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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soda Pop magazine starting to bubble

    By night, Raul Michel can be seen working at one of the hippest clubs as a bar slingin bartender. By day, he is scoping out the downtown music scene for his new magazine Soda Pop.
    By night, Raul Michel can be seen working at one of the hippest clubs as a bar slingin’ bartender. By day, he is scoping out the downtown music scene for his new magazine Soda Pop.

    Raul Michel has only been in Tucson for 10 months now, and already he is doing things most people only dream about.

    “”I remember when I was 21 and being asked where I could see myself in 10 years, and I said, ‘having my own magazine,'”” Michel said. “”That was six years ago.””

    Having grown up in Baja, Mexico, Michel moved to San Diego when he was just 11 and did not learn to speak English until he was 13. Now he is starting his own magazine, Soda Pop.

    The 26-year-old self-described music nerd has spent his time here thus far as an assistant booking agent for the local Lost Barrio Artist agency, where he has made connections with artists, musicians and writers who are in touch with the Fourth Avenue and downtown scene.

    One afternoon when he sat down with his boss, Kris Kerry, Michel tossed out the idea of having his own magazine. Michel, who has no prior experience in journalism, says his pitch wasn’t that serious, but Kerry’s persisting interest quickly won him over.

    Michel then immersed himself into a stressful quest for writers, graphic designers, photographers and people who handled the financial aspects of what had been his dream project for quite some time.

    Confirmation came for Michel when his friend in

    Downtown is such a mix: professionals, hobos, artists. If you like art, music, fashion, you are going to like Soda Pop.

    – Meghan Martin
    journalism senior and Soda Pop writer

    the printing business said he would publish the magazine and front the money for the first two issues.

    “”That was the point when I was like, now I really have to play ball,”” Michel said.

    “”It has become very well-organized, and at this point I can now breathe.””

    Michel now has a 15-member staff, many of which are UA students.

    “”The staff is made up of a young, hip crowd, so naturally that is going to be an appeal to them (UA students),”” Michel said. “”They are a diverse group of people to keep it fresh and different, so it is not just myself making all the decisions.””

    Meghan Martin, a journalism senior and writer for Soda Pop, said she is drawn to Michel’s flexible nature of business.

    “”The thing that is really fun is that it is just getting started, so Raul is giving us freedom to do what we want. We’re just winging it,”” Martin said. “”It’s kind of nonconventional because we don’t have staff meetings – we can kind of be hodge-podge.””

    Michel says he gives his writers a lot of leeway as to what they want to write about, but he does have an agenda: to place an emphasis on the local music scene and other areas of cultural interest to an 18- to 32-year-old crowd in the Fourth Avenue and downtown area.

    “”Downtown is such a mix: professionals, hobos, artists. If you like art, music, fashion, you are going to like Soda Pop,”” Martin said.

    Martin and a friend and classmate, journalism junior Ashley Houk, will have a restaurant review of Guadalajara Grill included in the first issue, which will be distributed on Fourth Avenue, downtown and surrounding the UA area on Sept. 15. The 32-page magazine will be sold for a whopping price of free.

    “”We are shooting to be a professional magazine and then possibly make a living, but that is not our obsession,”” Michel said.

    If “”free”” does not push the magazine off the stands, maybe its title will.

    “”Soda Pop was very fresh and in your face, but the fact that it is not about pop music makes it kind of a joke at the same time,”” Michel said. “”It is immediate.””

    Michel wants the magazine to succeed, not just for himself, but also because he wants to give something back to his new community.

    “”Tucson gave me so much since I have been out here. I want to give something back,”” Michel said.

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