San Francisco can be a tough city to navigate, especially if you’re a visitor who is already having a hard time. In today’s San Francisco Diaries podcast episode, storyteller Baruch Porras-Hernandez 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 some internal struggles, Baruch gives him a list of place of where to find like-minded people in the city. But after Baruch leaves work, the visitor returns to the club and gets some alarming information.
Listen to his story:
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Baruch 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. Follow Baruch on Instagram (@baruchporrashernandez) to get the latest show updates.
Trigger warning: Please note that this story has themes about suicide. 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.
You, too, can add an entry to our collective journal. 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—or, our email inbox is always open!
Photo by Thomas Hawk
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.
Thanks to reader Chris L. for transcribing this episode!
Muni made you late for work, you step in shit on your way home, and your local bodega has just turned into yet another artisanal lip balm boutique? If you’re grumpy about San Francisco’s many changes, today’s story about an art project on Market Street might be just the right antidote.
We met storytellers Luke and Chris a few weeks ago — you might know them as Sequoia and The Early Bird on BFF.FM cheery morning radio show, Rollover Easy. 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.
They are realists about San Francisco’s changes, but they remain endlessly positive about things that make this city special. You’d think they’d be busy enough with a weekly morning radio show, but these two took it upon themselves to build an art project to celebrate our city. In today’s San Francisco Diaries episode, Luke and Chris share how their mutual love for Herb Caen led to an installation on Market Street. With little construction experience, these two San Franciscans were determined to make Herb Caen come alive to fellow pedestrians.
Listen to their story:
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Here’s Luke at the Herb Caen typewriter installation:
We will be at the Roll Over Easy studio next Thursday, October 25, with Luke and Chris in real life! Tune in and tweet to @rollovereasy and @munidiaries to tell us about your morning.
Got a San Francisco diary you’d like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your own!
Photo by Luke Spray