Tuesday, November 03, 2015

306 Sessions, Episode 1 (El Paso, TX)

I'm hosting a new series called the 306 Sessions that will showcase awesome, local bands and musicians. 

The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series (A BorderSenses Event) is teaming up with Zeven Music Entertainment to bring you this live open mic + web series.

Check out Episode 1 of the 306 Sessions!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Radio Xuco!

Radio Xuco: Your Prescription has Arrived!

Makes sure to check out Radio Xuco on facebook.

Radio Xuco is a music/dj collective that has been playing Tuesday nights at Sumatra Hookah Lounge (916 N. Mesa). It is always a really chill night with GREAT music! Come on out and bring your friends (or even make new ones!)  No cover! 18 and up! Always BYOB!

Radio Xuco
Tuesday nights
at Sumatra Hookah Lounge

Radio Xuco DJs Hiberto y La Tripa at Sumatra Hookah Lounge. Sketch by Rex Waide

Saturday, January 26, 2013

(1/26/13) Rio Grande Review & The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series presents: RGR Release Party and Open Mic!

For the first show of the year, The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series is teaming up with UTEP's Rio Grande Review to celebrate the release of their latest magazine!
The event will feature the electronic music of Deuz-Ah, readings from authors published in the magazine, as well as the open mic with a special guest DJ!
Come through and enjoy! There will be raffles & giveaways!
Hope to see you there! Peace!
Location: The Percolator
217 N. Stanton St. EPT
6:00 pm - No Cover
for more info, and to be informed about future events, please follow The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series on Facebook. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Auditions for Original Chuco Town Piece: Tue, Jan 22 and Wed, Jan 23

Local writer, Celia Aguilar, is writing a theatrical piece that addresses issues of violence in our community and the "culture of violence" affecting the world at large.
This piece will be performed at a One Billion Rising event (onebillionrising.org) in El Paso Texas February 14th at 7:00 p.m.
Dinner will be provided for you (the cast) and a loved one on the day of the event.

Auditions will be held Tuesday January 22nd and Wednesday January 23rd from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Armijo Branch Library. Parts will be posted soon! You can come with a prepared piece or you can audition with a cold reading.

Lend your talents to a movement that addresses violence and oppression globally and locally. Join local artists and organizers working to make a positive change.

If you can act, or if you want to act, you are right for the part!

For more information (including character list), follow up on Facebook: Auditions for Original Chuco Town Piece   

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Reward of Teaching...

I always start reading through a stack of my classroom evaluations with a sense of trepidation, yet as I carefully ease through each response, I always end up feeling better than ever regarding my ability to connect with and encourage my students.
At the very heart of it, I’ve felt that teaching is an act of love - love, in that all-encompassing sense in which we strive to share our craft through…not knowledge, but passion.  
When my students show their appreciation for the moments we have shared in forming knowledge/creativity/fun, my heart swells. There may be stressful, painfully unwinding moments in academia, but I am always reminded that I am where I want to be, and on the right path.  

a refreshingly enjoyable student comment from a course evaluation.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Fundraiser for the Farmworker's Center (Dec. 8th 2012)

The EP Poetry Project was amazing last night! More on that later, but for now, I want to promote another event that needs support this evening in El Paso.

Fundraiser for the Farmworker's Center - Saturday Dec. 8th @ Glasbox (1500 Texas Ave) ~ 7 pm
$5 at the door, and the benefit will be also be accepting clothing and blankets to be used by the farmworkers. Presented by Movimiento Hunab Ku.

The event is written up, in "What's Up" Magazine, and that's what's up.

I'll be sharing some of my poetry alongside some talented musicians that I have worked with before with the experimental hip-hop group, Endangered Language.

Here is what the organizers have to say:

Movimiento Hunab Ku is inviting you the fundraising event for the Farmworker Center Saturday December 8th 630pm for a night of music, poetry and live painting. $5 at the door. All proceeds from the door will be given to the Farmworker Center.

Everyday we consume produce that was harvested by men, women and children who make a living as migrant farmworkers. Centro Sin Fronteras is a non-profit organization that assists farmworkers and their families.

During the cold season, farm workers from our region don’t have much work. In fact, many of them find themselves unemployed and without anything to send back home to their families for the holidays. Therefore, please consider making a donation to the Border Farm Workers Center: we accept monetary contributions, clothes, jackets, blankets, shoes, toys, food (canned or not), toiletries, etc.… If you would like more information please contact Centro Sin Fronteras at 201 East Ninth Avenue (esquina con calle Oregon), El Paso, Texas 79901. Tel. (915) 532-0921. O escribe a:
marentes@farmworkers.org Thank you! ☺

Ya que entró la temporada fría y el trabajo en los campos agrícolas escasea, Sin Fronteras necesita el apoyo de todas y de todos.

