It’s a week of art walks, movie nights, and family fests in the Tenderloin, plus a big Cinco de Mayo party at La Cocina's food hall, as something called “I Love Tenderloin Week” is now underway, though unsurprisingly drawing jeers from social media trolls.
The big news out of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District last week was Gavin Newsom calling in the California Highway Patrol and National Guard in a purported crackdown on the fentanyl trade. For much of last year, the Tenderloin was often in the national news for the seemingly on-again, off-again Tenderloin “State of Emergency” declaration from Mayor Breed, and the Tenderloin Center that operated in some capacity as a safe-consumption site. All of these developments drew national-press mockery and derision, but the Tenderloin’s biggest advocates have declared this week “I Love Tenderloin Week” (April 30-May 6), which they say “will showcase this diverse and eclectic neighborhood via live performances from local talent, its rich restaurant and bar scene, spotlighting small businesses and cultural destinations, and community action.”
Excited for “I Love Tenderloin” week! pic.twitter.com/9Y34Bkn8RG— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) April 25, 2023
“This is a community that gets talked about in many negative ways all the time,” the district’s supervisor Dean Preston says in the video above (which is of course drawing troll remarks from both locals and out-of-towners). “I would urge folks to come celebrate everything that’s great about the Tenderloin: incredibly diverse residents, the amazing arts and culture, and incredible food and small businesses. This is a very, very special place.”
“It is the neighborhood with the densest amount of youth in the city, and the second-densest [population] of seniors,” Tenderloin Community Benefit District president Michael Vuong thells KPIX. “People come to live here, have new starts here. It’s the home of a lot of immigrants who come here to escape wherever they’re coming from. It’s the home of second chances.”
I love this town. Started this morning at New Traditions ES with a neighborhood cleanup organized by the student council! Then to Dodge Alley to kick off I love Tenderloin Week! Then to the Grand Opening of Healing Well’s new space on Ellis! Then, surprise: a maypole in Alamo Sq! pic.twitter.com/r6A4ZDdanr— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) April 30, 2023
“I Love Tenderloin Week” started Sunday, and continues through next Saturday. Highlights include a Tuesday night Boys & Girls club fundraiser at the Hilton San Francisco’s Cityscape (your cocktail proceeds will send kids to Camp Mendocino), a Thursday night Monthly Art Walk at Moth Belly Gallery, a Friday afternoon Cinco de Mayo party at La Cocina's Municipal Marketplace, and the Tenderloin Museum doing a Neon Nirvana presentation on the neighborhood's bygone-era vintage neon signs.
We’re thrilled to announce that I Love Tenderloin Week begins this Sunday, April 30th—a week-long celebration of our community through fun-filled activities in the neighborhood we call home. Be sure to mark your calendar for this fantastic series of events! SHARE SHARE!!! pic.twitter.com/cSwCz7QgyX— Michael Vuong (blue check) (@MichaelBenVuong) April 23, 2023
There are also several movie screenings, plays, game nights, and trivia nights. Funcheap SF has a full rundown of “I Love Tenderloin Week” activities.
More than 100 volunteers turned out for the first Tenderloin Beautification Day. It launched another first: I Love Tenderloin Week, seven days and nights of cultural events and activities to promote San Francisco’s most diverse neighborhood.https://t.co/uRLrYLsZe9— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) May 1, 2023
The week’s activities started with a volunteer clean-up of sidewalks and parks, and the Chronicle was there. And kids apparently love using the power sprayers. “It’s exhilarating and productive,” 17-year-old Beckett Flanagan told the Chronicle.
“I Love Tenderloin Week” is touting this VisitTenderloin.com as their official website, a sort of visitor and tourism bureau-type site that appears to be the work of Tenderloin Community Benefit District, and from the looks of things launched in March. Promotional materials say “Be sure to mention ‘I Love TL Week’ at all events and businesses, there might be a surprise!”
But it’s more of a surprise that there’s a concerted effort to draw visitors to the Tenderloin, and we hope the effort is (Leaven)worth its while.
Image: Dean Preston via Twitter