Noe Valley Voice February 2005

Short Takes

Dufty to Talk with Friends

Want to give your San Francisco Board of Supervisors rep a piece of your mind (or a pat on the back)? District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty will be the guest speaker at the next Friends of Noe Valley meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10. Everyone in Noe Valley is invited to attend.

According to Friends President Debra Niemann, this will be an opportunity for Dufty and his constituents to trade views on a variety of topics. "He'll talk about the revitalization of 24th Street, parking issues in Noe Valley, and cleanliness issues," she says. He'll also field questions about his new "backyard dog" ordinance.

Later in the meeting, Friends members will update their efforts to bring more quality groceries and organic produce to Noe Valley. In addition, parents whose kids use Noe Courts park at 24th and Douglass streets will distribute a survey regarding a possible upgrade of the grounds and playground equipment.

The meeting will be held at the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library, located at 451 Jersey Street near Castro Street. For more information, give Niemann a call at 415-282-9918.

Rocket Dog Asks for a Boost

Rocket Dog Rescue, whose adoptable pups are often seen in front of Zephyr Real Estate on 24th Street, has come up with two ways you can contribute to a new Urban Sanctuary for canines: a cocktail party fundraiser at Terra Mia Ceramics Studio and a High Tea and Crumpet Soiree at Lovejoy's Tea Room.

Founded in 2001 by dog lover Pali Boucher, Rocket Dog Rescue saves hundreds of dogs from euthanasia at overcrowded Bay Area shelters every year, and Boucher says she hopes to exceed that number significantly with the help of the new sanctuary. Her goal is to raise $50,000 this year to pay for a warehouse where Rocket Dog Rescue can safely house its animals.

"We're an all-volunteer organization, completely funded by donations," says Boucher. "So the people who participate in these fundraisers will become founding members of the Urban Sanctuary, and they'll be responsible for helping to save 300 or more dogs a year."

Currently, Rocket Dog relies exclusively on private homes to foster animals until they can be adopted; once the sanctuary is completed, the volunteers will continue to use the network of foster homes in addition to the new space, Boucher says.

The high tea at Lovejoy's, located at 1351 Church Street, takes place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 and includes food, tea, and special gifts. Pet psychics, tarot card readers, and massage therapists will be on hand to offer their services. Tickets are $250 and seating is limited.

For those who can't manage a $250 ticket but still want to participate, the cocktail party at Terra Mia on Feb. 26 is $35 per ticket. That event takes place at 1314 Castro Street from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Tickets to both events will be sold in advance only. All donations are tax-deductible and go directly to Rocket Dog. To purchase tickets, visit www.rocketdog or call 415-642-4786.

The Music of Childhood

Pianist and radio personality Sarah Cahill celebrates the mysteries and charms of childhood with a "Playdate" at the Noe Valley Chamber Music series on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m.

This high-spirited event, featuring music written for and about children, will combine a classical piano recital with theater, audience participation, and fun. The program will include selections from Schumann's Album for the Young, Debussy's Children's Corner Suite, and Frederic Rzewski's Snippets. Cahill will also perform new works by composer-parents (some using toys as instruments) and melodies composed by kids.

The concert will be held at the Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street. Tickets are $15 general admission and $12 for students and seniors. They're available at the door or online at For more information, call 415-648-5236.

Local Stars at IndieFest

Among the 100 entries in the seventh annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival ("IndieFest"), running Feb. 3 through 15 at three San Francisco venues, are two hot films with local connections.

The first is a 76-minute documentary called 24 Hours on Craigslist, made by Michael Ferris Gibson, who lives at Laidley and 30th streets. The film explores the marriage of minds created by, a message board web site where users can find everything from cooking tips to jobs to a Friday-night date. It documents one random day on Craigslist, and even includes a Noe Valley "pooch coach" named Beverly who advertised her dog training services on the site, says Gibson. The film will be shown on Feb. 5 at 4:30 p.m. at the Roxie Cinema at 3117 16th Street. On Feb. 13, 24 Hours plays at the Women's Building, 3543 18th Street, also at 4:30 p.m.

The other local connection is Noe Valley sci-fi author Michael Blumlein (whom the Voice wrote about in our December 1993 issue). Blumlein's 1993 cult novel X,Y has been adapted into a 90-minute film by the same name, directed by Vladimir Vitkin. X,Y is about a female stripper who collapses onstage one night and wakes up to find that she's a man living in a woman's body. Reviewer Bruce Fletcher describes the movie as a "surreal, disturbing dissection of male-female power struggles," and says it's likely to be sold out at the festival. It screens at the Roxie on Feb. 5 at 11:45 p.m. and Feb. 13 at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets to the IndieFest are $9 for each regular screening, $7 for matinees, and $20 for opening night. Opening night festivities include the Castro Theatre showing of Asia Argento's The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and a big bash afterwards at the Swedish American Hall. For the entire schedule of films, call 415-820-3907 or visit To see a trailer of the Craigslist movie, go to

Qigong on Thursday Nights

Classes in Qigong, a practice in which students use exercise, breathing, and other techniques to balance the life force of the body, are available at the Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez Street every Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Noe Valley resident Chris Fernie, who is also founder of the Institute for Internal Transformation, teaches the class, which combines different styles of Qigong with yoga, Chinese medicine, martial arts, and Buddhism.