El tiempo de frío es el tiempo en que Sin Fronteras proporciona ayuda de emergencia a las y a los trabajadores agrícolas y sus familias, para que no padezcan hambre y frío. Pero para llevar a cabo esta misión, necesitamos la solidaridad de todas las personas de buena voluntad.

Estamos solicitando que nos ayuden con:

- Frijol
- Arroz
- Azúcar
- Papas
- Pastas de fideo
- Salsa de tomate
- Sal
- Harina

Y todo tipo de comida no perecedera.

Además, estamos recabando ropa invernal, sobre todo chamarras para adultos, hombres y mujeres, cobijas, etc.

Y por supuesto, nos urgen voluntarios que puedan colaborar en estos tiempos tan difíciles para la comunidad de trabajadores agrícolas.

Todo el año, ellas y ellos laboran arduamente para producir la comida que nos alimenta.

¡Ayudemos en este tiempo en que ellas y ellos necesitan de nosotras y nosotros!

Para saber cómo ayudar, visita el Centro de los Trabajadores Agrícolas Sin Fronteras, 201 East Ninth Avenue (esquina con calle Oregon), El Paso, Texas 79901. Tel. (915) 532-0921. O escribe a:

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Calling El Paso: Support Local Poetry! Support the EP Poetry Project

Dear Readers,

I wanted to invite you to an upcoming Poetry event in El Paso, TX. The EP Poetry Project goes live on December 7th at The Network (317 E. Mills) @ 7 pm. The event is FREE!

This is a huge event for me, personally, but I do consider it to be big as far as the improvement of El Paso's cultural collective consciousness. A bunch of us wanted to get together and share the art of poetry with a large EP crowd. More importantly, we hope to encourage the youth and show them that there are great, positive things happening in the city. Heck, maybe we will even inspire the next generation of local poets.

Please spread the word and share our flyers!

EP Poetry Project, December 7th @ The Network. "Don't miss out. It's free, only because it will be priceless."

Poet Performers - Top Row: Giphted, Sphinx, RJ. Top Row:  Blacktree, and Rich. (not pictured: RAS, and Rock)

During the event itself, we will perform a number of selected poems as well as the debut of a new Group Piece featuring all members of the EP Poetry Project.

Afterwards, there will be a meet-and-greet with the poets. We will have tables featuring our merchandise (t-shirts, record-clocks, etc). I will be taking donations for the Farmworker Center in El Paso. This will be for the event on Saturday, Dec. 8th @ The Glasbox (1500 Texas Ave.). I'll be performing some of my poetry there as well.

Link to Fundraiser Event

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ikenbot (on Tumblr) thoughts on Thanksgiving

On days like these, I just like to pretend there’s no holiday… http://ikenbot.tumblr.com/post/36291751837/on-days-like-these-i-just-like-to-pretend-theres

Monday, November 05, 2012

Design: Wayne Stuart's Super-piano

"To us designers, particularly industrial designers, the appeal of a piano is obvious: It combines fine furniture making with clear-cut mechanical functions in a perfect blend of left- and right-brain activities. A piano is essentially a wood-and-metal machine that emits sonic art. Stuart wanted to push that art further, by doing something few would dare: Re-design one of the most popular musical objects in the world."

Wayne Stuart's Super-Piano, One of "Australia's Greatest Inventions & Innovations" - Core77

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Friday, November 02, 2012

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Top 10 Regrets (comic)

Oftentimes, "Wisdom" is obtained through learning from the experiences of others - this even includes inferring advice after learning about other people's biggest regret's in life. This is an interesting infographic from the people at Addicted2Success that relates some of the 10 ten regrets in life by those about the die.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School

Ah yes. The good ole' "Back to School" campaign! Regardless of the humor, I'm happy to be back.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

BWOMS cardboard sign

I quickly drew up this sweet little sign in order to promote the BWOMS event. Joe Vinny & Bronson's Bohemian Café 824 Piedras

The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series @ Joe Vinny & Bronson's Bohemian Cafe (August, 25th 2012)

Its time for another edition of The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series!
This month we will be holding BWOMS at Joe Vinny & Bronson's Bohemian Cafe

As the Percolator closes its doors, we are welcomed with open arms to the new urban coffe shop, Joe Vinny & Bronson's Bohemian Cafe. I've already been there a couple times and I definitely feel the vibe and overall atmosphere of this joint.

