Nighthawks Remix

Hot damn! Guillermo Gomez-Peña and la Pocha Nostra just formally launched their official site for their collaboration with photographer RJ Muna at:

I’ve written about Muna’s work with La Pocha Nostra before and have sat in on their shoots. Guillermo always seems to round up an interesting cast of characters for each of his shoots and I’m proud to say that my Dad is usually a regular. My favorite of the recent sets on the site is Nighthawks Remix, photographed at my favorite bar the Rite Spot. Check it out at:

One of the photos features Rene throwing down in an arm wrestling match with James Luna. Get ’em Dad!

Also in the mix is my homegirl, the talented and beautiful Jocelyn Superstar. What can I say? Ms. Superstar makes being a visual artist look good and peep game on her crafted sunglasses.

Check out the further adventures of Gomez-Peña and company and tell ’em Rio sent ya!




Posse Roll Call

I am loving my life right now. This is largely due to my friends, collaborators, and co-workers who are making everything around me so interesting right now.

First up is my homegirl and collaborator Maya Escobar. Her intense video El es Frida Kahlo will be on view at the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, MO from 1/22-3/6. In conjunction with the exhibition, she has created an embeddable animated el es frida kahlo gif. As you know, I’m all about reclaiming the animated gif so I’m really excited to see Maya getting into this territory.

Next up is my homegirl Carina. I can’t believe I’ve known her for almost a decade and it’s only in the last two months that we’ve started to collaborate and get things popping. Alongside Mariela, our collective The Bloody Swans has been slowly developing a tumblr site and a flickr page. It’s been great to collaborate with both of them as artists and our work together has opened up so many new possibilities. This past weekend we had a photo-editing party and in the midst of reviewing our images I got Carina to sing into my iPhone using a simple program called Ringtone Recorder Pro. The results are the following iPhone formatted ringtones of Carina covering the latest and greatest of the scene: David GarzaDisco Ball World, Girl in a ComaEl Monte, and Major LazerKeep it Goin’ Louder.


I was just floored when I saw the latest work by my good friend Melanie Cervantes. As an artist, I aspire to her ability to create simple masterpieces. When she posted the above portrait of Julieta Venegas to facebook it was just love at first sight for me. Her caption to the piece is “La Julie” (Julieta Venegas)”5-color screen print, in production, 2010 and she later commented that, This is a portrait of songstress extraordinaire Julieta Venegas. She grew up in Tijuana and started out as pure rockera. Now she does more pop. I love, love, love her. Best believe I’ll be spreading the word once this print is made available.

Lastly, things are getting really interesting at work. SomArts has plenty of opportunities for artists to exhibit, curate, and perform at the moment. We have our Commons Fund & Curatorial Residency program accepting applications and new Gallery Director Justin Hoover’s 100 Performances for the Hole – Take Two. The latter is a marathon night of 100 short performances taking place in our newly excavated mechanic’s pit and is also accepting submissions. Our next exhibit is Prints Byte: the cutting edge of printmaking and the Great Tortilla Conspiracy will be serving up tortilla art at the opening reception on Friday, February 5th from 7:00PM to 9:00PM.

So far, 2010 is looking up.

Grateful for everything being awesome,


Curate an exhibit at SomArts

I’ve been asked by various people about how to go about having an exhibit at SomArts. If you’ve always wanted to create an exhibit at SomArts here is your chance:

Power (and Funding) to the People! SOMArts Cultural Center Seeks Proposals for The Commons Fund & Curatorial Residency

San Francisco, CA, January 11, 2010 SOMArts Cultural Center Executive Director Lex Leifheit announced today a new source of support for artists and curators—The Commons Fund and Residency. With support from the Fund, up to six curators each year will receive free exhibition space in the SOMArts Main Gallery, and those living in San Francisco are eligible for financial support to engage the Bay Area’s many cultural communities, expand their practice and turn vision into reality.

Leifheit commented, “the SOMArts Main Gallery was founded by San Francisco Art Institute graduates as an alternative venue for unique and non-mainstream work, and 30 years later we are still an essential large-scale venue for any artist or curator who wishes to engage the Bay Area’s cultural communities. By creating the Commons Fund and Residency, we are expanding our commitment to artists during a time of great need, and encouraging their continued work of fostering a vital cultural life in San Francisco.”

At press time, SOMArts had secured resources for up to six individuals or organizations to receive the following: financial support consisting of a curatorial stipend and materials reimbursement ranging between $500 and $1,000, a month-long exhibition in the SOMArts Main Gallery, technical assistance, and marketing support. Leifheit said they were still actively pursuing individual donors and like-minded foundations.

Why “the commons?”

The term “the commons,” conceived of for this program by SOMArts’s Curator & Gallery Director Justin Hoover, refers to a space that is shared by the community as a whole. SOMArts is committed to supporting artists at all levels of development and reflecting San Francisco’s citizens in the service of its mission: to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures.

