Noe Valley Voice July-August 2005

Rumors Behind the News

By Mazook

GUNSHOTS RANG OUT near Noe Courts in the early morning hours of June 15, awakening local residents, who summoned the police. When police arrived at 3:30 a.m., they found blood on the sidewalk and a bullet hole in the front window of Design Solutions. The police proceeded to "freeze" (cordon off) a house on 24th Street between Douglass and Diamond.

According to SFPD Capt. John Goldberg of Mission Station, the officers obtained a search warrant to enter the house because neighbors claimed they'd seen the residents lift a man into a car and speed off.

Reports Capt. Goldberg, "Shortly thereafter, we obtained a report from St. Luke's Hospital that a victim of a gunshot wound had just arrived. Officers interviewed the wounded man, who gave us a Daly City address. They determined that the people who lived in that house had actually volunteered to take the victim to the hospital after they'd heard him calling for help on 24th Street.

"After we determined that the residents of that house, who didn't know the victim, had voluntarily taken him down to the hospital, we removed the freeze on their place of residence, and the officers withdrew," he says. The victim, who according to police had no explanation for why he was at Noe Courts in the wee hours of the morning, is expected to recover from his gunshot wounds.

The SFPD has no suspects at this time, "but our investigation is continuing," says Goldberg.

= = =

FLOWERS LEAVES: The neighborhood was saddened to hear that Mia Hatakeyama and her husband, Glenn Rivera, were closing Mia's Flowers and Gifts on Church Street, on Father's Day, June 19. Hatakeyama explained, "The last 15 years have been dedicated to our ever-growing business. Now it has become urgent that we dedicate our time to take care of our parents on a full-time basis."

Before tossing the bouquet, Mia and Glenn conveyed their thanks "to all our wonderful customers in Noe Valley--they are the best. I encourage all our customers to buy flowers from the other flower shops in Noe Valley."

The couple said they were grateful to have fulfilled their dream of operating a "little corner flower stand," but also noted how exciting it would be to finally get their garage back.

A very popular Noe Valley preschool has also closed its doors. Ann Scalf, who has run Peppertree Daycare for 22 years on 23rd Street, has announced that she is retiring. "I am ready," she explains, "to reclaim all of my house after all these years, and I just want to take it easy now and do other things."

Scalf points out that preschools are scarce in Noe Valley, but St. Philip's Elementary School and the San Francisco public schools are both starting preschool programs this fall.

To the chagrin of many Noe Valley parents, the popular summer theater program Lively Arts Workshop gave its final performances on June 29. They came at the end of a three-week camp at St. Aidan's Church up in Diamond Heights. Lively Arts was organized in 1989 by three former performing arts consultants to Rooftop School: Elisa Elliott, Pam Wong, and Dorothy Moskowitz Falarski. Kids took lessons in dance, drama, staging, and set design, and also performed in plays. The workshop was originally housed at Rooftop, but moved to St. Aidan's last year.

Says 26th Street resident Elisa Elliott, "I'm 67 years old, and the other instructors aren't far behind. The physical work involved in putting on these camps is incredible. We said last year was going to be our last, but so many parents coaxed us into an encore. This is definitely the last year. We've all had a good ride, and a lot of fun, and we wanted an upbeat ending."

= = =

NEIGHBORHOOD IMAGES: Twenty-third Street historian Bob Oaks has written a book called San Francisco's Fillmore District, released in May by our good friends at Arcadia Publishing. The South Carolina company commissions local historians to assemble pictorial histories of America's neighborhoods. (See Bill Yenne's similar book on San Francisco's Noe Valley.)

Oaks, who has a Ph.D. in history, has written previous works on San Francisco and the Big Island of Hawaii. He says he enjoyed working on the Fillmore book, commissioned by Arcadia last year. "But the hard part was that it took me over four months just to collect the pictures from both public and private collections." The Fillmore is an interesting district, he says, that has gone through a number of changes. Most of us think of the jazz clubs, but you might not recall the Fillmore once had a large Jewish district filled with synagogues and kosher markets. It also had the Chutes amusement park with its giant water slide.

