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Marcos Diary Entry: Directors Chair

22 Sep
Marcos Garibay, September 2015 Diary Entry

Marcos Garibay, September 2015 Diary Entry

Hello!  It’s been way too long since I’ve sat down and wrote one of these but tonight felt like a good night for it since I’m easing into a manic writing creative mode!  The last diary entry on this blog was about The Blackout Beat Anthology, a 50 plus song mixtape we put out to celebrate all the work Armando and I have done up to this point in time.  (You can download it here for free!).  After the release of that project I was creatively spent, at least where my own music was concerned.

After the life changing release party for The Blackout Beat Anthology I spent the rest of the summer  learning new skills and developing others further.  This equaled to days spent in the park reading, hours drawing while also annoying my neighbors as I clumsily strummed my new ukulele, an instrument I was determined to learn.  Two of the skills I spent time developing with heavy emphasis were writing and film making.  For the last few years I had this urge to create a short film that would really affect people.  Up until July I only had a blurry vague idea of what it could be.  Once the idea hit me (in a sudden rush like my best ideas usually do) this idea stayed in the forefront of my mind.  But in true Marcos fashion, it’s not the only iron on my ever burning fire.

Blackout Beat Anthology release party and concert

Blackout Beat Anthology release party and concert

It bothers me when people I don’t often see ask me what’s new.  I don’t know where to begin and I scramble to find ways to sum up all my projects in an interesting way that make them sound like more than ideas or hobbies.  Until some of these projects end up as finished works I might just write this link down and hand it to people who ask me what I’m doing!

So without further delay, here is a brief description that sums up all the dreams that I’m dedicated to making real:

Everyday People, Emmett Collins Album

Emmett and I have been working on his sophomore effort for over two years!  As I write this blog we are only two sessions away from completing all the vocals for this amazing R&B record.  I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of this album and Emmett.  It’s mature, fun and heartfelt.  As his last album Mysterious paid homage to late 90’s sounds of Timbaland, Everyday People is a more organic and soulful sound that explores a much broader variety of topics.  I have so much to say about all the songs on this album (my favorite song on it changes weekly) but I will wait until we are a bit closer to its release.  Until that time comes (soon, we promise!) here is some footage of Emmett performing Lois Lane, the funky Rick James inspired lead single that will eventually appear on your news feed as a Soul Train inspired music video!

Possible Me, Short Film Written and Directed by Marcos Garibay starting Annie Garcia

I talked a bit about the short film that I had wanted to do for several years earlier in this post and in other past entires as well.  This summer the unique concept for what form that film should take finally came to me and as soon as it did, I knew exactly who I wanted to work with to help bring my story to life.  In fact, I wrote most of it with her in mind.  For the last four months I’ve been working with Annie Garcia, a very talented person in her own right, to create a short film that I’ve titled Possible Me.  She has really embraced the story and I really feel like she personifies the character in a way that makes her real.

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First day working on the project where we recorded vocals for Annie narration.

It’s been a new and incredibly fun process up to this point.  Now Annie and I are in an impatient loop of anticipation to move forward, as the process for creating film requires so much more preparation and time than any musical work I’ve done before.  So much is out of your control with these types of projects and when things are in your control something else happens to show you that you really are not!  I can’t say how excited I am to be making this.  Without giving too much away, this 10-15 minute film is a inspiring, introspective self journey that introduces us to a character and situation that so many of us can relate to.  It’s about inner strength, perseverance and the never ending quest for success.  We will begin shooting major scenes in less than a week from the date of this post and with any luck we should have a finished film to show off at festivals, events and to the entire internet before the year is over!

The Dupont Elementary / Blackout Beat Film Club

As if I didn’t have enough going on in my life outside of the elementary school where I spend close to 40 hours a week, 9 months out of the year at, I recently added a new monster of a project.  The idea for what is now The Dupont / Blackout Beat Film Club was born out of a fun conversation I had with 5th graders during my morning recess duty.  We talked about films we saw over the summer and how cool it would be to change certain parts, add parts and eventually we would talk about how cool it would be to create our own movie.  Then during one of these talks it occurred to me, “Ya know, we really could make our own movie if we wanted it to!” After all, I have all the equipment I need since I spent the summer paying for it to bring Possible Me to life.   With the students cheering me on I took this idea to the higher ups in the building.  This led to a meeting with a very excited, supportive and open minded Vice Principal.  I felt like a director pitching a film idea to a movie executive.  She then took the idea to our schools principal (much like the inner working of a movie studio) and then the idea was given the green light!    The response was overwhelming when I presented 4th and 5th grade students with the opportunity to join this new free club.  I went into each of their classrooms and “pitched” (so much film making lingo!!) the club to the students.  Every single permission slip / info flyer had been enthusiastically snatched from my hands!  The following week as I went through the flyer / permission slips (that included a section for the kids to write about why they wanted to be in the film club) I would get approached by students all through out the day with questions, ideas and stories they came up with that they thought would make a great film!

Me going through stacks of signed film club permission slips!

Me going through stacks of signed film club permission slips!

Even though I’m still less than two weeks away from the first meeting of the club (or first pre production meeting) I already feel as though the club is a success.  We went from talking about movies we like on the playground, saying things like “yea, it would be really cool if I could make or be in a movie one day.” to now, where kids are having constructive collaborative conversations about how they are going to make their special effects better and more realistic.  It’s real to them now!  The idea that they  can make a movie is now in the realm of possibilities for these amazing underdog kids.  Doing this allows me a greater opportunity to help them to see life like most adults and kids in their position  cannot, full of unlimited possibilities.  I don’t really spend too much time lingering on that because the task ahead is so enormous.  The story we have put together involves time travel over aMad Max and Twilight Zone landscape and story scenario that is inspired by one of my favorite stories as a child, Lord of The Flies.

