Noe Valley Voice September 2009

Short Takes

Noe Valley Voice

September 2009

What Do We Need on 24th Street?

The Noe Valley Association will conduct a survey this month to find out what kinds of businesses Noe Valley residents and shoppers would like to see filling the vacancies along 24th Street.

"The survey will ask questions like: What do people want to see in terms of merchants on 24th Street, in terms of services or retail or restaurants? What's missing on 24th Street?" explains Debra Niemann, executive director of the association, which runs the community benefit district along 24th Street and is the chief sponsor of the annual Harvest Festival (coming up Oct. 24).

The survey will be held online, and will take place over two weeks, from Sept. 7 to 21. During that period, those who'd like to participate should log on to to find a link to the questions.

Niemann, who has lived in Noe Valley for 20 years, says her daughter, Rachel Brodwin, a freshman at Lick-Wilmerding High School, will help create the electronic survey. Results should be available in October, Niemann says.

If you have questions, e-mail

--Sally Smith

Holocaust Survivor at Odd Mondays

French-born rabbi Leo Michel Abrami, who dodged the Nazi horrors during World War II, will help the Odd Mondays series launch its ninth season of lectures and cultural programs this month at the Noe Valley Ministry.

During his appearance on Monday, Sept. 7, Abrami will sign and read from two memoirs: Evading the Nazis: The Story of a Hidden Child in Normandy, which reveals how he avoided German troops by hiding out in the French countryside disguised as a Catholic boy, and The Adventures of Rabbi Arieh: A Destined Mission Around the World, which describes his postwar career.

Abrami, who lives in Phoenix and teaches at the Jewish Studies Institute and the Arizona Institute of Logotherapy, has also served as a rabbi in Guatemala and a prison chaplain in California.

Two short-story writers continue the series on Monday, Sept. 21. Li Miao Lovett of San Francisco will read from "In the Lap of the Gods," a forthcoming novel set in China that centers on the devastating impact caused by construction of a huge dam on the Yangtze River. Lisa Carlson of Oakland, an actress and memoirist, will talk about her memoir in the works, "Moving Mummy."

The free and informal discussions start at 7:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall at the Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd Street. Visit www.oddmondays .com for a full schedule of events September through January. The Odd Mondays series is presented by Noe Valley residents Ramon Sender Barayón and Judith Levy-Sender. For information, email

--Corrie M. Anders

Great Senior Moments on 30th Street

Next month, the staff and seniors at On Lok's 30th Street Senior Center will celebrate an important milestone: three decades of senior services at 30th and Dolores streets. When they do, they hope you will join them.

The senior center is seeking volunteers, sponsors, and auction items for a 30th-anniversary dinner dance Oct. 17, benefitting the nonprofit's ongoing nutrition, exercise, and education programs.

"A lot of programs don't last 30 years. It impacts so many seniors. We're up to more than 5,000 seniors a year," says Marianne Hampton, a Noe Valley resident and 30th Street Senior Center board member who has worked with the organization for the last 10 years.

Organizers hope funds from ticket sales, a silent auction, and a raffle contest at the event will allow the center's meal programs to weather state and city budget cuts without interruption of service.

"We're just getting slammed by the budget cuts," Hampton says.

The dinner will also honor longtime supporters of the center, which, in addition to weekday lunches, offers bilingual case management and a variety of classes and activities.

Among this year's special honorees are 30-year volunteer Celia Flores, 25-year volunteer Bernadine Garcia, the original Friends of 30th Street Executive Committee (Libby Denebeim, Robert Erickson, Hadley Hall, Norma Statten, and Joyce Tufts), and Jorge Santis, who will receive this year's staff award for his 20 years at the center, located at 225 30th Street.

The party will take place at Patio Español Restaurant, 2850 Alemany Blvd. Tickets are $80 each. For ticket or sponsorship information, contact Aimee Eng at 415-292-8732 or Marianne Hampton at 415-601-7845. Additional information can be found online at Or you may call the center--open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.--at 550-2230.

--Lorraine Sanders

A Mission Murals Celebration

A few short blocks from Noe Valley, on the storefronts and walls of the Mission District, you will find some of the finest mural art in America, painted by local, national, and international artists.

