Category Archives: CMC and MGL Documentation

These articles are documentation of events that the Convergent Media Collective or the Media & Gaming Lab documented, as well as possibly participated in. They also include member highlights and projects.

Guadalupe Pop Shop

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Wheelz Studio and Dreamonoid’s HiFi hosted Guadalupe Pop Shop to celebrate the opening of Wheelz Studio, a barber shop located in co-owner of Dreamonoid’s Christian Rios’ 1711 Guadalupe building in San Antonio, TX.

Background

Over the last year at Dreamonoid’s HiFi, I (joey) have transitioned to running a Dreamonoid’s in Bryan, TX and Christian Rios has been running the shop in San Antonio. After a couple months, Christian found his groove of how he wanted the space in Dreamonoid’s SA to function and reached out to his barber Wheelz, who is a long time friend of his and offered him half the space to setup his own studio. The results have been amazing.

Wheelz, aka Andrew Gonzales, has been a barber for decades and is a polymath who is also interested in audio, photography, video and much more. The barber shop reflects this with an amazing aesthetic offering a cozy feel with a lounge area and video game consoles. With four chairs and multiple barbers ready to give cuts, their clientele has been growing smoothly.

Guadalupe Pop Shop

Wheelz and Christian did a great shop curating the event adding string lights outside, having a good mix of venders, offering drinks (provided by Wheelz Studio) and live music. Here is a highlight of just a few of the many awesome venders (go to the gallery at the end of the article to see all the venders).

Emmanuel Valtierra had his art on display and it was amazing to see all the decks he has been creating along with his prints. He also spoke about his latest venture of working with DC comics on visuals for an upcoming movie.

La Calavera Garbancera restaurant located next to Dreamonoid’s was one of the food venders and provided patrons with some good eats and when they didn’t have it right there, they would direct them to the restaurant. Performer Zayno Rayne was one of those patrons who went over to the resturant and got some Barria tacos and loved them so much, he told us he went back there the next day for lunch before heading back to College Station, TX.

Danielsan & Zayno Rayne

Danielsan & Zayno and company delivered a great show. Dizzy an audio engineer based out of College Station set them up. They opened with DJ MOTTA who played a two hour set and then Zayno opened and Danielsan headlined. The performed Duo’s at the end. Rooted out of the Bryan, College Station, TX area, it was great having them perform at the Guadalupe Pop Shop event, the crowd and the venders were all vibing and they definitely provided some great energy.

Summary

Overall it was just crazy for me, joey, to experience the Guadalupe Pop Shop as it was a mix of so many different generations of students I have taught and am teaching, friends, family, hifi customers and community members. It was a trip to get to show Zayno and the performers the space (see video below) as I have always talked about it, but it’s another thing for them to get to see and experience it.

While I finished the event exhausted, with a subwoofer blown, PA cords doused in drinks, I finished the weekend cleaning it all up and reflecting on the unique temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) created by this event where cultures collided in a harmonious way.

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LATINX POP BOPIC 2024

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BIPOC Pop 2024 was definitely a new perspective for me.  Both times I came in the past I was highly involved with panels or workshops and definitely working on producing photos and video as primary content to document the event.  This time I attended as a co workshop leader and then just as an attendee.  It was much more of my “anthropologist hat on,” kinda attendance where I get to just sit and absorb what’s going on around me.  I spoke with a lot of different attendees, artists, academics, students, people from the community in general.  I went to some dinners and in general just took it all in.  This year’s blog post is definitely a reflective one.

I carpooled with Dr. Ramirez from Bryan, TX.  Dr. Ramirez is an assistant professor at the University of Houston Downtown and helps run the Center for Latino Studies.   We would have good discussions on the drives to and from the conference, getting to discuss theory, our jobs and on the way back, deep reflections on the conference.  It was amazing.  We also hosted a workshop together about multimodal academic works and pedagogical approaches.  Dr. Ramirez did an amazing job leading the workshop and the interactions were great.

