At midday the small shop appears to be a lackluster shop with bars in front of the windows across from a rec center and a large church. It’s when the letters light up at night reading “PROPER PRINT SHOP” in bright rainbow colors to the sidewalk on the other side of Montana street that one recognizes the shop that has made it its mission to help young artists grow and be able to reach an audience.
Entering Atomic Wax was nostalgic; a record playing in the corner and seeing Aerosmith, Bessie Smith, B.B. King, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Kenny Burrell and so many others, I was expecting to see Patti Smith dancing along with Jimi Hendrix or Los Lobos. Raul Garcia, owner of the vintage shop, then greeted me.
The neon sign on Mesa Street that reads “Charcoaler Drive-In Restaurant” has been as iconic as the Star on the mountain in the El Paso night sky. Closing its doors for its last time on the 31st of January, it will be missed not only for its delicious burgers but for all the memories that so many generations of El Pasoans have made there.
Martinez Brand, a local chicharroneria at 4th Street and Mesa, supplies El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juarez. Owner Laura Gonzalez, the woman standing behind the counter, looks as if she had just stepped out of a movie wearing a white apron, with her puffy black and short hair and the light of the a neon sign shining on her.