Noe Valley Voice July-August 2002

Short Takes

Kids Write Under Cover


It seems as though at least half the adult residents of Noe Valley are writers of some sort -- journalists, poets, diary scribblers, or Internet editors. So it makes sense that the younger generation would want to put pen to paper, too. Cover to Cover Booksellers on 24th Street has found a way to encourage young bards with a weeklong summer writing class for teens 12 to 16.

The course will be taught by Janis Cooke Newman, a creative writing teacher, published author, and regular contributor to the Noe Valley Voice. "Janis has done similar classes at Book Passage in Corte Madera, and she's a great friend of the store," says Cover to Cover co-owner Tracy Wynne. Together, the two hatched the idea to offer the teen class.

"We thought classes for kids would be the best for Noe Valley parents, and almost no one outside of schools offers writing classes for kids," Newman says. "The focus of the class is to help them tap into their creativity. We write on different topics...and then they have the option of sharing what they've done." The students record their work in hardbound notebooks, which they get to keep at the end of the class.

Wynne says she's "pretty sure" the store will host another weeklong workshop in August. That class will be geared toward kids in grades 3 through 5.

After that, Wynne says, the sky is the limit. "We're hoping to do this on a grander scale in the fall," notes Newman. Wynne is also considering hosting an open mike and additional writing classes in the store's upstairs space.

The teen writing course is scheduled for July 15 to 19, from 4 to 6 p.m. each day. The cost is $175, and the class is limited to 12 students. Call the store at 282-8080 for more information.

-- Erin O'Briant

Sound Unbound


Do you enjoy the ambiance of the acoustically blessed Noe Valley Ministry? On Friday, Aug. 9, the Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Group promises to use the venue to the fullest in a show dedicated to artistic freedom and pushing the boundaries of harmony, tonality, and rhythm.

The event celebrates the July release of the group's CD LifeLine, on IML Records. It marks the third collaboration between pianist Joel Futterman and San Francisco­based reed player Ike Levin. On this CD, and in this performance, the duo joins forces with cellist Kash Killion.

The concert will be Futterman's first Bay Area performance. Based in Virginia, he has performed with notable jazz innovators across North America and Europe, including at such prominent festivals as the Tampere Jazz Festival in Finland and the Visions Festival in New York. Levin's improvisational talents are rooted in the blues, bebop, and contemporary chamber music, and he is active in developing the Bay Area's new music scene. Killion is a composer, cellist, and bassist who began his professional music career at age 10. He has more than a dozen recordings to his credit.

Showtime is 8:15 p.m.; admission is $15. The Noe Valley Ministry is at 1021 Sanchez near 23rd. For more information, visit

Satire in the Park


For a new perspective on our country's response to Sept. 11, check out the San Francisco Mime Troupe's new show, Mr. Smith Goes to Obskuristan. The play was written by theatrical monologist and filmmaker Josh Kornbluth, in collaboration with members of the Mime Troupe.

The show's premiere will be July 4 at 2 p.m. in Dolores Park, and will inaugurate the theater collective's 41st summer of playing in the parks. In this musical satire, the United States wants to show the world that it puts democracy before profits, so it sends Mr. Smith, a Sept. 11 fireman hero, to Obskuristan to help the small country hold its first-ever elections. When oil is discovered in Obskuristan, one of the country's presidential candidates promises to keep the oil wealth at home, causing the U.S. administration to shift its priorities.

Kornbluth says he started to dream of running away to join the Mime Troupe in 1972, when his father took him to see a play in New York City during former President Nixon's "Christmas bombing" of Vietnam.

"The tortured topics of Vietnam and the drug trade were not just brought vividly to life. They were dramatized with tremendous goofiness," Kornbluth recalls.

Additional performances will be held throughout the Bay Area and Northern California through Sept. 1, including in Dolores Park on July 6 and 7 and Sept. 1 and 2; and in Glen Park July 27. All shows are free.

