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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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Jan 13, 2021

Storyteller Teddy Hose grew up in the Unification Church of the United States, whose followers are more commonly known as the Moonies after founder Sun Myun Moon. His father came to San Francisco as an artist in the 1960s, living in the famed artist commune in the Goodman Building on Geary and Van Ness. 

In this episode, Teddy shares his story of returning to San Francisco as an adult to start his life as an artist. San Francisco was, ultimately, the best place for him to examine his family’s past and the imprint it has left on him today.

We are bringing you stories about the people, places, and things that keep San Francisco ticking. Everyone has a story—submit yours by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or by tagging us @munidiaries on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

Jan 1, 2021

Here at Muni Diaries HQ, we usually end the year with a fun and lighthearted “Top Most WTF Moments of the Year” type of countdown. But in 2020…where do we even start?

As shelter-in-place became a more permanent fixture of our lives, documenting life in San Francisco, especially via commute tales, took on a different meaning. We saw the uphill battle faced by so many small businesses and venues (like our beloved Rickshaw Stop), and the struggles of essential workers, particularly Muni operators and first responders—many of whom relied on Muni to get around. We’re grateful that we could help share those stories.

So here are some highly memorable moments from your commuter tales, in this Dumpster fire of a year.

As always, Muni Diaries is made entirely of stories by San Franciscans like yourselves. Our inbox is always open for your tales: email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Thumbnail photo by @jack.kerouac.alley on Instagram.

Dec 8, 2020

Artist and Muni Diaries Live alum Kurt Schwartzmann is paying artistic tribute to other facets of San Francisco life with artist Deirdre Weinberg, who has created public art for more than two decades. The duo first collaborated on beautifying the outdoor dining space for the iconic Buena Vista cafe this summer, and now they've partnered on the newest of the Hearts of San Francisco—which have benefited the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation since 2004.

In this week's podcast episode, we chat with the artists about how they became stewards of a beloved San Francisco tradition.

Know someone who's giving back to San Francisco in a meaningful way? We want to know! Pitch a story to us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

Nov 18, 2020

Artist Paul Madonna just created a new book called Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages through the Unknown City, written with Gary Kamiya. The book features vignettes of the history and topography of 16 different locations in the city. 

Madonna's drawings of San Francisco range from a well-known views spanning over the Embarcadero, to more obscure corners of the city like Calhoun Tower in North Beach on Montgomery and Union. As he draws en plein air—from real life rather than photographs—Madonna had to find just the right time of day to depict his subject. Sometimes, he and Kamiya even found themselves in places they weren't really supposed to be for the good of their project.

Go to MuniDiaries.com to see photos from Spirits of San Francisco. Got a story idea for us? Our inbox is always open: muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

Nov 1, 2020

We invite San Francisco Examiner transit reporter Carly Graf to talk about this year's ballot measures that can change the landscape of public transportation as we know it today. Though the pandemic has severely reduced ridership and budget, public transit was already in trouble with the proliferation of Lyft and Uber. We chat about Prop 22, Prop B, why you should get to know the BART board of directors, and more.

What do you think of their take on the transit-related props on the ballot? We want to hear from you: email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And if you haven’t done your early voting, now is the time! 

Oct 12, 2020

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Rachel Swan was reporting on the anti-panhandling ordinance last year when she met rapper Tone Oliver, whose story became symbolic of how this ordinance can impact artists like him.

You can follow her reporting at the San Francisco Chronicle website or on Twitter @rachelswan.

Don't forget to subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast to keep up with more first-person stories about life in San Francisco. And if you have your own story to contribute, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Sep 29, 2020

You know when a way-too-crowded bus followed by a nearly empty bus right behind it, and you’d wonder, why doesn’t anyone get on the empty bus? In this episode, Muni operator Ricardo sheds some light on why this happens, and how he tried to bail out a rookie Muni driver in this predicament.

This story was read by Steve Pepple of VibeMap, who's also a Muni Diaries Live alum.

We are always looking for stories about life in San Francisco, on or off the bus. What’s the best thing that happened to you here? Did something or someone in SF change you? We want to hear all about it. Anyone can submit a story to this collective online journal: just email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. 

