We’re sad to report that a popular BART station musician needs our help to get back on his feet. A few months ago, I ran into Ron Kemp at Powell BART Station, and his gentle and warm voice caught my attention as I was about to rush into the crowd of teenagers in the mall.
It turns out that Ron caught the attention of many riders, as well as Mission Local, which featured him in a story last year. Ron lived in San Francisco for almost a decade in the 90s before he moved back to Maryland. But he was so in love with San Francisco, he moved back last year.
However, the rising cost of living in San Francisco took its toll: he was homeless, living in his car and, sometimes, in a hotel. One station agent loved his music so much that he started a fundraiser for Ron. His friend also started a GoFundMe for him to help with expenses, but our city still proved to be too expensive.
As many of us know, staying in San Francisco isn’t easy, and these recent events were the last straw for Ron. In his own words on his Facebook page: Read more
Do you remember your first apartment in San Francisco? We’re guessing that it was probably tiny, too expensive, with “cozy” period charm like radiator heating that whistles loudly in the middle of the night. Yet, somehow, it felt like winning the lottery to find it. In today’s story, architect and longtime SF resident Bob Collins recalls a period of transformation (for himself and the unit) in this teeny space. In the process, he realized why San Francisco was home.
Bob has lived in the Bay Area 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 urban walks in the blog cover a cross-section of the city; just like some of our favorite Muni stories from the cross-town lines.
His urban walks in the blog cover a cross-section of the city; just like some of our favorite Muni stories from the cross-town lines.
Listen to Bob’s story:
Being an architect, Bob also created a model (naturally) of his tiny apartment before and after his transformation, loft bed and all. Check it out on his blog here.
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 and get your tickets today.
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 email@example.com. Our inbox is waiting for your tales!
Photo by @budgetplaces
SF native Katrina hit up our San Francisco Diaries Facebook page with this throwback tale from her teenage years. We were all seemingly in a state of “Who will give us a ride/pick us up/has a car/isn’t our parents?” back in those days, but the uniquely San Francisco twists give this story the edge.
Growing up in SF is a completely different experience than most other places to grow up. We did things very differently here, as I would later learn in life after leaving our bubble. This particular story is from New Year’s Eve my senior year of high school. My group of girlfriends and I had just taken our thizz, as we called it then, and decided to head outside to try and hail a cab…at 11 p.m. in Diamond Heights. Obviously, no cabs were coming and Muni wasn’t running up there anymore. All of the sudden, a fire alarm goes off and two huge fire trucks pull up. They go inside and check it out. No fire. One of my friends asks them what happened and they say, “False alarm! Don’t worry!” Right at that moment, the E hits me and I shout to one of the firemen, “Hey! Can you give us a ride down the hill? Were trying to get to the fireworks and no cabs are coming.” He looks at all of us and says, “Sure! Hop in in!” We all look at each other and climb into the two fire trucks. They give us all head sets and let us talk to each other in the other trucks. We are 8 teens on E in fire trucks speeding down the hill looking over all of San Francisco. We get to the bottom of the hill and the fire truck stops in the middle of the road, hails us two cabs, and sends us on our way. We made it to the pier right at midnight.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. You certainly don’t get from Diamond Heights to the New Year’s fireworks for midnight.
Hear more San Francisco stories and Muni musings on our podcast! Find us on iTunes and Google Play.
Pic by Stephen Kelly
This tale about relationshipping in your Roaring 20s hits home for all of us who wished we could find love—or that it would find us, as promised in the RomComs—but kept looking for it in all the wrong places.
Oakland native Alexandria Love is on the podcast today with her personal, cringe-worthy story from that time in her life, which comes with a bonus transit twist. When she’s not prompting us to marvel in half awe, half horror over our early-20s life choices, Alex is also a stand-up comedian, podcaster, and writer. She’s performed at some of the best venues in California, including Tommy T’s, The San Jose Improv, and Cobb’s Comedy Club. She is the current reigning champion of Tourettes Without Regrets’ Dirty Haiku battle with 5 victories under her belt. She was the sleeper hit at the Muni Haiku Battle at Lit Crawl in 2017, which led her to snatch top honors during a reprise performance at Muni Diaries Live.
Listen to Alex’s story here:
Got your own very-SF strange and wonderful ritual, with or without Bay Area transit twists? San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open.
Pic by Right Angle Images
In 2011, some Muni Diaries readers noted the absence of one of their favorite buskers, Jesse Morris, who was also known as “Punk Rock Johnny Cash.” His incredible voice and rendition of Johnny Cash songs brightened our commute and we were saddened to find out that he had died. The next thing that happened was beyond what we had ever imagined. Read more
Love comes in all forms, and in San Francisco, you’ll encounter love and relationship rituals you never imagined possible. For example (and what an example), writer Anna Pulley shares a story about a fertility party she covered as a reporter. This may also be why she’s not allowed to plan dates anymore—WORTH IT!
She is the author of The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!), which Cheryl Strayed called a “must-read,” which Tegan and Sara said was “an adorable and hilarious way to start the day,” and which Jennifer Tilly said was “thoroughly charming.”
In addition to aweing the creative rich and famous, she gives sex and relationship advice on her blog and in weekly advice columns for The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye and (formerly) AfterEllen. Anna also holds the distinction of competing in the very first Muni Haiku battle in Clarion Alley.
Listen to Anna’s story here:
p.s. As fertility ritual parties go, you might not want to listen to this episode with your kids; or just be prepared to do lots of explaining!
Got your own very-SF strange and wonderful ritual to report? San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open.