(Scroll down to ‘Mission Series part 3′ for information about my upcoming exhibition in April.)
It was during the memorial for my friend and neighbor, Spain Rodriguez, at the Brava Theater that I decided to start this Mission District Series. So he was on my mind as I set up to paint this picture of the Brava Theater.
As if on cue, a fight between women erupted inside “Pops” bar next to where I was painting. As the fight reached a crescendo, I saw three Amazons running down York Street towards the bar, long, dark hair streaming behind them. They charged inside. Things got even louder. Then there was an uneasy silence, followed by, “You won’t try that again, bitch!”
They were out the door, running back up York when I heard one of them shout, “I hope they don’t say nothing about Samoans!” The police arrived a few minutes later. No one seemed to know who these women were.
The whole event was pure Spain Rodriguez.
The homeless hang out on York. It’s near their encampment under the freeway. Three of them found their way into this first painting.
There’s a lot of history on this corner. The Brava used to be the York Theater, many locals still call it that. The St Francis Cafe (founded 1918) attracts a large crowd of young adults. It is where “the Morabito brothers who owned a lumberyard nearby often lunched … and, as legend goes, hatched the idea there in the late 1940s to buy the franchise for the Forty-Niners.” (Courtesy of Mission Local)
Pops which offers bacon in its Bloody Marys is a popular hipster dive. Improbably, right next door is the excellent and attractive Mexicana Bakery
I did three paintings at this intersection as one short, rainless, winter day followed another. I could have done more. But I decided it was time to move back up 24th.
I returned to La Palma. In this second painting I decided to focus more on the small truck painted with the eagle bearing a Mexican Flag. It parks on this corner every weekend. The owner sets up a long table crowded with used tools and other items. He approved of my painting. “You have painted my truck with a big smile!” he observed.
In the mornings before working on La Palma, I passed by Rene Yañas’ house. Rene, who is a important cultural figure in the Mission (see Mission District Series #3, below), has lived in this house on rent control for 35 years. He is facing eviction under the Ellis Act. The house is set back behind a screen of vegetation. ” I used to enjoy caring for this garden.” Rene told me, “But since the eviction order I’ve really lost interest.”
He posed for me so I could put him in the painting.
I noticed Mike Ruiz’s installation of a skeleton and crosses commemorating the demise of Latino institutions in the Mission, some time ago. I decided to capture this scene before it was removed, especially since Accion Latina is a major force in the Mission. Home to the bilingual newspaper El Tecolote, it also promotes youth and cultural programs including the Encuentro del Canto Popular which takes place early December every year at the Brava Theater.
Please scroll down to view earlier posts about this ongoing Series.