Con Safos is an online magazine covering the most exciting artists around the globe. We try to be as bilingual as we can, being situated in the borderland of El Paso, Texas. Our name comes from fellow El Pasoan, Jose Antonio Burciaga’s book Drink Cultura. The cover features the letters “C/S,” which is explained in the opening chapter of his book, “Con Safos.”
C/S is a Chicano phrase that is difficult to explain, not translating directly from Spanish. To skip the long literary lecture, the chapter ends with a summary of the phrase: “It doesn’t matter how people view us [the Chicano people], we know our reality.”
And this in essence is Con Safos Magazine. We look past the easy and conventional truths. We aim for the real truth, the undeniable, unbiased truth.
Our focus is music and the arts. Though most of our stories end up being far beyond “just music.” Artists, musicians, writers, any other title they use, are people before any categorizing label. And as people, our stories run deeper than a profession.
Music runs deeper than just a profession, and our interviews and stories reflect that.
We’re a small operation, currently being editor-in-chief Antonio Villaseñor-Baca, and some frequent contributors, writers and photographers. But this whole magazine started as a way for some college students in the Sun City to speak to people and write about their beloved hometown.
After several variations, the magazine specified to music. While still trying to show the world El Paso in its true form and the way that we love it, we also wanted to continue the conversation to music around the globe.
In our many roundtables and conversations, we realized that we spent so much of our time not just talking about music but giving each other and others recommendations, so turning our journalistic lens to music was a natural progression.
So some kids from El Paso that collect records and go to as many shows as possible and can’t imagine life without concerts: that’s who we are.
“Con Safeando” is a term that one contributor during one of our early variations and someone without whom this magazine would not have been possible, Veronica Martinez, came up with. It’s a term that I have tried to define for a long time and might not ever be able to.
I could also say that early on, and even now, the C/S initial that we tend to use could stand for “Coming Soon,” as we have long breaks in between publications at times.
I currently am in the middle of Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, have several freelancing positions, teach two classes at the university, and have another small editorial position for another magazine. It’s a lot of work, but I love it. But, and this is the key, the work I do would not amount to this without all of the others who make Con Safos possible.
Con Safos really is a community project; it’s a summation of a community’s culture and views and liveliness and love and warmth and hope and endurance and on and on and on. Con Safos is a product of El Paso.
And so, I work frequently never being able to give as much time as I’d like to this magazine, relying on the assistance of a community. The musicians and music community in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, the many PR agents and companies that give us the time of day, the artists that choose to give us some of their already very limited time, friends, family, UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) faculty in the communications department who have and still do provide so much vital mentorship that shines in every article this magazine publishes, and every single one of our contributors.
It is because of our communal origin and mission that Con Safos will always take comments, complaints, story ideas, or even solicitations to have a chat about music.
I had a vision for this magazine to help those young or struggling journalists and music critics that remind me of myself not too long ago. And I think that’s what Con Safeando means: working at what you love honestly, arduously, and always with the intention of helping others and putting good out into the world- whatever that means.
For these reasons and so many more, I thank you for reading. Keep vinyl alive. Go to concerts. Save the planet. Be kind. And keep Con Safeando.
Cordialmente and sincerely, Antonio Villaseñor-Baca, Editor-in-Chief, C/S