The club will end in 12 weeks in pure Hollywood style.  There will be a red carpet premier, comic con style Q and A panel and large format first screening!

Some concept art for characters and their costumes.

Some concept art for characters and their costumes.

Graceful Jungle, The New Circus House Album Produced by Armando Garibay

My brother Armando is so close to finishing his bands new album that it seems further away than it has ever been!  He has been slaving away tightening vocals, reworking massive and complex song arrangements, putting on shows to build anticipation  all while building a fierce fan base that shows their love at each venue where The Circus House graces the stage.  Besides helping with some technical stuff at shows this has really been Armando’s rodeo.  This highly anticipated album featuring his “new Circus House” that features vocals from  Jillian Grutta and Anna Smith as well as sax from Sean Collation is now in the mix phase and this is where I come in.  For the last few months Armando and I have been mixing the record, polishing and refining sounds and vocal performances to make this the best record The Blackout Beat has put out.  And mark my word, it will be.  The growth in Armando’s production even surprised me when I listed to all the songs tother in sequence last week.  Its inspiring to see something so different and fresh come together from my outside / inside perspective.  In November we will celebrate the albums release while parting like its 1999.

Armando working on Graceful Jungle.

Armando working on Graceful Jungle.

5 Unrevealed Articles for Cracked 

The last project I thought I would mention are the articles I’m working on for Cracked.  Anyone that knows me knows that I love Cracked.  They invented the list format that so many fly by night websites try to capitalize off of.  The site is hilarious, fresh and amazingly informative.  All the pieces but one are about real life topics that I have been working really hard at to sculpt into perfect relatable / informative / humors articles that will hopefully reach thousands.   I hope to submit them in the next few weeks after heavy and editing  and wine drinking.

So that’s all the cool stuff I have my greasy pizza stained hands in ( I’m actually eating pizza as I write this).  I already have the next big projects (including new Marcos album!!) in mind after I finish the above but if I’m ever going to move forward I need to clear my plate!
That’s it for this one!  I’ll do my best to update these more often!

-m

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Marcos Diary Entry: The Blackout Beat Anthology, A Celebration of Armando and Marcos’ Work Up Until Now

10 May

11214159_10205434368530914_1633519626845562234_n-1What a month it has been!  The year has brought challenge after challenge and May has already proved to be some sort of insane endurance round, pushing mind, body, wallets and relationships to their limits. Luckily for me I came up with an idea during a shower,  that I was able to work on in small pieces, which has done wonders to keep my sanity in tact.   In many ways I felt like I was stuck in a standstill, paralyzed in inactivity as I tried to complete Emmett’s project, outline a book project I started all, while putting a set together for a new show and working at a school for 50 hours during the week.  I understandably ran out of creative juice and decided to take a step back before taking so many forward. Listening to the first Circus House album also led me to decision to start this project.  Not hearing that record for so long allowed me to hear it with fresh ears.  I was proud of it, proud of what Armando had envisioned.  I then began listening to our entire catalog.  I became inspired to do something to celebrate the work we had done. SubstandardFullSizeRender Each song, each beat told two stories.  One is the one that the song is written about, the other is the one that only Armando, I and the artists we worked with experienced at the time we created the song.  That is what really means the most to me about this project. It’s both humbling and overwhelming to think about everything we have been through while chasing this dream: leaving Pueblo for more opportunity and a bigger stage, our first commercial recording studio, the studios that followed, all the artists we worked with, the performances, the highs, the breakdowns, the parties, dances, beats, recording sessions, press and all the unexpected developments.   Above all else, Armando and I both went through our own personal and creative evolutions.  For me this included redefining what it means to be successful. The process for putting this project together was different than anything I’ve done before since the songs were already made.  I had to start by going through our catalog and pulling the best song and highlighting my favorite parts.  Initially I wanted to do each songs in chronological order, but eventually I decided against this because it was so much more fun to blend songs that would have never been heard back to back before, like a Juan Alvarez song and a Circus House song. The transitions, effects, song order and energy level are all the building blocks that I’ve used to weave our entire catalog into one continuous mix that tells the story of our creative journey.  Well not all of it, just about 10 years of it. It did take a lot of work and creative energy to complete The Blackout Anthology Mixtape EP but in a weird way it also recharged me so that I could complete the other projects I took a break from.  Now that I’m about two weeks away from releasing this free project I’ve already begun mapping out the songs, sets and new concepts for current and future projects. To help build excitement for the release of The Blackout Beat Anthology, I’ve been posting pictures and video clips with captions that tell the story of The  Blackout Beat.  It’s a personal marketing tactic for a projects that’s personal to me.  As we get closer I plan on ramping it up some cool video stuff and a very special event that no one dare miss.  And I mean that, if there is one Blackout Beat show to see it will be The Blackout Beat Anthology show, and not for reasons that are immediately obvious. More updates this week. -m

My Brother is Down But Not Out, We All Remain Determined

14 Jan

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2015 began with a bang, a crack actually.  Proving that 2015 can be just as dramatic as the year before, my brother Armando, rang in the new year with a broken hip.  My family and I spent the first week of the new year in the hospital.  Armando, was introduced to new levels of pain as his friends and family huddled around him. Flowers, get well cards, books, magazines with several bags of Cheetos and Pepsi surrounded Armando’s hospital bed. There was no shortage of love in room 609.  It hurt all of us to see him in that state.  Armando is not a person I’ve ever seen this weak.

Carepackage for Armando Garibay.

Carepackage for Armando Garibay.