The book should be available at both Cover to Cover and Phoenix Books, for $19.99.

= = =

ICE CREAM FOR MOVIES: Kudos to 20th Street resident Jay Rosenblatt, who will be receiving one of the inaugural "Freedom of Expression Awards" at this month's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival . Those awards will be presented at a special party on Tuesday, July 19.

Rosenblatt, who has lived in Noe Valley for the last 19 years, has gotten rave reviews for his two entries in this year's festival: Phantom Limb, a 28-minute tearjerker about the ordeal his family suffered 40 years ago when his younger brother died at age 9, and I Like It a Lot, a four-minute masterpiece showing what Jay's (and his wife Stephanie's) daughter Ella did at age 2 with a chocolate ice cream cone while wearing a white shirt.

Both films will be shown at the Castro: Phantom Limb on July 27 at 5:30 p.m.; and I Like It a Lot, which was named the "Critic's Choice" in the July issue of San Francisco magazine, on July 28 at 3:30 p.m.

Another image-maker is Noe Valleon Mitchell Friedman, who was recently elected president of the Northern California chapter of the National Speakers Association, the Bay Area's largest professional organization serving those who speak professionally.

Friedman, a public relations consultant and USF professor who has been living on "Army Street" since 1989, says he is looking forward to a "fun year" of presiding over a group of people who earn a living by talking.

= = =

WORK IT OUT: Expanding health awareness in Noe Valley is evident by the expanding programs at the Spring Pilates Studio, on Castro above Jersey. Izabel Loinaz opened the studio in September of 2003 after serving as the supervisor of the Dance Medicine Program at St. Francis Hospital. She brought over some of her staff of instructors, who have been guiding us in exercises that use mechanical devices to strengthen our back and butt muscles. Now she has teamed up with Ky Carnell Russell to offer more in-depth workshops, as well as "small group reformer classes, [featuring] small props such as rollers, magic circles, and elastic tubing, for home use."

Carol LeMaitre also reports more interest in Pilates at her Sanchez (Street) Studios, near 30th Street. "We are currently offering a 'Summer Special' for a month of unlimited Pilates classes for $95, to give more people the opportunity to try this method of exercise," she says. LeMaitre says her mailing list has jumped to more than 700 names. Among those are some local musicians, she says, "who come in to work on their abdominal muscles."

The Purple Iris Healing Center has recently opened its doors at 1404 Church, near 26th Street. Physical therapist Jill Sweringen teamed up with Barbara Schoeffel, M.P.T., to provide "a myriad of services," including physical therapy, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and Shiatsu massage.

Sweringen says they picked the name Purple Iris because in ancient times the iris was the flower of healing and purple is the color of wisdom. She specializes in acupuncture facelifts, which she describes as "a safe and effective organic style of facelift that includes herbal poultices, needle and non-needle techniques, and home exercise programs that address facial muscle toning."

Sweringen is inviting the neighborhood to a regular Tuesday ear acupuncture clinic starting July 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The method is very popular in China for stress reduction and to help stop smoking, she says. Free lectures on nutrition by Dee Dee Boyd, certified in nutrition education, are in the works.

= = =

SKIN TINT. We all know sun-tanning is bad for us. It's also an iffy proposition in S.F. anyway, since we're usually lost in the fog. "No problem," says the chief hot head at Hot Headz hair salon on 24th Street, Liz Nash. She has set up a tanning studio in the back of the shop, and is now offering "airbrush" tanning.

"We've installed an air compressor and can spray on the body oils and conditioners, which leave a nice bronze glow on the skin," says Nash. She adds that "most people who have been coming in are going to a special event or a vacation spot and want to have a tan" for the occasion. The tan lasts from 3 to 10 days.

Customers have a choice of arms or legs for $25, or the full-body treatment for $45 (or "unlimited" tanning privileges for $100 a month). The process takes about 15 minutes for the application, Nash says, and another 5 to 10 minutes standing in front of a fan to "dry off."

