Dialed in to Sausalito’s Past. . . and Present

By Larry Clinton, Sausalito Historical Society

Tera Ancona checks out the payphone recordings outside Cibo.                       Photo by Larry Clinton

Tera Ancona checks out the payphone recordings outside Cibo. Photo by Larry Clinton

When Alfredo and Tera Ancona opened their second Sausalito restaurant, Cibo, at 1201 Bridgeway, they noticed a decommissioned phone booth out front by the sidewalk. Tera decided to repurpose the old payphone to “present our great community in a unique way.”  Her dream was to offer a quarterly audio magazine with short talks by or about Sausalito locals, which people could hear over the phone.

For help, she turned to friends Philip and Tonya Wood at San Francisco-based Sound Made Public, a creative agency focusing on audio experiences, large and small, that change the way we hear the world.  They arranged to have a receiver installed in the old phone, so it could play back recorded messages.

Today, passersby can step up to the booth, check out a menu of current messages, and select one or more using the touchtone keypad. Carie Meier and Kourosh Ghadishah of the Caledonia St. firm LondonMeier created the visuals behind the payphone.

The selection of recordings is eclectic, ranging from an old timer recalling Sausalito during the Summer of Love to a poem by Naiomi Shihab Nye performed by voice over professional Joe Paulino.  A fellow named Jeremey describes living aboard a 26-foot sailboat for 18 years.  A segment called “Salty & Soundpresents a one-minute immersive audio postcard of Sausalito sounds. There’s a 4-minute biography of Sally Stanford, the ex-Madam who became mayor of Sausalito. The group El Cajon performs the song “Captain” from their album “Meteor.”  Various locals share what they like most about Sausalito.  And there’s a search and find game with various riddles which must be solved to uncover a surprise.

Tera even gets into the act herself, offering her recipe for the perfect pie shell.

The plan is to change the menu quarterly, so repeat visits are recommended.  And the best part? There’s never a busy signal.

Find out more about the Bridgeway Phonebook Project at https://www.cibosausalito.com/bridgeway-payphone-project.