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René Yañez--Catch Activist Artist's Work Before He is No More
by Tsumani Huerta
Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
San Francisco's precious leader and community builder René, mainly responsible here in the States for popularizing Day of the Dead and Frida Khalo and one of the ring leaders of the Great Tortilla Conspiracy, is honored & kicks off new exhibit: Opening Night 9 March Friday 6-9pm through 31st March 2018.
Last night a Latina gal pal and I journeyed to see René Yañez's opening night of his like zillionth show!! I urge people to go; he didn't seem good health wise. But my friend piped in in Spanish: "You watch, I bet he will do more shows than ever now and laugh at death in his face. That's what the great artists do like Juan Gabriel and your David Bowie!"

This is how our night went; all dialogue translated from Spanish to English:

"Hey, I know this Mexican American friend of mine who would make a great mentor for your son; he was in the mentor program at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco ages ago! I'm gonna send him a message right now and ask him via private Facebook! In fact, his mentee sent him a photo of his new baby boy last week. They are still in touch! Wait, wait! He's sending me info about a show for René Yañez tonight. Oh, we gotta go to this; it could be a sign! You gotta meet my friend face-to-face; maybe he will say yes to mentoring your thirteen-year-old?!"

"Oh, I don't know, Tsunami?"

"Come on; it's too late for me to book a Paratransit disability ride! You'd be doing me a favor,

We pull up to a battered curb near 6th St. and Mission, two blocks away from seeing René at his show on Market St and 6th. We weave through the over-crowded, piss-smelling 6th St with its towering clustered broken down apartment buildings and slumlord mini hotels. The residents who live here are bravely in one of the last hold outs. But rather than repair this neighborhood, gentrification voraciously nibbles at its edges. This is skid row, but for the very poor, the disabled, the elderly and destitute families this is home. We slip through the many clusters of poor lining the street and round Market St. arriving at The Luggage Store Art Galley formerly a you-know-what.

We reach the storefront mural opening and maneuver the steep narrow stairs, cane and all. An understanding elderly Latina shouts out encouragement as we reach the last step! Yay! It is packed with mostly People of Color but not exclusively so. At last we're on home gallery turf and the Opening Night of Yañez's Show: Into the Fade. 6 to 9pm 9 March Friday through 31st of March 2018 (the photo above illustrates the entrance at 1007 Market and 6th streets).

We wiggle through ogling eagerly all of René Yañez's bright amazing work and dioramas on and along all the walls. The voice of Mexican activist performance artist and linguist, Guillermo Gómez-Peña booms out an opening incantation of hilarious and yet deeply chilling blessings for all its international relevance. We stop, completely mesmerized.

There's my friend, the Latino activist and mentor watching Guillermo up ahead! Embraces and introductions are made. Yay! Soon the Latino progressive and comedic group, Culture Clash will perform in Yañez's honor.

Wine and refreshments abound! Freshly made Yañez inspired tattooed tortillas and more yummy Mexican food adorn a back table where helpers hand out combos.

A Yañez wall of clear encased tostadas dominates one side of the room. All are tattoed with all kinds of delightfully funny and tragic imagery of sayings and caricatures of people and movements!

It's remarkable to find out by many Yañez is accredited for popularizing Frida Kahlo in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He is strongly drawn to her and tonight's magnificent Frida display of his illustrates this; it is one of many he has done for many decades.

I see Yañez conversing with guests by his exhibit book which many are signing. My mind refuses to register him, he looks so different, so pale and gaunt yet his magnetic smile cheers all around him and his great body of artistic activist work continues to inspire others.

(Editing by Hoon)


René Yañez, Into the Fade
§Yañez's Tortilla Conspiracy Project
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
§Yañez's Tortilla Conspiracy Project
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
§Yañez's Tortilla Conspiracy Project
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
§Yañez's Tortilla Conspiracy Project
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
§Part of his huge Frida display
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM
by Tsumani Huerta Saturday Mar 10th, 2018 11:31 AM