Noe Valley Voice July-August 2005

Short Takes

Harvest Fest Logo Winners

We have a winner! Local artist Dylan Donnelly, age 12, is the winner of the Noe Valley Harvest Festival logo contest. An honorable mention goes to Sarah Thornburg, age 71/2. Donnelly will work with professional graphic designer Mary Teahan-Duffy of Glencar Graphics in Noe Valley on the final design of the festival logo. Donnelly won a check for $100, free art lessons from Artery Studio, $50 in art supplies from Artsake, and a gift certificate for dinner at Firefly. Thornburg received a check for $50, as well as $25 in supplies from Artsake.

According to Donnelly's mother, Teresa Donnelly, her son has been creating art "since he could pick up a pencil." He still favors pencil drawings, and his picture of an ethereal fairy dancing in a swirl of leaves won him the contest.

Dylan Donnelly lives with his parents and two sisters on Liberty Street; he attends Rooftop School and hopes one day to go on to the School of the Arts. Runner-up Sarah Thornburg, who lives on Noe Street, created a charming jack-o'-lantern beneath a tree with falling leaves. She attends Clarendon School.

The winning logo design will appear on festival souvenir merchandise and posters, as well as on publicity materials for the Oct. 22 festival on 24th Street.

In other Harvest Festival news, the vendor signup deadline has been extended to July 15. For an application, go to Festival organizers say food vendors are especially needed.

Free First-Aid Tips for Fido

According to local real estate agent and animal lover Diane Hourany, 75 percent of animals die after an accident because their owners don't know basic CPR and first-aid skills. That's why she and business partner Ron Whitney decided to organize a Day of Animal Safety in Dolores Park on Sunday, July 16, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Folks from the American Red Cross will explain first-aid techniques and CPR for animals, and representatives from the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will give a workshop on earthquake preparedness for animals and animal safety.

You are encouraged to bring your pet, on leash. "We're going to have water stations set up for the animals, and door prizes for both species, humans and their pets," says Hourany. "It's going to be a fun educational day."

For more information, call Hourany at 294-4008 or Ron Whitney at 701-9620.

Pelosi's Views on Social Security

The hot topic of Social Security will be on the agenda at the July 6 meeting of the Noe Valley Democratic Club. Danielle Pacifico-Gogan, an aide to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), will discuss our representative's position, as well as the latest wrinkles on President George Bush's proposed Social Security initiatives.

Also speaking at the meeting will be Jim "Jimmer" Cassiol, who is the liaison for District 8 from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services. Cassiol will present an update on the mayor's programs affecting Noe Valley and San Francisco as a whole. A brief question-and-answer period will follow each presentation.

The meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street, between 24th and Elizabeth streets. All, no matter what their political stripe, are welcome. If you have questions, contact Molly Fleischman at

Symphony in Dolores Park

Pack a picnic, bring the kids, and head over to Dolores Park at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, for a free concert by the San Francisco Symphony. Resident conductor Edwin Outwater will lead the Symphony's third annual Dolores Park concert, featuring excerpts from Bizet's Carmen as well as music by de Falla, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Ginastera. The concert will also spotlight the work of contemporary Bay Area Latina composer Gabriela Lena Frank.

The afternoon will include food and beverage vendors, face painting, and jugglers, and an opportunity to meet orchestra members demonstrating their instruments before the concert. The park is located along Dolores Street between 18th and 20th streets. For more information, call the San Francisco Symphony office at 503-5474.

Volunteer at St. Anthony's

For 54 years, St. Anthony Foundation has literally served the poor and homeless people of San Francisco: its free dining room is open every day of the year. "We could not run our 12 programs without our volunteers," says St. Anthony's spokesperson Lisa O'Neill, but more are needed. The organization is especially in need of dining-room volunteers who can commit to one or more shifts per week, specifically from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Volunteer tasks include placing food on trays in the serving line, delivering trays for seniors and people with disabilities, and clearing dishes. "Our volunteers constantly tell us how much they receive from our guests during their service," O'Neill says. "They're always surprised at how grateful guests are for their help and at the bonds they form with the people they serve and their fellow volunteers."

