Total SF

A San Francisco culture podcast featuring celebrity guests, non-celebrity guests, personalities from the San Francisco Chronicle and a celebration of Bay Area life. Hosted by culture critic Peter Hartlaub and columnist Heather Knight and recorded on the streets, hilltops, parks and landmarks of San Francisco. The pair's focus on the whimsy and wonder of San Francisco began in 2018 when they rode every bus, train, cable car and street car in the city in one day. They believe in highlighting the eccentric characters, independent bookstores, burger joints and bars that make the bay so great.

TV & Film
Society & Culture
8 things we're thankful for in San Francisco
28 min
Talking steaks, history and caviar doughnuts, w...
Food Network chef Tyler Florence is an international star, but he chose to settle in the Bay Area. Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub meet Florence at Warriors owner Joe Lacob's table in the Chase Center restaurant Miller & Lux, to talk about the California cattle barons who inspired the steak house's name, the future of restaurants in San Francisco, how the South Carolina-born chef ended up settling in the Bay Area and the secret "Goodfellas" door between his restaurant and the Warriors arena.
37 min
The NBA's Warrior/poet writes a new chapter
Tom Meschery had his number retired by the Golden State Warriors. He's a poet, 20-year English teacher, poet, bookstore owner and at age 84 just published his first novel. Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub sit down with the extremely well-rounded basketball great to talk about Meschery's signing bonus and NBA fights in the 1960s, his immigrant childhood in San Francisco and his new book — "The Case of the '61 Chevy Impala: A Brovelli Brothers mystery."
44 min
The best (and worst) Bay Area hikes!
What are the best hikes in San Francisco and the Bay Area? Chronicle data editor Dan Kopf joins Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about their recent collaboration, using more than 600,000 AllTrails user reviews to determine the best and worst hikes in the region.
29 min
Branching out with S.F.'s tree maestro
Mike Sullivan is the author of The Trees of San Francisco, and has been sharing his tree expertise for years on his site But he found new purpose during the pandemic, working with tree-loving friends to create chalk tree tours throughout the city. Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub sit down with Sullivan in his tree-filled Cole Valley backyard, and talk about S.F.'s good and bad tree neighborhoods, tree history and Peter's suggestion that there are "bad" trees. (Looking at you eucalyptus!)
32 min
A perfect day in San Francisco 2022
Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub each pick a full perfect day in San Francisco, including food, drinks, historic streetcars, drag shows, an edible and a lot of love for small businesses. It's a sequel to the 2021 "perfect day in S.F." episode that was the most popular episode of the year. This year, we included 15 Total SF listeners, recorded on the All Our S.F. Outdoors Day hike across the Crosstown Trail.
35 min
Secrets of the Doggie Diner heads
With three 10-foot Doggie Diner heads appearing on John F. Kennedy Promenade in Golden Gate Park, historian, maker and Doggie Diner collector John Law joins hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about the phenomenon.
43 min
Making S.F. glamorous again, with Juanita More!
Juanita More has spent 30 years in San Francisco as a drag queen, philanthropist, activist, chef and party central. Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub visited the new Juanita More exhibit at the San Francisco Arts Commission's main gallery and talked with More and her fashion designer Mr. David Glamamore about their history, why San Francisco has not lost its soul and how to bring glamour back to the city and our lives.
37 min
Bay Area transit report card — Total Transit 20...
Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub recap some of the highlights from their Total Transit 2022 adventure, where they attempted to ride as many of the Bay Area's 27 transit agencies as possible. (Ending at the San Francisco Giants game.) Audio from the journey is shared, including an interview with Pac-Man the BART falcon. And they break down some positives and negatives for regional transportation, and a grade for the current state of Bay Area transit.
33 min
Ask a Cable Car Gripman: Your questions answered!
Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight visit the cable car barn in San Francisco and talk with gripman Val Lupiz and former cable car barn superintendent David Banbury about the history of the transit network, and ask listener questions about the cable car line. Lupiz and Banbury cover the meaning of certain bells, why Muni no longer allows tourists to push cars on the turnaround and what gripmen think about that cable car explosion scene in "The Rock."
40 min
Ask a Muni Driver: Your questions answered!
Transit lover and poet Mc "Mack" Allen met Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight on Total Muni 2018, when he was the first civilian to find them during their successful attempt to ride every Muni line in one day. He's since become a Muni operator, and we invited him back on the podcast to answer questions from listeners — including his favorite views, the strangest things he's seen as a driver and what he thinks of the Lunchables ad-wrap on several Muni coaches right now.
36 min
The San Francisco Bay Ferry rises again!
The ferry system in San Francisco was written off as dead in 1958. But the San Francisco Bay Ferry rose again after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and is arguably the most liked transit system in the Bay Area. Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub recorded on the ferry with executive director Seamus Murphy, talking ferry history, learning how the system works and what's the possible future for the growing transit agency.
