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By Erin O'Briant
Fair Oaks Street Fair Is May 9
Last May I woke up early one Saturday morning to the sound of children shrieking happily outside my window. When I stumbled out to get the paper, I saw my street -- Fair Oaks -- swarming with kids selling lemonade, grownups setting up their wares in garages, and shoppers from all over the neighborhood. All this at 6:30 a.m.
Well, it's about to happen again. The 23rd annual Fair Oaks Neighbors/James-town Center Flea Market and Block Fair will take place on Saturday, May 9, officially from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will fill five blocks of Fair Oaks Street from 21st to 26th streets. Locals are welcome to peddle treasures from their homes and garages (but please no new items).
Professional vendors may not sell wares -- after all, the Fair Oaks Street Fair was voted Best Street Fair by the Bay Guardian in 1997 because the organizers avoided such commercialization.
If you're thinking about driving to the fair, think again: you'll never find parking. Pack the kids in their strollers and trek over -- the fun part is walking around and trying all your neighbors' barbecue.
Local folks who would like to set up shop at the fair should call Pam Coxon at 648-4977 for more details. Me? I've got a couple of chairs to get rid of, and those kids in the next block make great lemonade...so see you there!
Is Your Bike Missing?
A Noe Valley woman shopping at a Day Street garage sale was surprised to see her bicycle -- which had recently been stolen from her home -- for sale.
She reported her suspicions to the police, and local officers sent an undercover cop to the garage sale site in the 099 block of Day Street on March 28. The officer offered to sell the two men who were holding the garage sale -- one older and one younger -- three stolen bikes. The younger man told the officer to come back later with whatever he had.
When the undercover officer arrived with the stolen bikes, the older man was present, but his partner was no longer on the scene. According to Officer Ed Col-lins of the Ingleside Police Station, the man was eager to buy the stolen bikes, saying, "I'll buy anything you've got."
The Day Street resident was arrested for buying stolen goods, and about 50 bikes and scores of bike parts were seized from his home. Most of the bikes seized were worth $1,000 or more. The man claimed he purchased the 50-odd bikes from flea markets and other venues.
If you think your bicycle may be among those seized on Day Street, contact Officer Ed Collins at the Ingleside Police Station at 553-1603.
Laughing It Up at Java 'n' More
A local comic -- and the owners of Java 'n' More coffeehouse on Church Street near Clipper -- have launched a new comedy open mike night. Every Saturday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., comics come in to test out their new material. Usually anywhere from 5 to 15 jokesters show up and perform five-minute sets.
"I've tried to simulate a club setting as much as possible," says Jean Markison (a.k.a. Armstrong), the open mike organizer. "I had a carpenter friend build a stage by the window, and we have amps and a mike."
Markison, a Noe Valley resident since 1979, started up the Saturday comedy nights in January. "The owners of Java 'n' More are comedy fans from way back," she said. "So when I suggested it, they said, 'Yeah!'"
Sign-up for comedians starts at 7 p.m., and fans should plan to show up about 7:30 p.m.
Excellent Music at the Ministry
Toes will be tapping at the Noe Valley Ministry this month, when the Noe Valley Chamber Music Series and the Community Music Center on Capp Street present "Pursuit of Excellence," a free concert featuring faculty and advanced students from the Music Center.
The students will perform in a range of styles, from Beethoven and Bach to American jazz to Islamic music from China. The show will be held Sunday, May 17, from 2 to 4 p.m., and a reception will follow the performance. For more on the lineup, call 647-6015.
Later in the month, the Sávina Women's Folk Choir will hold a concert at the Ministry on May 30 at 8:15 p.m. Dressed in colorful folk garb, the choir will perform traditional music from Bulgaria, Russia, the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Finland. The show will include village folk songs and more complex arrangements by native composers.
Songs will be performed both a cappella and accompanied by a folk band, featuring fiddle, accordion, and bass. For more info and musical sound bites from Sávina, check out the group's web site at www.sfo.com/~savina.
The Noe Valley Ministry is at 1021 Sanchez near 23rd (phone 282-2317). Everyone is welcome.
Rooftop and Alvarado Festivities
Two nearby schools will be throwing big bashes this month. Alvarado Elementary will go first with a carnival and dance on May 16. Then Rooftop Elementary will hold a retirement party and auction on May 24.
The Alvarado event, to be held at the school at 625 Douglass St. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include a barbecue, kids' games, face painting, and live salsa music by the band Grupo Mazacote. There will even be a fire-eating performance. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Proceeds from food sales will benefit the Alvarado PTA.
The following weekend, Rooftop Alternative School will stage an event honoring four teachers and Principal Nancy Mayeda, all of whom are retiring at the end of the year. There will also be a silent auction to raise money for the school. Goods and services include children's art works and a free dinner for eight cooked in your home.
The party starts at 4:30 and runs into the evening, and will be held at the Hall of Flowers off Ninth Avenue in Golden Gate Park. For a more complete list of auction items, call Rooftop at 695-5691.
