Noe Valley Voice May 2006

Short Takes

By Erin O'Briant

Clothes for a Good Cause

Combine your spring closet-cleaning with help for humankind by donating new or gently used clothes to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In Noe Valley, St. Philip Church, at 725 Diamond Street between 24th and Elizabeth streets, has been designated a drop-off spot for St. Vincent de Paul on Saturday, May 13, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sunday, May 14, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

"You know the summer weather in our beautiful city, the warmer the clothing the better," says Patti Wood of St. Philip's. She adds that the Society is in particular need of men's shoes, and will also accept towels, washcloths, and sheets.

The 360 working poor, destitute, or homeless people who come to St. Vincent de Paul's centers each night for a hot meal, shower, or shelter are all offered a change of clothing, which includes new underwear and socks. The organization serves a total of about 1,000 people per day, and no one is ever turned away. For more information about the spring clothing drive, call 282-0141.

Take a Peek at Peekabootique

The new owners of Peekabootique, the kids clothing store on Castro Street, are showcasing two new regular events this month--a Designer Series and Parents Night Out, says co-owner Mike Stanton. He also invites neighbors to "come on down and see the changes we've made."

On Thursday, May 18, 7 to 9 p.m., San Francisco jewelry designer Kathy Loewenstern, whose work has been picked up by the Smithsonian Institution, will talk about her designs and inspirations, as well as show off a trunk of new pieces, including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. This series will continue, with new designers, on the third Thursday of each month.

Then on Thursday, May 25, parents get to let their hair down. Peekabootique will stay open late so that parents can party from 7 until 9 p.m. "We'll serve wine and soft drinks and spin some records," Stanton says. It's a chance to relax, chat, and meet your neighbors, and kids of all ages are welcome. Co-owner Michele Furlong will also be on hand. Peekabootique is located at 1306 Castro Street at 24th Street. Call 641-6192 with questions.

Bravo! Chamber Music

Celebrate the culmination of Noe Valley Chamber Music's 12th season with a special performance on Sunday, May 21, at 4 p.m. This season finale and fundraising event takes place at the Noe Valley Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street. The performance features San Francisco Opera maestro Donald Runnicles, with Opera instrumentalists Kay Stern and Thalia Moore, performing the music of Mozart and Beethoven.

Participants can contribute to NVCM by bidding on a variety of items, including tickets to the San Francisco Symphony and Opera, a two-day getaway to Anchor Bay, and gift certificates for local restaurants such as Delfina, Firefly, and Incanto. Tickets are $25 each. To reserve yours, call 648-5236.

Senior Center's Spring Fling

On Lok 30th Street Senior Services will host a Spring Fling to benefit programs for seniors, on Sunday, May 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. The party, which will take place in On Lok's garden courtyard at 225 30th Street, will also honor the Friends of 30th Street, a volunteer group whose members help support the senior center. There will be a barbeque and live Latin music by Cascada de Flores.

"If you've never seen the center or the garden, you don't know what you're missing. It's a fabulous place," notes Upper Noe resident and Friends member Vicki Rosen.

The center provides a range of bilingual and bicultural services to elders in Noe Valley and the Mission District. Programs include physical activity, social opportunities, nutrition and meal assistance, and case management.

Tickets to the fundraiser are $25. If you'd like to go, make a check out to On Lok's 30th Street Senior Services and mail it to Friends of 30th Street at 225 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the event. For more information, call the center at 550-2210.

Best in Show in Dolores Park

Where better to screen the hilariously funny Best in Show than the site of one of San Francisco's few remaining dog parks? Canines (on leash) and their people are invited to see the film on a giant outdoor screen in Dolores Park on Saturday, May 20, at 8 p.m. Bring a picnic if you like, but organizers ask that moviegoers sit on blankets instead of chairs.

Other Dolores Park screenings this year include Raiders of the Lost Ark at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, and Young Frankenstein at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7. Every month through October, the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation hosts a free outdoor film in a San Francisco park, delighting thousands of film buffs each year. The non-profit is also dedicated to preserving neighborhood cinemas.

To explore screenings in other neighborhoods and to see photos of previous Dolores Park films, visit The Dolores Park screening will take place off Dolores and 19th streets.

City College Summer Signup

Whether you want to delve into the mysteries of modern art, master a language, explore a love of photography, or just fulfill some basic English requirements, the evening-only Castro-Valencia Campus of City College--known by day as James Lick Middle School--is a fantastic resource. Located at 1220 Noe Street, it caters specifically to working adults in and around Noe Valley.

