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.

Video: Dress(er) to impress on Muni

When you see something you really want on Craigslist but you don’t have a moving truck, do you look at your Clipper Card and think, I can do this? We know at least one person did, and we have the footage to prove it. Rider @captum.cdxv tipped us off to this video of an ambitious mover who somehow hauled a giant dresser on this Muni train. Things went a bit dicey when he tried to exit at Civic Center station, though.

The dresser was so tall that it was stuck at the train door. Apparently, for 20 to 30 minutes, more and more SFMTA station agents arrived to figure out what to do. Presumably somebody finally yelled, “Pivot!” and the dresser was out the door at last.

We’ve seen some large and interesting cargo on Muni like this giant bubble wrap and a mattress, even. But this dresser takes the cake in size and awkwardness. Thanks again, @captum.cdxv, for this latest addition to the Strange Cargo report!

Did you know Muni Diaries is also a podcast? We are doing a live recording of our podcast next Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Betabrand Podcast Theater! The theme is “Hidden San Francisco,” and our special guests, Carolyn Eidson and Kristine Poggioli, are the first known people to have walked San Francisco’s scenic 49 Miles route. Tickets are only $5 and comes with free wine. See you there!

If you have other important rider news to report, 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.

Rider thwarts would-be bike thief on Muni

Rider Michael Z. cuts and polishes stones for a hobby. Since the stones are super heavy, he decided to go multi-modal this day, jumping from his bike to a Muni bus. The journey didn’t go exactly as planned. In his own words:

Rush hour traffic on the #7 to the upper Haight:

I, an avid bike rider, already had a long day messing with a lot of heavy rocks and minerals all day long. I was backpacking about 55 lbs of rocks in my pack while riding my bike and decided to ride the bus to my destination.

I boarded at Market and Van Ness with my bike on the rack in front of the bus; it was so crowded that I was standing right at the front of the bus. The driver and I struck up a conversation about bikes and we were pulling up to Market and Haight Streets; some passengers got off and some got on.

The driver was about to leave when this kid ran up to the bus, threw down this pink sorry thing of a bike, ran to the bike rack, and proceeded to pull my bike off the bus.

The driver said [to me], “Hey, isn’t that your bike?”

I looked and said, “Yea.”

The door flew open for me as the kid was trying to figure out how to shift gears to go faster. That was not going to happen since my bike was only geared for single speed.
So, with 55 lbs of rocks on my back, I ran and caught up to him and clotheslined him over the handle bars of the bike and got on top of him. I was about to nail him in the face. But seeing how young he was, I decided against it and told him it was his lucky day (or not so lucky) and told him to get a job and buy a bike.

I got my bike, and, to my surprise, the bus driver had waited for me. I put my bike back on the rack and got on the bus, and the whole bus started clapping their hands, some saying good job and so on.

What a crazy day. Thanks to the bus driver on the Haight Street line who waited for me at the scene of the bike-jacking. There IS a story to tell on every line.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a fixie and an action-movie-worthy chase scene beg to differ. Thanks, Michael, for this cautionary tale! (Legit wondering what happened to the pink bike, though.)

Photo by @superlightslover

Applause-worthy way to combat prejudice on Muni, especially during Pride…

Yesterday I crossed over. I became one of “those people,” the ones who fail to pretend not to hear the crazy shit that people say on public transportation.

“White people always pay their fare,” white dude sitting across from me said. Loudly, because I could hear it through the music I was listening to in the earbuds. He said it again. “White people always pay their fare.”

“That’s not true,” I said.

He looked shocked and surprised that someone had responded and that someone was me.

The conversation continued as you might expect: “What country are you from?”

“I was born here.”

“I wasn’t raised a racist. I’m not racist. I’m not prejudiced. Are you?”

I confessed that sometimes I did harbor some prejudices and that I thought most people did.

“Speak for yourself!” He said.

He had the gall to try to cozy up to me by talking up our shared historical cultural experiences (because railroad building apparently), trying to create an “us vs. them” connection, presumably “us vs. other black and brown people.”

And then when he figured out that I was a “bleeding heart,” he started accusing me of being someone who would hire a bunch of “illegals from China” if I could, [just] to undercut his wages.

“In America,” he said, “we don’t live like they do.”

“I’m tired of hearing you,” piped up a young white man from the back of the bus to this dude.

“This is America. This is my First Amendment right,” the dude said.

“Well, it’s my First Amendment right to tell you to shut up.”

“Fuck you!”

Angry dude starts to get off the bus and young dude in the back of the bus said, “It’s also my right to do this!” and began sexily kissing his boyfriend sitting next to him.

Angry dude starts screaming, “F____t!” But the door of the bus has closed, and we’ve started moving.

It was the weekend of Pride. 

Photo and story submitted by Shirley Huey on Instagram.

Oh, that sweet, sweet bus revenge as the back door closed in on the angry dude—and on Pride weekend, too!  Thank you to rider Shirley for submitting this tale. It’s good to know that your fellow riders have your back.

For another tale of homophobia and other F-bombs on the bus, check out former Muni haiku champion Jesse James’s story about his Little Mermaid backpack. And, for other empowering bus justice tales, tuck into the time when an unwelcome hand wandered the wrong direction, or when someone tried to body shame another passenger.

Our commutes are a mere microcosm of life in San Francisco, and we are always looking for your stories to round out the experience. Add your own diary to our collective online journal by tagging us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

One Muni driver’s plea about your phone habit

tammy

Muni driver Tammy has a very reasonable request: could we please look up from our phones as we get ready to board the bus?

From Tammy:

I wanted to ask you if you could start a dialogue with your followers regarding “Passengers waiting for the bus while distracted by [their] cell phones.” It has become increasingly frustrating to provide great customer service when my passengers are not prepared to board the bus…

Muni Driver Tammy

In case you’re wondering: the bus doesn’t stop at every stop by default: Tammy says that drivers pay attention to body language, especially when it’s a multiple-line bus stop. “In order to keep the service going, we look at the potential passengers standing at the bus stop to see if they want the bus, and then if we see that they do, we stop.”

Tammy says that passengers are looking down at their phones, or worse, with earbuds in their ears. As the driver approaches the stop, often nobody is looking up. “It’s not until you get ready to pull off, they look up and then all of a sudden they start waving” when the bus is already in motion.

Yikes. That sounds about as annoying to the drivers as it is for the riders. You might remember Tammy as the Muni driver who threw a surprise party on the 33-Stanyan for her riders when she was switching routes. Years later, she continues to brighten days for riders, even inspiring two visiting travelers to write to us recounting their experience with Tammy. We still get occasional dispatches about Tammy sightings, which are always a delight.

We have to admit that we’re also guilty of feeding the phone addiction at the bus stop while we wait. It sounds like it would make everybody’s lives easier if we looked up every once in a while with our Clipper card or fare in hand, and make some kind of motion to the bus driver to stop. What do you think?

Got other Muni-riding tips? Tag us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

1 2 3 177