San Francisco Diaries: Finding the silver lining in teaching on Zoom

Educator Kelly Gregor Hartlaub had been a librarian for some time until the pandemic hit, until she was suddenly called back to frontline classroom teaching, on Zoom, for distance learning. Her first task as a Zoom teacher? Sex education. Yikes.

But that wasn’t even the hardest part. In today’s podcast episode, Kelly shares the emotional, mental, and practical challenges of distance learning, how she and fellow teachers kept going, and how an English-learning student having an especially hard time helped her in kind.

Listen to Kelly’s story:

We met Kelly a few years back, and here she is in the photo above (third from left), about to dig into a delicious burrito with some of San Francisco’s bloggerati (including Burrito Justice, Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight from The San Francisco Chronicle and the Total SF project, and yours truly).

We’re always looking for stories about how San Francisco has changed and transformed you, whether it happened on Muni or off. 

If you’ve been inspired by a story on our podcast or gone to one of our storytelling shows and imagined yourself on stage, we are here to help! Please email us your story idea at munidiaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us @munidiaries on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

How the beloved Boat Tram became a real boi

Pic by Adolfo Echeverry Photo for Market Street Railway

People can’t help but smile when they see the Boat Tram, one of the Market Street Railway’s most unique and beloved vehicles. Which is why there’s no better inanimate object to take on an entire online personality.

How timely, as the Boat Tram is back in business by Fleet Weekend for those marking their calendars, according to The Bold Italic. Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays look like your best chance of a sighting or a ride going forward, but like many celebrities, their whereabouts are vague.

In honor of its return, we’re bringing you storyteller Chris Arvin, the person behind Boat Tram’s online persona, AKA Boat Boi. Tune in to hear about how Chris married a keen interest in transit with the power of the internets to turn Boat Tram into a real boy. Er. Boi.

Chris told this story at our 2019 Muni Diaries Live, the last time we were all in the room together, footloose and covid-fancy-free.

A product designer who is passionate about cities and public transit, Chris sits on the SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council and speaks often and strongly in favor of transit-friendly policies and plans. You might also know Chris from the adorable pins, stickers, Clipper card covers they’ve designed at their store, transit.supply.

Listen to their story:

Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisarvinsf, and keep up with Boat Boi @boattramsf: by far the hippest social media presence of a transit vehicle, if you ask me. Here are some of the moments that Chris mentions in the podcast episode:

Though we did not, in fact, see you all in the spring for the next Muni Diaries Live, having Boat Boi on my jacket puts a spring in my step nonetheless.

We are always looking for stories of people who make San Francisco the beautiful city it is today, on and off the rails. If you have a story to share or someone to nominate, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

San Francisco Diaries: Aruna dreams of kimchi

Aruna Lee is the founder of San Francisco-based Volcano Kimchi, whose organic kimchi and sauces are made in her “Fermentation Lab” in the Dogpatch. Aruna grew up in a Buddhist monastery in Korea, where every meal included an assortment of kimchi.

When she arrived in San Francisco in 2001, doing anything related to food was the furthest thing from her mind as she settled into her new chapter. In this episode, Aruna shares the story of how she eventually came back to food, building her small business in a tough town with her childhood memories as inspiration.

Listen to her story:

You can find Volcano kimchi and sauces at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, Clement Street Farmer’s Market, Good Eggs, Rainbow Grocery, and more.

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A print magazine of our very own: Meet The San Franciscan

Proving that San Francisco is still a place that celebrates grassroots efforts, locals Erica Messner and Amanda Legge have launched a new magazine about our city, The San Franciscan. Launching a magazine (a print one, at that) is no small feat, especially as the pandemic pushed us farther from each other. In this episode of the podcast, Erica and Amanda call us back around the campfire to share how they made their dream into reality, despite a little legal hiccup from their other favorite urban mag. 

Amanda and Erica have a new issue out, and the cover features a scene from our preferred mode of transportation. You can get a copy of it, featuring work from 30+ local artists and writers, at local favs spots like Green Apple Books, Dog Eared Books, and Alley Cat Bookstores and Gallery.

Listen to their story:

In their retelling, Amanda and Erica mention this cartoon—which was (foolishly!) not accepted by The New Yorker—that started it all.

We’re so glad to see friends getting together to create something for the city we all love—it certainly sounds familiar to us here at Muni Diaries HQ.

As always, we are looking for stories about people who love and care about our city. If you have someone to nominate to be on our podcast, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

San Francisco Diaries: Opening night at Rickshaw Stop

After shuttering for more than a year since the start of the pandemic, San Francisco venues finally opened their doors to indoor events last week. We talk to Dan Strachota, the talent buyer and managing partner at Rickshaw Stop to hear about their first indoor show about a week ago. Rickshaw Stop is also the home of Muni Diaries Live, so we were especially relieved to know that the venue is back in business.

Dan shares the behind-the-scenes details of their first show (featuring local bands Zola and Zelma Stone), and all the unexpected things that happen after 16 months in hibernation.

Dan has been the managing partner at Rickshaw Stop for nearly a decade, and the talent buyer for 17 years and counting. He has been an outspoken advocate for independent venues in San Francisco.

Listen to the interview:

We’re always looking for stories from people who love and care about San Francisco. If you have a story to share, or want to nominate someone to be on the podcast, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And keep up with your Muni musing with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

San Francisco Diaries: Meet a local historian who is anything but jaded

What can history teach us about this pivotal moment as we drop most COVID-related restrictions in San Francisco? Between mask-ne treatments and socializing awkwardly, we chatted with Chris Carlsson, the director of Shaping San Francisco about his experience and his perspective on our reawakening city.

Chris is a writer, San Francisco historian, tour guide, and writer. He recently published a new book, Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes and Radical Histories. Chris has seen a few cycles of San Francisco history since the 1970s. He was involved in many activist groups in the city, including a group that modified billboards about Muni fare in the 1980s. Who knew we would still be arguing about Muni fares today.

You might think he has seen it all, but in our conversation about his new book, we found out that this historian is anything but jaded about the future of San Francisco. “The more you understand history, the more you realize there are constant moments of possibility,” he told us—and I’m inclined to believe it’s true.

Listen to his conversation with Muni Diaries here:

We are looking forward to hearing your tales about returning to life, work, and other ways that living in San Francisco means to you now. Submit your own story or photo by tagging us @munidiaries on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Photo by FoundSF.

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