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Getting to Know Noe
San Francisco's free walking tour group, City Guides, is launching a Noe Valley tour on Sundays in October that will be repeated twice a month this winter, from November to April.
The tour, called "Noe Valley: A Village Within the City," starts at the Noe Valley Library on Jersey Street and wends its way to 24th and Church streets. Noe Street resident Sue Walsh and six other volunteer tour guides will take turns leading walkers through what was formerly known as Horner's Corner.
Walsh says the tour will answer such frequently asked questions as: Who was Noe? (Mexican alcalde Jose de Jesus Noe) and What is a Jonathan Anderson? (We'll let her tell you that one.) Tour guides will also point out hidden landmarks, like the Walgreen's at Castro and 24th that once was a car barn for the cable cars that trundled up the Castro Street hill.
The walk, which is punctuated by short stops, takes an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the number of questions, says Walsh. It will include two hills, up Diamond to Clipper and up Noe to Elizabeth, and tour participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes.
Tour-goers should meet on the steps in front of the library at 451 Jersey Street (between Castro and Diamond). All walking tours begin at 1 p.m. The October tours are on Sundays, Oct. 5, 12, 19, and 26. From November to April 2008, the tours will take place on the first and third Sunday of the month.
San Francisco City Guides, a program run through the San Francisco Library, has conducted free walking tours spotlighting San Francisco architecture, legends, and lore for 30 years.
City Guides Director Laura Schroeder says she is looking forward to spotlighting Noe Valley, for tourists as well as natives.
"Noe Valley is a very active community, and we think [people] are going to love learning about the neighborhood," she says. "It's a wonderful, rich area."
To find out more, visit www.sfcityguides.org or call 415-557-4266.
Be a Victim for a Day
Noe Valley's Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), with the help of the San Francisco Fire Department, will simulate the chaotic aftermath of a disastrous earthquake on Saturday, Oct. 18, in a special practice session with other NERTs from around the city.
The drill runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Upper Noe Valley Recreation Center at Day and Sanchez streets. Participation is limited to trained members of NERT, but the public is welcome to come and observe. In addition, Noe Valley residents who call a local coordinator ahead of time can pretend to be an earthquake victim in need of help.
Started after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, San Francisco's NERT program teaches life-saving and search-and-rescue skills that could be of major assistance during an earthquake or other disaster. In the absence of first-responders, NERT members might be the ones to shut off utilities, provide first-aid, direct traffic, or do checks on homebound residents. Trainings, which are six sessions totaling 20 hours, are held at various times and locations in San Francisco (see www.sfgov.org/site/sfnert).
To contact the Noe Valley NERT team, call coordinator Maxine Fasulis at 415-641-5536 or Edward Whitmore at 415-285-1510.
The Hoyles in Concert
Noe Valley actor/writer/comedians Geoff Hoyle (father) and Dan Hoyle (son) have signed up to do a special pre-election performance on Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Noe Valley Ministry. The show, dubbed "The Two Hoyles: Buy One, Get One Free," will feature solo and duo routines, freshly minted material, and the Hoyles' latest reflections on the presidential campaign.
Geoff Hoyle is a San Francisco treasure. He has been clowning for decades, with groups like the Pickle Family Circus and Cirque du Soleil. (Rent Robert Altman's Popeye and you'll see Geoff as Scoop the Reporter.) Son Dan recently suspended performing his solo show 'Tings Dey Happen,' which played for sellout crowds at the Marsh and then moved on to New York.
Larry Kassin, producer of the Noe Valley Music Series, which is sponsoring this event, says there's a chance a show will be added on Friday, Oct. 24. Doors at 1021 Sanchez Street open at 7:45 p.m., and shows begin at 8:15. Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door. You can pick up advance tickets at Streetlight Records on 24th Street. For the latest information, call 415-454-5238 or go to www.noevalleymusicseries.com.
