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By Erin O'Briant
Tall Tales at Cover to Cover
Cover to Cover Booksellers on 24th Street is making big plans for October. First, children's author David Shannon will be in the store on Friday, Oct. 16, to read from and sign copies of his new book, No, David! The event starts at 10:30 a.m. -- and a few kindergartners from Alvarado Elementary may be stopping by to enjoy the storytelling.
Then on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m., teachers can come by the store to find out about the hottest new kids' books. There is a cover charge of $8, but that can be credited to the purchase of a book that night. Teachers get a 15 percent discount that evening, too. To attend, preregister by calling the store at 282-8080.
Finally, everyone can get geared up for Halloween with readings from Harvest Tales and Midnight Revels, edited by Michael Mayhew. "Every year this group of friends gets together and reads Halloween stories that they've written," says Susan Talbott, who's organizing the event for Cover to Cover. "This book is the best of those stories."
Several of the book's contributors will be on hand to read their stories, which Talbott thinks will appeal to kids and grownups alike. Come by on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. to hear harrowing tales of ghosts and goblins.
City Says Design a Dream Park
If you're like most Noe Valleons, you probably have a long wish list for your neighborhood park. Well, you can get it off your chest at a workshop on "Creating Your Dream Park," sponsored by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's "Great Parks for a Great City" Assessment Project.
By getting input from the folks who use the facilities, Rec and Park hopes to create a blueprint for makeovers to all the city's parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas. A total of 10 workshops will be held throughout San Francisco during October and November.
Each meeting will offer hands-on activities where people grapple with things like landscaping, play equipment safety, bathroom maintenance, and other park improvements. Then, in April of 1999, the department will develop a plan to put the most needed improvements in place.
The Mission District workshop will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Mission Recreation Center, 745 Treat St. The Noe Valley and Castro District meeting will take place on Thursday, Oct. 22, at Eureka Valley Recreation Center, 100 Collingwood St. Workshops run from 6 to 8 p.m.
If you have questions for Rec and Park, give the department a call at 831-2090 or visit the web site www.ci.sf.ca.us/recpark.
Wind in the Willows Turns 25
Did you or your little ones attend preschool at Wind in the Willows? After two and a half decades in the neighborhood, the school has plenty of "alums" and invites the whole gang to drop by for a 25th anniversary party on Oct. 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. Wind in the Willows is located at 1444 Church St. near Cesar Chavez.
"This is a time when people can come by and see their old preschool," says Wind in the Willows director Pat O'Connor. "Being around this long is a big accomplishment for a little organization like us." Of course, current students and their families are also invited.
O'Connor plans to have a birthday cake, other food and refreshments, and a memory book in which past and present preschoolers can write or draw their favorite recollections of Wind in the Willows. The group will also be selling special 25th anniversary tee shirts.
For more information, stop by the school or call 285-5510.
Art Studios Open Their Doors
If you've been wanting to get a peek at some of the art studios in Noe Valley, the 23rd annual San Francisco Open Studios weekend is a great opportunity. On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 17 local artists will open their work spaces to the public.
If you're interested in painting, you can visit Jenny Badger Sultan at 1696 Sanchez between Day and 30th streets; Lita Blanc at 4089 25th near Sanchez and Noe; Robert Dunahay at 3825 21st between Castro and Noe; Margaret Jo Feldman at 1286 Guerrero, No. 6, between 24th and 25th streets; Melanie Sanchez at 1336 Guerrero near 25th; Charles Trapolin at 288 30th between Church and Chenery; Kenneth Treacy at 101 27th between Guerrero and Dolores; and Melissa Yarbrough at 1330B Guerrero between 25th and 26th streets.
Sculpture buffs will want to visit the studios of James Edmiston at 369 Duncan between Church and Sanchez, and Paul A. Moshammer at 1483 Dolores near Duncan. Photographers Rob Kaaz and Ron Van Dongen at 469 27th between Noe and Sanchez will also open their space to the public, as will the glass artists at Mazzella/Peterson Designs at 1055 Sanchez near Elizabeth.
Michael Markowitz of 3747 23rd near Dolores, and Eric Scheib of 391 27th near Sanchez will both put their drawings on display; Rene Griffith at 1290 Sanchez between 26th and Clipper will showcase her mixed-media work; and Gisela Hirschberger of 4051 26th near Noe and Sanchez will welcome all to her printmaking studio.
San Francisco Open Studios will also exhibit one piece of artwork by each participating artist from Oct. 2 to 25 at the SomARTS Gallery at 934 Brannan St. A kickoff reception for the exhibit will take place at the gallery on Oct. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 646-0660 or visit the Open Studios web site at www.citysearch.com/sfo/openstudios.
Opera Premieres in Noe Valley
Opera, poetry, and theater lovers alike are looking forward to the premiere of Gaia Sophia, on Oct. 9, 8 p.m., at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez St.
Composer William Ludtke describes Gaia Sophia as a "musical drama" featuring an opera singer, a dancer, and two actor/mimes. It is based on a series of poems called To Light Return by Rebecca Robison, which chronicles humankind's faltering journey toward enlightenment over many centuries. The piece was commissioned under a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.
