The fundraiser tonight for leading cultural figures Rene Yañez and Yolanda Lopez, who are being evicted from the home they have lived in for 35 years, will bring together some of the icons of the Latino art and performance world including the Culture Clash, Guillermo Gomez-Peña and San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murgia.
Yañez, who helped found the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and the Galería de la Raza, was issued an Ellis Act eviction and has until July 2014 to vacate his home on San Jose Avenue where his family lives in a two-unit duplex.
We’re not doing it for the money, but for cultural preservation and social activism, said Rene Yañez. “Being a Latino artist, you have certain responsibilities to activism.”
The Mission is turning into a place of cultural tourism, added Yañez. “A lot of those artists in Clarion Alley that tourists come to see, no longer live in the Mission. It’s cultural eviction.”
Organizers of Our Mission: No Eviction!, which will be held at the Brava Theater, hope to bring attention to rising rents and the increase of commercial and residential evictions.
The benefit will feature musical performances and an art auction with work donated by the artist and his family as well as by artists Enrique Chagoya, Ester Hernandez, Jesus Barraza, Melanie Cervantes, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Xuxo Perez, Jos Sances, Jean Melesaine, Alexa Treviño and others.
“My parents touched a lot of lives in the community,” said Rio Yañez, the son of Yañez and Lopez.
Lopez and her son Rio, live in one of the units of a San Jose duplex. They are already looking for a new place to live. Rene Yañez lives with his partner Cynthia Wallis, in the second unit. Both Yañez and Wallis are suffering from terminal cancer.
“They’ve been through a lot,” said Rio Yañez, who hopes the event will shine light on his parent’s situation, and possibly lead to an appeal of the eviction through public shaming. He’s hopeful, but adds, “Legally, Ellis Acts are pretty unstoppable.”
Rene Yañez said that he has a “history of challenging the system,” but he is also looking forward to seeing the performances and his friends.
The performers also include Marga Gomez, Las Bomberas de la Bahia, Dr. Loco, Cherrie Moraga, Celia Rodriguez, Loco Bloco, Maya Chinchilla and Mission Cultural Center’s Pedro Reyes, who will be DJing at the event.
“I’m overwhelmed with people caring so much,” he said and added that he will use part of the donations to relocate organize his archives.
Tickets are $10-$35 and can be purchased at Brava Theater. Donations are also accepted for those unable to attend. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. to bid on art work and the performances will begin at 8 p.m.
2781 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110