Noe Valley Voice November 2008

Short Takes

Yo, Obamacrats!

If the historic 2008 presidential campaign turned you into a political junkie, take heart. The Noe Valley Democratic Club has just the thing.

Campaign consultant and demographic statistician David Latterman will discuss the Nov. 4 election results at the club's next meeting, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Sarah Palin isn't invited. But Latterman promises to be entertaining nonetheless.

President of Fall Line Analytics, Latterman says he uses a variety of scientific techniques to analyze political campaigning and public opinion. Unlike many analysts who work from inside the political process, he prefers to study the voters and how their demographics and opinions shape elections.

Among his credentials is a master's degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

The meeting will be held at St. Philip's Church, 725 Diamond Street between Elizabeth and 24th streets.

For the scoop on the Democratic Club, contact Andrew Fleischman at 641-5838.

--Laura McHale Holland

Butterflies to Read By

For more than 30 years, neighborhood residents have planted flowers, vegetables, and trees in the plots surrounding the Noe Valley Library on Jersey Street. However, during branch renovations over the past two years, the garden had to be cleared out, and construction crews were able to save only a few tall trees.

Now the library's friends and neighbors are working to help bring bees, butterflies, and birds back to this peaceful patch of earth. Twenty-fourth Street resident and longtime Friends of Noe Valley member Eleanore Gerhardt, and Duncan Street resident Kim Drew, who led the library's fundraising campaign, will host a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., to talk about ways the garden areas might be restored.

The brainstorming session will be held in the ground-floor community room at the award-winning library, located at 451 Jersey Street between Castro and Diamond streets. The public is welcome to attend.

If you have questions, call Gerhardt at 826-0522 or Drew at 643-4695.

--Sally Smith

Jazz Vespers Can Lift You Up

Jazz Vespers, a once-a-month Sunday evening worship at the Noe Valley Ministry, continues this fall with a Nov. 16 appearance by jazz artists Anton Schwartz and Gerry Grosz. Schwartz and Grosz will infuse the liturgy with the mellow tones of saxophone and vibraharp.

Now in its third season, Jazz Vespers carries on a tradition started in 1960s New York for musicians too tired from Saturday-night gigs to make Sunday-morning services. The combination of music and liturgy seeks to connect musicians (and others) to their spirituality through music.

The informal service starts with a welcome by Rev. Keenan Kelsey, pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Then comes the music--from improvisational jazz to old standards, John Coltrane to Duke Ellington--played by professional musicians performing at clubs all over the Bay Area. During short interludes, there may be readings from scripture, but don't expect a traditional service.

"It's totally uplifting," says Ministry building manager Marshal Cousins.

Jazz Vespers happens on third Sundays from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Upper Hall at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street. The current season runs through June and will include performances by the Paul Scheffert Trio (Dec. 21), Clairdee and Ken French (Jan. 18), and the Dave Rocha Quartet (Feb. 15).

Call 282-2317 or visit for more information.

--Heather World

Gallop to a Walk-a-thon

The kids and parents at Paul Revere College Preparatory School in Bernal Heights are hoping you will help them lead the charge at a Walk-a-thon and Silent Auction on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is sponsored by the PTA to raise money for school programs.

From 10 a.m. to noon, you can join students and their families in a stroll around the school building and yard, along Tomkins, Folsom, Jarboe, and Banks streets. The auction, offering a variety of gifts, art works, and services, runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Musical entertainment and a potluck lunch will be provided as well.

Besides fun and exercise, the PTA hopes to promote ties with the surrounding community, says school parent Lorraine Orlandi. "We are asking area businesses and individuals to help sponsor the event with financial or in-kind contributions. Families, friends, and local merchants can sponsor participating students in the Walk-a-thon with financial pledges."

Paul Revere, at 555 Tompkins Avenue, is the San Francisco school district's only pre-K through eighth-grade Spanish- and English-immersion public school. Donations may be made by calling parent volunteer Anabel Ibañez at 239-5960 or Dr. Lance Tagamori, the school's principal, at 695-5656.

--Sally Smith

Hats on for St. Luke's

Why not bring in the holiday season with the dazzling vocals, wild hats, and good humor of Beach Blanket Babylon? And all for a good cause.

The song and dance troupe's first 2008 holiday performance, at Club Fugazi Wednesday, Nov. 19, 8 p.m., is a fundraising effort sponsored by the St. Luke's Auxiliary, a group that supports users of St. Luke's Hospital on Cesar Chavez Street.

Proceeds from the event will help needy kids get services at a special children's clinic staffed by a team of pediatricians, psychologists, and speech, occupational, and physical therapists.

"Most parents or caregivers in our St. Luke's family do not have the means to pay for these services. The Auxiliary's fundraising effort will help defer costs for these children so they can look forward to brighter futures," says St. Luke's volunteer services manager Grace D'Anca, who along with Noe Valley residents Janet Bollier, Peg Purcell, and Carol Maerzke is working to put on the event.

In addition to the entertainment, longtime supporter Connie Mardikian will be honored for her many years of service to St. Luke's. Tickets are $200 for preferred seating with program listing (patron), $150 for good seating with program listing (sponsor), and $85 for general seating (friend).

You can also buy "opportunity" tickets for $10 apiece. Prizes include a three-night stay at a deluxe Silverado condo with a $100 gift certificate to the Silverado Grill, three nights at a Monterey Dunes condo with tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a mix of other dining and apparel gifts.

To procure the Beach Blanket Babylon tickets or for further information, call St. Luke's volunteer office at 641-6490 or e-mail D'Anca at

--Laura McHale Holland

A Grand Night for SOTA

Young Noe Valley resident Adam Maggio, a junior at San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), thinks his school is remarkably lucky to be representing California in the 2009 American High School Theater Festival at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, this August. "The Fringe Festival will be an amazing experience," he says.

Adam is one of 45 students Dan Kryston, SOTA's theater director, will be taking to Scotland for a "once-in-a-lifetime experience" at an international event attracting hundreds of thousands of theater-goers.

"It was a great privilege just to be nominated, but to be chosen by the festival as one of only 52 performing schools [from the U.S.] is an honor," says Kryston. The teens will perform the tap-dancing musical Dames at Sea four times during their stay in Scotland.

Adam says he will learn two roles for the 1930s style spoof--Hennessey and Captain Courageous--and is already taking tap-dancing lessons.

Meanwhile, he and other SOTA students are rehearsing for Rodgers and Hammerstein's A Grand Night for Singing, which will open on Nov. 16, 2008, at 4 p.m., at the Palace of Fine Arts on Lyon Street. Adam, who has a lead in the show, guarantees "the audience will be humming these catchy Rodgers and Hammerstein songs for weeks."

Tickets for Grand Night, which is the school's gala fundraiser, are $30, $40, and $50. VIP passes are $50 ($25 is tax-deductible) for pre- and post-concert receptions featuring wines, appetizers, and desserts from local wineries and restaurants. You can call in your order to the SOTA Box Office: 415-695-5720, or buy online at

To sponsor a student for the Scotland trip, send tax-deductible contributions (checks made out to Production 2009) to Dan Kryston, San Francisco School of the Arts, 555 Portola Drive, San Francisco, CA 94131.

--Lorri Ferguson