This evening's featured performer is poet, Lupe Mendez. We at BWOMS hope to have a successful and entertaining night for all!

Barbed Wire Open Mic Series
Joe Vinny & Bronson's Bohemian Cafe

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Gone from my Sight" - Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Free Hole Slam presents: Open mic featuring Sabrina Melendez (2012 Youth Slam Winner)

Free Hole Slam presents: Open mic featuring Sabrina Melendez (2012 Youth Slam Winner)

The Percolator 7pm
$3 margaritas!
It's Free - Be there!

P.S. Sabrina is a major up-and-coming El Paso poet who took the Poetry Slam scene by storm earlier this year. Actually, on second thought, she is already HERE! Come on out to hear her spectacular and moving verse. 

- Rich

Monday, June 04, 2012

Transit of Venus 2012—Sun Show Will Be Last for a Century

The Joys of the Universe in Action "After the 2012 Venus transit, we won't see another until 2117...[the] transit of Venus will be visible even to the naked eye—although astronomers caution that people should never look directly at the sun without proper protection.
To watch safely, observers should always use special "eclipse glasses" or telescopes equipped with solar filters. Perhaps the safest way to watch the transit of Venus is to make a pinhole camera."

Venus glides across the sun's face during its previous transit, seen from Flagler Beach Pier in Florida.
Photograph by Jim Tiller, Daytona Beach News-Journal/AP

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adventures in Rhythm and Rhyme: The Only Truth is Muse(sic)...

The only truth is music.... 
               The only truth is music....

Kerouac's words echo in my consciousness almost as in a familiar air; after all, for as long as I can remember, I've had the wildest dreams about music.

Long before I even flirted with the idea of being in a band, I had been slowly embracing my own role in the open mic poetry scene. Verse & Harmony helped me grow familiar with a new community of poets and musicians. It wasn't long until I met some cool cats who shared my passion for poetic expression through music. This put me on track to start entering a unique kind of music scene featuring many creative, talented, and passionate individuals.

I wanted to write a blog in order to reflect and share some of the groups I've had the pleasure of playing with these past years. So here it is!

First up....

The Stanton Street Collective -- Coffee house fusion - blend of original bossa nova jazz improvisation with the poetry of starry-eyed dreamers.  

We are a performing group of artists from El Paso/Juarez who believe in the power of art and performance to create communities. We have been referred to as several things but we just simply love to have a good time and invite everybody along for the ride. Some of my favorite memories with The Stanton Street Collective include driving to Albuquerque at 3 in the morning in order to play at a Buddhist Convention. We played in front a crowd of 200+, one of our best audiences ever.

We've played coffee shops, art galleries, street corners, yoga studios, academic conferences,, peace rallys, border fences, and mountain tops.

Our mediums for expression are: music, poetry, spoken word, storytelling, art, dancing, chanting, singing, laughter and love.

Take a Listen:


Live at the Percolator, 2010
Tony Melendez on the Mic, RAS with the BEAT
The Stanton Street Collective at Medallion's Restaurant
Yours truly at the helm, SSC at Medallion's Restaurant
Stanton St. Collective w/ Chrissy Gurrola at The Root Yoga Studio
SSC plays at The San Carlos Building
Check us out, on facebook: The Stanton Street Collective 

Through my work in SSC, I was able to partake in an original performing group known as...

Echoes in the Park -- drum circle magic, jam band, folk, go-go, beatnik, bebop, surf rock, etc.

Launching off of the growing success of our Friday night drum circles, several of us decided to create a unique performing group of live drumming and other miscellaneous instruments including the shakuhachi and the saxophone. We went on to perform several shows including the Free Hole Slam open mic as well as UTEP's Union Breezeway. 

A drum circle is a very powerful event, for every motion, every utterance is the music of the soul made visible. Stephen Nachmanovitch writes, “There is an old Sanskrit word, Lila (Leela), which means play. Richer than our word, it means divine play, the play of creation and destruction and re-creation, the folding and unfolding of the cosmos. Lila, free and deep, is both delight and enjoyment of this moment, and the play of God. It also means love. Lila may be the simplest thing there is---spontaneous, childish, disarming. But as we grow and experience the complexities of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard won achievement imaginable, and it's coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves." The spirit of the drum circle is in essence the invocation of that very concept, Lila. 
An effective drum circle then, can bring us into a state of Samadhi – absorbed, selfless, absolute concentration.

Through rhythm we can temporarily leave the plane of language and concepts. This process of liberation allows us to enter a realm of risk, instinct, and improvisation. We are living in the now, the present-moment. It is then that our bodies talk to us, manifested in the form of dance and music.

