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Tue January 15, 2019

Neighborhood Neon Icons and How to Save Them

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Historic neon signs represent small businesses and neighborhood gathering places where generations have met to watch movies, drink martinis, buy groceries, and park cars. The surviving neon signs that glow brightly throughout the California landscape permeate almost all cultures and lifestyles. They are not disposable advertising, but a bridge between the past and present. They have become iconic community landmarks. But what are the best practices to protect and restore these neighborhood icons? Join Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna of San Francisco Neon to take a look at some iconic neon signs in California, learn the fascinating stories behind them, explore the struggles and the payoffs in saving them, and the neon best practices that may, or may not, be part of the plan. The Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco has more than 100 surviving neon signs, and a recent initiative called Tenderloin Neon A-Z (a collaboration between the Tenderloin Museum, SF Neon, and San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development [OEWD]), aims to restore a cluster of neon signs every year in an effort to illuminate this historic neighborhood.

Katie Conry, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Museum will profile the Tenderloin and the positive impacts of restoring the neon glow to the streets. The talk will close with a screening of Lost Neon Landscapes, neon-focused footage from the Prelinger Archive. This 15-minute film includes clips of home movies and short films that reveal San Francisco’s lost neon landscape from Market Street to Playland.

Presented by the Tenderloin Museum, this event is part of The Match Book: Tenderloin Historical Ephemera Project a multi-faceted project that encompasses the publication of The Match Book: Vintage Matchbooks from San Francisco’s Tenderloin, an artfully designed history book of the Tenderloin featuring the matchbooks of local businesses and cultural institutions; the Tenderloin Ephemera Exhibition, featuring historical Tenderloin ephemera from the 1920’s-1950’s, including bar signs, glassware, postcards, menus, matchbooks et al.; the first addition to the Tenderloin Museum’s permanent exhibit, The Matchbook Map Exhibit, featuring a searchable, interactive touchscreen map that connects matchbook imagery to historical info on the associated business and address.
Historic neon signs represent small businesses and neighborhood gathering places where generations have met to watch movies, drink martinis, buy groceries, and park cars. The surviving neon signs that glow brightly throughout the California landscape permeate almost all cultures and lifestyles. They are not disposable advertising, but a bridge between the past and present. They have become iconic community landmarks. But what are the best practices to protect and restore these neighborhood icons? Join Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna of San Francisco Neon to take a look at some iconic neon signs in California, learn the fascinating stories behind them, explore the struggles and the payoffs in saving them, and the neon best practices that may, or may not, be part of the plan. The Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco has more than 100 surviving neon signs, and a recent initiative called Tenderloin Neon A-Z (a collaboration between the Tenderloin Museum, SF Neon, and San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development [OEWD]), aims to restore a cluster of neon signs every year in an effort to illuminate this historic neighborhood.

Katie Conry, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Museum will profile the Tenderloin and the positive impacts of restoring the neon glow to the streets. The talk will close with a screening of Lost Neon Landscapes, neon-focused footage from the Prelinger Archive. This 15-minute film includes clips of home movies and short films that reveal San Francisco’s lost neon landscape from Market Street to Playland.

Presented by the Tenderloin Museum, this event is part of The Match Book: Tenderloin Historical Ephemera Project a multi-faceted project that encompasses the publication of The Match Book: Vintage Matchbooks from San Francisco’s Tenderloin, an artfully designed history book of the Tenderloin featuring the matchbooks of local businesses and cultural institutions; the Tenderloin Ephemera Exhibition, featuring historical Tenderloin ephemera from the 1920’s-1950’s, including bar signs, glassware, postcards, menus, matchbooks et al.; the first addition to the Tenderloin Museum’s permanent exhibit, The Matchbook Map Exhibit, featuring a searchable, interactive touchscreen map that connects matchbook imagery to historical info on the associated business and address.
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678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

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