A surprising reunion at the Castro Safeway

Growing up nerdy is not easy anywhere, especially in Birmingham, Alabama. Storyteller Dhaya Lakshminarayanan thought she’d left those teenage memories behind when she moved to San Francisco. But one day, she unexpectedly reunites with one of her long lost friends who shares those high school memories.

Upon finding each other at the Castro Safeway, Dhaya and her friends embark on a new friendship that involves an urban rodeo and other very San Francisco experiences.

Listen to her story:

This story was recorded at the Betabrand Store on Valencia Street in San Francisco, as the inaugural Betabrand Podcast Theater. She’ll be there this Thursday, April 4, with Muni Diaries Live alum Kristee Ono for “Get Present Immediately: two meditating comedians.

Want more live storytelling on and off the bus? Muni Diaries Live is back this Saturday, April 6! Come on down to Rickshaw Stop to commiserate and celebrate with your fellow riders. Tickets are on sale now.

Commute flair: We need these Muni enamel pins

I love an enamel pin and flair-ing up my denim jackets with reckless abandon. Which is why these enamel pins from Chris Arvin’s online store has me all kinds of transit twitterpated. He’s got cute stickers in the shop, too.

Please hold, I’m just getting my wallet out to buy everything.

As it turns out, Chris is also the creator of these interactive street car maps. I think he deserves an award for being the transit fan of the month?

What are some of your favorite transit gear? Here are some of our past favs.

Hey, we have a live show coming up next Saturday, April 6! Maybe you’ll come and sport these fancy new pins? Muni Diaries Live is back at our new home, Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. Get your tickets today!

Got important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your dispatches. Our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, is always open, too.

Riding Muni all day leads to falling in love with San Francisco again

Remember when we told you about the two Chronicle reporter who rode every Muni line for an entire day? Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight gave us a sneak peek of their plans last year, and in today’s podcast episode, they came back to the Betabrand Podcast Theater to tell us how it all went.

There are 84 Muni routes covering our 7×7, and the duo had meticulously planned their one-day adventure. But as we all know, just when you have a plan to be on time somewhere, Muni has other ideas! Heather and Peter told us that in the middle of their journey, a fellow rider reminded them that the 2-Clement (also my line!) doesn’t run late and that they might miss their goal if they don’t catch one soon. Already exhausted from waking up before dawn, Heather and Peter thought they might not make it, but this rider revamped their plans so that they can catch all the routes they need.

They also told us how they found an adorable lost dog (who they lovingly named Felton, after finding him on the 54-Felton) during their Muni journey. In the end, surprisingly, riding Muni all day made these two seasoned journalists fall in love with our city again. Who would have known?

Listen to the interview here:

Loved what you heard on the podcast? Our live show is coming up where you can hear stories in real life at Rickshaw Stop! Get your Muni Diaries Live tickets right here.

Photo by Jessica Christian

San Francisco Diaries: Finding Satan’s jacket at the Elbo Room

The Elbo Room has been the home of Muni Diaries Live for many years, and just before its San Francisco location closed permanently, co-owner Matt Shapiro joined us on stage to share one of the many memorable, behind-the-scenes tales from the famed club. He had worked for years as the manager and booker at the Elbo Room, which housed the legendary lesbian bar Amelia’s in the 1960’s (the bar swaps out its signage for Amelia’s old sign for Pride). In 2010, he and co-owner Erik Cantu bought the bar.

Matt’s San Francisco Diaries story involved Satan, his leather jacket, and the lengths that club owners will go to keep a promise.

Listen to his story here:

You can still visit the Elbo Room’s Oakland location in Jack London Square where its old signage is proudly displayed in the front of the building.

Meanwhile, Muni Diaries Live continues! We have found a new home and our next show is on April 6th at Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. Tickets are on sale now.

Put a lid on it: Urban still-life on Muni

blue chairs Tostitos lid, missing jar

Tostitos apparently trademarked “Get Together Already” (a discussion for a different day), an imperative one Muni rider took to heart. One passenger on a 9-San Bruno was so keen on bringing the party, they left this lid and assorted snack detritus behind. Yes, it’s rude and messy, but this decidedly urban still-life gave me pause and I didn’t hate it.

In some Sliding Doors parallel universe, the lid meets the bowl of milk on Muni (seriously), the discarded durian, and the party is brought for real.

Have an important dispatch for your fellow riders? Muni Diaries only exists because of your stories and submissions, so tag us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter with your finds or observations. Our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open, too.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T meets B-A-R-T after Aretha Franklin’s final concert in OAK


Gwen Carmen is a cancer survivor and longtime teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District—but some of her best stories come straight off our own local transit. In this episode, Gwen tells a story about taking BART to see one of Aretha Franklin’s final performances at the Oakland Coliseum. On her journey home from the concert with a group of fellow riders, Gwen finds herself in the middle of a crime scene that brings the journey to a halt—but not the end.

You might remember Gwen from the live shows or from Episode 62 of this podcast, in which she told a story about serving sweet, sweet justice to a bus creeper while riding the 24.

Listen to her story:

Want more Muni Diaries podcast goodness? We’re having our first podcast event at the Betabrand Podcast Theater this Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m.! Tickets on sale now.

Photo by @rj3

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