Summer session begins on May 30 for the early start three-week credit session. Regular six-week, non-credit classes begin June 5, and regular credit six-week sessions start June 12. The late start four-week credit session starts on June 26. Credit courses are $26 per unit, and non-credit classes are free. Online registration for continuing students at City College has already begun; for new students online registration starts May 10. In-person registration is held June 12 to 16.

For details on City College classes, contact the school's Admissions and Records Office by phone at 239-3285 or go to

New Preschool at St. Philip

Neighborhood parents have known for a long time that more preschools were needed in Noe Valley--and now there's finally a new one at St. Philip School, located at 725 Diamond Street between Elizabeth and 24th streets. There are even a few spaces open for the summer and fall.

"[The preschool] offers a variety of full-time and part-time programs and will also run a summer camp for preschool-age children," says Paula Whitehead, president of the school's board of education. The kids get to participate in a mix of activities, including art, play, music, movement, and cooking. "Science and woodworking are also included as part of the daily curriculum," she adds.

Whitehead says St. Philip's opened its new year-round preschool in mid-February. The director, Hope Peterson, began her new position in July, and has been busy since then securing licensing, planning facilities, and recruiting teachers for the preschool. To find out more, call the school office at 824-8467.

A Celebration of Murals

It just wouldn't be San Francisco without all of our gorgeous murals--many of which came about thanks to the efforts of artists working with the Mission District's non-profit Precita Eyes. To celebrate and honor the many muralists who beautify the Bay Area with their work, Precita Eyes is holding the 16th annual San Francisco Bay Area Mural Awareness Month Festival and Mural Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 13, in Precita Park. The park is located close to Noe Valley on Precita Avenue between Folsom and Harrison streets.

The day's events will include a mural competition, complete with a "paint-off," a community mural "paint-in," and arts and crafts for kids. Attendees can watch a live mural performance, in which guest muralists create a mural honoring the year's award recipients. Organizers are also planning live music and muralists' booths exhibiting their art. The festival is free. For more information, contact Joshua Stevenson at 285-2287 or visit

Demos Tackle Roe vs. Wade

The Noe Valley Democratic Club will sponsor a panel discussion on the hot topic of Roe vs. Wade, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, at the Noe Valley Ministry.

Admission is free for the forum, which will focus on the prospects for overturn of Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States.

The discussion promises to be "very timely and provocative," says Molly Fleischman, program chairwoman of the Democratic Club.

Panelists are David Faigman, a constitutional law expert at Hastings College of Law; Amy Moy of the Public Affairs/Education Department of the Golden Gate chapter of Planned Parenthood; and Dolores Meehan of the Respect Life Program of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Faigman will speak first, explaining the legal issues behind the abortion debate. Then Moy and Meehan will present arguments pro and con legal abortion.

The Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd Street. For more information, e-mail Fleischman at

Teens Go BATS for Summer Improv

Youth ages 11 to 17 can take advantage of short summer improv theater camps at Fort Mason Center this summer. BATS Improv, a nonprofit school and theater for improvisational performance, usually caters to adults--but in the summers they open their doors to the younger generation.

The camps for youth ages 11 to 13 run Wednesday, July 5, through Saturday, July 8, or Monday, July 10, through Friday, July 14, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The camps for teenagers ages 14 to 17 happen Monday, July 17, through Friday, July 21, or Monday, July 24, through Friday, July 28, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Each session culminates in a showcase performance. Camp prices ranges from $220 to $300. For more information, call 474-6776 or visit the BATS web site at

--Erin O'Briant

Lila Knows What Parents Like

Noe Valley parents, do you have your LilaGuide? Well, if you want to be like the rich and famous, you should pick up a copy. According to Child magazine, movie star (and new mom) Jennifer Garner is a LilaGuide user. The parent "survival guides" are Zagat-like books that rank kid-friendly stores, restaurants, activities, and services in 23 cities across the country. The rankings are based on surveys filled out by local parents.

Oli Mittermaier, who lives in the Upper Market area, founded LilaGuides a few years ago after the birth of his daughter Delilah. He says he and his wife, Elysa, were "clueless as new parents," and found themselves relying on word-of-mouth parenting advice. They published their first guide, LilaGuide: Baby-Friendly Bay Area, in 2002, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Anyone can get a complimentary copy by participating in the LilaGuide survey at Or you can buy one for $16.95 on 24th Street. Both Ladybug Ladybug and Just for Fun carry copies.

--Olivia Boler