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Tenderloin Neon A-Z Walking Tour

SF Neon founders Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan will take us into the field for an up-close and lit-up survey of the TL’s historic neon signs! The pair are seasoned guides for neighborhood-centric neon expeditions, but this will be their first foray to focus exclusively Tenderloin signage. Al and Randall’s historical and preservationist expertise will be augmented by typographic insights by Dr. Shelley Gruendler, the featured speaker at SF Neon and Tenderloin Museum’s SF Design Week event, “Light Source and Letterforms.” 

The abundance of functioning neons in the Tenderloin is emblematic of the the neighborhood’s tenacious spirit. The high density of historic SRO hotels turned protected, low-income housing (such as the Essex and Senator) means an inordinate number of fascinating examples of vintage neon. Then there are the many iconic bar signs, such as the Ha-Ra’s stern, slender red and Aunt Charlie’s loopy indoor pink. On this stroll, you will learn about the urban factors and aesthetic trends that have enabled neon to thrive in the Tenderloin and persevere through several periods of change and neighborhood renewal.

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