Noe Valley Voice October 2006

Short Takes

Compiled and written by Erin O'Briant

Whistle Stop by Gavin Newsom

Mayor Gavin Newsom will address a joint meeting of the Noe Valley Democratic Club and the Friends of Noe Valley at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Newsom will discuss topics of interest to Noe Valley, as well as to San Francisco as a whole. A brief question-and-answer period will follow his talk. Supervisor Bevan Dufty will introduce the mayor.

After Newsom's presentation, Sarah Lipson, a San Francisco school board member, will speak on Proposition A, the $450 million city school bond issue on the Nov. 7 ballot. If approved by 55 percent of voters, the measure would pay for upgrades, maintenance, and access at 60 city public schools. It would add an average of $22 for each $100,000 of assessed value to San Francisco property taxes over the next 22 years.

The meeting will take place at St. Philip's Church, 725 Diamond Street, off Elizabeth Street. Parking will be available in a lot on Elizabeth Street behind the church.

Attendance is free and open to the public. For information about the Democratic Club, call Andy Fleischman, 641-5838. To find out more about Friends, contact Richard May at

Treats for People and Pooches

A witch, cauldron, haunted house, free candy, and a dog costume contest are among the pleasures in store for the neighborhood this Halloween.

The Noe Valley Merchants Association has announced that stores and restaurants along 24th Street will welcome kids for trick-or-treating throughout the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 31. Many businesses will stay haunted until 7 p.m.

Church Street from 23rd to 30th streets also will be bubbling, with shopkeepers doling out treats all day until 7:30 p.m. Look for special Halloween signs on the shop doors.

Noe Valley Pet Company on Church Street at Cesar Chavez Street is hosting its annual dog costume contest and party on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Pet Poses will be on hand to take photo portraits of dogs and their owners, and a portion of the day's proceeds will go to Rocket Dog Rescue. Co-owner Celia Sack promises treats for any dogs willing to do tricks.

Nearby at Church and 28th streets, the staff at One Stop Party Shop will be working overtime to satisfy the neighborhood's Halloween wishes. Beginning Sunday, Oct. 1, the store will be open seven days a week, from 10 or 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. "During the last two weeks, we have no hours," says owner Mardie Vandervort. "We're here all the time for the customers' convenience." Special Halloween plans include sales on kids' costumes, a cauldron with dry ice, and a resident witch. "We do hand out candy every year, so it'll be fun for the kids," Vanderwort says.

According to Hoffman Street resident Marilyn Lucas, the Hoffman Safety Group plans to entertain 300 children at its annual free Halloween celebration. The members of the group "decorate their homes, put on costumes, and welcome the kids," Lucas says, between 6 and 8 p.m. on Halloween night. The haunted houses are located on Hoffman close to 24th and Elizabeth streets. She describes them as "mysterious, spooky, full of delight, and yet scary at the same time."

St. Paul School Turns 90

More than 1,000 former students are expected to attend a mass and reception celebrating St. Paul School's 90th birthday, on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 12:15 p.m.

"At one point, we had 1,500 students at the school," says event committee member Katie O'Shea, "so we have a big alumni base and they love to come back." Archbishop George Niederauer will give the homily and offer mass. Many priests who attended St. Paul's as children will attend the service as well.

After mass at St. Paul's Church, everyone is invited to a reception at the parish center, complete with a big display of St. Paul's memorabilia. "There are lots and lots of class pictures, report cards, that kind of thing," says O'Shea. Graduates of the school will have opportunities to reunite with or meet others who graduated in the same decade they did. Sandwiches, cheese, fruit, and other delectables will be on hand. O'Shea estimates the reception will continue until around 4 p.m.

The church and school are located on Church Street between Valley and 29th streets. For more information, call 648-7538.

Locals Star in Miss Saigon

Two neighborhood actors have prominent roles in a San Mateo production of Miss Saigon, the 1990s Broadway musical about a tragic romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese barmaid. Paul Araquistain, cast as the engineer, one of two male leads, is a Theatre Critics' Circle performance award winner. The other Noe Valley actor is making his professional debut--4-year-old Mark Shibata, who plays Tam. As if two Noe Valley participants weren't enough, Araquistain's roommate, Mark Hanson, is the musical director of the production.

Miss Saigon, presented by the American Musical Theatre of San Jose, runs through Sunday, Oct. 8, at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center at 600 North Delaware Avenue. For tickets and information, call 650-579-5568 or visit Tickets range from $15 to $38; parking is free.

A Series of Great Guitarists

Two top acoustic guitarists will perform this month as part of the Noe Valley Music Series' new Great Guitarists program. Highly regarded performers Peppino D'Agostino and Enrique Coria will kick off the series on Friday, Oct. 13. D'Agostino's recent works include recordings with guitar master David Tannenbaum, the World Guitar Ensemble, and the children's choir Voena. Coria mixes South American sounds with European classical and jazz traditions. Tickets are $16 in advance or $18 at the door.

The series continues in November, when singer/songwriters Jeffrey Halford and Jim Brunberg will perform on Saturday, Nov. 4. On Saturday, Nov. 11, the series features Beth Custer. All performances are 8:15 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street. Call 454-5238 or visit for more information. Advance tickets are available at Streetlight Records at 3979 24th Street near Noe Street.

Inside the Artist's Studio

Discover local art and artists during the annual San Francisco Open Studios. This huge, month-long exhibit and self-guided tour gives art lovers a chance to meet artists, tour their studios, and buy original artwork. More than 700 artists will open their studios to the public during the event.

