News Briefs: Day of the Dead exhibition now open in SF

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022
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SOMArts' Día de Los Muertos exhibition is now open for the public to visit. Photo: Courtesy SOMArts
SOMArts' Día de Los Muertos exhibition is now open for the public to visit. Photo: Courtesy SOMArts

SOMArts Cultural Center's annual Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, exhibition is now open for public viewing.

In its 23rd year, the exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the U.S., a news release stated. Founded by the late San Francisco artist and curator René Yañez, Día de Los Muertos at SOMArts merges traditional altars with contemporary installations, continuing to be a multigenerational gathering of remembrance while affirming the importance of arts and culture, the release noted.

This year, Rio Yañez, the elder Yañez's son, and Anaís Azul are co-curating the exhibition, titled "To Love and Be Loved, Día de Los Muertos 2022." It exemplifies how the love between the living and the dead continues to help people navigate a world troubled by injustice, organizers stated, adding, "This exhibition asserts that our relationship with our ancestors and with each other is essential to our humanity and livelihood."

The younger Yañez and Azul, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, have grown up around the annual exhibit and both are part of artistic families who have helped shape the Bay Area's thriving arts and culture community.

"We are two second-generation artists who grew up watching this exhibit take shape for decades with our families," Rio Yañez stated. "Our vision for the show aims to embrace the family of artists cultivated by René Yañez and an exciting new generation of artists."

This is Azul's first time as a curator, the release stated.

The exhibit is on view through November 4 at SOMArts, 934 Brannan Street (between Eighth and Ninth streets). Gallery hours are Thursday-Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

On Friday, October 21, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., there will be a special Día de Los Muertos drag show. For more information, click here.

SOMArts receives programming support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Grants for the Arts, and the San Francisco Foundation.

DeFrank center marks 40 years

The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center in San Jose will celebrate its 40th anniversary Saturday, October 22, from 6 to 11:30 p.m., with a gala at the Holiday Inn, 1350 N. First Street.

"We're Queer and Still Here!" is the theme of the evening, which will include a silent auction. A live auction will feature Santa Clara County Supervisor and San Jose mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez as auctioneer, an event flyer stated.

Emcees will be outgoing San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Gregg 3G, a bi radio personality on Mix 106.5 FM; and Gabrielle Antolovich, board president of the DeFrank center. The evening includes a buffet dinner, cash bars, entertainment, and awards.

The keynote speaker will be lesbian retired Santa Clara Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell. She was the first Black Superior Court judge in Northern California and in Santa Clara County's history when she was elected in 1988. Prior to that, Cordell became the first Black woman judge in Northern California when former Governor Jerry Brown Jr. appointed her to the municipal court during his second term as governor in 1982.

Cordell, 72, retired from the bench in 2001. Since then, she has been an independent police auditor for the city of San Jose, a consultant, and was elected to the Palo Alto City Council in 2004, where she served a four-year term that ended in December 2007. Last year she wrote a memoir, "Her Honor," about her life. She was honored with a mural in downtown San Jose that was part of the Womanhood Project, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported.

Tickets for the black tie Halloween-themed gala start at $150. For more information, click here.

LGBT center honors LGBTQ History Month

The San Francisco LGBT Community Center is recognizing LGBTQ2S loved ones with a ceremonial altar and in-person grounding ceremony Thursday, October 27, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 1800 Market Street.

"Honoring our Ancestors: The River's Journey" will honor queer ancestors and Día de Los Muertos. Interested people can participate by submitting photos, stories, and names for the altar. The ceremony will consist of people gathering around the altar and adding their offerings and intentions, a news release stated.

To submit photos (any size) and names, email [email protected]. To register for the ceremony, which is free, click here.

Jennifer Pizer is now Lambda Legal's permanent chief legal officer. Photo: Courtesy Lambda Legal  

Pizer now permanent legal officer at Lambda Legal
Jennifer Pizer has shed acting from her title, as it was announced that she is the new permanent chief legal officer at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. The New York City-based LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS public interest legal organization released the news October 7.

Pizer, a lesbian and longtime member of the agency's legal staff, had served as acting chief legal officer since June, the agency stated. She heads a department of 26 attorneys and 11 paraprofessionals with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., in addition to New York City.

"Jenny Pizer has dedicated her life's work to the cause of LGBTQ equality and inclusion, and Lambda Legal, specifically, with a history dating back to when she was a legal intern in the 1980s," stated Kevin Jennings, Lambda Legal CEO.

Jennings, a former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration, recalled that Pizer received the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association's highest honor, the Dan Bradley Award, in July, as the B.A.R. previously reported.

Pizer stated that she looks forward to her new position.

"I am honored to continue to lead Lambda Legal's team of incredibly talented attorneys during this critical time," she stated, referencing the "onslaught of attacks in statehouses and the random abuses inflicted daily because too many in this country are still learning who we are — still see us as some kind of dangerous threat."

Pizer is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Harvard/Radcliffe College.

AIDS 2022 content now online
The International AIDS Society, which held its in-person and virtual AIDS 2022 conference in Montreal, Canada this summer, has announced that anyone can now view over 150 sessions, 2,100 abstracts, and 2,400 e-posters from the meeting online at no cost.

The content includes science presentations, expert discussions on the global HIV response, and much more, a news release stated.

To access the content, click here.

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