Where There's Smoke
Date: Aug 02,2008
Time: 07:00 PM - 10:00 PM
A Grand Opening and Closing event celebrating the fiery spirit of Meridian Gallery's early occupant, Tessie Wall.
Please join us for an evening of specialties and eccentricities, art and conversation, and mingling with friends and strangers. Wine and light snacks will be served. Presented by Meridian Gallery in collaboration with "I Shot Him Because I Loved Him, Damn Him" and Salon Oblique.
Tessie Wall all was one of San Francisco' most beloved madams; a hard working, hard living and hard loving pistol packing business woman of the Old West. Tessie' lavish bordello was visited by some of the wealthiest business-men and politicians in the state. Upon entering her business, clients were greeted by elegantly dressed women offering wine and champagne. The home itself was equally inviting and poshly furnished with antiques, plush red-velvet sofas and armchairs. Madam Wall's parlor was recognized as one of the best in the city. Tessie would spend time with her guests, prior to their departure with a lady of their choosing.
During the late 1800's to early 1900's thousands of enthusiastic dreamers embarked on a 2,000-mile journey into the wide-open frontier of the United States in search of free land, gold, adventure, and a better life. Although only a few women were numbered among the very first pioneers, those who did take the risk changed the face of the United States forever. The western woman left the restrictions and conventions of her way of life behind and carried the struggle of emancipation into areas sacred to the male. These women competed in business and politics, bronco busting, smoking, drinking, gambling, and gun-toting.
Tessie was the belle of the annual San Francisco Policeman' ball. Even after she hunted down her husband Frank Daroux with a gun and shot him several times. When asked why she did it she replied "I shot him because loved him, damn him". He survived and never pressed charges. Daroux, a Tenderloin boss had bought the lovely Second Empire Perine Mansion (now the Meridian Gallery site) for his bride Tessie Wall and they lived there for a time. Remembered as a flamboyant, well-upholstered blond during an era when ample, slightly plump ladies were extremely popular, Tessie was a bighearted, high-living, ribald woman of Irish ancestry who became the best-known parlor house madam in the Golden Gate City between 1900 and 1917.
For years she would lead off the Grand March at the annual policeman' policeman's ball beginning festivities by throwing a thousand dollar bill on the bar and yelling, "Drink that up boys!"
The design office of "I SHOT HIM BECAUSE I LOVED HIM, DAMN HIM"
along with their first offering: The Right2Dry project
Meridian' current exhibition curated by Bay Area art historian Peter Selz featuring Kevan Jenson: smoke paintings, drawings and photograms and Bruce Hasson: works on paper
All in a setting enhanced by Salon Oblique