The moments before surgery are the ones that really put everything into perspective.  Blackout, work, money, everything… It all means nothing when someone closest to you lies helpless in front of you, uncertain of the future that awaits them following their anesthesia induction.  It also made me realize that eventually I will have to endure more of these moments in the future.  There will be a day when I loose my father.  There will be a day when I will loose others close to me and I will no choice but to keep it together, just like my dad did for us.  Part of me just assumed since I lost my mother and friend together at such a young age that I would not have to ever deal with something like that again.  Young Marcos thought that plan was great because he believed (and kind of still does) that his mind would not survive another loss.  This  accident made me face the fact that I cannot escape moments that will be far more painful that seeing my broken brother.

Lalo Garibay, Armando's 24/7 caretaker.

Lalo Garibay, Armando’s 24/7 caretaker.

I think there are a few reasons why this has happened.  The obvious is another form of the theme/message that always finds new ways to present itself to my family: DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE DAY FOR GRANTED. Before Armando even reached Pueblo (where he is recovering) he began making plans to make the most of his 3 month timeout from life as he knew it.  In addition to his music production equipment he asked for painting tools, an art set and an easel.  He took to painting like someone with years of experience.  There was no learning period, he just dove into it and began creating.  He has been filling his time between pain killer induced naps, with music and art.  He is bettering himself and he is making the most of each day despite his injury and his sadness.  Inspiring is an understatement.

Painting by Armando Garibay.

Painting by Armando Garibay.

Cool painting by Armando Garibay.

Cool painting by Armando Garibay.

2015 is different for all of us.  Armando finds himself relating much more than he ever wanted to the young, broken and defeated Professor Xavier that we are introduced to in X-Men: Days of Future Past (always X-Men analogies).  My aunt, the new homeowner is now playing the role of caretaker alongside my father, who is waist deep in the next phase of his business that seems to be expanding faster with each new day.  And me?  I’m not really sure where I am but I know that it is some sort of transitional state.  I’m motivated by my brother and father, I’m sad because at least 6 hours out of my day are being used ineficiantly and I am frustrated because there are days where I don’t know if I’m capable of digging deep enough to improve myself so that I can be who I want to and do the things that would really make a difference.

Armando is now working out of the room that used to be the original Blackout Beat recording studio, out of his fathers house.

Armando is now working out of the room that used to be the original Blackout Beat recording studio, out of his fathers house.

But somehow I am still digging.  Exhausted, I find myself pulling a little bit more out of myself than the day before.  Even though I should feel defeated at times, I don’t.  There is something different in the air this time.  I think it’s because of one of those other reasons why my brother’s accident happened:evolution.

He is evolving into something more and I feel like I am in the perfect space to do the same.  I’m reminded of that scene in the first Ninja Turtles movie (the best one) where the brothers spend some time to regroup on April’s farm.  They heal, catch their breath, get centered mentally and spiritually and sharpen their skills. They get to know each other and themselves better.  Not only that, but they spend time on lesser developed skills like drawing.  This sequence, which is one of my favorites, ends with the brothers becoming focused, stronger and working together as a team.  Maybe that could be one of the end results of this new status quo for the Garibay’s?

I think of my life as a series of story arcs that will one day equal to an epic adventure.  Right now it really does feel like the Ninja Turtles sequence I described above.  Having life in that frame helps to keep my attention where it should be.  So just as my brother picked up the paint brush, I’ve followed suit and begun taking up guitar in an effort to help my sound evolve. I’ve also been paying some attention to some of those underdeveloped skills too.  I’ve started taking the little sketches that I make students all day a bit more serious.  I’m working on technique and style, putting a little bit more into each portrait, My Little Pony, Spider-Man or Corvette sketch.  Something about is therapeutic to me and it takes me out of the insanity that is that school for a few moments.  When I see how much they mean to these kids it makes me want to do the next one better so they are worthy of the value these kids place on them.

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Cyclops and Groot sketch I made for a Kindergartner.

Deadpool sketch I made for a student.

Deadpool sketch I made for a student.

I used today as an opportunity to take care of my physical and mental health, regain my peace, perspective and focus.  It was a day well spent and now with clear lungs and a clear head I can continue to make strides towards becoming a Marcos that will be equally as impressive as the new Armando, when we are back together as a new unstoppable team.

-m

Diary: Prince Comes To Denver

14 May

7539d28862d2979fe3a8df5ea59c474fIt might be a bit soon to write about my experience at Prince’s last Denver show during his current tour but I will try my best. There are a lot of emotions and thoughts happening right now so things are still hard to really process.  To sum it up I would just use the words incredible and awesome.  Those words are thrown around a lot these days to describe things that really don’t even need to be described at all.  But last night was worthy of those words and more. Maybe even worthy of words that aren’t even real like:  incrediawesomtastic. The display of raw and focused creative talent and energy last night was moving and powerful.  The collective excitement for old hits like “When Doves Cry”, I Would Die 4 U” and “You Got The Look” was something that I will not soon forget.  For  artists like Armando and I who grew up listening to Prince in the 80’s and 90’s  I can only assume that they  felt what we did: a  shot in the arm of inspiration, a better look at our soul and a glimpse of what we could be if we don’t give up.  It was definitely a religious experience.  I think any experience that allows you to be your true self and see/experience things in a new and elevated way is.  I could go on, spend more time talking about how amazing 3rd Eye was and talk about how sweet the encore was but I need to strike while the iron (inspiration) is still hot.  Song writing and creative time awaits!

