Author: Bayley McMillan
Walking through this vibrant Mission neighborhood, you might think this storefront at 21st and Florida is more of a “what once was”—the door is generally closed, the windows are covered, it’s painted all over in black. But then you notice the pirate ships. This ground-level studio is the home of Mutiny Radio, a station comprised of community-produced audio. Its shows, which are broadcast on its site, run the gamut of what is aurally possible. Bughouse Square (live on Tuesdays from 6-8pm) is totally comprised of music—submitted by the artist—that is made in the same space that the musician sleeps in. The rule is if you sleep in your bedroom, you can send in music you make in there. Same goes for your car, the park, your friends’ couch, etc. Occult Oubliette (Tuesday 10-12pm) is on various magic practices and how to perform them. There’s Let’s Watch a Full-Length Movie on Youtube from 2-4pm on Sundays, Ask a Divorcee on Thursdays from 8-10, TransWorld Mondays 12-2pm, and Trish and Dan Face Oblivion from 8-10 on Wednesdays. Mutiny encourages hosts to take their far-out or offbeat ideas and develop them into a voice. These shows are also available podcast-style on their website.
Although Mutiny is open to having shows on literally anything—it’s a socialist, community-run project—it reserves special attention for fostering local comedy. Pam Benjamin is Mutiny’s fearless leader and a popular Bay Area stand-up comedian. A socialist by day and by night, Pam has been working on radio projects in this space since 2007 when Mutiny’s predecessor Pirate Cat Radio was here. Benjamin took over the studio and event space in 2011, and is now the fearless leader of about fifty DJs and the host of a thriving local comedy community. Mutiny hosts a comedy showcase on their main stage every Friday evening from 8-10pm and a joke workshop on Mondays from 6-8pm.
Mutiny, more than anything, wants to connect local talent with an engaged audience—whether that’s live on air or up on stage. San Francisco has long been a world-class comedy incubator—think Robin Williams or Margaret Cho—and Mutiny wants to harbor a safe and encouraging environment for folks who are just getting started. Beyond comedy, Benjamin wants to give people a platform to share whatever it is they have to say. Mutiny offers Radio DJ and podcasting classes to kids at the local Boys and Girls Club (you can check out their show Kidz Club Radio on Thursdays from 4-6) and engages with youth from around the Mission, helping them explore a new medium and hone their skills.
And, Mutiny Radio wants YOU! To come down to an open mike, to check out their event space, call in to their shows, and engage with their homegrown community. Keep an eye out for their annual comedy festival during the first week of March that attracts local as well as international talent. If you’ve ever felt the call of the stage—or the DJ booth—21st and Florida is where you need to be, because at Mutiny Radio they are doing it live.
My engaging and hilarious interview with Pam (hey, she is a comedian!) was broadcast on July 25th. You can check it out on Mutiny’s archive here: http://pcrcollective.org/