Noe Valley Voice September 2002

Short Takes

By Laura McHale Holland

Friends Book the Library


Debra Niemann and Jeannene Przyblyski, co-chairs of the Friends of Noe Valley's Library Committee, sowed seeds last spring that are about to bear fruit. You can't eat it, but you can evaluate and refine the harvest at a meeting hosted by the San Francisco Public Library from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Noe Valley ­ Sally Brunn Library.

Niemann and Przyblyski will share the results of a survey they spearheaded to find out what renovations local library patrons want for our neighborhood branch. Funding for the renovations was approved in November 2000 through passage of Proposition A, a $106 million bond measure specifically allocated to branch library improvements.

"We received over 550 survey responses," enthuses Niemann. "The results are in, and we'd like to present them to the community, as well as get further input. We purposefully scheduled the meeting on a Saturday morning to get more families with children to attend and voice their desires and concerns."

Also expected to attend are City Librarian Susan Hildreth; Donna Corbeil, chief of branches; and Roberta Greifer, head librarian for the Noe Valley branch. Some childcare will be provided, and light refreshments will be served.

The Noe Valley Library is at 451 Jersey Street. For further information about the meeting, call 282-4334. For questions about childcare, call 282-9918.

Note that after the meeting there's another event: a library garden tour led by experts from the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners. "Open Garden Day," celebrating 22 years of gardening at the Noe Valley Library, starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. For the complete scoop, call Eleonore Gerhardt at 826-0522.

One Hip Fair


On Oct. 6, why not converge with thousands of fun-loving folks at Castro and Market streets for the 29th annual Castro Street Fair? From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be crafts, food, music, dance, people-watching -- Castro-style -- and the opportunity to support a bunch of good causes.

"As people enter the fair from various directions, they are asked for a $3 donation which is later divided up among local nonprofits," notes Michael Crawford of the Eureka Valley Promotion Association (EVPA). Patrons who donate receive a sticker that is good for $1 off on beer and water at the fair's beverage booths.

Last year's fair was the most successful to date, netting over $50,000. It was distributed to organizations important to the Castro community, including the AIDS Emergency Fund, Dolores Street Community Services, Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, Inter-Generational Project, Lesbian and Gay Chorus of San Francisco, McKinley Elementary School, and Most Holy Redeemer AIDS Support Group. For more information, log on to

Join the Pack!


PAWS and Pets Unlimited are having a joint fundraiser, the Doggone Fun Run, on Sunday, Sept. 22, at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park (Kennedy Drive near 25th Avenue).

PAWS -- short for Pets Are Wonderful Support -- has operated a pet supplies outlet at Bethany Church on Sanchez Street for years. The organization currently has 400 volunteers who help 375 low-income people living with AIDS and other illnesses hold on to their companion animals.

"Our volunteers do everything -- pet food delivery to the homebound, dog walking, cat care, foster care, and grooming," says Erin Farrell, PAW's executive director. "They also do new client intakes, reception, and office work." PAWS' partner in this event, Pets Unlimited, is the largest veterinary hospital in San Francisco. "It's open 24/7, and serves as a temporary shelter to over 80 companion animals in need of homes," says Farrell.

Talk-show host and fitness expert Joanie Greggains will host the run, which will feature the usual stupid pet tricks and dog look-alike contests. Festivities and registration begin at 9 a.m.; the run starts at 10 a.m.; the fun lasts until 1 p.m.

If you don't have a pooch, PAWS can provide one. If you want to join a pack, stop in and see Lee Bender at Zephyr Real Estate, 4040 24th Street. She's organizing a team from the neighborhood.

For more info, visit For questions or to donate pet chow or cat litter, call 241-1460.

Those Were the Days


Come celebrate local history at "Memories of Noe Valley," this year's rendition of Noe Valley History Day. Held on Sept. 14, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Noe Valley­ Sally Brunn Library, the event will feature photographs, videos, artifacts, and a chance to gab with folks who lived here when 24th Street had a movie theater and a streetcar ran along Castro Street.

"We have marvelous photos, including the rock quarry that used to be where Douglass Park is now and the school that was located at what is now Noe Courts," says Paul Kantus, 76-year-old president of the East & West of Castro Club and keeper of the library's historical archives.

"We'll be running videotapes from our archives. One is of a lady who grew up in Noe Valley and was 17 during the 1906 earthquake. She reminisces about that day and how all the businesses on 24th Street helped out during the quake. We also have old movie posters and even a set of dishes from the Castro Theater when they used to do ladies' dish night during the 1930s," he adds.

The day also includes free refreshments, a 2 p.m. magic show called "Mystic Reality," and a film by and about Noe Valley resident Ruth Asawa, co-founder of the Alvarado Arts Program. The library is at 451 Jersey Street, between Castro and Diamond streets. If you can't make it on the 14th, photos and artifacts will be on display throughout the month of September during regular library hours.

City College Knowledge


Did you know that City College of San Francisco offers classes and seminars for adults at James Lick Middle School and that some of them are non-credit, open enrollment, and tuition-free?

Something apropos in our sluggish economy is a set of career counseling seminars by Dr. Kathleen Mitchell held in Room 102 on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Creating Career Curiosity will be Sept. 10; Breaking Free of Career Myths will be Oct. 1, and Putting Purpose in Your Work will be Nov. 12. For more information, call 452-5193.

For the relationship-minded, Codependency and Relationships may fit the bill. This class is taught by Dr. Beverly Wells and covers such things as boundary blurring in relationships and "shame-based defensive patterns." It meets on Mondays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 9 through Oct. 28. To preregister, call 585-5212.

