You’re Gonna Cry flyers, tickets, and more!

No, these aren’t real bands/concerts but they are elements of the set I designed for Paul Flores’ play You’re Gonna Cry opening this Friday! Buy tickets here:

The names are all bands I’ve wanted start at one point or another. I haven’t actually made music since my garage band days in high school but I’m always fantasizing about band concepts and names. So far Los Jizzers de Tepeyac has gotten the most responses on facebook.

To accentuate the set I decided to add some street art stickers into the mix. I got a sheet of postal labels and a few sharpies and decided to put down some placasos for my friends. Clockwise from the left are Elena White, Rosi Reyes, Elida Bautista, Katynka Martinez, Robynn Takayama, and Darren de Leon.

I also made a sheet of sticker featuring a pretty heavy anglophile influence. Clockwise from the lefthand corner: Death (from the DC/Vertigo comics), St. Trinian’s (the movie I was watching at the time I made them), the UFW Eagle (y’know with a boner), Morrissey, Bis (from Scotland), and last but not least Doctor Who (my current media obsession).

Hope to see you there!


You’re Gonna Cry

I’m really happy to announce that my creative relationship with writer/performer Paul Flores is continuing this February for his latest production. On top of designing his latest promotional materials I’m also designing the set for the show. I’m super excited!

February 11-12, 2011
Dance Mission Theater presents
the World Premiere of YOU’RE GONNA CRY

Written and Performed by PAUL S. FLORES
Directed by Brian Freeman
Digital Mural Design by Rio Yanez
February 11-12, 2011 @ 8 pm
Tickets $15 gen, $12 student w/id *

The real lives of Mission District residents at the height of gentrification

HBO Def Poet and Youth Speaks co-founder Paul S. Flores takes us back to the 1990’s to capture the abrupt changes seen throughout the Mission District brought on by the dot-com boom and bust, the real estate bubble, constant immigration and forced evictions. Portraying a kaleidoscope of offbeat, vibrant characters, Flores gives voice to the techies looking to remodel the place, to the Latino bohemians wandering the bars and cafes, to locals and immigrants with a stake in the heart of San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood. At the crux of You’re Gonna Cry is a heartbreaking story chronicling the human cost of gentrification. Flores brings a critical perspective combined with raw realism and even a gangster puppet show to illuminate a historic moment when the city’s facade and cultural landscape changed.

Artistic Design Team includes: Tanya Orellana (set) / Adrian Hernandez (video) / Kaibrina Skybuck (costumes) / Rashad Pridgen (choreography) / Alejandro Acosta (sound) / Marissa Marshall (lights)

Performance contains use of Spanish and graphic language
This project received support from The Center for Cultural Innovation Investing In Artists Grant, Theater Bay Area CA$H grant, and United States Artists Projects

More coming soon!



Hella 3D!

I feel a little off-kilter typing these words. I’m writing this post from my new PC laptop. This is the first time I’ve ever owned a PC, I’ve been on the Apple jock since I had my first Apple IIE computer back in the day. Navigating Windows makes everything feel backwards and upside down. Alas it’s a necessity to be able to process 3D images from the Fuji W3 camera.

The images in this post were shot with the W3 and downloaded to Fuji’s included software and then converted to 3D anaglyphs using Anamaker. I bypassed Photoshop in adjusting the images so what you’re seeing is pretty much straight from the camera. All of my previous 3D images have been created using Photoshop. As always you need red/cyan 3D glasses to view the images in 3D.



Ps. I’ve got a lot to learn with the camera’s different parallax settings but I think I’m off to a good start. More photos to come soon!

Behind the Scenes and Mischief in the Mission

This past Sunday I got together with the infamous Mayra Ramirez for another session of Homegirl Purikura. For this special session we were joined by guest artist and chola Evil Rose. Mayra and I met Evil Rose in Japantown and together we ventured into Pikapika to take some photos.

During our first session of Homegirl Purikura Mayra turned all sorts of heads in Japantown while she was decked out in her chola gear and persona. With Evil Rose in the mix we were a walking spectacle. Tourists who were in the area for the Nihonmachi Street Fair didn’t know what to make of us. Our presence was unavoidable.

Evil Rose was a natural Purikura artist, Mayra and I showed her the basics and she just took off with it.  Mayra also continued her unique and intense approach to her Purikura practice. I decorated a couple of images but for the most part I stood back as a facilitator for this session. It was a thrill to see this powerful pair of cholas team up and work as artists together.

Lastly, I finally got to try out The Cube, the newest Purikura booth at Pikapika. I can’t wait to share the images that came from it. It was definitely the most sophisticated and technically advanced Purikura booth I’ve ever been in.

Following our Purikura adventure we all decided to head to the Mission District for a shoot in Balmy Alley. Evil Rose is not only a model/performer but a professional photographer herself. We turned our cameras on Mayra who lived up to her reputation as the ultimate Chola muse. Below are some photos, to see the full gallery of images check out my flickr page.

