B is for Burning Man: How Stuart learned his SF ABCs


Who gave you your first “San Francisco education”? Broke-Ass Stuart tells us that his city primer came at the age of 23, when he was living on Golden Gate Avenue, in a house full of artists, thinkers, and some of Burning Man’s original participants.

The house on Golden Gate was a short-lived experience for Stuart, because six months into living there, the housemates were evicted. Never a group to go out with a whisper, they put on a “rent party,” where throngs of people showed, three bands played, and, at some point, an art car rolled by.

As short-lived as it was, Stuart says that this house was extremely important to him—and to our whole San Francisco community:

It was the spiritual home for so many people. Living that house prepped me for San Francisco because that place embodied all the things I love about being here. It was weird, it was a collection of all different ages, queer and straight…it was art for art’s sake and that’s the thing I love about San Francisco. It was weird for weird’s sake.

I’ve always been attracted to the other…all of a sudden I was in a house of people who lived that way. Their religion was, “Why Not?”

It was a primer for me into learning what San Francisco meant as an idea, a concept, a feeling.

Listen to Stuart’s entire story in today’s podcast:
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Stuart’s housemate P Segal ended up writing a series, The City That Was, about this period in their lives and the budding Cacophony Society.

You might know Stuart’s alter ego, Broke-Ass Stuart, from various, sundry, and wildly popular hustles: his website, his writings (including a column in The San Francisco Examiner called “Broke-Ass City”), his TV hosting gigs, his poetry, or his mayoral run a couple years back. Be sure to check out Stuart’s Patreon page, where you can support his site and podcast.

Stuart tells us that he went to Burning Man for the first time after P gave him her ticket after being evicted from the house. And he was kind enough to share a photo of him from that first burn, orange tutu and all.

So, what is YOUR defining San Francisco moment? If you’re inspired by Stuart’s story, please share this podcast with your friends and share your own story by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

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