NEON TOUR SCHEDULE
Online tour tickets are free, suggested donation of $10
All tours start at 7:45 pm PST
Thu 8/6 SF Neon Chinatown Part 1
Thur 8/20 SF Neon Chinatown Part 2
Local neon historians Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are available for neon talks, tours, video screenings, and/or photo exhibits. Neon talks can be customized to connect with audiences on many levels: science, art, popular culture, design, typography, city history, and the growing national movement to preserve and appreciate landmark neon signs.
Contact us to schedule a neon event, talk, tour, or exhibit.
Neon event partners in include: Art Deco Society of California, APA, Atlas Obscura, Balboa Theater, California Historical Society, California Preservation Foundation, Cooper Union Type West, Exploratorium Museum, International Association of Lighting Designers, Letterform Archive, Mechanics Institute Library, Midway Gallery, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Noir City Film Festival, Neon Type Camp, Nerd Nite EB, Nerd Nite SF, RayKo Photography Center Gallery, Portola Neighborhood Association, San Francisco City Guides, San Francisco Heritage, San Francisco History Association, San Francisco History Days, San Francisco Public Library, Society for Experiential Graphic Design SF, the Tenderloin Museum, and TypeCon.
neon: from advertising to art
NEON: SIGN SCIENCE
PEOPLE BEHIND THE SIGNS
ART: early animation
HISTORY: LOST ICONS
Local neon historians/consultants Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are the authors/photographers of San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons. Since the book’s publication, Al and Randall have actively advocated for preserving vintage neon signs and developed walking tours throughout the city. They also promote awareness for historic neon sign restoration via neon talks, tours, video screenings, photo exhibitions, and by producing the annual Neon Speaks Festival and Symposium. Their recent publication: Saving Neon: A Best Practices Guide was made possible by preservation grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and SF Heritage.
Nov 14, 2019 Tenderloin Museum, SF
Dark Turns Light: Mid-Century Neon in Warsaw, Havana, and SF
Presented by SF Neon and the Tenderloin Museum this evening features a series of slide presentations and discussions to explore neon’s various forms and functions in Warsaw, Havana, and San Francisco. Featuring slides of Cuban neon from Tenderloin Museum Executive Director Katie Conry’s and Steven Spiegel of Signs United’s recent trips to Havana. SF Neon will give an overview of the current projects to restore vintage neon in San Francisco. Following the slide presentations will be a screening of NEON, Eric Bednarski’s award-winning documentary on the neonization of Warsaw and Poland in the Cold War era. In this gorgeous film, Bednarski uncovers the remarkable Polish neon design of 1960s and 1970s in Warsaw.
Photo by Hans J. Orth
1960 Warsaw, Poland
April , 2019
NEON SPEAKS 2019
Second Annual Neon Speaks Symposium & Festival, San Francisco/Oakland
Great American Music Hall, Verdi Club, and Tenderloin Museum, SF
Thanks to everyone who joined us for Neon Speaks 2019, a weekend of neon talks, demos, case studies, restoration tips, shop tours, walking tours, book signings, films, and action items for creating a future where vintage neon survives and thrives…
New this year was the Neon Curiosity Lounge, exhibitors included:
Al Barna, San Francisco Neon, San Francisco CA, Bill Concannon, Aargon Neon, eather David, San Jose Signs Project, Dydia DeLyser & Paul Greenstein, Los Angeles, CA, Will Durham, Nevada Neon Project, Greg King and Shawna Peterson, Oakland, CA, Roxy Rose Score, Los Angeles, CA Bruce Suba, Suba Neon, Santa Cruz, CA , Tod Swormstedt, American Sign Museum, Cincinnati OH
Aug 2-5, 2018 Portland, OR
and Portland Neon Tour
Presented by the Society of Typographic Aficionados. We were honored that SF Neon was invited to present in the same conference with so many type luminaries: Nina Stossinger, Louise Fili, Paul Shaw, the list is long.
And how much fun to be co-hosts on the Electric Letterland Portland Neon walking tour for #Typecon2018. It is always illuminating to work on a project
with @katewiddows! We met 20 cool typographers on the tour, and learned so much @typecon. Logo design: Kate Widdows
April 20-22, 2018 San Francisco/Oakland, CA
Festival & Symposium
Presented by San Francisco Neon/Historic Neon Network and sponsored by the Tenderloin Museum. This festival aims to raise awareness and promote information-sharing about the artistic legacy of historic neon signs and restoration best practices. Want to get festival updates? Sign up for our mailing list.
Location: Herman Miller Showroom 23 Geary Street, San Francisco
Join us for a happy hour reception for festival supporters and presenters. Its easy to be a supporter, just purchase a Festival Pass for all events.
