To say spring 2022 was productive would be an understatement. The Media & Gaming Lab was supercharged by so many great contributors, collaborators, and visiting artists who engaged with our community like nothing we have ever seen before. Our efforts took us from inside Texas A&M classrooms to the Ann Arbor Film Festival. We created new works of art, conducted research, and held talks and workshops that impacted undergraduate and graduate student success. We hosted weekly Zoom meetups on Wednesday from 5-7pm and physical production meetups on Thursday from 5-7pm. The Media & Gaming Lab group participated on many fronts across the university and beyond. Below are some of the highlights:
- Annie and Arely Graduate Project
- Re-Social – The ReSocial Hour Podcast
- Ann Arbor Film Festival Panel
- Texas Tech Presentation
- Guest Lectures and Learning (Anthony & Leo)
- Weekly Meetups
- Showing Trajectory
- BIPOC POP
- Impromptu BBQ
- Kali Narrative Film Project
- The Pumpkin Prince
- Leo Garza Starts a Business
- Anthony Receives A&M Graduate Teaching Award
- Rick Pulos’ Coming Out Monologue
- Creation of the TAMU Media and Gaming Lab Instagram and Tiktok
- Joey receives the Graduate Faculty Advocate Award
- Dr. Regina Mills Game Play in the Lab
- Summer 2022
- Johnny gets Married
Annie and Arely Graduate Student Projects
Texas A&M graduate students Ana-Luisa Ortiz and Arely Herrera worked on individual documentary projects for one of their graduate courses taught by Dr. Anna Wolfe, COMM 636-600 “Survey of Organization Communication.”
Ana-Luisa Ortiz’s project “Painting Praxis: Artistry, Identity and Decolonial Sensibilities” brought together BCS community members for a painting workshop that focused on coloniality and decoloniality. Participants used acrylic on canvas to paint a tree with deep roots and whimsical birds that gave Annie the opportunity to teach communication theory through painting. Leo Garza, Rick Pulos, and Anthony Ramirez along with others from the Media & Gaming Lab interviewed participants and filmed the painting workshop, resulting in a short documentary. This project was partly funded by a fellowship through the Institute for Applied Creativity at Texas A&M.
Arely Herrera’s project centered around documenting and interviewing Latinx students who intersect creative and academic outlets together. Arely used equipment from the Media & Gaming lab to interview Media Lab member, Anthony Ramirez.
ReSocial – The ReSocial Hour Podcast
During the semester, Anthony, Emily Riewestahl, and joey lopez reformatted the ReSocial public scholarship initiative to try and reach a larger audience. While ideating the new format, they decided to create a podcast highlighting the experiences and lived realities of undergraduate and graduate students as well as professors. The podcast is called The ReSocial Hour and is available on major podcast platforms. Texas A&M undergraduate, Allie Lozano-Baker was added to the ReSocial crew and has done some amazing since joining us. In addition to The ReSocial Hour podcast, ReSocial continues to be active on Instagram and TikTok.
Ann Arbor Film Festival Panel
The Media & Gaming Lab had the honor of presenting at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in a panel called, “Experimental Media in the 21st Century” as part of the Off the Screen! Speaker Series. The panel consisted of undergraduate students (Kali Johnson, Leo Garza, Zayno Rayne, and Marco Mireles), graduate students (Rick Pulos and Anthony Ramirez), and professors (joey lopez and Jonathan Guajardo). Each of the panelists discussed their projects, lived realities, and the influence and impact the Media & Gaming Lab has had on them.
Texas Tech Presentation
Anthony and joey’s research project, “Critical Cultural Exploration of Video Game Spaces Within Tejanx Communities” was accepted and presented at the Hispanic and Latin American Video Gaming Experience: Imagery, Industry & Audience at Texas Tech. There is a full write up on the project and the experience available on Anthony’s website.
Guest Lectures and Learning (Anthony & Leo)
Anthony guest lectured in multiple classes during the semester including Intercultural Communication (COMM 335), Communication and Popular Culture (COMM 340), Communication and Technology Skills (COMM 230), Radios, Records, and Popular Music (COMM 410), and Media Audiences (COMM 375). Anthony loves to teach and guest lecture and he also loves to have guest lecturers in his class, Communication and Technology Skills (COMM 230). He was lucky enough to have Leo Garza give an amazing presentation on green screen work. Additionally, Arely Herrera provided a wonderful guest lecture in Anthony’s class on creativity and how to be creative.
Continuing our tradition, we had our weekly meetups. We met online and in-person. Our online meetups were conversational ideation sessions, while our in-person meetups focused on photography, video making, logo design, and podcasting. We hope to continue our meetups over the summer.
