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, private walking tour, or exhibit.
We are proud to be involved in neon events with the following local organizations: Art Deco Society of California, Atlas Obscura, Balboa Theater, Be Chinatown, City Guides, Exploratorium, Noir City Film Festival, Neon Type Camp, Neon Works, Nerd Nite SF, Nerd Nite EB, Oakland Neon, RayKo Photography Center Gallery, Portola Neighborhood Association, San Francisco History Association, San Francisco Heritage, San Francisco History Days, San Francisco Public Library, San Mateo AIA, Society for Experiential Graphic Design SF, Tenderloin Museum, Vogue Theater, and the Westerners Historical Society.
neon: from advertising to art
NEON: SIGN SCIENCE
PEOPLE BEHIND THE SIGNS
ART: early animation
HISTORY: LOST ICONS
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-Talk-Demo
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 | $18
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.
Opening: 8/5/2015 | 6 pm
Exhibit August-November 2015
428 Third Street SF | Free