Registration open!
Neon Speaks
APRIL 26–28, 2019
San Francisco


Snap up your 3-day pass and save, or get single event tickets to talks, tours, demos, exhibits, and the Neon Curiosity Lounge!
The Neon Speaks Festival & Symposium aims to raise awareness and promote information-sharing about historic neon sign artistic legacy and restoration.

Join the Neon Speaks Mailing List to get updates.


Photo: Dydia DeLyser

Photo: Al Barna

Photo: Will Durham

Photo: Peterson Neon

Neon SPEAKS 2019 schedule & Tickets

Welcome to Neon Speaks 2019! What to expect: neon talks, demos, case studies, restoration tips,
shop tours, walking tours, book signings, films, and action items for creating a future where neon
survives and thrives…


Main Program Events
Covered by 3-Day Pass


Neon Curiosity Lounge, Tenderloin Museum, SF

1–4 PM  Friday April 26 2019    
Part art exhibit, part science fair. Drop in to see amazing neon artifacts, old signs, and working models presented by a roomful of neon experts. Satisfy your neon curiosity!
Details and single event tickets.


Friday Evening Opening Reception and Symposium, Verdi Club, SF

6:30–9:30 PM Friday April 26 2019

Join us for the opening reception for Neon Speaks at the historic Verdi Club in San Francisco. This evening will be filled with  Bay Area, LA, and Las Vegas neon stories of designers and champions of spectacular neon signs. Followed by a documentary film on Polish neon presented by Kate Widdows. Light fare and drinks during reception. Details and single event tickets.


Saturday Symposium, Great American Music Hall, SF

10 AM–3:30 PM Saturday April 27

The Saturday Symposium at the historic and ornate Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. This will be a day-long informal and spirited event presentations and panel discussions, complete with lunch, coffee, and dessert. A rare gathering of  hard-working members in the network of the national neon preservation movement. Bonus: Will Durham will be displaying Reno's famous neon "M" of the Mapes Hotel cowboys, plus other neon signs the he has preserved via the Nevada Neon Project.  Have your photo taken with the Mapes cowboys! Details and single event tickets.


The Art of Neon, OAKLAND

Timed Tickets Sunday April 28 Peterson Neon, Oakland with Shawna Peterson and special guests

What does it take to create a work of art fabricated from neon-filled glass tubes? Watch it happen with neon artist/tube-bender deluxe, Shawna Peterson plus special guests. An ongoing afternoon event with timed tickets for an hour-long demo. Details and single event tickets.



Auxiliary Events*
(single event tickets only, not included in 3-Day Pass)


Letterform Archive Tour, SF

4:30-6pm  Friday April 26,2019
with Kate Widdows and Letterform Archive Guides

A special curated tour of the Letterform Archive's stacks for anyone fascinated by the history of lettering and signage. Book early, space is limited. San Francisco. Details and single event tickets.


Neon Works Shop Tour/Demo, OAKLAND

2-3 PM  Sunday, April 28, 2019

with Jim Rizzo and Amy Palms .
Back by popular demand—if you missed this shop tour last year, here is your second chance! Jim Rizzo of Neon Works in Oakland has been rescuing and restoring Bay Area neon signs for decades and he only opens his shop for tours once in a blue moon. This is your chance to see his vintage neon collection and experience how neon, glass, and fire combine to make glowing art. Jim is a master sign-maker and he's letting us into his 17,000-square-foot workshop to explore the art and craft of neon signs. This tour sold out last year. Details and single event tickets.


Alameda Neon Walking Tour, Alameda

7-8 PM Sunday April 28 2019

with Devi L. Dahl, Eric Lynxwiler, Al Barna, and Randall Ann Homan

Take a twilight walking tour of the beautiful neon signs in the historic city of Alameda. From the grandeur of the Alameda Theater neon blade sign to the nearly invisible Pop Inn, downtown Alameda boasts a fine collection of vintage neon. This tour winds through a quiet bungalow neighborhood and the  commercial corridors of Alameda. History and back stories researched by Alameda local, Devi L. Dahl. Space is limited, this event will sell out quickly.
Details and single event tickets.

*Auxiliary events have limited capacity and are ticketed separately.


Images: Letterform Archive

Photo: Al Barna

Photo: Devi L. Dahl


Tod Swormstedt, American Sign Museum, Cincinnati OH

Eric Lynxwiler, Museum of Neon Art, Glendale CA


Neon curiosity Lounge

Al Barna, San Francisco Neon, San Francisco CA

Bill Concannon, Aargon Neon, Crockett, CA

Heather David, San Jose Signs Project, San Jose, CA

Dydia DeLyser & Paul Greenstein, Los Angeles, CA

Greg King and Shawna Peterson, Oakland, CA

Bruce Suba, Suba Neon, Santa Cruz, CA

Tod Swormstedt, American Sign Museum, Cincinnati OH


SYMPOSIUM Presenters

Jude & Monica Cook, Ignite Sign Museum, Tucson, AZ

Heather David, San Jose Signs Project, San Jose, CA

Will Durham, Nevada Neon Project, Reno, NV

Dydia DeLyser & Paul Greenstein, Los Angeles, CA

Tom Rinaldi, New York Neon  book, New York, NY

John Law, Central Services, San Francisco, CA

Debra Jane Seltzer,, Ventura, CA

Tracey Sprague, The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, NV

Kate Widdows, Electric Letterland, Portland OR



Neon Speaks Festival and Symposium co-founders/producers: 
Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan. Co-Producer: Kate Widdows

Advisors: Katie Conry, Therese Poletti, Allen Sawyer, and  Jim Van Buskirk

$33 + tax & shipping

San Francisco Neon:
Survivors and Lost Icons

By Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan (Giant Orange Press, 2014) Cloth hardcover third printing with 220+color photographs.  Includes extended neon notes section and updated neighborhood index with sign condition for all surviving signs. The fabulous Verdi Club is on the cover, one of the best neon signs in San Francisco. Quick shipping in Continental  US, limit 2 per order.
Contact us for larger or international orders.


The San Francisco Neon/Historic Sign Network produces the Neon Speaks Festival and Symposium, fiscally sponsored by the Tenderloin Museum. The San Francisco Heritage generously provided a grant from the Alice Ross Carey Preservation Fund in 2019. Sponsorship opportunities available.



Our highest sponsorship level. The Art Deco Society of California dedicates their sponsorship in memory of their founder, Michael F. Crowe. The American Sign Museum is one of the earliest supporters of the Neon Speaks Symposium.




We are grateful to our sponsors, and to the supporters who encouraged us to create a venue for champions to share challenges and success in preserving historic neon signs. Others have shown their support by  promoting Neon Speaks events on social media and other channels. Interested in becoming a sponsor or supporter? Let's talk!


Special festival room rates available for a limited time at the historic Hotel Carlton, a boutique hotel with a vintage neon blade sign in the Tender-Nob neighborhood at Sutter and Larkin Streets..


Book online for the Neon Speak Discount at the Hotel Carlton