Meet the Muni operator who went viral

It’s been a while since we brought you a tale from the stage, so we are extra thrilled to share a podcast episode featuring a story from Muni Diaries Live on April 7, 2022. Today’s episode features Muni operator (and Muni Haiku Battle alum) MC “Mack” Allen live from Rickshaw Stop, our first show back after our long pandemic winter.

We knew him from the Twitters as a transit fan and poet, but his love for the city and its transit system went above and beyond when he decided to become a Muni operator during the pandemic.

He jumped through many hoops to become a Muni operator (we think you’ll really enjoy the behind-the-scenes look into the journey), but MC had no idea what was yet to come. In mere weeks, he’d be briefing the entire Twitter universe about the ins and outs of driving Muni via a viral thread about the blockbuster movie, Shang-Chi. His star rising, SFGate called him the most famous bus driver in San Francisco, and we’re proud to have known him when.

Listen to (or watch!) MC’s story:

Mc is dripping with San Francisco pride and it’s hard not to get caught up in his hella local wave. Follow MC and his bus operator pursuits on Twitter @that_mc.

Photo by Amanda Roosa. Video by Maya Curry.

Two riders enter, one rider leaves: it’s the Muni Haiku Battle!

If you’ve ever been to Muni Diaries Live, you know that we end each show with a “Muni Haiku Battle” where two poets battle in three rounds of poetry throw down. After a two-year pandemic hiatus from the stage, we are bringing the live show –– and the Muni Haiku Battle –– back on April 7, at the Rickshaw Stop!

On this week’s podcast, we bring you the battle between comedian Wonder Dave and champion Mc Allen. Three lucky audience members were chosen randomly to vote for the winner, but the crowd behind them didn’t shy away from trying to influence their votes.

Listen to the battle here (and find out who will return to the stage to defend his title):

We can’t wait to bring the next battle to you live on stage!

Muni Diaries Live!

Tickets
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Doors: 6 p.m. Show: 7 p.m.

The Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell Street, San Francisco

Photo by Amanda Roosa

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.

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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.

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