More importantly, we are connecting to others through rhythm and music.  As Nachmanovitch suggests, “Shared art making is, in and of itself, the expression of, the vehicle for, and the stimulus of human relationships”. Therefore, we must liberate ourselves through self-expression while also relearning how to listen to one another.  This promotes the integration of the different parts – of the individual or of the group – that moves together from silence into a cosmic dance. 

Take a listen:


While Echoes in the Park and The Stanton Street Collective were familiar with one another, my next venture was a bit more daring. Thanks to RAS, I was invited to take part in the next up-and-coming band in EP...

The Hypocrite Orchestra -- Afrobeat, Reggae, Ska, Jazz, World Pop

The Hypocrite Orchestra started as one, now there are many. Their sound spans the globe as West Africa, Jamaica, Latin America, Europe and The Middle East fuse into a danceable World Pop Hybrid. Alex Garcia, band leader has created some very catchy and original music.  Alex loves to recount his days drumming for the band, Outernational, who are heavily praised in this article from MTV due to their work with Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello.  If you're into the whole "degrees of separation" thing, then I can say I've played with a band several degrees away from the iconic, Rage Against the Machine. 

Playing with The Hypocrite Orchestra has given me the opportunity to play some really fun and exciting music at amazing shows, including several times playing in front of hundreds of troops and their families (thanks to USO). Below is a video of the time we rocked the entire joint into dancing:


Western Technological College: T-Robo Competition 2011 and Geek Fest
THO playing UTEP's Wednesday Music Cafe
THO live at The Hoppy Monk
THO live at The Lowbrow Palace
Live at The Hoppy Monk
THO playing a USO show for the troops

for more of The Hypocrite Orchestra, follow us on facebook.

Endangered Language -- experimental improvisational group featuring spoken word/Live drums/ a DJ/ Hip-Hop/ and Jazz!

Once upon a time, Rob Ni Se, Mauz, and Josh decided to create a socially conscious performance group (think along the linds of The Last Poets). Now the membership has slightly expanded to include the likes of DJ Gambol, Chris Serrano, Danny Tarango, and Myself. We have a solid sound that just needs a little bit of refining - but we're going to rock out either way.

Check, check, check. Check it out:

Rob and Rich busking downtown El Paso

The people behind the music
sax and drum, live
Rich, Mauz, and Josh

Be on the lookout for more from Endangered Language!

Espectacular Vernacular -- blues, folk, spoken word, comedy, rock

This is the stage name that I use whenever I end up jamming last minute with a new group of people. It is supposed to be fun and playful (notice the parallel to Endangered Language).

It's happened a couple of times, so I suppose I can just call this one of my bands.

 Simply put, I've been enjoying the heck out of these past couple of years. I'm thankful for all the people that I have met, befriended, and jammed with - whether it be one of my longtime acts or a one night only performance.

I hope to keep on making music.

BONUS:  In addition to the main bands I've mentioned, I've also had the enjoyment of playing with a couple of other acts. Here they are: 

Toca Tono -- cumbia/rock/reggae/dance

Formed in the summer of 2011, Toca Tóno (aka Touch Tone) is a three-man ensemble that is sure to get your hips shaking.  Incorporating upbeat dance rhythms with cumbia and reggae flavors, this trio brings the organic momentum to the independent music scene.

Drummer Jesus Saucedo, as the backbone of the trio, brings with him the punk/rock beats he cultivated in Run Rabbit Run.  Xuck Espinoza, having established himself as a melodic and soulful guitarist as part of Tape Incident and Sons of Villa, will get your fist pumping with his powerful Chuco-town anthems featuring the distinct sound that can only come from the border.  Avian Eddy, on the low-end, provides the artful harmonies he experimented with in Evolote, and the jazz-influenced lyrics hatched from his days in the Stanton Street Collective.

TT is a fusion of the garage rock energy and the mexican norteña sounds that permeate the El Paso / Ciudad Juarez area. Their songs of chicano pride and love of the border and its people are sure to get you on the dance floor.

Check them out here: Toca Tono

The Order of Blue Poet Souls -- folk/R&B/acoustic/blues

I've also had the opportunity to play with Grant Collinsworth a couple of times. Grant, leads a little project he likes to call The Order of Blue Poet Souls. We had made plans to record some tracks, but unfortunately I was overbooked at the time being. Hopefully we can still continue to work in the future.

Check out some of the music here.


That's all I have for now. If you're interested in hearing more of any of these bands or artists please feel free to contact them.


- Rich