Eugenia Chien has been eavesdropping on the 47, 49, or 1 lines since the mid-90's. She lives by the adage, "Anything can happen on Muni" (and also, "That's not water.")

Predicted time for Muni Diaries Live is a little longer than we thought

Aw man. We’re sad to say that we’re postponing Muni Diaries Live, scheduled for April 4. We don’t have a new date in mind yet, but we’ll be watching the advisories closely to make sure we’ve cleared any danger zones.  As battle-hardened as we all feel by riding public transit in San Francisco, a pandemic is something else entirely. We’ll announce our new date as soon as we can, whenever we can safely celebrate life in this weird, wonderful city over anxiety-free drinks and stories.

Originally:

Twice a year we celebrate the surprising stories that happen between strangers on Muni and BART, and we are returning to Rickshaw Stop on April 4th to celebrate 12 years of documenting commuter life in San Francisco. Tickets to Muni Diaries Live are on sale now, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Our stellar lineup:

Dushka Zapata is a Quora superstar and author of Amateur: An Inexpert, Inexperienced, Unauthoritative, Enamored View of Life and Love Yourself and Other Insurgent Acts That Recast Everything, and more. Having worked in the communications industry for more than 20 years, she helps companies and people put into simple terms who they are, what they do, and where to go next.

Becca Henry is San Francisco born, raised by wolves, and got her start on stage performing comedic burlesque before buying new bras and making her way into standup. Known for her distinctive voice and commanding presence, Becca brings her brand of fierce, awkward humor and tales of personal chaos to take audiences through her debased thoughts, unique perspectives and impressive range of octaves.

Lia Smith has been published in Ms.Seventeen, and literary magazines Bamboo Ridge and Other Voices. She’s been riding Muni since she first arrived in San Francisco at age seven. She is currently collaborating with her artist husband, Keith Ferris, on an art book about Muni, a collection of portraits and interviews of operators and drawings of passengers. Muni has always been a lifeline for her: No matter how long or inconvenient the wait, once the bus arrives, all my cares drop away.

Rachel Swan covers transportation for the San Francisco Chronicle. She was born in Berkeley and grew up riding BART, Muni, and AC Transit. Now she takes mass transit with her two daughters.

Jesús U. BettaWork is a local comedian who has performed throughout the Bay Area and beyond. He hosts the “You Betta Work Comedy ¡Fiesta!” at the San Mateo County Pride Center every third Friday.

Wonder Dave is a writer, comedian and performer from Minneapolis, MN, now living in California. He has toured the country performing at poetry venues, schools, cabarets, science fiction conventions, burlesque shows, bowling alleys, and independent wrestling shows. He has been a featured storyteller on the Risk podcast. Dave’s poetry has been published in anthologies by Write Bloody, Lethe Press, and Sibling Rivalry Press.

Grab a ticket today and see you at the show!

Muni Diaries Live

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Doors: 5:30 p.m. Show: 6:30 p.m.

The Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell Street, San Francisco

Take Muni there: 21, 47, 49, F, J, K, L, M, N, T. Or take BART: Civic Center Station.

Special thanks to Secession Art and Design for generously sharing their wonderful Bernal store space for our show rehearsal. Photo by Right Angle Images.

A reminder of rainy day dos and don’ts on Muni

The weather forecast calls for three more days of rain, which could mean 72 more hours of improper umbrella use on Muni. Let’s review some important rainy-day etiquette: umbrellas are still best used outdoors rather than deployed inside the bus to deter people from sitting next to you, as in the above photo from Aaron on Twitter.

Fewer people than we thought got the memo…

Photo by @cyclones01

Once you do board with your brolly, remember to keep it folded up, no matter how outdoorsy it might be.

patio_brella
Photo by EC

There is, however, one acceptable circumstance for an indoor umbrella on Muni…

An occasional necessity around here, umbrellas are such a hassle—see this compelling case against them. My recommendation? Forgo those pesky nylon menaces and just wear a proper raincoat instead.

pug
Photo by @dearamerican

Got other rainy day pet peeves or tips? Our inbox is open for your suggestions! Email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Law and Order, Muni Style

Muni rider Maureen Bogues didn’t think a ride back from a baby shower would be quite so eventful. Staring into screen-addicted oblivion on the way home, a mugger grabs her phone and takes off. Fueled by a combination of adrenaline and reflex, she chases after them. What would you do in this situation?