How can artists find out more?

SOMArts is hosting a q&a as part of its Community Support Board meeting on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30pm as well as two online live-chat sessions—January 20 at 8pm and January 29 at 2pm. Artists who would like to speak one-on-one about their proposal can visit the SOMArts gallery and administrative office on Saturday, January 30 from noon to 4pm. SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan St. in San Francisco.

The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, February 17, 2010. All applications must be received in the SOMArts office by 5pm.

Get the full details and application here



I woke up this morning and I was 30

My good friend Juan Garza sent me this photo of my Dad and I in Los Angeles. I was 17 at the time of this photo and it seemed to put everything in perspective. I feel great right now and happy to be around my loved ones for my birthday. On Saturday I had the greatest birthday party of my life. Thanks to everyone who made it out to SomArts and gave me this incredible experience.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was receiving this portrait by my old friend Matt Lopez. I hadn’t seen Matt since my 21st birthday party.

My homegirl of homegirls Carina C. serenaded me in true Marilyn Monroe style. I was blushin’ and felt so special.

Last but not least, Maya Chinchilla and Cruz Grimaldo performed an original piece in my honor. I was so touched to be honored by such great artists and performers. Here are the Lyrics:

(sung to tune of Copacabana)
His name is Rio he’s post (post) Chicano
and when he walks into the room all the ladies stop and swoon
He likes purikura and Mariela
and on his way to be a star, you might catch him tending bar!
across a crowded floor, he’s so soft and hard-core
he’s about to take over the world…who could ask-for-more!

(Chorus)At the SOMArts! Somos bananas!
The hot spot past Mission on Brannan
at the SOMArts! Somos bananas!
(with Rio) Music and passion are always in fashion
At the SOMArts…. let’s all make love

He likes Godzilla, and his mamita
and he doesn’t get too sad making tortillas with his dad
ooo! quesadillas with ghetto Frida
on his way to turning 30, you might catch him getting dirty
with the pics he took and dearest comic books
Can he top his twenties?who cares? with his-good-looks?!

(Chorus)At the SOMArts! Somos bananas!
The hot spot past Mission on Brannan
at the SOMArts! Somos bananas!
(with Rio) Music and passion are always in fashion
At the SOMArts…. let’s all make love

My friends didn’t let me down when it came to the party’s Scott Pilgrim theme. Mariela fashioned a me as Scott Pilgrim piñata from a Go Diego Go one. We all had fun taking swings at it. Check out Anais chopping my face of like a Samurai.

Maya C. came dressed as Scott Pilgrim’s ex, Envy Adams.

Robynn brought two friends who came in costume. It was an awesome surprise to see two Ramonas and Maggie (mechanic era) from Love & Rockets.

Sarah G. came dressed as Sex Bob-Omb drummer Kim Pine!

Winnie came dressed as Knives Chau! Here she is holding my piñata face as a trophy.

There’s so many people I’d like to thank for making my party so special but I’d like to singles out 3. Carina helped plan and set up every level of the party. She helped arrange everything, performed, and stayed with me to 3:00 AM so we could clean up. I really want to thank and acknowledge the beautiful and amazing Yesenia. She was the camera operator who shot all of the video during the party and was great company. Thanks homegirl!

Lastly I want to thank my rock for being the love of my life. Without her none of this would have been possible. I met Mariela a few days after I had turned 20 and I’m so happy to be with her now into my 30’s. Love you baby!

Peace out,


Ps. Thanks Mom and Dad for doin’ it.

Only a few days left of my 20’s

The unthinkable has happened, Rio Yañez is turning 30! Come celebrate his Birthday this Saturday, January 9th! There will be plenty of art on display, good food to eat, and Beatles Rock Band to play. Since Rio is desperate to cling to his youth, he is making his party a Scott Pilgrim themed birthday celebration. Please come dressed as your favorite Scott Pilgrim character. For More on Scott Pilgrim check out my old posts HERE and HERE.

Hope to see you all there!

WHAT: Rio’s 30th Birthday
WHEN: Saturday, January 9th 2010, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
WHERE: SomArts
934 Brannan Street (between 8th and 9th)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Top 10 Moments of 2009

10. Rediscovering Purikura

9. Getting to know April Flores

8. Starting the Bloody Swans with Mariela and Carina

7. Seeing Girl in a Coma at SomArts

6. Collaborating with Maya Escobar

5. Starting my own comic strip with Mission Loc@l

4. Having my first solo-curated exhibit

3. Having a Mural at Galeria de la Raza

2. All the kisses I’ve enjoyed. What are friends if you can’t get a little tipsy and make out with them?

1. Seeing Mariela graduate with her Masters in Social Work