Sep 14, 2020

In today's episode, rider Tara got to do something that most bus passengers never get to do. This story is read by Muni Diaries reader Amanda Staight.

 

Aug 31, 2020

A couple of San Franciscans created a project that truly made lemonade out of all the lemons that 2020 has thrown at us. Paint the Void matches mural artists with shuttered storefronts, and since April, the nonprofit has matched artists who beautified over 84 shops and restaurants, making walking around in San Francisco a joy again.

In today's podcast episode, we invite Lisa Vortman, the Co-Founder, Director of Photography, Media and Storytelling of Paint the Void, to share the story of the first mural she photographed for the project. Go to MuniDiaries.com to see photos of the mural she talks about in the story.

Aug 21, 2020

Muni, like many other public transit agencies around the country, is facing a financial "death spiral" in the face of the pandemic. In today's podcast episode, we talk with Jeffrey Tumlin, the Director of Transportation of the SFMTA who started in his role right at the end of last year after the underground meltdown.

Aug 10, 2020

Where do neon signs of yesteryear go to retire? In this episode, we invite two neon historians to tell us about their neon "white whale."

Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are the creators of San Francisco Neon, an organization of historians, educators, and advocates for the beautiful neon signs you see all over our city. They are also the authors of the book, San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons. 

SF Neon now has evening virtual presentations about the history behind beautiful neon signs in the Tenderloin and Chinatown. There’s an online version of their festival called Neon Speaks which is in September. You can find out more at SFNeon.org. 

Jul 24, 2020

Muni Diaries reader Amanda Staight shares why she misses the bus, and after this many months of sheltering in place, we bet you feel the same.

Amanda is a lover of neighborhoods, communities and casual conversations. She collects and tells stories as a passion and occupation. Her favorite seat on the bus is next to the rear door, up the little steps in the back.

If you have your own Muni tale or sentiment to share, or a pandemic tale of San Francisco living, we want to hear from you! Email us your pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

Jun 23, 2020

Today's episode features a story submitted by Muni rider Wil, who seized a moment of connection on Muni. This story is read by Muni Diaries reader Dayne Watai.

In the last few weeks we have all been re-examining social justice in our communities and our place in it - we've had some healthy debate on our social media about whether Muni should be used to transport police and protestors, and the role of public transit in race and class. Follow us @munidiaries on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to chime in. We'll continue these conversations while also bringing you stories of everyday San Franciscans, as we always do.

If you have a story to share, our inbox is open for your pitch. Email us at muni.diaries.sf@Gmail.com

 

May 11, 2020

Today’s story is from Eden Stein, the owner of Secession Art and Design, an art gallery and boutique in Bernal Heights. Eden has seen the ups and downs of San Francisco in over a decade of keeping her store afloat. In this episode, Eden tells a story about one evening a few year ago when a man walked in, intending to rob the store.

Eden says that she is transitioning from in-store to online sales these days. In the past, 80% of her sales came from people shopping at the store in person, and it's been a major change to transition to an online-only business.  You can find Secession at SecessionSF.com.

Apr 27, 2020

The set of an obscure sci-fi film became the catalyst of building a new space in the Mission. Storyteller Noel Von Joo shares how he and a couple of friends started to build a quirky, inventive space for artists to gather in the Mission. Hidden in a nondescript building, the Secret Alley is a pirate ship, old diner, and indoor garden all at once. 

This story was recorded at Muni Diaries Live in 2019. We are continuing to bring you stories about our city, submitted by readers like you. Please share this podcast with your friends and rate us on Apple Podcasts. 

Apr 16, 2020

We are celebrating 12 years of sharing your commute stories with our 100th episode. Most of us haven't been on a bus lately, and after this pandemic, we'd be so looking forward to getting back to our commute routine. 

Meanwhile we will continue to bring you stories from everyday San Franciscans. Nothing says "we're in it together" more than commuters banding together.

Today's episode features Jefferson Bergey: he is a professional musician based in Oakland, and a regular performer in San Francisco's Bawdy Storytelling. He's performed at Punchline SF for SF Sketchfest;  his music is featured regularly on the Bawdy Storytelling Podcast and on Kevin Allison's wildly popular RISK! podcast. Jefferson joined us at Muni Diaries Live in November 2019 after writing a new song just for us.

