Alum Joseph Amster, as Emporer Norton, Provides Character for City Tours

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
GOLDEN GATE XPRESS -- Former SF State student Joseph Amster dropped out of school more than three decades ago after deciding a Theatre Arts degree would not take him to where he wanted to go in life. In 2011, Amster returned to San Francisco, where he began a career dressing up and giving city tours as historical figure Emperor Norton three days a week and working as a bus tour guide the rest of the week. Amster was introduced to the Emperor Norton character by a man who was portraying the unique luminary but no longer wanted to play the role. Seeing many parallels between Norton’s colorful life and his own, Amster embraced the part and began researching extensively, developing the character to fit into his existing role as a tour guide. Assuming the role of Norton has given Amster a way to earn a living and become a San Francisco public figure, something that he desired since returning into the city three years ago.