I’m 37 today. One of the biggest joys of my birthdays are putting out mixes that encapsulate my previous year and are a snapshot of where I’m at in life. This year is no different and it’s my gift back to everyone who has been in my life during year 36. This past year was the hardest of my adult life but I managed to grow and change in ways that I’m so proud of. I’m looking forward to this next journey surrounded by the friends, family, and chosen family that I love so much. Happy birthday to me!
Today is my lovely lady’s birthday. To celebrate I’ve created another mix of jams old and new. Please enjoy!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my friends and lovers! El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards are back in the mix to get their kicks! This is the 10th year of my cards and it’s turned into my longest running project yet. Enjoy! As always, please post these cards on the pages of your social media friends, casual booty calls, instagram crushes, sanchas, Tinder regrets, and people you sext on snapchat. To see a complete collection of El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elrio/sets/72157594533338379/
Peace and Love,
This mix is special to me. 11 months ago I started my current job and another big chapter in my life. It’s been a stabilizing force that I’ve been very grateful for even on the days when I come home exhausted and so over office life. These are the songs that carry me door-to-door from work to home. The down-tempo electronic songs that start the mix off are what I decompress to as I walk from my office building down to BART on Market street. The rest keep my energy up as I ride in a packed BART train home to the East Bay. The artwork on the front cover are Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson as Finn and Ilana Glazer as Rey from The Force Awakens. Two of my favorite pieces of media from the last year.
If you’re reading this, I’m humbly thankful that you’re in my life and sharing this is a little way of saying thanks:
Peace & happy birthday to me!
Today is Dia de los Muertos.
Around this time of year there’s a lot of discussion about cultural appropriation and the lost spirit of the procession in San Francisco. If there was a way to turn the tide of of people treating Dia de los Muertos like a frat party, a colorful extension of Halloween, or a Mexican Mardi Gras it would have been done long ago. I don’t know if it’s acceptance or surrender but I feel more at peace with it this year.
As someone who curates an exhibit that features a wide and diverse array of artists sharing their visions of offerings and altars the most important thing to hold onto is the sense that it’s personal. That someone or something is being honored from a personal and sincere place. That’s how I choose to participate with it as a cultural and spiritual practice.
Speaking of the exhibit I curate, it will be on display for one more week with a closing reception on Saturday, November 7th. More info can be found here: http://www.somarts.org/shadow/
Once more I’ve teamed up with my BFF Mayra Ramirez to produce another set of images for the show. For the 3rd year in a row we’ve been joined by makeup artist Leanne ElRod Rodriguez. To see a complete gallery of photos from this years shoot visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/elrio/sets/72157659218257101
I have a new favorite Purikura booth (sorry Candy Carnival). Gyza³ is the vanity purikura machine of Japanese fashion designer Alisa Ueno. To put it in perspective, if the GYZA³ was made in the west it would feature Kylie Jenner or Tavi Gevinson. You can see Ueno’s presentation of the booth at her blog here: http://ameblo.jp/ueno-arisa/entry-12015007803.html It’s kind of fascinating to see how she presents her self-portraits using her own designs and aesthetics.
The Gyza³ represents a lot of the current trends with modern purikura machines. Gone are the gaudy sparkles, starbursts, and wacky character stamps that were used to create campy garish portraits. You don’t even pick your backgrounds until you decorate your photos. Gyza³ and its generation of purikura booths aim for a transformative glam experience that smooths your skin, enlarges your eyes, and reshapes your body. Instead of wacky characters your decorative options are mostly text and phrases, instead of flashy sparkles we get hearts and photorealistic jeweled objects, the results are magical realism throwbacks to the 80’s.
In the past month I’ve visited San Francisco’s local Gyza³ booth at Pika Pika with several artists. Below are portraits of myself and Rob Fatal, J. Leimone, Margarita Azucar, and Sarah Guerra.
I haven’t looked that young and skinny in a decade. For a mere $12, Gyza³ will give you images of yourself that rival the photoshopped gloss of most magazine covers while a Japanese cover of Ariana Grande’s Break Free plays in the background. I’m all about it!
More Gyza³ portraits coming soon!
Today is my special lady’s birthday. To celebrate I’ve put together a throwback mix of classic East Coast freestyle and West Coast revival freestyle. I hope you can dig it. Happy birthday Sarah!
Seidy Lopez as Mousie in the film Mi Vida Loca. Artwork for a zine I’m working on.
There have been so many big life changes since I last posted. I plan on resuming my blogging once again now that things have settled down a little bit. In the meantime you can listen to my appearance on the Porchlight Storytelling Series Podcast. I collaborated with my dad to tell a story about OJ Simpson and my 8th Grade Graduation. You can download the mp3 HERE
It was a thrill to be invited by the host of the podcast Beth Lisick. She’s been one of my favorite writers since high school and I got her to officiate my re-graduation from the 8th grade. It was a dream come true! Thanks Beth!
I’ll be back soon!