-m
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Marcos’ New Project Announcement: “A is for Authentic”

19 Sep

Hi everybody,

Hopefully most of you saw a few of the pics I’ve been posting this week of artwork done by my longtime pal Riki Takaoka.  I’ve also been leaving some hints the last few months about a new Blackout I’m starting project that will be epic.  I’ve refereed to it as my “legacy project” more than a few times.  Before I go on with the project announcement its important to explain why the project was refereed to as my “legacy project” before it had an official name.

This July the nation was horrified as the Aurora Century 16 movie theater was the setting of a massacre that took the lives of 12 and wounded 58.   It was a tragedy that was felt everywhere.   It also left a sting that hit very close to home from many Denver/Aurora families and comic book fans everywhere frequent midnight showings.  Aside from that fact that I live in Denver, am a huge comic fan who is always at midnight showings, I also have a very real connection to the shooting.  I should have been there.

In the first week of July myself and 3 other friends watched the midnight premier of The Amazing Spider-Man.  We were the first in line and first to be seated in theater 9.   Since the price of a ticket was considerably cheaper than most other theaters and it was located in an area that was close to all of my friends (including Riki Takaoka and my girlfriend)  we made plans that night to watch the Dark Knight Rises a few weeks later at Century 16.  I even purchased tickets for the midnight showing.  The big day finally came and up until a few hours before the movie our plans did not change.  It was due to an interesting string of coincidences that we ended up watching the premier in south Denver.  Unfortunately a good friend of mine  who saw Spider-Man with us decided to still watch the movie in Aurora.  Luckily he was able to escape the theater during the massacre.

The next days were very difficult.  My friends, family and I were left shaken and contemplating our own mortality.  Once again I was reminded how precious and uncertain life can be.  It was also the second time in a year that I was able to escape a violent death at the hands of an armed criminal.   As I navigated my way out of the initial shock I began think about my life as a whole.  With the new perspective I gained from the Aurora shooting, I began to see that I was still a long ways off from reaching my goals with Blackout.  I also understood that there is more to life and the projects I took part in.  I always did a project with a bigger idea in mind.  There would be an outcome or some kind of endgame I’d have in mind.  I think in the beginning this helped.  It allowed me to make sure all my efforts and time was being used in a way that would help us grow and get closer to the goal of being a self sustaining business.  Over time this way of doing things slowly sucked the fun and life out of the actual art making process.

I also thought a lot about legacy.  Would I be happy with the body of work that I would leave behind if I were to not wake up the next day?   Deep down I knew the answer was no.  I always assumed there would be more time for me to create that great epic work that I would outlive me.  Once I was able to pay all my bills, do all the hourly projects that put food on my table and finish my marketing campaign there would be time.    I realized that day might never come unless I make it a priority.

So for the first time I’m doing a project that I’m absolutely in love with.  Its a project that I’m doing for the joy of the process, for the joy of the art.  Its something that will allow me to express myself in ways I never could have before.   Not only will this project be spiritually rewarding and healing for me but it will result in a product that is entertaining, inspiring, thought evoking and beautiful.  And in true Blackout Beat fashion, I will be using 10% of this profit generated from this project to fund scholarships that will allow underprivileged children to dance in local folkloriko groups, another artform that is near and dear to me.

Now you know the story that inspired the project.    Read on to see what the project is all about.

 

Thanks for sticking with me through the long introduction to “A is for Authentic”.

-Marcos Garibay

A is For Authentic:

 A is for Authentic is a graphic novel that is written by Marcos Garibay and features artwork by Riki Takaoka.  The graphic novel is the heart of a gift set that includes an original soundtrack that is entirely produced by Marcos Garibay that features a new latin fusion sound.  The gift set also includes many other exciting contents that include: a sketch book of original artwork, hand made book marks and may other great extras.

The Book:

A is for Authentic chronicles the life, times, and outlandish adventures of Marcos Garibay, a young man with a distorted view of fantasy and reality who is determined to leave his mark on the world.  A is for Authentic is filled with true tales that include heart racing action sequences, tearful moments of pain and loss, a mysterious romance, and the reoccurring  underlying theme that screams “follow your bliss, follow your passion, and expect an adventure!”

Concept art from the books first chapter titled: The Bear Trap

The unbelievable true stories in this graphic novel includes many costumed adventures, hard life lessons about pain, poverty, and inequality, and a section of stories that take place in a period of time that are referred to as “Marcos’ vigilante years.”  Murky swamps surrounded by a gang of angry dirt bikers, life altering midnight rumbles, and various disaster situations that all involve string-pulling animals are just a few of the adventures Marcos’ quest to find his place in the world takes him!

Concept art from another chapter in A is for Authentic by Riki Takaoka.

Meet The Revengers: Marcos' true life family super hero team that is featured in A is for Authentic - Art by Riki Takaoka

Meet The Revengers: Marcos’ true life family super hero team that is featured in A is for Authentic

The Music:

Unlike any other graphic novel project, A is for Authentic is accompanied by an original soundtrack.  This album, with the same title as the book, features 10 brand new recordings produced by Marcos Garibay with assistance from his brother and fellow producer and partner, Armando Garibay.  The Garibay brothers are both halves of The Blackout Beat, one of Denver, Colorado’s leading music production camps who have made a name for themselves with their groundbreaking music that includes the popular performing group, The Circus House.

Marcos Garibay

The sound of the soundtrack is best described with Marcos’ own words.  “It is going to be mainly a Latin album.  There exists a level of Hip Hop, R&B and Dance influence but each track will have a Latin soul.  I think this is appropriate considering the content of the book, especially where the dance group is concerned.”   Bachata, Merengue, Salsa, Reggaeton, Flamenco and Rumba sounds are all elements that Marcos Garibay (with his vocals and a handful of talented upcoming local artists) blends into a fusion that gives the A is for Authentic graphic novel an equally moving and heartfelt musical component.

