Pizza Brain has been open for just about a month now, serving up stellar pies and a mind-blowing collection of pizza ephemera. But there’s one part of this pizza equation that has yet to meet the public eye: Local illustrator Hawk Krall has been working on a mural in the Pizza Brain courtyard for nearly a month, and the epic fresco is set to be unveiled on Friday. In the planning stage for nearly a year, the mural — on 350 square feet of wall space — is jam-packed with depictions of famous Philadelphians.
Krall and Pizza Brain mastermind Brian Dwyer came up with a list of more than 150 Philadelphia faces to grace the walls of the courtyard, resulting in a staggeringly thorough who’s who — everyone from Ben Franklin to Sun Ra to the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, with a few Toynbee tiles thrown in for good measure (“Pizza Idea 2012 Philadelphia”).
The beauty of the mural lies in the attention to detail. There are faces that are widely recognizable (think Rocky and ?uestlove) but also ones unique to Philadelphia (the Flute Lady, the legendary Mikey Wild and Frank Rizzo’s square-jawed Italian Market visage).
Local musicians populate a significant portion of the wall, with Freeway, The Dead Milkmen and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes shoulder to shoulder with Atom and His Package, Man Man, Clockcleaner and mural-perfect thrash band Pizza Face.
On the local-sports front, we’ve got the Broad Street Bullies cozied up with former Sixers World B. Free and Dikembe Mutombo, vintage Phils Lenny Dykstra and John Kruk as well as Hip Hop, the (now-retired) doo-rag-wearing bunny mascot of the 76ers.
The story of Pizza Brain’s inception is also worked into the tableau — it features all the folks who shaped the pizzeria-museum concept, from partners to pizzaiolos.
Local artists depicted include Krall’s grandfather, illustrator Benjamin Eisenstat, members of Space 1026 and iconic graffiti artist ESPO, aka Steve Powers.
Get a first look at the mural this Friday with celebratory pizza/ice-cream mash-ups from Dwyer and Little Baby’s Ice Cream.
Fri., Oct. 5, 5 p.m., free, Pizza Brain, 2313 Frankford Ave., 215-291-2965, pizzabrain.org.