Noe Valley Voice February 2006

Short Takes

By Erin O'Briant

Bluegrass Music Catching Fire

Toes will be tappin' at the Noe Valley Ministry during the seventh annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival, running Feb. 2 to 13. The Ministry "has great line-ups for festival fans," says Linda Schneider, a festival committee member.

The Ministry festivities will kick off with "An Evening of Local Legends," featuring the bands Papermill Creek Rounders, Kleptograss, and High Country, on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. The following evening, celebrated fiddler Kailin Yong and his band, the Boulder Acoustic Society, join bluegrass king Peter Rowan in a Feb. 4 show at 8:15 p.m. Advance tickets are $22; $24 at the door.

Then on Saturday, Feb. 11, Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon, and the group Donner Mountain perform at 8:15 p.m. That show is $16 in advance and $18 at the door. The Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street between Elizabeth and 23rd streets.

The San Francisco Bluegrass Festival, sponsored by the Northern California Bluegrass Society, offers 12 days packed with performances by bluegrass and old-time musicians from near and far. Other concert venues in this neck of the woods include the Make-Out Room, Café du Nord, Amnesia, 12 Galaxies, and the Knockout. But the festival is filled with more than music. Participants can also see the film Bluegrass Journey, attend afternoon workshops, and enjoy a children's concert at the Randall Museum. For a complete schedule of performances and tickets, visit

Make Your Mark on the Playground Report Card

What parent doesn't have an opinion about their local playground? Now's your chance to have your voice heard--and help the Recreation and Parks Department decide how to spend its money.

Volunteers are needed to create a citywide playground report card. The goal of the project, which is being spearheaded by the Neighborhood Parks Council, is to complete a survey at every playground in San Francisco. That's 144 different playgrounds, so there's a lot of work to be done.

If you'd like to help, come to Duboce Park--located at Duboce Avenue and Scott Street just north of the Castro District--between 9 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, to sign up as a volunteer.

The Neighborhood Parks Council is a non-profit coalition of local parks groups that is working to restore and improve San Francisco parks. To find out more about the organization, visit

Women Who Run With Women

"Women really like to work out with each other," says Lori Shannon of See Jane Run. That's why the sports store is bringing women of all ages together for marathon and triathalon training.

See Jane Run has scheduled two free informational and kickoff meetings: The triathalon training program meeting is on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m., and the marathon training program meeting is the next day, Feb. 2, also at 6:30 p.m. The first day of training for both programs starts on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Each training program lasts for three months and ends with an event. "They're all-women trainings that are trainer-led," says Shannon. "The triathalon training is also a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Fund and has been for years." The marathon training was just added in late 2005.

Get there early--there might be a crowd. "Last year, this really took off," Shannon explains. "There could be up to 75 women in each program. We've had women as young as 18 and up to 65 years old participate."

The meeting and trainings will be held at the store's Noe Valley location, 3910 24th Street near Sanchez Street. For more info, visit or call 401-8338.

Panel on Medicare Drug Plan

If you or a loved one is affected by Medicare's new prescription drug plan, come to the Noe Valley Ministry for a free informational panel discussion sponsored by the Noe Valley Democratic Club at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The local political group has put together a panel of experts, including David Grant, director of health policy for the Senior Action Network; Traci Dobronravova, director of social services for Self-Help for the Elderly; Dan Bernal, district director for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco; and Simon Chew, a certified insurance counselor and broker for Blue Cross.

The panel will answer questions about the plan, which took effect in January and relies on private insurers, pharmacies, and other health-care companies to provide drug coverage for Medicare's 42 million beneficiaries.

The event will be held at the Noe Valley Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street. For information, call Democratic Club president Rafael Mandelman at 648-4010.

Kids, Critters, and Cool Cops

Youngsters who love animals (and television's Animal Cops) are in for a treat at the free Critters and Kids Valentine's Carnival scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. The event, which is co-sponsored by San Francisco Animal Care and Control and the San Francisco SPCA, is full of games, prizes, raffles, and Valentine's Day treats. Stars from the San Francisco Animal Cops TV show will sign autographs and pose for pictures. Plus, the pros will put on a dog safety puppet show and other educational presentations especially for kids.

Animal rescue groups will be on hand with adoptable animals and information. The SPCA is also sponsoring an animal micro-chipping clinic, which is free for San Francisco residents. The event will take place on Alabama Street at 16th Street between the SPCA and ACC offices. For more information, call 522-3500 or visit

Lemony Snicket's Play
for Grown-ups

The writer sometimes known as Lemony Snicket--a.k.a. Daniel Handler--will showcase some of his new work in a presentation that runs Feb. 24 through March 12. Produced by the Z Space Studio's innovative Word for Word program, 4 Adverbs is a world premiere play featuring four short stories from Handler's forthcoming novel for adults, Adverbs. (The book will be published by HarperCollins in May 2006.) Word for Word is a program in which literary works are acted out on stage in their entirety--word for word.

According to press agent David Hyry, the production is chock-a-block with Noe Valleyans. The play's director, Sheila Balter, is a resident of the neighborhood, as is actor Nicholas Pelczar and Word for Word co-founder Susan Harloe. Handler himself lives "a few streets over," says Hyry.

