Cena Jane Fashion Artist in Sonoma

Cena was moving to her new Sonoma Salon, and we were her discussing career as a fashion designer and plans for adding a new line of dance wear to her bridal and evening wear collection.

Mari: Here we are once again and you are moving into a new studio in Sonoma. What is prompting this move?

Cena: I wanted to move the salon into my studio so I can be closer to my fabrics, because that is where my ideas come from. My ideas come from the fabrics in my studio.

Mari: Has your career turn out the way you planned?

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Robert Pacelli – Life in Motion

Project Artaud

Robert Moved into Project Artaud in the earlier 1970’s. He was on the first and second floor, Next door to Bill Fein, who was manufacturing organic soap for the Presidio.

He met Luis Del Gado and Pico Sanchez in Mexico City when he was going to school. Pico moved in with him for a while when he first arrived here.

When Dennis moved into 123, Milo was staying in a loft, hung by Doug Dahlstrom, before the big fire in the gallery. The gallery had recently been sandblasted. Putting up the wall between the gallery and 123 was Dennis’s responsibility, as a condition of him getting the space. Avery, with a little help from Pacelli, put up the wall for Dennis.

After the wall was done, J. Harley Simon had the first photography show in the gallery, which was called the American Can Company Collective, at first. That Halloween the big building party moved from the theater into the gallery. It was the first of many.

News and UNHCR

Robert Pacelli studied film and video in college, and got his break into the news business by working at the local public access stations. He worked everywhere, making his way around the news channels. In his travels, he befriended a woman in Orange County who became the head of UNHCR, United Nation High Command for Refugees. A few months later she offered him a job in Switzerland, working to publicize the plight of the refugees.

The UNHCR was uncovering all kinds of horror stories of refugees from Bosnia to Somalia. Most of It was pretty awful. When they first discovered the left-over mine fields in Bosnia, he was sent him to shoot in the fields, where he found himself stepping carefully onto the footsteps of the man in front of him.

Bob’s most exciting high moment came in 1989 when he found himself unexpectedly covering the return of Winnie Mandella to Johannesburg up close and personal. Nelson Mandella was still in prison with the ANC. As he was entering the country Pacelli found himself in a tight spot with airport security. They didn’t like his UN papers and wanted documents for all his camera equipment. Not knowing what else to do, he picked up his camera, aimed it at the guards, grabbed his gear, and slowly backed out onto the tarmac, where he bumped into Winnie Mandella’s entourage. He was able to exit with them, and get the best footage of Winnie’s return.

Personal Stories

The UNHCR job set Robert up with a lot of connections. He does a lot of shooting abroad and has won his share of awards. He’s been to China four or five times. He shot pandas and butterflies for the Discovery Channel, while on location for CNN. In spite of all this, he still has an interest in personal stories. One of his oldest buddies has had a pretty exciting life and Robert decided to shoot a film about him.

Sony had given Pacelli some time with a brand new HD camera and he was keen to check it out and practice a bit before going off on his next Disney assignment. He was looking for a small project. He decided to make Dennis Breit that project.


After years of ups and downs, living the life most people dream of, making big money, spending it, loosing it, going from riches to rags and back again, Dennis Breit wound up driving a cab in San Francisco. Pacelli took a look his life as a taximan, met some of his riders, and decided this is a story worth telling.

Interviewing the riders, he saw the connection between them and Dennis. There is a little bit of them in Dennis, and a little bit of Dennis in all of us. Our foibles make us human. We all have problems. Some people handle them better than others. And some people hide them better than others.

So… you lucky souls out there who remain under the radar, count your blessings and realize that you lucky souls.

Links to some videos:




Robert Pacelli

Filmmaker/videographer Robert Pacelli

Robert has been recognized for his achievements by the Barcelona International Film Festival (First Prize, 1983), the Cine Eagle (USA), Lilles International Film Festival (France), “San Francisco Chronicle,” and “Art Weekly.” His work has been featured in museums and at festivals throughout the world, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Hiroshima Film Festival.