Nash says the spray-on tan is UV safe and the lotions are non-toxic for most. "We warn people with skin allergies that they may have a reaction, and can make a test application if they request, and as a general precaution we do strongly discourage pregnant women, just on general principles."

The products are from Fantasy Tan, "which develops and distributes airbrush cosmetics around the world and has contracts with several movie studios," Nash says. "We also took a six-month training program to learn how to do the application."

= = =

SEW FINE: Next door to Sanchez Studios, the front part of the Mobius Music studio has been downsized and the shop taken over by a tailor, Andy Tang. Tang made suits in Hong Kong, he says, for over 20 years. If you bring him the fabric, he will turn it into a garment. "I can make men's suits and shirts, and women's suits and dresses," he says.

The shop, called Nouvelle, also offers dry cleaning, laundry, and alteration services.

Meanwhile, Mobius Music owner Oliver DiCicco has gone off in a new direction and is building and playing what he describes as "musical instrument sculptures." He has a number of far-out slide guitars, zithers, and percussion instruments in his music studio in the back of the building.

DiCicco has operated the studio for 28 years and engineered many sessions for Windham Hill Music and for groups like Big Bang Beat and Tito Puente. DiCicco and his own group, Mobius Operandi, have just released a CD, The End of the Dial, which features the sounds of the musical sculptures he has built.

= = =

A HORSE, OF COURSE: Harry Aleo is having fun on the horseracing circuit with his sprinting sensation Lost in the Fog. Fog won the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park in New York on June 11. The fast-flying horse is now undefeated in seven races, and won the seven-furlong race despite a handicap that Aleo only learned about after the race was over.

"Unlike Lost in the Fog, the other seven horses in the race were all specially shod and wearing mud caulks and stickers, which enable the horses to better handle the deep sandy track back there. We still won the race by a length and a half," smiles the 85-year-old Noe Valley realtor-turned-celebrity.

This is the first race Lost in the Fog has run without jockey Russell Baze, who broke his collarbone in a spill at Golden Gate Fields the Wednesday before the race. Veteran rider Edgar Prado was signed the next day and rode into the winner's circle.

"It was a rough race," says Harry. "He [the horse] lost over 50 pounds from the run."

For all you fans, Lost in the Fog's next race will be at Calder Race Course in Miami, Fla., on July 9. The racetrack is advertising it as the "Summit of Speed," and promising a host of sprint stars from across the country. Tipsters say it will be a race to the wire between the Fog and a 4-year-old filly named Madcap Escapade. After that, according to Aleo, the Fog's next race will be the prestigious seven-furlong King's Bishop Race at Saratoga Racetrack in Saratoga, N.Y., scheduled for Aug. 27.

= = =

A WINNER ALL THE WAY: Just before we went to press, the Voice learned that Miriam Blaustein, the erstwhile "Mayor of Noe Valley" during the 1980s, passed away on June 23, at the age of 91. Her Noe Valley friends and family will find it hard to let her go.

Miriam was a vital and tireless force in the civic fabric of the neighborhood for more than 30 years. Worried about the overdevelopment on 24th Street? Call Miriam. Bureaucrats ready to sack our historic Carnegie library? Call Miriam. She was a president of Friends of Noe Valley and active in the Gray Panthers and San Francisco Tomorrow.

When she retired from adult business, Miriam gave herself the job of surrogate grandmother at the Noe Valley Nursery School located on Sanchez Street. The youngsters, some now teenagers, still have vivid memories of Miriam, says Nina Youkelson, who runs the preschool. They remember her "necklace of toilet paper," which she kept at the ready "because kids' noses were always running," Youkelson says. There was the game in which the kids had to search for an item Miriam had hidden. "When they found it," Youkelson recalls, "she'd say 'huckle-buckle beanstalk!'" Such wonderful nonsense.

Miriam didn't slow down until four years ago when she left her Cesar Chavez Street home to reside at the Jewish Home for the Aged. We'll miss you, Miriam, but your legacy of love and activism lives on.

= = =

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS. Ciao for now and have a great vacation. We will, too--the next issue will be out right after Labor Day.