29 min
The best stories from 50 years of BART
For the first episode of Total SF Transit Month, hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight invited BART's Alicia Trost and Seung Lee, who hold the keys to the transit agency's social media. Trost and Lee talk about BART history, modern challenges and the agency's 50th anniversary celebration, which lands during Transit Month.
37 min
Secrets of Glen Canyon: Dynamite, bears and a f...
Glen Canyon is one of the most underrated parks in San Francisco, with a dramatic history that's mostly unknown beyond the Glen Park neighborhood. Glen Park Neighborhood History Project founder Evelyn Rose joins Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about the canyon's history, including the dynamite factory (and a huge explosion), the zoo and plans for a freeway that were successfully fought by three women called the "Gumtree Girls."
33 min
Honey Mahogany's S.F. drag race!
Honey Mahogany is a drag queen, small businesswoman, social worker, political aide, "Ru Paul's Drag Race" contestant, singer, and now a candidate for District 6 supervisor. After Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight spent two years of talking about her — including a demand in an early 2021 episode for a Honey Mahogany High School — the San Francisco native sits down near the Central Freeway in District 6 to talk about Transgender History Month, her early life in the Sunset District, a "Ru Paul" breakdown and her optimistic view of the future for the city.
29 min
One day. 27 transit agencies. Can we ride them ...
Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight announce Total Transit 2022, their attempt to ride as many of the Bay Area's transit agencies in one day. There are 27 transit agencies covering nine Bay Area counties, but most operate independently of one another. Knight and Hartlaub — who rode every Muni line in one day in 2018 — will try to ride as many as possible from early morning until night, while assessing the difficulty of riding different lines in our balkanized transit region.
23 min
9 perfect first dates in San Francisco
San Francisco is one of the romantic cities in the world — and we've been spending the week thinking up perfect first dates. Chronicle arts and culture columnist Tony Bravo joins hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight record in the Conservatory of Flowers Dahlia Garden and pick nine ideas for first dates in the city, including museums, the best flower exhibition and the most romantic bar, bookstore and ferry ride. The hosts also share their own stories of first dates in San Francisco, and Bravo and Knight question Hartlaub's Homer Simpson-esque choice for bowling as a romantic first date.
37 min
Will Clark on the 'Stick, *that* brawl and his ...
Will Clark is a San Francisco Giants legend, and an all-time Bay Area fan favorite athlete. On the week that the team retires his No. 22 alongside Mays and McCovey, Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight joined Clark in the "Tony Bennett Suite" at Oracle Park, where he told some of his best stories. The podcast ended with Hartlaub and Knight handing Clark covers of Chronicle Sporting Greens from the 1980s, while he told stories about his biggest game in the 1989 playoffs, his involvement in an epic brawl with the St. Louis Cardinals and why he thinks the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake happening during the World Series saved lives.
26 min
Does Presidio Tunnel Tops meet the hype?
With the awaited opening of the new Tunnel Tops and Battery Bluff parks in the Presidio, San Francisco Chronicle urban design critic John King joins Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub at the new park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge to talk about the changes. Tunnel Tops links the Presidio to Crissy Field, and Battery Bluff exposes old military posts along a pathway with stellar views of the bridge and Marin Headlands. After a review of the new spaces, King, Knight and Hartlaub talk burritos, San Francisco movies and share their favorite and least favorite landmarks and buildings.
28 min
9 San Francisco things we miss when we're gone
A return from vacation sparks a Total SF discussion between hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub about the San Francisco things they miss when they're gone, including weather patterns, food and one very specific transit agency. Knight just returned from two weeks in England, and Hartlaub — who rarely travels — channels the things he missed while living in Los Angeles in the 1990s. Total SF also gets a visit from James Morehead, the poet laureate of Dublin, Calif., (and Total SF listener) who shares a poem he wrote about San Francisco.
27 min
The 10 greatest S.F. movies of all time
34 min
Secrets of Sutro Tower! (Best of 2021)
Sutro Tower may be the most beloved landmark among San Francisco residents, and after this best-of episode from 2021, we'll all have a PhD in the Sutro's history and present. Sutro spokesman Dave Hyams joins co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about what exactly Sutro does in 2021, the constant maintenance and some wild trivia.
31 min
The Castro Theatre's organ player rises again
Longtime Castro Theatre organ player David Hegarty got a scare earlier this year, when Another Planet Entertainment took over operations of the 100-year-old cinema and the future seemed unclear. But the music will go on — the Castro is continuing to employ Hegarty, has been screening movies and a new generation will get to hear "San Francisco" before every show. Hegarty talks about his start as an organ player (including a stint at Pizza & Pipes) and the new digital organ for the theater that is close to reality.
