Noe Valley Voice July-August 2004

Short Takes

Sunday in the Park with the Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony will make the hills come alive with music on Sunday, July 11, by offering a free concert in Mission Dolores Park. Conductor Stefan Sanderling will lead the Symphony in a program of classical favorites by Stravinsky, Borodin, Glinka, and Grieg.

Special guest soloist Yundi Li will perform the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor. Only 20 years old, Li has already appeared to much acclaim throughout the United States and in Europe, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, and his homeland, China. One of his crowning achievements was winning the renowned Warsaw Chopin Competition in 2000.

Pre-performance family entertainment will start at 1 p.m. This will include face-painting, jugglers, food and beverage vendors, and a chance to meet and see orchestra members demonstrating their instruments. The concert will begin at 2 p.m.

So dig out your sunscreen and your picnic blanket and mosey over to Dolores Park, at 18th and Dolores streets. For more information, go to or call 415-864-6000.

Fall Lineup at City College

Despite budget woes, City College of San Francisco is offering a bevy of classes at its Castro/Valencia Campus, situated within James Lick Middle School at 1220 Noe Street. Registration for the fall semester begins July 14 for new and "readmit" students. (Readmit students are those who have not enrolled in classes for at least one semester.)

If you want to learn a new language, you can choose from classes in American Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish. Writing skills need a boost? You can try anything from English composition to short-story writing, autobiography, and poetry.

If you're drawn to the stage, check out classes in acting, character development, scene study, improvisation, public speaking, storytelling, and directing. Budding social scientists and culture buffs can sign up for Linguistic Anthropology, Visions of the Sacred, Lesbian/Gay American History, American Government, Sex and Gender in American Society, Supporting LGBT Families in Early Childhood Education, or Women in Film. Health researchers can take Women's Health Issues, Men's Health Issues, Tai Chi, or Holistic Health Practices.

There are also plenty of classes for the artists among us. These include Drawing, Mixed Media on Paper, Western Art History, and Classical Guitar. If you're career-minded, Career Success & Life Planning or Fundamentals of Public Relations might fit the bill.

The fall semester begins Aug. 18 and ends Dec. 21. Most classes meet one evening per week from 6:30 to 9: 30 p.m. To apply, fill out an online application at, where a full class schedule is also available. The college will then send you a registration ticket with a date and time for registering online or by phone. Questions? Call 415-239-3127.

Merchants Launch a Map

The Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association is so pleased to have produced an official guide to Noe Valley that the organization, along with publisher Rugged Elegance, is holding a launch party for the guide on Thursday, July 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will take place at Fattoush Restaurant, 1361 Church Street, between Clipper and 26th streets.

"Our members and neighbors have been asking for something like this for years--a map to show where things are. It's just gorgeous, very upscale and classy," says Carol Yenne, the association's president. "Rugged Elegance already had a guide for Noe Valley with about 20 people on it. We expanded that to include everybody from Café XO, at 30th and Church, to the Noe Valley Ministry to Firefly, and all of our members in between," she adds.

Abed Amas, owner of Fattoush, will offer attendees a taste of his unique Middle-Eastern dishes on the restaurant's patio, and publisher Rugged Elegance will present each merchant member with a copy of the Noe Valley guide. Others can purchase a guide at the event for $4.95. Subsequently, the guide is expected to be available at businesses throughout the neighborhood.

If you want to attend the launch party, please RSVP to Carol Yenne at 415-648-3954 or to Rugged Elegance at noevalley

Showing of King of the Jews

The 24th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is coming to the Castro Theater July 22 through 29. It will feature more than 40 films from all over the world, including neighborhood resident Jay Rosenblatt's King of the Jews.

Previously featured by the festival in 2000, King of the Jews is being aired this year as a constructive rebuttal to Mel Gibson's surprise blockbuster The Passion of the Christ.

"I realized that Jesus was a Jew when I was 7 years old, and that turned my world upside down because I'd been raised to think of Jesus as someone to fear," Rosenblatt recalls. "In the film, I use that childhood experience as a point of departure to discuss bigger issues of how Jesus' Jewishness has been minimized and obscured through Christianity."

King of the Jews is an 18-minute documentary. It will be screened on Saturday, July 24, at 2:15 p.m., with Cecelia Lowenstein's Sorry Judas, another short film that provides a Jewish perspective on Christianity. Directly following will be a panel discussion with the filmmakers and cultural critic Howard Jacobsen.

In addition to this and a number of other crosscultural dramas and political documentaries, the festival will spotlight a retrospective of Hollywood's portrayal of the Holocaust and several films that address the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

When the festival winds down at the Castro, it will move on to Berkeley, Mountain View, and then San Rafael, repeating the same roster at each venue. The Castro Theater is at Castro and 17th streets. For tickets or more information, call 925-275-9490 or visit

Good Eats in the Mission

The upcoming "Dolores Eats" festival, dubbed a celebration of life, food, and art, will give fairgoers a chance to hear some great music while feasting on gourmet cuisine. The free event, which is produced as an annual fundraiser by the nonprofit Dolores Street Community Services, will take place in Dolores Park from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 24. Among the event's many sponsors are LYRIC, PG&E, Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Union, and Zephyr Real Estate.

