Noe Valley Voice February 2012

Short Takes

By Heather World

A Mounting Tradition:  This fall, more than 100 students, under the guiding hand of artist-in-residence Dan Stingle, created a colorful clay-tile mosaic outside the Art Room at Alvarado School on Douglass Street. (Shown is a small detail of the artwork.) The mural was dedicated at a Dec. 11 ceremony which also honored artist Ruth Asawa, who co-founded the Alvarado Arts Workshop 44 years ago. The project was made possible by grants from Art 4 Moore and Heath Ceramics.    Photos courtesy Rebecca McMullan


Love Is Sweet, Wine Is Bliss

Treat your sweetie to heartwarming fare at the Friends of Noe Valley’s pre-Valentine’s Day wine and chocolate tasting Thursday, Feb. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bliss Bar, 4026 24th St.

A bargain $5 admission fee will cover the cost of the tasting. Any profits will benefit the American Heart Association (AHA), said the group’s events chair, Linda ­Lockyer.

“We wanted something that was an alternative for people who didn’t want to go out and spend a ton of money on dinner,” Lockyer said.

Lovebirds can increase their likelihood of growing old together by chatting with a representative from the AHA, who will make the rounds dispensing heart-healthy advice, she said.

Details about which chocolatiers and wineries will share their wares are still being hashed out, but Bliss Bar and PlumpJack Wineries will choose the wines.

Lockyer said she is expecting to attract between 50 and 75 people.

“We have a fairly young neighborhood here, so I would expect we’d get some young folks,” she said.

A week after the Bliss event, on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., Friends will hold its first general meeting for 2012 in the James Lick Middle School library, 1220 Noe St. All are invited, and childcare will be provided.

Meanwhile, the group is actively planning two other events this spring: a series of literary happenings called Word Week, March 11-17, and the annual Noe Valley Garden Tour, now set for May 19.

“We’re looking for people who are interested in being part of the garden tour,” said Lockyer.

She and Friends member Richard May will be touring gardens into February and hope to see everything from native habitat, vegetable, and fruit gardens to the sidewalk gardens that are popping up across the neighborhood. Backyard gardens must be accessible through a side entrance.

If you have a garden to show, please email (preferred) or call 415-641-8722.


Alvarado Students Always Win at Auction

More than one person will get lucky this St. Patrick’s Day when Alvarado Elementary School hosts its 19th annual auction, “El Arte de La Suerte—The Art of Luck,” Saturday, March 17, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Verdi Club in Potrero Hill.

The most popular part of the evening is the live auction, said auction co-chair Sarah Monroy. Live bidding over art projects created by each classroom heats up when parents pool their money, often paying upwards of $500 to win intricate mobiles or elaborately decorated vases, she said.

While cold, hard cash takes the art prize, pure luck will reward that someone who ponied up $10 for a raffle ticket to win a 46-inch LCD or its $1,000 cash equivalent. Others will shoot for second or third place to get an iPad2 or a Nintendo 3DS.

Many parents are lucky enough to settle summer camp plans by bidding ruthlessly on gift certificates to the likes of Roughing It Day Camp or Camp Galileo.

Closer to home, Noe Valleyans will see a wide range of local gift certificates and prizes, Monroy said.

“We’re really supported by our merchants,” she said, listing Patxi’s Pizza, Tacolicious, as well as Fima Photography as some of the biggest items out for bid.

The goal is to raise $180,000, she said. Auction money supports reading, math, and science programs, P.E., after-school clubs, and music and art classes at the school, located at 625 Douglass St.

Tickets cost $30 before March 1 and $35 after. They include unlimited food, beer, and wine. Neighbors, friends, and prospective Alvarado parents are all invited. The party runs from 6 to 11 p.m., at the Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St. The live auction begins at 8 p.m.

Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market and other locations. For more information, tickets, or to donate an item, visit You are also welcome to contact Alvarado’s auction committee at or 650-291-1330.


The Show Must Go On

Friday Jazz Keeps the Beat at Bird & Beckett


Bird & Beckett bookstore in Glen Park has hosted a weekly jazz concert for 10 years without missing a single Friday night. So when owner Eric Whittington made plans to travel in India for the first five weeks of 2012, he began looking around for someone who could keep the show going.

Enter James Hays, jazz aficionado, B&B regular, and a professor of business management at Golden Gate University and California State–East Bay.

“He called for volunteers and got many more than he needed,” said Hays, who started attending the concerts eight years ago. Hays and about 10 of the 25 to 30 Friday-night regulars set up the wine, soda, cheese, and crackers, then cleaned up after the show. Hays also announced the music and called for donations to the band.

The bookstore continued to morph into a jazz club on Friday nights from 5:30 to 8 p.m. without missing a beat. As always, the regular rotation of jazz greats, including saxophone tenor Chuck Peterson, bassist Don Prell, and vocalist Dorothy Lefkovits, took their turn on stage, playing for a packed house.

Finding help was easy because Whittington is beloved for his store and its music, Hays said. Bird & Beckett also hosts music on Sunday afternoons, as well as regular poetry readings and book clubs.

“The folks you meet there are extraordinary—writers, poets, musicians, mothers, fathers, their children, attorneys, computer programmers, teachers, artists,” Hays said.

The business side of things was handled by Michael Rosenthal, a founding member of Modern Times Bookstore.

“I know Eric just because I’m interested in bookstores and I live not too far and I like to stop by and talk,” said Rosenthal. The store’s hours were shortened, and the Sunday music series was on hold, but the Friday jazz continued unabated, he said.

“The store has been the center of the community for reading, listening and talking, and he didn’t want to shut it down for a month,” Rosenthal said.

In February, not only the jazz series but all store activities will be back up to speed. Classical, jazz, and world beat music will return on Sundays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday is poetry night, starting at 7 p.m. And the two book clubs will keep on reading—a political book club on the third Thursday of the month and a fiction group on the first Thursday.

Bird & Beckett is located at 53 Chenery St. near Diamond. Kids are free at all music events; there is a suggested donation of $10 for adults. To check dates, call 415-586-3733. For the latest music schedule, see