Bonding over Grand Master Flash on Muni

There is no age limit or generational requirement to appreciate Grand Master Flash, especially on Muni. From rider Ramona Soto via the Muni Diaries Facebook Page (which, of course, you are following, right?).

On the 14 Mission bus, a middle-aged man was blasting Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message.” Nobody was paying much attention to him. But just before getting off the bus, an older woman with a walker looked back and shouted, “Who’s playing that music?”

He shouted back, “Me!”

We all wondered what would come next, as she obviously had few inhibitions herself. Would she start screaming at him? Would he get violent?

Instead, she replied, as she hobbled toward the door, “Good! I LIKE that music.”

Then, still muttering as she exited the bus at 7th Street… “Yeah, I’M close to the edge. That’s RIGHT. You’d better believe it!”

Music does often unite riders, like we saw in this podcast episode where Aretha Franklin concert attendees banded together on BART. What did you see on your commute today? Submit your own tale on the bus by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.

Photo credit: @DJFlash4Eva

There’s no crying over spilled Goldfish on Muni

…especially when this gaggle of Chinese grandmas is near. From rider Armand Domalewski, as posted on Facebook. Thanks to Armand and tipster @cratekane.

Today, I saw the best and the worst of San Francisco on a Muni bus.

I was precariously balancing a drink and a big ol’ bag of Goldfish as this well dressed older man shoved me aside to get to his seat. The Goldfish sprayed across the floor as the man sneered at me, and the drink slipped from my hand.

The worst.

And yet—moments before a row of elderly Chinese grandmas tasted the energizing flavor of Monster Ultra Sunrise (TM), a tiny hand caught mine and steadied it.

One disaster abated! Yet, I still faced a bus full of Goldfish and regret. I slinked away in shame, taking part in the worst of San Francisco traditions—walking away from a mess and hoping someone else takes care of it.

But the grandmas—the grandmas looked so disappointed.

“We’ve lived here our whole lives, son. We love this City and we love its buses. We know you can do better, child,” their eyes told me.

I sighed, and shuffled over to sweep the floor with my shoes. It was awkward and inefficient—every time the bus moved, the pile of snacks moved with it.

I felt a tap on my shoulder—one of the grandmas smiled that classic gap toothed SF Chinese grandma smile at me, and offered a page of Sing Tao Daily.

(Yes, I did just subtly drop that I know the name of one of the major Chinese language newspapers in SF, I’m just that cultured, ladies. My DMs are open.)

Another grandma grabbed my drink and backpack, and I could feel a weird energy swell in the bus as a crowd of Chinese seniors began to chatter in excitement.

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How to hold an impromptu Bible study on Muni

One Muni rider was recently privy to a scene that was nothing like the Sunday school you remember:

This guy on the 38R has a blunt in his ear, is taking pulls from a bottle of Patron, and is reading the New Testament aloud to his trans woman friend. They’re legit having bible study. This is wild. Even for 11 pm in The Fillmore.

He just got to the part where Judas hanged himself. “That’s crazy, huh.” The woman is falling asleep. Just when you think you’ve seen everything…

Now they’re at the part where Peter denied Jesus three times. He’s surprisingly empathetic. “I mean, I get it. If hella people would have been mad at me for being his friend, I wouldn’t have said anything either.”

They got off on Masonic. I have so many questions. I feel like Ed Norton when he met Tyler Durden in Fight Club. They were the most interesting single-serving friends I’ve ever met.

From Muni rider @MexicanMarauder

I never thought I’d say this, but I kind of want this guy to tell me his version of the rest of the Bible. For now, I’ll have to tide over things with this Simpsons Bible Stories episode, I guess.

Want more Muni hilarity? Muni Diaries Live returns this Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Rickshaw Stop! Tickets are over here this way.

Photo by @dbo.g

A surprising reunion at the Castro Safeway

Growing up nerdy is not easy anywhere, especially in Birmingham, Alabama. Storyteller Dhaya Lakshminarayanan thought she’d left those teenage memories behind when she moved to San Francisco. But one day, she unexpectedly reunites with one of her long lost friends who shares those high school memories.

Upon finding each other at the Castro Safeway, Dhaya and her friends embark on a new friendship that involves an urban rodeo and other very San Francisco experiences.

Listen to her story:

This story was recorded at the Betabrand Store on Valencia Street in San Francisco, as the inaugural Betabrand Podcast Theater. She’ll be there this Thursday, April 4, with Muni Diaries Live alum Kristee Ono for “Get Present Immediately: two meditating comedians.

Want more live storytelling on and off the bus? Muni Diaries Live is back this Saturday, April 6! Come on down to Rickshaw Stop to commiserate and celebrate with your fellow riders. Tickets are on sale now.

Riding Muni all day leads to falling in love with San Francisco again

Remember when we told you about the two Chronicle reporter who rode every Muni line for an entire day? Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight gave us a sneak peek of their plans last year, and in today’s podcast episode, they came back to the Betabrand Podcast Theater to tell us how it all went.

There are 84 Muni routes covering our 7×7, and the duo had meticulously planned their one-day adventure. But as we all know, just when you have a plan to be on time somewhere, Muni has other ideas! Heather and Peter told us that in the middle of their journey, a fellow rider reminded them that the 2-Clement (also my line!) doesn’t run late and that they might miss their goal if they don’t catch one soon. Already exhausted from waking up before dawn, Heather and Peter thought they might not make it, but this rider revamped their plans so that they can catch all the routes they need.

They also told us how they found an adorable lost dog (who they lovingly named Felton, after finding him on the 54-Felton) during their Muni journey. In the end, surprisingly, riding Muni all day made these two seasoned journalists fall in love with our city again. Who would have known?

Listen to the interview here:

Loved what you heard on the podcast? Our live show is coming up where you can hear stories in real life at Rickshaw Stop! Get your Muni Diaries Live tickets right here.

Photo by Jessica Christian

San Francisco Diaries: Finding Satan’s jacket at the Elbo Room

The Elbo Room has been the home of Muni Diaries Live for many years, and just before its San Francisco location closed permanently, co-owner Matt Shapiro joined us on stage to share one of the many memorable, behind-the-scenes tales from the famed club. He had worked for years as the manager and booker at the Elbo Room, which housed the legendary lesbian bar Amelia’s in the 1960’s (the bar swaps out its signage for Amelia’s old sign for Pride). In 2010, he and co-owner Erik Cantu bought the bar.

Matt’s San Francisco Diaries story involved Satan, his leather jacket, and the lengths that club owners will go to keep a promise.

Listen to his story here:

You can still visit the Elbo Room’s Oakland location in Jack London Square where its old signage is proudly displayed in the front of the building.

Meanwhile, Muni Diaries Live continues! We have found a new home and our next show is on April 6th at Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. Tickets are on sale now.

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