For a full schedule, visit or call 285-1717. (Note to city newcomers who may never have seen the Mime Troupe: The group does not do pantomime; "mime" refers to the word's original meaning, "to mimic." In fact, the actors orate, dance, and sing, and are backed up by a full band.)

The New Face of Feminism


Ladyfest Bay Area 2002 is taking place in the Mission July 24 through 28. The festival features musical acts, film and video screenings, visual art, spoken-word performances, and nearly 50 workshops -- all created by women and transgender people. "We are thrilled to present the Bay Area with an incredible compilation of women's art, music, and activism," says Kyla Schuller, one of the event's producers.

Some of the many highlights include musical acts Bratmobile, The Donnas, and The Gossip; slam poet Alix Olson; a retrospective screening of the six-year-old MadCat Women's International Film Festival, curated by Festival Director Ariella Ben Dov; artwork by Trina Robbins and Roberta Gregory; a workshop by Marilyn Wann "which explores the fabulous side of being fat"; and a workshop on independent publishing led by Lisa Jervis and Carla DeSantis.

Until July 1, five-day passes to the event are $70 to $90; three-day passes are $55. After that, prices go up by $10. Venues include the Victoria Theater, Artists' Television Access, the LGBT Center, Pond Gallery, and Mission High School. For venue locations, schedule of events, and to purchase passes, visit For more information call 510-535-1041.

They Got Game


Are you a player? Someone who competes with gusto and plays with grace -- win or lose? Then mark your calendar for Sunday evening, Aug. 31, from 7 to 10 p.m. You're invited to the first-ever Games Night at the Noe Valley Ministry.

The event will consist of a variety of games played simultaneously in small groups. Each player will have a chance to play several different games. Challenges will include classics such as Scrabble, charades, and Pictionary, along with some newer games. This is a chance to meet some neighbors, make new friends, and indulge both your competitive and clever sides.

Refreshments will be served, and a $5 optional donation will be requested at the door. For more information, call 285-7706 or 282-2317.

Silence Is Electric


History will come to life for two days Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14, during the San Francisco Silent Film Festival at the Castro Theater. Now in its seventh year, the gala will showcase archival silent films with live musical accompaniment. Several special guests will also appear. "Seeing a silent film with a live audience and live accompaniment is an electric experience. The fact that there is no soundtrack is beneficial in a way because it requires you to use your imagination and be more actively involved," says Stephen Salmons, one of the festival's founders.

The festival will include a centennial tribute to one of Hollywood's great directors, William Wyler, hosted by his family. His on-the-job training included numerous silent westerns, most of which do not survive. Actor Terence Stamp, who worked with Wyler on The Collector, will introduce Wyler's silent drama Hell's Heroes (1930). Noted author and historian Diana Serra Cary, who as a child actress portrayed a popular character named Baby Peggy, will introduce her film Captain January (1924). Silent comedian Harold Lloyd's daughter Gloria and granddaughter Suzanne will also be on hand to introduce his film Girl Shy (1924).

The festival will also present the world premiere revival screening of Lois Weber's The Blot (1921), a drama that examines life in a society that values a good education but pays its teachers low wages. Cecil B. DeMille's Male and Female (1919), starring movie diva Gloria Swanson, and Shiraz (1928), a silent film from India, are also among the festival's highlights. Musicians from Ali Akbar College of Music will accompany Shiraz. Accompanists for the other films will be Michael Mortilla on piano and Dennis James on the Castro's Wurlitzer organ.

Daytime shows are $10; evening screenings are $12. Children 12 and under are free. Advance tickets and discount passes can be purchased at the festival office, 833 Market Street, Suite 311. Tickets can also be purchased by phone at 478-2277 or online at During the festival, tickets will be available at the Castro Theater box office, 429 Castro Street (at Market Street). For a list of films and screening times, visit or call 777-4908.

The Short Takes were written, compiled and edited by Laura McHale Holland.