James Lick is located at 1220 Noe Street, at 25th Street. Registration for most of the other low-cost or free classes that meet there took place in August. For information about classes that are receptive to late enrollment, call 239-3127. If you join a class, the school's neighbors would appreciate it if you would walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation.

Here's to Your Health


St. Luke's Hospital will sponsor two free health classes this month. The first, Combating Weight Problems in Children, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14. Dr. Abha Goel and nutritionist Samiya Lewis will describe the consequences of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity for children and address how to help kids maintain a healthy weight.

The second class, Understanding Alternative Medicine, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28. Claudia McGregor, executive director of the Integrative Center for Culture and Healing (located next door to the hospital), will provide an overview of what alternative medicine is and explain how it can be integrated into conventional western medicine.

Each class runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon at St. Luke's Hospital, 3555 Cesar Chavez Street. Preregistration is required. To register call 641-6465.

Sweet Sixty


If you've already celebrated your 60th birthday, San Francisco State University has a swell deal for you. For $75 per year you can join Sixty Plus, and have the opportunity to audit university courses without fee. You'll also become part of a lively group that meets twice a month on campus to share a speakers program, conversation, and refreshments.

The group's other activities and benefits include out-of-town bus tours, reduced ticket prices for many Bay Area performing arts groups (including the San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Symphony), and use of the university library and athletic facilities.

San Francisco State University is located at 19th Avenue and Holloway. For a membership application, contact Beverley Bender in San Francisco State's Sixty Plus office at 566-9347.

A Sampling of Fall Classes for Kids

This fall, there are many great classes and workshops nearby for young people. Some are old standbys, and some are new kids on the block. Here are several possibilities that just might entice the youngsters in your life away from the TV, the computer screen, and the Doritos.

Send 'Em to the Pirates

A hangout in the Mission known by its street address, 826 Valencia, captures kids' attention with pirate paraphernalia and then sets their imaginations free with classes in creative writing, college prep, and English as a second language.

Founded by best-selling author Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), directed by former high school teacher Ninive Calegari, and aided by hundreds of topnotch professionals who volunteer their time, 826 Valencia offers students, ages 8 to 18, free drop-in tutoring Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3:30 p.m.

The storefront also gives free workshops, some of which meet regularly. Here's a taste of what's in store this fall: Writing for Your Pet, College Entrance Essay Course, Comic Book Writing, Writing and Producing Nonfiction Films, SAT Prep, and Cutting the Cheese: A Short Course in Cultural Specificity. Other classes help kids Tell It Like It Is, Write a Play and Practice Acting, as well as do Broadcast Journalism, Advanced Video Production, and Creative Handmade Card Projects for the Holidays.

In addition, 826 Valencia hosts fieldtrips. A few of the more popular ones are Storytelling and Bookmaking, where a class collaborates to create and publish a story; Meeting Authors, where an author gives a short presentation and then answers student questions; and Software Introductions, where students become acquainted with widely used programs such as QuarkXPress, Photoshop. iMovie, Illustrator, and HTML.

For more info, drop by 826 Valencia (near 19th Street), e-mail, or call 642-5778.

Get 'Em Jumpin'

The youth dance program at 24th Street's Dance Mission Theater offers children ages 3 to 13 a range of classes taught by professional dancers and teachers. Classes are held weekday afternoons (except for Thursdays) and on Saturdays. Styles include creative movement for the preschool set, and ballet, tap, hip-hop, and jazz dance for older children.

The program's fall session runs from Sept. 9 through Dec. 18, and culminates in a performance of The Nutcracker ballet Dec. 19 through 21. Preregistration day is Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Classes range from $9 to $12 apiece, depending on when you register and how many classes you purchase. There's a 10 percent discount for a second child or a second class series. Discounts for low-income families may be available.

Dance Mission Theater is located at 3316 24th Street, at Mission Street. For more information, call 826-4441 or visit

Get Their Hands Workin'

From Oct. 8 through the end of December, the Randall Museum is offering classes for kids and adults in science, ceramics, photography, and woodworking.

There's also plenty of opportunity to volunteer at this animal haven, where generations of urban children have touched a rabbit, fed a chicken, or ambled in the grass after a tortoise. In the Animal Care Class, teens 13 to 17 learn how to care for the museum's animals.

The ceramics studio is also open again after being closed for an outdoor renovation project. Class offerings include the usual favorites such as Clay Magic, for parents and small children, and the Randall Clay Club for youths. In addition, there will be raku kiln classes for all ages in the museum's new outdoor space.

The complete class schedule should be available in early September at One class certain to generate interest is Telescope Making and Cosmology, for ages 12 and up, taught by famed astronomer John Dobson. Call 554-9600 to have a schedule mailed to you, or stop by the museum to pick one up at 199 Museum Way (at Roosevelt). Deadline for registration is Sept. 17.

Get 'Em Paintin' the World

Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center is a busy place this fall with classes for young people from 18 months to 19 years of age.

In the Kids Mural Project, children ages 5 to 10 will design and paint a mural. The class meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Another class, the Kids Art Project, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., gives children the opportunity to experiment with a variety of materials.

A toddlers' art class for children 18 months to 5 years old meets Monday through Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. On Tuesdays, 6 to 8 p.m., an Urban Youth Arts Program provides the space for students 11 to 19 to explore painting, drawing, airbrush, and mural art.

Classes are $8 apiece, and scholarships are available. For a $50 annual membership, a student receives 10 free art classes, a 20 percent discount on subsequent classes, a 10 percent discount on art materials, a free newsletter, and a free mural tour. Family memberships are also available.

Precita Eyes is at 348 Precita Avenue, near Folsom Street. For more information, call 285-2311 or visit the center's web site at

-- Laura McHale Holland