New Music: Houston’s Own Baby Jay with “Luv & Respect”

Wow!  When I first met Jonathan Gutierrez – better known as Baby Jay these days – he was quite literally just a kid.  I want to say he was 10 or younger, but I don’t remember for sure.  He was definitely a preteen.  I was a stringer for the local newspaper and his story was one of my first assignments.  We met at his manager’s home in Galena Park where the kid would spend countless hours after school every day perfecting his craft under the watchful eye of Rolando Cuellar, his manager.

The kid could rap, I remember thinking, though he was a bit young.

rapper baby jay jonathan gutierrez

Houston rapper Baby Jay.

Over the years, we’d kept in contact off and on.  Baby Jay traveling the country, meeting all of the biggest names in the Latino music scene, finishing school and going on to college, all while rigorously continuing to pursue his musical aspirations.  Myself, dabbling in this and that until finally landing here, my home online.  It had been a couple of years since we last spoke.  Though, this morning when he sent me the below tweet I was ecstatic to hear how great he still sounds!

Of course, I had to share!

The Megabus is Coming: Texas Destinations for $1!!

megabus coming to texas

The Megabus is literally coming to Texas on June 19, 2012!

Thank goodness for my much hipper and more news savvy friends!!  Otherwise I probably would have never found out about this cool tidbit of information until one of these Megabus double-deckers would have driven up next to me on one of the freeways in town.  No tienen idea how excited I am about these new buses coming to Texas on June 19, 2012!!  The Megabus is coming y’all, LOL!

For one thing, they’re offering fares as low as $1 to Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and even New Orleans their first week of service in each of these cities.  They’re buses also come with free Wi-Fi and power outlets!  Are you kidding me?!  Every time I fly Internet service at the airport alone is like $10.

What really made me chuckle, though, is that these buses don’t actually have any real bus terminals at all.  Instead, they’ll have established points within each city where passengers will hop on or off the “luxury” buses.  My immediate reaction was: Oh, like the Mexican buses!  I love that they are like the Mexican buses… only fancier!

For more information about Megabus or to book your trip visit megabus.com.

Weekend Photos: Houston Rodeo Cook-Off

We went.  We saw.  We ate.  I danced.  With strangers.  And we had an overall great time.  In case you haven’t noticed by now, Rodeo is huge here this time of year… and well, I just wanted to share a couple of pictures with y’all from our first outing to RodeoHouston this weekend.

Gone Country!

We were invited to the Rodeo Cook-Off on Friday night and of course had to go in our best Western wear.  It’s one of the few times out of the year that we will actually wear cowboy boots and sombreros. 

This is how you Rodeo

If you’re going to the Cook-Off, you better have access to one of the private tents.  This is where all the fun takes place.  Music, dancing, food, beer… all that good stuff.  Different companies and groups host their private tents and invite people to attend during the Cook-Off.  Usually there’s an open bar!

Getting down myself...

Which can sometimes lead to pictures like these being tweeted about you.  This one was put out by none other than my loving wife, whose exact words were “Juan makes very quick friends.  Dancing Girls just wanna have fun. ¡Ay caramba!

Finally, look out for the fellow at the end of this Honky-tonk video yelling yee-haw.  You might just recognize him a little…


Only in Texas: Rodeo Round Up for the Lunch Hour

So RodeoHouston is right around the corner.  If you’re not familiar… the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition.  It takes place here,  every year, for 20 consecutive days at the end of February and the beginning of March, and features some of the music industry’s biggest acts.  No, we are not simply talking country music here!

Beyonce, Selena, Enrique Iglesias, Mary J. Blige, Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez are just a few of the big name acts who’ve played RodeoHouston… although country music is the big star at the mostly sold out concerts.

In any event, yesterday the city of Houston was hosting a kick off or “Rodeo Round Up” to once again welcome RodeoHouston.  As soon as they said they would be giving away free bar-b-que sandwiches, I was sold!  ¡Pa’ya vamos!

Where else but Texas will you get a rodeo in the middle of the day in downtown?

Obviously I wasn’t the only one with bar-b-que on my mind!

¡Creo que sí!

I do believe that sign may be correct…

Real Life Texas Longhorns!

Wow!  The Texas longhorn in front of City Hall was awesome!  I really wanted to ride the thing, but the line was way too long.  Les viera dicho ¡Quitense!

It was pretty packed at the Round Up!

