SF Art Students Brighten Tenderloin With Mural

There are certainly many colorful characters in San Francisco's Tenderloin. So it's only appropriate a wall on the corner of Eddy and Mason would become as colorful.

Students at the Academy of Art spent a semester painting a large mural on the side of the Bristol Hotel. The mural depicts a group of musicians playing inside the long gone Breakers Café in 1910. The image was taken from a historic post card depicting the supper club that occupied that very corner.

From the looks of the image, the place was a pretty swell joint, with customers dressed to the nines, drinking cocktails and listening to Gypsy jazz. At the center of the image is a tuxedoed violinist named Rigo, who lead the band.  Through research, the art students discovered Rigo was quite the character, and supposedly even disappeared for a while, sparking rumors of his demise. The vintage advertisement boasts "Rigo every night."

The student artists said the experience of painting on a Tenderloin sidewalk for months was its own interesting experience.
"It was really a real visceral feeling," said artist Michael Wiens, "being on the street painting with the people coming around us offering suggestions and comments."

Not only did Wiens help paint the mural, he makes a cameo in it. He posed for the image of the band's piano player. The mural is the latest effort to spruce up the Tenderloin which lists a deep history of architecture and music, beneath its grimy, drug-addled façade.


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