Mad City Diner opening with rad decor, chromodynamic mural wall

The Mass Ave Diner in Central Square is rebooting this month and next with new decor and a new menu. It will still be a neighborhood comfort-breakfast-food diner by day, but at night it will turn into a funky bar called Mad City, with an Alice in Wonderland theme, color-changing light mural wall, and a new menu of fun dinner food and cocktails, spearheaded by cutting-edge restaurant team Calvrett Steven Justen Soaleze Aninye and Harvard Aninye in partnership with the diner’s existing owners. They plan to be up and running with the full new menu by October 11.

The pop-up night that kicked off the new presentation was the packed relaunch party “Derelicte“, a trash-themed night featuring a reused materials fashion show, DJ and video, and innovative foods made of leftovers.

I got to paint a 36-foot Alice-in-Wonderland themed mural wall opposite the bar, with art direction, painting collab and lighting by Matt Em Weston. The central character is a Cheshire Cat with invisible smile that appears under a UV spotlight at night, flanked by fantastical characters that color-change under RGB lights with UV highlights. Guests at Derelicte were given UV keychain LEDs to search out the details in the painting.

“Derelicte” pop-up night drew a heterogeneous standing-room-only crowd. (Photo: Matt Em Weston)

DJ at Derelicte pop-up night, fantasy color-changing tea party in the background. (Photo: Matt Em Weston)

UV details throughout the painting

Mushroom forest, daytime lighting, with cityscape


Alice in Wonderland animated flowers