The play takes place at Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida Street between 17th and Mariposa streets. Tickets are $28 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and $32 on Saturdays and Sundays. Seniors and students pay $25. A pay-what-you-can rush will be offered on Wednesday and Thursday nights, for seats available 15 minutes before curtain.

All shows are at 8 p.m., except for Sunday shows, which are at 3 p.m. For more ticket information, call 437-6775 or visit

How to Make a Mural

Folks who want to create a neighborhood mural--whether they're beginners or experienced artists--are welcome to attend the Community Mural Arts Education Workshops at Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center. Participants will get hands-on experience in directing, designing, and planning a community mural. They'll also receive a packet including an outline of the mural process, a sample budget, a materials list, and possible funding sources.

Master muralist Susan Cervantes leads the two-hour workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 21, and Tuesday, March 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $50 per session for non-members and $40 for members of Precita Eyes. The center is located at 2981 24th Street at Harrison Street. Pre-paid registration is required, so call 285-2287 to sign up or for more information.

Planting Seeds for the Next Harvest Fest

Come celebrate the success of the first-ever Harvest Festival and get a head start on next year's event. A free thank-you party for the 2005 volunteers takes place on Friday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. It'll be held at the Noe Valley Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street. Music and food will be part of the fun.

Of course, it's never too soon to start planning for the next fest, tentatively scheduled for October. Team leaders are needed for the following areas in 2006: Merchant Liaison, Vendors, Entertainment and Activities, Budget and Fundraising, Promotion, and Volunteers. Folks who are willing to help the team leaders make it happen are needed, too. If you're interested, stop by and meet last year's gang.

If you can't come but want to get involved in the 2006 Harvest Festival, contact Richard May at rambooks@pacbell .net for more information.

Walking Tours Revisit '06 Quake

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco City Guides is offering three fascinating new tours: It Can't Happen Here, Phoenix Rising, and Are We There Yet? The tours focus on the experience of the earthquake and its aftermath. They're available all year, with expanded times during April.

It Can't Happen Here will be offered on second Mondays and April 17 at 10 a.m.; and on first, third, and fifth Sundays at 1 p.m. Participants will find out about the massive earthquake, which ripped apart water pipes and toppled chimneys before dawn on April 18, 1906. The tour begins at the park on Ecker Street at Market, between 525 and 555 Market Street.

Phoenix Rising will feature tales of destruction and of city residents' valiant attempts to rebuild. For this tour, meet at Memorial Court, the small park at Fulton and Franklin streets. Phoenix Rising takes place on first and third Wednesdays at 1 p.m.; and on first, third, and fifth Saturdays at 1 p.m.

While walking through the Presidio, participants will find out about the role of the Army after the 1906 quake. Are We There Yet? takes place on third Fridays and on April 14 at 1 p.m.; and on second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays, as well as April 1 and 15, at 1 p.m. Meet at the Officers Club and Visitors Center at the Presidio.

San Francisco City Guides offers dozens of tours year-round. They're all free, though SFCG suggests a $5 donation. To learn more and download the schedule, visit

Museum of the African Diaspora Comes Together

The newest art and history museum to grace San Francisco's cultural landscape is the Museum of the African Diaspora, also dubbed MoAD. The museum occupies the first three floors of the new St. Regis Hotel at 685 Mission Street near Third Street, and is devoted to exploring the many cultures and experiences of people of African origin.

From now through March 12, MoAD features two contemporary art exhibitions. Internationally acclaimed artists Maria Magdalena Compos-Pons, Mildred Howard, and Marepe created one exhibition specifically for the museum's grand opening on Dec. 3, 2005. It's titled "Dispersed: African Legacy/New World Reality." Photographs, paintings, mixed media, video, and more from two noted collectors are also on view, in "Linkages and Themes in the African Diaspora: Selections from the Collections of Eileen Harris Norton and Peter Norton."

In addition, visitors can see "Made in Africa," an exhibition on loan from the British Museum in London. It features three stone tools made in Africa nearly two million years ago; they are the oldest artifacts in the British Museum's collection.

MoAD is open weekdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Tuesdays. General admission is $8; seniors and students pay $5. For more information and to view the museum's online exhibit, visit

Orchid Drawing Classes for Sprouts

The Conservatory of Flowers has an eye-popping series of workshops planned for kids ages 6 to 11 during the month of February. Each Saturday morning, children accompanied by parents can participate in a different orchid-drawing class. The classes take place in the Conservatory's Modern Art of Orchids gallery surrounded by orchids in full bloom. The children will learn basic observation and drawing skills, and all materials are provided.

On Feb. 4, kids will create Chinese New Year orchid cards just in time for the holiday. Orchid scrolls are the project on Feb. 11, unique orchid "creatures" take center stage on Feb. 18, and on Feb. 25 the young artists will investigate the intricate insides of orchids and map their own magical flower worlds.

All workshops are from 11 a.m. until noon. They're free with admission, which costs $5 for adults; $3 for youth ages 12 to 17, seniors 65 and older, and students with an ID; and $1.50 for children 5 to 11. Admission is free for children under 4. Registration is required, so call 666-7001 to sign up or visit for more information.