Noe Valley Voice April 2005

Short Takes

Friends Meet with Bell Execs

If you'd like to see a better selection of foods at your local grocery store, join the Friends of Noe Valley at their next meeting, on Thursday, April 14, at the Noe Valley Sally Brunn Library. An executive from Bell Market's parent company is coming to talk about improvements to the supermarket on 24th Street.

Chris O'Leary is the regional marketing director for Cala/Bell Markets, a division of Ralphs, which in turn is a division of Kroger Foods. Neighbors can tell him directly what changes they'd like to see in the store, and discuss changes that have already taken place.

"I think he intends to bring the store manager and some others from Ralph's who have a role in store operation," says FNV member Clark Moscrip.

Moscrip notes that Bell has made some improvements in the organic produce selection in recent months, as well as some changes in meats and canned goods. He adds that members of Friends are interested in getting better-quality prepared foods and takeout at Bell, and they expect O'Leary to address the subject at the gathering.

The meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at 451 Jersey Street, will also bring neighbors up to date on other Friends issues and projects, including the schedule for the library renovation and seismic upgrade, the results of the tsunami benefit at Bliss Bar, the Noe Valley Clean Sweep coming up on May 14, and the Harvest Fair scheduled for October. To find out more, visit

The Ministry's Community Vision

The Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez Street is not falling down, says Reverend Keenan Kelsey, the congregation's pastor. A March 18 article in the San Francisco Chronicle gave the impression that the church was on its last legs. Actually, the building's needs are important but not dire.

"Yes, our building is well over 100 years old and has had no recent significant renovation, so we are looking at some critical building needs," says Kelsey. The Ministry is also looking at ways to become the center for community events and organizations in Noe Valley.

The building's needs include stabilizing the foundation, upgrading what Kelsey calls a "woefully inadequate" lighting system, and fixing the plumbing. "The pipes were laid 80 years ago," Kelsey notes, "and they don't carry today's sewage. We have to vacuum them out many times a year."

While the improvements to the building are important, members of the Ministry want to use the changes to create an even more vibrant community space. "We have some visions, too," Kelsey explains. "We feel very strongly about putting an elevator in to make this building inclusive to people with disabilities. If we have to shore up the foundation, we'd like to dig out a full basement and perhaps create a new childcare center in a lower level with a light well and access to the yard." She adds, "We have this great wildflower garden of things that have grown up, but we want to cultivate it a little so it has more focus and meaning for the community."

That's why the Ministry has formed the Center for Community, a new nonprofit board of people from outside the congregation who have experience and connections within the arts, early childhood education, and senior programming. The board is refining the Ministry's vision and looking at the best ways to use the space. Eventually, the Center for Community will begin raising money.

Kelsey estimates that the tab for the improvements to the church will be about $4 million. For now, though, the board is in the brainstorming stage. "We really want the vision to happen first, and then out of that vision, people can get excited about creating the building to hold the vision," she says. The Center for Community welcomes volunteer planning leaders.

To volunteer or find out more, call Kelsey at 282-7798 or e-mail

Artery Offers Free Art

Kids and parents are invited to create free art every Saturday in April at Artery, located at 1311 Church Street at the corner of 25th Street. Children ages 2 to 10 can participate from 10:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. on April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30.

"We're going to paint and collage beautiful wooden photo frames; create beaded necklaces, key chains, and people; stencil and paint treasure boxes; and decorate fun summer fabric bags," notes Artery owner Paula Benton, who says she was inspired by the coming of spring to do some fun free art in Noe Valley.

Artery also offers a two-day beginning drawing class for adults on Sunday afternoons April 17 and 24 for $150. A four-week calligraphy course for adults begins Monday, April 4, at 10 a.m. for $120, including materials.

To sign up or for more information about Artery, call 285-0235.

St. Paul's Church Turns 125

For St. Paul's, the gorgeous church with the famous tall spires at Church and Valley streets, turning 125 is a great reason to celebrate--and a way to help pay for the loan the church took out to keep the spires looking good.

First, a celebration mass will take place on Sunday, April 24, at 12:15 p.m. Archbishop William Levada will preside and Father Kevin Gaffey will give the homily. A reception follows in the parish center.

The following week, on Sunday, May 1, the celebration continues with a huge birthday bash and fundraiser. The party will be held at the Pritikin Mansion at 47 Chenery Street just off 30th Street.