On Saturday, Sept 19, many of those artists will gather at a gala, celebrating the publication of Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo, a book created as a "unique record of the San Francisco Mission Mural Movement." They'll also be raising money for the organization that has championed mural arts for 32 years, the Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center at 2981 24th Street near Harrison Street.

The book project took 10 years, says Precita Eyes spokesperson Linda D'Avirro, and includes contributions from more than 200 artists and writers. Works range from stencil art and painted murals to graffiti spraycan art and papel picado, a traditional folk art of finely cut paper.

The evening, called "Community Art from the Heart," will feature a book-signing, live music, cocktails, and a silent and live auction of original art. Some auction items will be from notables such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who donated a print of her own work of a floral arrangement.

Festivities will be held at SOMArts, 934 Brannan Street near Eighth Street, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 per person, and the public is encouraged and welcome to attend.

For more information, visit www. or phone 415-285-2287.

--Corrie M. Anders

Movie Night Shows 101 Dalmatians

Free Family Movie Nights at Fima Photography have shifted to Fridays at 6 p.m. to accommodate earlier bedtimes now that school has started, says Gwen Sanderson of Video Wave on Castro Street, which co-sponsors the weekly screenings.

Started on Wednesdays in July, the free movie, free popcorn, and free glass of wine event drew a crowd of 17 people (including toddlers) by the fourth week, she says. Fima Photography, located at 1414 Castro near Jersey, has a large plasma screen in its viewing room, which holds up to 20 people. Sanderson says she and shop owner Fima Gelman also provide chips and salsa or cheese and crackers, plus juice boxes and water for the kids.

"The viewing room has glass doors, so we hope parents will have time to hang out and mix as well," she says.

Each night begins with a film short, followed by a movie appropriate for all ages. Dogs, mice, and toys dominate the fall lineup, with 101 Dalmations, Toy Story, and The Rescuers scheduled for the Fridays starting Sept. 11.

Film titles will be posted in Video Wave's window and on the community bulletin board at the mini-park in front of the Saturday Farmers' Market at 24th and Vicksburg. Also, various merchants will have posters in their windows, says Sanderson.

If you have questions or a movie suggestion, check in with Sanderson at Video Wave, 415-550-7577, or Gelman at Fima Photography, 415-541-1010.

--Heather World

Boys Chorus Seeks New Voices

The San Francisco Boys Chorus is searching for young vocalists who'd like to join its award-winning singing group.

Auditions for boys between the ages of 5 and 12 will be held Sept. 12 at locations in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Rafael.

No musical experience is necessary to try out for the chorus, which performed last January at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The chorus says financial assistance is available and no qualified boy will be turned away due to economic need.

The Boys Chorus was started in 1948 to help train young singers performing with the San Francisco Opera. The group includes more than 200 boys from 50 Bay Area cities, who receive music education, vocal training, and stage experience. In addition to performing its own season, the Boys Chorus tours and records nationally and internationally.

In San Francisco, new hopefuls will audition between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Jones United Methodist Church, 1975 Post Street. (Oakland auditions are at the Mormon Temple and Interstake Center, 4780 Lincoln Ave.; in San Rafael they will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1123 Court Street.)

No walk-ins are permitted. To make an audition appointment, go to /auditions; call 415-861-7464, ext. 319; or email

--Corrie M. Anders

Be a Giant Help to La Casa

See the San Francisco Giants battle the L.A. Dodgers for free on Sunday, Sept. 13, while supporting victims of domestic violence by selling raffle tickets to benefit La Casa de las Madres.

Volunteers, including players' wives, will work the crowd, selling $1 raffle tickets for a chance at autographed game-worn jerseys, which are not available at any other event, says La Casa's volunteer coordinator, Walesa Kanarek.

Started 33 years ago, La Casa was the first battered women's shelter in California and the second in the nation. It has grown to include a hotline, counseling, and classes for victims of domestic violence, and free presentations to businesses and schools. Nearly 5,000 victims of domestic violence receive crisis counseling, resources, and referrals each year through La Casa's statewide adult and teen crisis lines.

For the past eight years, the organization has raised about $140,000 from "Jerseys Off Our Giants," part of the team's Strike Out Violence Day. Besides the raffle, a ceremony before the game will honor survivors of violence, violence-prevention grant recipients, and Junior Giants Imagine Peace contest winners.

The first year, the group raised $32,000, but the second year it raised only $14,000 because it did not have enough volunteers, says Kanarek.

