So Fresh and So Clean, Clean

Best Friends Forever

Last night I went to a reading & signing by author Jennifer Weiner at the Ferry Building.  Weiner is Mariela’s favorite author but because of her work schedule she wasn’t able to attend the event; I went as her proxy. It was hands-down the funniest book event I’ve ever been to. Homegirl was the most foul-mouthed author I’ve ever seen or heard, even more so than Junot Diaz (and Diaz gets ill on the profanity tip).

It was also the most honest and open I had ever seen an author be in talking about their work and personal lives. Weiner dished equally on the politics of developing her works for film & television and her stressed relationship with her villainous mother-in-law. The most surprising moment came when she gave an honest assessment of the cover of her most recent book Best Friends Forever.

I’m not surprised if a lot of authors don’t always like the covers to their books but DAMN! I’d never think a writer would be so quick to criticize the design of their own novel when it’s hot of the presses. Weiner whipped out a copy of Best Friends Forever and straight up called the cover a douche ad. She took a couple of digs at the cover throughout the course of the event, alas I was only able to document her initial assesment of the cover. Peep this:

Does it look like a douche ad with bonus ass-picking? I’ll let you be the judge.

Peace out,

Rio

Daaaaaaang!

Harvard Scholar DisorderlyOutrage aside, this is the juiciest story to happen in a long time. It’s spawned two very beautiful quotes I thought I’d share. The first is from Henry Louis Gates Jr. himself, taken from the closing words of his first post-arrest interview.

There haven’t been fundamental structural changes in America. There’s been a very important symbolic change and that is the election of Barack Obama. But the only black people who truly live in a post-racial world in America all live in a very nice house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And the second is from blogger Danielle Belton that sums up how it all went down perfectly:

So they arrested him because he got loud about being harassed for being in his own house? How many things are WRONG with this sentence? The man had trouble getting in his house, got in his house then was harassed for being in his house then was arrested for being upset about being harassed for being in his house.

Man, somebody crank that N.W.A.,

Rio

Tortilla Conspiracy on the Scene

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy was on the scene at the Taller Tupac Amaru open studios event. Jos, Rene, and I printed images by artists Favianna Rodriguez and Jesus Barraza on tortillas. The tortillas were cooked up and served as quesadilas. The big hit was our Sotomayor tortilla with art by Favianna and text by Jos. Check out my video of the process below.

The crew from Hard Knock Radio were at the event and they put together this amazing video about us below.

Here are some photos from the event, more can be seen on my flickr page.

Jos prepares to silkscreen an image by Jesus Barraza

Jos prepares to silkscreen an image by Jesus Barraza

Yours truly

Yours truly

Artist Melanie Cervantes and her stenciled artwork

Artist Melanie Cervantes and her stenciled artwork

Design by Jesus Barraza

Design by Jesus Barraza

Design by Favianna Rodriguez

Design by Favianna Rodriguez

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy

Peace,
Rio

What we can learn from Tyrese Gibson

One thing I’ve always admired about my Dad is his ability to hustle. Whenever we have an art event or exhibit my Dad will get on the phone and call up 10, 20, or 30 people and personally invite them to it. This strategy has worked time and again for him and is one of the reasons we have the audience that we do. It’s an underdog approach that professionals in the comic book industry should make note of.

For those of you that don’t know, there’s currently a de facto monopoly in comic book distribution these days. Diamond Distributors, the company that runs the show, won’t even list comic books that don’t meet a minimum number of orders by retailers. That means it’s incredibly difficult for new and independent comic book creators to get their work onto store shelves or anywhere else.

That’s why I’m fascinated by the approach that actor/singer Tyrese Gibson has taken to promoting his new comic book Mayhem!. He’s bypassed the usual routes of promotion in the industry and gone completely grassroots.

According to this post at Comic Book Club:

Fans of Tyrese have been hitting up his Twitter feed (@Tyrese4ReaL) all day long, after the star has urged his 155,096 followers to call their local comic book shop, and order the book. Here’s the kicker: if the fans call the shop, and the shop says they haven’t ordered the book, they’ve been tweeting back Tyrese with the shops’ phone numbers… At which point the star has called the shops himself to ask them to order the book.

What I admire about Tyrese doing this is that it extends beyond a celebrity using their fame as a means to an end. This is someone committed enough to a project to use his contacts and every opportunity to spread the word about his work and shamelessly calling strangers to advocate for it. That’s above and beyond the efforts of almost anyone else in the comic book industry and something that’s sorely missing.

As for Mayhem! itself, it will be interesting to see if the hype sustains after the first issue. I do plan on picking the book up when it comes out and will be reporting back on it as soon as I finish reading it. I haven’t read a straight up action comic on a regular basis in years and this will give me a good chance to get my feet wet again.

The concept and artwork is definitely a throwback to the mid-90′s and that’s a risk to be sure. I’m a little lukewarm on the artwork of Tone Rodriguez and his design of Mayhem! seems suspiciously like a restrained version of 90′s era cheeseball Image classic Bloodstrike. Just sayin’.