At the conference itself I just kinda sat around and would “graze” the panels, workshops and artist market.  I attended some great workshops, my personal favorites that I attended were Mary Cantu’s and Ernesto Cuevas’.  Both approached their workshops in a very inclusive community oriented way that encouraged everyone to participate and interact, yet also time for self reflection and growth.  

Anel Flores

I was able to capture some video of Anel Flores’ Zine workshop, it was amazing. Anel is a poet, visual artist and in general a public figure in San Antonio who represents the “other,” in so many spaces. While I was not able to attend the full workshop, I was so inspired by her reading of her zine and the imagery used. I was personally touched by her use of Jovita Idar, my great great Aunt.

Mary’s Workshop

Mary’s workshop focused on comics and the panels themselves, she had us choose comics that we would then color the panels and create a “basic” meaning of shapes and colors that give meaning to the panels. I created my own using a comic and when finished took a side by side of a similar page and my work, it was definitely a good process for both the mind and creativity.

Ernesto’s Workshop

Ernesto led a workshop where he had people pair up and develop what I am calling “miniature murals” based on text, art and thinking about stories.  I worked with Dukes comic’s co-creator Dr. E.C. Dukes, along with my son jojo on creating a mini mural.  What is so awesome to me about this kinds of workshops is that it is so much more than learning to create a mini mural, it is the journey, the conversations and intermodal art approach to creating, creating bonds, memories and lessons.

Dr. González’s Workshop

I also attended Dr. Christopher González’s  workshop, Latinx Life Tales: Writing Workshop From Memory to Memoir.  His talk explored his journey to creating Big Scary Brown Guy – A memoir.  My personal reason for going to this was very open ended.  I just had a feeling to go and that I would figure out why when I was there. Dr. González was a great presenter and fielded questions of all types. 

My Reflection On Dr. González’s Workshop

What I took away personally was that I should create a memoir at some point and if I were to do one soon I think a title might be “A academic degenerates life – part one.”  It made me think about a list of articles I have already written that might culminate into something.  Here are a few:

Artist & Book Market

The artist and book market is one of my favorite parts of BIPOC. It is where I get to meet so many creative people, learn about publishing opportunities and purchase from and support artists directly. This year did not disappoint. I got the pleasure of meeting the Dukes after many years of hearing about their amazing work. It was definitely a para-social relationship moment where I have followed their work for so long on social media that I felt like I knew them. The cool part was that I got to know them very quickly. They are definitely people I want to stay in touch with.

I also met Sarah Rafael García of the LibroMobile Arts Cooperative and learned about their efforts in Santa Ana, California to celebrate Latinx heritage through community oriented art works and shows. I am hoping we are able to collaborate on some sort of project soon.

In general I got lots of good art work, here are some of my “finds”

Summary

Overall BIPOC 2024 was great. I will say it exhausted me. Ultimately I am an anthropologist and I take in a lot of the energy of people around me and it was overwhelming. The overarching feeling was one of optimism. That said, I do want to recognized the feeling of internal and external struggle by the artists and academics who presented. Many stories and pieces and presentations are based around painful experiences, past and present. This overtone definitely kept things “real.” I saw many academics who are currently struggling to find themselves and representations of themselves in academia. Yearning to learn how to navigate Academia at all levels. I did publish an article on my personal website about it:

I encourage anyone who has the smallest amount of interest to attend BIPOC 2025, it is free and something that Fredrick Luis Aldama and Samantha Ceballos produce at a level of sincerity that shows and attendees like me appreciate and value.

Electric LaTex Student Music Conference 2024

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Over the weekend of January 26-27, 2024, students from the School of Performance, Visualization, and Fine Arts at Texas A&M University attended Electric LaTex, a student electronic and experimental music conference in Baton Rouge, LA, on the Louisiana State University campus. The event focuses on university students from Texas and Louisiana, and is hosted by those same universities on a rotating basis. The event gives the students in music and/or music technology schools or departments the opportunity to exhibit their new works and installations, perform improvised pieces, and present discussions on their compositional and creative processes.

