Noe Valley Voice November 1998

Rumors: Hot Flashes from the NVBI

By Mazook

DATELINE NOE VALLEY: Nov. 1, 1998. The Noe Valley Bureau of Investigation (NVBI) has determined through its vast network of spies that the impeachment proceedings in Washington, D.C., pose a serious threat to the security and well-being of the men, women, children, and other citizens of our neighborhood, city, state, and country. Noe Valleons must therefore unite to stop it.

The NVBI's political intelligence has revealed that the only way to avert a constitutional crisis is for every registered voter to actually vote. If that happens, the citizens of our great nation will throw all those glass-house-living, stone-throwing, privacy-invading Republican rascals out of Congress, and then move on with the things that really matter, like Health, Education, and Public Welfare.

To further this end, the NVBI is making an urgent plea to the nearly 7,000 Noe Valleons who voted in the June election to get the other 8,000 registered Noe Valley voters to VOTE NOV. 3, and then go home and call at least five registered voters they know anywhere else in the United States and urge them to VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. Is that clear?

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NOE VALLEY HAS LOST two famous cartoonists to "three acres and a pond in East Haddam, Connecticut," says Bill Griffith and his wife Diane Noomin, who left in mid-October.

Bill is famous for his pointy-headed cartoon character (and my Voice pagemate) Zippy. Diane is best known for her "Twisted Sisters" collections of strips.

"We are not happy to leave Noe Valley, but we both needed a change at this time," explains Griffy. He originally moved to the Bay Area from New York in 1970.

Also, he and Diane "were able to sell our Noe Valley house for four times what we paid for it 16 years ago, which got us the three acres and a pond -- actually it's a pool -- in a great place on the East Coast. I'm very thankful to every double-seated stroller on 24th Street and all those Starbucks aficionados" for pushing up the property values.

"We have moved to a community that has been here since the late 1600s, so it is pretty, Nathan Hale was born here in 1755," says Bill. (Hale was a spy for the American Revolution, by the way.)

He says he feels lucky that his artistic vocation allows him to move anywhere. "Yeah, my career is basically contained in a 15- by 20-inch portfolio, and being near a post office."

Zippy, you may already know, is all set to star in his own animated TV series, being launched on Showtime next fall. Diane is the key writer for the series, but will get some help from a couple of Seinfeld scriptwriters.

"We are excited about it because there is no censorship on Showtime," says Diane, licking her chops. Diane's comics are still readily available at the Virgin Megastore at Market and Powell downtown.

And don't worry about Zippy leaving the Voice. Bill assures us that even though he and Diane have split town, Zippy will continue to wander dazed through our cafe culture, and record his observations in regular strips on these pages.

Oh, and if you want to write the Zipsters, their new address is Pinhead Productions, P.O. Box 88, Hadlyme, CT 06439. Bill and Diane's newfound friend Andrea runs the post office there. (E-mailers, try

We'll miss you, Bill and Diane. Send us a postcard. Better yet, send us a snapshot, with you guys reading the Voice.

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SPEAKING OF E-MAIL, the Voice got one recently from somebody named "Willookatt," regarding last month's Rumors item about Eddie DeBartolo Jr.'s signing a check for $860K to buy his daughter a house in Noe Valley for her 21st birthday.

According to Willookatt's message, the money was "her check not his, it wasn't a birthday gift, and -- hello??? -- she is 23 years old!"

Attempts to reach Eddie Junior's junior for confirmation have failed. She didn't return calls left on her voice mail. But anyway I apologize for the mistake(s).

One thousand apologies also to Sam Sirhed, who is rebuilding the storefront where Suzie's Laundry was on 24th near Church. I erroneously reported last month that the new structure would have five residential units. In reality, it will have only two! Sorry for my inflated remarks.

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OF INTEREST to all the chain store watchers out there is that a local bagelry has very quietly downsized from a chain outlet to an owner-run shop. That would be Posh Bagel, which became Noe Bagels over the summer.

The new owner, Billy Lim, says he took over the business but will continue to bake and serve a posh line of bagels. "I didn't want to change anything because these bagels are so popular in this neighborhood," he says. (Posh still operates 10 stores in the South Bay.)

Billy comes from a family of bakers ("we are seven kids altogether") who operate five bagelries -- called Benjamin Bagels -- in Pleasanton, and 15 "Donut Baskets" around the Bay Area.

You might also be interested to know that the corner building at Church and 27th streets, where Lady Sybil's used to be, has been purchased by Teresa and Dan Donnelly, who own and operate the Danu hair salon next door.