All volunteers attend an orientation at St. Anthony Foundation, located at 121 Golden Gate Avenue between Leavenworth and Jones streets. Orientations are held on the first Saturdays and third Sundays of the month from 10:30 a.m. until noon. O'Neill says they're a great way to meet other volunteers, and to learn about the history and values of St. Anthony's. To help out, call 241-2600 or e-mail

El Rio Benefit for Animal Shelter

When San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC) celebrates its 16th anniversary at the El Rio bar on Thursday, July 21, the works of many Bay Area artists will be featured in both silent and live auctions. Among the auction items will be oil paintings, ceramics, prints, and museum-quality photos by Thea Schrack, Susan Friedman, Michael Leu, Dana Smith, Jaime Dreyfus, and Katina and Len Price.

In addition, celebrity auctioneers Jessica Aguirre, of Channel 7 News, and Deirdre Kennedy, producer of the KUSF radio program "Animals Aloud," will auction off airline tickets, bed-and-breakfast stays, restaurant gift certificates, golf supplies, dog-walking and training services, pet photo sessions, Trader Joe's gift baskets, San Francisco Opera tickets, and a Zap Zappy electric scooter.

The event, billed as ACC's "Sweet 16" Anniversary Party, will also feature vegetarian hors d'oeuvres, Marie Callender pies, music from deejay Robbie Socks, and a full no-host bar. Admission is $25.

Proceeds from the party will help maintain Animal Care and Control's many pet rescue and adoption services, including free microchipping clinics and an online pet-finder service.

The benefit runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., with the live auction scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. (Note: Winning auction bidders must pay by check.) El Rio is located at 3158 Mission Street, between Cesar Chavez and Valencia streets.

For more information about ACC, call 554-6364. For information about Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the party's producer, call 822-5566 or e-mail

Neighborhood Cleanup, Take Two

Several neighborhood groups, including the Friends of Noe Valley, Upper Noe Neighbors, and the East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club, are sponsoring the neighborhood's second Clean Sweep this year on Saturday, July 9, from 9 a.m. until noon. Meet at the minipark at the Noe Valley Farmers' Market, on 24th Street between Sanchez and Vicksburg streets. Volunteers will break up into teams to tackle 24th Street, Outer Church, Noe Courts, and Douglass Park.

At the first Clean Sweep, held on May 14, 40 neighbors turned out to help spiff up 24th Street between Dolores and Douglass streets, as well as parts of Church Street. "We're hoping for 60 people this time for seven to eight [cleanup] teams," says co-organizer Richard May.

Clean Sweep participants get to fortify themselves with a free breakfast beforehand. Starbucks, Artery, Noe Bagels, and Bell Market have all donated food and drink for the occasion. Cold beverages will be available to participants afterward, too.

On the same morning, large trash and recycling services will be provided at James Lick Middle School at 1220 Noe Street from 9 a.m. until noon. (Toxic items will not be accepted.) If you have large items to dump or recycle but are unable to take them to James Lick, the Friends of Noe Valley is offering curbside pickup that day.

To volunteer to help with curbside pickup or for assistance disposing of your large items, e-mail [contact information deleted].

Bethany Makes Space for Music

If you've been scouting a location for your next chamber music concert or wondering where in the world you could practice the organ, Bethany United Methodist Church has the answers.

As part of the church's mission to be a resource for the community, Bethany's worship space, organ, and piano are available to neighborhood musicians and organizations for small concerts. If the event is open to the neighborhood, Bethany will only charge a small cleaning fee for the use of the space. The organ is available for rehearsal and recitals at no charge. Bethany is located at 1268 Sanchez Street near Clipper Street.