Who’s behind it? 

Marcos Garibay (Blackout Beat co-founder and producer) beautifully brings to life his words through the vibrant artwork of the stunningly talented Riki Takaoka.  Marcos and Riki both attended the same high school together in Pueblo, Colorado where the two would spend many hours (at the expense of other classes) drawing, dreaming, and laughing in art class.  In the years following high school, Garibay and Takaoka left Pueblo in pursuit of their dreams and over the last decade, they have conquered numerous opportunities that warrant why they are worthy of praise in their respective fields of music and art.   A is for Authentic is a project both Takaoka and Garibay have been excited about for years, seeing it as an exciting opportunity to tell some great true stories in a unique way that entertains and inspires.

Riki Takaoka and Marcos Garibay

Excited??  I sure hopes so because it will be amazing.  If your interested in helping bring this project to life then keep an eye out for our Kickstarter campaign which is going to begin in the next 14 days.

Thanks,

-Marcos and The Blackout Beat

Why our Dad is a Hero

7 Jun

Family pic taken during the hight of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze.

I said a few weeks ago on my Facebook that my father, Guillermo is a hero.  I have my own reasons why he is my hero, but I’m talking about how he is a hero to other, a hero to hard working people who need a strong voice to fight for them.  I asked my father to write me a feature for our blog where he talks about a recent court battle he won that saved an entire family.  That’s serious and its a story that should be told.

But first a little background on my father.  He currently resides in Pueblo, Colorado where he has his private practice, Garibay Law.  He specializes in immigration law and criminal defense.  He paid his dues as

My father showing off a photo that depicts his rich history of fighting for the people while not accidently firing off a gun in the court room.

a welder, construction worker (and several other non glamorous and physically taxing jobs) before he became a public defender.  After 25 years as a public defender (working all through Colorado) he retired (not really) and started his private practice.  Aside from his work my father, Guillemro’s other passion is cycling.  He’s raced competively for years.  Its still not uncommon for my father to ride over a hundred miles on his bike on one Saturday afternoon!  Yea.. I can’t even drive that much without getting tired or pulled over.  Despite breaking his neck, back, leg and wearing a halo for several months  (all this happened within the last 4 years) he still continues to ride.  He even did a race in the jungles of Costa Rica after he healed from his broken neck and back.  Insane.  The last thing I wanted to say to help paint the picture of the man that my father is that he is our biggest supporter.  My brother and I are truly blessed to have a father that courageously stepped up to the plate and took on the roles of both mother and father after we lost our mom back in 1998.  Not only did he encourage us to follow our dreams but he became a part of them!  I can’t even begin to name all the ways he’s helped us but I can say that we wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for him.

Me pretending to be a lawyer. "ok... so lets's just make sure we got this right. The buy one get one free coupon is only valid if I use it before the end of the month?"

I was about to move forward but I forgot to mention his Salsa dancing.  I think I would have to fight my father (street fighter style) if I didn’t mention this.  This is his other passion which actually is something that stems from my mother’s love of music and dance.  My father is almost single handedly responsible for bringing Salsa to Pueblo and keeping it alive for almost a decade. Through this he has earned the nickname  “Don Guillermo”  and as “Don Guillermo” my father continues to be the center of attention and affection from women who enjoy salsa.

That girl came to the party with me but ended up leaving with my dad. 😦

So now that I have painted a pretty good picture of the man my father is I’ll let him tell his story about the case where he saved a family.

-m

Welcome to Cheraw.

No Cheraw is not in Arizona!  This small southeastern Colorado town rallied to the defense of a Mexican immigrant woman (mother of two US citizen children) facing deportation!  Ten residents of this tiny rural Colorado town braved the 400 mile round trip from Cheraw, Colorado to a Denver Immigration Court deportation hearing to show their support for and testify on behalf of the Mexican immigrant woman and her children.  She had applied for cancellation of removal, which required among other things, a showing that her US citizen children would suffer extreme and exceptional hardship, if she was deported.  At the deportation hearing the school superintendent, the special education teacher, the principal and others testified as to the tremendous progress her children had made in the schools and how the whole community of Cheraw stood to suffer if these children were taken away by their mother’s deportation.

It is safe to say at this deportation hearing, that no one expected to hear a story of academic success for these children, who were being raised in a poor, single parent family, with a non-English speaking parent.  It is also safe to say, that no one expected to see an entire rural community come to fight for and to defend this Mexican family, the way the Cheraw community did.  The immigration judge knew early on that this was a very special story, when he or she heard how:  the drop out rate in Cheraw was 0%,  how the youngest of the her children  was doing well in main stream classes, even though he was found eligible for special education, how even though the family had no money/community members came up with money so they could participate in extracurricular activities, how both her sons had the expectation that they would graduate from college,  and how when times where tough/community members somehow made sure the family’s propane tank was full.

The hearing concluded and the case was continued for two weeks for a ruling by the court on the cancellation application.   Two weeks later, nervous does not describe my feeling knowing what was at stake with the judge’s decision.  There had been testimony that deportation would result in the family having to return to Chihuahua City, a city in the middle of the drug cartel war.  There was evidence the only place they had to go to in Mexico was a tiny house, they would share with an uncle addicted to drugs.  The tension became worse as the judge appeared to be still struggling to make her decision.  She stated how this was a heart wrenching case, but then she talked about her respect for Homeland Security, who opposed the cancellation request.  She described how high the standard was and how difficult it is to meet the burden of exceptional and extreme hardship.  Then she talked about how this was a special case and the unusual and overwhelming community support shown for my client and her family.  Then she expressed her concern of being overturned by an appeal court, if she granted the relief.

