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Muni Diaries

The Muni Diaries podcast is where you'll hear true stories that happened on public transportation in San Francisco and the Bay Area, presented by the editors of MuniDiaries.com. Since our launch in 2008, we've gathered stories from over 4000 transit riders. Riding the bus with a black crow on your shoulder? Eating a pint of ice cream with the butt end of a lighter on the N-Judah? Exchanging the fine points of making a perfect lumpia with your bus driver’s mom? These are just a few of the everyday delights/weirdnesses that actually happen on Muni. To submit your own story, read more bus tales, or submit one of your own, visit MuniDiaries.com.
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Aug 22, 2019

Muni is the through line in this week's podcast story from Simone Herko Felton, a senior at Lowell High School in San Francisco. Simone has lived here all her life and takes the 23-Monterey to go to school daily. She explains what it's like to be a high school student in San Francisco taking this cross town bus, and why this particular line is symbolic of her multi-ethnic identity.

Simone is the President of the literary magazine at Lowell High School called The Junkyard. If you have a story to share, we are all ears! Pitch your story to muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Aug 7, 2019

Do you often wish you said something to someone who was acting inconsiderate or rude, and you spend days thinking about what you should have said? In this episode, our storyteller didn't hold back and called out a rude fellow shopper at the checkout line, and the results would surprise you.

Justina Wu is a writer, storyteller, and producer of Beyond Borders Storytelling, a series of travel-themed workshops and story jams.  Check out Beyond Borders online at beyondbordersstorytelling.org, and mark your calendars for the next show on August 14 at PianoFight in the Tenderloin.

 

Jul 24, 2019

Our previous episode featured Smiley Poswolsky, a self-described Millennial workplace expert who quit his stuffy Washington, D.C. job to become a writer in San Francisco. His story about personal growth and change, with NOPA/Western Addition in a prominent guest-starring role, really got our listeners talking more broadly about the state of our city—a hot topic lately.

For this episode, we invited Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight from The San Francisco Chronicle, and Bernalwood blog founder Todd Lappin, to give us their take on San Francisco's oft-discussed existential crisis, and to share their own experiences with this town we call home.

Got something to say about Smiley's story or the state of our city? Email us your thoughts at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us #sanfranciscodiaries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Jul 9, 2019

Smiley Poswolsky quit his D.C. government job and left his suit-wearing days behind in order to become a writer in San Francisco. A few years in, he found himself realizing that some of the things he was excited about the city were also perhaps ruining the place he loves. But who has the right to define what this city is about?

Poswolsky is an expert on millennials in the workplace, a topic that he speaks about professionally, and he is the author of the book, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough.

The state of our city has been a hot topic lately. Got something to say about Smiley's story and the current state of our city? Email us your thoughts at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us #munidiaries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Jun 24, 2019

This weekend is Pride weekend, and we are highlighting stories from our LGBTQ community.

Today’s story is from Kurt Schwartzmann. Kurt is an artist, printmaker, and photographer. In 2006, he lost all vision in his left eye due to complications of AIDS. In the first half of 2007 Kurt was homeless and living on the streets of San Francisco. Muni buses, running around the clock, often provided him the only safe place to sleep at night. He dedicated his first series of 64 drawings to Muni operators, depict his view of what's in front of the "yellow line."

This story was told at Muni Diaries Live in April, 2019 at Rickshaw Stop. If you'd like to see more of Kurt's art, visit www.yellowlineart.com.

And remember to subscribe and rate this podcast if you liked what you heard! If you have your own story of Pride to share, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Jun 12, 2019

Ady Lady is a writer, performer, and all around funny person who's been described as wildly funny by The San Francisco Examiner. She's written and performed two solo shows: Sara Jane Tried to Shoot the President and From Piss to Bliss. She says she actually started writing From Piss to Bliss in a desperate attempt to maintain a state of love while riding Muni. 

This story was recorded at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop in April, 2019. 

If you liked what you heard on the Muni Diaries podcast, don't forget to rate our podcast on iTunes and share it with your friends. Follow us @munidiaries on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to stay up to date on the latest entry in our collective online journal.

Jun 3, 2019

San Francisco has been a place where many young transplants found their own identity and voice. In today's episode, storyteller Colin Daly shares the tale of a house on Folsom Street where he and his group of friends found their own "chosen family" in the 1990s. The friends lovingly named the house "Camp Folsom," where a room in the Mission was only $300 and life lessons—about money, community, heartbreak, and learning to be a grownup—were included in the rent.

We are celebrating the release of Tales of the City on Netflix with our own tales of the city. If you have your own tale, we want to hear all about it! Email us your story at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

May 14, 2019

When the bus came to a halt, storyteller Kathleen Auterio noticed a familiar face from her Mission neighborhood. What happened next will keep you on the edge of your seat. This story was recorded at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco.

Kathleen was born in Boston but has called San Francisco home for 19 years. She is a heavy metal and horror movie fanatic, and has told stories at The Moth Grandslam, Risk, Porchlight and many more events in the bay.

Subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast so you don't miss an episode of true and hilarious Muni tales! And rate us on iTunes; we want to know what you think! 

 

Apr 30, 2019

Artist George McCalman shares a story of how he came to be illustrating strangers on Muni, inspired by growing up on the New York subway system. This in turn helped inspired his Observed column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Nowadays he documents life on and off the bus.

Trained as a philosophy-focused fine artist at St John’s University, George had a 14-year editorial magazine career before opening the doors of his creative branding studio McCalman.Co in 2011. In 2016, he resuscitated a dormant fine art calling and began obsessively illustrating, dreaming and painting everything he saw. And we are so glad he did! You can follow him on Instagram @mccalmanco, and go to MuniDiaries.com to see the drawing of the riders he mentions in this episode.

Apr 16, 2019

Sureni Weerasekera is a Sri Lankan-born, San Diego-raised, & San Francisco-based stand up comedian, actor and writer. In this story, told at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop, Sureni shares a story about how people relate to race while riding public transit.

Sureni is a contributing writer and actor for "Life of Trying" and runs two of Berkeley's top comedy shows, "Pizza Party" and "Subhumans." Follow her on Instagram @sureni. Check out her upcoming shows at: surenicomedy.com.

Apr 1, 2019

Growing up nerdy is not easy anywhere, especially in Alabama. Storyteller Dhaya Lakshminarayanan thought she'd left those teenage memories behind when she moved to San Francisco. But one day, she unexpectedly reunites with one of her long lost friends who shares those high school memories. Upon finding each other at the Castro Safeway, Dhaya and her friends embark on a new friendship that involves an urban rodeo and other very San Francisco experiences.

This story was recorded at the Betabrand Store on Valencia Street in San Francisco, as the inaugural Betabrand Podcast Theater. You can follow Dhaya at dhayacomedy.com.

Got your own San Francisco tale to share? Email us your story submission at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Mar 28, 2019

Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight are long time San Francisco Chronicle reporters who have seen it all. But it took riding every Muni line in one day for them to remember why they love it here so much. This year, they will be embarking on a new journey called TotalSF. We invited Peter and Heather to sit down to have a chat about their experience in front of a live audience. This episode was recorded as a part of the Betabrand Podcast Theater at the Betabrand store on Valencia Street in San Francisco.

Heather also hosts a podcast called San Francisco City Insider where you can hear all the latest on local politics. You can hear Peter on his podcast, The Big Event. Peter and Heather will be doing their own Betabrand podcast theater event on May 16, 2019.

Mar 19, 2019

Matt Shapiro is a musician and the co-owner of the Elbo Room in Oakland. After initially working at the Elbo Room for years as its manager and booker, Matt and co-owner Erik Cantor purchased the bar in 2010. 

The Elbo Room has been the home of Muni Diaries Live for many years, and just before its San Francisco location closed permanently, Matt joined Muni Diaries Live on stage to share one of the many memorable, behind-the-scenes tales from the fame club. This story involved Satan, his leather jacket, and the lengths that club owners will go to keep a promise.

You can visit the Elbo Room's Jack London Square location in Oakland or find them on Elbo.com.

Muni Diaries Live has a new home at Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley, with a new show coming up on Saturday, April 6, 2019! Go to MuniDiaries.com to get your ticket today. 

Mar 4, 2019

Gwen Carmen is a storyteller, cancer survivor, and a long time teacher of the San Francisco Unified School District. In this episode, Gwen tells a story about taking BART to see one of Aretha Franklin’s final performances. On her journey home from the concert Gwen finds herself in the middle of a crime scene, luckily some of her previous students arrive to save the night.

You might remember her from the live shows or from episode 62, where she told a story about bus justice to our live audience about riding the 24.

If you have your own story to tell, email us at muni.diaries.sf@Gmail.com

 

Feb 21, 2019

Meaghan Mitchell is a native San Franciscan and news editor at Hoodline, which you can imagine gives her tons of local cred. Meaghan shares a story of one really hard day at school and how it brought her to Muni.

And podcast listeners: we will be at the Betabrand Podcast Theater on Thursday, March 7 at 7p.m. to tape our first episode with a live audience! If you'd like to be in our audience, make sure you get a ticket (only $5!) by going to MuniDiaries.com. 

Feb 7, 2019

Green Apple Books is one of the most beloved bookstores in San Francisco, and a mainstay on Clement Street (and now also in the Inner Sunset). Founded in 1967, the bookstore is now owned by three of its employees. We invited co-owner Pete Mulvihill to the San Francisco Diaries podcast studio to share how he went from being a young book lover working at this iconic shop to being its owner. You can follow Green Apple Books on Twitter @greenapplebooks, and be sure to visit the store on 506 Clement Street.

Got your own favorite San Francisco spot with a rich history? Send us your own tale of the city by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com!

Jan 29, 2019

Storyteller Nuala Sawyer was having a terrible year in San Francisco. One of those times in your life when you just think things couldn't get any worse. Then, a man on Muni shared a vulnerable moment with her that changed her perspective.