Beginning on Saturday, Oct. 7, artists' studios will be open to the public on weekends from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. The open dates are grouped by neighborhood for easier touring. Artists in Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, the Castro, Duboce Triangle, Eureka Valley, Glen Park, the Mission, and Portola will be open the weekend of Oct. 14 and 15.

The free SomArts exhibit takes place at 934 Brannan Street from Saturday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 29. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. A free opening reception happens in the same place on Oct. 6 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and other events are scheduled throughout the month. At SomArts, attendees can pick up a copy of the Open Studios Guide, a free 128-page booklet that allows participants to create their own studio tour. For more information, including additional places to find the tour guide, visit or call 861-9839.

Fur Flies at Film Fest

If you love dogs (and who doesn't?), you might want to bound over to the Castro Theatre the weekend of Oct. 7 and 8 for the first annual Canine Film Festival. The event will feature yesteryear's most beloved dog films, along with several new films starring our four-footed friends. "We left no bone unturned" in finding the best canine cinema, says festival producer Maria Goodavage.

Among the movies being screened are Best in Show, The Adventures of Milo and Otis, The Shaggy Dog, a selection of Wallace & Gromit shorts, and the sentimental classic Old Yeller. Jan Wahl of KRON-TV will host the Saturday evening program and gala reception, which will feature appearances by Fred Willard and other stars from Best in Show. On Sunday evening after 101 Dalmatians, comedian JoAnne Worley will emcee a Queen of the Fest drag contest.

All profits go to benefit PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a nonprofit group that feeds and takes care of companion animals for low-income people with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Visit for the complete schedule. Advance tickets for weekend passes, the gala reception, and individual films are available at Individual movies are $10 for adults or $6 for children 12 and under. Same-day tickets will be available at the theater, located at 429 Castro Street near 18th Street. Sorry, no dogs allowed at the show.

Take the Mystery Out of Mystery Writing

Aspiring mystery writers can learn the secrets of Bay Area mystery-writing celebs at a Mystery Writing and Publishing seminar sponsored by the 826 Valencia tutoring center on Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. The writer-teachers will discuss the tricky craft of keeping readers on the edge of their seats, and give their tips on contacting agents and working with publishing houses.

Noe Valley's own Cara Black, author of the popular Aimée Leduc mystery series, will moderate. Panelists include successful mystery writers Laurie R. King, James Calder, Nadi Gordon, and David Corbett. The seminar will be held at 826 Valencia Street between 19th and 20th streets, and the price is $50.

To sign up, visit the store's web site at, or send payment to 826 Valencia at 826 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.

Latino Health Fair at Fairmount

More than 100 community organizations will participate in a Latino Health Fair (Feria de Salud) at Fairmount Elementary School on Saturday, Oct. 7. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., will offer free blood pressure and diabetes screenings, breast examinations, and glucose testing, provided by St. Luke's Hospital staff. The health fair is organized by the American Heart Association, the Latina Breast Cancer Agency, On Lok Senior Health, the San Francisco Unified School District, and the Mexican Consulate.

Though the event is geared primarily for members of the Latino community, all are welcome. Fairmont Elementary School is located at 65 Chenery Street at Randall Street. Questions? Call On Lok's outreach coordinator, Maria Martínez-Mont, at 550-2235.

Mid-Air Dance at BART

Four dancers will suspend themselves from a billboard design in a free outdoor dance performance in the BART Plaza at 24th and Mission streets during the month of October. The Live Billboard Project premiere performance will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 9:30 p.m. Subsequent performances are scheduled for 8 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, through Sunday, Oct. 8, and Thursday, Oct. 12, through Saturday, Oct. 14.

The performance aims to highlight the loss of public space to corporate advertising. The dance is choreographed by Jo Kreiter with original music by Carla Hihlstedt, and is co-presented by Dancers Group. For more information, visit or call 920-9181.

Free Jazz for the Soul

The Noe Valley Ministry is beginning a new monthly offering of free jazz performances on Sunday afternoons. The first jazz vespers, which features professional local musicians in a sacred setting, takes place on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 5 to 6 p.m. According to Pastor Keenan Kelsey, the choice of a jazz vespers is particularly appropriate because the church was the birthplace of jazz.

The initial program features the Mad and Eddie Duran Quartet. Mad Duran plays tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones, flute, and alto flute, while her husband, Eddie Duran, showcases his experience as a jazz guitarist, composer, and arranger. The concert will be upstairs at the Ministry, which is located at 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street. Child care will be provided, and attendees will get to enjoy refreshments and conversation with the musicians after the vespers. To find out more, call the church at 282-2317.

Recycle Those Clunky Computers

The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services and the San Francisco Clean City Coalition will hold an Electronic Waste Recycling Day on Saturday, Oct. 14, at James Lick Middle School at 1220 Noe Street.

"This is a chance for people to drop off their old monitors, TVs, computers, and printers," says Rodney Clara of Supe Bevan Dufty's office, which helped organize the event.

Clara says the James Lick parking lot at 25th and Noe streets will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and volunteers will be on hand to unload electronic equipment.

If you have questions or want to help out, call Dufty's office at 554-6968 or visit the Clean City Coalition at

Please RSVP

The nonprofit Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is looking for men and women 55 and older to join its team of volunteers in San Francisco's public schools. Volunteers can work with students of any age, and choose from a variety of options, including after-school tutoring. RSVP especially seeks bilingual volunteers.

The organization's mission is to help older adults, retired or not, find volunteer opportunities in their local community. RSVP San Francisco currently has 800 volunteers serving in over 100 San Francisco nonprofit organizations. To sign up, call 731-3335 or go to