"It is staged, costumed, and lit like an opera," said Ludtke of the two-act piece, "but it also has some elements of a church pageant. There are lots of historical vignettes, including a scene from the Pharaohs, and a Mayan blood sacrifice."
The cast includes Bay Area soprano Nanette McGuinness and choreographer and dancer Kinji Hayashi. The SONOS Handbell Ensemble will also perform. According to Ludtke, this is the first time handbells have appeared in an opera score.
Tickets are $20 each, or $18 for groups of 10 or more, but Ludtke warned that they are going fast.
To reserve your seat, call 586-3534.
Could You Be Depressed?
"Depression can show itself in anger, listlessness, and irritability," says local psychotherapist Christopher Westergaard. "It can hamper a person's relationships, work, and health. But more people are coming out of the closet about it because they know it's treatable."
If you think you may be depressed, you are invited to participate in free depression screenings being held in San Francisco on Oct. 8, National Depression Screening Day.
The screenings are part of a program coordinated in the Bay Area by the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California. Though as many as 17 million Americans suffer from depression, figures from the National Institute of Mental Health show that fewer than half seek help for the problem. The good news is that treatment can help the vast majority -- about 80 percent -- of people with depression.
Participants in the depression screening are asked to complete an anonymous written test. Afterward, they can speak with a trained mental health professional about the results. The site nearest Noe Valley is Westergaard's office on 20th Street near Douglass. To schedule an appointment, call him at 864-1754.
Other local sites include the San Francisco Main Library at 882-6230 and St. Mary's Medical Center at 750-5967. For information on sites throughout Northern California, call 1-800-573-4433.
A Cultural Food Fest Oct. 3
It's a lot of trouble to go all the way downtown for an elegant night out -- so check out the third annual Carnival of Cultures at 30th Street Senior Services, located at 225 30th St. between Dolores and Church.
The evening begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, with a wine and cheese reception in the center's garden. Then you can listen to live entertainment by Marianao (an eight-piece band), take part in a piñata contest, and eat a scrumptious buffet dinner prepared by Savor Restaurant, Valentine's, Royal Kitchen, Casa Sanchez, What's for Dessert, the Cheesecake Lady, Ben & Jerry's, and Mikeytom Market.
"A lot of small businesses in the neighborhood have really come to bat for us," says Valorie Villela, director of 30th Street Senior Services. "We'd love to see more residents from the neighborhood at the carnival, too. It will be a lot of fun."
All carnival proceeds go to support the senior center and nutrition program. Registration for the piñata contest is $25, which can be applied to the price of a ticket. Tickets are $50 each or $85 per couple. To reserve your tickets or for more information, call 292-8733.
Poll Workers Needed
Civic-minded folk in Noe Valley will have plenty of chances to help out during the Nov. 3 general election. Workers are needed at several poll sites throughout the neighborhood, including the Noe Valley Sally Brunn Library and the firehouse at 419 Eureka St. Throughout the city more than 3,500 poll workers will be assisting with the election process.
To participate, you must be a U.S. citizen, registered to vote in San Francisco, and at least 18 years old by Nov. 4 (or 16 to 17 years old and attending a San Francisco high school). Compensation ranges from $72 to $93 for the day.
Come in person to the Department of Elections Office at 633 Folsom St., Room 107, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to fill out an application.
Flea Market Seeks Donations
Time to clean out your closets and garages: the Noe Valley Ministry's annual Flea Market and Bake Sale is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 17.
This year, the organizers are especially hoping neighbors will donate old or unusual clothing or costumes. It seems quite a few locals work as extras in films and TV shows like Nash Bridges. Because the actors often have to furnish their own wardrobes, they are on the prowl for clothing and accessories -- anything from the glamorous '20s to the tie-dyed '60s, from formal attire to casual wear. So if you're still holding on to that haltertop you outgrew in 1968, here's your chance to (maybe) see it on the big screen.
As always, the flea market will feature baked goods, books, toys, antiques, and other bargains. It will take up both floors of the Noe Valley Ministry, at 1021 Sanchez near 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you'd like to donate items, drop them off at the church on Friday, Oct. 16, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, or to arrange a pickup of large items, call the church at 282-2317.
Training for Sex Info Line
If you'd like to help make more factual, nonjudgmental information about sex available, you may be a good candidate to volunteer for the San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI) switchboard, a nonprofit phone line operating since 1972.
This service, which provides callers with free information and referrals, is starting up a training course on Oct. 10. Participants will take 55 hours of classes in anatomy, sexual orientation, safer sex, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, sex toys, fetishes, birth control, and talking to kids about sex.
All applicants must attend an interview on Oct. 1 or 7. The cost for the training is $195 for people who commit to volunteering with SFSI for 26 three-hour telephone shifts. (It's $450 if you're just taking the training for a crash course in sex and health information.)
For more information, call the switchboard at 989-SFSI (7374), or check out the phone line's web site at www.sfsi.org.