Dennis Breit


Taximan trailer by Robert Pacelli and art show tribute at the Rite Spot.

Passing of Dennis Breit

Memorial Service at The Bay View Boat Club in San Francisco, Sunday, September 9 at 2 PM.

Dennis Breit passed away on Monday July 30, 2007. For those for us who knew him, he was a controversial figure. He reached the highest highs and sank to the lowest lows.

A week after he bought space 123 for $2K he started Ace Designs, one of the most successful business ventures in the history of Project Artaud. He steered many of us into careers though his job agency and was very generous with his money when he had it. After several years of rapid expansion into national markets, Dennis sold the business to concentrate on other things.

A masterful designer and engineer, Dennis tore down all the lofts in his studio and replaced them with his own vision. He put in a sky light and engineered a roof-draining system to handle the many leaks.

In it’s heyday, space 123 was the scene of many parties. There were annual Halloween events with hundreds of guests. I remember one particular party where three girls I knew, appeared as cats, and Avery was a mummy, who said not a word the entire evening. Another night we watched the Band’s final concert on TV.

Dennis was a man of many talents. He loved playing piano and painted hundred of baseball events. His work was shown at the Rite Spot and the Double Play. He also had many lives. The drive that pushed his to succeed also brought him crashing down.

Now his demons are quiet. May he rest in peace.


Mari Eliza

Obit from the SFGate site:

Dennis Breit Passed away on July 30th, 2007 at his home in San Francisco. He was 64. Born on July 21st in Chicago, IL, Dennis was the son of George Breit and Helen Saltis. He lived in Chicago and attended the Chicago Art Institute until the late 1960s, when he moved to San Francisco. Dennis worked as an industrial designer and in systems management. He later started a business known as Ace Design Company, a technical employment agency. The company’s success was in part based on Dennis’ innovative and progressive thinking and its top-notch treatment of its employees. He also worked in the fields of typesetting and advertising, which led to the creation of Neiss & Breit, a groundbreaking type-house in the pre-computer age. In the 1970s Dennis moved into Project Artaud, one of the first artist live/work communities in San Francisco. The remarkable South of Market environment which he developed there was a source of inspiration and amazement to his many visitors. It was the scene of a host of projects which he promoted, one example being the publishing of a satirical coloring book for the occasion of the 1984 democratic convention here in San Francisco. Dennis was a man of many talents and interests; his entrepreneurial and business skills, his artistic talent, his enthusiasm for politics, and last but not least, his passion for baseball and the White Sox. He was much respected for his meticulous knowledge of the game and its history and it will be greatly missed by many. He was a yearly participant in rotisserie-league fantasy baseball, and also played for many years on the Leo’s Tire Company local softball team. Throughout his life, Dennis’ wit, charm, and intelligence drew people to him wherever he went. He was a never-ending source of stories, jokes and silly puns, and towards the end of his life was unfailingly cheerful in the face of enormous adversities. At the time of his death a movie was being made about his latest adventures as a Luxor cab driver. He will be very much missed by his many friends and family. He is survived by his mother Helen Saltis; his three brothers: Arnold and Gary Breit and Victor Arre; and many nieces and nephews. Friends and family are invited to attend a Memorial Celebration of Dennis’ life at 2PM on Sept. 9 at the Bay View Boat Club, 489 Terry Francois St. (China Basin St.) in San Francisco.

Artists Interviews

Art is all around us. It colors our world and adds to our days. It makes us think, and sometimes makes us buy. It fills our airwaves, and enhances our internet experiences. It’s been with us since the day we were born, and determines a lot of our daily decisions. Who are the artists behind the art? What motivates them to move us. That’s what we are going to find out. We will ask the artists where they came from, who informed them and gave them their direction, and where they are going?

We will meet singers, and dancers, fashion designers, poets, art buyers, gallery owners,  theater technicians and film editors. Send in your interviews and we will post them along with our own.