26 min
Secrets of the Orpheum Theatre!
The Orpheum Theatre on Market Street has a history that dates back to the Vaudeville era, with classic architecture that has been maintained and restored even through eras of turmoil and closure. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight get a tour from the stage to the rafters — passing through secret doors, learning about a hidden apartment and hearing how the home of "Hamilton" fared when the lights were turned out because of the pandemic.
29 min
The AIDS Quilt returns, with Cleve Jones
The AIDS Memorial Quilt will return to Golden Gate Park on June 11-12, with the biggest display in San Francisco history. Cleve Jones joins Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about his first time visiting San Francisco, how the quilt started and why activism in LGBTQ communities is as important as ever.
27 min
Introducing Fixing Our City
New Chronicle podcast: Host Laura Wenus and producer Cintia Lopez are on a quest to find out, one San Francisco story at a time, why one of the wealthiest and best-educated cities in America, one where most people belong to the same political party, has so many intractable problems. And more importantly: Are solutions to any of these problems within our grasp? Coming June 21 from the San Francisco Chronicle's SFNext project.
1 min
What's inside the new Central Subway!
Muni chief Jeffrey Tumlin offers Total SF a tour of the new Central Subway Union Square station and answers questions, including when (after a three-year delay) it might be open for passengers. Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub also talk about the art installations, Rose Pak, whether the station is haunted — and the importance of the new Prop A bonds on the ballot, with some of the new subway being controlled with software that still uses floppy disks.
27 min
Surprise day drinking with Hunter and Lexi Pence
Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and his wife Lexi (who hosts Let's Get Lexi on YouTube) have joined the small business community in San Francisco, serving their Pineapple Labs coffee at Hotel VIA across the street from Oracle Park. They talk about the endeavor and their increasing love of San Francisco — and surprise hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight with some alcoholic coffee drinks. Also in this episode: Talk about paddle boarding, surfing and a bonus Hunter Pence review of "Top Gun Maverick."
24 min
Inside story on the Mission District's best party
San Francisco supervisor Myrna Melgar has been dancing in the Mission District's Carnaval festival since the 1980s, and once marched costumed in high heels when she was eight months pregnant. District 7 supervisor Melgar joins Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub to give her inside story on Carnaval, and also talk about car-free JFK the Nordstrom valet lot and her commissioned study proving male supervisors talk more than the women. Melgar also takes on the Total SF lightning round, picking her favorite place in S.F. to get a burrito, and which supervisor she'd like to take to Carnaval..
29 min
Exploring San Francisco's new waterfront park
33 min
Started as a waiter, now he's Warriors president
Brandon Schneider was a waiter at a Burlingame restaurant in 2002 when he took an entry level job cold-calling fans to sell ticket plans to see a losing Golden State Warriors team. Now he's the Warriors president, handling operations for a team shooting for its fourth title of the Steph/Klay/Draymond era. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight join Schneider outside Chase Center before a Warriors game to talk about the team's watch parties on the giant outdoor screen, planning an arena in a city where it's hard to build anything and the new statue of former San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.
27 min
Hop in a time machine with Emperor Norton!
Total SF's first live podcast in three years is a tribute to Emperor Norton, featuring the emperor himself (played by Joseph Amster) in front of a wonderful crowd at Manny's in the Mission District. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight host an evening of history featuring Amster and Western Neighborhoods Project board president Arnold Woods — then everyone (including the audience) hops in a time machine to decide where they'd most like to go in San Francisco history. With cameos from Muni head Jeffrey Tumlin and Countess Lola Montez.
45 min
Love for the Tenderloin, with Matt Haney
33 min
How to save S.F. small business
What we can do to save small business is San Francisco? "Fun Police" podcasters Manny Yekutiel and Sharky Laguana join Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about the present and future of San Francisco, and how lessons learned from a worldwide pandemic can help independent business in the future. Laguana is CEO of the van rental business Bandago and Yekutiel founded Manny's — the community space that will host Total SF's "An Evening with Emperor Norton" on April 28, 2022.
43 min
8 things to do in S.F. this spring!
19 min
8 S.F. tourists traps that we love
With tourists returning in larger numbers to San Francisco, Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight choose the eight touristy destinations they wholeheartedly embrace as locals. Along with the cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, Knight and Hartlaub pick some surprises. Tell us your favorite tourist traps on Twitter — using #TotalSF and tagging @PeterHartlaub and @hknightsf.
22 min
Garfield, Batman and the joy of Bubba Gump Shri...
