The Realism of El Paso’s Art Scene | Fusion Magazine #69

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Fusion

The newest issue of the Fusion Mag is out and it’s a good one! I’ve been writing for Fusion for the last two years now although it’s gotten a little more difficult to find time to write since I started working at Destination El Paso last year, it’s been a rewarding experience. My editors, Alex and Oscar, are very down to Earth and intelligent guys. Without them, my articles wouldn’t come out as awesome as they do.

Page 11

For this issue, I wrote a piece called ‘The Realism of El Paso’s Art Scene where I interviewed two El Paso artists, Tino Ortega & Juan Ornelas, and discussed the origins and reason behind the art proliferation in our city. I based the article off the February episode of the Visit El Paso podcast that I recorded. 

You can read the article in the paper version Fusion Mag, which you can find at the following distribution points:

  • The Garden in Union Plaza
  • Downtown Public Library
  • The Headstand in the Northeast
  • Guitar Center
  • All That Music
  • FYE Basset
  • FYE Sunland
  • Entertainmart
  • RAM Convenience Store
  • Kinley’s Coffee House
  • UTEP Union East
  • EPCC Rio Grande Valle Verde
  • San Carlos Building
  • Las Cruces / Chihuahua / Juarez
  • Destination El Paso Visitor Centers

Or you can read the magazine online at Issuu. To see other work I’ve written for Fusion Magazine, visit my Resume page here or on Behance. 

Enjoy!

Visit El Paso Podcast Episode 10 | History Vault – El Paso Origins

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history vault podcast cover 3I’ve been pretty much absent from my personal blog only because I’ve been working hard on work related things. I just recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with the El Paso Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (now Destination El Paso) and I really love it here!

One of the more awesome things that I get to do is podcast. As many of you folks know, I’ve been podcasting for a long time now – I’m not an “Ol’ G” by any sense, but I got my start helping out with the guys from Fuya Radio, then doing my own thing with The 915 Voice, and now finally the Visit El Paso podcast as a part of my Social Media Coordinator position.

El Paso truly is a very beautiful place to live in and part of what makes this place so wonderful is the wealth of history that we have here. It’s not just about the history that we read in books & hear from our grandparents; it’s also about the living stories that the architecture tells us, the characters that once roamed here and the ghosts that still go bump in the night.

So anyways – in addition to my regular monthly podcast for work, I’ve managed to make more (enjoyable) work for myself and added two NEW episode types: a history show & a music show.

Here’s the flagship episode of the History Vault and features local historian Jackson Polk giving us the most interesting & concise version of El Paso history that I’ve ever heard!

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: holisticgeek)

Saw this great document on Issuu today – it’s well designed and provided plenty of meaningful information! I normally don’t share stuff like this on my blog but it’s definitely something that I would like to refer to over & over and perhaps it’s something that you would like to share as well!

Starting your own personal meditation practice doesn’t need to be a cumbersome process. Just make sure you’re sitting properly in a posture that’s right for you (make sure your spine is straight the whole time) and focus on your breathing.

Don’t focus TOO hard on your breathing, though! Just empty your mind, control your breathing & let go. Trust me, meditation helps in all sorts of ways!

If you’re from El Paso and are looking for instruction in meditation or just want to find a group to meditate with, these are my suggestions:

Podcasting & Stuff

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I case you weren’t aware of it, I’ve been podasting for a while. I got my start with a group of then-friends a few years ago with ‘The Lady Bits’ show then started my own show, ‘The 915 Voice’ a few years back.

Now I podcast as a part of my job of being a Social Media Coordinator for the El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau, a job I absolutely love. One day I’ll write more about what I do on a day to day basis – it’s not as simple as just being on Twitter or Facebook all day (although I do that too!)

So here’s my latest podcast episode. Any feedback would be cool – my tone, timing, etc. Hope y’all enjoy!

Labor Day Brewskies

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grain

This weekend was full of adventure for Aaron and I. He was pretty much my assistant while I covered the Sun City Music Festival for Visit El Paso, we also had a little cookout and made a batch of beer. If you haven’t been reading my blog for very long, Aaron is my long-time boyfriend and a lot of what happens in my life is very intertwined with his.

While he was attending his last semester at NMSU, Aaron took a brewing class that changed his outlook on life and fostered a deep love for brewing. He’s made several batches since then but just transitioned into grain brewing recently. He’s starting with an IPA.

This is the first time that I have played an active part in the brewing process – and it was definitely interesting! A lot of steps are involved, lots of different equipment is used and the recipes are surprisingly simple, in my own opinion.

