Maybe you’ve seen the picture of this beautiful and mysterious woman plastered around the neighborhood (with the dates October 28, 1915 – December 23, 1986). And on Sunday maybe you even saw the ghosts in the background. Well, as it turns out it was all part of a special tour organized by Amy Lewis and commissioned by Meridian Gallery in
Union Square Tenderloin East for its 100th anniversary celebration.
Although the tour was basically an itinerary of some luxury hotels on California Street and SRO hotels in the Tenderloin, there were a few interesting tidbits along the way — illustrated with surprise appearances of performers. In Huntington Park, for example, Arabella Huntington illustrated her family history while some sunbathers sporting tiny bikinis watched with confused looks. In the vicinity of Grace Cathedral a few dead brides stood with an air of sadness, while one was running away (apparently brides routinely get stood up in that church).
Further down the hill, a pack of ghosts followed the tour participants, and at various points around the Tenderloin a couple seemed to be trying to rescue each other — unsuccessfully. At the last stop, the Clift Hotel, Lewis revealed who the woman in the posters we saw around the neighborhood was: her grandmother, who died in her sleep while staying at the hotel.
Apparently Lewis is developing a larger project consisting of walking tours in different San Francisco neighborhoods coupled with performances (in theaters or galleries) based on the history and architecture of the neighborhood in question. In this particular tour she said she chose to walk in both Nob Hill and the Tenderloin because of the economic and culture difference between the two, and it was intended to be a snapshot of the cultural and economic diversity that is seen from neighborhood to neighborhood, or sometimes block to block. In any case, as you can see in the pictures, it was quite entertaining.