The Shard, The Tissue, An Affair

When a poet lands in San Francisco, even our romantic Victorian city may not be enough to make a love affair last. Today’s podcast is from Vietnamese-American author Andrew Lam, who was also the web editor of New America Media for many years.

In 2005, he published his first book, Perfume Dreams. He is also the author of the book Birds of Paradise, about the Vietnamese immigrant community in the Bay Area. He is working on a fourth book tentatively titled Stories From the Edge of the Sea, a collection of stories about love and loss. Many of the stories are based in San Francisco and Vietnam, both places in which the seaside plays a prominent role: geographically, thematically, and metaphorically.

Today’s story is a more literary departure from our regular storytelling approach, but we think all San Franciscans listening may find a bit of themselves within this piece.

You can find this piece excerpted in Andrew’s new collection of stories. You can also find a transcript of “The Shard, The Tissue, an Affair” below. To submit your own story, please email us your pitch at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

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Photo by Tara Ramroop
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Meet Irene Tu, Muni celebrity

Comedian Irene Tu was a Muni celebrity last year and turned her friends into last-minute paparazzo to chase that fame. As it were, chasing fame isn’t easy when your vehicle is a Muni bus.

Irene is a Chicago-born, San Francisco-based stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. In 2017, the San Francisco Chronicle singled her out as an “artist on the brink of fame,” on the heels of being named one of the “Bay Area’s 11 Best Stand Up Comedians” (SFist) and one of 20 “Women to Watch” (KQED). Irene hosts several popular shows in the Bay Area: Man Haters, The Mission Position, and Millennials Ruin Everything (they do). You can follow her @irene_tu and find her on irenetu.com.

If you enjoyed the Muni Diaries podcast, please share our podcast and rate it in iTunes so people can find it!

Listen to her story here:
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If you like what you’ve heard on the Muni Diaries podcast, please share our podcast and rate it on iTunes so other people can find it too!

Photo by Right Angle Images

Sexual Folklorist Dixie De La Tour on the magic of tele-personals

Dixie De La Tour is the founder of Bawdy Storytelling (“The Moth for Pervs,” per LA Weekly), America’s Original Sex+Storytelling series featuring Real People & Rockstars sharing their bona fide sexual exploits, live onstage. In this podcast episode, she reaches back in time to those bad old days without Tinder, and you have to call the tele-personals to find Mr. Right/Mr. Right Now.

Instead of swiping left or right, you had to call the tele-personals to listen to voice messages, leave a voicemail to someone you fancy, then hope they leave you a voicemail with their phone numbers eventually. Dixie met one gentleman who fell in love with her voice, and he chose an interesting venue for their first meeting. Three guesses where?

Listen to her story here:
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Dixie’s next show is this Thursday, November 16th, at the Verdi Club. The theme is “Hurt So Good.” Tickets are on sale now so you can see her in person.

If you like what you’ve heard on the Muni Diaries podcast, please share our podcast and rate it on iTunes so other people can find it too. It would really make our day!

You too can add an entry to our collective journal. We’re looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open! Got a Muni or BART story? We’re all ears too!

Photo by Right Angle Images. Featured photo via @bawdystorytelling.

What could go wrong on your first Muni ride?

So you decide to take a visiting friend on her first Muni ride, promising that nothing will go wrong. And Muni is basically like…”LOL.”

In this week’s podcast, storyteller and reigning Muni Haiku champion Baruch Porras-Hernandez shares his story of what happened after his innocent promise to a friend. You can see him at Muni Diaries Live this Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Elbo Room. Tickets are at munidiarieslive18.eventbrite.com.

Listen to his story here:
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If you like what you’ve heard on the Muni Diaries podcast, please share and rate it on iTunes so other people can find it, too. And we hope to see you this Saturday at the Elbo Room to watch Baruch go head-to-head with new challenger, Alexandria Love!

Unearthing hidden history underneath the Transamerica Pyramid

You’ve likely passed this spot a thousand times and probably never realized that, in its heyday, it was a one hell of a bohemian hot spot. In today’s San Francisco Diaries podcast episode, writer Hiya Swanhuyser shares how she found this piece of history and why she’s been obsessed with it ever since.

Hiya is working on a book about a lost piece of San Francisco history, the Montgomery Block building, which stood where the Transamerica Pyramid stands today. It was there for 107 years, and was a crucial gathering place for artists and writers, including Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and thinkers and political types such as Emma Goldman and Sun Yat-Sen, among many many others.

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Here’s what the Montgomery Block building looked like in its glory days:
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