Grope Mark Zuckerberg at Fisherman's Wharf This Summer

Apr 23 at 1pm

By Sarah Han

This morning I was invited to a preview of the new Madame Tussauds San Francisco, set to open at 145 Jefferson Street this June in Fisherman's Wharf. You might remember that a family-run wax museum used to exist in this very location, but it closed last year

Because Fisherman's Wharf could not exist without another wax museum (actually, I was corrected by one of the staffers at the preview who explained it's not a "museum," but an "attraction," because you can touch all of the figures), the international faux-celebrity specialists Madame Tussauds will step in and take its place.

Three figures were on display at today's preview – Rihanna, Mark Zuckerberg, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg; I guess Zuck's an appropriate celeb for San Francisco. The statues were surprisingly lifelike (the photo above really doesn't do them justice), although I have to say that Leo wasn't as convincing as the other two. His eyes were a little too squinty. 

I spoke with one of the artists who brings these wax statues to life, learned some interesting facts:

  • There will eventually be 65 figures in the finished Madame Tussauds San Francisco, with another four added every year. Aside from the three above, there'll also be replicas of celebs such as George Clooney and Steven Spielberg, as well as very SF icons, such as Steve McQueen from Bullitt, flower children from the Summer of Love, gold rush miners, and Harvey Milk. 
  • Sometimes figures get retired, because they become less relevant or timely. For example, in February the figure of Justin Bieber was removed from Madame Tussauds New York because he has grown up so much from the young wax version. They will eventually replace him with an older wax Bieber.
  • The Bieber dummy was also the victim of so much harassment that he, and many other heartthrob wax figures, need to be touched up regularly. But as noted above, you can grope and kiss to your heart's content at Madame Tussauds; just don't try to break off a piece to take home, 'cuz that would just be creepy.
  • Each celebrity is made in London, in a process that takes about five weeks. Some of the clothing is actually donated by the celebrity, but in other cases – like Lady Gaga – stylists and designers work together to create replicas of the famous outfits. 

Madame Tussauds San Francisco will open on June 26, just in time for your Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bob's next visit. Don't forget to stop by the Musée Mécanique and get your obligatory In-N-Out fix while you're at the Wharf.

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