Tanea Lunsford Lynx joined us at Muni Diaries Live in April 2023 to perform I Used to Live Here, her poem evoking the magic of relatives living a mere Muni ride away, the otherworldly dimension between West Portal and Van Ness Stations, and the soothing something about 24-hour Church Street Safeway light. She was one of the San Francisco-born-and-raised artists featured in Muni Raised Me, an exhibit exploring what truly public transit means to those who depend on it—and are ultimately shaped by it.
Tanea, an artist and educator, gave me chills with her delivery and lyrical gift. She also left me hopeful that the city she “used to” live in and the characters she described can thrive in present-tense San Francisco, too.
You might remember Tanea from Muni Diaries podcast Eps. 140 and 141, featuring Tanea and her students at performing original poetry about our everyone’s favorite school bus. And don’t forget to check out Muni Raised Me co-curator Meymey Lee in Ep. 144.
Muni Diaries is 15 years old! Forget a birth-month, we’ve made it a birth-year. Join us Nov 2 for the festivities at a special Muni Diaries Live. Tickets are available now (but going fast!) on Eventbrite.
Have you been to the Legion of Honor at night? I haven’t. And I definitely won’t be going after this story.
Muni operator and Muni Haiku Battle champion Mc Allen reminds us of what can go bump (and wrong) on a late-night run. Originally shared at Muni Diaries Live in April 2023, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the seasonal festivities.
Mc (pronounced “Mack”) was once featured on the Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR weekly news quiz. He believes in the power of Slow Streets, Great Walkways, Transit Only Lanes and No Parking Signs. Mc’s poetry has appeared in The San Franciscan magazine and the Bay City Beacon. He’s been a guest of the Total SF, Roll Over Easy, 99% Invisible, and Muni Diaries podcasts, as well as a twice-victor, once-victim at the Muni Haiku Battle at Muni Diaries Live. Mc lives in Dogpatch with his wife and two kids, and you can find him behind the wheel of the 35-Eureka and the 29-Sunset.
We might have mentioned one or twice or 20 times, but we are celebrating our 15th birthday. Festivities continue at Muni Diaries Live on November 2, so don’t miss out! We have some anniversary goodies and are putting the variety in variety show. Tickets are available now on Eventbrite.
Jill Sutherlin didn’t set out to become the guardian of a beloved Mission safe space, but the pandemic and a few other twists and turns led her to become one of its fiercest protectors. She takes us through some of those twists and turns in this story, which she told on stage at Muni Diaries Live in April 2023.
Jill proudly hails from Oakland. She is the co-owner of The Refinery Grooming Club: an independently owned, upscale barbershop and the backdrop of this story. She is also a DJ at Bff.fm: an internet-based, community-run radio station in San Francisco, and founder of United Streets Direct Care, a nonprofit donating on-site hair-care services to unhoused communities in the Bay Area and Modesto.
Did you super-tuned in listeners catch the mention of our ongoing 15th birthday celebration? We’re keeping the party going at Muni Diaries Live on November 2! We have some anniversary surprises cooked up and tickets are available nowon Eventbrite.
Paving over the past to make way for the future is a story we know well in San Francisco. But few people I know have taken the time to understand what lies beneath the streets of San Francisco: who those people were, and the impact they had on the birth and growth of neighborhoods and infrastructure. Local author Beth Winegarner is the exception.
San Francisco’s Forgotten Cemeteries: A Buried History is Beth’s newest book, and it’s out now. Beth stopped by the Muni Diaries podcast to discuss how the city’s dead have impacted some of our most well-traveled roads and public transit, early NIMBY antics from our Victorian forebears, and our civic responsibility to residents who’ve passed on.
Beth is a journalist, author, essayist and pop-culture critic who has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The San Francisco Examiner—where she first met me in the paper’s Peninsula bureau. She is the author of several books, including Sacred Sonoma, Beloved, The Columbine Effect: How Five Teen Pastimes Got Caught in the Crossfire and Why Teens are Taking Them Back, and Tenacity: Heavy Metal in the Middle East and Africa.
When we get together, the conversation often veers toward San Francisco politics and socioeconomics, and this more “official” talk wasn’t much different. Here’s Beth in conversation with … me!
@pfungcollects shared a relic from when we partied like it was 1999 with Limp Bizkit and Live 105 at the Family Values Tour—founded by nu-metal sensation Korn—and a grumpy Muni bus headed to the Cow Palace.
Yikes. I challenge anyone to come up with a more “Bay Area in the late-’90s” sentence than that. ^^
Reader Kay Karpus Walker found a piece of her family history that’s very relevant to our interests. She shares this photo and family history on the Muni Diaries Facebook page:
A bit of Muni history—a photo of an early Muni driver—Jacob B. Unruh—my grandfather. This is from the early 1900s in SF. Jacob became a driver after he was forced to close his business in the early days of the Depression or right before it hit. An immigrant from the Ukraine and a Mennonite, he was a cousin of Jesse Unruh, the California politician, according to Jesse himself.
Jesse Unruh was also known as “Big Daddy Unruh,” at one point the California State Treasurer. In the early 1900s, the Stockton Street Tunnel opened, and J-Church streetcar line was just starting service. Muni as we know it started to transition from for-profit monopolies to a municipally operated agency around 1912.