In this week’s podcast, Maureen shares the details of that eventful ride, culminating in a truly unexpected journey home.

Hear her story:

We’ve heard of other riders taking bus justice into their own hands, and while a lot of those tales had happy endings, we wouldn’t go so far as to recommend that approach. Like the bus robot says, when in doubt, “keep your eyes up and your phones down when riding a Muni vehicle.”

This podcast episode was recorded at Muni Diaries Live last month at Rickshaw Stop. But you don’t have to be a stage alum to land on our podcast; our inbox is open if you have a Muni tale to share. Pitch your story at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by Amanda Roosa

It’s a small world after all: Mini F-Market scene in incredible model railroad

Like a scene right out of Richard Scarry’s Busytown, this incredible railroad model perfectly captures the F-Market as it goes past the Castro Theater. Look closely and you’ll see details on the F car, including its overhead wire power lines. The model is built by Muni rider Harvey Simon, whose son, Dave, posted about it on Instagram. This is what Harvey had to say about his project:

I’ve been involved in the model railroading since my teenage years, and when Dave and his wife, Jennifer, settled in Oakland I decided to build a working model of the F-line. My layout is about 2/3 finished—the Castro and downtown San Francisco sections—with the unfinished area what will eventually become Fisherman’s Wharf.  

You’ll notice that the cars are models of the actual cars that serve passengers today on the F-line. I built the orange Milan, Italy car using parts I obtained from various suppliers, and was able to also include lights and sound in the car. Looking at the video, you’ll see how the car gets its power from the overhead wire, just like the real ones.  

The hobby is wonderful, and provides a very rewarding creative outlet. I can’t imagine not having something like this to keep me busy during my retirement years. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue with it the next several years, provided my eyesight holds out!

Harvey Simon

If you’re also a fellow model railroad fan, you can read more about it in Simon’s article in the July 2018 issue of Model Railroader magazine.  Thanks, Dave and Harvey, for pointing us to this delightful mini Muni world.

Our fall show is back next Saturday at Rickshaw Stop! Join us at Muni Diaries Live on Nov. 2 to celebrate (and commiserate) the strange and wonderful tales from our commute. Tickets are on sale now!

San Francisco Diaries: DJ Steve Fabus and the surprise farewell for disco legend Sylvester

DJ Steve Fabus has been called “one of the founding fathers of San Francisco’s gay disco scene,” and we were lucky enough to welcome him recently into our podcast studio. In today’s San Francisco Diaries episode, he shares a story many of us have heard or seen secondhand but was 100-percent real life for him. He moved to the city as a young gay man in the 1970s. At the time, he said he and his friends felt there was “power in numbers” as the gay movement gained momentum…to say nothing about “this amazing party going on,” he recalls.

Fabus has enjoyed a long career that spans from the disco era to today. He started DJing parties at his own flat, just around the block from Harvey Milk’s camera store. Harvey Milk, disco legend Sylvester, and other counterculture luminaries like Peter Berlin, the Fabulous Cockettes, and Pristine Condition became regulars at his events.

As Fabus found popularity and success spinning at venues like the Trocadero Transfer and I-Beam, the AIDS crisis also started to affect many people around him. In today’s episode, he describes the evening he found himself in the DJ booth providing the soundtrack to Sylvester’s farewell party.

Listen to his story:

Subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast so you don’t miss an episode—and hear stories like these live on stage in just two weeks! Our live show is back on Nov. 2 at Rickshaw Stop. Tickets for Muni Diaries Live are on sale now.

Photo via Electric Soul

Newest sport banned on BART

On Instagram, rider @trasteverekev spotted the newest banned activity on BART: cross country skiing. I think we can agree that might be a bad idea on a moving vehicle. With no snow. Nice job hacking the sign, whoever this guerrilla graphic artist may be!

Previously we saw a hacked reserved seat sign on BART, and we applaud all such efforts! Click over this way for more creatively “improved” ads and signage that riders have submitted to us.

Got more important transit news? We want to hear all about it! Seize the day and add your commute story to Muni Diaries! Tag us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. Oh, and our live show is back on Nov. 2! Hear true and hilarious Muni tales (with or without cross country skiing). Tickets for Muni Diaries Live is on sale now.

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