The church already plays host to a number of music groups and events. On Sunday, July 31, join eight Bay Area jazz musicians for a jazz worship service at Bethany from 10 to 11 a.m. The celebration will features jazz arrangements of familiar hymns and contemporary music. Refreshments will follow the service.

For more information about concert or rehearsal space at Bethany, contact Darren Hochstedler, minister of music and celebration arts, at or 722-9731.

To learn more about Bethany's ministry, visit

Noe Courts to Get City Cash

The Noe Valley moms who decided to take on a renovation at Noe Courts, the small park located on Douglass Street between 24th and Elizabeth streets, received a green light from city officials in June. They found out that $175,000 had been included in the mayor's Proposed Capital Projects Budget for 2006.

Laura Norman, one of the founders of the Friends of Noe Courts, explains that the money will be spent by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, not her organization. She and others in her group will be involved in the plans, though. "[We] plan to work with them to provide a voice for what the Noe community would like to see, and we also plan to raise money to supplement the project," Norman says.

The Friends of Noe Courts conducted a neighborhood survey this spring asking park users what improvements they'd like to see. "For the park overall, people would like to see a perimeter fence, lighting, fixing the drainage issues, and the bathroom reopened," Norman notes. She and the organization's co-founder, Eden Halbert, are especially interested in creating a play space that is safer and more fun for kids than the current setup.

If you're interested in helping out with the Noe Courts project or receiving updates on the renovation's progress, e-mail to join the organization's mailing list.

Wear Pajamas to Potter Party

It's coming out July 16: British author J. K. Rowling's sixth book in the phenomenally popular Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. So don't be surprised to see Noe Valley's young wizards and witches, and even a few stuffy Muggles, flying in to Cover to Cover the evening of July 15.

As in years past, the bookshop at 1307 Castro Street (near 24th) is hosting a pajama party to celebrate the release of the latest Harry Potter adventure. "We're inviting people to dress in their favorite pajamas and bring a sleeping bag," says Tracy Wynne, co-owner of the bookstore.

The store will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 15. Then two hours later, at 8 p.m., the doors will reopen and festivities will begin. At the stroke of midnight, in accordance with Rowling's instructions, the bookstore staff will unpack the boxes and distribute the new books.

"Because of the lateness of the hour and the anticipated frenzy," notes Wynne, "we have been encouraging everyone to come by the store between now and July 15 to buy a specially printed card. Each card will be sold for the price of one book [$32.50, tax included] and can be exchanged for a book after midnight."

This year, Cooks Boulevard, the gourmet cookware store next door to Cover to Cover, has offered to co-host the event. The two shops will provide snacks, storytelling, and a magician, to entertain young readers and their families as they wait for the book's unveiling.

For more information or to order a book, call Cover to Cover Booksellers at 415-282-8080 or e-mail covertocover For hints on the new book's plot, go to J. K. Rowling's magical web site at

A Parade of Silent Films

The 10th annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, which will be held July 8­10 at the Castro Theatre on Castro Street near 18th Street, is packed with gems from the era of the silent screen. The films will be accompanied by music from the theater's mighty Wurlitzer organ.

The festival kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 8, with a presentation of the Harold Lloyd comedy For Heaven's Sake (1926). On Saturday, July 9, at 3:20 p.m., the festival will give the 2005 Haghefilm Award, for distinguished contribution to the preservation of our film heritage, to the nonprofit National Film Preservation Foundation. The daughters of legendary silent film actor John Gilbert, as well as director King Vidor, will appear at the screening of Vidor's The Big Parade at 7:45 p.m., which features Gilbert in the performance that made him a star.

The festival will continue on Sunday with more films and a closing event at 8 p.m. Throughout the three-day event, books on silent film will be available in the lobby of the Castro Theatre and authors will be present to sign them.

To find out more about the film festival schedule and to purchase tickets, visit or call 777-4908.

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