I also managed to record a little behind the scenes video while we were shooting. Here’s two videos of Mayra playing around. When she focuses on her chola persona she disappears into it but when she breaks character she’s equally charismatic. Check it out!



La Mission Mysteries Solved!

In the past four days I’ve hung out twice with actor Jeremy Ray Valdez, better known as the actor who plays Benjamin Bratt’s son in La Mission. On Thursday I spent an evening trailing him as a hired photographer at a benefit screening of La Mission. In between photographing Jeremy with attendees and donors at the event we got to chatting about La Mission and some burning questions I’ve had about it. I also met up with Jeremy this past Sunday at the SF Pride festival at the La Mission booth. Here’s the scoop on some mysteries of La Mission.

Mystery #1: Bootleg Flattery?

A couple of weeks ago I made a short video with Mission Loc@l’s Amanda Martinez contemplating the appropriateness of bootleg copies of La Mission being sold on Mission Street itself. Is a Mission bootleg the ultimate tribute to La Mission or are we ripping off hard working Latino directors and actors?

To get the answer I asked Jeremy what he thought of bootleg copies of La Mission being sold on Mission Street. He told me a story of an autograph session he did in the Mission District during Carnaval and how a young girl brought him a bootleg copy of the movie for him to autograph. Jeremy was highly offended at the thought of signing a bootleg copy of La Mission and expressed his extreme displeasure that Mission locals are pirating his work as an actor. According to him, bootlegs have a more adverse affect on smaller productions like La Mission as opposed to large big-budget Hollywood films.

Answer: It looks like the official word on the bootleg question is that Mission Street bootlegs of La Mission = bad.

Mystery #2: Is Che a Sureño?

The one thing that haunted me after seeing La Mission for the first time was Benjamin Bratt’s wardrobe in the film. His character, Che Rivera, wore a lot of blue throughout the whole movie. It left me wondering if there was an implied subtext that Che (and by extension his son) were Sureños. There’s no acknowledgment of the Mission’s color-coded terrain in the film and how much it weighs heavily on the minds of Latino residents of the neighborhood. To me, it bordered on offensive to have no recognition a Sureño character being a Sureño in the Mission District.

I asked Jeremy if Che and/or his son were intended to be Sureños and he answered absolutely not. He told me that Peter Bratt and the production crew were very conscious not to portray Norteños and Sureños in the film and that no character in the film was intended to be a former or current gang member.

Answer: Ain’t no colors in La Mission, blue Pendletons be damned.

Many thanks to Jeremy for solving these mysteries and for being so friendly on both days our paths crossed.



Reporting from the Front Lines of the Mission District

I’m back with another report from the front lines of the Mission District. I’ve been keeping my ear to the streets and my camera pointed at the scene. Gather ‘round while I put it down for the hood once more!

Glory Stickers

As many times as I’ve walked pass this sticker machine on Mission street between 22nd and 23rd I’ve never taken time to appreciate the amazing art of the “Glory Stickers.” Who knows where the art can be traced to, Mexico? China? The United States? East LA? It’s the most stylish that I’ve ever seen. Kinda like a Lisa Frank/Trapper Keeper version of most religious sticker art.

Is it sacrilegious to let stickers of religious icons bake and fade in the hot sun? Hmmmmmmmm…

The art of these stickers are amazing. Guadalupe looks like a total tenderoni. Check out those doe eyes and her fly Jughead crown. Poor Jesus ain’t fairing as well. He looks like he’s passing something really uncomfortable on the can. Somebody get him some pepto!


I love the windows at Julio’s on 25th and Mission. Most of the stickers are from the 1980’s and have held up pretty well over time. Where else are you going to see the Virgin of Guadalupe and John Lennon given equal presence? Here’s a couple of favorites.

The window displays at Julio’s are ever changing and always densely packed with old school Mission flava. Julio and his store have been around since I was a kid and has always been the most reliable place for me to buy Mexican comics, Loteria cards, and various tourist objects. At this point Julio’s is also one of the last remaining music stores on Mission Street. If he ever goes under who will sell Jenni Rivera records and hand out Ricky Martin posters in the hood?

Tortilla Art on the Loose!

Spotted on Valencia Street. It looks like a member of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy has been out and about in the Mission. Hopefully more of these will be popping up around the hood soon.

Take your pick for the most airbrushed homegirl in the Mission!

Whenever I walk down 22nd street I always make sure to check out the latest and greatest ads for Only true Mission homegirls can appreciate airbrushing this thick. Check them out, all of their photo-portraits have an airbrush gloss that never escaped 1987! That makes not just someone’s portrait studio but a time machine as well.

That’s it for now! Until next time, be excellent to each other.



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,