Noe Valley Voice November 2007

Short Takes

Noe Valley Old as the Hills

The Friends of Noe Valley is hosting its annual "Happy Birthday, Noe Valley" party to celebrate 161 years of neighborhood history and community, on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. A cake from the Noe Valley Bakery, wine, juices, and "cool jazz" will be served at the gathering, which will take place at the Bank of America at 24th and Castro streets.

Old photos courtesy of Noe Valley archivist Paul Kantus will be displayed, and author Bill Yenne will bring his pictorial history San Francisco's Noe Valley. Other residents will share their best memories and future hopes for our urban enclave, named after José de Jésus Noe, the Mexican administrator who acquired a 4,443-acre rancho here in 1846.

Friends president Richard May says come meet the neighbors who are volunteering to spiff up local parks, including the Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center, Noe Courts, Upper Douglass Park, and Dolores Park. For more information about the party, contact May at

'4,000 Lights' Honors Slain Soldiers

"4,000 Lights," an interactive memorial and vigil honoring American soldiers killed in Iraq, will be held in Dolores Park on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11. Created by Noe Valley artist Dianne Platner, the walk-through installation will feature rows of pink lights, each representing a man or woman who has died in the four-year-old war (the number as of Oct. 28 was 3,840). Last February, Platner created a similar installation honoring the 3,000+ war dead at the time.

The success of the vigil, Platner says, is "entirely dependent on audience participation." During the three-hour event, people are invited to cover a light (or lights) with a piece of fabric inscribed with the name of a dead soldier. By the end of the vigil, all the lights will be dimmed. A participant in last spring's event said, "It brings tears to my eyes. It's not just a covered light that went dark. It's a life that went out."

The vigil will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., at the southwest corner of the park at Church and 20th streets. For more information, e-mail or visit

Dems Host Election Trendspotter

Bay Area political analyst David Latterman will discuss the results of the Nov. 6 election at this month's meeting of the Noe Valley Democratic Club, on Monday, Nov. 12. (You read that right--this meeting is on a Monday instead of the club's usual Wednesday.)

Latterman, the president of Fall Line Analytics, an opinion survey firm, also will cover statewide demographic trends and how they might affect next year's presidential election. He says he will reveal research results that have not yet been made public, including registration patterns, to show how future San Francisco and California votes might go. An expert on both political and advertising campaigns, Latterman earned his master's in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

The club invites everyone to attend the meeting, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street.

Fresh Art at Ministry and Luv a Java

The Golden Gate Artists are presenting their original watercolors exhibit Fresh Paint this month through Dec. 17 at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street. A reception is set for Saturday, Nov. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m.

According to participant JoAnn Yates, the artists began an informal outdoor painting group 11 years ago. The members of the group met while taking art classes at City College of San Francisco and the Sharon Art Studio in Golden Gate Park. The paintings at the Ministry are the result of their weekly gatherings.

In other art news, Luv a Java, a coffeehouse at Dolores and 26th streets, is displaying the work of two local artists this month. From Nov. 1 to 30, photographer Bonnie Tomek's impressionistic photos share the spotlight with Annida Brunato's original jewelry designs. A reception for the artists will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11. For information, go to or call 401-6444.

Latino Film Fest Opens at the Castro

With more than 80 films from 20 countries, the 11th international Latino Film Festival provides 16 days of moviegoing. The fest kicks off on the Day of the Dead, Friday, Nov. 2, with an opening at the Castro Theatre at 18th and Castro streets.

One highlight of this year's festival is the U.S. premiere of Retrato de diego (A Portrait of Diego), a documentary about Diego Rivera. Festival-goers can also see El Benny, a Cuban film about the life of Cuban musician Benny Moré, and the Chilean human rights film The City of Photographers.

The festival continues through Nov. 18 at the Castro Theatre and venues in Redwood City, San Jose, Larkspur, Berkeley, San Rafael, and San Bruno. For more information, including the exact film schedule, visit or call 513-5308.

St. John's Celebrates 150 Years

The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, one of the early churches that helped found the Mission District, turns 150 this fall. The public is invited to celebrate this milestone on Sunday, Nov. 18.

The afternoon begins with a eucharist at 4 p.m., where the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, will preside. The ceremony will be followed by a reception at 5:30 and dinner at 6 p.m.

Entertainment will be provided by musicians Mauro Correa, Christopher Fritzsche, Wendy Allen, and Charles Rus. Dinner tickets begin at $50 per person; a sliding scale is available. The church is located at 1661 15th Street between Mission and Valencia streets. Here's an interesting historical note: St. John's Parish originally embraced a large part of San Francisco, including present-day Noe Valley. St. John's also founded Holy Innocents Church on Fair Oaks, which primarily serves neighborhood residents.

