The Chicano Visual Almanac of 2050

just a quick reminder that my work is up at Galeria de la Raza right now. If you can’t make it into the city then please check it out below. Click on each image for a larger view.

Since it’s such a small detail of the Chicano Visual Almanac I thought that I’d separate out my portrait of Morrissey and post it.

Peace,

Rio

The A-Team Tour of the Mission District

In the run-up to the release of the new A-Team movie there’s a new promotional game for it that has recently been released. The game uses the Google Earth engine to allow you drive the A-Team van around various cities and attempt various stunts and feats. The default city for the game is San Francisco.

The interesting (and political) aspect of the A-Team game is being able to tour the city and see which areas of the city are rendered in better detail than others. The Downtown/North Beach area that the game starts you in is very well rendered and detailed with plenty of three-dimensional objects used to represent the various buildings and landmarks of the neighborhood. As you venture further into San Francisco the experience is hit-or-miss. Some areas are VERY meticulous in their presentation and three-dimensional representations while others are just flat surfaces with overhead images from Google-Earth mapped onto them.

My first stop in the game was my place of employment SomArts (pictured above). It’s not entirely accurate but it was a nice surprise to see it rendered in so much detail. You can see even see Rene’s black car parked out in front of the building.

Encouraged by my findings I drove down Potrero Street on my way to the Mission District to see what I could discover. Turning onto 24th street I was shocked to see a flat wasteland with 3 dimensional buildings sparsely placed throughout. Here is the A-Team tour of the Mission:

The A-Team is parked at the intersection of 24th and Bryant. That blotchy gathering of green trees and gray squares to the left is Galeria de la Raza. Damn, what’s up with the love?

Here’s the view of 24th Street looking down the other way from 24th and Mission. For all of its iconic status 24th and Mission is barely recognizable. At least Chinese Food and Donuts gets some proper respect.

Next the A-Team drove down Cesar Chavez and crashed the fences and parked in the back yard of Mariela’s childhood home on 26th street.

Then they swung by my apartment on San Jose Ave. and enjoyed a view of St. Luke’s Hospital.

Hannibal wanted to see a mural and this is the best one (and one of the only) the rest of the A-Team could find in the game.

Driving down Mission Street the A-Team came across Foreign Cinema but not the New Mission Theater. “I pity the fool that doesn’t render the New Mission in three-dimensions!” yelled BA.

Heading over to Valencia Street the A-Team passed the CCSF Mission Campus and its giant Aztec calendar.

Further down the road the A-Team came across Cherin’s for some old-school Mission flava.

Next stop was Good Vibrations on 17th and Valencia where Faceman picked up a Hitachi Magic Wand.

Wanting to see something more impressive, the A-Team cruised by Mission Dolores and was wowed by its architecture.

Murdock pulled some amazing stunt jumps at Dolores Park but tragically crushed scores of sunbathers beneath the wheels of the A-Team van.

At the end of their long journey, the A-Team pulled up in front of the Mission Loc@l offices on 17th street. “I read Mission Loc@l at least twice a day, fool!” remarked BA.

There you have it: The A-Team’s Mission District adventure. Driving around the Mission it was clear to see that areas of the neighborhood utilized and populated by working class Latino families received little or no 3D rendered buildings. Conversely, Valencia Street had more rendered buildings than the rest of the Mission District combined. I highly recommend you take your own tour of the city using the game and draw your own conclusions. You can do so by visiting http://www.youtube.com/drivetheateamvan (if you don’t have it already, the game will prompt you to download the Google Earth plug-in).

Peace, fool!

Rio

Purikura Protest

A couple of days ago I joined up with my purikura partner in crime Maya Chinchilla to have lunch and get into some more trouble at Pikapika in Japantown. We enjoyed crepes and bought a couple of new pairs of sunglasses for the occasion. Maya suggested that we bring some social justice struggles into our concepts and decorations for the photos we were about to take.

