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
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
Twin Peaks tribute, and other pandemic things w...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight pay tribute to Twin Peaks, which has been car-free for most of the pandemic but perhaps not for long. Hartlaub shares some Twin Peaks history, including plans for a waterfall, And the hosts pick other pandemic changes that they hope stay around through 2021 — and beyond.
34 min
Kirk Thatcher interview - stories from the punk...
After the success of the Total SF "Star Trek IV" movie night, host Peter Hartlaub interviews Kirk Thatcher, who played the punk on the bus and was an associate producer on the film. In addition to all things "ST IV," Thatcher talks about the rest of his career, including getting hired by Industrial Light & Magic as a teen to work on "Return of the Jedi," and writing and directing many Muppets projects.
51 min
Stories from the San Francisco Chronicle archiv...
The Chronicle archive has photos dating back to the 19th Century. Total SF host Peter Hartlaub and librarian Bill Van Niekerken share secrets from the archive, including their favorite 1906 earthquake finds, some of their favorite finds and Bill's first day on the job. Van Niekerken retired this month, and the archive is now named the Van Niekerken Library.
24 min
Saying goodbye to a horrible and heroic 2020 | ...
Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk about the highs, lows and pure heroism in 2020, and predict good things for San Francisco in 2021. Hartlaub and Knight also end the year with a lightning round, choosing their takeout food MVPs, some of the small businesses that inspired them and what they're looking forward to the most in a post-vaccine world.
39 min
Paula Poundstone in the Chronicle archive | Tot...
Paula Poundstone returns for her annual end-of-year trip to the San Francisco Chronicle archive. During the recording, right before her New Year's Eve show, Poundstone talks to host Peter Hartlaub about her year as a San Francisco bike messenger, shares some Comedy Day in the Park memories and talks about her love of the TV show "M*A*S*H" when she was a broke traveling comic.
47 min
Nathan Tan on graffiti, SF and "Uncle Nate's Cr...
Nathan "Nate1" Tan was a graffiti artist in his teens, then became a clothing designer creating the NewSkool line that specialized in hip-hop influences and San Francisco civic pride. He started a new unexpected career chapter during the pandemic — Uncle Nate of "Uncle Nate's Creativity Time," a series of worksheets and now videos on SFGovTV. Tan joins host Peter Hartlaub to talk about old school San Francisco, indie businesses and his new gig as a video host.
37 min
"Star Trek IV" tribute, with Carly Severn and T...
"Star Trek IV" is "the one with the whales" and it's also the one featuring San Francisco. Carly Severn and Taylor Kate Brown join host Peter Hartlaub to pay tribute to the 1986 film, covering the humor, the environmental message, the punk on the Muni bus and local history of the film. (Including why the San Francisco Chronicle didn't make a cameo.)
48 min
Michael Pritchard gives a pandemic pep talk | T...
Comedian and social worker Michael Pritchard returns to give us a motivational speech for the end of 2020. Pritchard re-joins host Peter Hartlaub and Chronicle homelessness reporter Kevin Fagan to give reason for hope and faith in humanity as we end a tough year with a vaccine in sight. He shares stories about Robin Williams, offers advice for coping with anger and frustration, and talks about what it was like to open as a comedian for the Grateful Dead.
42 min
Andrew Stanton and Bob Pauley interview | "Toy ...
With "Toy Story" turning 25 years old on Thanksgiving 2020, we spoke with Pixar's Andrew Stanton and Bob Pauley about the making of the movie. "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E" director Stanton and "Toy Story 3" and "Toy Story 4" production designer Pauley talk about the highs and lows of making the movie, Steve Jobs and what it was like making the movie in Point Richmond.
32 min
Pixar archive stories, with Jonas Rivera and Ch...
Pixar producer Jonas Rivera and senior historian Christine Freeman join Total SF host Peter Hartlaub to tell stories from the Pixar archive on the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking computer animated film "Toy Story.." They talk about how the archive started, some of the stranger things that are stored there and why a coffee cup stain or even a bank phone number on a piece of artwork is part of Pixar history.
27 min
A tribute to "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" ...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight pay tribute to and break down the 1993 film "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit," joined by @sisterractivism superfan Sarah Katz-Hyman and a cameo from "Sister Act 2" director Bill Duke. Hartlaub, Knight and Katz-Hyman discuss the movie's poor reviews and resurgence, the music and the excellent performance by a pre-fame Lauryn Hill. They also discuss the possibilities of "Sister Act 3."