For more information and tickets to the celebration, call 861-1436 or send an e-mail to

Award-Winning Rec Center

If all goes as planned, the renovation of Upper Noe Recreation Center at Day and Sanchez streets will be finished in December, with the park's projected reopening in early February. The revamped park will have a renovated children's playground, an indoor community center for children and adults, a much improved dog run, new outdoor basketball nets, and a general upgrade of both the park and the indoor basketball court.

The project has taken five years, and has required nonstop pressure and participation from groups like Upper Noe Neighbors and the newer Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center. Now, according to park volunteers, the San Francisco Parks Trust has rewarded the renovation organizers with a $1,700 Innovator Award, honoring the park as a model of city, community, and neighborhood collaboration.

Jennifer Heyman, a member of Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center, says the award is a big help, but her group is still actively soliciting donations to pay for amenities at the park that were not covered in the city's work, such as play equipment and toys for the children's program, extra fencing and landscaping, and furniture for the rec center.

Not counting the award, the FNVRC has raised almost $10,000 so far and will need donations of $20,000 more by the end of the year, Heyman says. The donation program includes a "wall of fame," which donors can join when they give $250 or more. The group also welcomes volunteers to host or help out with fundraising house parties. Find out more at or e-mail

NERT's Block Captain Training

The San Francisco Fire Department's NERT trainers are offering a new workshop to help city residents prepare for earthquakes and other disasters. The three-hour Personal Preparedness Workshop and Block Captain Training is free and everyone is invited.

"We'd like to get Noe Valleyans trained to help us all in case of disaster," says Mindy Kershner, head of the disaster preparedness committee within the Friends of Noe Valley. The curriculum includes risk awareness, disaster supplies, personal disaster planning, a utilities overview, and block pre-planning.

To participate in a new workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 14, or Monday, Nov. 26, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., call 970-2024 or e-mail

The SFFD Division of Training is located at 2310 Folsom Street at 19th Street; parking is available in the yard on 19th Street. For information about the Noe Valley NERT chapter, call or e-mail Maxine Fasulis at 641-5536 or

A Way to Quit Smoking

"Look at it as a journey.... The more carefully you plan, the less likely you are to be sidetracked by some unexpected roadblock." That piece of advice will be among the tips offered by therapist Lori Feldman at a free information hour on the QuitSmart Stop Smoking Program, on Thursday, Nov. 15. The talk and discussion will be held at Feldman's Noe Valley office at 3 p.m., and will coincide with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout Day. Call Feldman at 285-9770 for location and registration.

Guinness on Tap at Book Event

Noe Valley author Bill Yenne will read from and sign his latest book, Guinness: The 250-Year Quest for the Perfect Pint, at the Valley Tavern on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The book is a behind-the-scenes look at the world-famous brew, from its humble origins in Dublin, Ireland, to its widespread consumption across continents.

Yenne says he will have lots of books available at the event, and the tavern will offer drink specials in addition to (of course) Guinness on tap. The Valley Tavern is located at 4054 24th Street near Noe. For more information, call 285-0674.

Dirt Shoveled at Noe Courts

The Noe Courts tot lot renovation is well under way--workers began bulldozing the old sandbox and carving out a new children's play area in early October. In addition to new swings and play structures and a resilient rubber surface, the kids' corner of the park, located at Douglass and 24th streets, will have a new fence separating it from the grassy lawn; a secure gate and disabled ramp at the entrance; plus a sand lot and picnic area.

According to Laura Norman of the Friends of Noe Courts Playground, the contractor is hoping to finish by Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, her organization is working to raise $10,000 to complete the park's perimeter landscaping.

Norman says generous neighbors are also paying for picnic tables and benches. If you'd like to help the group fund the finishing touches, send a check to the San Francisco Parks Trust, 501 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, Attn: Jennifer Stark-Hernandez. Include a note indicating that your donation is for Noe Courts. The Parks Trust To learn more about donating or the renovation, e-mail Norman at

Teen Art Contest

If you're between the ages of 13 and 18, you could win $100 in an art contest at the San Francisco Public Library. To participate, submit a design for a color 4-1/4-by-6-inch postcard advertising the Library's 2008 Teen Summer Read Program. The design should include the words "San Francisco Public Library" and "Teen Summer Read." Original drawings, photos, and computer designs will be accepted. For computer designs, an EPS file high-resolution PDF is preferred, and colors must be CMYK.

To submit your artwork, drop off originals to any local library branch, or mail them to the Office of Children and Youth Services, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. The entry deadline is Friday, Dec. 14. For additional information, call Jennifer Collins at 557-4268 or e-mail

Holiday Crafts at St. Luke's

Celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa at the St. Luke's Hospital holiday crafts bazaar. Hospital volunteers have created holiday decorations as well as hand-knit scarves, collectible containers filled with candy, cards, and more. The sale happens Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m in the Monteagle Medical Office Building lobby, 1580 Valencia Street at Duncan Street. Proceeds from the sale benefit St. Luke's programs. To find out more, call St. Luke's Volunteer Services at 641-6490.

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