I am 31 and happy. On my 31ist birthday a dream came true and my blog was graced by Cindylu and a most amazing guest post. Cindylu is a great friend but also the reason I started blogging and sharing my artwork online. Thanks so much homegirl!

Equally awesome was this post by Meligrosa. It hella made me blush and made me feel so lucky to have such special friends in my life. ADM! Gracias Meli!

Last but not least, my crush on singer Fernanda Karolys is well documented and it made my day to get this birthday greeting from her on facebook. Among other things, Fernanda is the singer featured on Clorofila’s “BabyRock” Rock, my absolute favorite song of 2010. *Le sigh*.

Thanks everyone for the well wishes on my birthday. I’ll leave you with this video encapsulating the second-half of my 30th year on Earth. All I can say right now is that I’m looking forward to what 31 has in store for me.




Pico Por Vida

I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than by wishing a very Happy Birthday to one of my dearest friends. Katynka Martinez is my conscious and my partner in podcasting/radio crime. I can’t imagine my life without her in it and I’m so glad that she was born on this day. Happy Birthday Katynka!



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.

Scott Pilgrim Style Guide

As my birthday quickly approaches in January I am more determined than ever to have the greatest Scott Pilgrim themed birthday party OF ALL TIME. I was talking to Mariela and our homegirl Carina about it this weekend and got stuck trying to explain the aesthetics of Ramona Flowers, Scott Pilgrim’s Girlfriend. Originally I was going to send them a few of the following pictures but since I’m trying to get as many people dressed as Scott Pilgrim characters for the party I thought I’d post this as a handy inspirational guide to Scott Pilgrim costuming. First up: The one and only Ramona Flowers!

And here are some photos taken by Edgar Wright from the set of the Scott Pilgrim movie with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers.

Sadly there are not a whole lot of Kim Pine looks out there on the web. Since Mariela has cute-ass freckles I always thought she’d make an awesome Kim Pine.

And now some Kim Pine photos from the Scott Pilgrim movie with Alison Pill as Kim Pine.

And last but not least we have Knives Chau, the most dangerous tenderoni to ever walk the Earth. Sadly, there is also a lack of Knives looks out there was well. Here is what I could find.

Without further ado here is Ellen Wong as Knives Chau in the Scott Pilgrim Movie.



Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad’s birthday. True to form he’s working a full shift at SOMArts and then going to an event for a exhibit he’s curated at the Mission Cultural Center…and then finally going to his joint birthday party with Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Carolina Ponce De Leon. Never a dull moment, and that’s what’s kept him so young.

I recently did a search on Flickr for “Rene Yañez” and came across a lot of images of my Dad that I didn’t know even existed. My favorite was by Ricardo Vinos; a photo of my Dad shaking hands with the legendary Robert Crumb as I look on in the foreground. The photo was from Project X: The Artists Talk Show, a theater based talk show that my Dad produced and starred in where he would interview artists and have live performances. His most memorable interview subject was R. Crumb and I’ll never forget seeing the two of them together on stage. We’ve both come a long way since that night in 1990, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure together will take us next.

Happy Birthday Dad,


My Life, My Swag

All day I’ve been pondering turning 30 in January. I wanted to take some sort of proactive action to put my mind at ease and today I finally locked in a date for my 30th birthday party at SOMArts. There are so many streams of thought still flowing through my mind but I am excited and inspired to celebrate 30 years of my life on this planet.

One of my inspirations and reasons that I am looking forward to turning 30 is my favorite Chicana artist Zulma Aguiar (AKA Chicana Feliz). Homegirl has brought Chican@ thought and art to Hawaii and is making headway for those of us still struggling to find our voice in the mainland. Yesterday was her 34th birthday and she’s shown me that my 30’s can be a time of travel, adventure, positive change, and making challenging art all the while feeling good and looking good. My utmost gratitude to her for showing me how it’s done right. Happy Birthday Zulma.

These days I’ve been steady rocking Swedish music makers jj and their song My Life, My Swag. It’s helped me, in my head, lay out the adventure that lies before me. The title makes it sounds like some sort of grimy hip-hop joint but it’s really a dreamy pop song in the vein of The Tough Alliance. I hope you can dig it.

My Life, My Swag by jj



Rio Yañez’ Precious Little Life



NOTE: First things first, the two comic pages above are NOT original works by me. I have merely altered the amazing art and words of Bryan Lee O’Malley to fit my friends and I.

I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 30 these days. My 30th birthday is still a few months off but it’s a milestone that had been constantly on my mind. I’ve been talking with a lot of my friends about what it means to be 30 and wondering if there are any experiences I’d like to have in my 20’s while I still can.

With the support and wisdom of Mariela, I’ve really embraced turning 30 and am looking forward to it as a rebirth into a new and improved Rio. At the same time I have become completely obsessed with the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels. The books themselves are a pretty good embodiment of the spirit of my 20’s, especially my time at Calarts.

Mariela has been asking me what I’d like to do to celebrate my 30th birthday and I thought something Scott Pilgrim related would be amazing as a send-off to my 20’s. With that in mind I produced the two comic pages above (using the beginning of Scott Pilgrim vol. 5) as a kind of early invitation to my birthday party. For those of you keeping score that’s me as Scott Pilgrim, Ava as Ramona Flowers, Mariela as Kim Pine, Tokoztli as Joeseph, Bryan as Stephen Stills, Carina as Julie Powers, and Maya as an off-panel Hollie (I think).

My dreams of having the first Scott Pilgrim themed birthday invitation were dashed when I discovered this blog post and image below.


I thought to myself, “Well, at least I might have the very first Scott Pilgrim themed birthday party.” But one quick search of flickr and google for scott pilgrim birthday dashed my dreams a little bit further…

Behold! A gallery of Scott Pilgrim cakes!


http://www.flickr.com/photos/vwvwvwvvv/3347310029/Dang! Well, just as I am determined to be the best 30-year-old EVER and I am equally determined to have the greatest Scott Pilgrim themed birthday party OF ALL TIME.

Invites to come soon.