Aaron and I have been talking a lot about opening a brewery in the future, since beer making has become a major passion of his. My role would be more of an administrative / marketing position in the grand scheme of things, not really so much of the production, although I may participate in that from time to time. Together, we’re planning on picking a location, the construction or renovation and then a menu. Our model would follow something along the lines of High Desert Brewery in Las Cruces, NM.

I’m excited about this venture! There are a lot of elements to consider and this is certainly in it’s planning stages but it’s definitely something we’re planning on doing. For now, we’re just going to stay low on the radar until we have a physical location, a signature brew and a definitive brand identity under our belt!

A Little Bit of Henry C. Trost in Our Backyard : The John Muir Building

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Trost

Even though Henry C. Trost died in 1933, he’s been getting a lot of press in El Paso lately. Although I’m sure he was truly an interesting fellow himself, it’s actually his magnificent creations that have been creating all the buzz around town.

Trost has always been the center of attention in El Paso – he’s known as the ‘Architect of the Southwest’ and his architecture firm, Trost & Trost, was incredibly successful during it’s existence from 1905 – 1933. Together, the Trost brothers designed hundreds of buildings all over Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Mexico and Texas.

Commercial National.jpg

Yet no place saw such a permeation in Trost architecture than El Paso, Texas. In this city alone, he built over 200 structures in his lifetime, ranging from tiny bungalows to massive, Gothic-styled skyscrapers. Many of them continue to stand today but due to poor management over the years, a considerable amount of them have had to be demolished.

He was one who let himself be known by his works, rather than his words, one who made a valid and lasting contribution to the development of this great region. His was a life of purpose and achievement, and he leaves the Southwest richer for his having lived and worked in it.”

– El Paso Times 1933

The most recent of the demolitions is a corner building situated across the Plaza de los Lagartos, and was known in recent times as the John Muir Building. This particular building was built in 1916 and was known by many names during it’s lifetime:

  • Commercial National Bank Building (1916-1918)
  • Security Bank & Trust Co. (1918-1922)
  • El Paso National Bank (1925)

Muir

{About the Land} 

After some careful research, I thought that I’d mention the land that it sat on. It carries significant historical complexity and deserves at least a mention or two. The following quote is attributed directly to Margret Smith, grand-niece to Henry C. Trost:

“The land where the Commercial National Bank is – the John T. Muir Building – was owned by Mary Woods. She was the wealthiest black woman in El Paso and an ex-slave from Missouri.

She married John Woods, who was a constable here following the Civil War and afterward conducted a grocery store.

Together they bought the little adobe house that stood at the corner of Mills, then Louis Street, and Mesa Avenue. They paid $3,500 for the house and the ground. That was around 1894.

The value of the property in 1914 was $150,000 and the plan was for a 12-story concrete and steel frame building to be erected on the site of the one time adobe house by the Commercial National Bank, to cost $150,000.

After her husband died, she declined to sell the Downtown property. She did lease the building that now stands on the site to A.W. Bittick for a period of 75 years.

Bittick is associated with the Commercial National Bank in the construction of the 12-story office and bank building. This could be another reason to save the building.”

{About the Building}

The John Muir Building was particularly special in regards to it’s construction. It was the first skeleton steel fireproof building in El Paso and furthermore, it was originally intended to be a 14 story building, rather than the 3 story that it ended up being. What happened?

“The plans are for a 14 story building as seen in the perspective drawing in the Luhrs collection. Sheets 8, 9, and 10 of the plans in the EPPL, dated April 20, 1915, revise the elevation to the three story height as built. The fact that the building was not carried out as originally planned accounts for the blunt parapet, seen in Ponsford 120, instead of the ornamental cornice one would expect in a Trost commercial building.”

I went to the El Paso Public Library to check the architectural plans out. Very beautiful…full of hand drawn detail.

{The Demolition} 

The demolition of the John Muir Building has been covered by the local media and Historical Associations extensively, so I won’t harp on that too much.

There are good sides & bad sides to every story but what I believe is that Borderplex mislead City Council into believing that there was no architectural significance left in the building to try to save.

To be fair, when the building was modernized, it looked like shit. No one knew whether the layers of plaster had ruined the features of the building. Once the demolition began and layers of old plaster were knocked off, the remnants of the Trost masterpiece shown through.

{The Aftermath}

BRICKS

I called the demolition company to make arrangements to buy some of the brick. After some haggling and a few calls later, they decided to allow me to take as many bricks as I wanted…for FREE. 

These bricks were destined for the landfill and so I’m glad we were able to snag a few before they were carted away. My crafty boyfriend will be putting great use to these after he finishes building an engine for his 1975 K5 Blazer. The plan is to build a fire pit and benches with the bricks – follow me on Instagram to keep up with that project once it starts coming into fruition!

