Relive our favorite moments from Muni Diaries Live


More than 200 of you came to the Elbo Room last Saturday to celebrate all the hilarious, thought-provoking, or just plain ol’ weird things that can happen on public transit. At this show, we had lots of only-in-San Francisco moments. I mean, where else can you expect an impromptu Whitney Houston lip-synch contest? Here are some of our favorites.

Comedian and San Francisco native Yayne Abeba has been riding Muni alone with her siblings since she was a kid, and she was happy to impart some time-tested wisdom to the younger generation. Pro tip: Be careful with your eye contact—you never know what you’re gonna get on Muni.

Writer Tarin Towers has been riding Muni for 20 years, and a lot has changed  since the days of Netscape—there was no Netscape bus, if you can believe it. And the private jitney 20 years ago was blissfully free of Blue Bottle Coffee.

Our public transit dreams finally came true when Driver Doug joined us on stage to share some behind-the-scenes stories of being a Muni driver. After driving Muni for 17 years, Doug has seen it all, but he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. When hailing Muni, remember: It’s not a bus; it’s a human driving a bus.

Mesquite and Mustard is a three-piece band that captured a big piece of our heart. They sing songs about whiskey and transit—what else do you need in life, really? The band also has the most amazing Muni-themed shirts (and bolo tie!) west of the Mississippi. You’ll have to see the video of their performance later this week to really appreciate this amazing band.

Comedian Caitlin Gill has been with Muni Diaries Live almost since the beginning. On Saturday, when she told us about a mushy, PDA couple on Muni (“in front of my LONELY FACE!”), it was hard to resist raising my fist in solidarity.

Muni Diaries Live alum Jesse James returned with a story of riding Muni as a new San Franciscan back in the day, when the escalator at Powell Station seem like stairway to a sophisticated, urban existence. A little Muni mishap led him to an impromptu rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at the Elbo Room. Who knew?

Jesse James was also our reigning Muni Haiku champion, and this time he graciously decided to hand his crown to the next generation of challengers. But we weren’t about to let him leave the stage without the proper accoutrements.

The hardest task of the show actually rests on our Muni Haiku challengers, who must come up with 16 haiku that serve as ammunition in their battle against each other. Our challengers this time were comedian Ronn Vigh and Mesquite and Mustard’s Katie Haverkamp. Katie had already shredded her violin in an impressive fiddling feat earlier in the show. Could Ronn match her with his 5-7-5 wit?

After a very close battle, Ronn took home our newest homemade haiku trophy. I learned that after the show, Ronn had to explain to four different people at the grocery store why he was carrying that ridiculously decoupaged thing (with a vintage Fast Pass, no less).

We’ll have videos of the performers on the site in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that. This show was made awesome by the great staff at the Elbo Room, our chair sponsor Parisoma, our story conductor Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, all of our wonderful storytellers, and of course, you!

All photos by Kevin Wong

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