"We'd like 150 volunteers this year," she says.

Those who sell the most will win prizes, and all volunteers will be treated to breakfast, orientation, snacks, a T-shirt, and credentials. The commitment runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call Walesa at La Casa to sign up or for more information at 415-503-0500, ext. 304, or email her at

--Heather World

Low-Cost Classes at CMC

If you're looking for an inexpensive venue to take singing lessons or learn to play a musical instrument, check out the Community Music Center in the Mission District.

The nonprofit institution, which also has a branch in the Richmond District, will host classes this fall for students of all ages, from 4 on up.

The next three-month session runs Sept. 9 through Dec. 6. New student registration began Sept. 1, but will continue through the first day of class (call for an appointment). Tuition is based on a sliding scale, with scholarships available for some youth classes.

"This is a place where anyone can feel comfortable walking through the door, come as you are, and learn here. We've never turned anyone away for lack of funds," says Sonia Caltvedt, the center's marketing director.

Founded in 1921, Community Music Center boasts a student roster that once included legendary vocalist Johnny Mathias, chanteuse Paula West, opera diva Lucine Amara, and symphonic composer Nathaniel Stookey.

Classes range from private instrument and voice to group ensembles. You can take jazz guitar or classical piano, or pick up the tuba, clarinet, violin, or banjo, to just name a few of the instruments taught.

Caltvedt says the center also has several free programs, including a children's chorus for kids 8 to 12, and a free teen jazz band. In addition, CMC and the San Francisco public schools sponsor a scholarship program for middle and high school students.

Classes in the Mission are held at 544 Capp Street; phone 415-647-6015. Visit for more information.

--Corrie M. Anders

Riveting Rosies Rock the Boat

Hill Street's Peter Maleitzke, who led the orchestra at San Francisco's Phantom of the Opera for eight years, is busy conducting another riveting show this fall.

Maleitzke is the musical director for Rivets, a new production about women entering the workforce during World War II, which opened Labor Day weekend and runs through Sept. 27.

Rivets is being staged aboard the SS Red Oak Victory at the site of the historic Kaiser Richmond Shipyards. The musical, written and composed by Kathryn McCarty and Mitchell Covington, revolves around the female workers nicknamed "Rosie the Riveter" and "Wendy the Welder" who helped build ships while most of the men were at war.

"Stories told in the cannon of American musical theatre, from Showboat to Carousel to Chorus Line to Rivets, [can] educate and illuminate the most entertaining way, about who we are and who we want to be," says Maleitzke.

The 18-year Noe Valley resident has worked with many prestigious San Francisco theater and opera houses. He also did an 11-year stint at the American Conservatory of Music (ACT).

For Rivets, the Red Oak Victory ship is berthed at 1337 Canal Blvd., Berth 6A, across the Bay in Richmond. Curtains go up Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 3 p.m. on Sept. 12, 19, and 26.

A general admission ticket is $20; $15 for seniors and students. Admission for "Rosies," World War II veterans, and uniformed military personnel is free. There is a $2 discount if you make a donation to Blue Star Moms, a group sends holiday care packages to U.S. soldiers.

For additional ticket information, contact the box office at 925-676-5705 or visit

--Corrie M. Anders

Classic Yoga Is Expanding

Local yoga teacher Marcel Allbritton will be stretching this fall, as he expands his neighborhood class offerings to the Noe Valley Ministry on Sanchez Street.

Starting Sept. 8, Allbritton will offer Classic Yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at 1021 Sanchez Street.

"Classic Yoga is a gentle form of yoga taught in the style of T.K.V. Desikachar," says Allbritton. Focusing on awareness, conscious breathing, and simple body movemens, this type of yoga is fine for beginners and for people in their mid to later years, he says.

Allbritton, who lives in the Mission District, teaches a similar yoga class on Friday and Saturday mornings, 9 to 10 a.m., at Sanchez Street Studios, 1589 Sanchez at 29th Street.

Also, for the past year and a half, he has taught yoga to social workers and homeless women at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center. An expert in both yoga and yoga therapy, Allbritton has traveled to India to pursue studies in the field.

The cost for a drop-in class is $14, for four classes $52, and for eight $96.

If you need more details, call Allbritton at 415-200-9825 or visit His email address is marcel

--Sally Smith