The musical lineup will feature singer-songwriter Samantha Stollenwerck playing her trademark "Cali-Soul," and jazz and R&B vocalist Tim Hockenberry, who has performed with Robert Cray, B.B. King, Roberta Flack, and Bonnie Raitt. Joining them onstage will be a string of other bands, including Mandonna, a six-piece, all-male Madonna tribute band. In addition, there will be multicultural dance performances and booths of arts and crafts from local artisans.

But the afternoon's icing on the cake will be samplings from local restaurants, including Andalu, Last Supper Club, Luna, Delfina, La Moone, Burger Joint, Tao Café, Don Balon, and Ramblas Tapas Bar. A beer and wine garden will also be in the mix.

Dolores Street Community Services, which was founded in 1982, currently runs the only adult homeless shelters in the Mission and Castro districts. The Dolores Eats fundraiser will benefit two of its main programs, the Dolores Housing Program, which primarily serves Latino men, and the Richard M. Cohen Residence, serving homeless men and women with HIV or AIDS.

The festival will be held on the Dolores Street side of the park, at 19th Street. For the latest scoop, go to www.dolores or call 415-731-5539.

50+ Acts at Theater Festival

Elizabeth Street resident Bill Schwartz, who breathed new life into the legendary Eureka Theater after it fell on hard times in the 1990s, is now producing the first San Francisco Theater Festival. It will take place Sunday, July 25, and Sunday, Aug. 1, at Yerba Buena Gardens.

The event is free and will showcase more than 50 Bay Area theater groups, including the Asian American Theater Company, BATS Improv, Climate Theater, the Lamplighters Music Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Oui Be Negroes, Pickle Youth Circus, Stage Door Conservatory, and the Oakland Playhouse Improv Troupe.

Schwartz says he founded the festival because San Francisco has been an underachiever in the theater arts world. "I thought that a large-scale event harnessing the energies of all of the theater groups in the area would be a way to attract attention and lead to increased appreciation and attendance at live theater."

On July 25, the showcase will last all day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will comprise both indoor and outdoor venues. There will be fare for all ages and tastes, including comedy, drama, musical theater, Shakespeare, solo performances, mime, and improvisation.

On Sunday, Aug. 1, the festival will be dedicated entirely to the San Francisco Mime Troupe's 2004 production, Showdown at Crawford Gulch. The Mime Troupe (which does satirical musicals, not mime) tunes up at 1:30 p.m., with showtime at 2 p.m.

Yerba Buena Gardens is located at Mission and Third streets. To see when your favorite thespians will take the stage, visit Call 415-543-1718 for more details.

Tiny Dancers Do Hip-Hop and Salsa

Do you have a youngster at home who's looking for a creative outlet this summer? One possibility is the Eclipse Performing Arts Summer Camp, being held for the second year at the Noe Valley Ministry this August. It is a joint venture of Deborah Ben-Eliezer, founder of Eclipse Dance Theater, and Takami Craddock, director of DancEsteem.

"We'll have many different dance forms--from African Haitian, hip-hop, and Chinese dance to salsa, jazz, and modern dance. And we'll have puppetry, storytelling, and mask-making," says Craddock. "Last year, we created an African village, so children learned African Haitian dance along with its history and culture. They created stories in groups and made masks for their own characters. Then they put together a performance for the end of the week. That's the kind of totally involving program we do," she adds.

Camp is for children entering kindergarten through fifth grade. There will be three one-week sessions. All sessions will include drama classes and modern dance instruction. Session 1 (Aug. 2­6) will also feature puppetry and hip-hop and African-Haitian dance. Session 2 (Aug. 9­13) will feature Chinese dance, mask-making, and storytelling. Session 3 (Aug. 16­20) will feature salsa and hip-hop dance, as well as music.

Camp meets weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street. Extended day care is available. Tuition is $205 for one week, $400 for two weeks, and $595 for three weeks. To sign up, call 415-550-7915. To find out more about the program, visit

Artists Speak Out Against Rape

San Francisco Women Against Rape, SFWAR, is celebrating its 30th year as a rape crisis center with "Artists Against Rape," a benefit event on Friday, Aug. 13. Festivities will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Women's Building, 3543 18th Street, near Dolores Street.

The evening of spoken word and performance will feature local poets, artists, and activists, including sexual assault survivors, who will speak out against violence and in favor of creating a safer community. The event is a fundraiser for SFWAR, a grassroots organization that supports and advocates for survivors of sexual assault, their friends and families.

Tickets are sliding scale $5 to $50. For further information call 415-861-2024, ext. 318.

This month's Short Takes were written by Laura McHale Holland.