You can follow and support Jefferson @jeffersonbergey on Instagram, and find him on Spotify. 

Keep the stories and SF spirit up by submitting your stories to muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, and it would mean the world to us if you subscribe and share this podcast with your friends!

Apr 1, 2020

We like to say that Muni is San Francisco's living room, and you never know where a conversation with a fellow bus rider will lead. In today's episode, rider Timo shares a story about the time when someone on the bus asked him why he was wearing his yarmulke. 

Muni Diaries is made of stories by everyday San Franciscans, and in these times, your stories are more important than ever! We will continue to publish stories from our archive and hope this takes some stress off of your day while sheltering in place.

Photo by @jjinsf on Twitter.

Mar 21, 2020

In these times when most of your fellow bus riders are looking at their phone and have headphones on, reader Teresa submitted a story of how a group of women banded together when they saw another woman in a bad situation. 

Muni Diaries is made of your stories. If you have a tale to share, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

Feb 27, 2020

Kristine Poggioli and coauthor Carolyn Eidson became the first people known to have walked San Francisco’s historic 49 Mile Scenic Drive over the course of a year. You know the route, or at least you've probably seen the light blue signs with seagulls on them all over town. They’ve published a book about their experience called Walking San Francisco’s 49 Mile Scenic Drive.

In this episode, you’ll find out all about their journey and what they discovered along the way.

Jan 13, 2020

Storyteller Andrea Carla Michaels has worn many hats over the years, as a standup comic, writer for a game show, and briefly a writer for Designing Women. She now spends her time naming companies and constructing crossword puzzles for the New York Times. Two years ago she found her calling as "Pizza Lady" and you can find her daily in the alleys off lower Polk Street. We first aired this story in April 2018, and we feel like the new year is the right time to how to make a difference this year, no matter how big or small.

Got a story about how to  make a difference in our city? Pitch us by email at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Dec 24, 2019

Storyteller Annette Mullaney is a standup comic based in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle named her one of six "comics to catch" in the Bay Area. She describes her comedy as self-deprecating, feminist, existentialist, smart, vulgar, and full of big words to prove she's been to grad school. In this episode, she shares a BART story that took a long time to see the light of day. But we're so glad she worked up the courage to share.

If you have your own story to share on our podcast, send us a short pitch to Muni.Diaries.SF@gmail.com. 

Dec 3, 2019

On her way home from a baby shower, storyteller Maureen Bogues encountered what most of us hope we wouldn't on Muni. Fueled by adrenaline, she chases after a mugger who took her phone. What would you do in this situation?  

Maureen is a writer, editor, and occasional public speaker who has been featured at Beyond Borders Storytelling. This story was taped at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop in November, 2019.

Do you have your own Muni story to share? Pitch us your Muni and San Francisco stories by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

 

 

Nov 20, 2019

Storyteller Dhaya Lakshminarayana is a stand-up comedian and winner of the Liz Carpenter Political Humor Award. She's also the subject of the documentary “NerdCool.” This story was recorded at Exploratorium After Dark in 2019. 

If you have your own story to share on our podcast, pitch your stories at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Oct 28, 2019

Today's story is from Molly Martin, a long-time activist and Bernal Heights resident. She was an organizer of Occupy Bernal, which saved many homes in the neighborhood from foreclosure.

Molly is also a tradeswomen activist and is working on a book about the history of women construction workers in the Bay Area. Her story takes us back to 1973 San Francisco.

Subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast so you don't miss a minute of our new episodes! Muni Diaries Live is back on Nov. 2, 2019 at Rickshaw Stop. Go to MuniDiaries.com to get tickets. 

If you have a San Francisco story to pitch, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

 

Oct 21, 2019

DJ Steve Fabus literally provided the soundtrack to one of the most tumultuous periods in San Francisco history. He has been a fixture in the underground music scene in San Francisco since he moved here in the '70s—he described it as a calling that brought him to the city. In today's episode, Steve shares the story of how he found himself at the turn table for the farewell party of disco legend Sylvester.

You can hear stories like these live on stage at the next Muni Diaries Live show on Nov. 2, 2019, at Rickshaw Stop. Tickets are on sale at MuniDiaries.com. 

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