Noe Valley Voice April 2013

Short Takes

By Heather World


Noe Goes Native

This year’s free San Francisco Native Plant Garden Tour happens Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and more than half of the gardens are in Noe Valley, Glen Park, Sunnyside, and Mt. Davidson.

Look for shady gardens, sunny gardens, some in back yards, some on decks, some on driveways, and others on sidewalk strips, said Susan Floore, chairman of the tour and a 30-year resident of Noe Valley.

It’s no surprise that Floore, a retired science teacher, loves natives, but her path to their charms was gradual. As the plants that filled her original garden died away, she filled in with natives and found she liked what she saw.

“They surprise me,” she said. “When the summer-dormant natives pop up in the wet season, I’m delighted. And they attract so many birds and butterflies.”

Floore’s garden will be among those on the tour.

The tour, sponsored by the Yerba Buena chapter of the California Native Plant Society, is self-guided and open to the public. Check the website,, in April for the list of gardens and a map that indicates which gardens might be different to access because of hills or steep steps. For more information, call 510-759-3178.


New Bank Spreads the Wealth

Six area nonprofits received $5,000 in grants last month from Umpqua Bank, which took over the civic-minded Circle Bank at 3938 24th St. last year.

The Youth Law Center, the Mission Science Workshop, Friends of the Mission Campus, the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, and Mujeres Unidas Y Activas each received $825, and Students Rising Above got $875.

The program was part of the parent bank’s Help Us Give campaign, which included a donation of $20,000 to the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks and $5,000 grants from five other Bay Area sites.

“We believe we have an obligation to give back to communities we serve,” said Umpqua’s Eve Callahan. “Each of our stores and the neighborhood around it have a wonderful perspective on where there’s need in the community.”

For Students Rising Above, the money means more students who face hardships like homelessness and abuse will graduate from college and find work. This year, the 12-year-old nonprofit will choose 100 high school juniors from the 11-county Bay Area and give each student five years of counseling and other support.

Ninety percent of SRA students graduate from college, but not because they were all top students, said Executive Director Lynne Martin.

“We look for kids who’ve demonstrated amazing strength of character, and strength of character comes in a whole range of GPAs,” she said.

The cost averages about $5,400 per student for each of the five years, she said, and the Umpqua grant will add to that pot.


Roll to Disco Every Month

Lace up the skates and grab your glitter—SF IndieFest will host a Roller Disco Party the first Friday of every month through July at the Women’s Building Auditorium, 3543 18th St..

Black Rock Roller Disco, which has created a rink at the desert art party Burning Man every year since 1999, will provide the music and offer skate and rollerblade rentals for those who don’t have their own. Costumes are encouraged: ’70s attire is popular.

Though IndieFest has hosted roller disco parties for the past 10 years, this regular rolling is new.

“We are currently planning to have this event monthly on first Fridays, then moving to last Fridays in the fall,” said Jeff Ross, the founder and director of SF IndieFest.

The event always attracts a handful of experienced skaters, but most are just trying to stay upright and help their fellow skaters do the same, Ross said.

 “It’s a great community-building event,” he said. “Not very pickup-bar-like and just a fun, mixed crowd.”

There will be a bar, so the party is for those ages 21 and older. The $10 entrance fee benefits SF IndieFest and the California Outdoor Rollersports Association, both of which are non-profit arts organizations.

The first party happens Friday, April 5, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Subsequent dates are May 3, June 7, and July 5.

For more information and a link to buy tickets, visit


Mission Artists Host Open Studios

More than 200 Mission District artists will open their doors to the public April 20 and 21 between noon and 6 p.m. for Spring Open Studios 2013: The Mission.

Red dots on the sidewalk lead to the studios of painters, jewelers, sculptors, and photographers who are part of the online collective Mission Artists United, host of the event. The range is as eclectic as the neighborhood itself, from Paul Madonna’s pen-drawn San Francisco-scapes to Miranda Caroligne’s wearable art made from salvaged textiles to eszteranddavid’s arresting photography.

Nine group studios are part of the event as well, including Project Artaud, 499 Alabama St., and Arts Explosion, 2425 17th St. All sites are within the boundaries of 15th to 25th streets between Vickburg and Potrero.

The weekend is preceded by two receptions and a party. Back to the Picture Gallery, 934 Valencia St., will celebrate its “Made in the Mission” exhibit on Saturday, April 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. The following Friday, April 19, at 1890 Bryant St., Spring Open Studios will host a preview reception between 6 and 9 p.m. At the same time, Red Brick Studios, 3265 17th St., will host a preview party.

Mission Artists United is a virtual artists’ collective, with a website of self-managed portfolios of artists who work in the Mission. Started in 2009 by 10 artists, the group now boasts 583 members, whose work can be sorted by medium, by name, and by location on the website. To see the art, learn more about the open studios, and download a printable map, visit