According to Fernie, the practice of Qigong can help promote weight loss. By developing awareness, "you trust your body's wisdom about what and when to eat so you can naturally attain a healthy weight and metabolism," he says.

Students are welcome to drop in; classes cost $15 to $20, sliding scale. For more information, call 415-305-4692.

Randall Hosts Science Fair

More than 200 entries in the San Francisco Middle School Science Fair will be on display at the Randall Museum Feb. 26 through March 4. These entrants are the best of the 4,300 projects done at city public and private schools this year. An awards ceremony, honoring the top seventh- and eighth-grade science fair winners, will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 26.

On other "Special Saturdays" in February, the museum will continue its popular series of drop-in arts and science workshops, including a Feb. 19 course in molding clay pots with faces (4 p.m.). Come early and you can meet the museum's animals (starting at 11:15 a.m.), then watch them have lunch at noon.

To find out more, call 415-554-9600 or visit The Randall Museum is located at 199 Museum Way, off Roosevelt above 14th and Castro streets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Being 60 Has Its Pluses

Anyone over 60 is qualified to join San Francisco State University's Sixty Plus program, a group of people who meet twice a month on campus to hear speakers on a wide range of subjects, many with a local angle. Recent topics included the history of the Sunset District and the workings of the U.S. Mint.

Members are also allowed to audit university courses, and may attend spring semester courses this year if enrolled by Feb. 25. Other activities include road trips and museum tours at reduced ticket prices.

Membership costs $40 for first-time applicants who join before Aug. 31, 2005. For more information and an application, call Eileen Ward at the Sixty Plus office at 415-566-9347.

'Wild Parrots' Film Flies

Award-winning filmmaker Judy Irving was living in Noe Valley when she began making her documentary film The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill six years ago. The tale of San Francisco's flock of wild, cherry-headed conures tells the story of the birds and the man who cared for them, North Beach resident Mark Bittner.

The theatrical premiere of the film is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Embarca-dero Cinema in San Francisco, and is timed to coincide with the paperback release of Bittner's memoir by the same title. Interested parties are invited to go to Ferry Park, across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building, at dusk on Feb. 9 to watch the conures fly in to roost in the poplars and eucalyptus trees there. "It's quite a spectacle," Irving says, "since they make lots of noise and play-fight before settling down for the night." Afterward, the group will walk over to the theater for the screening of the film.

Irving notes that "the canary-winged parakeets who fly around the Mission District and Noe Valley make a cameo appearance in the film, and there is an 'urban legend' filmed on Dolores Street, so there's plenty of neighborhood footage in the movie." The Wild Parrots film will play at the Embarcadero at least through Feb. 13, she says.

For information on additional screenings in Berkeley and San Rafael, or to learn more about the project, visit

Treasures at the Marsh

Feeling bogged down? Spring is swimming along at the Marsh, a nearby theater showcase that bills itself as "a breeding ground for new performance."

The Marsh's 2005 San Francisco Treasures Series, featuring one-night stands by beloved Bay Area performers, kicks off on Sunday, March 6, at 2 p.m., with a special benefit party honoring the six stars selected this year. Benefit tickets are $35 to $100, and proceeds support the Marsh's programs.

The once-a-month, Wednesday-night series begins officially on March 16 with an 8 p.m. performance by Ellen Sebastian Chang. Chang will be followed up by the team of Merle (Ian Shoales) Kessler and Joshua Brody on April 13. Other "treasures" are Dee Spencer (May 18), Anne Galjour (June 22), and John O'Keefe (July 27). Tickets cost $25 to $50 per performance, or $150 for all the shows, including the March 6 benefit.

Meanwhile, the Marsh's regular lineup will continue to chase away the winter blues, with ongoing shows such as Brian Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man, on Thursdays and Fridays at 8:30 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m.; and Noe Valley resident Charlie Varon's Rush Limbaugh in Night School, playing Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Saturday tickets cost $22; others are $15 to $22, sliding scale.

The Marsh is located at 1062 Valencia Street near 22nd Street. For reservations, call 415-826-5750 or visit www.ticket To find out more about shows and classes, go to

Free Workshops for Kids

The winter workshops at the Mission District nonprofit 826 Valencia are a wonderful opportunity for children and teens to enjoy writing, cartooning, and even Valentine-making. And best of all, the workshops are free.

Among the gems in February are "Memories and Souls," a poetry series for 12- to 16-year-olds beginning Feb. 8; a Writing About Art workshop on Wednesdays starting Feb. 16; and a series called "Wicked Good Style and How to Get It," for teens 14 to 18, starting Feb. 26. All classes are taught by working professionals. Advance registration is required, as is a fully refundable deposit of $25.

Drop-in tutoring also is available, Sunday through Thursday, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sign up online at or call 415-642-5778, ext. 208. Events and tutoring are held at 826 Valencia Street between 19th and 20th streets.

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