Free Muni Friday, because bad air quality

The air quality went from red (bad) to purple (even worse) today due to the wild fires up north, and the SFMTA announced that Muni will be free Friday, per the mayor’s request. You won’t need to tag your Clipper cards or use a transfer tomorrow, according to the SFMTA’s announcement. Hopefully this limits your traveling outdoors, and please keep those windows closed when you board.

All schools within the San Francisco Unified School District are closed, as is with most colleges in the city.

Stay safe out there, everybody.

Photo by @SanFranciscoCityandCounty.

How a bear bar helped one visitor give SF another chance

San Francisco can be a tough city to navigate, especially if you’re a visitor who is already having a hard time. In today’s San Francisco Diaries podcast episode, storyteller Baruch Porras-Hernandez shares an exchange that he had with a visitor while working at one of the longest-running gay sex clubs in San Francisco. Upon realizing that the visitor was having some internal struggles, Baruch gives him a list of place of where to find like-minded people in the city. But after Baruch leaves work, the visitor returns to the club and gets some alarming information.

Listen to his story:
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Baruch is a writer, performer, host, storyteller, and regular KQED community events host based in San Francisco. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry and regularly organizes poetry shows in the Bay Area. Follow Baruch on Instagram (@baruchporrashernandez) to get the latest show updates.

Trigger warning: Please note that this story has themes about suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals: 1-800-273-8255.

You, too, can add an entry to our collective journal. San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter—or, our email inbox is always open!
Photo by Thomas Hawk

7 reminders from Muni Diaries Live about why you still love San Francisco

Last Saturday, 200 Muni riders squeezed into a crowded and hot space (for fun!), and they weren’t even cranky about it (we think). We’re talking about Muni Diaries Live, our fav night of the year where we celebrate the human-to-human moments that happen as we move from point A to point B.

We laughed, we cried (really, there were surprise tears), and our storytellers reminded us why we chose to live here after all. For our 20th show, singer/songwriter Rachel Lark (above) cracked everyone up with songs that so many of us can relate to, including “It’s Hard to be a Feminist and Still Love Dick,” which is still in my head two days later. Check out this version of the song she did with Muni Diaries Live alum Kate Willet.

We opened the show with a special story in poetry form from Alexandria Love, standup comedian and writer from Oakland. True to our San Francisco roots, the poem is an ode to our dear Karl the Fog.

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‘Squeeze the chicken’: One ingenious solution to broken transit

Not that chicken.

A tip via reader Marcin W., Jannina Uribe tweeted this ingenious solution to a broken stop request from a bus in Mexico. She reports that the written message translates to: “Bell out of order. Squeeze the chicken.”

Insert any number of chicken/Muni/and choke-the-chicken jokes here.

In the spirit of international cooperation, we occasionally have a look-see at what’s happening on transit around the world, including a most Pride-ready tram in Amsterdam, these dope bus shelters in Austria, and transit etiquette guidelines from Taipei, hometown of Muni Diaries cofounder Eugenia.

Hey, important news: Muni Diaries Live is back this Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room, which is closing in Jan! We’re selling out fast so get your tickets right this way.

Quick Muni-themed Halloween costume ideas

muni stroller kwokysan

There’s no limit for transit-obsessed San Franciscans dressing up for Halloween (or just dressing up period). Here at Muni Diaries headquarters, we are in possession of both a Clipper Card and Fast Pass costume, but we’ve seen some pretty fantastic Muni-themed outfits through the years. If you’re still looking for inspiration for Wednesday’s trick-or-treat festivities, here are some ideas:

@kwokysan on Twitter sent over this adorable Muni stroller: He says that Muni is his son’s favorite thing on their walks (Photo by @Chelseavmk.)

muni stroller by chelseavmk

Wonder if this guy tried to scan his Clipper card costume on Muni?


Photo by Octoferret

Shoutout to the paper Fast Pass too:

As much as I might detest couples costumes, we have to make an exception for this Dirty Thirty couple.

wayne
Photo by Wayne Grout

Whatever you do, may we suggest making a grand entrance on Muni this way? Oh by the way, it looks like the SFMTA is actually having a Halloween costume contest this year, featuring a pumpkin carved like a Muni bus. Winners get an “#SFMuni treat bag.”

Wanna share your love-hate relationship with Muni with 200 fellow riders? Muni Diaries Live is back on this Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets going fast.

The secret in the basement at Borderlands Books

Borderlands Books is a gem in the city: a bookstore and cafe that specializes in new and used science fiction, fantasy, and horror. If you’ve been around these parts 10 or more years, you might remember their sphinx kitties roaming the store, and a sign that told everyone when the cats were in.

Though there are plenty of spooky books on the shelves at Borderlands, the staff actually discovered something quite unsettling in real life, in the newly excavated basement of the bookstore. Some of you might remember that the Borderlands Cafe was a later addition to the shop, and during construction, co-founder Alan Beatts found something in the basement that sent the crew running.

Hear what happened in this week’s San Francisco Diaries episode (scroll down for transcript):
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Alan sends us this bonus photo of the basement. See the tree trunk on the right? It’s not going anywhere!

The bookstore also serves as an inspiration of a successful grassroots business: the beloved bookstore faced a likely closure a few years ago. Amazingly, and in true San Francisco fashion, they raised $2M via a grassroots campaign to buy a building on Haight Street, where they will relocate as soon as construction there is complete. Borderlands also has an ongoing sponsorship program that keeps their doors open.

This is definitely the preferred ending to You’ve Got Mail I’d been looking for.

Want to hear more great stories like these live on stage? Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

Episode Transcript

Thanks to reader Chris L. for transcribing this episode!
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