44 min
Teen metal band Iron Front | Total SF
28 min
A new official flag for San Francisco? | Total SF
Total SF interviews Brian Stokle, a San Francisco resident who created a new San Francisco flag, and has distributed 200 this year — mostly since the shelter in place started. Stokle and S.F. flag researcher John Lumea talk about the history of the San Francisco flag, how Stokle came up with his new flag design, and their thoughts about some kind of city-wide contest in 2021 to create an official flag for San Francisco.
32 min
A very San Francisco engagement, with poet Kevi...
This interview and live podcast features Kevin Dublin, a Bay Area poet and educator who proposed to his girlfriend on the SkyStar observation ferris wheel at Golden Gate Park. Dublin joined Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight days before the planned engagement. Lewin and Dublin are interviewed on the day of the proposal, and Dublin reads his engagement poem - writing that is also a love letter to S.F. called "Such Great Heights."
29 min
Richard Nixon rode on BART, and other transit s...
Michael C. Healy joins Total SF to talk about his years as a BART spokesman, which started before the transit agency opened in 1972. Host Peter Hartlaub and current BART chief communications officer Alicia Trost coax stories from Healy, including the time Atari put arcade games on a BART platform, whether BART could have really crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and comedian Henny Youngman's time in a BART marketing campaign. Healy is the author of "BART: The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System."
47 min
Bart Shepherd interview, Steinhart Aquarium dir...
With the California Academy of Sciences reopening to the public on Oct. 23, Total SF is joined by Bart Shepherd, the senior director of Steinhart Aquarium. Shepherd and host Peter Hartlaub talk about Shepherd's early years working at the old aquarium, the move to 875 Howard Street, and what managing an aquarium has been like during the pandemic. Shepherd also provides an update on Methuselah the Lungfish, at 85+ years old the longest-living fish in captivity.
34 min
Emperor Norton interview | Total SF
San Francisco legend Emperor Norton joins Total SF co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about the early years of San Francisco and answer Knight's lightning round. Also on the podcast is Joseph Amster, who works in the tourism business in the city and is struggling like many others during the pandemic. Amster talks about how he got his start, and why he didn't pick Mark Twain as his character.
30 min
Our favorite Bay Area hikes during the pandemic...
With the pandemic leading to more outdoor hiking opportunities, co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight share their favorite hikes during the pandemic. Selections include multiple hikes on the 49 Mile Scenic Route, two hikes in the South Bay and one creative biking trip from the East Bay to San Francisco. Hartlaub and Knight also give a recap of their recent Walk SF Peak 2 Peak hike.
34 min
Looking back at Orange Skies Day, with Jessica ...
On the one-month anniversary of the day the skies turned orange in San Francisco, host Peter Hartlaub and SF Chronicle photographer look back at the phenomenon known as Orange Skies Day in the Bay Area and beyond. Christian talks about her travels that day, taking iconic photos that were shared on social media by former President Barack Obama. And Hartlaub and Christian talk about how the day will be remembered.
33 min
Muni lines we miss the most, with Muni Diaries ...
Total SF invites our Muni Diaries friends Tara Ramroop and Eugenia Chien to talk about our last Muni rides before the pandemic, our hopes for Muni's future and pick the Muni lines we miss the most. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight also talk with Ramroop and Chien about the sounds of Muni, and the underrated joys of the 36 Teresita and the 39 Coit.
42 min
Raina Telgemeier interview | Total SF indie boo...
Raina Telgemeier is one of the most popular authors in Bay Area history, selling millions of copies of her young adult graphic novels including "Smile," "Ghosts" and her most recent memoir "Guts" — about her middle school anxiety and panic attacks. The San Francisco native joins host Peter Hartlaub as part of independent bookstore tribute month, talking about her relationship with Green Apple Books in S.F. — where she still signs copies of her books by the hundreds and thousands. She also talks about the first bookstore she fell in love with, what's she's reading during the pandemic and how she represents Bay Area landmarks and even weather patterns in her books.
49 min
What should we put in our 2020 Time Capsule? | ...
We're putting together an official "2020 Can Take the 38 Geary-Rapid Straight to Hell" Time Capsule. What should we put in it. Co-hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight offer their suggestions, including masks, off-brand hand sanitizer, murder hornets and a video of Kimberly Guilfoyle's RNC speech. There are some positives too, including all the great porch bands and wonderful photography.
25 min
The great stairways of San Francisco, with Alex...
Urban Hiker founder Alexandra Kenin comes on Total SF to talk about her project personally climbing and documenting San Francisco's 900+ public stairways, and sharing some of her favorites. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight also ask Alexandra about coyote sightings, her favorite public restrooms and the most floors she's climbed in a day. See Alexandra's stairway project at
38 min
Corte Madera theater tribute, with Jason Snell ...
