Monthly Archives: April 2023

Music & Movie Making in Texas Conference 2023



Conceived and implemented by students, the Music & Movie Making in Texas Conference 2023 was held on April 15th, 2023 at the Liberal Arts and Humanities building located at Texas A&M in College Station, TX. The conference had over 60 attendees and was lived streamed. The concept of the conference was to bring regional talents ranging from students, faculty and industry together to discuss music and movie making in Texas. The efforts by the students resulted in 5 panels and two open ended space, one about video streaming and the other a noise music studio where attendees were able to have hands on experience throughout the conference. Below you will find summaries of each activity with photos, videos and of course written highlights and reflective section at the end with participants accounts and hopes for future collaborative efforts.


Media Studies

Local BCS Entertainment Landscape

During the Local BCS entertainment panel, local community leaders and entrepreneurs joined Rayane Aboukinane in a student moderated panel. With Joey Lopez and Rayane moderating the talk, we dove deep into how the music scene in Bryan-College Station is developing. Micheal Rodriguez from JMG House band (On the far left), Gustavo from Vision Studios (on the right of Micheal, Rayane Aboukinane known as Zayno Rayne (on the right of Gustavo), and Jeremy Stark of the 101 bar (far right) were in attendance. The panel provided insight in how the BCS landscape is hungry for more music and entertainment. Rayane Aboukinane, who works at the Grand Stafford Theater, speaks about how his music venue seeks to develop local artists/bands and prop up the community. Jeremy Stark who runs the 101 bar provided insight on what obstacles currently stand in the way of development. Gustavo from vision studios is a community leader who has a wide network of artists and producers from the BCS area. He has developed over the last 3 years a network of hungry artists who want to break the mold and bring the city up. Micheal from JMG speaks on his background and how his local band came together. He described it as their version of “Tiny Desk Concerts” that started off with old highschool classmates, and developed into a movement.  The local BCS scene is bubbling, what talents are hidden below the surface waiting to break out?


The filmmaking panel, organized and moderated by Arden Duffield and Leo Garza (with the help of Joey Lopez) and consisted of a combination of film-makers of different professions and backgrounds. 

The conversation provided a variety of different perspectives which helped paint a picture of the Audio-Visual arts discipline as a whole.

While Haley Cox, Sheyla Hidalgo and Amy Kingston elaborated on their experience running and coordinating A-Line, their student-run fashion magazine at Texas A&M, Lisa Ramon spoke about her experience working in the production industry as a creative manager at the production company PICTURESTART.

To close out the panel, Zach Gentry and Alex Picture, both of whom attend NYU for film production closed the panel off speaking about their creative process and future aspirations, as well as their impressions on the film industry in New York.

Regional Bands and Artists

The TAMU Music and Film conference also held a panel discussion with Regional musicians and bands. The first three musicians (JonoJono on the left, Maxwell from The Working Hours in the middle, and Seth from Gray Falls next to Max) are all based out of Houston. During this panel, Rayane Aboukinane asked about the innerworkings of the minds of these young and talented musicians. JonoJono was asked about his creative process and how he develops his music with prominent studio engineers. Maxwell, a Texas A&M alumn, spoke about his bands latest name change from “Small Talk” to “The Working Hours” and why. Seth from Gray Falls spoke about how is love for music developed his skills and caused him to form his group. These artists embody unique talents and provide insight to any upcoming musicians who want to get started. 

The next three artists that the media lab invited were Jardyn Howelton, Shain, and Dayytona. All of these artists are based out of Houston and are a part of the LIVE collective. Rayane, going with his artist name Zayno Rayne, is a part of this collective and invited his fellow creatives to the panel. During this panel, we dove into what LIVE is and how it came to be. All the artists have different genres and melodies that seem to work well together. Jardyn leans towards gospel and soul music, Shain is streetsmart talented rapper, Dayytona is a groovy club artist, and Zayno Rayne has a spooky melodic flow that reminds people of halloween. Together, these creatives shed light on the struggles and the triumphs of indie musicians. 

Film Showcase

Key Notes

Stan Renard

Gabriel Duran



Arden Duffield –

It was a great pleasure to have been invited by Joey Lopez to organize and moderate this panel alongside Leo Garza. I think it went very smoothly, however I do think it could have benefitted from more industry interviewees. Lisa Ramon gave lots of great insight in her process navigating the film industry in LA, which I found very insightful. 

In the future I would like to invite a wider variety of visual storytellers such as painters, comic book artists, journalists, and actors to contribute to the colorful collage of perspectives I aim to learn about with this panel.

joey lopez –

This event definitely tested me on multiple levels as a facilitator. I learned a ton about what I am physically and mentally capable. In addition to this conference I have had a hand in 3 other conferences in the spring of 2023. This particular one was very collaborative and gave me the chance to work with not only colleagues but students at a very “feet on the ground” level where students were part of all the decision making. I also attempted to be as collaborative with other colleagues at the same time and ultimately failed in many ways, but also had some key successes such as having colleagues William Connor and Mathew Campbell join in on the planning of the conference.

The conference took on many conceptual forms and where it landed was truly a collaborative effort. At one point it was almost going to be hosted in a whole other space. We had a concert planned. There were many ups and downs, but mainly ups.

