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If These Walls Could Talk
How old is your house? Who built it and how has it changed over the years? Noe Valley residents lucky enough to live in an older home can start unearthing the answers to these questions at a free lecture and slide show on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m., at the Main Library downtown.
Three architectural and house historians--Anne Bloomfield, William Kostura, and Voice contributor Tim Kelley -- will describe the various tools they use to track down the history of a San Francisco house. Using slides, they will point out the city's architectural styles and neighborhood development, and then lead the audience through a typical case study. They'll also give advice on reference sources, since many records were destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.
The presentation, sponsored by the San Francisco History Center and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, will be held in the Koret Auditorium at the New Main at Larkin and Grove streets. For more information, call 557-4277.
The Holidays Are Just for Fun
If you're tired of dragging out the same old decorations every holiday season, Just for Fun, the gift store at 24th and Noe streets, has a great opportunity coming up. From Nov. 1 to 9, the store will host a series of "Home for the Holidays" events, including decorating seminars, a silent auction, and an open house party.
The holiday events, co-sponsored by the Minnesota collectibles maker Depart-ment 56, will also feature a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House, the organization that provides a fun home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children. Just for Fun will offer an exclusive Ronald McDonald House ornament for sale. A dollar from each ornament sold will go to the San Francisco House.
In the silent auction, which also benefits the local charity, the item up for bid will be "The House That Love Built," a Department 56 limited-edition, lighted village table decoration.
Just for Fun will also sponsor free decorating demonstrations throughout the week. On Monday, Nov. 3, the shop will show how to make a centerpiece. Folks can learn how to properly light a Christmas tree on Wednesday, Nov. 5. And on Friday, Nov. 7, an expert will demonstrate how to make tree toppers and bows. All demonstrations are at 7 p.m.
The nine-day event will culminate with an Open House on Sunday, Nov. 9, from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be food and drink, and representatives from several ornament companies will be on hand to show off their decorations.
To place a bid in the auction (Nov. 19) stop by Just for Fun at 3982 24th St. The store will be open from 9 to 9 on weekdays, until 8 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. For details, call 285-4068.
17 Bands, 7 Hours of Music
Mayor Willie Brown thinks the Noe Valley Music Festival is so much fun -- and such a good cause -- that he's declared Nov. 8 Noe Valley Music Festival Day in San Francisco. On that day, six local bars will host 17 rock, folk, Latin, blues, and jazz bands, from 2 to 9 p.m.
The 13th annual event will benefit the John Condrin Memorial Fund at San Francisco General Hospital and two sen-iors groups, Centro Latino de San Francisco and the Noe Valley Senior Center.
Among the bands, "Jimmy and the Weasels is a Noe Valley favorite," says festival coproducer Gus Vallejo, "and Jen-
ifer McKitrick is another local musician."
Jimmy and the Weasels will play at Jack's Taps at Church and 25th from 2 to 4 p.m., followed by Stone Trout (4 6) and Rattled Cans (6 8).
Jenifer McKitrick, of Swingin' Doors fame, will kick off the music at the Rover's Inn on 24th near Castro at 2 p.m. Rich and the Sawbucks will take the stage from 3 to 5, followed by the Shotwell 7 group (5 7) and the Tune Buckets (7 9).
Noe's Bar at 24th and Church will feature the S.F. Link from 2:30 to 5:30 and Bandido from 6 to 8 p.m. The Schooner Tavern, 1498 Valencia St., will host the Dave Galaxy Band from 3 to 5, and the Palm Garden Band from 5:30 to 7:30.
At O'Greenberg's Pub on Dolores Street, Grassy Kid Stuff will perform from 2 to 4, followed by the Joyce Garcia Blues Band from 4 to 6. Robbie McGregor will do the last set from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Tom Lander Group plays jazz from 2 to 3 at Tien Fu Restaurant and Bar on 24th Street near Sanchez. Jody Gabriel will entertain the crowd from 6 to 8 p.m. (The midafternoon slot will be filled soon.)
This festival survives on audience donations alone, so no tickets are necessary. Simply wander from place to place, and show up wherever your favorite band is playing. To talk to Gus, call 285-2892.
