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.

Being bicultural and bilingual propelled Mike Martinez to success

EL PASO, Texas — Stepping out of a business meeting to negotiate his transfer from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago, Mike Martinez looked out into a violent Chicago blizzard. “It was snowing horizontally,” he recalled. He had been promised a move to Spain — a dream job for him — but the company decided they needed his skills at a national office. It was Christmas Day. He called his wife in San Juan telling her about the storm and asked her, “So, how would you like to move to Chicago?”

Downtown El Paso as seen from the Paseo del Norte International Bridge. (Sergio Chapa/

Downtowners Express Their Hopes for El Paso

EL PASO— A taxi driver, a shopper and merchants from downtown El Paso share their perspectives of the city’s history and their hopes for its future. The following video, audio and slideshow presentations were produced by the following participants in of the Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy held recently at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP): Jessica Retis, Bradford Owen, Mark Albertson and instructor Doug Mitchell. Downtown El Paso Merchants Tell Their Story

Raised in Two Cultures, But Uncomfortable in Both

EL PASO, Texas — “Can I have the rosa-pink sticker instead?” I would ask Miss Pat, my teacher at St. Mark’s when I was three years old. “I don’t like the amarillo-yellow one,” I would say. Growing up as a three year old, I distinctively remember my obsession with “rosa-pink.” I wanted everything —from my Barbie’s dress to the color of my room— to be “rosa-pink.” My aunts and uncles knew me as “rosa-pink” because everything I owned was “rosa-pink.”

Strangely enough, I never really thought of the term “rosa-pink” to be an odd way to refer to the color pink. It was just the way my mother taught me how to say pink in both Spanish and English.

Bilingual city can be an obstacle to learning English

EL PASO, Texas — It’s a beautiful thing that a majority of El Paso is bilingual.  I don’t think I have ever been anywhere else in the United States where so many people can speak more than one language. Only a minority of the population is monolingual. For those readers who are bilingual, being bilingual can open a lot of doors in other cities, but you can also be very problematic for a person trying to learn English. I realized this while I was tutoring an adult ESL class.

En la frontera

EL PASO — Mucha gente me pregunta si me gusta vivir en El Paso. Lo hacen ya convencidos de que voy a decir que no. Piensan que me gustaría estar en otra ciudad, pero que bueh… caí acá. Después se sorprenden cuando digo que me encanta vivir en El Paso.

Spiralmind Comic Delivers in English and Spanish

EL PASO — On a recent Friday afternoon, three engineers in baseball caps and sneakers sit in a downtown cafe plotting a narrative that involves werewolves, fallen angels and a rabbi who performs exorcisms.

Ben Perez (39) and Matt Rothblatt (37), test engineers at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, grew up watching horror films. As kids, they created make-believe radio shows and stuffed animal theatre for their sisters. Now adults, the two cousins maintain an active imagination. They’re self-publishing a comic book series called Spiralmind; and they’re releasing it in both English and Spanish. The idea for the main character has been living in Perez’s mind since childhood. Related: Few realize Syfy comic book character’s links to El Paso

“When I was a little boy my mom would take us to go see the movies,” he said.