Then still in the middle of making her ruling, she asked the attorney from the Department of Homeland Security, if they were still in opposition to the request for cancellation.  The attorney who was present was a different attorney and not the attorney who had been present for the original evidentiary hearing.  He stated he did not know much about the case, but he felt obligated to continue with their objection.  He then requested to go off the record and he may or may not have made some comment, “that there was not much likelihood of DHS appealing the judge’s decision to grant the cancellation of removal.”  The judge then says something to the affect of  “Let’s do this then” and she then goes back on the record and grants the relief, meaning the mom is not deported and her children can continue with their American dream.

The family and friends from their town who came to vouch for them in court.

What message(s) do we take from this?  There are many, including:

  • How fortunate these children were to have the mother that they did,
  • How it really does take a village to raise a child, in this case Cheraw,
  • In these “Arizona times,”  not everyone is buying into the racist and anti-immigrant hysteria we hear so much about,
  • The legal system can work the way it should, when the community makes its presence felt,
  • Last but not least, sometimes as a lawyer you can impact people’s lives for the better!

-Guillermo Garibay (father of Armando and Marcos)

Blackout Beat Updates

4 Jun

Hey everybody!

We finally saw X-Men First Class. It was awesome. Go see it a few times if you haven’t

"Life seems so bleek and empty now that we don't have X-Men First Class to look forward to. What is left for me in this world?"

already (I’m about to see it for a third time). So now that the movie/biggest thing of the year has come and gone its time to get back to The Blackout Beat, the other thing Armando and I are really known for.

While some search desperately for direction in life after X-Men First Class other give up on it completely. .

So without further delay, here are our updates.

1. Blog

First is the blog, the same blog your reading right now… The Blackout Blog.
Throughout our move we were temporarily unable to make music, record, continue FREE Song Friday and almost anything that would help us to get our name out. The move was long, grueling and enormously frustrating. But despite that roadblock, our blog flourished. Our subscriptions and hits grew daily.

For us, our blog is a great way to connect with our fans, updating them on Blackout and things that are important to us. We try to put as much of our personality (magnetic and awesome) into it as we can. I feel that its is key.

So one of our first priorities is to keep the blog going and to revamp it a bit. We want to post at least 6 times a week, expand our topic range with more local focus, try to spend a bit more time to make each post more entertaining. We have some really great posts coming later this week to jump things off. Additionally, we will be revamping the look and feel of the blog which brings me to our next update…

2. Look and Feel of Everything Blackout

We are working with a very talented graphic design firm to redesign our logo, website, marketing and promo materials as well as this blog. We want to create a motif that translates well to everything we have out there, whether its our website or a brochure about our production and recording services. Our new logo and look will reflect our personality much better than our current logo and look. The motif we are sticking to is very original and I’d love to expand on that but I think it speaks well for itself. Can’t wait for you all to see! To coincide with the image revamp we will be doing new photo shoots that will include new pics of Armando and me, artists we frequent in the studio and our new studio itself.

Yes your read correctly. We are about to get even sexier.

3. Marcos Solo EP Project

That’s right. I’m starting a solo project that we intend to release before the summer is over. We are thinking of doing somewhere near 6 songs.  The sound and feel of this project will be much different from TBA and the recent songs I have done.  I want to put the some of the Latin flavor back into our music as well as do tracks with Armando that will go beyond what we did together on TBA.  I’m also doing a track for it that takes our listeners back to the days of The Revolution in a very clever way that fans of  Lexie might like.  I’m actually in the studio now and after this blog is done I’m going to go back in the booth to finish vocals for the first song. We will document the entire thing via a video diary/blog that we will release weekly to build anticipation for the project. We are looking at selling the EP for a few dollars online were all or most of the proceeds goes to a charity or cause that we feel passionate about. Also, as Armando and I work on my project we will be simultaneously working on a EP project for Colorado Springs Hip Hop artist and frequent collaborator Reflecshaun.

4. Reflecshaun EP Project
One of our favorite artists to work with will be returning to our studio to do a brand new project. We have been trying to coordinate something with Reflecshaun for the last 6 months

Reflecshaun, Marcos and Armando reunite in the studio. (Armando not pictured. Someone had to take the picture)

and it looks like we finally figured out how we are going to be able to make this work. We will  be documenting the making of this project to keep a buzz growing. We are also tossing an idea around to include a track on both projects that features both Marcos and Reflecsuan and it could be used as the first single off both projects.

5. Blackout Week

This one is so big that it might end up as its own blog/article later. Blackout week is going to be our official jump off week were we will announce new projects, premier new music, help out a cause that’s important to us as well as party like only we can.  Blackout week will take place in the 2nd week of July and it will be a week full of events (both online and at our studio) that will celebrate the launch of our new space and new projects. Each day will feature an event that includes free digital releases, video premiers, workshops in our studio for artists, song writers and producers and a Salsa fundraiser for our great friends at 5280 Comic Book Classroom. This is all leading up to our open house party that will include live performances from us and artists we work with, drinks that make you feel good, dancing to very loud music and great networking. Yea.. this is a pretty big thing so we will definitely be doing a separate post about this soon that breaks down each day.  If your from out of town start making travel arrangements.  Its gonna be a good one and we’d love to have you here!

You can bring your dog to our events because we have a pet friendly building (unless you try to keep a dog as a pet).  Note: Party hats for dogs is not optional.

You can bring your dog to our events because we have a pet friendly building (unless you try to keep a dog as a pet). Note: Party hats for dogs are not optional or negotiable, they are required.