Logo/GIF Animation: Kate Widdows
Neon Light, Dark Matter
and Gray Matter
Nerd Nite SF covers the spectrum! We’ll get a handle on comparative brain science from a neuroscientist, and then actually handle real brains. Next, expert illumination on the art, craft, and history of neon in the Bay Area. Finally, a physicist will help us see the light on dark matter. All this, plus the colorful DJ stylings of Alpha Bravo, drinks of all stripes, and a crowd of bright people like you.
Nerd Nite SF | Wednesday, 10/18/2017 | 7 pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street SF | $8, all ages
Avenue Theater Restoration
San Francisco Mayor promotes neon restoration! Hope to see you at the Avenue Theater's neon celebration. SF Mayor Ed Lee will be there to help flip the switch to reveal the Avenue's towering restored neon sign. There will be live organ music, ice cream, and plenty of popcorn! We will be on hand to celebrate and see our design for the marquee neon "The AVE" aglow for the first time. Kudos to Jim Rizzo /Neon Works team for another excellent neon restoration project of an historic cinema treasure. This restoration is a project of the Portola Neighborhood Association and the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Don't miss the cool fly-over video in Hoodline article.
Avenue Theatre | Wednesday, 9/13/2017 | 7 pm
2675 San Bruno Avenue SF | Free
Atlas Obscura Neon Tours
If you were on the list for Atlas Obscura events in San Francisco, then you
had first chance to join these sold-out tours of historic neon signs, back stories and back alleys included. We were thrilled that Atlas Obscura invited us to be part of their local learning event series, SF history via vintage neon signs.
YMCA 855 Sacramento Street SF | $25
Photo: Charles Chapman 2017
NeonWorks Shop Tour
Oakland Mayor promotes neon restoration! We had a surprise visit from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, posing here with Jim and Kate Rizzo. Jim and Kate graciously hosted a neon event at Neon Works HQ, organized by Bart Bernhardt for Atlas Obscura. We did our neon preservation talk, Jim gave a fascinating tour of his shop and personal sign collection, then Libby Cahill gave and expert tube-bending demo. It was so much fun we would love to do it again for our mailing list subscribers, stay posted. The time is ripe for an Oakland neon renaissance, and Mayor Schaaf told us she wants to find a way to illuminate vintage neon in her city... We are working with Oakland neon advocates and the mayor's community engagement office to create a series of neon bike tours in Oakland for 2018. Please let us know if you have a favorite vintage neon sign in Oakland! Check out this awesome resource: a map of Oakland vintage signs from the prolific Our Oakland blog by Gene Anderson.
Atlas Obscura Neon Works Shop Tour | Sunday, 7/123/2017 | 7 pm
NeonWorks, 967 Grace Avenue, Oakland | $25
SF Neon City:
An Evolving Landscape
How have neon signs influenced the landscape of our city? How does a unique neon sign evolve from advertising to art? Join us for an afternoon exploring these questions with San Francisco Neon authors Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan plus special guest speaker Avery Trufelman of 99 Percent Invisible/Radiotopia.
San Francisco Public Library | Saturday 12/10/16 | 2 PM
San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street
in the beautiful Koret Auditorium, lower level | Free
August 2016-Febrary 2017
Neon Icons Exhibit/Talk
San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street
Exhibit Talk 9/22/16 | 6 pm | Free
Everything Matters: Neon
We will be signing books and screening neon-focused footage from the Prelinger Archive, and a supercut of neon signs featured in classic Hollywood films. 6-10 pm: galleries and bar open and San Francisco Neon book signing and neon focused-footage screenings. 8 pm: scientific presentation on neon, the featured element from the an ongoing series called Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table. Come be in your elements with Exploratorium host and scientific raconteur Ron Hipschman. Exploratorium After Dark | Sunday, 1/21/2017 | 6 pm
Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street) SF
NOIR CITY 14
January 29, 2016 at 7pm
The 14th Annual Noir City film fest was hosted at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. We are thrilled that Film Noir Foundation founder, Eddie Muller, invited us to be part of Noir City and screen our video essay "Stolen Moments", a cinematic homage to neon and noir.
Noir City Film Festival 14 | Saturday 12/10/16 | 2 PM
Castro Theatre 429 Castro Street SF l | $20
August -November 2015
San Francisco Neon
Photo Exhibition: 36 Prints
We will be signing books for the opening of the San Francisco Neon exhibit at the Rayko Photo Center Gallery, a community hub for San Francisco photographers. View exhibition photos on Flickr.
Opening: 8/5/2015 | 6 pm
Exhibit August-November 2015
428 Third Street SF | Free
June 12, 2018
SF Design Week:
Neon Light Source
From the flashing signs of tourist traps to the forgotten signs whose ghostly white tubes remain unlit, neon signs represent a bridge from past to the future. Join SF Neon founders, Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan, with typography guru Shelley Gruendler for a journey to examine some of the most fascinating neon sign survivors and preservation projects in the Bay Area. Rare neon books and smaple cases on display courtesy of Dydia DeLyser and aul Greenstein.
SF Design Week | Tuesday, 6/12/2018 | 7 pm