Joseph Amster

Joseph Amster

United States

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Joseph Amster is a tour guide, journalist, historian, California native, and resident of San Francisco on and off since the ‘70s. Born in Southern California, he first visited San Francisco as a seven-year-old in 1962. Falling in love with the city, he returned to study theater arts at San Francisco State University. During that time, he worked as a cook at San Francisco’s legendary Salmagundi restaurant. As a journalist, he served as editor of the Orange County Blade and IN Los Angeles magazines. He has also had stories published in the Alyson Publications books My First Time, Vol. 1 and The Day We Met. He has served on the board of directors of Laguna Outreach and Project Chicken Soup and was co-chair of the City of Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee. He currently serves as a board member of the San Francisco History Association and the Emperor Norton Legacy League. In addition, he is the Noble Grand Recorder of the Yerba Buena Chapter 1 of the Ancient and Honorable Orderof E Clampus Vitus. With the rise of the Internet, Joseph found journalism jobs few and far between. In 2011, he and husband Rick Shelton founded Time Machine Tours. Because of their backgrounds in the performing arts, they decided to offer historical walking tours as characters from San Francisco history. Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine launched in July, 2011 to rave reviews. He also offers an Emperor Norton waterfront tour, made possible by a generous grant from the San Francisco History Association. Joseph combined his love of history with his culinary background to offer San Francisco Food Safari, a shopping tour of North Beach in 2012 and a Mission District tour titled There’s More to the Mission than Burritos in 2013. He is currently working on a book titled Created in California: The Golden State’s Gifts to Gastronomy and can often be spotted about town in character as San Francisco’s beloved Emperor Norton. He is available for charter tours, lectures, weddings, and special events.

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