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Tenderloin Museum Third Anniversary Celebration

2018 marks year number 3 for the Tenderloin Museum! Please join us for our Anniversary Party, a full day of free, family-friendly programming at the Museum that celebrates the diverse and impactful efforts of the Tenderloin community both past and present. In a time marked by an urgent and invigorating surge in advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement, the Tenderloin’s history is more relevant and inspiring than ever.

This year, the Tenderloin Museum aims to highlight and reflect upon the pioneering activism and fierce resistance woven deep into the story of our 31 square blocks. Anniversary programming will center around the world premiere of TENDER (n.): a person who takes charge, a site-specific dance celebrating 100 years of outcast activism in the Tenderloin. It is the culmination of a multi year collaboration with Flyaway Productions, an aerial dance troupe that performs at the intersection of social justice and acrobatic spectacle. Directed by renowned choreographer Jo Kreiter, Tender interprets and translates the vital history enshrined within the Tenderloin Museum into four dances that correspond to four distinct waves of activism in the Tenderloin. Aerial dancers will weave in and out the windows and fire escapes of the Cadillac Hotel’s heritage facade, blurring the boundary between preserved history and present community. This large-scale work integrates many aspects of the Tenderloin Museum’s mission, such as amplifying the voices of marginalized populations, honoring the history of the neighborhood, and community collaboration.

Below is the full list of anniversary activities. All have thematic links to the waves of activism represented in TENDER and strive to invite people both within and outside of the Tenderloin to celebrate the neighborhood’s vital history. Drop by and learn about the interweaving strains of outcast activism that define the TL’s grit and tenacious spirit!


  • 12pm Exploratorium + Civic Center Commons Our friends at the Exploratorium are going to kick off the party with interactive tabletop activities related to an upcoming 2019 installation planned for Civic Center. Sure to delight kids and adults alike!

  • 12pm Drag Queen Story Hour We’re thrilled to host celebrated raconteur, drag performer, and Compton’s Cafeteria Riot cast member Persia for a read-aloud selection of her favorite children’s tales!  Created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco, Drag Queen Story Hour captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. A regular happening in SF, LA, & NYC, DQSH has garnered national media attention, and Persia was featured in KQED’s Storytime in Stilettos. During the reading, we will give away books donated by the SF Public Library and Chronicle Books to a handful of lucky young readers.

  • 2pm Larkin Street Youth Larkin Street provides comprehensive services to homeless youth. Its innovative performing arts program engages and nurtures youth talent in the TL. Hear current Larkin Street Youths express themselves through live music and spoken word.

  • 3pm Vietnamese traditional folk song, dance, and music presented by the Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center and Au Co Productions. These traditional arts will be performed by the Su Viet Zither Ensemble, Au Co Dance Troupe, SF Wushu Team, and Folklore Opera – Khoi Nguyen & Hong Hanh.

  • 4pm All About Alice In 1913, a sex worker living in San Francisco's Tenderloin District and working in the famed Barbary Coast shared her memoirs of a life in and out of the profession with readers of the San Francisco Bulletin in serialized installments called "A Voice from the Underworld." “Alice Smith” aimed to shatter the misconceptions and stigmas that surrounded sex work, and her memoir inspired over 100 other sex workers to write into the paper with their stories, as well as one of the first sex workers' rights protests in U.S. history: a march on Reverend Paul Smith's Tenderloin Methodist Church in 1917. Join Ivy Anderson and Devon Angus, editors of the California Historical Society's Award winning book, Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute, as they discuss Alice's life in the context of anti-vice vigilantism and feminist resistance in the TL.

  • 5pm The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot Talkback & Drag Revue The writers and cast of The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot will reflect on the play’s runaway success, the process behind the production, and the enduring legacy of the namesake riot. More than a discussion, this convening of Compton’s Queens will also feature drag performances to transition the party from the seats to “dancing in the streets!”

  • TENDER (n.): a person who takes charge performances at 8:30 & 9:30. This aerial spectacular is the piece de resistance of this year’s Anniversary celebration. Witness history dance off the walls and out of the windows, a celebration of outcast activism in the Tenderloin through a dazzling and dynamic display of female physicality.


We are immensely grateful to our community for 3 great years; we hope to continue sharing and shaping the Tenderloin’s vital history for many more! Please join us on June 9th to commune, connect, and celebrate with friends and neighbors who give the Tenderloin its singular character.