41 min
Jorma Taccone interview | Total SF indie bookst...
Jorma Taccone, director of "MacGruber," co-director of "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" and member of The Lonely Island music/comedy group, has written a children's book. The Berkeley native comes on Total SF to speak with host Peter Hartlaub about why he made "Little Fox and the Wild Imagination" with illustrator Dan Santat. He also talks about fatherhood, scraper bikes, the time he appeared in one of his father Tony Taccone's plays and the importance of indie bookstores. Jorma and Tony Taccone have a "Little Fox" event set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Mrs. Dalloways in Berkeley. More information at
33 min
Officer Edith interview, SF Animal Care & Contr...
Lt. Eleanor Sadler from San Francisco Animal Care & Control has been bringing joy to Twitter and Instagram as "Officer Edith" for years. Sadler joins hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight to talk about how the account started, some of her more interesting animal encounters over the years, the coyotes of San Francisco and how animal lovers sheltering in place can help her small and scrappy city-funded agency.
38 min
Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails - "The Last Black M...
In a flashback episode from June 4, 2019, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” director Joe Talbot and star Jimmie Fails come to The Big Event archive studio to talk about the scrappy road to making the indie movie that the longtime friends co-wrote. Host Peter Hartlaub asks about the 5-year production of the film, and the struggles (and heartwarming joy) of relying on the kindness of strangers for location scouting. And Hartlaub, Talbot and Fails all share their Danny Glover stories. The S.F.-based actor is a star in the film.
41 min
Chris Colin interview, Six Feet of Separation p...
When the shelter in place started, Chris Colin founded the newspaper Six Feet of Separation, written entirely by children with Colin acting as publisher. After national attention including a positive review by Dan Rather, the Bernal Heights newspaper has inspired many more local kid-staffed newspapers. Colin joins Total SF to talk about Six Feet, a writing project involving kids for the San Francisco Chronicle Throughline section and some of his favorite places in San Francisco.
36 min
Chuck Prophet interview | Total SF
San Francisco singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet returns to talk about his life in San Francisco during his longest touring break in decades, his last gig before the shutdown and his new album, "The Land That Time Forgot." Host Peter Hartlaub invites San Francisco Chronicle pop music critic Aidin Vaziri for a short conversation before the interview and to interview Prophet - Vaziri profiles the musicians in the Sunday Datebook section.
37 min
Peter Schwartz interview | Total SF
Peter Schwartz has been working as a futurist and scenario planner for more than 45 years, and he says the pandemic is an event like no other in his lifetime. But he also remains optimistic about where we can go from here. Total SF host Peter Hartlaub interviews the Salesforce senior VP of about his future-obsessed childhood, the changing attitudes about surveillance in the U.S. and the consulting work he's done on iconic movies - including "Sneakers," "WarGames" and "Minority Report."
38 min
Stephan Pastis interview | Total SF indie books...
"Pearls Before Swine: comic strip artist Stephan Pastis was a lawyer who hated his job before starting the strip 20 years ago. The Santa Rosa resident still feels pressure to perform, which has led to some of his best work — including recent strips tackling the COVID-19 crisis. Pastis also talks with host Peter Hartlaub about co-writing the Disney+ "Timmy Failure" movie, meeting his hero Charles Schulz — and he pays tribute to his favorite independent bookstores.
41 min
Jasmine Guillory interview | Total SF indie boo...
Romance novelist Jasmine Guillory joins host Peter Hartlaub to talk about the five novels she's written in the last three years, including the new one "Party of Two." The Bishop O'Dowd grad and lifetime East Bay resident talks about her love of Oakland, why she like to include food details in her writing and her favorite romantic movie. Guillory and Hartlaub also pay tribute to local bookstores - explaining how listeners can support indies during the pandemic.
42 min
Judd Winick interview | Total SF indie bookstor...
Total SF welcomes Judd Winick, author and former "The Real World" cast member, to talk about the 20th anniversary of his AIDS education graphic novel "Pedro and Me" — and to pay tribute to his favorite Bay Area comic book shops. To kick off Total SF indie bookstore month, Winick talks about his successful new series "Hilo," what kept him and his family in San Francisco and why local book stores are worth fighting for.
52 min
Pandemic reading list and indie bookstore tribu...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk about what they've been reading during the shelter in place, and pay tribute to the independent bookstores and comic book shops they hope will survive. Selections include "The Wedding Date" by Jasmine Guillory, "What Unites Us" by Dan Rather and "Cool Gray City of Love" by Gary Kamiya.
