine. Arocha said it costs approximately $3000 to send one student on an internship.

The Mextasy of William Nericcio dashes stereotypes and builds ‘mexicanidad’

EL PASO— The Mexican experience in America, presented with verve as a celebration of the culture and and as a bulwark against negative stereotypes in popular art and media was dubbed Mextasy by Dr. William Anthony Nericcio. “This anti-Mexican fervor needs to be met with a kind of invocation of mexicanidad that needs to be equally strong,” Nericcio says. “You got to attack it with the same power with the same fervor, with the same dynamic focus.”

Nericcio captivated a room of faculty members and students when he came to the University of Texas at El Paso recently to discuss and present his travelling art show,

TheMextasypop-up exposition contains objects that Nericcio has collected over the years, Ranging from dolls to posters that harken back to the 1950’s representing and satirizing the Mexican experience in the United States, representing an analysis of Hollywood’s contribution to perceptions of Mexican ethnic identities. Nericcio gets serious when addressing how consumers should fight the negative commentary on Mexicans that some commentators in media like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter advocate. Ectasy healing

For Nericcio, Mextasy can be seen as a form of defense and cure against those Mexican stereotypes and tropes.

Brothers predict tea trend timing is right for a refreshing new business

EL PASO —After an inspiring speaker at summer church camp described how ordinary people can achieve extraordinary goals, brothers Andrew and Michael Estrada saw their future in the tea leaves. What started as a classic dream for the Estrada brothers at that camp in 2012 in Sacramento, N.M, became a reality in 2014 with the first shipment of “radically refreshing” Humanitea bottled tea. “Fresh brewed tea is just another level of good,” said Andrew Estrada, 26. “At youth camp, we always drink tea. Literally, brewed tea.”

When asked why tea above all else, he said, “It dawned that people don’t like tea because it’s not made correctly.”

The Estrada brothers’ journey began when they came back home from summer camp.

Food truck trend continues to grow as profits roll in

EL PASO — A hungry motorist driving on the desert highway on the east side of this border city could suddenly come up on Jesus Ramos’ El Vaquero food truck, stop and enjoy an “elotes,” a corn concoction that has its origins in old Mexico. “I have been in the food truck business for 30 years,” said Ramos, who specializes in serving the elotes, a mix of corn, butter, cheese and chile in a styrofoam cup. “I began in Mexico, and have only recently been in El Paso for three years. I sell 300 elotes a day at $3 to $5 each and to me it’s well worth the work of owning a food truck.” Opening a mobile restaurant or food truck is not an easy task.

Now cheer this, Super Fans take a stand for the crowd

There are sports fans, and then there’s the Super Fan – that extra player in the stands who cranks up the crowd to cheer, sing and human wave the team to victory, or at least have a good time trying. In El Paso, many people may recognize Gregg Bush as that guy. “If I can help the sports teams that I care about succeed and win, I’ll do my best to cheer my team onto victory,” Bush said. And cheer them on he does. He is a regular in the stands at UT El Paso games, a fixture in the third-base section at El Paso Chihuahuas baseball games and in the heart of crowd at The Corner Tavern and Grill for major league soccer and other games.