The Cartoon Art Museum is one of the all-time non-profit survival stories, moving several times since it opened in 1987. It may have found the perfect home in San Francisco's tourism epicenter, on Beach Street a block from Fisherman's Wharf. Total SF co-host Peter Hartlaub sits down with museum curator Andrew Farago, to talk about Garfield, Mark Hamill, Batman, Peanuts, eating at Bubba Gump's Shrimp House and the underrated power of San Francisco as a cartooning powerhouse.
31 min
Secrets of the Armory building!
The National Guard Armory has had fascinating and somewhat random 110-year history in San Francisco, including a military training site, boxing arena, studio where "The Empire Strikes Back" was made and porn studio for Stephanie Blake and Jeremy Houston from Skylight Studios join hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about its latest use — as a flexible event space. The current exhibition is Imagine Picasso, an immersive art experience that has been extended to April 9, 2022.
31 min
Teen "Turning Red" star kept a huge secret
Teen voice actress Rosalie Chiang, the Bay Area native who stars as Mei in Pixar's "Turning Red," wasn't supposed to appear in the finished movie — then was stunned to learn she would have her name at the top of the credits alongside Sandra Oh. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight meet Chiang at the San Francisco Zoo, where a red panda like the one in the movie was renamed for the film. Hartlaub and Knight tell Chiang about the history of S.F. Zoo animal thefts, and Chiang talks about how she landed the role, her first visit to Pixar and how she kept a four-year secret from her friends.
23 min
Comedians! Donuts! Spice Girls! (This episode h...
27 min
Car-Free JFK: Breaking news episode!
11 min
Is San Francisco a great biking city?
San Francisco Chronicle theater critic Lily Janiak is feeling optimistic about the future of live theater in the Bay Area, as she reviews live indoors shows again after a worldwide pandemic. She's also excited about the journey to and from the theaters — since she was hired by The Chronicle, she has been riding her bike to almost every performance. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight meet Janiak next to Bernal Rock, where they talk about their favorite bike lanes, bike mentorship and answer the question: Is San Francisco a great biking city?
35 min
8 reasons why we still love San Francisco
After seeing yet another high-profile attack about "the decline of San Francisco," hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight discuss the myth of the Golden Age of S.F., and then pick eight reasons why they still love the city. The city's parks and views, a few very competent city agencies and the Phoenix mentality are all on the list. Is San Francisco over? Maybe some day, but it's definitely not going to be decided by some venture capitalist on Twitter.
26 min
Secrets of Grace Cathedral!
Grace Cathedral in San Francisco was declared "a house of prayer for all people" when its first cornerstone was laid down in 1910, and the worship center has carried that pledge for more than a century. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight get a tour of the California Street landmark, then sit down with Very Rev. Malcolm Clemens Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral. Young talks about the cathedral's history — including a visit from Martin Luther King Jr. after the Selma march — and its role in the 21st Century as a place for all to enter
27 min
This chill S.F. spot is our pandemic MVP
What has flower pianos, yoga on the meadow and magnolia blossoms and is free to San Franciscans? Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight pay a visit to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the most underrated 55 acres in San Francisco, to get a tour from executive director Stephanie Linder. The Botanical Garden gained popularity during the pandemic, when the open space and good vibes were more valuable than ever. Listeners will find out what happens when visitors try to steal plants (it happens!) and learn some of the secrets of the Garden.
26 min
An interstellar book club, with Charlie Jane An...
Science fiction author Charlie Jane Anders sits down outside the Exploratorium to talk about indie bookstores, the importance of mentors and her book "Victories Greater Than Death" — the latest Total SF Book Club title. Anders published three books in 2021, including a book of short stories ("Even Greater Mistakes") and a book about writing to get through tough times ("Never Say You Can't Survive").
27 min
Sing-alongs, drag queens and Keanu Reeves: All ...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight are joined by Chronicle arts and culture columnist Tony Bravo to talk about The Castro Theatre, and the changes set to happen when Another Planet Entertainment takes over in 2023. San Francisco native Bravo and the hosts share Castro history, its importance to the LGBTQ community and some of their favorite moments at the movie theater — including the "Last Black Man in San Francisco" premiere, and the time Bravo was able to introduce "Vertigo" star Kim Novak to his grandmother. And they share their hopes for the theater's future.
33 min
San Francisco needs a pep talk (on a Ferris wheel)
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight meet up with Bishop Megan Rohrer and end up recorded podcast episode in the most unusual place yet — on the Golden Gate Park Ferris wheel in the music concourse. As they sit in the VIP gondola and enjoy the view, Bishop Rohrer talks about keeping positive in 2022, when resolutions can lead to unneeded guilt and shame. And they give a blessing for San Francisco, and talk about the potential for the city — even during frustrating times.
23 min
Cleaning San Francisco's dirty streets — with H...
Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub spend a Sunday afternoon cleaning up trash in North Beach, after Refuse Refuse SF founder Vincent Yuen put out a Twitter call to Hartlaub, Knight and Hunter Pence, and the former San Francisco Giants outfielder answered. After the event, the Total SF hosts sat down with Yuen to learn his origin story, discover a new word (garbology!), find out why the west side of the street in S.F. accumulates three times as much trash — and why empowering neighbors to clean their streets has become Yuen's mission.
32 min
14 things you must do in S.F. in 2022
With overcast weather and omicron raging, hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight look forward to better days, and make a list of 16 things you should do in San Francisco in 2022. Among the suggestions is the most underrated place in S.F. to watch the sunset, the most entertaining Muni line, a new must-ride ferry route, the best section to watch a Giants game and ... the dissection of a cow eyeball?
27 min
A perfect day in San Francisco (Best of 2021)
Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub break down their perfect day in San Francisco, creating an hour-by-hour list of things to do and places to go in the city, without telling each other until the podcast started rolling. It gets competitive, as Knight picks a more historical and cultural route, while Hartlaub chooses to get inebriated in the morning and eat sandwiches. But it's collectively a celebration of the city, with tips for your next off day in good weather. Some common ground includes the historic F-line street cars, a walk through Golden Gate Park, visits to independent bookstores and big finish on the roof of a drag club in SOMA.
29 min
Good times with "curmudgeon" Quentin Kopp (Best...
Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator and judge — but he's known to local journalists as the most prolific angry letter-writer in the city. In this flashback episode from July 21, 2021, Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight visit the self-professed "curmudgeon" to talk about his life, his letter-writing process, what he really thinks of them ... and to wish him a happy 93rd birthday! After making peace, with no apologies, Kopp lets us know his advice for living a long and active life. (It involves more letters to The Chronicle.)
36 min
Can the Tree Twins save San Francisco?
Married couple Michael Morris and David Sweeney started putting on festive light-up tree costumes for a TV-20 "Dance Party" episode seven years ago. They got such a great reaction, they upped the costume details, upped the glitter and heels and upped their holiday spirit — surprising different neighborhoods in San Francisco throughout the holiday season as the Tree Twins. After Heather Knight spent a fun evening in North Beach with the twins, Total SF hosts Knight and Peter Hartlaub join Morris and Sweeney in their home, to talk about costume-making, what San Francisco neighborhoods are the best and worst for a tree visit — and why the city needs spontaneous joy more than ever.
35 min
Newman. Redford. Hanks ... and Ruthe Stein
After interviewing celebrities (mostly) for the San Francisco Chronicle for the past 50 years, Ruthe Stein has written a memoir of her experiences — "Sitting Down with the Stars: Interviews with 100 Hollywood Legends." Stein sits down with Total SF host Peter Hartlaub to talk about why she asks the uncomfortable questions, who are the nicest and most difficult stars and how she developed her own interest in Hollywood gossip. Hartlaub also asks Stein (his former editor) one tough question from the book: to defend her take that Jerry Lewis was kind of hot. "Sitting Down with the Stars" is available on Grizzly Peak Press.
28 min
Muni driver on his "Shang-Chi" viral moment
Mc "Mack" Allen spent most of the pandemic with his dream of becoming a Muni driver put on hold. But he's driving buses now — part of the new class of Muni drivers — and his tweet thread about the "Shang-Chi" movie bus chase went viral, with a shout-out from Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu himself. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight rode the 44 O'Shaugnessy with Allen, then sat down to talk to him about becoming a bus driver, his first ride on a bus and why he thinks driving a bus will bring him ever closer to San Francisco.
31 min
Secrets of Golden Gate Park!
20 min
A boatload of S.F. history with Gary Kamiya
35 min
Secrets of the Cliff House!
The future of the Cliff House restaurant space is in limbo, but it remains a destination, after the Cliff House Museum moved into the gift shop and set up an exhibit showing the history of entertainment on San Francisco's northwest corner. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight sit down with Western Neighborhoods Project executive director Nicole Meldahl to talk about the recent auction that contributes heavily to the museum collection. Hartlaub, Knight and Meldahl also discuss the potential future of the Cliff House.
31 min
The best views in San Francisco, ranked
Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight pick their all-time favorite views in San Francisco, including Mt. Davidson, the Bernal Heights rock and two different views from modes of public transit. Hartlaub and Knight made their picks during a recording in Glen Park Canyon after going on this year's Peak 2 Peak hike through San Francisco, an annual benefit for members of Walk SF in its 17th year. Walk SF has reopened Peak 2 Peak ticketing for a week — join Walk SF and register here. And share your own favorite views in San Francisco using the hashtag #TotalSF and tagging @PeterHartlaub and @hknightsf on Twitter.
22 min
Colma’s dead tell us their tales
For Total SF's first Halloween episode, hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub meet with Terry Hamburg, director of the Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation, for a tour of some of the Colma-based memorial park's most memorable graves.