35 min
How to create an SF bike utopia, with Lily Jani...
Chronicle theater critic Lily Janiak joins host Peter Hartlaub to talk about her bike-first lifestyle as a critic, and her thoughts about the future of bicycling in San Francisco. With the San Francisco Chronicle's new The Throughline section mapping out a possible biking/walking future, Hartlaub and Janiak suggest a few priorities — and offer listeners help feeling more comfortable biking into the city.
42 min
Chronicle homelessness reporter Kevin Fagan | T...
The San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan is once again at the center of the reporting on a new homelessness project, talks about his own experience with homelessness. He also introduces two songs that he's written about the homeless, and recalls his early music career, which included busking in the UK and New Zealand.
43 min
Extra Spicy hosts Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips...
34 min
David Perlman tribute and final interview | Tot...
After last week's death of David Perlman at age 101, host Peter Hartlaub and reporter Kevin Fagan pay tribute to the legendary former Chronicle science writer, who started at the newspaper in 1940 and worked until his 2017 retirement. After the tribute, we play our 2019 interview with Perlman, celebrating his 100th birthday. Perlman talks about his start at the newspaper, how he became a science writer, coverage from the moon landing to the AIDS crisis and his feelings about retirement at age 98.
42 min
Renel Brooks-Moon interview | Total SF flashback
This Total SF flashback is an interview with Renel Brooks-Moon, longtime Bay Area radio personality, and public address announcer for the San Francisco Giants since 1999. Recording on Aug. 13, 2019, Brooks-Moon visited the Chronicle archive, to speak with host Peter Hartlaub about her early years at KMEL (and one year at KFRC with Dr. Donald D. Rose), her work as a Giants PA announcer and the influence of her father Nathaniel Brooks, an educator who in 1968 became the first black principal in San Francisco.
49 min
Audrey Cooper exit interview & "Pursuit of Happ...
Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper returns to Total SF after her surprise announcement that she'll take over as editor of public radio powerhouse WNYC. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk to Cooper about her first time in San Francisco, her move to New York and the editor submits to Knight's lightning round. And the trio break down one more movie together, "The Pursuit of Happyness," the story of a homeless man struggling to raise his son and become a stockbroker in 1980s S.F.
51 min
Rev. Megan Rohrer interview | Total SF in Exile
Fresh off their appearance on "Queer Eye" Season 5, Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer joins Total SF hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight. They talk about Rohrer's first time visiting San Francisco, ministry at a distance during COVID-19 and what it's like working as an SFPD Chaplain and with the homeless in these uncertain times. Rohrer also talks about their visit to the "Queer Eye" set, and completes Heather's lightning round.
40 min
Hunter and Alexis Pence interview | Total SF in...
San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and "Let's Get Lexi" creator Alexis Pence join Total SF to talk quarantine life, walk-up songs, best SF cheeseburgers and make a special announcement — Hunter and Alexis' latest Pineapple Labs coffee has partnered with the San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing fund, with proceeds from their June coffee going to the fund. The coffee and mug are available at
41 min
The lost Jeffrey Tumlin episode | Total SF in E...
38 min
"Contagion" breakdown, with Audrey Cooper & Hea...
Total SF breaks down "Contagion," The Steven Soderbergh film was not considered a San Francisco classic (or even an S.F. movie) when it came out in 2020, but it has become iconic for its clairvoyance of the coronavirus pandemic. Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight are joined by Chronicle editor Audrey Cooper, and they talk about how a Chronicle desk got in the movie, the short life span of Gwenyth Paltrow and what the movie got right and wrong.
42 min
SF quarantine house draft, with Heather Knight ...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight make a round-by-round draft of the San Francisco residents they'd want in their quarantine house, battling each other for Marc Benioff, Hunter Pence and a few other surprises. Hartlaub and Knight also recap their first virtual movie night, "Inside Out," which brought #SFRuinsPizza to the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter.
31 min
Total SF "Inside Out" movie night pre-show | To...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk about their fifth Total SF Movie Night #5, a Saturday 4/25 screening of "Inside Out" with pizza and pillow fort making challenges. They also talk about keeping things ;positive in San Francisco, and Heather's big column writing award.
23 min
The 5 greatest SF movies, with Heather Knight |...
Hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight reunite to rank their five favorite San Francisco movies to watch while sheltering in place — this is a happy podcast and all of the movies are funny, action-packed or inspiring. They also talk more about their first virtual Total SF event, an "Inside Out" virtual movie night at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.
34 min