7 reminders from Muni Diaries Live about why you still love San Francisco

Last Saturday, 200 Muni riders squeezed into a crowded and hot space (for fun!), and they weren’t even cranky about it (we think). We’re talking about Muni Diaries Live, our fav night of the year where we celebrate the human-to-human moments that happen as we move from point A to point B.

We laughed, we cried (really, there were surprise tears), and our storytellers reminded us why we chose to live here after all. For our 20th show, singer/songwriter Rachel Lark (above) cracked everyone up with songs that so many of us can relate to, including “It’s Hard to be a Feminist and Still Love Dick,” which is still in my head two days later. Check out this version of the song she did with Muni Diaries Live alum Kate Willet.

We opened the show with a special story in poetry form from Alexandria Love, standup comedian and writer from Oakland. True to our San Francisco roots, the poem is an ode to our dear Karl the Fog.

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‘Squeeze the chicken’: One ingenious solution to broken transit

Not that chicken.

A tip via reader Marcin W., Jannina Uribe tweeted this ingenious solution to a broken stop request from a bus in Mexico. She reports that the written message translates to: “Bell out of order. Squeeze the chicken.”

Insert any number of chicken/Muni/and choke-the-chicken jokes here.

In the spirit of international cooperation, we occasionally have a look-see at what’s happening on transit around the world, including a most Pride-ready tram in Amsterdam, these dope bus shelters in Austria, and transit etiquette guidelines from Taipei, hometown of Muni Diaries cofounder Eugenia.

Hey, important news: Muni Diaries Live is back this Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room, which is closing in Jan! We’re selling out fast so get your tickets right this way.

The secret in the basement at Borderlands Books

Borderlands Books 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.

Though there are plenty of spooky books on the shelves at Borderlands, the staff actually discovered something quite unsettling in real life, in the newly excavated basement of the bookstore. Some of you might remember that the Borderlands Cafe was a later addition to the shop, and during construction, co-founder Alan Beatts found something in the basement that sent the crew running.

Hear what happened in this week’s San Francisco Diaries episode (scroll down for transcript):
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Alan sends us this bonus photo of the basement. See the tree trunk on the right? It’s not going anywhere!

The bookstore also serves as an inspiration of a successful grassroots business: the beloved bookstore faced a likely closure a few years ago. Amazingly, and in true San Francisco fashion, they raised $2M via a grassroots campaign to buy a building on Haight Street, where they will relocate as soon as construction there is complete. Borderlands also has an ongoing sponsorship program that keeps their doors open.

This is definitely the preferred ending to You’ve Got Mail I’d been looking for.

Want to hear more great stories like these live on stage? Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

Episode Transcript

Thanks to reader Chris L. for transcribing this episode!
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New fare box serves up surprising Muni transfer

Wait, what? Rider Loren Kraut got this “Jan 1, 1970” time-stamped ticket from one of the new fare boxes just the other day, and we’re paging Marty McFly for an explanation.

Yes, OK, we know it’s the UNIX Epoch (hi, nerds!), but we prefer to think this is a subtle reminder of when you could ride Muni for $0.25 while wearing your polyester bellbottoms.

If you’re curious about what the proof of payment really looked like in 1970, though, we’ve got you covered. If you were really traveling in 1970, you’d get a transfer that looks like the left-most ticket here:

The transfer used in the early 1970s was the Form 2A. This transfer was used from 1950 to about 1972, and should be familiar to many longtime San Franciscans.

Check this post out for more Muni transfer history.

Got more Muni happening to share? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open.

Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

Strange but adorable cargo: cat tree (with cat!) on the N-Judah

Muni riders have seen it all, and we can probably all agree that cat on a leash riding Muni is totally normal, and well-behaved felines in a stroller is only slightly weird (if not completely awesome). We’d probably not even bat an eye when we see our furry overlords riding atop someone’s shoulder on Muni. But bringing a full size cat tree on the N-Judah, complete with a kitten on a leash?

We haven’t seen it all!

Behold our best strange cargo discovery yet, courtesy of the Bay City Beacon. Meet the kitten, Gizmo:

Gizmo and Gizmo’s human: our hats (and cat lady sweaters) off to you!

Thanks to rider Steve P. for the tip.

We have lots of cute animals riding Muni, as well as our strange cargo report for you to amuse yourself on this gray Monday.

Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

Muni Diaries Live is back on Nov. 3!

Our favorite night of the year is back on Saturday, Nov. 3, but this time we will have to say goodbye to the Elbo Room, which has been the home of Muni Diaries Live for nearly ten years. The Elbo Room building is on the market, and the beloved bar will be closing in Jan, 2019. Won’t you come and help us give them a proper send-off?

Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite. Stay tuned for details on our new venue for 2019 and beyond.

A sneak peek of our lineup:

– Alexandria Love 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 also follow her writing on her website, hereswhythatsfunny.com.

– Irene McCalphin is a writer, singer, burlesque dancer, model, speaker, kinkster, and geek.

– Joe Kukura is a long-time San Francisco journalist whose work you have seen in Thrillist, SF Weekly, SFist, and more.

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

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

– Rachel Lark is a San Francisco based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her music has been featured on The Savage Lovecast and Salon.com and she tours regularly throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Grab a ticket, and we’ll see you at the Elbo Room on Nov. 3!

Muni Diaries Live 

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 (tickets)

Doors: 6 p.m.
Show: 7 p.m.

Elbo Room
647 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Take Muni there: J-Church, 12, 14, 22, 33, 49, or BART: 16th or 24th St. Stations

Photo credit: Right Angle Images

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