The Noe Valley

March 2011

The creator of this blue bottle tree on 30th Street near Sanchez is Jenny Badger Sultan. More than 10 years ago Sultan started what has become an annual fall ritual, tying blue bottles onto the branches of her backyard cherry tree. Each spring, “it blooms while the bottles are still up; it’s a late cherry and not an ornamental, so it isn’t covered with blossoms.” When the leaves begin to form, the indigo containers come down. Sultan had “a number of different things in mind” when she started the project. For one, she wanted to echo an old tradition. “In the South,” she says, “African American families, especially, have a tradition of ‘yard shows.’” She also was reading a book by Shirley Ann Grau, who specifically mentioned the blue bottles. “Luckily, certain things still come in blue glass.” Another inspiration was the dead trees one sees in the desert. There, bottles change color after long exposure in the sun. Sultan moved to the Bay Area in 1965 after completing an MFA in painting at Columbia University in New York. She and fellow painter and husband Henry Sultan are longtime Noe Valley residents; their two adult children helped them paint Henry’s mural below the bottle tree. In 2006, Jenny Badger Sultan retired from San Francisco City College, where she taught art for 33 years. She continues to experiment with new material and new ways to make art.   Photo and reporting by Beverly Tharp

Of Sand and Stars: Springtime at Upper Noe Rec Center
Mike Underhill—Our Legal Eagle in the Gulf Oil Case
What Would a Town Square Look Like?
Chekhov and Tolstoy in Ivan and Misha
Life After Wife Swap for Husband Stephen Fowler
Of Butoh and the Beatles

On 24th Street
Short Takes
More Books to Read: Best Short Stories and Other Winners
Store Trek

Police Beat
The Cost of Living in Noe: Slow and Slower
And Now for the Rumors Behind the News: What’s in Store

Crossword: Tarzan's Financial Adventure (Solve online!)

Solve the Crossword Puzzles from past issues!

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Jack Tipple and Sally Smith
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The Noe Valley Voice

Reading Into the Future: Members of Bethany United Methodist Church returned to their property at Clipper and Sanchez streets in early January, to celebrate the start of an extensive remodeling of the church. Church pastor Kristin L. Sachen says the building will have a new façade on Sanchez Street with a main entry into the sanctuary through a new courtyard. In addition, the entire site will be made ADA-accessible and earthquake-ready. Leadership for the project has been provided by John Nelson, chair of the building committee, and Shirley Perkins, chair of the trustees, she says. Teamwrks, the construction company, began work on Jan. 10. The congregation anticipates returning to Noe Valley in time for Christmas services, 2011. Meanwhile, they will continue worship services at Bethany Center, at Capp and 21st streets in the Mission District. Rev. Sachen says, “In the photo, John Nelson is the one holding a copy of the Noe Valley Voice, proving that even those in temporary exile read the Voice!”