25 min
Secrets of the Painted Ladies!
George Horsfall lives in one of the Painted Ladies homes in San Francisco, and he's not just happy to live in the tourist landmark — he wants to share it with the world. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight get a full tour from Horsfall of his blue Victorian on the edge of Alamo Square, made famous by uncountable movie appearances, tourist souvenirs and the opening credits of "Full House." He explains that it's a surprisingly quiet life, and that the tourists are mostly wonderful. After being the recipient of the small "pay it forward" moment years ago, he's decided to give tours of the home, which can be secured by checking out his Instagram @bluepaintedladyhousetour.
18 min
Why we swam in the San Francisco Bay
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight swam in the San Francisco Bay with "Why We Swim" author Bonnie Tsui, as a warm-up for their Total SF Book Club event on November 17 at the San Francisco Public Library. Recording the episode post-swim at Aquatic Park, Tsui talks about an Icelandic legend who survived a frigid multi-hour swim, why San Francisco is a great swimming city and how newcomers can get started — and maybe work up to their own Bay swim. Hartlaub and Knight also recap their very cold but invigorating swim, which included a cameo from former author Daniel Handler.
31 min
Cellos, JFK Drive and the car-free future
25 min
Books on a bike in the Tenderloin District
Alicia Tapia combines books and biking with the Bibliobicicleta, a rolling library that was funded by a Kickstarter and has brought joy and reading to San Francisco. Tapia meets Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight in the Tenderloin, where her bibliobicicleta has found new purpose, parking on the Safe Passage parklet on Turk Street and providing books for children and adults in the neighborhood. Tapia talks about how she started the Bibliobicicleta, why she doesn't need to expand it into a larger franchise and why the Tenderloin feels safer for her than many other places in the city.
24 min
Finding treasure at S.F.'s SCRAP center
Total SF visits SCRAP, the hidden arts and crafts wonderland in the Bayview District of San Francisco. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight tour the non-profit and meet staffers and volunteers (including formerly homeless artist Wayne Foote) who have seen first-hand how discovering art can positively impact children and communities. After touring the facility, Hartlaub and Knight try to beat the clock in an Iron Chef-style collage challenge. Don't miss SCRAP's upcoming "RePurposeful" art show at the Randall Museum, with an October 1 gala and exhibit that lasts through December. Tickets and more information at
20 min
Street performers: The underrated heartbeat of ...
While the cable cars made headlines, another heartbeat of the city has also returned — the San Francisco street performer. Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight hop an F-line from the Powell Street cable car turnaround to Pier 39, to visit some of the city's most successful street artists. We hear from: Marc Coleman, the bard of the Ferry Building; Oakland Originalz dancer and stunt performer Javon Mabon; and and Larry "Bucketman" Hunt, who has been playing drums and eating fire in San Francisco since 1979. (And had a cameo in "The Pursuit of Happyness.") We get some history, and in the end learn the secret superpower of the San Francisco street performer.
26 min
A perfect day in San Francisco
Total SF hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub break down their perfect day in San Francisco, creating an hour-by-hour list of things to do and places to go in the city, without telling each other until the podcast started rolling. It gets competitive, as Knight picks a more historical and cultural route, while Hartlaub chooses to get inebriated in the morning and eat sandwiches. But it's collectively a celebration of the city, with tips for your next off day in good weather. Some common ground includes the historic F-line street cars, a walk through Golden Gate Park, visits to independent bookstores and big finish on the roof of a drag club in SOMA.
30 min
True stories from the Chronicle's funniest writer
Steve Rubenstein, the longest tenured reporter at The Chronicle, joins Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about what the San Francisco Chronicle newsroom was like in 1976, give a review of the newly remodeled newsroom and talk about the reason why he loved every day of his 45-year journalism career (with a short leave to become a substitute public school teacher). Rubenstein also has good Herb Caen and Joe Rosenthal stories, and explains why he'd rather interview the president of the United States' chef than the actual president.
34 min
Secrets of Sutro Tower!
Sutro Tower may be the most beloved landmark among San Francisco residents, and now we all have a PhD in the Sutro's history and present. Sutro spokesman Dave Hyams joins co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about what exactly Sutro does in 2021, the constant maintenance and some wild trivia. Did you know that there's so much concrete underneath Sutro Tower that the center of gravity is below ground? And no mayor has ever been to the top. (Be the first London Breed!) Also in this episode, we give a Total SF Book Club update, and replay Daniel Handler's very funny S.F.-centric accordion version of "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
33 min
A final trip back to the Circle Star Theatre
33 min
Ready for more 'People Behaving Badly'?
