Bruce Berman Bruce Berman

The Shocking Man

 

Shock Man

Shock Man, El Paso, 2005

This man shocks peo­ple in bars!

He takes his bat­tery oper­ated tool around and for five bucks looks for masochists who,  drunk (or insane?), pay him to turn up the juice, hit the but­ton and let ‘er rip..

It takess all kinds, no?

Ah Human­ity!

And it takes some­one to rec­og­nize cer­tain kinds of Human­ity and let ‘er rip…for…five bucks!

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Woman and Kids in Juárez

 

Juarez Street Scene

Tarahu­mara woman and two kids on a bench

(mur­der scene in back­ground Plaza Zaragoza, Juárez. 2012

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The View South #421

The View South #421

The View South #421, July 2014

Flags are down in Par­que Chamizal. Wind must be up and hope­fully a lit­tle rain. Just a whis­per of a sea­son change. Not yet. But not all that far off either. ‘ta bien. The View South. Days come and go. Then years. Then decades. Then…? I turned my back on the past a long time ago. Peo­ple tell me that’s good. Bible says it too. Do they really mean it?  Read more…

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Man in a Gown

Man in a Gown, El Paso. 2014

Man in a Gown, El Paso. 2014

 

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Where’d El Paso Go: Le Foo Foo!

Opinion/Observation

by Co-Editor Bruce Berman

___________________

I drive my old routes. Cam­era on the pas­sen­ger seat or my lap. As always, these days it usu­ally stays there, untouched. There are things along the way that spark mem­o­ries. Object that aren’t there any­more. Gor­geous com­mer­cial signs con­structed by crafts­men in the 1950s and 60s (not the least of which from the Jimenez Sign Com­pany) were carted off to other cities that were twenty years ahead of El Paso in their bour­geoisie ambitions.You can drink under some of El Paso’s “Motel, Vacan­cies,” signs in var­i­ous bars from Austin to Hous­ton to Baton Rouge. There’s a with­er­ing away now, aging and weath­ered, but mostly not ender­ar­ing any­more, not worth stop­ping for (to make images). There came a year, a month, a day when the trea­sures of El Paso were either gone, carted off or just left to rot.

There are whole swaths of this incred­i­ble and authen­tic city that are gone, at least for the long gaze of a pho­to­graph: Alameda. El Cen­tro (down­town). Segundo is shrink­ing fast, bor­dered by El Paso Street on the west (with nasty ten­ta­cles of them all over it) and Cot­ton on the far east, with old res­i­dents liv­ing out their days, youth get­ting out fast and them with their bulging eyes all over it. Off of Delta there are con­do­mini­ums and some revamped indus­trial build­ings, res­i­dents liv­ing an almost urban lifestyle (sans human­ity). Even the Gay Bars have fled, a sure sign of urban renewal/removal.

It’s not my job to do any­thing about any of this. My job, as I saw it, at the begin­ning, in 1980, was to give face to a face that was not known and I have tried. As The Grid lays out its future in the city with two hearts, it’s clear to me that my mis­sion isn’t to pick sides in land rights, power exchanges, or to watch –or judge– the inevitable blan­di­fi­ca­tion. But blan­di­fi­ca­tion has come. Oh happy day. Some loudly exhale and go, finally! The city is becom­ing pre­sentable to vis­i­tors again. It’s cleaner. It’s newer. There’s base­ball. Soc­cer is com­ing (watch out Chamizal! The final blow that started in the mid 1960s is finally here). There are restau­rants with the pref­ace Le with Foo Fo thing-a-ma-jig dishes with lit­tle por­tions of things that look like they squig­gle –veg­eta­bles– on top of things it’d be hard to iden­tify below. Fancy. Plates of Foo Foo. There are young peo­ple down­town again, well, the kind of  young peo­ple that look like they’d also be com­fort­able up in Kern Place on Cincin­nati and the upper West side.

Finally, there’s a Star­bucks down­town near the Plaza and the Westin. The kids from the ‘hood can serve the hip­sters that come in from outer Zaragosa Road and beyond.

Woman fleeing, El Central/El Paso

Woman flee­ing in El Cen­tro, head­ing south, 2011

Bor­ing? Not to every­one and I wish them the best. I am not part of this. I left this scene in three other places I lived before this very long stretch here. It’s the same mes­sage: you’re in the gen­try or you’re equi­tied out of the gen­try. Read more…

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