Katy Birnbaum on the power of streets to divide or connect us

Where most people see a desolate street, Katy Birnbaum sees a celebration and the regeneration of community waiting to happen. But it didn’t start out that way. Katy grew up in a car-dependent suburb where the streets isolated her and her family. In this story from our November 2023 live show, Katy shares how moving to San Francisco transformed her relationship to streets, how Muni connected her to the things most important to her, and how she decided to give back.

Listen to Katy’s story here:

Katy is the founder of Into The Streets, a San Francisco-based cultural production studio dedicated to bringing people together in the streets. Katy previously led the open streets department at the nonprofit Livable City, revamping the Sunday Streets SF program and stewarding it for 7 years. For more about Katy’s work check out www.intothestreetssf.com.

Have a Muni story you’d to share? Email us your pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by Emily Huston

Once upon a Muni train with Baruch Porras-Hernandez

It’s not every day you’re swept off your feet by a handsome stranger on the subway. But when Baruch Porras-Hernandez rides Muni, anything can happen. We were thrilled to have Baruch back on the Muni Diaries Live stage in November with the story of a fleeting romance from his past, and the unexpected turn it takes.

Listen to Baruch’s story here:

Baruch is a writer, performer, and standup comedian who’s done storytelling shows all over California. He’s won the Moth in LA, headlined at About Last Night, is a three-time winner of Best of Bawdy, and won first place at Oakland’s Story Showdown. You can hear more stories from Baruch on the Muni Diaries podcast in Episode 43 and Episode 70. And don’t miss Baruch in SF Sketchfest at Cobb’s on January 19th and Brava Cabaret on January 20th!

Have a Muni story you’d to share? Email us your pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by Emily Huston

A seasoned international bus rider tackles Muni

Storyteller Adrianna Tan is an enthusiastic bus rider who has ridden buses in more than 30 countries worldwide. But when she finally moves to San Francisco five years ago, she quickly finds out that, in many ways, our very own Muni is not like all the rest.

Listen to her story:

Here at Muni Diaries we’ve taken an occasional peek at transit riding around the world (Tokyo subway etiquette, a passenger slide in Holland, just to name a few). So we especially appreciate Adrianna’s love for transit that extends beyond Muni. If you have your own personal history on transit to share, submit your story pitch to us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast so you don’t miss a minute of these great stories. You can find us on any of your podcast-listening apps.

Photo: Emily Huston

Sheila McElroy left her heart in San Francisco (among other lovely places)

IYKYK: San Francisco doesn’t leave us that easily, even when we leave it. Katie Havercamp and LeBron James the cat (yep) learned it bigtime firsthand, and I’d bet that many people you know have strong feelings on the topic.

Sheila McElroy has spent her professional life studying, writing about, and talking about place: how our sense of it grounds us in history and provides context for how we see, move around, and make sense of the world. In this story, told at Muni Diaries Live in November 2022, Sheila takes us through her personal sense of place and the role it, especially San Francisco, plays in her journey.

Listen up:

If you didn’t even know we had a podcast until you saw this post, or until an obviously excellent friend with great taste sent it your way, don’t forget to subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast so you don’t miss another minute of these real-life tales from on and around the bus. We’re on all your favorite podcast-listening apps.

Photo: Emily Huston

When small talk pays off on Muni

What would make you take off your headphones on the bus to talk to a stranger? In this episode, storyteller Alex Randall shares how he started talking to his fellow riders, and how these “Muni chats” changed the way he looks at our city. This episode was recorded at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop in November, 2022.

Listen to his story:

By day, Alex manages a support team at Atlassian, and by evening and weekend, he serves on the board at Z Space, leads walking tours of his favorite San Francisco neighborhoods. He says he takes the 38 Geary often and likes all things San Francisco: history, sports, art, politics, and of course, public transit. You can find him at @ArtrepreneurSF on both Instagram and Twitter.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Muni Diaries podcast so you don’t miss a minute of these great stories! You can find us on any of your podcast-listening apps.

Photo: Emily Huston

Asking the tough questions on Muni

How often do you ask yourself, “What would you do if this happened to you on Muni?” Storyteller Keli Dailey explores that very difficult question on stage at Muni Diaries Live, where she shared a tale about an unexpected turn of events on the bus. Keli is an award-winning journalist, performer and educator. ​She teaches media classes at the University of San Francisco, Saint Mary’s College of California and Mills College, where she also leads the Communication program.

She says that she believes in the power of comedy to communicate news, and that’s something we can definitely identify with here at Muni Diaries headquarters.

Listen to her story:

Got a story to tell on the podcast? Email us a short pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode!

Photo: Emily Huston

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