Noe Valley Voice April 2006

Short Takes

Food and Flamingos at Cover to Cover

Meet two authors (and have a snack) at Cover to Cover Booksellers this month. On Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m., renowned illustrator Calef Brown signs copies of his new collection of paintings and poems, Flamingos on the Roof. "We have known and loved Calef's stuff for years," says store co-owner Tracy Wynne.

The following week, Sharon Smith presents her cookbook, Savoring San Francisco, a collection of recipes gathered from San Francisco eateries. The best news for food lovers? Samples will be on hand. Smith's reading and tasting will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 21.

Cover to Cover is located at 1307 Castro Street near 24th Street. Call 282-8080 for more information.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Don't be modest! The Friends of Noe Valley is sponsoring the first-ever Noe Valley Garden Tour on Saturday, June 3, and organizers need residents to show off their gardens. According to Friends President Richard May, if all goes as planned, the neighborhood's finest trees, blooms, and shrubs will be featured along the route. "We really are looking for folks to volunteer. The theme will be 'Secret Gardens of Noe Valley,'" he notes.

If you're willing to have your garden on the tour, don't think you have to do it alone, he says. Volunteers will staff each garden so that the responsibility doesn't fall solely on the owner.

The purpose of the tour is to raise money to help pay for aesthetic improvements on 24th Street that will complement the work of the newly-formed Noe Valley Community Benefit District (CBD). Right now, most of the CBD's money is going toward cleaning and maintenance, and there isn't enough left over for beautification, May says.

Photos of the gardens on the tour will be printed in a 2007 calendar, which will also be sold to raise funds. Those interested in revealing their gardens should contact May at 206-0231, Beth Daecher at, or Eden Halbert at

A Romance to Sing About

The love story is 200 years old, but the show celebrating it is brand new. Noe Valley composer Candace Forest's long-anticipated musical Viva Concha! Rose of the Presidio will premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 5. "I started writing this show 10 years ago, and I'm very happy to finally be under way," says Forest, who is also producing the event.

The musical celebrates the 1806 love affair between Concha Arguello, the daughter of the commandant of the Spanish Presidio of San Francisco, and Russian explorer Nikolai Rezanov. "It's a story in California history that shows the beginnings of crosscultural affairs, international relations, women's rights, and, most importantly, the enduring power of love," says Forest. Additional performances will take place Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 7, at 3 p.m.

The showcase will be held at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street. Viva Concha's international cast of 23 includes award-winning opera singers as well as Bay Area cabaret performers. Soprano Aimeé Puentes will perform the role of Concha, and Codrut Birsan, a tenor from Romania, will appear as Rezanov. Forest notes that Noe Valley designers Connie Walkershaw and Liz Terbolizard are doing the costumes, assisted by Church Street resident Michelle Driscoll.

Tickets are $20 to $30 and are available online at For more information, call 648-8471 or visit

Sci-Fi Series at New College

Fans of science fiction will love the new monthly sci-fi readings and discussions sponsored by New College of California, whose Mission campus is just a couple of blocks from Noe Valley. The readings, which each feature two writers, are curated by New College teachers Adam Cornford and Terry Bisson, both of whom are also award-winning writers.

On Tuesday, April 18, Rudy Rucker and John Shirley (whom the organizers call "cyperpunk pioneers") will read at 7 p.m. at the New College Valencia Theater, located at 777 Valencia Street near 19th Street. Admission is $4 for the public or free to the New College community.

Future events are being planned for May 16 and June 13. To find out more or get details about May and June readings, e-mail

AIDS Requiem's West Coast Premiere

"The struggle continues, there are too many of us still dying, there are people still getting it, there is no cure, and the survivors are still grieving over their friends and loved ones," says Golden Gate Men's Chorus Director Joseph Jennings, explaining why his 50-voice chorus will present the West Coast premiere of Memento Mori: An AIDS Requiem, by James Adler.

The chorus will perform the nine-movement program, which is loosely based on the Roman Catholic requiem, on Sunday, April 30, at 4 p.m., and again on Tuesday, May 2, at 8 p.m. Both performances will be held at Mission Dolores Basilica at 16th and Dolores streets.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at; at A Different Light Bookstore at 489 Castro Street, and through chorus members. Remaining tickets will be available at the door, and student half-price discount tickets will be available at the door with valid ID. For more information, call 668-GGMC.

Birds, Butterflies, and Beyond

A spring celebration for kids and grown-ups is well under way at the Randall Museum, located at 199 Museum Way (off Roosevelt, above Castro and 14th streets).

The museum's drop-in Saturday workshops are a long-standing favorite for parents and kids. From 1 to 4 p.m. each Saturday, everyone is welcome to drop in for a $5-per-person workshop (adults must accompany anyone 8 or under). On April 8, they'll make spring baskets; earthquake folding books are the craft on April 15; participants will create butterfly books on April 22; and on April 29, a guide dog team will explain what guide dogs do and how they work.

Walkers and bird-lovers can join Audubon volunteers to explore Corona Heights Park on a guided birding walk on Friday, April 21, at 8 a.m. The walk is free, and beginning birders are welcome.

Another event takes place in Corona Heights Park on Saturday, April 29, at 10 a.m., when habitat restoration volunteers will gather to remove weeds and clear trails. Afterwards, a native plants expert will lead a free wildflower walk. To borrow binoculars for the birding walk or to register for the wildflower walk, call 554-9600, ext. 16.

Poetry Contest for Teens

Thanks to the San Francisco Public Library, writing poetry can pay--in gift cards. The library is sponsoring a teen poetry contest during the month of April, and the winners receive one of three prizes from Border Books and Music: a $50 gift card for the first-place winner, and $20 cards for the second- and third-place poets.

Original poems written by teens 13 to 18 are eligible, and all entries must be received by 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. Selected entries will be compiled into a poetry 'zine.

To submit an entry (only one!), visit one of these library branches: Main Library Teen Center, Bayview­Anna E. Waden, Chinatown, Excelsior, Glen Park, North Beach, Ocean View, Ortega, Parkside, Richmond, or Visitacion Valley.

Outdoor Explorations at Crissy Field

April is a wonderful month to visit the Presidio's Crissy Field, where people of all ages will find entertainment and inspiration. Families with children ages 4 to 9 can participate in a free walk to learn about the Presidio's legendary Juana Briones--it takes place in English from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, and in Spanish from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 16.

Everyone is invited to attend the free Crissy Field Aviation Walk on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. until noon. Participants will learn about the field's role in early aviation history. (Meet at the Warming Hut on the west end of Crissy Field near Mason Street.)

Youth ages 8 to 11 are invited to join a chef to find out how to transform locally-grown organic strawberries into strawberry jam, strawberry short cake, and double-dipped chocolate strawberries. This Very Berry Delights event takes place on Sunday, April 30, from 10 a.m. until noon, and the cost is $20.

While you're at Crissy Field, don't forget to ask about the great summer camps for kids. They're signing 'em up soon.

Unless otherwise specified, all activities take place at Crissy Field Center, located at 603 Mason Street at Halleck in the Presidio. Preregistration is required. Call 561-7752 to sign up, or visit www for more information.

This month's Short Takes were compiled and written by Erin O'Briant. To publicize your May event in the Noe Valley Voice Short Takes or Calendar sections, send an e-mail to editor@noevalleyvoice .com. Be sure to include your name and phone number along with the five W's: who, what, where, when (and whatever). Thank you.