On the eve of a crowdfunding campaign in support of its project to produce a compilation album of “Emperor songs” — songs about, or in some way inspired by, Emperor Norton — the Campaign has received a pledge of $3,000 for the project — which represents one-half of the projected $6,000 needed to pay for all costs associated with producing and distributing the album, including engineering, design, vinyl pressing, shipping materials and postage.Read More
Filtering by Category: Legacy
In spring 1961, two establishments opened in San Francisco.
One was a hotel bar on Geary Street. The other was a lunch spot and cocktail lounge on Maiden Lane.
Both were less than two blocks from Union Square.
One was created by a designer who went on to be celebrated in the pages of the Architectural Digest. It had an "Emperor Norton" doorman. And, per Herb Caen, it once was host to Jack Dempsey and Lefty O'Doul — sharing a bowl of peanuts on the same night.
The other was home to a new portrait of the Emperor commissioned by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Both were called the Emperor Norton Room.
Here’s the intriguing story of two Nortonian stars that briefly rose and just as quickly fell in the same San Francisco season.Read More
A well-known and fondly regarded Emperor Norton plaque created in 1939 most recently was installed at San Francisco’s old Transbay Terminal for 34 years — from November 1986 until the terminal was prepared for demolition in late 2010.
The weathered bronze plaque has been out of the public view for the last 8 years. But, recently, the plaque was lovingly restored — and plans are moving forward to reinstall the plaque at the new Transbay Transit Center.
Read on for a photograph of the plaque as most have never seen it — and for details on the location now being eyed for this rare and wonderful tribute to the Emperor.
The bicentennial of Emperor Norton's birth is 4 February 2018.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, in partnership with Bay Area institutions, is producing Emperor Norton at 200 — a series of exhibits, talks, toasts and other special events in February 2018 and throughout the bicentennial year.Read More
On 9 November 1879 — just two months before Emperor Norton's death — the San Francisco Chronicle published a Sunday front-page profile of the Emperor that was based on rare interview with the Emperor himself.
The profile was accompanied by a lovely drawing of the Emperor that was reproduced 60 years later for Allen Stanley Lane's 1939 biography, Emperor Norton: The Mad Monarch of America — but that has languished since then.
The Emperor's Bridge Campaign has had a new photographic print made of the drawing and has added a hi-res scan of it to ARENA, our digital ARchive of Emperor Norton in Art.
Learn more and see the drawing, after the flip.Read More
On Thursday 23 March, The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign presents Lights! Camera! Norton! — an evening of three films about Emperor Norton at the legendary Roxie Theater in San Francisco.
The event includes a screening of our own 35mm print of a 1936 short that we believe features the earliest dramatic portrayal of the Emperor on film.
This special evening takes place in the 254-seat Big Roxie theater and is a fundraiser for the Campaign: After the first 50 tickets sold, 50 percent of all proceeds from this screening will benefit The Campaign.Read More
For Emperor Norton Day 2017, a look at how — in both art and prose — the San Francisco Illustrated Wasp paid tribute to the Emperor on 17 January 1880, nine days after his death.Read More
On Saturday 12 November 2016, the Emperor Norton Bridge a.k.a. the Bay Bridge turns 80.
Please join The Emperor's Bridge Campaign for a celebration to wish the Emperor's bridge a happy birthday and to show your support for naming the bridge for Emperor Norton in 2022 — the 150th anniversary of the Emperor's proclamations in 1872 setting out the original vision for the bridge.Read More
In 1926, San Francisco-born artist Charles William Saalburg penned an article for The New York Times, in which he recalled many of the storied figures that peopled the San Francisco of his younger years. The piece featured Saalburg's own illustrations of these characters, including an undated rendering of Emperor Norton, which he depicted — perhaps from childhood memory — as a Santa Claus figure with an admiral's hat.
Saalburg's illustration of the Emperor is included in the Paintings gallery of ARENA, the Campaign's digital Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film.Read More
At a special event on Thursday 13 October, titled My Emperor, My Muse, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign will bring together an eclectic and interesting mix of people — artists who've created specific Emperor-themed works and others who have thought deeply about Emperor Norton — for a conversation about the Emperor's abiding cultural import as an avatar of whimsy, openness, tolerance and fair play.
We'll learn why Emperor Norton moves these people; how he has shaped their projects; why they think the Emperor remains a cultural touchstone; and the role that they think art can play in shaping and polishing the stone.Read More
Today, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign launches ARENA: Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film. ARENA seeks to be a comprehensive, authoritative, searchable digital archive of representations and interpretations of Emperor Norton in the visual arts, in music and in film — the mediums that are most readily presented online. The Archive includes "renderings" of Emperor Norton from the early 1860s to the present.Read More
For at least 50 years, it appears, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company featured on the menu of its shops an Emperor Norton Sundae. Ghirardelli discontinued the Emperor Norton in 2004, possibly earlier but evidence of the Emperor remains in this little collection of Ghirardelli menus from the 1960s, '70s and '80s.Read More
While a student at the Savannah College of Art & Design (Atlanta campus), freelance cartoonist Rachel Ordway created a wonderful little 3-part morality tale in which Emperor Norton explains himself to a young kid.Read More
At the recent San Francisco History Days fair at the city's landmark Old Mint building, Stephen Parr of the San Francisco Media Archive and Oddball Films screened a rarity from the Oddball archive — a 1947 film short titled Emperor Norton, from the Academic Film Company.
In fact, Emperor Norton is a retitled reissue of the film The Story of Norton I, made by Columbia Pictures in 1936. This may be the earliest film portrayal of the Emperor.
We haven't yet connected all the dots. But the picture of this film is much clearer than it was. It's a fascinating story.Read More
A Proclamation of Thanks to all those who pledged to the summer 2015 Kickstarter for the limited edition t-shirt to inaugurate the Campaign's series of Sartorial Public Service Announcements.Read More
An Empire Day meditation on one of least understood words of Emperor Norton's original Proclamation of 17 September 1859.Read More
Our friend, Michael Mattis, flags this mini-documentary, made in 2004 by Nick Crummey, Nina Hirten, Anna Kocherovsky and Zach Shiner.Read More
Our friend, Kristian Akseth, passes along an item from the new book, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society, by Kevin Evans, Carrie Galbraith and John Law.Read More
Here are a couple of fabulous flyers from the 2009 productions of a theatrical tribute to the Emperor that had its debut run in San Francisco from December 2005 to February 2006.Read More
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened in November 1936.
In late 1934 or early 1935, Peter Mourer, Jr. — a junior construction engineer on the project — wrote "The Bay Bridge Poem."Read More