33 min
San Francisco's beloved libraries are back
City librarian Michael Lambert discusses how librarians stepped up as disaster service workers during the COVID-pandemic, but are reopening all branches but one this month.
23 min
Into the lion's den with "curmudgeon" Quentin Kopp
36 min
Page Street tribute and the return of S.F.
Co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight record on the Page Street Slow Street, and draft their favorite things that are back since San Francisco reopened. After expressing opinions about the removal of Page Street's artwork, Hartlaub and Knight pay tribute to cable cars, Musee Mecanique and a new Oasis SF drag show.
29 min
"Online piano bar for hippies," with David Gans
37 min
Never leaving San Francisco, with Daniel Handler
43 min
Adam Savage is ready for crowds again
TV host and maker Adam Savage has been holed up in his Mission District "cave" workshop for much of the pandemic. But he's ready for crowds again, planning the Aug. 28-29 SiliCon convention, which will be one of the first Bay Area events with large crowds since the shelter in place started last March. Savage returns to Total SF to speak with co-host Peter Hartlaub about the Mission District and the future of San Francisco, his own convention beginnings, and what he plans to bring to the SiliCon convention.
37 min
Secrets of Angel Island!
Angel Island State Park is our pick for the official post-pandemic paradise of Total SF, with its biking trails, includible views, old buildings and ... did we mention the views? Hosts Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub are joined by retired ranger and historian John Martini, who offers some Angel Island history and makes a case for the park being very underused and underrated. Hartlaub and Knight also announce their next movie night, an IN PERSON screening of "San Andreas" at the Balboa Theatre in San Francisco.
43 min
SF's spiritual spaces, with Bishop Megan Rohrer
Bishop-elect Megan Rohrer returns to Total SF to share some of their favorite spiritual spaces in San Francisco — places where people can feel centered and reflect and revive. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight meet Rohrer in Grace Lutheran Church, and talk about their new job, which will make Rohrer the first transgender bishop of any major denomination religion in U.S. history.
45 min
Crosstown Trail: The epic hike SF needs right now
The Crosstown Trail is the hike San Francisco needs right now, traversing the city on a 17-mile diagonal and daring the walker or biker to fall in love with the city again. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight interview one of the Crosstown Trail's chief advocates and creators, Bob Siegel. But first Hartlaub and Knight recap the 30-Day Small Business Challenge that just ended, and announce their new Total SF Book Club title.
36 min
Renel Brooks-Moon has more to say
Giants PA announcer Renel Brooks-Moon has been a pandemic MVP on social media, continuing to cheer on the Giants and the city of San Francisco, while also speaking her truth about Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd, and baseball's response. She joins hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight in McLaren Park to talk about announcing to an stadium with no fans, the return of baseball crowds and her thoughts about the future of S.F. after the pandemic.
36 min
The little Boat Tram that could ... save San Fr...
The beloved Boat Tram streetcar line is back after a pandemic hiatus and hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight are reporting on the first voyage of the beloved transit icon. Interviews include S.F. Mayor London Breed, Muni director Jeffrey Tumlin and Boat Tram operator Melvin Clark, who was inspired by Rice-O-Roni commercials to cross the country and join Muni.
18 min
Hunter and Alexis Pence go to bat for San Franc...
After Hunter Pence retired from the Giants last year, Hunter and Alexis Pence decided to stay in San Francisco, exploring the city with fresh eyes and tripling down on their support of indie coffee houses and charity for the community. On May 22-23, 2021, they'll host their first coffee pop-up at Basebalism near Oracle Park. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk with the Pences about coffee, baseball and how much they've felt at home in S.F.
47 min
No Safeway? No Amazon? No problem!
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight record in Chinatown's Portsmouth Square to give an update on the halfway point of the 30-Day Small Business Challenge. The Total SF co-hosts discuss the rules of the challenge, some areas where they *might* have broken the rules and how taking the challenge might change behavior (and help local businesses) beyond the 30-day mark.
25 min
The murders that made San Francisco
"The Murders that Made Us" author Bob Calhoun joins Total SF host Peter Hartlaub on the patio of Red's Java House to talk about Gold Rush-era hoodlums, serial killers, cult leaders and other historic Bay Area criminals — and how they shaped the region. The book is true crime, but it's also a thoughtful (and often darkly funny) exploration of San Francisco Bay Area history.
36 min
Moscone Center is the new Disneyland
As the so called "master of disaster" for S.F. Department of Emergency Management, Mary Ellen Carroll had been preparing for an earthquake. But she got a pandemic, and found a home base in Moscone Center, which has become a place of joy for San Francisco residents getting their vaccines. Carroll gives hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight a tour of the facility, and then sits down for an interview about preparedness, Anthony Fauci cardboard cutouts and why San Franciscans can be proud of what they've done for each other.
