Last Thursday night I was in a foul mood and in desperate need of some cheering up before the ohGr show at Bottom of the Hill.
After I climbed aboard the 22 I heard a strange sound. It’s difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t heard it; a not-quite-falsetto whine tinged with a gravely roughness that — in a certain way — had a tune which could have been mistaken for music.
The bus cleared out when we hit 16th and Mission and that’s when I spotted the source of the sound: Muni Ray Charles.
Make no mistake, Muni Ray Charles is a black man wearing a suit and sunglasses (at 9pm, no less) who “sings” in his own unusual way.
Passengers kept their distance as Muni Ray Charles rocked himself out like an overwound wind-up toy. Like most other passengers, I was ultimately unsuccessful in suppressing my laughter. His performance was so vigorously impassioned it was impossible to stay in a bad mood for long.
A few stops after Mission, Muni Ray Charles finished the performance, fist-bumped a few passengers, yelled “BACK DOOR!” and was on his way.
Sadly, we just didn’t have enough time at our Muni Diaries Live reunion/open-mic show to have everyone who signed up to share their slice of Muni life onstage. So, we reached out to those individuals to tell their stories here on the website. Enjoy Ellie’s roller coaster chariot of a 22-Fillmore story.
If you ever want to see the entire world without leaving the city, two dollars is all you need for a trip on the 22. I wasn’t planning on visiting Tijuana, Japan, or the cast of Jersey Shore the first time I traveled the Fillmore bus line; I was on my way to see a movie — a Kabuki movie at that!
I had just moved to the city and a friend told me that if the opportunity arouse, I needed to go see a movie at the Kabuki. When she told me this, I had a sudden feeling of nostalgia. So that night, I stuffed a king-sized Kit-Kat in my bag and headed for the corner of Mission and 16th.
After seeing a slew of 14, 49, and 33’s slither by, I decided that it must have been during a stay in San Francisco that the band Whitesnake coined its name. My thought was stopped short by a woman with red-stained jeans, hunched over, and mumbling, “I got my period…I got my period…,” while walking back and forth in front of me.
People you’ve seen on Muni have made their way into a short animation by Lev Yilmaz of Tales of Mere Existence. In this short clip, he recounts people he’s seen on Muni and the Boston T.
“38 Geary, 6 a.m.: I see this guy on the bus every morning when I used to work at a coffee shop. He’d always sit in the front of the bus, and when I would get on, I would sometimes thumble a bit because I never had an easy time getting my dollar bill to fit into the fare machine. Anyway, this guy would watch me, close his eyes, and shake his head, because clearly I was the biggest moron who everwalked the earth.”
I love his animation and storytelling, so I highly recommend checking out his short clip above. The Rumpus also did an excellent interview with Yilmaz last year.
Oh Lower Haight! It’s home of the beloved and colorful 22-Fillmore, 71-Haight/Noriega, and official hood of the awesome blog Haighteration. Tuesday is Haighteration’s first birthday party, and Andrew at Haighteration has a long list of deals for you to celebrate! I’m getting my hair done for 20% off at On Mars, getting 10% off of the charcuterie plate at Uva Enoteca, and finishing off the night with beer ice cream scooped by the Haighteration crew at Three Twins.