Upcoming Exhibition at Alley Cat Books: April 2014
Alley Cat Books has a large, well lit, art gallery at the back of the store. I will be showing my Mission District Series here from April 4th to April 28th, 2014. Reception April 4th 6-8 pm.
As the days grow shorter and the shadows longer I have been working my way back down 24th Street from Balmy Alley:
Day of the Dead 2014
The November 2nd Day of the Dead Procession and Celebration of the Altars in the Mission was the largest I have ever witnessed. Led by the Aztec Dancers it wound south on Bryant. At Galeria de la Raza where a mural illustrates a funeral parade for 'La Mision' in a casket, it turned up 24th Street proceeding all the way to Mission Street where it moved north. The sheer number of celebrants, easily in excess of 15,000, rivaled Carnaval. City authorities seemed unprepared for these numbers. But the crowd was peaceful, many bearing candles with faces painted to resemble skulls. Elaborate banners declaring "No Evictions in the Mission" set the theme for the evening.
Among the participants, we spotted Rene Yañez who started this procession in the seventies. Rene, a major cultural figure in the barrio, was a founder of the Mission Cultural Center and the Galeria de la Raza, He is now facing eviction. His eviction proceedings have galvanized the Mission, and were one of the reasons this year's event was so large. Activists I have spoken to in the Mission are insistent that there needs to be a moratorium on further Ellis Act evictions as well as all evictions in the 24th Street corridor. The Latino community has done much more than introduce Latin American traditions to San Francisco. It has adapted them, with the input of both Latino and non Latino artists, until they have entered the City's mainstream. For example, the Day of the Dead, which originates in Mexico as a fusion of indigenous and Catholic culture, morphed in San Francisco during the creative ferment of the seventies into something wonderful and strange. And yet, my friends in Michoacan would still recognize it.