The Great Work and The 6 Realms of Suffering

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Ysufferingoga studios and alternative healing centers are finally becoming popular in my city. I’m pretty stoked about this development – I am always looking for fellowship in these sorts of practices so that I can build tangible knowledge and meet people who perhaps share the same life ideologies that I do.

I’m not a yogi but I am a Thelemite and practicing yoga is one of the many methods to obtain knowledge of the self and lead us on our individual paths, known as the Great Work.

This past Sunday, I attended a workshop at The Root, a yoga studio down the street from my place. The workshop was about the “6 Ways That We Suffer & How Not To” and was led by Michael Boyle. I found out about the workshop through Facebook and the event page recommended the following article as a primer on what we were going to discuss:

The Six Ways We Suffer

I read the article and took one of my Moleskine journals with me to the workshop to write notes. I recommend you read the above article to gain an understanding of the lecture. If you’re interested in hearing what Michael had to teach us that day, listen to the below MP3:


To learn more about the 6 realm teachings, please visit http://www.dharmainc.org/

In 1986, the World Was a Different Place

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Today, I saw a post from my friend Diluted Thought, that begged for a click.

Miguel

I went to the website and went on an instant nostalgia trip. What surprised me is not only how long it went, but how well written and engaging it was.

I was born on August 27th, 1986 and below is what the site enlightened me with. You can find out too, by going to: http://whathappenedinmybirthyear.com/

In 1986, the world was a different place.

There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. Or Stumbleupon, for that matter.

In 1986, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Top Gun. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.

Remember, that was before there were DVDs. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.

Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Platoon. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to The Assault. The top actor was Paul Newman for his role as Fast Eddie Felson in The Color of Money. The top actress was Marlee Matlin for her role as Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God. The best director? Oliver Stone for Platoon.

In the year 1986, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was It by Stephen King. Oh, that’s many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it? Look at the cover!

In 1986… Spain and Portugal enter the European Community, which later becomes the European Union. The Province of Flevoland is established in the Netherlands. The United Kingdom and France announce plans to construct the Channel Tunnel. The first PC virus, Brain, starts to spread. The first federal Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., is observed. The Voyager 2 space probe makes its first encounter with Uranus. The Today national tabloid newspaper is launched in the United Kingdom, pioneering the use of computer photosetting and full-colour offset printing, at a time when British national newspapers still use Linotype machines and letterpress. A treaty ends the Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. American college basketball player Len Bias suffers a fatal cardiac arrhythmia from a cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after being selected 2nd overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA Draft. Greg LeMond wins the Tour de France. The cargo ship Khian Sea departs from the docks of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, carrying 14,000 tons of toxic waste. It wanders the seas for the next 16 months trying to find a place to dump its cargo. Average per capita income in Japan exceeds that in the USA. Australian singer John Farnham releases the album Whispering Jack, which becomes the highest selling album in Australia’s history. The video game of the day was Arkanoid.

That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.

The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Wole Soyinka. The Nobel Peace prize went to Elie Wiesel. The Nobel prize for physics went to Ernst Ruska from West Germany for his fundamental work in electron optics, and for the design of the first electron microscope. The sensation this created was big. But it didn’t stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn’t it?

The 1980s were indeed a special decade. The Soviet-Afghan war goes on. Eastern Europe sees the collapse of communism. Policies like Perestroika and Glasnost in the Soviet Union lead to a wave of reforms. Protests are crushed down on Tiananmen Square in China. Ethiopa witnesses widespread famine. Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown. The AIDS pandemic begins. The role of women in the workplace increased greatly. MTV is launched in the US. There is opposition against Apartheid in South Africa as well as worldwide. Heavy Metal and Hard Rock bands are extremely popular. The rise of Techno music begins. Originally primarily played on campus radio stations, College Rock enters the scene with bands like the Pixies, REM and Sonic Youth. The Hip Hop scene continues to evolve. Teletext is introduced. Gay rights become more widely accepted in the world. Opposition to nuclear power plants grows. The A-Team and Seinfeld are popular on TV. US basketball player Michael Jordan bursts on the scene. Super Mario Bros, Zelda’s Link, and Pac-Man gain fame in video games. People wear leggings, shoulder pads and Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Do you know what was on the cover of Life that year?

Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Pearl Harbor. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Fallin’ by Alicia Keys. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?

In 1986, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song Rock Me Amadeus by Falco topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.

Amadeus Amadeus, Amadeus
Amadeus Amadeus, Amadeus
Amadeus Amadeus, oh oh oh Amadeus
Er war Superstar
Er war populär
Er war so exaltiert
Because er hatte Flair
Er war ein Virtuose
War ein Rockidol
Und alles rief:
Come on and rock me Amadeus

There’s a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn’t care about time. It doesn’t know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.

