The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series is the biggest and most prominent open mic in El Paso, TX. The open mic doesn't just support local performers by giving them multiple stages all over the city to perform on, it also hosts workshops and supports local organizations. Barbed Wire has been running for over a decade and as it continues to grow, it also needs help to do so. El Paso's biggest open mic is looking for people to be a part of the team and learn from one of The Sun City's hardest working artists.

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Richie D. Marrufo

Richie D. Marrufo setting up before a Barbed Wire Open Mic (F.A. Montejano)
Richie D. Marrufo setting up before a Barbed Wire Open Mic (F.A. Montejano)
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Professor and So Much More

If you hadn't heard of him already, Richie. D Marrufo is The Barbed Wire Open Mics Project Director but he's also El Paso's hardest working artist. Aside from running the cities premier open mic series, Richie is also an English Professor at EPCC. While he does that, he heads another local organization through EPCC that supports the literary community called The Papagayo Project. Papagayo brings authors from all over the country to speak at the school but also holds events to support local writers as well.

Richie performing at Jazz Night at INTL Bar (F.A. Montejano)
Richie performing at Jazz Night at INTL Bar (F.A. Montejano)
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Performer, Emcee, Sound Guy, Teacher

On top of this, Richie is a performer and an emcee, regularly hosting huge and pivotal events in El Paso just because he's so damn good at it. From there, Richie is also an organizer who helps local community organizations uplift events by bringing professional sound quality and studio lighting to the stages they present on. If you think the list stops there, you'd be wrong. Richie is a musician as well, although he doesn't play his sax anymore, you can still find him on stage with some of the best local musicians as the band backs him while he belts out poetry.

Richie also supports a huge local music organization called The Jazz Exchange where he regularly hosts events like their "Secret Shows" or the regular Jazz Nights they host all week, all over the city. Now, even if Jazz isn't your cup of tea, Richie has worked with some of the biggest music acts all over this great city of ours. Not just as a performer but on the technical sides of mic too. Richie has been a sound guy for years and the open mic employs some serious tech for the gear heads who love to learn about the technical end of performance.

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What Can You Learn?

Richie hosting a Jazz Exchange Secret Show (F.A. Montejano)
Richie hosting a Jazz Exchange Secret Show (F.A. Montejano)
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Teacher Extraordinaire

Working with Barbed Wire and specifically with Richie is an excellent way to learn some of the basic skills of the music trade, and even some of the more advanced technical side of live performance. Because of the size of The Barbed Wire Open Mic, sometimes open mic nights involve full bands or surprise performers with tools they use that can throw you for a loop. Luckily, Richie Marrufo has been doing this for over a decade now and knows a lot of tricks and tips for finding the right way to make each performer sound perfect.

Las Cruces Barbed Wire Event at Grounded Lounge (F.A. Montejano)
Las Cruces Barbed Wire Event at Grounded Lounge (F.A. Montejano)
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A Full House

On top of all of this, The Barbed Wire also engages through media! If the tech side of sound doesn't interest you, maybe its because you're more visual. Do you make flyers? Do you love video and photography? Well have I got news for you!

Visual and Social Media

Texas musician, Casper Allen, performing a feature at a Barbed Wire Open Mic (F.A. Montejano)
Texas musician, Casper Allen, performing a feature at a Barbed Wire Open Mic (F.A. Montejano)
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Casper Allen

The Barbed Wire Open Mic doesn't just run on the tech side of sound, they run on the tech side of everything. If you're a graphic designer looking for a platform to get your work out, maybe making flyers for special events is your thing. Richie designs the flyers for each event himself and they are unique to each one. Maybe you love being behind the camera and capturing the action, well Richie employs full 4K photo and video for most events, meaning you can be behind the multiple cameras helping to ensure the event looks as stunning on camera as it does in person.

This also means getting to flex your social media chops by making reels and other highlights of the events. A regular staple of The Barbed Wire Open Mics is getting a few photos taken as you perform. The Barbed Wire Instagram tags performers in their stories for performers to share all around, and they pride themselves on have professional quality lighting to make sure that each performer looks crisp, clean, and professional.

Incredible local musician, Aztec Caves, performing at a Barbed Wire Open Mic (F.A. Montejano)
Incredible local musician, Aztec Caves, performing at a Barbed Wire Open Mic (F.A. Montejano)
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Aztec Caves

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How To Sign Up!

All you have to do to learn under one of El Paso's most influential organizers, most talented performers, and most experienced artists in the city, is go to The Barbed Wire Open Mic page and let Richie know you want to be a part of the team!!

The Barbed Wire is currently looking for people to help with all of this stuff! So if you've been wanting a way to start learning some of these skills for your own career, this could be a really excellent way to learn some really important skills about everything form set-up and breakdown of equipment to the more technical and complicated aspects of running a live show.

If you're looking to make connections, support local organizations, and be a part of the fabric of El Paso's art scene, then you gotta reach out!

The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series is on Facebook and Instagram. Go to a show and meet Richie in person or send a DM and set up a meeting with Richie yourself!

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