Going to the Dogs
Raise Your Paws for Rescue Dogs hosts a live auction and raffle on Saturday, Oct. 11, to raise funds for organizations that help dogs in need. This collaboration among Give a Dog a Bone, Wonder Dog Rescue, Muttville Rescue, and Grateful Dogs Rescue promises an evening of music, food, and drinks at El Rio bar, 3158 Mission Street near Cesar Chavez Street. The fundraiser will run from 4 to 8 p.m., but only adults 21 and up may attend.
"There's something for everybody," says Sherri Franklin, president of Muttville, which rescues senior dogs from places all over California who may be headed for euthanasia.
Prizes range from a stay at a spa in the Italian Alps to a four-person gift pack of passes to Pier 39 activities.
Franklin says each of the four groups provides a different kind of help to animals in shelters. They share volunteers, and thanks to an invitation from El Rio's owner, they'll share the proceeds of the fundraiser.
Admission is on a sliding scale from $8 to $20. All donations are tax-deductible, and all proceeds go to the dogs. Cash and checks are accepted but not credit cards. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate items for the auction or raffle, call 415-756-1306.
Anniversary Bash for Parents
Natural Resources, a parenting resource center that has thrived in four locations in or near Noe Valley, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month with a party on Saturday, Oct. 4. The 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. event will take place at the center's current home on Valencia near 25th Street.
"It's been amazing that it has stuck around for so long," says owner Cara Vidano. "It's within a mile from where it was originally."
The event will honor Natural Resources' history as a beacon for expectant moms and dads by offering free workshops on baby food-making, breastfeeding, and how to avoid sleep deprivation.
Festivities will also include food and drink, raffle prizes, free massages (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), and music by singer Susan Appe starting at 11 a.m. In addition, the party will mark the launch of Natural Resources' online store at www.naturalresources-sf.com.
Originally called Natural Resources Pregnancy and Childbirth Resource Center, the business was started by new mother Deborah Jackson and labor nurse Chris Pritchard in 1988. The first location was on 24th Street next to the Noe Valley Post Office. Membership then cost $35. In 1996, the center moved around the corner to Castro Street. It temporarily relocated to Bernal Heights for three months in 2003 before returning to Diamond Street in Noe Valley. Vidano bought the company in 2006 and later moved it to a storefront at 1367 Valencia Street.
Over the years, the center has evolved to offer an array of classes and trainings, baby clothing and toys, and products such as birth tubs, cloth diapers, and environmentally sound glass baby bottles. Families can become members and register for parenting classes online. For more information, see the website or call 415-550-2611.
--Corrie M. Anders
Lost Music Reclaimed
The Noe Valley Chamber Music series returns this month, opening Sunday, Oct. 12, at 4 p.m., with a performance of the Artists' Vocal Ensemble (AVE), founded and directed by Jonathan Dimmock. The concert, "St. Francis of Assisi: Musical Musings on a World Order," will celebrate peace and our city's namesake with Renaissance and contemporary music from Europe and America.
The voices in AVE are known for their mournful beauty and their ability to breathe life into liturgical music from 500 years ago. Dimmock, a former Organ Scholar at Westminster Abbey in London, co-founded the award-winning American Bach Soloists and plays organ or piano with many churches and ensembles in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Symphony.
In November, two ensembles of emerging artists will shape classical works into something new. Sqwonk, a duo of bass clarinetists, will put their own spin on classical artists like Bach. Following Sqwonk will be Areon Flutes, an ensemble that has won a reputation for its theatrical choreography.
In December, the series will feature the Grammy-nominated Quartet San Francisco. The string quartet plays crossover music using jazz masters such as Dave Brubeck and Duke Ellington.
All concerts are held in the upstairs sanctuary at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street near Elizabeth Street. General admission to concerts is $18, or $15 for students and seniors. For tickets and information on other concerts in the series, call 415-648-5236 or visit www.nvcm.org.