A Bike Lane of Their Own
Bikers in Noe Valley may soon have an easier ride to downtown San Francisco, if neighbors and businesses on Valencia Street get their way. Cyclists hope to paint a separate bike lane on Valencia, allowing safer two-wheeled passage through the Mission District. Though the street has already been designated an official bike route by the city's Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT), bikers currently must share the road with cars. The separate lane would give bicyclists their own strip of road.
Board of Supervisors member Jose Medina has requested a hearing on Nov. 6 to decide whether the bike lane is feasible. According to supporters, most nearby residents and shops are enthusiastic. But the Traffic Department has raised concerns that the lane would cause too much auto congestion on Valencia Street.
All sides will have a chance to voice their opinions at the November hearing. For the exact time and location, call Supervisor Medina's office at 554-5405.
Cuban jazz duo John Santos and Omar Sosa will headline a concert at the Noe Valley Ministry on Friday, Nov. 7, to benefit IDEX (International Development Exchange), a group supporting grassroots economic projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The event will also include a performance by Rebecca Riots, an East Bay "radical" folk rock trio of women singer-guitarists. Folk musician Deborah Pardes is also in the lineup.
Pianist Omar Sosa has toured in Angola, Nicaragua, the Congo, and Ethiopia, and is soon to release a CD with percussionist John Santos. The pair recently appeared at the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
Concert organizers say 100 percent of ticket sales will go to three IDEX programs: a project to provide a grinding mill for a community in Ghana; a women's rope-making project in India; and a proj-ect to improve the water supply in El Guacimal, Honduras.
Between acts, the show will feature a short monologue describing life in each of the three regions.
The performance will be at the Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez St. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $16 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Streetlight Records on 24th Street and Round World Records on Guerrero, or by calling IDEX at 824-8384.
Carnival of Cultures
People of all ages and ethnicities are invited to attend the second annual Carnival of Cultures, to be held at the 30th Street Senior Center on Saturday, Nov. 8. You can sample foods from around the globe, win hundreds of dollars in raffle and piñata contests, and kick up your heels to the music of two Latin bands.
The evening's buffet will feature down-home barbecue, and an exotic mix of Italian, Thai, Chinese, and Spanish fare. Many local eateries will also donate food, including Valentine's, Savor, and What's for Dessert. The San Francisco bands Los Compas and Loco Bloco will both perform, and western line dance deejay Cactus Rose will spin some tunes.
Other entertainment will include Latino folk dancing and a piñata contest -- with separate competitions for the 17-and-under-crowd and those over 18. The top winner in each age group will take home $300. Speaking of prizes, the grand prize in the raffle is $500.
The carnival starts at 7 p.m. at On Lok's 30th Street Senior Services, located at 225 30th St. near Dolores. All proceeds support the senior center's social, health, and nutrition programs. Tickets are $50; entry in only the piñata contest is $25. For tickets or more information, call 292-8733.
Follow the Singing Rainbow
Noe Valley's Singing Rainbow Youth Ensemble and the San Francisco Children's Chorus will perform together for the first time on Sunday, Nov. 16, at Com-munity Music Center on Capp Street.
Both groups are directed by Diamond Street resident Candy Forest. The two ensembles will each do a separate set, then sing a few numbers together.
"Most of their songs are about love of the earth, the animals, and each other," says Forest. She is especially excited about a new tune, "Dog Star," which she says is "too cute for words. The kids do a 'woof-woof' chorus. And it's the first time it's been performed in public."
The Rainbow will also sing selections from their hit recordings, including the popular "I'm a Reptile." An adult Noe Valley singing group, the Refractions, will make a special guest appearance. "They'll perform a madrigal song about a cow, and do some other surprises," Forest says.
The show is free, and everyone is invited. The event will be held at 3 p.m. at 544 Capp St., between 20th and 21st streets. For information, call 550-7752.
Poetry Benefit for Jamestown
Poetry buffs, prick up your ears! A poetry reading with Victor Martinez is happening on Nov. 13 at Cafe Que Tal on Guerrero Street. Martinez, a Mission District resident and winner of the National Book Award, is the author of Parrot in the Oven and Caring for a House. Other poets, including Edith Hartnett, Joey Sutter, and Frank Holt, will also read.