I want to wish Tyrese the best of luck with his endeavors and his unique approach to promoting his comics. You can order Mayhem! right now from http://www.buymayhem.com/.

Peace,

Rio

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy at Taller Tupac Amaru

The Great Tortilla Conspiracy will be making an appearance this Sunday at the Taller Tupac Amaru Studios.

Sunday July 12th 1:00pm- 5:00pm
Taller Tupac Amaru Studio
1505 33rd Ave.
Oakland, CA

We will be demoing the latest in tortilla art technology and giving away free edible tortilla art quesadillas. Our tortillas will be featuring the work of Taller Tupac Amaru Studio artists Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes and Favianna Rodriguez. These will be very limited edition tortillas so get ‘em while they’re hot!

We will be accompanying Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes and Favianna Rodriguez as they sell their silkscreen posters and give demos of their work. Their schedule includes

Stencil Demo @ 2 pm

Printmaking Demo @ 3:30 pm

Plus music, munchies, and a raffle! This is a family friendly event!

MUSIC by DJ Max Champ and DJ Quix

See ya there!

The Inevitable

For the longest time I was stuck at a crossroads. Any video I created would go up on my facebook page but the privacy settings of facebook would prevent me from embedding them in my WordPress blog. I was able to embed videos from flickr but they limit their videos to 90 seconds in length.

I’ve always disliked the aesthetics of youtube and was all ready to sign up for Vimeo but then I read that I had to pay to upload multiple HD videos AND pay for every play of an embedded HD Video. Fuck that noise! I broke down and finally signed up for a youtube account. You can find me at http://www.youtube.com/user/rioyanez. I’m finally able to share some of my videos that run longer than 90 seconds like this one of artist Melanie Cervantes sharing her thoughts on Post-Chicano art. Check it out!

Peace,

Rio

The Many Faces of Frida

Today I dropped off three prints to be exhibited as part of The Many Faces of Frida. The exhibit is a collection if reinterpretations of Frida by various artists assembled by curator Rachel Anne Palacios. Based on what I saw being installed in the gallery, the show looks great! The reception is Thursday, July 16t, hope to see ya there! If you’ve wanted to buy prints of my Ghetto Frida series this is your chance. More info below!

The Many Faces of Frida

July 13th – August 28th
The State Of California Office Building Atrium
1515 Clay Street-Atrium
Oakland, CA 94612

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 16th 5:00pm – 8:00pm
-6pm opening ceremony with in xochitl in cuicatl mexica dancers
-6:30pm-7:30pm live music with Tara Linda Music
-9pm-11pm Post Reception/cocktail party SOMAR bar and lounge www.somarbar.com

Curator Rachel Anne Palacios holds one of My Ghetto Frida prints

Curator Rachel Anne Palacios holds one of My Ghetto Frida prints

The State Of California Office Building Atrium, it was pretty nifty lookin.

The State Of California Office Building Atrium, it was pretty nifty lookin'.

Peace,

Rio

BoA Riot!

Amongst the many crazy things I’ve seen at San Francisco’s annual Pride celebration the ten minute concert that BoA gave this past weekend is the craziest. For those of you that haven’t heard of her, BoA is a South-Korean pop singer that is SUPER FAMOUS. She has the kind of world fame that is usually only in the domain of western singers. BoA has recently released her first album aimed at a North-American audience and was at Pride to promote it. During her show it was announced that this was her first large scale live performance in the United States.

The program on the main stage was running an hour and a half behind but I decided to stick it out and wait for BoA to come out, slowly working my way towards the front of the stage. As the hour and a half progressed the crowd went from sausage party to excited teenagers. Shirtless Bears gave way to a legion of kids chanting her name between other acts. Once her music started the crowd just lost it, there was a huge surge forward and people started screaming their heads off. It was like a bunch of Catholics realizing that their only standing 20 feet from the Pope.

I’m not gonna front like I’m a huge BoA fan but I do know more about her career than most westerners. I first heard BoA sing in 2004 when she collaborated with my favorite hip-hop group M-Flo on the song The Love Bug. I always thought her appropriation of Rapper’s Delight was super adorable. Since then I’ve followed her collaborations with the group and member Verbal. Peep her code-switching prowess below.

With all the movement of the crowd I gave up on video and started taking photos. It was damn hard to find a good angle with everyone else trying to take a picture at the same time but I managed a few good photos, the results are below.

But I digress, I wasn’t there just to see BoA, I was there see Pride! My homegirl extraordinaire Lex and I traversed Civic Center together taking in the sight and sounds.

Lex in front of City Hall

This one speaks for itself.

Obama Impossible...on a jacket.

Solange Knowles, she was actually really good.

Solange Knowles, she was actually really good.

I won this Ida Maria album Amoeba Records

I won this Ida Maria album at the Amoeba Records booth

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3375/3670559442_7ba58dc5b5.jpg

My terrible sun burn. Yikes!

Peace and much love to my LGBT peeps,

Rio