San Francisco Diaries: Trapped under Civic Center with an active shooter overhead

In this episode of San Francisco Diaries, Louis Evans shares a story of one seemingly uneventful day when he was leaving the underground parking lot at Civic Center, only to learn there was an active shooter situation above ground.

In the confusion that ensued, Louis and his partner sat in their car for hours, turning over doomsday scenarios over in their heads—including their plan of attack if the shooter wandered into the garage. The story took an interesting turn after our heroes realized they weren’t the only people stuck in the garage.

Louis is the host of a new literary event, Cliterary Salon: a show featuring rowdy, original stories about female sexual pleasure, feminism, or really anything in that umbrella, bringing a spirit of fun and sexuality to a literary scene that tends to focus on the cis male experience.

Listen to his story here:

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You, too, can add an entry to our collective journal! San Francisco Diaries is our spinoff podcast series, which celebrated its first birthday this month. It’s all about personal stories about why you live here and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us with your tale on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open, too.

Photo by @omiB91

Thea Selby’s got nothing but ‘Love in the Lower Haight’

Muni Diaries Lower Haight mural

Thea Selby has lived in the Lower Haight (or “Hayes Valley” depending on who you talk to) since 1999. Thea is way busy, as a mom and member of the City College of San Francisco’s Board of Trustees. As you’ll learn in this new podcast episode about the Love in the Lower Haight neighborhood mural, she’s also a tireless advocate for the art and artists that has defined her neighborhood for decades.

This is as much a story about art as the constant regeneration that defines and redefines life in our city year after year. Ears up for mentions of artists Ursula Young, whose piece is pictured above, and Jeremy Fish, who recounted the unexpected drama behind his Silly Pink Bunny on an earlier episode of our podcast.

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This story is an installment of San Francisco Diaries, our spinoff series that just celebrated its first birthday! Thanks to your support on Patreon, we’ve been able to record lots of new stories in our podcast studio. If you like what you hear and can spare that coffee money for a day or two, we’d appreciate your help. Find us at Patreon.com/munidiaries.

And if you or someone you know has a great story about San Francisco, we are all ears. Pitch your piece at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by torbakhopper on Twitter

Meeting Joan Didion in San Francisco right after 9/11: One grad student’s tale

How do you go from humble grad school student to being on stage with one of America’s literary icons, all in a matter of days—especially when those days are ones following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001? This is exactly what happened to one San Franciscan, who met his intellectual idol, Joan Didion, who was speaking at City Arts and Lectures soon after the towers fell.

Our storyteller, Judson True, was a journalism grad student at the time. After a series of nerve-wrecking events, he ended up interviewing Didion on stage at the Herbst Theater. For this podcast episode, he unearthed an ancient email thread from his Yahoo inbox, taking us back to how he got plucked from his classroom and placed onstage with his favorite writer.

Having moved from the midwest to San Francisco, Judson says that “everyone has their own San Francisco. That’s one of the great things about a real city.” Meeting Didion that day marked a significant moment in his time here that defined what San Francisco was, and is, to him.

Listen to this story (full transcript below):
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You might remember Judson from one of our early Muni Diaries Live shows, which took place right after he left his post as the SFMTA spokesperson (perhaps one of the most stressful city jobs ever?). He’s currently the chief of staff for California State Assemblyman David Chiu.

This story is an installment of San Francisco Diaries, our spinoff series, which just celebrated its first birthday! Thanks to your support on Patreon, we’ve been able to record lots of new stories in our podcast studio. If you like these stories and can spare your coffee money for a day or two, we’d appreciate your help. You can find us at Patreon.com/munidiaries.

Know someone with a great story about San Francisco? We are all ears—submit your own story at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by @goincase

=== Transcript ===

I found out about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, from my wonderful but soon to be ex-girlfriend who had just moved to Taiwan on a Fulbright. She lived in the future, so she saw the attacks on TV while I was sleeping. She called and told me what was happening and I turned on the news in my rented San Francisco apartment. I spent those devastating hours in shock with the rest of the world. Read more

Muni says sorry for serious summertime service fail

Blame it on the dog days of summer, but Muni issued an apology for its system-wide service failure, admitting that “Muni service in the past few months has been performing below our 98.5% service goal.” That’s probably putting it mildly, as earlier this summer, The SF Examiner reported that “On any particular weekday almost a hundred buses — ones meant to run — sit unused due to a lack of operators.”

[We’ll pause here for the jokes and snark.]

Mission Local obtained the missed hours of service of every Muni bus or train line for every Monday going back eight months. Some buses missed almost a third of their scheduled service time on certain days.

Thanks to this diligent local journalism, we at least know it wasn’t just our imagination. Muni’s apology included several solutions that they want to implement, such as converting part time drivers to full time and speeding up new driver training.

It is not yet clear when these measures will impact our commute, but if you do see any improvement, please let us know @munidiaries on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo by @kateconger.

Portraits of Muni and BART riders in space

We’ve all had those “anywhere but here” moments of fantasy on Muni. But artist Kevin Lewis took his commute one giant leap beyond merely a daydream. He recently finished illustrating and writing a sci-fi graphic novel/adult picture book (tentatively titled “BARTians”), featuring 70 drawings of his fellow Muni and BART passengers. Instead of portraying them staring at their phones, Kevin transformed these passengers into doing so much more, literally above and beyond planet San Francisco.

You’d think she was riding BART, but through Kevin’s creative eyes, this young lady is actually on her way to a coronation to continue (or upend) her mother’s legacy.


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Artist Jeremy Fish finally shares the story of the Silly Pink Bunny heist

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 joined us on the podcast 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.

Jeremy himself says that the story behind the bunny is almost more interesting than the actual piece of art. Seeing as how this story connects art, taggers, grand theft bunny (that’s a thing, right?), crowdfunding, community, and condos, we’re inclined to agree.

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Spoiler alert: Though the demise of the original Silly Pink Bunny was captured on video for posterity, many (us included) were very curious about how the icon was preserved. Read more

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