This semester we hosted a Showing Trajectory podcast, “Automotive Media Makers,” featuring Faye Hadley, a mechanic, media maker and television personality, along with Larry Chen, a Canon sponsored world renowned automotive photographer. Jenalee Phang and joey co-hosted the podcast. Jenalee is an undergraduate student who is interested in automotive culture and media making. It was awesome having her develop and ask questions directly to the media makers and garner lived reality responses. The full podcast, with nearly 400 views as of this writing, can be found below. We are very pleased with the response!
Earlier in the semester, joey and Anthony had the privilege of attending the BIPOC POP symposium at the University of Texas at Austin. A special thank you to Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama, Samantha Ceballos-Sosa, and the Latinx Pop Lab for creating such an amazing event. The two wrote a reflective analysis on the symposium.
On April 20th, the Media & Gaming Lab had an impromptu BBQ outside of Bolton. joey grilled 2 racks of ribs, 3 packages of chicken quarters, 2 packages of sausage, and included corn tortillas. We documented the event and had such a wonderful experience. What was really interesting about this event was that we posted up on the Department’s FB group that we were conducting a “participatory organizational ethnographic gastronomy preliminary research project, aka a BBQ.” This prompted faculty to stop by and ask us how the research was going. We began taking basic field notes and we hope to create a future event where we collect full metrics and insights into BBQ cultural practices.
Kali Narrative Film Project
As discussed in the Media & Gaming Lab Write Up on February 28, 2022 (see https://liberalarts.tamu.edu/communication/2022/02/28/collaboration-and-creativity-meet-up-in-the-media-and-gaming-lab/), Kali Johnson pitched and is producing “Journey to Fame,” a short fictional film. Kali worked diligently on rewriting her script with the advise and mentorship of PhD student Rick Pulos. The Media & Gaming group scouted for locations with Kali on Campus and in downtown Bryan. It is our hope to do some readings in the summer and be ready to go into full production in the fall.
The Pumpkin Prince
The Media & Gaming Lab was lucky to have Zayno, an undergraduate of A&M, join our group. Zayno is a performance and hip-hop artist. Zayno shared his work with the Media & Gaming Lab and during one of our production days in downtown Bryan, we shot an impromptu video vignette of one of Zayno’s songs.
Zayno has since spent many hours in the lab working on his beats, ideating, and being creative in the Media & Gaming Lab
Leo Garza Starts a Business
Media & Gaming Lab student, Leo Garza is an incredibly creative and talented student. He has recently decided to go into business for himself with his company AZA Media. Through his business, Leo focuses on content creation including video production, photography, and social media work.
Anthony Teaching Award
Texas A&M graduate student and Media & Gaming Lab member, Anthony Ramirez was the recipient of the Texas A&M University Association Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Teaching. It is one of the highest forms of recognition the university can give to a graduate student. Congratulations, Anthony!
Rick Pulos’ Coming Out Monologue
Rick Pulos, a doctoral student in the Department of Communication, performed a monologue at the TAMU Pride Center’s annual Coming Out Monologues. “My Gay Yale Essay” is the hilarious story of him coming out in his application for admission to Yale College and to his family ahead of his Yale graduation back in 1997.
Creation of the TAMU Media and Gaming Lab Instagram and Tiktok
Over the semester, many of the students of the Media & Gaming Lab asked for social media platforms in order to learn, share, and interact with the Media & Gaming Lab community. In response, we crated a TikTok and an Instagram account. Be sure to give us a follow and find out what we are up to and working on!
Joey receives the Graduate Faculty Advocate Award
During the annual Texas A&M Communication Department Graduate Student reception, joey lopez, phd won the Faculty Advocate Award from the Department of Communication’s Graduate Student Association. This award is special because graduate students must nominate and vote for professors they believe are doing amazing work with them.
Dr. Regina Mills Game Play in the Lab
Texas A&M University Professor of English, Dr. Regina Mills taught a course, Topics Latino/a Literature and Culture (ENGL 670). Dr. Mills and her class used the Media & Gaming Lab to play and conduct research on the game Papo y Yo.
- Weekly online meetups
- Narrative Film Development with Local College and High School Students
- Reading of Kali Johnson’s script
- Work on 2023 Community Engaged Summer Programming
- Intercollegiate collaboration Fall 2022 event development
- Showing Trajectory Fall 2022 development
Johnny gets Married
Congratulations to Texas A&M Instructor and Media & Gaming Lab facilitator, Jonathan Guajardo on getting married this past semester to his partner, Areeba. We wish both Johnny and Areeba a happy marriage and fantastic life together.