All proceeds will benefit Jamestown Community Center, the former Fair Oaks Street youth program now housed in several local schools. "Last year it was marvelous," said Paul Nixon, a Fair Oaks resident and Jamestown booster. "We had all these local people reading. The neighborhood spirit is really great in this. This money will be the seed money for another big [Jamestown] fundraiser in the spring."
Tickets are $8 per person or $15 per couple. That price includes one free coffee, tea, or soda. A cash bar will also be available for food, beer, and wine. The event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at Cafe Que Tal at 1005 Guerrero St. near 22nd Street. For more information, call Katie or Claudia at 647-4709.
Ackamoor Plays Original Jazz
Jazz musician and theater director Idris Ackamoor -- a former Noe Valley resident whose most recent touring engagements included the Jamaica Jazz Festival, Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem, and the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C. -- will celebrate the release of his premiere solo CD, Portrait, at two neighborhood venues this month.
First, on Saturday, Nov. 8, his quartet, composed of Ackamoor on alto sax, Fred Harris on piano, Mark Williams on bass, and Al Marshall on drums, will play Radio Valencia, at the corner of Valencia and 23rd streets. The group will showcase original compositions in two sets, at 7:30 and 9 p.m.
Then on Saturday, Nov. 15, 8:15 p.m., Ackamoor will present a special concert at the Noe Valley Music Series, 1021 San-chez St. This show will feature a guest appearance by performance artist Rhodessa Jones, Ackamoor's longtime partner and co-artistic director in Cultural Odyssey, a theater company rooted in African-American music and dance traditions.
"Rhodessa Jones will perform with the quartet doing several spoken word pieces," says Ackamoor. "They are excerpts from a play called Raining Down Stars, in which we mimed our ancestral stories."
Jones, who still lives in Noe Valley, is also known for her Medea Project, a theater workshop for women behind bars.
Tickets are $10. For more information, call Cultural Odyssey at 292-1850.
AIDS Hotline Is Up All Night
Are you a night owl? Are you a good listener? Perhaps you'd like to spend a few evenings a month helping others.
The AIDS/HIV Nightline will start a new training class for volunteers on Thursday, Nov. 6, in downtown San Francisco near Market and Montgomery streets. Volunteers field calls from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night of the week.
"There is a tremendous variety of callers," says staff member Rolph Shanabruch. "Some people just want basic HIV information. Others are in terrible mental and physical shape. Sometimes it's the most we can do, just to help people get through the night."
The training includes basic instruction in how HIV is transmitted and treated and in how to talk to someone who may be suicidal or mentally ill. Participants also role-play typical phone calls, and hear presentations from outside experts.
Volunteers must pass an exam at the end of the training and are asked to commit to four four-hour shifts per month.
At the Nov. 6 meeting, Nightline staff will work out a training program to suit the class members' schedules. All volunteers must speak with a staff member and fill out an application form before starting training. To sign up, call Shanabruch at 984-1902.
Gobble Gobble Gobble
For the 27th year, the Noe Valley Nursery School will host a community Thanksgiving feast on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Originally for school alumni, families, and friends, the event now includes members of the Noe Valley Senior Center and other building users at the Noe Valley Ministry. Neighbors and local merchants are also invited.
"We cook 9 to 10 turkeys," says Nursery School Director Nina Youkelson. "The food is donated and then prepared by parents. The children make all the bread and pies here at school that week. We've had as many as 200 people attend in past years."
The event begins at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at the Nursery School, which is located on the main floor at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St. For further details, call Youkelson at 647-2278, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
A Democratic Correction
In last month's Short Takes, the Voice reported that the Noe Valley Democratic Club had not taken a stand on Proposition H, the Nov. 4 ballot measure that advocates retrofitting the Central Freeway. This was incorrect.
In fact, the club recently rejected the freeway proposition. In advising its members to vote no on Prop. H, the club stated, "This overly specific measure ties the city's hands and eliminates other options for solving the freeway problem, such as tearing down or building a new structure."
The Voice regrets the error.
This month's Short Takes were written and edited by Erin O'Briant, Dodie Hamblen, and Sally Smith.