The Truth About Cats and Dogs
Judging from all the animals around the neighborhood, there are plenty of Noe Valley pet lovers. You can share that love of animals with kids this summer by volunteering at the San Francisco SPCA summer camp. The camp operates in one-week sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. starting June 22, and volunteers can sign up for two days or more per session. Call Judy Jenkins at 554-3065 for the scoop.
This month, owners of aggressive dogs can attend a help session on May 23, 3 to 5 p.m., with canine behaviorist Bob Gutierrez at the SPCA, located at 2500 16th St. Cost is $10 to the public, or free to SPCA members. To register, call 522-3524 (no dogs allowed -- owners only).
Cat lovers can attend a class on neonatal kitten care on May 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And a course on humane trapping of feral cats has been set for May 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Want to help animals find good homes? The new Maddie Center at the SPCA needs volunteers to help with pet adoption services. Call 554-3097 to sign up.
Coming in June, the SPCA will sponsor the Animal Wingding '98, an all-day street fair for people and pets on Sunday, June 7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 16th and Alabama streets.
And bear in mind you can have your cat (or a stray) spayed or neutered at the SPCA for free, and the SPCA will give you $5 cash for bringing in the animal.
Take a Walk at Mission Dolores
Just north of Noe Valley lies historic Mission Dolores -- where many of the first Spanish settlers in this area lived. City Guides, a nonprofit group, is now offering free walking tours of the Mission Dolores neighborhood.
You'll learn more about the Spanish Mission that formed the area, the people who gave their names to San Francisco streets, and the lake that has long vanished from the urban landscape. The tour meets at the gold-painted fire hydrant on the southwest corner of Church and 20th streets (the J-Church streetcar line takes you right to the spot).
The walk starts at noon on May 10 and 17 and will be offered during the summer, also. Call 557-4266 to check the City Guides schedule of more tours.
Teens Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance
Teens with a yen for the stage will have a great time this summer, at the Young People's Teen Musical Theatre Company Summer Workshop. Auditions are going on this month for two productions, Plain & Fancy, a story about two sophisticated New Yorkers who visit the Amish community, and You Gotta Have Hart, a tribute to composer Lorenz Hart.
Folks 13 to 18 who have an interest in acting, dancing, or singing are welcome to try out on May 15 from 4 to 7 p.m.; May 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.; and May 20 from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Harvey Milk Recreation Center at 50 Scott St. near Duboce. Classes in singing, jazz and tap dancing, and acting will be available to all participants. No experience is necessary -- just an interest in musical theater.
The workshop will run from June 30 to Aug. 16. Plain & Fancy will be performed at San Francisco State University Aug. 6 through 9; You Gotta Have Hart will play Aug. 13 to 16 at the Randall Museum Theatre. Though there is a fee of $140, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, call the director, Diane Price, at 554-9523.
Awards for People and Parks
Our neighbors who work so hard to make Noe Valley charming may finally get some recognition. San Francisco Beautiful plans to honor folks who have improved our city's livability by landscaping, removing litter and graffiti, painting murals, and generally fixing up the neighborhood.
Nominations for the group's 1998 awards must be turned in by June 15; awards will be presented at an annual dinner this fall. Call San Franciso Beautiful at 421-2608 for information on how to make a nomination.
For individuals or groups who need some help getting started on their outdoor projects, the Friends of Recreation and Parks is offering grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to improve local parks. Proposals must improve a park's appearance or programs, and should include matching community funds or goods and services. They also must serve as a model of collaboration with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
For details, call the Friends of Rec and Parks at 750-5110.
News from the Zoo
Kids and adults who love furry and feathered creatures will be happy about some changes at the San Francisco Zoo, located on Sloat Boulevard almost to the Pacific Ocean.
The Zoo has a new Rainbow Landing, a walk-through aviary featuring colorful Australian rainbow lorikeets. Visitors get to feed nectar to the birds, which then may land on visitors' arms and shoulders.
Other big attractions include the Aye-Aye Forest (home to a pair of rare nocturnal primates), the Australian Walkabout, Koala Crossing, Gorilla World, and -- of course -- the Children's Zoo, which features an insect zoo and barnyard. Feline lovers can see lions and tigers at the Big Cat Feeding in the Lion House daily at 2 p.m. (except Mondays).
Admission fees have also been revised, effective last month. New prices and categories are as follows: San Francisco residents pay $7 for adults 18 to 64, $3.50 for youths 12 to 17, $3.50 for seniors 65 and over, and $1.50 for children 3 to 11. The Zoo is free for kids 2 and under. Folks from outside the city pay $9 for adults, $6 for youths and seniors, $3 for children, and no charge for kids 2 and under.
The Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info, call 753-7080.
Tribute to Silent Movie Stars
Silent film fans will love the new "Stars of the Silent Screen" exhibit at the What's for Dessert cafe in Noe Valley. Sponsored by the Louise Brooks Society, the show will include vintage memorabilia such as portraits and film stills, cigarette cards, candy tins, movie heralds, sheet music, advertisements, and movie magazines. Actors represented in the show include Louise Brooks, Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, and many others.
This exhibit marks the 10th anniversary of What's for Dessert, located at 1497 Church St. "Stars of the Silent Screen" will be on display through May 31.