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Friday, October 14, 2011

Audio Tour to Find "Everywhere Man" Unfolds as Narrative Rather Than Sight-Seeing Trip

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 11:00 AM

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Tourists in San Francisco surely have taken, collectively, tens of millions of photos of the city -- especially its most tourist-laden areas such as the cable cars and Fisherman's Wharf. And in the background of many of these photos exists the Everywhere Man, a man of mystery whose face is always obscured but whose presence -- once noticed -- is everywhere.

Once you've discovered he's out there, the search for his identity begins. Here to guide you rookie detectives through the process are the folks at Invisible City Audio Tours, who -- as part of Litquake 2011 -- and their third self-guided audio tour, Everywhere Man.

Although the tour is unusual in that it guides listeners to find a person who's at once ubiquitous and obscure, it's also like a regular S.F. tour in that it begins on a Cable Car and includes Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square in its destinations. Written by Bay Area author Jim Nelson, the tour unfolds like a story rather than a narrated map, giving listeners a sense of the city's spirit and its writers.

"It's taking literature out of doors," says Invisible City executive director Tavia Stewart-Streit. "Instead of sitting down and reading a literary journal at home, you're going to listen to it on a certain route that juxtaposes with geography and outside world."

The tour is angled toward locals interested in the S.F. literary scene as well as newcomers to the city, Stewart-Streit says. Even for those who've lived in the city for years, a new angle on traditional S.F. tourist fare can prove eye-opening.

"I literally had not ridden a cable car, though I'd lived here for six years," she said.

Some others who've lived here for decades could probably say the same thing.

The story and tour begin on the Powell/Market cable car and end at the Cable Car Museum with a revelation of the Everywhere Man's identity. That revelation, says Stewart-Streit, "is a little literary, a little sad, and pretty dark."

On Saturday, launch day, curious listeners can do the tour in tandem between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with a reception at the end of the tour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Then the party moves to Clarion Alley at 7 p.m., where tour author Jim Nelson and others will do readings as part of Lit Crawl.

The hour-long audio tour is available online for free, while the map and book that accompany the tour will be sold at Saturday's event as well as online.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Ellen Huet

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