25 min
Chronicle sports editor Christina Kahrl blazes ...
New San Francisco Chronicle sports editor Christina Kahrl was the first out transgender sports reporter, and takes over leadership of The Chronicle's Sporting Green at an important time for athletics, as sports becomes more intertwined with politics and social justice. Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight meet Kahrl near her new home in Oakland, and also talk about her Oakland A's fandom, sports analytics and her past as a drag queen in the years before she came out.
42 min
Mayor London Breed: Shop locally — now!
San Francisco Mayor London Breed joins Total SF to introduce the Small Business 30-Day Challenge, where San Francisco residents are urged to avoid chain stores and shop local for an entire month. Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight make the pledge as well, and talk to Breed about her favorite small businesses as a child in San Francisco, her comeback after a roller skating fall and some thoughts about a post-pandemic future for San Francisco.
35 min
Car-free JFK Drive is not segregationist, with ...
37 min
Tom Ammiano: "Kiss My Gay Ass"
Tom Ammiano was ahead of his time as a San Francisco supervisor, Assemblyman and the first openly gay member of the SF Board of Education. But he still has stories to tell — about working as a teacher in Vietnam during the war, struggling as a gay comic and his not-always-friendly rivalry with Dianne Feinstein. Total SF co-host Peter Hartlaub flies solo this week, listening to good stories and San Francisco history on location in Ammiano's backyard.
50 min
A total San Francisco book club! w/ "Home Baked...
Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight introduce the Total SF Book Club, interviewing "Home Baked" author Alia Volz. The San Francisco memoir, featuring Volz growing up around her cannabis brownie-dealing parents, is the first book in the new club in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and Green Apple Books. Volz joins Hartlaub and Knight for a conversation across the street from the Mission District warehouse where her parents used to bake hundreds of brownies a day for recreational and later medical drug use.
35 min
Ultrarunner Luke Wicker, and a tribute to Mt. D...
34 min
JFK Drive car-free forever, and Slow Streets dr...
The Total SF team makes a case for keeping JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park car-free forever, and conducts a Slow Streets draft, picking which of the SFMTA reduced traffic street should stay forever - and who should be the mayor of each street. Co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight also update on the Oasis SF telethon from the D'Arcy Drollinger episode, and offer some thoughts about the decision to return cars to Twin Peaks.
30 min
Craig Brewer, "Coming 2 America" director raise...
Craig Brewer, whose love for filmmaking started in Vallejo, talks about falling in love with movies, old school video rental shops and his new film "Coming 2 America." Brewer, who also directed "Hustle & Flow" and "Dolemite is My Name," has directed Eddie Murphy's last two films, and explains what it's like being on a set filled with legends. "Coming 2 America" is out on Amazon Prime Video March 5, 2021.
31 min
Drag performer D'Arcy Drollinger fights to save...
In a special bonus Total SF, D'Arcy Drollinger talks about being a drag performer and small business owner, and the fight to save the Oasis nightclub with an old school telethon. Co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight join Drollinger on the roof of the nightclub at 11th and Folsom streets to learn about the struggles of one nightclub owner — who is trying to raise $100,000 on Saturday, March 6, to stave off closure.
35 min
Cable car tribute (and how the Chronicle almost...
With cable cars gone from San Francisco indefinitely, co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight pay tribute to the landmark transit, with wild history (including the time The Chronicle tried to kill the cable cars) and thoughts about cable cars going future. In the second half of the episode, they replay an interview with cable call bell-ringing champ Byron Cobb, who gives a bell-ringing demonstration.
40 min
Slow Streets tribute, and Amos Goldbaum intervi...
Artist Amos Goldbaum talks about his new mural on the Sanchez Slow Street, as co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight make their first in-person podcast recording in a year. Hartlaub and Knight also pay tribute to Slow Streets, and talk about the recent Richmond District Slow Streets Art Hunt.
30 min
Dr. Bob Wachter on COVID, communicating and why...
Dr. Bob Wachter, UCSF Medical Center chair of the Department of Medicine, joins hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about how he got to San Francisco, his emergence as a go-to on Twitter for COVID information and his new gig as a fill-in host for Andy Slavitt's "In the Bubble" podcast. Wachter also talks about being a communicator, how San Francisco might be viewed when the crisis is over and submits to Heather's lightning round - revealing his favorite San Francisco movie and burrito.
37 min
"Always Be My Maybe" tribute, with Vanessa Hua ...
41 min
S.F. school names we can get behind (a Total SF...
Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk about the San Francisco Board of Education approval to rename 44 schools, they defend Dianne Feinstein as worthy of the school name she's set to lose — and the co-hosts pick some unproblematic citizens whose name should be on a school. Willie Mays, Maya Angelou and Emperor Norton are the starting point.
35 min