The Donnellys are starting a much-needed renovation of the storefront, which will soon be rented to someone whom they promised they wouldn't reveal right now.

Teresa, who was born and raised in Noe Valley, opened her hair salon about a year ago. "We are doing great here," she says.

She also says not to worry about a chain moving into the Lady Sybil's space. "The neighbors will like what's going in there if everything works out."

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MEANWHILE, BACK ON 24TH STREET: It's also a mystery who or what will fill Global Exchange's old spot on 24th near the corner of Sanchez. The premises are being remodeled and somewhat enlarged (along with the adjoining Rose Quartz), from a garage-sized space to a standard storefront. Then the prime location will be let to rent.

Gone in the remodel will be the old ice machine door, which served so many thirsty Noe Valleons for so long. It broke about eight years ago and has since been turned into a planter.

The remodeling mayhem at Bell Market should be ending soon, says store manager Gary Grossetti. Bell is planning a special ceremony on Nov. 4, to celebrate completion of the project.

Grossetti says the supermarket has expanded its frozen food section and enlarged the produce section to include greater stocks of organic food. The store is also opening its own bakery, where the wine and spirits used to be. (They're now at the back of the store.)

Meanwhile, the remodeling ruckus at Rite-Aid a block up the street is continuing through November. "My best estimate [to finish up] is Thanksgiving," says manager Tom Bernier.

We will be thankful when all the neighborhood remodeling jobs are completed, so we can take off our face masks and earplugs.

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NOE VALLEY MUSICIAN Rhan Wilson has just released a CD titled An Altared Christmas containing nine tracks of classic holiday tunes and carols, "recast in minor keys and alternative atmospheres." The Voice got a preview copy, and believe me, this disc has a great sound.

Rhan, best-known for his percussion work with the bands THOTH and Haunted by Waters, wrote (and sings) many of the altered melodies on the album. But he's joined by San Francisco violinist S. K. Thoth (whom many of you may have seen playing outside Martha's Coffee in his short skirts or tutu), actor Kelvin Han Yee, vocalist Janet Roitz, percussionist/ vocalist Mark Edwards, and Cassie, a 3-week-old baby who does a "wailing solo." Also contributing to the mix are singer Cyoakha and flautist Melo, both from Portland; about a dozen musicians from Santa Cruz (from whence Rhan came about five years ago); and Rhan's two dogs, Lucky and Liesl.

Other than the kooky arrangements, what's different about this CD is that all the vocalists and musicians donated their time and talent, and half of the albums' profits will go to AIDS services in San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

An Altared Christmas is available locally at the One Stop Party Shop at Church and 28th streets, and will soon be stocked at Streetlight Records on 24th Street. You can also buy it (and hear song samples) at

You may have seen Rhan on Halloween night in front of his Randall Street house, where he gave a spooky concert for his neighbors. "This is the fifth year I have given the Halloween concert, each year with a different theme. This year it's a tribal jungle theme."

Another local singer/songwriter who has just put out a CD, called No Curses Here, is 22-year-old Noe Venable. Noe has the distinction of being named for Noe Valley. "Actually, I was born and raised and still live in Eureka Valley, and my parents thought [the whole area was] so beautiful they wanted to give a part of it to me," she says.

Noe's new release is available only in Europe right now, but it's scheduled to debut in the U.S. next March. It was recorded on Sanchez Street right here in Noe Valley at Mobius Studio.

Meantime, you can hear her sing live at the San Francisco Song Cycle, presented by the Noe Valley Music Series at the Ministry on Saturday, Nov. 7. (The show starts at 8:15 p.m.) Noe will perform along with vocal duo Jeff Pehrson and Jim Brunberg, Irish minstrel David Hopkins, and jazz trumpeter Jon Birdsong & Friends. Wow, what a lineup!

Rumors readers (and everyone else) are invited to the pre-concert reception starting at 7:30 p.m. at 1021 Sanchez St. Advance tickets are advisable. Get 'em at Streetlight Records.

Noe tells me she is trying to arrange to have a limited number of her CDs available at the Noe Valley concert, so if you want one, don't tell anyone else, okay?

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YOU CAN LOOK FOR ELECTION results right here next month. But only if you do your duty and vote Nov. 3. And march five other people to the polls with you. The NVBI's goal is a 90 percent voter turnout in Noe.

Oh and before I go: How bout them Yankees!

I'm outta here. Bye, kids.