When you were 9, the movie The City of Lost Children was playing. When you were 8, there was The Next Karate Kid. When you were 7, there was a Disney movie out called The Lion King. Does this ring a bell?

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… it’s 1986. There’s TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is The Real Ghostbusters. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There’s The Hogan Family on now. That’s the world you were born in.

Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1986.

No no no, 1986 there’s Roos on my feet
I’m riding in the back seat
Staring at the back of my momma’s head
I’m daydreaming my day away

That’s from the song 1986 by Discover America.

In 1986, a new character entered the world of comic books: The Tick. Bang! Boom! But that’s just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1986, Amanda Bynes was born. And Lindsay Lohan. Charlotte Church, too.

And you, of course.

Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.

It’s 2013.

The world is a different place.

What path have you taken?

The Story of How We Met

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Herein follows a sappy post. If that’s not your thing, stop and head over to Imgur right now. Now.

Still here? Alright…this is a ‘special edition’ of ‘Weekend In The Life’…read on.

In June 2012, I went to an ongoing, monthly party in Downtown El Paso called ‘La Parada – First Fridays‘. I hadn’t been in a relationship in years and I was enjoying the success that my freelance writing was bringing me. Every time I went to ‘La Parada’, I met new friends, enjoyed new music and the atmosphere was something that I looked forward to every month.

That particular month though, a creepy, drunk, older man was following me around. He kept on flirting with me and I continued to politely turn him down until all I felt that all I was doing the entire night was avoiding him – I couldn’t focus on having fun.

Suddenly, I saw a brawny, Hispanic guy pulling that creepy older guy up. As the brawny guy passes by, I tugged on his shirt and told him ‘Hey your friend is really drunk. He’s been bugging me all night.’ He apologizes and offers to get me a beer so I follow him inside, accept the beer and start chatting it up.

We ended up dancing swing for the rest of the night. As we were talking, I learned that his name was Aaron and that was going to leave to Spain the very next day for 30 days as a part of a study abroad program that he was a part of through NMSU. I didn’t think that I would see him again but I enjoyed our evening together and I left him with my contact card.

Normally, the muscular guy isn’t my type. Previously to Aaron, I had assumed that all beefy guys were jerks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s a hard working guy, just graduated with three degrees, puts family first and can build just about anything he sees.

I love him because he accepts me more than anyone else has ever accepted me in my entire life. He has no preconceived notions of who I am and doesn’t see me as a stepping stone. I can tell him anything and be silly around him. I can cry and know he’s the best person to comfort me. Best of all, we’re both explorers of life: we love trying new foods, seeing new places and planning weekend excursions together.

I wrote this post because I’ve really never discussed my relationship before and this is, after all, my personal blog. It’s something nice for us to look back on and remember the early days & years of our relationship.

Our anniversary, July 6th, went great! He bought me a dozen roses, hand made me a coffee table humidor, inlaid with sour favorite memories together this past year and made an awesome valet for me. We went to La Parada as an homage to having met at the party a year ago and caught a live performance from The Lusitania, a local El Paso band. He took me to eat at his favorite spot, El Rincon de Cortez, which just as quickly became my favorite for authentic Mexican food.

My gift to him was that I bought him an introductory flight course at Francis Aviation soon to be Blue Horizon Aviation and hand drew him an Aries art piece. I’ll be posting about the art piece soon!

aaron

Great memories made this past year & weekend! Looking forward to what the future brings…

Downtown StreetFest Weekend!

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I have a very fun job in the tourism industry and the best part about that is that El Paso is just one of those places that is bursting alive with new things to do and new places to see! If that’s not enough, we’re lucky to be situated in a geographical location that makes adventures to New Mexico or Mexico as easy as jumping in the car with a full tank of gas.

I’ve set up IFTTT to automatically create a WordPress draft every time I post a photo on my personal Instagram account. I’ve been a little slow in posting only because 70% of my time is used for work social media – so between tending to my apartment, creating art and taking care of my boyfriend, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time left to post on my personal blog.

So anyways, I posted the above photo on my Instagram account a few days ago. This weekend, I’ll be covering the El Paso Downtown Street Festival! I wrote the StreetFest for Fusion Magazine last year and now that I work for the Convention & Visitors Bureau, I get to take photos & live post about everything going on.

If you’re going to the Street Fest, make sure to follow Visit El Paso on the following social media networks:

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Flickr
Google +

Covering fun events like this is definitely the best thing about working in the Tourism or Entertainment Industry! I’ve covered Neon Desert Music Festival for the CVB and Sun City Music Festival for El Paso Times.

Alright folks, have a great weekend! Feel free to send me a tweet every once in a while, ya hear?!

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