Na'amen Gobert Tilahun is a writer whose craft spans multiple genres. The follow up to his 2016 novel, The Root, is The tree, which is coming out later this year. You can find him at naamentilahun.com. In this episode, he shares the magic of the late night metro ride.
Writer Hiya Swanhuyser is writing a book about a lost piece of San Francisco history, the Montgomery Block building, which stood where the Transamerica Pyramid stands today. It was there for 107 years, and was a crucial gathering place for artists and writers, including Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and thinkers and political people including Emma Goldman and Sun Yat-Sen, among many many others.
Listen and share this San Francisco Diaries episode on the secret past of the Montgomery Block.
Kirk Read is a writer and storyteller who grew up in Virginia. His memoir, How I Learned to Snap, was named an Honor Book by the American Library Association. He works in the healthcare industry and has curated a host of literary events around the San Francisco Bay Area.
You've seen the marquee, "Touch our junk" on Bush street probably a thousand times. Storyteller Jesse James brings us deep into the back room of the famed adult theater where he unwittingly becomes an employee after a brief interview.
Today's story is a part of our new series, San Francisco Diaries! We are expanding our lens to gather stories about our fair city, and we welcome your stories about the people and experiences that make our city what it is today.
What makes San Francisco our beloved city? How has living here shaped you?
Pitch your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storyteller Jesse James recounts a day that started with ordering a Thor hammer on Amazon -- easy peasy, right? But of course Muni had other plans for Jesse's day.
Jesse James is the former Muni haiku champion, return storyteller, and has had battle of wits against Airbnb's ridiculous ads. You can find him on Twitter at @LoudGayAmerica.
Say you're frustrated waiting for the bus and you fire off a tweet, "Where the hell is my bus?", there are three people at the SFMTA whose job is to respond to you to make sure you're ok. We found these very patient humans at the SFMTA whose jobs we never want to have, and ask them: what's it like to be on the receiving end of all our ire?
As it turns out, it's not all terrible. SFMTA's Schad and Rick tell us all about behind the scenes stories of responding to your Muni complaints and real life crisis -- everything from violent crimes to a lost scarf.
You can find Schad, Rick, and their colleagues at @sfmta_muni.
Filmmaker H.P. Mendoza's dad was a Muni driver for 25 years. Add that to a life time of San Francisco transit-riding, H.P. has lots of fodder for another original composition about cinema, Muni, and an ode to the Mission district.
Bonus: in this very musical episode, we're also featuring Mesquite and Mustard, the western fiddling band with a spirited original song about Charlie the Muni Rider, the "man who never returned."
Storyteller Jerry Lee Abram shares a story of the ultimate Pride party at a Muni stop. Remember when Muni shelters were domed (not doomed!) and … and just worked? One Dyke March, Jerry and his friends climbed up on one said shelter and took it all in.
Comedian Dhaya Lakshminarayanan shares a tale of her trip to Big Lots on Muni with her pop. Hilarity ensued, of course. And a new slogan for this site and Muni general is born.
Dhaya Lakshminarayanan is the 2016 winner of the Liz Carpenter Political Humor Award (previously awarded to Samantha Bee, Wanda Sykes and satirist/humorist Mark Russell) presented by the National Women’s Political Caucus. She is also a storyteller and runs storytelling workshops and corporate events. You can find her on DhayaComedy.com.
Science writer Annalee Newitz fulfilled our geek dreams by sharing a story of how Muni is actually on the side of righteousness when an obnoxious driver gets in its way. Bonus: she also recounts the early days of being in the tech industry in the Bay Area. Look out for her new sci-fi novel coming out in September called AUTONOMOUS, which does not contain any Muni bus references but does feature a pirate with her own badass submarine.
Glynn Washington, host and executive producer of NPR’s Snap Judgment, gave everyone a lot of food for thought when he was confronted with a mugging on his commute.