6. The Beat Shop

I’ll make this one quick.  A ton of awesome new beats+New look and feel+New and intense marketing efforts+New prices and sales = Updated Beat Shop

7. Other things..

Yes.. there is more. Quite a bit more in fact. So here is the gist of it…

Armando is already working in the studio with new artists (singers and bands) and producers. Expect to see some video and hear some amazing new music from Armando soon. Speaking of new music, Armando and I are currently gearing up to get back in the studio with R&B group BKO to start work on their second project, their first full length album that follows their 7 track EP that we also produced. And speaking of that EP… we will be releasing that project in its entirety very soon, maybe during next months Blackout Week event. Lastly, you can expect a truck load of new video content from us that covers all our projects and events.

Imagine all the video content we can load into that truck!

8. Conclusion

So that’s our update. I think its safe to say that we have a pretty full plate (full of things that we love).

Fries = new music, salad = events, and other thing, maybe chicken=everything else we are doing.

I always like to close these updates by reflecting on what came before and thanking everyone who has and continues to support us and our dreams. We are still here and we are not giving up. It has been a interesting (to say the least) few months prior to the move. We grew professionally and personally as a result and we also made some pretty significant steps forward despite some annoying setbacks. We are truly blessed to be able to do work that we love and to do it with people that pretty much rock.

Thanks for reading,

-m

Ginuwine Concert Review & Meeting Ginuwine

28 Nov

I remember one evening back when I was in high school, I was flipping through the channels and I managed to land on the Soul Train Music Awards.  It was seconds before Ginuwine performed a melody of So Anxious, None of Your Friends Business, Pony & a dance break with a broom.  That performance is the one that made Ginuwine my favorite singer.  I recorded the performance, studied it, practiced the moves and years later I mimiced it in a college talent show.  Since we started The Blackout Beat Ginuwine has been on the top of our list for artists we would like to produce and write for.

Back in 2003 I had a chance to see him live, I drove all the way from Pueblo, CO to Alberquqe, NM (4 hours).  The show was awesome.  Sadly, at the time, me and The Blackout Beat were nowhere close to being a position to talk to Ginuwine or his camp about working together.  I left motivated and driven, knowing that years later, when we where ready another opportunity would come my way.

I just got home from seeing The Ladies Night Tour in Denver, CO.  Ginuwine, Avant and Jagged Edge performed and I’m happy to say that I met and talked to Ginuwine.  But before I get to that, let me get to the show itself…

Lets get the negative’s out of the way first.  The venue, it’s staff, the sound and security was horrible.  There was no organization as far as seating went.  People who spent top dollar for “VIP” seats had nothing that guaranteed that they would get the seats they paid for.  In fact, no body sat in the seats they paid for.  There where no markings on the seats  to identify sections and there was no personal providing oversight for seating.  It was kind of a free for all.  This led to at least three fights during the show, one actually caused Avant to stop and tell the ladies to “cut it out”.  Fortunately for me I was able to get a great seat 2 rows from the stage!

I could go on about the sub par sound system, unprepared security or obnoxious fighting but the positives where too good for me to continue to dwell on the negatives.  The most positive note is that all the performers brought it on stage.  Avant was lively and entertaining, doing his 10 year span of R&B hits justice.  Jagged Edge proved why they have maintained radio longevity for so many years.  Although the stage seemed a bit too small, for them they made the most of it and the fans ate it up.

Ginuwine’s performance was by far the most entertaining.  Maybe its because I already have a bias towards him but I really did feel that he could have held down the show alone if he had to.  It had been at least 5 years since I last saw Ginuwine live and he didn’t loose a step.  He was animated, leaping from speaker to speaker, dominating the room.  He danced, inserting trademark body rolls and turns that have made him a “sex symbol” to so many female fans.  He even managed to get a costume change in during his short set.

Highlights included the stripped down version of In Those Jeans, the full performance of So Anxious and the Pony encore of course.  As a special treat, Ginuwine performed snippets of 3 new songs off his new album, Elgin which drops February 8th of 2011.  I was pleased to hear Drink of Choice, a song that I’m sure has the potential to be another radio smash.  He also performed a new song called Battery with heavy club appeal as well as a uptempo St. Nick produced track called Kidnaped, which was a bit reminiscent of Get Involved.  I would have loved to hear some more of my favorite tracks from The Bachelor or 100% like Only When Your Lonely or What’s So Different but I understand that the performance length was limited.

After the show I had an opportunity to meet Ginuwine and take a picture with him.  I didn’t have much time so I did what I could to make the most of my time.  I considered bringing up how he made his entrance into the industry, by impressing DeVante Swing of Jodeci with a short demonstration of his skills.  I thought of asking him for the same opportunity.  I considered telling him about how we came close by giving tracks to his road manager a few years ago after his Epic deal and before his current deal or how we had a encounter with Timbaland in January.

Instead, I decided to get his attention by making a reference to a very early phase of his career that only a “Nunber 1 Fan” would know about.  I then briefly told him about what I do, Blackout and how we would be writing this review as well as submitting material to him this week.

I’m confident of our skills, talent and abilities now and like I stated in my previous Ginuwine blog, I’ll be a fan regardless of whether or not we get a chance to work with him.  I am however, making the most of my opportunity.  We will be getting in touch with his label later this week to pitch our EP proposal for him as a way to help build up hype for his new album’s arrival in February.  And while I’m on the subject of working with and meeting Ginuwine, I’d like to mention that he was very humble and appreciative of all of his fans, taking the time to make each one feel special.  That’s a good trait for a entertainer to have.  It might be a key to why he continues to enjoy success in a industry that seems hit or miss these days.  He has to be doing something right to justify his 15 year run.

