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Walking Tour Reveals Haight-Ashbury’s Queer History

Tina D'Elia as Hibiscus in Golden Gate Park. Photo by Robbie Sweeny (7).jpg
Robbie Sweeny
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Tina D’Elia as Hibiscus de la Blossom in OUT of Site: Haight-Ashbury

San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury was iconic as the center of 1960s - early ‘70s "hippie" counterculture. Often forgotten is its role in LGBTQ history. That role gets loving attention in performance-driven walking tour.

SF’s Haight-Ashbury district was iconic as the center of the late 1960s - early ‘70s anti-war and sexual revolution counterculture. Often forgotten, though, is its role in LGBTQ liberation history. That role gets loving attention in OUT of Site's Haight-Ashbury queer historical walking tour through July 25.

On this performance-driven tour, we meet glittery flower-power child Hibiscus de la Blossom – founder of the infamous psychedelic pansexual theater collective the Cockettes – and Peggy Caserta, a Haight Street clothier of the time who outfitted rock music legends like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin, who became one of Caserta’s lovers.

Award-winning actress Tina D’Elia plays Caserta and Hibiscus on the walking tour, led by Artistic Director Seth Eisen giving historical details and context along the way. Hear Eisen, D’Elia, and sounds and scenes from the tour on this week’s Out in the Bay, produced and hosted by Lusen Mendel.

OUT of Site is a multi-year walking tour project produced by Eye Zen Presents that brings audiences to physical sites of LGBTQ ancestry in San Francisco neighborhoods. Haight-Ashbury is the third in the series; the first toured North Beach and last year’s featured South of Market. OUT of Site: Haight-Ashbury runs through July 25. Click here for tickets and more info.

Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.