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 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
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Muni Diaries





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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

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 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


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 

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!

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

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, 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

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! 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 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.

Aug 1, 2018

It wouldn't be a cross-town Muni line if manspreading, drinking, and unintentional, impromptu history lessons didn't factor in somewhere, right?

Today's storyteller, Molly Martin, is a tradeswoman and longtime Bay Area resident. Molly previously served san activist and organizer for Occupy Bernal, a neighborhood group focused on fighting evictions in Bernal Heights. She's currently working on a book about the history of women construction workers in the Bay Area.



Jul 17, 2018

This San Francisco teacher survived cancer, taught hundreds of middle school kids, so you bet she wasn't going to let a creeper on the bus get off easy. Gwen Carmen told this story at Muni Diaries Live's 10th anniversary show and our jaws were on the ground.

Gwen is an activist, actress, educator, and writer whose work has appeared in Essence magazine, Plexus feminist news paper, Haight Ashbury literary journal, and numerous other small presses during the 80’s and 90’s. She was also the editor/publisher of La Morena Women of Color bilingual news paper.

Got your own story to share? We are all ears! Pitch your own Muni or San Francisco story to us at You can help us keep the light on at Muni Diaries HQ by supporting us on Patreon

Jun 26, 2018

Some of you may remember Silly Pink Bunny, a sculpture by local artist Jeremy Fish, which held court in the Lower Haight until 2013. Jeremy joins us on the podcast today to tell the story, in his own words, of the bunny's evolution from a goofy pink (and occasionally peed-on) neighborhood fixture to the revered bronze bunny sculpture it is today.

Buckle up for a story that connects art, taggers, grand theft bunny (that's a thing, right?), crowdfunding, community, and condos into one so-San Francisco story.

Jun 11, 2018

Nato Green is an organizer, writer, and comedian in the Bay Area. The East Bay Express sums him up as, “a San Francisco-raised father, union organizer, gastronome, bibliophile, and political sparkplug.” Nato wrote for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on FX. Nato's story takes us back in time to 1990s San Francisco, which was still finding its progressiveness. In this episode, he recalls an act of courage by one of his high school classmates at a time when coming out was even more complicated than today.

You should definitely check out Nato's new album, The Whiteness Album, and follow him on Twitter @natogreen.

If you liked what you heard today, please support Muni Diaries on Patreon and help us keep telling stories from everyday San Franciscans! You can find us on

May 30, 2018

No one's can-do spirit (and tolerance for municipal mishaps) is stronger than that of tenacious journalists. Enter San Francisco Chronicle reporters Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub with a not-so-simple goal: riding all of the Muni lines in one day.

They called it, appropriately, #TotalMuni2018. In this episode, the intrepid pair walks us through the who, what, why, and how of this very ambitious goal.

And for all us Harry Potter nerds: Can we alternately call this experiment The Knight (Hartlaub) Bus?

May 15, 2018

Reporter Vivian Ho  has worked for the San Francisco Chronicle since 2011, covering criminal justice and breaking news. She reported on the Mario Woods shooting, the San Francisco Police Department, wild fires, and she’s just published an incredible investigative piece called "A Life on the Line." She's seen a lot of San Francisco, from the incredibly serious and life-and-death moments to the more quirky and offbeat happenings around town.

In today's episode, Vivian tells is about the one BART story that she didn't expect to be known for. 

You can also hear Vivian's San Francisco Diaries story here. If you have your own story that happened on or off the bus, our inbox is wide open for your pitches at

May 1, 2018
Storyteller Senait Hailemariam uses her time on the K/T train to tell her mom about her life as a twenty-something: it's the only form of therapy she can afford, she says. One day, she encounters a kind stranger who had a surprising reaction upon hearing Senait's phone conversation.
Senait is a San Francisco transplant who studied Digital Communication at San Francisco State University. Senait now works at BAYCAT, a nonprofit media production studio that educates and employs young people in digital media. You can check out BAYCAT at
If you liked what you heard on this episode, please rate and share our podcast! We are always looking for storytellers to share a slice of life in San Francisco, whether it is on or off the bus. If you have a story you'd like to tell, please email us at
Apr 17, 2018

Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, has a packed schedule these days, which is why we were even more delighted to have him as a part of Muni Diaries Live in 2017. Matt took us back to the 2003 mayoral election—in which he was neck and neck with current Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, and why riding the bus as a politician in a highly contested race means you gotta always keep one eye open.

Liked what you heard today? Share the Muni Diaries podcast with your friends and review us on iTunes! And we can't do this without your stories. You can submit your own slice of life in San Francisco by emailing us at 


Apr 9, 2018

Andrea Carla Michaels says that she has never done something two days in a row, but a commitment to her neighborhood led to her new identity. Two years ago she found her calling as "Pizza Lady" and you can find her daily in the alleys off lower Polk Street.

Andrea just celebrated her 25th anniversary in San Francisco.
Originally a standup comic, game show writer and briefly a writer for
"Designing Women", she now spends her time naming companies, constructing crossword puzzles for the NY Times and feeding folks.

Know another San Franciscan with a story to tell? We are always looking for tales of what makes living in San Francisco meaningful to you. Submit your own story or nominate a San Franciscan you know by emailing us at And please share this story with your podcast-listening friends!

Apr 3, 2018

What do you do when you meet a smug pickup artist on public transit? Storyteller Dominique Gelin is a comedian in Oakland, and she says she offers strong opinions on stupid things, -isms, and assholes. She has performed at SF Sketchfest, Boston’s Women in Comedy Festival, the All Jane Comedy Festival, and was a finalist for the Ultimate Miami Comedian. She's here with a lesson in transit etiquette for the newbies — especially if you’re a pickup artist, or for everyone who could use a refresher. 

You can follow Dominique on Twitter at @heydomgelin.

Mar 20, 2018

In this episode, architect and long-time SF resident Bob Collins recalls transforming his super tiny apartment and how, in the process, he discovers the real reasons why he calls San Francisco home.

Bob has lived in the Bay for 30 years, with stints in the Mission, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and the Richmond. He has a blog about walking around San Francisco called Urban Ambles, told from the dual perspectives of a regular pedestrian and professional architect. 

His walks in the blog cover a cross-section of the city; just like some of our favorite Muni stories from the cross-town lines. Go to to check out a photos of how Bob transformed his tiny apartment.

We're celebrating 10 years of storytelling on and off the bus with a special bonus code for our upcoming anniversary show on April 21, 2018, at the Elbo Room. Listen to this episode for the discount code.

If you liked this episode, please share it with your friends and rate our podcast on iTunes. You can submit your own story to us at Our inbox is waiting for your tales.

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