I feel this specific conference laid the ground work for a much larger event next year that will be in collaboration with many other departments, colleges, universities and industry participants.



This is joey lopez reporting about the Latinx Pop Lab – BIPOC 2023. As previously posted, UT Austin’s LatinX Pop Lab hosted a BIPOC Conference in 2022, it was a huge success.

This year was no different. Conceived by Dr. Fredrick Luis Aldama and facilitated by the stellar LatinX Pop Lab staff and volunteers, the event grew in size and content. Instead of two days, it was a three day affair this year with panels, lectures, workshops and an animation expo.


My role this year was to garner interviews of as many participants as possible. Artists, presenters, volunteers, organizers and anyone that Anthony Ramirez and I could track down was asked for an interview. Which reminds me, THANK YOU Anthony, aka Dr. Ramirez, for all your help! For those who do not know, Anthony is no longer a student a Texas A&M University. Dr. Ramirez is now an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Houston-Downtown in the Arts and Communication Department.

A/V Nerd Time (Skip if you are not interested in nerdy A/V stuff)

For the nerds out there, I decided not to use a big camera setup for the interviews, instead I used my iphone 14pro, a tripod and Rode Wireless ToGo lavalier microphone.

For the super nerds, I used Filmic v7, shooting in 10bit HLG. The app give full manual control over your audio and video settings which is super nice and shooting in 10bit color depth gives you the ability to color grade at a prosumer/professional level that has traditionally been reserved for mirrorless and dslr style cameras and of course cinema cameras.

I hope to host a workshop on this topic soon. For now, check out this short video:

Back to our regular programing.

The scope of BIPOC 2023 really opened up avenues of discussions LatinX Comics and Gaming. The schedule shows more depth into more topics than last years. Panels critically explored comics, video games and popular culture through representation, semiotics, semantics, rhetoric, race, gender and many other lenses. I was able to record two great panels:

BiPOC POP 2023 – “I as We Comics” – Panel

BIPOC POP 2023 – “Queering BIPOC POP” – Panel

In addition to panels there were multiple workshops, here are just a few titles:

  • “Cosmic Memory Making For Visual Storytelling”
  • “Creating Your First Comic”
  • “Making BIPOC Boardgames”
  • “Learning the Manga Way”

It was amazing to see artists, students, academics and community attendees taking part in the workshops and literally find new ways to express themselves.

Vender Space

The vendor space was twice as big as last years, giving more floor space to multiple artists to show their works. I was able to meet and talk with so almost all the artists at length and of course I walked away with some great art! Here is a short video I took after the first day of attending and what I picked up from the creators and artists.

Anthony’s Reflections

What’s up, everyone? Anthony here! Thank you for the shoutout earlier, joey. I really appreciate it.

As joey previously mentioned, I had the opportunity of helping him conduct interviews and help Dr. Aldama and Samantha Ceballos-Sosa (Latinx Pop Lab assistant, graduate student extraordinaire, and co-founder of the Capirotada Collective) with their social media posts. Much like joey, besides being a professor of media and popular culture, I also like to dabble with new media.

This year’s BiPOC Pop was my first as a professor, which felt very weird for me. I constantly felt like I was in a weird state of in-betweenness or for those who study Gloria Anzaldúa or Latinx related work, I was in a state of nepantla (the Nahuatl word which means “in the middle of it” or “in-between”). To be completely transparent, I was very anxious due to this in-betweenness and other personal factors, but what helped calm these nerves of mine down was the amazing sense of community that was around me.

Similar to BiPOC Pop 2022, this year featured an amazing cast of creatives and scholars whose work centers around popular culture in some capacity. For each of these two BiPOC POP conferences, the highlights for me is always centered around the community building aspect of things. I got to network with so many artists, creatives, and scholars whose work is incredible. On top of that, I was able to reunite with la familia Lopez and the Capirotada Collective. Being able to spend time with these amazing group of people helped center me in ways that I needed.

I also got to see Dr. Aldama again and I am always in a constant awe of his presence and sheer community building attributes. This is something that inspires me as a young professor to help build community for individuals like the attendees and presenters of BiPOC Pop. Being able to intersect critical and creative work together into an amazing event is something that blows my mind in the best possible way, and it drives me to want to be a better presence for this community and for my own community.

I was also able to participate in a panel discussion centered around Latinx representation and identity in video games. Within this panel, I was with some of the best and up-coming scholars within Latinx video game scholarship including: Dr. Regina Mills and her student, Caroline Shee, Dr. Carlos Gabriel Gonzalez Kelly, and moderated by the legend himself, joey lopez, phd. While I have not done a lot of research on video games, I was able to share my experience of playing video games and the influence of having video games in my life. I also had the opportunity to share with the community that joey, Dr. Arthur Soto-Vasquez of Texas A&M-International, and I will be contributing a chapter to an upcoming collected volume curated by Dr. Mills and Dr. Kelly. Stay tuned for that!

Again, I just want to thank Dr. Aldama, Samantha, and everyone from the Latinx Pop Lab for such a wonderful event. I look forward to next year’s BiPOC POP 2024!

For more on Dr. Anthony R. Ramirez, be sure to check out his website: or follow him on Instagram: @dranthonyrramirez


As stated we were able to collective over 30 interviews from attendees. In these interviews you learn about their work and their thoughts on attending BIPOC 2023.