We’re big fans of Mona Caron’s mural “Windows into the Tenderloin” which, like everyone else in the neighborhood, we excitedly watched her painting at the corner of Jones and Golden Gate during nearly a year in 2009. If you still haven’t stopped by to admire it, we urge you to do it asap as it beautifully captures the spirit of the neighborhood in a unique and inspiring way.

Also, the mural depicts a lot of the well-known characters of the streets of the Tenderloin, and recognizing each one of them can be a fun game to play. Last Friday, right before the Art in Storefronts launch, we caught the screening that documents not only the making of the mural but also a lot of those characters so familiar to all. The film, directed by Paige Bierma and aptly titled A brush with the Tenderloin, is only 22 minutes unfortunately and not available online (only the trailer). So you’ll have to catch it in some festival or maybe at the public library at some point.

After the screening there was a Q&A with both the film director and with Mona Caron, who mainly received praised by all the local residents for including them in the mural and making them feel part of the community. One such person, whom we had often seen in the area but had never talked to at length, is Indian Joe — pictured here with Caron on the left and Bierma on the right. As you can see, he’s a big fan of Alice Cooper and thanks to the film we learned that he recently had the chance to hear his idol play in San Francisco, after his Tenderloin friends collected money for his ticket. He loves talking, so if you ever see him around, make sure to say hi.