Tag Archives: Tenderloin



Friday night, 17 January 2014, Troy Holden’s “Neighbors” opened at the Lower Branch Gallery on Eddy Street. If you’re looking for sentimental or sensationalist images, go somewhere else. Shot entirely in the central city area, the large-format color prints in “Neighbors” are compassionate, unflinching portraits of people in their personal environments. Given that the central city is the neighborhood people love to hate, this show is bound to be an eye-opener for many, revealing directly and undeniably just how much each of us has in common. Do yourself a favor and see this show at 233 Eddy before it closes.








Filed under Events, Local Characters, Mid-Market, Sixth Street, Tenderloin

The Brown Jug

"Saloon Incumbents"

“Saloon Incumbents” (2012)

At the corner of Hyde and Eddy, in the very heart of the Tenderloin, is my favorite bar — a dive bar, of course — a little place named the Brown Jug Saloon. Currently owned by the genial Max McIntire, who loves to follow the ponies, it has been in continuous operation since 1942. Before that it was an Owl drug store. People from all over the world and from all walks of life sooner or later end up drinking there. A more cosmpolitan atmosphere would be hard to find. Just because I never go anywhere without a camera, I have taken many pictures at the Brown Jug. These are a few of my favorites.

Max and Randy

“Max and Randy” (2012)

Cassie May

“Cassie May” (2012)

Rodney and Fred

“Rodney and Fred” (2012)

Saturday Afternoon

“Saturday Afternoon” (2012)

Table by the Door

“Table by the Door” (2012)


“Self-portrait” (2012)


Filed under Local Characters, Tenderloin

Open Invitation

Everyone is cordially invited to an informal opening and reception for the installation of a permanent collection of my early photography at the Arlington Hotel, 480 Ellis Street, San Francisco on Thursday, 29 August 2013 at 10:30am.


“Peeling Wall” (2003)

Other permanent collections of my work are at the following locations:

Martin Building Company, 54 Mint Plaza, SF
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, 201 Eddy Street, SF
Community Justice Center, 555-575 Polk Street, SF
Zendesk, Inc., Hale Building, 989 Market Street, #300, SF
Twitter, Inc., Market Square Building, 1355 Market Street, #900, SF

See you on the 29th!


Filed under Events, Tenderloin

Cultural Imperatives and the Riviera Hotel


“Cultural Imperatives” (2003)

(324/12) 420 Jones Street; Avon Hotel, Riviera Hotel (1982). Stores and hotel with thirty-eight rooms and seventeen baths. 4B stories; brick structure; molded brick around windows, galvanized iron cornice; two-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: decorative frame, mosaic floor, cornice molding; lobby: wood paneling, decorative iron elevator; corner blade sign with neon removed; alterations: security gate, storefronts. Owner: Mrs. Barbara Neff of Seattle (1907), Conard House (1983). Architects: Crim and Scott. 1907.

And now, here is something a bit off the beaten path. The Riveira (sic!) Hotel is the brown building with white trim in the background of this photograph, one of my favorite images. Approaching the hotel from the entrance side on Jones Street, I was searching for an engaging perspective when I heard a clangorous but muffled sound of drums and gongs being pounded in erratic syncopation, much like Chinese lion dance music. I was irresistibly drawn around the corner onto Ellis Street to the music’s source, an odd little building that had often piqued my curiosity.

A drab, one-story storefront had been transformed by a porte-cochere that imitated traditional Chinese architecture. From a distance the illusion was fairly convincing. Closer scrutiny revealed a sagging patchwork of the cheapest and strangest materials. Blue barrel tiles were contrived of aluminum soft drink cans covered by sheets of some indeterminate material, and the peeling, red-painted plywood was clearly interior grade. Above the entrance, golden Chinese pictographs affirmed a cultural animus, but the facade was otherwise inscrutable and any clues to the building’s function were concealed behind curtained windows. Adding to the mystery was the ritualistic music now emanating from within. Compelled to photograph the peculiar structure, I thereby found the way to frame the Riviera. A short time after I captured this image, the little building was leveled by a bulldozer. The lot has remained empty ever since.

Sunday Morning_Riviera Hotel.

“Sunday Morning – Riviera Hotel” (2012)

(323/6) 415 Jones Street; Mendel Apartments. Apartment building with seventy two-room units. Original owner: Dr. Louise C. Mendel. Architects: Frederick H. Meyer, 1912; addition Grace Jewett, 1919.

(324/12) 420 Jones Street; Riviera Hotel.

(324/11) 380–386 Ellis Street; empty lot.

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Filed under Tenderloin