Technology journalist (and BuzzFeed San Francisco bureau chief) Mat Honan had once used Muni data to find out when the next bus was coming. Imagine that! He dug deep into Muni’s history to find out why Forest Hill station smells the way it does—and what is really wafting through the air when you take a deep breath at Muni stations.
Gabe Armstrong stepped out of the sound booth (he is the audio engineer at the Elbo Room) to share his own Muni story, which happened during Bay to Breakers. Riding public transit can really change your perspective of what you should and shouldn’t be afraid of in life, Gabe says. And how did he learn this? By hauling the remainder of his B2B vehicle on Muni while under the influence of jello shots, of course.
Learning the rules of Muni isn't easy, especially when you've just moved from the driver-centric state of Florida. Storyteller J. W. Friedman shares a tale of how, as a Muni newbie, he encountered an unexpected superhero on the bus.
J is also the host of the podcast I Don't Even Own a Television, a podcast all about terrible books. You can check out his hilarious book reviews on IDontEvenOwnATelevision.com.
BART operator Kelly Beardsley lets us in on one little secret about driving BART: passengers love pressing the intercom button to chat with him about annoyances big and small, or even to just shoot the shit with him for no reason at all.
Did you know there was a movie theater on 17th Ave. and Geary that used to play lots of children’s films? That was just one of the destinations that this Muni Diaries storyteller would see on her Muni journeys growing up in San Francisco. Comedian and native San Franciscan Yayne Abeba started riding Muni by herself when she was 7, along with all her relatives ages 1 to 6.
Self-described San Francisco political nerds Cynthia and Jeremy Pollock took time out from writing the League of Pissed Off Voters voting guide to share how they became Twitter-famous from riding Muni. We found Cynthia and Jeremy when they tweeted a photo of Cynthia holding a crow on Muni, and of course we had to know how this all happened.
Storyteller Jesse James recounts his first impression of Muni when he moved to San Francisco, and how he learned the rules of Muni when he saw a pickup line gone wrong.
Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez is one of the few transportation reporters in San Francisco. You might have seen many of his stories in the San Francisco Examiner. In this episode, Joe shares why the mundane, boring City Hall meetings that he often attends can mean life and death for some in San Francisco.
Muni operator Doug has written two books on driving the bus, and in this episode, he shares some behind-the-scenes gems. He's got his eyes on you, whether you're furtively holding your expired transfer or digging in your wallet for your Clipper card. You can find Doug's books at the San Francisco Public Library or your friendly local bookstores near you.
Buzzfeed Books Editor Isaac Fitzgerald proves a universal fact: stories happen on public transit in any city. In this Muni Diaries live performance, he shares the story of falling in love with a girl (and getting over it quickly) with the aid of a few heroic acts on the D.C. Metro.
Comedian Gina Gold is the host of TMI Storytelling, a monthly series in Oakland. In this week’s story, Gina shares what happened when she rode BART with her coworker from Market Street Cinema, all in the name of improving her job skills.
Gina has a new podcast called "Do You Think I'm Kidding?" -- check her out on iTunes.
H.P. Mendoza is a San Francisco treasure. The seemingly tireless moviemaker and musician’s works include Colma: The Musical, Fruit Fly, and I Am a Ghost. When he’s not making movies, he’s doing rad museum takeovers with ‘80s-style scavenger hunts. All of this, and he’s also just one of the smartest, nicest people you’ll ever meet.
H.P. graced the stage of Muni Diaries Live back in 2011. This week’s episode is the story of how he came to love San Francisco when he was a kid thanks to his dad’s Muni routes. He even included a rather catchy song about Muni and BART at the end of his performance.
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Courtney Riddle is the zine ambassador of Market Street, selling small handmade books out of a formerly abandoned newspaper kiosk, The Grand Newsstand. She’s been distributing zines to unwitting tourists for more than a year now. When not sitting in peculiar street furniture, she makes her own zines, does calligraphy, daydreams about urban planning, and rides unusual Muni lines (how about that 36?).
In this episode, she shares her aspiration of becoming a Muni driver, but there's just one small issue she had to overcome.