Arriving at Pikapika we walked around to check out the new and recently repaired purikura booths they had on hand. We came across the image above of a purikura girl with digitally adorned indigenous trappings. I was surprised to see the semiotic plight of my indigenous brothers and sisters had already made its way to the art of purikura. I wonder what’s next?

Maya and I shot photos using two of our favorite booths, Viseei and Love Joker (Shiny Madonna theme, natch). Always the visionary, Maya came well prepared with props of sunglasses, books, and even stuffed animals. When it came time to decorate our photos Maya and I focused on the struggles taking place in Arizona but managed to work in a few other themes as well. Some highlights are below:


Peace and purikura y’all,

Rio

Nooooooo!

I’ve written plenty of times about US Video and its owner Mr. Kim. I even featured it on my Mission Mural at Galeria de la Raza. Even with all of that, my lifelong relationship to the rental video shop on Mission Street has best been summed up by this comic I did for Mission Loc@l.

That’s why I’m utterly devastated that US Video is in the process of liquidating its assets and closing down. Walking by it on Mission Street today I couldn’t help but reenact the last scene of Planet of the Apes. I guess Mr. Kim’s mighty empire of porn could not insulate him from the rise of adult content on the web. I shot this animated gif of Mr. Kim closing the store down for the night and shed a little tear. I’ll enjoy this sight while I still can.

The closing of US Video marks the final death of Video stores in the Mission that cater to working class Latino families in the neighborhood. All that’s left in the neighborhood is Lost Weekend. I never thought I’d live to see the day that it would be easier to rent a copy of some obscure Orson Welles film than a copy of Transformers (or some other commercial mainstream movie).

Mariela and I talk a lot of trash about new businesses that come into the neighborhood when old ones close down. There’s a glut of certain types of businesses in the Mission that continue to open up even when our streets are choked with ones identical to them.  If US Video’s storefront gets turned into a nail salon, hair salon, check cashing business, 99 cent store, or Cell Phone shop then someone’s ass is getting kicked. Believe that.

R.I.P. US Video,

Rio

It’s a Mad World, Nina Diaz

This portrait of Girl in a Coma’s Nina Diaz is but a small detail of one of two pieces of mine that will be show at Galeria de la Raza’s Mad World: Messages to the Future exhibit. I’m really excited about the work and hope to see you all there at the opening on Saturday. The portrait itself is based on a photo of Nina that I shot when they played at SomArts this past summer.Here are the details:

Mad World: Messages to the Future

a group exhibition seeking artistic Insight into the future

Saturday, May 8, 2010 – Saturday, June 26, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Opening Reception – Saturday, May 8th @ 7:30 p.m.

Featuring    Jose Arenas, Carlos Castro, Emael, Chris Granillo, Erika Hannes, Hector Dio Mendoza, Johanna Poethig, Lady Reni, Joshua Short, Jose Antonio Suarez, Robert Trujillo, Christina Velazquez, Rio Yanez, and Marilyn Yu.

Mad World: Messages to the Future, an exhibition featuring work by fourteen artists’ that imagine the future in 40 years through a fictional history of objects. In considering work for the exhibition, artists’ were asked ponder the statement, ‘If you’re interested in the future, Invent it.” Responses range from both the artistic representation of objects 40 years from now, to witty and thoughtful statements about our cultural evolution. Through works such as future almanac entries, nomad friendly furniture and functional objects made from discarded material, the exhibition will display a unique imagining of what’s to come.

Galería de la Raza
2857 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Hours: Galería de la Raza is open Tuesday 1-7pm & Wednesday through Saturday from noon till 6pm.

Speaking of Girl in a Coma, they just released a brilliant trilogy of cover albums this past week. You can preview complete versions of all the songs on their official site and buy ‘em on vinyl or from itunes. My favorite is their cover of Richie Valen’s Come On Let’s Go.

Apparently, if you line up all three album covers they form into a board game. Anyone up for a game of Adventures in Coverland?

Peace,
Rio