Wes and I met in the dorms at SF State University while pursuing artistic degrees, and soon became best friends. After returning from eye-opening study abroad experiences (a year of playing songs, writing poems and falling in love across Mexico and Spain), we created Wild SF Tours: local tours for your typical wanderluster.
Wild SF became our outlet for discovery, adventure, and ensuring we’re the center of attention wherever we go. It was a great excuse to sing and share stories, meet new travelers and backpackers. And one year later, we quit our jobs and made it our livelihood.
The family has grown since then, and each tour guide we bring on is a working artist or activist bringing their own passion to the tours. Whether a dancer, musician, actor, filmmaker or community organizer, they’ll share a side of San Francisco that only they could know. We understand the complexities in our communities, work to find our place in it, and utilize our team’s diversity to continuously shape the tours to best tell the story of San Francisco.
-J. Jo, co-founder
J. Jo, co-founder of Wild SF, is a musician, thinker and astronomer whose passion is playing soulful funk guitar. The key to J. Jo’s heart is through pho, that tasty Vietnamese noodle soup. His goals in life, from musician to tour guide, are all rooted in the cultivation of truth and joy. On his tours, J. Jo is often noted as relaxed and humble with a knack for opening eyes to new perspectives. His music can be found online here and here.
Co-founder Wes is a third-generation San Francisco Bay native. He makes “bedroom soul” music as Wes Leslie, the Bedroom Player and fixes cocktails at Standing Room Only on Mission Street. He has spent time traveling, backpacking and/or hitchhiking through the US, Europe, Israel and Mexico, and spent a year living in Madrid, Spain. He is (slowly) reading Don Quixote in Spanish and English and could use your encouragement.
A screenwriter and director, Fischer’s craft has taken him to Cannes Film Festival to premiere one of his short films. He studied film and cinematography at SF State, and when not directing, pursues photography and food (he’s obsessed with Anthony Bourdain). Armed with a sharp wit and a bag of knee-slapping jokes, Fischer leads epic journeys on our Rise SF route.
Maz is a community organizer, musician and holistic health advocate who can be found hosting open mics and local events, leading meditation workshops, or playing his ukulele in the streets of the Mission District. Of Sudanese heritage, Maz grew up between the Bay area and Dubai. He studied International Relations at SF State before founding the non-profit Holistic Underground. His passions are integrating the Arts, Activism and Holistic Healing for ecological solutions, social justice and spreading peace.
Artist and actress Mina can usually be found with a coffee in one hand and a drawing utensil in the other. With a passion for creating, she found her niche in technical theatre and moved to SF to study costume design. When she’s not creating costumes or building sets for the stage, she turns her focus to playwriting and improv to bring characters to life. She can be found on the Rise SF route.
Mary Vice is a full-time drag performer, spotted on stage regularly at Aunt Charlie’s, The Stud and other historic haunts. A Philadelphia transplant with an interest in all things ghostly and an eye for vampy glamour, she feels right at home on the Haunted SF Tour.
Maren is a mixed media artist as well as a writer and researcher for Wild SF. Friends describe her as “detail oriented,” “insatiably curious,” and “that girl that still has my pen even though I’m pretty sure I never said she could take it in the first place.” She grew up in various parts of California and Germany which explains a few things. You can find more of Maren’s work at MarenSalomon.com.