This year, the new music technology program at TAMU was represented by Grace Burton, Ethan Cheney, Nat Cortez, Evan de Anda, Oluwanifemi Haastrup, Breanna Loredo-Rayas, David Neuhalfen, Colton Neuville, Robert Rutherford, and Rolf Rydahl. The trip was organized by Dr. Jeff Morris, the head of the TAMU PVFA music technology program, and the students were accompanied to LSU by Dr.s Matthew Campbell and Will Connor.

The event was an impressive success, both in terms of the overall event and the participation of the TAMU students. Burton, Cheney, de Anda, Haastrup, and Neuhalfen all presented videos created for coursework in music technology classes in the Fall 2023 term at A&M. Cortez displayed her interactive installation, and Loredo-Rayas, Rutherford, and Rydahl also presented new compositions performed by themselves along with Cortez and Neuville. Approximately 100 people interacted with the TAMU students over the course of the weekend, all of whom were from other universities, and the TAMU students were exposed to a multitude of impressive and innovative student works. Perhaps most importantly, the A&M students were able to network and generate new friendships with like-minded students from other universities in the bi-state area.

Video Presentations

The video presentations were mixed in with live performances and were displayed on a large screen at the back of the stage. Oluwanifemi’s video was a still image as a backdrop to her new music piece, A Beautiful Alien Abduction. Grace’s video, Synthia, Cythnia? featured her digital music and a depiction of a day in the life of a digital student (see below). David’s work was concise and pinpointed. Ethan combined footage of driving through the forest with his latest electronic composition. Evan merged a work for string quartet and digital video manipulation in his presentation.

David’s work was concise and pinpointed. Unfortunately, there is no footage of this short, but powerful work. David had this to say about the piece, “This piece is not one of particular note on its own, though with its story, it becomes a living piece of art. When my hard drive was corrupted, this was the only piece lost to time. I was able to recover everything else. The only version I had saved was one I had uploaded to the cloud. This was a piece that took very little time to write, mix, and complete. I like to think of it as a description of a memory or a moment in time. For this reason, I think the piece takes on being something greater than just its sound.”

Ethan Cheney’s piece At Night drifts and swirls with rolling interactive samples, reflected by the drive through the woods as seen in the video. Ethan says, “I recorded the upright piano, which happens to be tuned up a whole step, providing a “middle D”, with a single sm57 in my kitchen. After adding drums via midi in Ableton, I added synth textures to add space. The mix was bare, only really adding panning modulation to offer movement to the melodic moments.”

Installation Piece

Nat Cortez exhibited an interactive installation entitled Musical Threads. Cortez crocheted granny squares using conductive yarn and turned those into triggers to sound samples she created playing a tongue drum. Each granny square was linked to an Arduino pin and was set up to trigger one of four samples, taken from a pool of sixteen such that to play all the sounds available, all of the granny squares would have to be triggered at least once. The triggered sounds were accompanied by an ambient rain sounds so that someone interacting with the installation has a meditative audio pad underpinning the playing of the sounds.

Live Performances

Rolf Rydahl gave a performance on his laptop of a new work. Of his new piece, he says, “I created the piece using a combination of sounds from around my house that I sampled paired with a couple of digital synths. During the performance, I mapped filters and effects to a midi controller in order to control the piece live. Overall, I really enjoyed the finished product, and it seemed to resonate well with the audience.”

Robert Rutherford presented his piece Submarines and Squids as a trio performance, playing a Soma Labs Enner along with Colton Neuville on haunted box and Rolf Rydahl on pedals manipulating the sounds Neuville created. The work was harsh and ambient at the same time, and smoothly navigated the intertwining dynamic ranges the instrumentation provided.

Breanna Laredo-Rayas performed an iteration of her 2023 work Ghosts. This time, presented as a duo with Nat Cortez, the piece converted the piece from a trio work to feature only a haunted box played by Breanna and Theremin played by Nat. The duet version was ambient and exploratory, creating an ethereal soundscape with interplay of drone pads, textural injects from the haunted box, and eerie combinations of “other-worldly” musical statements.

Overall the trip was more than successful. The impact on the students involved was clear – the networking opportunities, the performance opportunities, and representation of TAMU and the PVFA Music Technology by the student creators off campus and outside the state was confident-building, inspirational, and enriching on an educational and professional level simultaneously.

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