February 2018

Behind the Scene

by Randy Limbird
Editor & Publisher, El Paso Scene

As I sat down to write this month’s column, I realized how often I’ve written about myself but rarely about the other columnists at El Paso Scene. So let me try to make up for that.
Carol Viescas is the Scene’s longest-running columnist, having started “Stage Talk” just a couple of years after we began publication. She’s also the columnist I’ve known the longest: We worked at the El Paso Times back in 1986. She left a year or so later to teach journalism at Bel Air High School. She’s also been a constant presence in community theatre for decades — most recently in some supporting roles at UTEP Dinner Theatre.
I asked Carol to write on local theater for two reasons. One, there could not be a better match of writer and subject matter. And secondly, community theater needs as much support as it can get. There’s a long list of local theater companies that have come and gone over the years. We need to keep the ones we have.
I’ve also known Myrna Zanetell since my days at the daily newspaper. She was a free-lance writer, specializing in the arts. After I started the Scene, I knew her in her role as gallery manager for Studio W. I tried writing an occasional arts column on my own, but I knew I did not have the expertise. So I asked Myrna to do the “Gallery Talk” column.
Like local theater, local art galleries have suffered much attrition over the years as more and more artists turned to alternative venues and internet marketing. Although Myrna still focuses on the visual arts, her column branches out often to other museum topics.
Brian Chozick ranks next in seniority as writer of our “Liner Notes” column. My connection with Brian goes back to his wife, Kareesha, before they had even started dating. Kareesha used to help “paste up” the Scene pages back in the day before everything went digital.
Brian ran a local music shop, “Tumblin’ Dice,” that specialized in vintage vinyl and other albums. He also enjoyed writing, so we launched a column that would include new releases and collectibles, plus a write-up on one the groups coming to town. Brian still deals in music, but his business has abandoned “brick and mortar” for the internet.
The junior member of our columnist team is John Middagh. John comes from an unusual background, as any reader of his “Looking Back” column may have figured out. After a series of jobs, he wound up running the “Cowboy Trading Post” for years, dealing in horses and gear. He also got the writing bug, maybe inherited from his father, who taught journalism at UTEP.
John’s column alternates between personal reflections and stories of the Wild West, particularly characters who lived in or at least passed through El Paso.
John inherited the column space once occupied by the late Bill Rakocy, who for years wrote similar stories based on the region’s colorful history and his own background as World War II vet, artist and historian.
The late Richard Campbell was another long-time writer for El Paso Scene. His “Becoming Bicultural” column was based on his years as a pastor in the Southwest and his passion for border culture.
I guess technically I rank as the senior columnist — this “Behind the Scene” column goes back to the first issue, September 1993. About 10 years ago I added another column, El Paso FishNet, as an outlet for my faith-related musings.

Other contributing writers on the Scene’s masthead (below) include Lisa Tate, our long-time feature writer; and Jay Duncan, who has contributed his preview of upcoming films for many years.

Feature story
Here's the Ticket
Program Notes
On Stage
Southwest Art Scene
At the Museum
History Lessons
Film Scene
Keep on Bookin'
Becoming Bicultural
Liner Notes
Stage Talk
Gallery Talk
Better Parenting


Copyright 2018 by Cristo Rey Communications.