OUT Of Site Queer History Walking Tour Launches In South Of Market For Pride Month
Eye Zen Presents announces part two of its performance-driven, queer history walking tours. From Native American Two-Spirit culture to the Folsom Street Fair, lesbian auto mechanics to labor activists, dock workers to drag queens, OUT of Site: SOMA places audiences in the physical spaces of our LGBTQ2+ ancestors to rediscover the hidden history of San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. With an ensemble cast featuring Kai Brothers, Maria David, Brian Freeman, Marga Gomez, Ryan Hayes and J. Miko Thomas aka Landa Lakes, OUT of Site runs June 8 9 and 15 16, Saturdays at noon and 3 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. Tickets, $10 - $45, are now on sale via a direct link at eyezen.org/out-of-site-soma.
Conceived and directed by Eye Zen Founder and Artistic Director Seth Eisen, OUT of Site launched last spring with a sold-out run of performance-tours in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. The project continues this year with a spotlight on San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. With the establishment of the world's first Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District at the Western end of SoMa, and the imminent completion of Eagle Plaza as a focal point for the new district, OUT of Site celebrates the neighborhood at a pivotal moment in its history.
San Francisco's recent wave of rapid gentrification provided urgency to launch a project like OUT of Site, said Eisen. I'm interested to commemorate the stories of those individuals and businesses that have been displaced in the last 10 to 25 years, but OUT of Site doesn't stop there. It represents stories of the 'lost generation' taken by the AIDS epidemic, stories from the birth of SoMa's modern-day leather community in the 1950s and 60s in the wake of the urban renewal movement, and farther back still to when the neighborhood was a ramshackle plot of homes for factory workers and tent villages for gold miners. OUT of Site also travels back to the period before European settlement.
While the Two-Spirit culture of the Ohlone has given way to one transplant after another, a constant has been the remarkable, if sometimes under-the-radar, contributions of lesbians and gays on the land known variously as Happy Valley, Valley of the Kings, Miracle Mile, Megahood, South of the Slot and South of Market.
Audiences for OUT of Site: SOMA will gather at Howard Langton Community Garden with an entrance at 10 Langton Street. From there, they will proceed for a total distance of a mile, finishing at Ringold Alley. Stops along the way include non-extant leather bars, bathhouses and lesbian clubs, reached via secret alleys, leveled sand dunes and buried waterways, echoing voices of queer workers and residents who called this home, then and now.
To complete the script for OUT of Site: SOMA, Eisen invited Lamda Award-winning author and longtime South of Market resident K. M. Soehnlein to serve as lead writer. Additional research assistance was provided by Madelaine Bixler and Shaping San Francisco Co-Directors Chris Carlsson and LisaRuth Elliott. Gabriel A. Ross is the project's assistant director; Jessica McKee is the costume designer; JO Jett Cazeaux is the production manager; and Nicole Gluckstern is the company manager.
OUT of Site is the fifth in a series of works by Eye Zen chronicling LGBTQ2+ history. Blackbird (2010) explored the lives of seven 20th-century queer performers. Buffet Flats (2011) was a pop-up speakeasy and dinner theater event honoring the history of the Pansy Craze and Buffet Flats phenomena of the 1920s and 30s. Homo File (2014) shed light on English professor, tattoo artist and queer rebel Samuel Steward. And Rainbow Logic (2016) paid tribute to Remy Charlip, best remembered for his contributions to the fields of dance and children's literature.
For OUT of Site: SOMA, Eye Zen is grateful for support from CounterPulse, its fiscal sponsor, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Additional community partners include the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District, the Howard Langton Community Garden, Bar Agricole, Wicked Grounds, TurnOut, Cat Club, SoMa West Community Benefit District and Shaping San Francisco.
Founded by Seth Eisen in 2007, Eye Zen Presents is a San Francisco-based transdisciplinary ensemble theater company working to unearth and elevate the stories of our queer ancestors. The organization promotes social change by preserving and disseminating LGBTQ+ stories and traditions in danger of obsolescence. Eye Zen's productions engender an experimental aesthetic that blends performance and the visual arts: puppetry and live drawing is fused with contemporary dance, drag, live music, physical theater and video. Its critically acclaimed works include Blackbird: Honoring a Century of Pansy Divas (2007), Buffet Flats: Queering Slow Food (2011-12), Homo File: Chronicling the Life of Samuel Steward (2012) and Rainbow Logic: Arm in Arm with Remy Charlip. The first chapter of its San Francisco queer history walking tours, OUT of Site: North Beach, premiered in 2018. For more information visit eyezen.org. FACT SHEET WHAT: OUT of Site: SOMA presented by Eye Zen Presents. OUT of Site is a series of performance-driven, queer history walking tours, placing audiences in the physical spaces of our LGBTQ2+ ancestors to rediscover the hidden history of San Francisco.
Artistic Director and Co-Writer: Seth Eisen
Assistant Director: Gabriel A. Ross
Lead Writer: K. M. Soehnlein
Performers: Kai Brothers, Maria David, Brian Freeman, Marga Gomez, Ryan Hayes, J. Miko Thomas aka Landa Lakes
Costume Designer: Jessica McKee
Research Consultants: Madelaine Bixler, Chris Carlsson, LisaRuth Elliott
Production Manager: JO Jett Cazeaux
Company Manager: Nicole Gluckstern
TICKETS: $10 - $45 Tickets on sale at eyezen.org/out-of-site-soma. Direct link: eventbrite.com/e/out-of-site-soma-tickets-59357588144.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: eyezen.org