So the short version of my concert review is this, awesome.  Tonight was a good night.  Well, it’s time for me to get back to TBA.  We still have a few more songs left to wrap up on this album, deadline is tomorrow!

-m

NOTE: Because we wanted to respect the wishes of the tour, we did not post any video of the concert.

for more info on The Blackout Beat please visit our website at

http://www.theblackoutbeat.com

Email:  contact@theblackoutbeat.com

Phone: (917) 455-3577

TBA Album Release Pushed Back 2 Weeks

28 Nov

Due to a family emergency we will be pushing back the release of our new album, TBA.  The album has been in the works for over three years and has already begun to make a lot of noise here in Denver.  We apologize for the delay but we promise that the album will be worth the wait.  We will be releasing some new and FREE music within the next few days as a way of saying thanks for being patient with us.  We will also be releasing a new single in the next week.  Me and Armando are working as hard as we can while helping our father recover from his recent accident.

-m

The Bachelor, its Impact & Working With Ginuwine

26 Nov

Of all my favorite albums, I’d have to say that Ginuwine’s The Bachelor is by far, one of the best.  Its got to be top 5, top 3 even.  The R&B album burst into the scene in 1996, making noise all over the radio with the album’s lead and biggest single, Pony.  When that song came out I was in middle school, too young to understand the importance of that song, its sound, the album from which it came from or even music in general.  I was focused on getting through middle school, spending my days reading comic books and trying to work up the courage to talk to girls that I liked. Pony was futuristic, catchy and sexy.  It made me want to dance when back when I didn’t even know how to.

Fast forward four years later, I’m in Pueblo, getting more into music, and still unsure of what I wanted out of life.  This was the point in life where I was getting tired of listening to what MTV or the radio told me to.  I wanted to hear music that everyone else didn’t have in their cars.  I used to be one of those people that would buy a CD and just listen to the single and disregard the rest of the album.  I hungered for more music.  But more specifically, more of the same music.  Around this time my brother and I started paying attention to producers.  We started getting an ear for beats and the writers who laced the tracks.  Timbaland, from the beginning was one of my favorites.  So naturally my search for new music lead me to acquire the complete works of Timbaland and the now legendary “Basement Crew”.   During my search I rediscovered The Bachelor.

I had already owned 100%, the most recent Missy album, I was bumping the Romeo Must Die Soundtrack (which had just came out) and by this time I had already decided that Ginuwine was my favorite singer.  I based that decision purely on 100% & a Ginuwine performance at the Soul Train Awards.   I knew his new album The Story (later renamed The Life) was coming but I needed more of that Ginuwine/ Timbaland music to sustain me, so I went back in time and rediscovered The Bachelor.

While listening to the intro inspired by Bryan Singer’s Usual Suspects movie, I thought “How could I have missed this?  This is amazing!”  The beat was incredible and it lead perfectly into Pony.  Static’s trademark writing and Ginuwine’s unique voice sounded new to me.  Tell Me Do You Wanna, Lonely Daze, Ginuwine 4 Your Mind blew my mind.  Only When Your Lonely struck a special cord with me.  I felt that song in my spine.  It was real, relatable and deep.  It was a combination of the mood, the writing, the futuristic production and Ginuwine’s passionate singing that made me love every track.  The songs project a vulnerability and a uncertainty in its mood and content that I found very organic.  Up until recently, The Bachelor has always been the album that I could relate to and identify the most with.  I guess being in a more serious relationship can change this.

Not only did the album establish Ginuwine as a unique and solid artist, but it also made a then relatively unknown producer a force to be reckoned with.  Aaliyah’s One in a Million and Missy’s first album also came out at this time.  The sound was consistent and they have all stood the test of time.

Each of Ginuwine’s following album’s had their share of hits and strong moments but none of them stood out to me like The Bachelor.  Over the years I have seen Ginuwine overcome deep low’s, reach highs on the charts with unexpected hits and I’ve seen his sound change and evolve.  I think its a great thing that he is still making music and touring.  I love the fact that he still gives it his all  on stage (I will actually see him on stage again in a few days by the way.)  I do feel however, that over the years his sound has changed dramatically and in as it changed he may have lost touch with a few of the things that made him stand out in a sea of R&B artists.  Yes, an artist has to change and evolve to stay relevant but at the same time, a artist also has to keep the qualities that made them unique and noticeable in the first place.  Maybe it was Static’s writing, Missy’s involvement, or Timbaland’s beats, but G’s sound has never quite been the same since 100%.

Timbaland or no Timbaland, I’m still a G supporter to the end and I do want to see him get the respect he deserves as an artist.  In many ways he is still an underdog.  I still believe that there is a lot damage on the charts he could do in the future.   And as writers, producers and fans since the beginning, I think The Blackout Beat is in a good position to throw our hats into the ring.

Blackout has had a few close brushes with Ginuwine and a few of his projects (in between his Epic and Notifi deals) but we have always came up short.  We have another opportunity this weekend to make a pitch.  I think we have evolved quite a bit since our last attempt at working on a Ginuwine record  and we are in a position where we could really do something that can bring some new attention to a artist who deserves it.  We don’t want to mimic or attempt to recreate his past sound, we want to use the same “outside the box” writing and production that establishes artists and makes everyone notice.  We also want to be true to his essence, using our production and writing to reveal Ginuwine at his best, not overdress him with flashy studio plugin’s or production.  Like last January’s “Timbaland encounter” or Armando’s “Brandon Flowers letter”, this is another story of us reaching out to the people who inspired us.  I can think of no better way of getting into the industry than by working with an idol.  I’m optimistic, focused and determined and I intend to stay that way regardless of how our “Ginuwine mission” goes.

-m