An anonymous letter about the no good very bad year (and A+ Muni story)

You might remember storyteller Nuala Sawyer, News Editor at SF Weekly and haver of what most of us would agree was a pretty shit year back in 2013. She told the story on stage at Muni Diaries Live in November 2018, and it gave us not-so-surprise tears again when we added it to our podcast lineup recently.

The podcast episode ended up having an impact on an anonymous podcast listener, too. That person sent Nuala this handwritten letter to SF Weekly and, just when you think you’re out of Muni-related surprise tears…

“Thank you for telling it. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for placing yourself in a vulnerable position with the man and with the audience of Muni Diaries. As you impressively seem to know, honesty and vulnerability change [sic] people—us as well as those around us,” the listener wrote. We couldn’t agree more, Listener. Thanks, Nuala, for sharing—in more ways than one.

If you missed her story on the podcast, you can listen to Nuala’s podcast episode here.

Top photo by Right Angle Images; letter image courtesy Nuala Sawyer

See Muni Diaries at the Betabrand Podcast Theater on March 7!

We’re coming out of our humble podcast studio, rosé in hand, to record our first live episode at the Betabrand Podcast Theater! On March 7, we’ll bring our podcast live to you at the Betabrand store on Valencia Street, where you’ll hear hilarious and true stories from on and off the rails, and watch us chat live with some of San Francisco’s most seasoned commuters.

You’ll hear tales from storyteller Dhaya Lakshiminarayanan and The San Francisco Chronicle’s Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub. And just for the Betabrand Podcast Theater, we’ll bring you a new segment called “Ask Driver Doug” featuring longtime Muni operator Doug Meriwether.

Tickets are only $5 for our first live podcast event, so get ’em while they last!

Betabrand Podcast Theater presents: Muni Diaries

Tickets: $5

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Doors: 6:30 p.m., Show 7 p.m.

Betabrand

780 Valencia Street (between 18th and 19th Streets)

San Francisco, CA 94110

Take Muni there: 12, 14, 22, 33, 47, 49. Or take BART: 16th Street Station.

What was your worst year in San Francisco?

Storyteller Nuala Sawyer was having a terrible year in San Francisco: an accident that broke her arm, being laid off from her job, and a terrible breakup on top of it all. It was one of those times in your life when you think things couldn’t get any worse. Then, a man on Muni shared a vulnerable moment with her that changed her perspective.

Nuala is the News Editor at SF Weekly. She writes about a little bit of everything: City Hall, the courts, homelessness, immigration, housing, crime and of course, transportation.

Listen to Nuala’s story:

You can follow Nuala on Twitter at @TheBestNuala, or hear her on Rollover Easy Thursday mornings at bff.fm.

If you have a story to share, whether it happened on or off the bus, we want to know! Submit your own diary entry to the Muni Diaries podcast by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

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.

Read more

Muni Diaries Live is back on Nov. 3!

Our favorite night of the year is back on Saturday, Nov. 3, but this time we will have to say goodbye to the Elbo Room, which has been the home of Muni Diaries Live for nearly ten years. The Elbo Room building is on the market, and the beloved bar will be closing in Jan, 2019. Won’t you come and help us give them a proper send-off?

Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite. Stay tuned for details on our new venue for 2019 and beyond.

A sneak peek of our lineup:

– Alexandria Love is a writer from Oakland and also the current reigning champion of the Dirty Haiku Battle at Oakland’s Tourette’s Without Regrets. You can also follow her writing on her website, hereswhythatsfunny.com.

– Irene McCalphin is a writer, singer, burlesque dancer, model, speaker, kinkster, and geek.

– Joe Kukura is a long-time San Francisco journalist whose work you have seen in Thrillist, SF Weekly, SFist, and more.

– Matt Shapiro is a musician and the co-owner of the Elbo Room. After working at the Elbo Room for years as the manager and booker, Matt and co-owner Erik Cantor purchased the bar in 2010.

– Nuala Sawyer is the news editor at the SF Weekly. She writes about a little bit of everything: City Hall, the courts, homelessness, immigration, housing, crime and transportation.

– Rachel Lark is a San Francisco based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her music has been featured on The Savage Lovecast and Salon.com and she tours regularly throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Grab a ticket, and we’ll see you at the Elbo Room on Nov. 3!

Muni Diaries Live 

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 (tickets)

Doors: 6 p.m.
Show: 7 p.m.

Elbo Room
647 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Take Muni there: J-Church, 12, 14, 22, 33, 49, or BART: 16th or 24th St. Stations

Photo credit: Right Angle Images

How one woman served sweet, sweet justice on Muni

Gwen Carmen is a survivor: She’s taught middle school and beaten cancer. So you know she wasn’t going to let a creeper on the bus get off easy. When a man’s wandering hands met storyteller Gwen’s seat, she was shocked. But she didn’t spend too much time in wondering WTF—here’s how she tracked him down and got her own version of bus creeper justice.

Gwen told this story at Muni Diaries Live’s 10th anniversary show and our jaws were on the ground. Listen to her story here:

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Gwen is an activist, actress, educator, and writer whose work appeared in Essence magazine, Plexus feminist newspaper, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and numerous other small presses during the ’80s and ’90s. She was the editor/publisher of La Morena Women of Color bilingual newspaper.

Thanks to you, we’ve heard amazing stories of women standing up for themselves and each other—like this tale of riders who, one by one, walked over to support a woman being verbally harassed. Another time, riders on this bus collectively said No Way to body shaming.

Keep it up, San Francisco.

Got your own story to share? We are all ears! Pitch your own Muni or San Francisco story to us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. You can also help us keep the lights on at Muni Diaries HQ by supporting us on Patreon

Photo by Right Angle Images

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