"There's a lot of museum art, and people will be able to tour and see the place," says church member Katy O'Shea. "It'll mostly be outside, and there's a full cocktail bar and valet parking. It starts at 2 p.m. and it could go all night!"

Jazz vocalist Denise Perrier will perform, and the mansion's chefs will provide gourmet barbecue fare.

Tickets cost $75 each. To get yours, call the church at 648-7538.

A Jazzy Festival in Glen Park

Enjoy a free party with live music and help raise money for children's programs at the Glen Park Festival. The ninth annual street festival happens Sunday, April 24, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in downtown Glen Park--that's Diamond Street between Chenery and Bosworth streets.

The Lee Waterman Jazz Calente plays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Then Hooker and Bell come on from noon until 2 p.m.. The day ends with the Latin music band Mestizo from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

More than 40 booths will feature arts and crafts, as well as school information, food, beer, wine, and more. Expect to taste foods provided by Chenery Park Restaurant, Pane e Vino Trattoria, and Destination Baking Company.

A raffle with prizes will benefit the children's programs at the Glen Park Branch Library and other neighborhood kids' programs.

To find out more, visit or call 835-2112.

City College Signups Start Soon

What could be more convenient? Inexpensive City College of San Francisco classes are available this summer at the school's Castro/Valencia campus--known during the day as James Lick Middle School at 25th and Noe streets.

Summer classes start June 7 and take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Offerings in Noe Valley will include foreign languages, music, theater, art history, English, speech, and health. At $26 per credit unit, the classes are up significantly from last year's $18 per unit, but still a bargain.

Registration for returning students begins April 13 and starts for new students on May 11. More information on registration, fees, and specific classes can be found online at

Literary Lights at Book Awards

You can hobnob with some of the best authors in Northern California at a special awards ceremony at the Main Library on April 13 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Northern California Book Reviewers Association will announce the winners of the 24th annual Northern California Book Awards, honoring the top literary talent in the Bay Area. The awards are co-sponsored by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, Poetry Flash, the Center for Art in Translation, and the San Francisco Public Library.

One author will be lauded in each of five categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Children's Literature, and Translation, and this year's nominees include such luminaries as Andrew Sean Greer, for The Confessions of Max Tivoli; Joyce Carol Thomas, for The Gospel Cinderella; and Jonah Raskin, for American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation.

A book signing and reception with many of the nominated authors will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Latino/Hispanic Room. The awards ceremony follows in the library's Koret Auditorium.

Journalist, author, and educator Orville Schell will be presented with the 2005 Fred Cody Award for lifetime achievement. He is the author of 14 books and the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley.

To find out more about the Book Awards, call 510-525-5476 or visit The Main Library is located at 100 Larkin Street.

Harvest Fest Needs You!

A new community festival on 24th Street launches this fall, thanks to the efforts of enterprising residents and merchants. (See "Noe Valley Gets Into the Street Fair Action," March 2005 Voice.) The Noe Valley Harvest Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22, 2005, and organizers say they need volunteers to help make it a success. If you've got some street fair expertise or you're just willing to work, now is the time to sign up.

Local resident and festival co-planner Richard May says prospective volunteers will find lots of ways they can contribute. To help with marketing, promotions, budgeting, and getting fair sponsors, e-mail May at

To volunteer in vendor and prize coordination, e-mail Donna Davis at Paula Benton, at, is in charge of day-of volunteers and coordination with local businesses.

If you're interested in entertainment, events, logistics, and cleanup--or if you're not sure which category is best for you--e-mail festival program manager Sara Butz at

For folks who'd rather not e-mail, May is available by phone at 206-0231.

We'll have the scoop on the festival's logo contest in the May issue of the Voice. Meanwhile, you can visit www.friendsof for vendor applications and more information about the festival.

Jane's Been Running for 5 Years

The neighborhood's sports store for women, See Jane Run, celebrates five years in Noe Valley this April with a Pub Run featuring free beer and free T-shirts (while they last). The three- to four-mile run starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8.

To participate, meet at the store at 3870 24th Street. Runners will end up back on 24th Street and visit some to-be-determined local watering holes for free beer. See Jane Run's vendors will provide prizes for a raffle, too.

The store's celebration continues April 9 and 10 with a sidewalk sale that includes massage therapists offering rubdowns, another raffle, and contests. For more information, call See Jane Run at 401-8338.

This month's Short Takes were written by Erin O'Briant.