Tara Ramroop has laughed, cried, and commiserated with this amazing community from the start. She's been writing for as long as she can remember and riding Muni for more than a decade.

San Francisco Diaries: Discovering The Secret Alley

“I hear the door swing open, I take off my headphones, and all of a sudden I hear, ‘This is why I love San Francisco!’ ‘OMG, this makes me so happy!’ It never gets old, and it sends shivers up my spine.”

Who actually hears things like this about their office (home or regular)? It’s par for the course when you work at The Secret Alley, which Thrillist once described (accurately) as ” a private artist workshop-cum-performance space-cum-office park-cum-clubhouse o’ fun built inside of a second-floor walk-up in the Mission.”

We’re ever so glad to take a break from pandemic stories to listen to how this special place came to be. In today’s podcast episode, we learn about how The Secret Alley made a space in a nondescript building into such a unique community hotspot.

Secret Alley cofounder Noel Von Joo shared his tale on stage at Muni Diaries Live in 2019. Listen to his story here:

It might be a while before we can return to this wonderful space, where our friends at BFF.fm and Roll Over Easy also broadcast their shows. But we are going back to our roots, collecting and publishing stories for the ol’ internets about the people and places that make our city what it is today. If you have a story to share, please email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And it would absolutely make our entire day if you review us on Apple Podcasts and shared this podcast with your friends.

Muni Diaries is turning 12!

Today is Muni Diaries’ 12th birthday! It seems like only yesterday it was born as a scrappy little blog. Today, it’s almost a teenager and has certainly developed that snarky veneer we all so appreciate in tweens. Watch out, world!

Even in these times of sheltering-in-place and newly reduced Muni service, your stories remind us that, just like on the bus, we’re all in it together.

By the numbers, we’ve held 23 live shows, tweeted more than 27K times about your hilarious commute, and counted more than 4,000 of you who told us your commute stories.

These are a few of our favorite tales over the years:

We couldn’t have done this without you, the story-submitters, the Muni riders, the San Franciscans who, for no other reason than to share experiences, contributes to this collective storybook. To the next 12—we really, truly, can’t wait to be riding Muni again once this is all over.

As always, we are here for your tales which you can submit by finding us as @munidiaries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email us at muni.dairies.sf@gmail.com.

Photo of Alexandria Love at one of our many Muni Haiku Battles, taken by Right Angle Images.

To eat or not to eat the burrito on Muni?

I’ve gotten happy hour at Phone Booth -> El Farolito -> hopping the 14-Mission or 49-Van Ness/Mission right outside down to a science. I am still working on tamping down the wild-animal desire to tipsily horse into a burrito around innocent people during the ride home.

I’m not the only one who gets comfortable on the bus with tummy fuel: there was a full-on food fight on the J-Church a while back, an errant drumstick, and a forward-thinking passenger using time wisely to prep dinner on the bus. But I suppose it is rude to subject riders to my food smells and napkin-less abandon.

I showed admirable (ADMIRABLE) restraint this time around, but have definitely been guilty of destroying these bad boys on a BART platform (and then in the train) between 24th/Mission and Civic Center. That’s not a long ride, folks, and it was not that late.

What say ye, folks: Throw proper etiquette to the wind (you’ll take our bus burritos from our cold dead hands!) or keep it together until you get home?

Of ‘ladyspreading’ and leggings on BART with Annette Mullaney

Storyteller Annette Mullaney is a standup comic based in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle named her one of six “comics to catch” in the Bay Area. She describes her comedy as self-deprecating, feminist, existentialist, smart, vulgar, and full of big words to prove she’s been to grad school (fair, I’d do it, too). In this episode, she shares an emotional rollercoaster of a BART story that took a long time to see the light of day. But we’re so glad she worked up the courage to share.

This recording is from Muni Diaries Live in November 2019, when Annette regaled the crowd with this tale. We promise you’ll never think of feminism, laundry day, or leggings the same way. Here’s Annette:

Photo by Amanda Roosa

Cupid’s arrow hits commuting pair on the 30x

@themarinabambino met his wife thanks to Muni. Recalling that fateful day(s), he says:

We met in August, 2011. It was her first day at a new job. I saw her on the 30X, she turned around and apologized because she was “probably going to fall on me.”

I saw her again the very next day (which…how does that even happen?) and we started chatting. I got her number on that day and the rest is history! We got married last August and had a 30x shaped cake at our wedding!

@themarinabambino

Pics or it didn’t happen, you say? We asked and here is a pic of the adorable Muni-riding couple at their wedding, complete with the 30X cake!

Read more

San Francisco Diaries: Fighting the power from WA to CA

Local activist and retired tradeswoman Molly Martin is back on the podcast with a story that starts during her revolution-minded college years in Washington state and takes us through the middle of the AIDS crisis in 1980s San Francisco. Molly is pictured above, back row, far right, in the fabulous crop top circa 1973.

She says this group, which called itself the Rosa Luxemburg Collective, is making a sign for No Way LPMA (the League for the Promotion of Militant Atheism). Larry, the central character in her intersectional story, is in the middle, hand outstretched. Here’s Molly:

Catch up with Molly’s other dispatches: a lesson in international relations on the 14-Mission, and the back story on how lesbians invaded Bernal Heights.

Subscribe to the San Francisco Diaries podcast, brought to you by the creators of Muni Diaries, so you don’t miss an episode. If you’re itching to hear stories like these told from the stage, our live show is back on Nov. 2 at Rickshaw Stop; tickets for Muni Diaries Live are on sale now.

Pic courtesy Molly Martin

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