Nuala is the news editor at SF Weekly. She writes about a little bit of everything: City Hall, the courts, homelessness, immigration, housing, crime and of course, transportation.

You can follow her on Twitter at @TheBestNuala, or hear her on Rollover Easy Thursday mornings at bff.fm.

If you have a story to share on and off the bus, we want to know! You can submit your own diary to the Muni Diaries podcast by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. 

Jan 10, 2019

Storyteller Irene McCalphin has often experienced the invasion of personal space on public transit, but this one time she decided enough was enough, and she was going to take up the space she deserves.

As co-founder and massage therapist of A Sovereign Embodiment Healing Collective and Board-member of the Body Political, Irene blends magic with massage, storytelling and performance art to liberate, heal and reclaim space for marginalized community.  They’re currently working on a book and facilitating the creation a healing and retreat space for queer femmes in Grass Valley, CA. You can find her writing on MammyIsDead.com.

You can also see Irene's first Muni Diaries entry involving a burrito as deterrent for pickup artists.

Got your own Muni or San Francisco story to contribute? Email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com! And remember to subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode!

Nov 13, 2018

Storyteller Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a writer, performer, host, storyteller, and regular KQED community events host based in San Francisco. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry and regularly organizes poetry shows in the Bay Area. In today's story, Baruch shares an exchange that he had with a visitor while working at one of the longest running gay sex clubs in San Francisco. Upon realizing that the visitor was having a hard time in our city, Baruch encourages him give San Francisco a second try. 

Please note that this story has themes about suicide if this topic may be triggering for you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals: 1-800-273-8255.

Oct 29, 2018

Borderlands Books and Borderlands Cafe is a gem in the city: a bookstore and cafe that specializes in new and used science fiction, fantasy, and horror. If you've been around these parts 10 or more years, you might remember their sphinx kitties roaming the store, and a sign that told everyone when the cats were in. 

Today's episode is from Borderlands co-founder Alan Beatts. The Borderlands Cafe was a later addition to the bookstore. During the construction of the cafe, Alan found something in the basement that sent the crew running. 

The bookstore faced closure a few years ago, and amazingly the staff raised $2M through a grassroots campaign to buy a building on Haight Street where they will be located permanently.

Oct 16, 2018

Today’s story is from Luke and Chris, who you might know as Sequoia and the Early Bird on the radio show, Rollover Easy on BFF.FM.

Rollover Easy is a morning radio show that has a "healthy dose of positive news, banter, and interviews with interesting San Francisco locals." Luke and Chris are up every Thursday morning at 8 a.m. to report on and chat with locals over coffee.

In this episode, Luke and Chris shares how their mutual love for Herb Caen led to an art project on Market Street. With little construction experience, these two San Francisco lovers were determined to make Herb Caen's writing come alive to pedestrians on Market Street.

Got a San Francisco diary you'd like to share? Email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com to submit your own!

Oct 3, 2018

If you’ve been to our live shows, you know the highlight of every show is The Muni Haiku Battle. It’s a Muni-themed poetry throw down and we’ve had some pretty intense battle on stage of the 5-7-5 variety. 

In this episode we have our reigning champion Alexandria Love and challenger Jessica Cohen from our 10th anniversary show this April at the Elbo Room. Jessica is an illustrator, an infrequent performer/fortune teller. Jessica grew up in the East bay and went to college in San Francisco. Reigning champion Alexandria is a writer from Oakland and also the current reigning champion of the Dirty Haiku Battle at Oakland's Tourette's Without Regrets. 

You can see our next Muni Haiku Battle at our fall show: Muni Diaries Live, Nov. 3, 2018 at the Elbo Room (tickets).

 

Sep 20, 2018

In this episode, storyteller Louis Evans shares a story of one seemingly uneventful day when he was leaving the underground parking lot at Civic Center, only to find out that there's an active shooter situation above him.

Louis is the host of the new literary event, Cliterary Salon. Cliterary Salon is a show of rowdy, original stories about female sexual pleasure or feminism or anything in that umbrella, bringing a spirit of fun sexuality to a literary scene that's traditionally been focused on cis male experience.

Aug 28, 2018

Storyteller Thea Selby has lived in the Lower Haight since 1999. She's a mom, a member of the City College of San Francisco's Board of Trustees, and, as you'll learn in this episode, a tireless advocate for the art that has defined her neighborhood for decades.

Listen up as Thea walks us through the tumultuous history behind the Love in the Lower Haight mural project

Aug 15, 2018

When City Arts and Lectures call you to be the backup for your favorite writer, you clear your calendar right away. In this episode, storyteller Judson True recalls that one fortunate phone call in 2001, right after 9/11, when he was called to be the backup interviewer for Scott Shafer. The subject? His favorite writer, Joan Didion.

Judson is currently the chief of staff for state assemblyman David Chiu. Before that, he was once the spokesperson for the SFMTA, a job that probably no one envies. You can find him on Twitter at @judsontrue.

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