San Francisco Diaries: Check your assumptions in the checkout line

I can’t think of how many times I’ve thought of a witty comeback too late, especially when someone behaves badly in public. But have you ever imagined what it would be like if you actually said what you wanted to say in that moment? Storyteller Justina Wu shares a story of an encounter when she spoke her mind in the moment, with some surprising results.

Listen to her story:

Justina is a writer, storyteller, and producer of Beyond Borders Storytelling, a series of travel-themed workshops and story jams. Justina was on stage at Muni Diaries Live a few years ago (check out her first story in episode 12 on Apple Podcast or Google Play.) And mark your calendars for the next show on August 14 at PianoFight in the Tenderloin.

Featured photo by @saintsimonanu. Post photo by @roopisonfire.

If you have your own San Francisco story to share, email us your pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com! And please share this podcast with your friends and rate is on Apple Podcast!

San Francisco Diaries: Listeners sound off on the city’s existential crisis

sunset sky 10th and Market San Francisco

Our previous episode featured Smiley Poswolsky, a self-described Millennial workplace expert who quit his stuffy Washington, D.C. job to become a writer in San Francisco. His story about personal growth and change, with NOPA/Western Addition in a prominent guest-starring role, really got our listeners talking more broadly about the state of our city—a hot topic lately.

For this episode, we invited Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight from The San Francisco Chronicle, and Bernalwood blog founder Todd Lappin, to give us their take on San Francisco’s oft-discussed existential crisis, and to share their own experiences with this town we call home.

Got something to say about Smiley’s story or the state of our city? Email us your thoughts at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us #sanfranciscodiaries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Pic by roopisonfire

San Francisco Diaries: Who gets to define this city?

Smiley Poswolsky left his suit-wearing days behind in Washington, D.C. to start a new life as a writer in San Francisco. Today, he’s an expert on Millennials in the workplace and author of the book, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough. A few years in to his life here, he found himself realizing that some of the things he enjoyed about the city were also having a negative impact on his beloved new home. This prompts him to consider a timely question: Who has the right to define a city and what it is (or should be) all about?

This has been a hot topic as of late, even in national news. This prompted us to turn to our listeners: If you could give the city a cultural health score, what would it be and why? 

Listen to his story:

Got something to say about Smiley’s story and the current state of our city? Email us your thoughts at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us #munidiaries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Artist tips his cap to Muni, a refuge in tougher times

As he carted his belongings to the bus stop, Kurt Schwartzmann knew that he relied on the kindness of the Muni driver, lest he face another cold night on the streets of San Francisco. When the bus door opened on one particular night, he was relieved to see the familiar face.

This was a lifetime ago, before Schwartzmann conquered his struggle with drug addiction, found his way as an artist, and met his now-husband. While he was homeless, Muni had become the refuge for Schwartzmann.

Schwartzmann, who has lost sight in one eye due to complications to AIDS, dedicated his art series, “Yellow Line,” to the Muni drivers whose empathy helped him survive those difficult times. His art has been exhibited at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and at City College of San Francisco.

We first met Schwartzmann on Instagram when he posted about his art series, and we were thrilled that he told his story at Muni Diaries Live in April at Rickshaw Stop.

Growing up in Fresno as a young gay man, Schwartzmann said that San Francisco had always been a symbol for “freedom of expression and refuge from intolerance.”  In honor of Pride weekend, we are sharing his story in today’s podcast episode. Take a listen:

If you have your own Pride story to share, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.

Photo credit: RightAngleImages.

How a Muni ride went from piss to bliss

Muni is probably our longest love-hate relationship, a widespread phenomenon that became the focus of one bus rider’s one-woman play. That woman, Ady Lady, is a writer and performer. She’s written and performed two solo shows: Sara Jane Tried to Shoot the President and From Piss to Bliss, the latter of which was about her desperate attempt to lead with love while riding Muni.

Update: She’s still working on it.

Ady Lady told her story at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop earlier this spring. For everyone who missed it (or can’t wait for the encore), here’s her story:

If you have your own Muni story to pitch to our podcast, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And remember to rate us on iTunes if you like what you hear.

Photo by Right Angle Images

Camp Folsom: ‘You were chosen, and they had your back no matter what’

With the Tales of the City show on Netflix and the Pride flags up on Market Street, we’ve got chosen family on the brain: the people you find by circumstance, often in pivotal times in your life, whom you end up keeping by choice.

On the podcast today, we have musician Colin Daly—incidentally among my own chosen family—who stopped by the studio to share a timely retelling and ode to his time at Camp Folsom: where a room in the Mission was only $300 and life lessons—about money, community, heartbreak, and learning to be a grownup—were included in the rent.

Here’s his story:

San Francisco Diaries, and our original project, Muni Diaries, are made of your stories and everyone’s experiences. Submit your own tale from the city by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.

Pic courtesy of Brandy, upper left. Colin is in the foreground, and Meghan is behind him.

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