That’s the mob that was waiting for their turn to ride the longhorn!

Volunteers from various RodeoHouston committees were on hand sharing info.

So instead I decided to scope out some of the booths being hosted by RodeoHouston volunteer committees.  Don’t know which committee this is, but that cowgirl looks pretty country-glam.  Yeah, that’s an actual style here in Texas!

These were really, really soft... kind of creepy though.

These decorative rugs or throws are made from some type of llama fur.  They are so soft!  Too bad I’m not much of a fur or decorative anything fan.

This guy was just having a great time!

I think this guy is one of the clowns who tries to distract bulls from attacking their riders during the bull-riding portion of RodeoHouston.

Saddle up, y'all!

Only thing missing is the horse…

Hardly anyone could lasso that there bull...

Lasso that bull!  My dad was actually pretty good at this when we were kids.  We grew up around animals in the Valley so there was plenty of time for practice.

Get in my belly! Once I had the bar-b-que I was good to go.

And finally I got my hands on a Texas style bar-b-que sandwich!  It was totally worth the wait in that long line… if only they would have given me another one.

For more information visit RodeoHouston.

I’m Speaking at the 26th Annual Career and Education Day

This weekend I’ll be participating in the Houston Hispanic Forum’s 26th Annual Career and Education Day by serving as a panelist for the first-of-its-kind Bloggers Panel.  I am a little nervous and very excited about taking part in this event because, on the one hand, I’ve never actually explained what it is that I do to a group of young people exploring career options, and on the other, because it’s very thrilling to me personally to know that blogging and social media are finally being recognized as viable career options for young people.  Who knows what is going to come out of my mouth?

Whatever it is, I hope it makes sense!

Houston Hispanic Forum 26th Annual Career and Education Day

What I do know is that I would like these jovenes and their parents to take away from our panel – I’m amongst great company by the way – that you can definitely achieve great things when you give your personal education and enrichment the commitment it deserves.  If nothing else, my journey is a testament to what a little blind faith can do.  As a kid growing up, and later in college, even at the beginning of my career, years later, I could have never predicted that Juan of Words would become the main outlet for my creative expression.  Much less that it would open up so many doors, including this one to motivate other young people to pursue their higher education goals.

In any event, the free Career Day activities will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  I will be speaking from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. if you’re interested in coming by.

Here’s some more information on what you can expect:

– Free admission to attend!

– Meet with college representatives

– Attend student and parent workshops

– Learn about careers

– Apply for Financial Aid

– Apply for college admission

For more information please visit http://hispanic-forum.org/.

El Paso, Dallas & Houston: Enter to Win Tickets to the Screenings of “Warrior” and “Contagion”


I’ll get straight to the point on this one.  If you’re in El Paso, Dallas or Houston and would like to attend the film screenings of two new movies – which to me look pretty good, by the way – next week on Wednesday or Thursday evenings, keep reading and make sure to follow the instructions on how to enter this particular giveaway from yours truly, in partnership with Checa LA movie.

There is no cost involved to participate, of course, unless you are like me and have to have the biggest bucket of popcorn and a jumbo sized coke to watch a movie agusto in the theater.  In that case, you’re on your own with the snacks.  Sorri for you!

But seriously now, the two movies that are screening in these three Texas cities are ‘Contagion’ and ‘Warrior’, which are set to hit the box office for the masses in a couple of days, but you, desde luego, would be the first ones in your cities to watch them before all of your friends and everyone else (just thought I’d throw that in, in case that is a factor for you).  So here are the dates and times for each city:

Warrior                 Wednesday, September 7, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Contagion           Thursday, September 8, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.

Warrior                 Thursday, September 7, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
*sorry no Contagion screening here

Contagion           Wednesday, September 7, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Warrior                 Thursday, September 8, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.

The goal is to give away the tickets to you in pairs, so if you’re interested in attending, here is what you need to do.  You must enter by Sunday, Sep. 4, 2011, for a chance to win tickets.  I will let you know if you received tickets to the movie by Tuesday, Sep. 6th at the latest.  Sin más borlote, this is what you need to leave in the comments section of this blog post in order to enter the giveaway:

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS (or a link to your Facebook or Twitter profile so that I can notify you that you have won)

If you’re not in Texas, and would like a chance to win movie tickets to the screenings of these two films, check out my friend Teresa’s blog at: www.checalamovie.net for more screening dates and times.

Mucha suerte and maybe nos vemos en las movies!



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