Noe Valley Voice March 2007

Short Takes

By Erin O'Briant

Ministry Jazz Is Red Hot

Redhot & Blue, an a cappella jazz singing group from Yale University, will croon jazz classics at the Noe Valley Ministry on Sunday, March 11, at 4:30 p.m.

The director of the group, Drew Levitt, was raised in Noe Valley and is a junior at Yale University. Attendees who hope to hear him perform won't be disappointed, since he also sings in the group. Levitt says he chose the Ministry because the top-floor sanctuary was the perfect venue. "Having grown up here and seen many performances in the venue, I was very familiar with the space," he explains. His parents will be there to cheer him on.

Redhot & Blue's repertoire focuses on jazz standards with a few surprises thrown in. The Noe Valley Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street near 23rd Street. Tickets are available in advance at Streetlight Records at 3979 24th Street for $14, online at www for $15, and at the door for $16. For more information about the singing group, visit Redhot's web site at

Someone Has Designs on 24th Street

The Noe Valley Association, also known as the 24th Street Community Benefit District, has scheduled a third community meeting on long-range plans for 24th Street, on Tuesday, March 6. At the event, Urban Ecology, a streetscape design firm hired by the Noe Valley Association, will present the results of the first two community planning meetings, says Debra Niemann, the NVA's executive director.

According to Niemann, the group has been exploring how to coordinate street furnishings, such as planter and hanging baskets, time clocks, benches, bus shelters, and bike racks, so that they have a distinctive look that sets Noe Valley apart from other neighborhoods.

She says the association is hoping to get input from Noe Valley residents and merchants on sidewalk landscaping, traffic-calming measures, and ways to make the street more pedestrian-friendly. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at St. Philip's Church at 725 Diamond Street near 24th Street. For more information, contact Niemann at

Bricks Support the Library

Wouldn't an engraved brick on the outside of the newly restored Noe Valley Library on Jersey Street be a great way to honor your favorite bookworm? The Noe Valley Library Campaign would like you to know that in exchange for a $250 donation, you can have the name of your choice--a child, friend, pet, beloved grandparent, group, or even your own--engraved on one of the library's bricks. Still, you might want to sign up soon.

"The bricks have been hugely successful," says Kim Drew, chair of the Noe Valley Library Campaign. "The concept of renovating our beautiful branch, brick by brick, so to speak, really resonates with the community."

All proceeds from the campaign will help furnish and equip the library, which is currently under renovation and expected to re-open in early 2008.

To find out more about the library campaign or to claim a brick, contact Marian Chatfield-Taylor at Friends of the San Francisco Public Library at 626-7512, ext. 103, or e-mail

Awards Honor Park Volunteers

Nominate your favorite park group for a Park Stewardship Award by Thursday, March 15, and the organization could win $2,500 to help with future park projects. The San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council will present three such awards to especially active and effective volunteer park groups. The council is accepting nominations in three categories: Outstanding Environmental Achievement, Outstanding Effort for a Capital Project, and Outstanding Park Group. Volunteer groups are encouraged to nominate themselves.

Isabel Wade, executive director of the NPC, says the stewardship awards are designed to honor volunteers, who are "one of our city's greatest civic assets." Mayor Gavin Newsom will be invited to give the awards at NPC's annual Park Stewardship Awards Luncheon in May. The nomination form, criteria, and guidelines are available to download at For more information, call 621-3260.

The Irish in the Movies

Wear your green and celebrate Irish cinema at the fourth annual San Francisco Irish Film Festival, which comes to the Roxie Film Center at 16th and Valencia streets this month.

The hit Irish comedy Man About Dog screens on Saturday night at 9 p.m., and is just one of the festival's 20-plus films and programs.

Half of this year's offerings are comedies; the schedule includes two Irish television shows, gay Irish cinema, and the popular Magners and Shorts program, which features short films and free hard cider.

The four-day event kicked off on March 1 and continues through Sunday, March 4. To purchase tickets and view the complete festival lineup, visit or call 495-7380.

Dot Tells Tales for Tots

"As a community actor, I love reading out loud and incorporating characters' voices into the books I read," says Dot Adams, the storyteller host for Story Time, a new weekly reading series at Cover to Cover Booksellers. "Sometimes I look for themes, like love stories for Valentine's Day, but mostly I've been sticking with the books that inspire me in the moment."

Launched in January, the series takes place on Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 4 p.m., and is geared especially for kids ages 2 to 6 (and their parents and caregivers, of course). The bookstore is located at 1307 Castro Street, around the corner from 24th Street.

Adams will be out of town during the first two weeks of March and will resume reading on Wednesday, March 14. But, says store owner Tracy Wynne, Story Time will still take place in Adams' absence. For more information, call Cover to Cover at 282-8080.

Green Thumbs Needed

Love to dig in the dirt? The San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park needs volunteers who have a passion for plants and gardening. A variety of jobs are available, including helping out in the bookstore, library, and nursery; leading garden walks for adults and children; and working in the garden itself.

The Botanical Garden is free and open to the public every day of the year, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free guided walks begin daily at 1:30 p.m.

To volunteer, call 661-1316, ext. 312, e-mail, or visit

Free Chance to See Penguins

During two weekends this month, Noe Valley residents can visit the California Academy of Sciences for free. The event is part of a citywide Neighborhood Free Days program to give San Francisco residents access to the Academy, which is the fourth-largest natural history museum in the country.

Residents of zip code 94110 can get into the museum free on Friday, March 2, through Sunday, March 4. Admission is free Friday, March 30, through Sunday, April 1, for people living in zip codes 94114 and 94131.

The California Academy of Sciences, which includes the Steinhart Aquarium, holds 18 million specimens and supports eight scientific departments. A "Meet the Biologist" program takes place every weekend in March; visitors learn how to care for a variety of animals, including penguins and snakes.

To get in free, visiting adults must prove San Francisco residency by showing a driver's license, utility bill, or other form of valid identification. To find out about free admission for residents outside Noe Valley, as well as the Academy's programs, call 321-8000 or visit The museum is temporarily located at 875 Howard Street.

Flowers, Gardens, and Bees--Oh My!

The 22nd annual San Francisco Flower and Garden Show features at least one Noe Valley resident this year. The San Francisco Beekeepers Association, organized by 26th Street resident Philip Gerrie, is presenting an educational display on beekeeping.

Gerrie's exhibit is one of many scheduled during the five-day event. The Flower and Garden show includes displays, seminars, and exhibits on gardening, many of them related to the theme of extending living space outdoors. More than 350 exhibitors will offer outdoor-living products, from art that can withstand the elements to sturdy outdoor furniture. Popular garden writers and media personalities will be there, too, and their talks are free with admission.

The show takes place Wednesday, March 21, through Sunday, March 25, at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Avenue in Daly City. Doors are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday. Adult ticket prices range from $13 for a half-day pass to $65 for all five days. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. For a complete information, visit or call 800-569-2832.

Demos Host Panel on Homeless

The Noe Valley Democratic Club will sponsor a panel discussion on homelessness in San Francisco, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, at the Noe Valley Ministry. The speakers for the forum will be Daniel Homsey, director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services; Trent Rhorer, director of San Francisco's Human Services Agency; Peter Gabel of Noe Valleyans for Community and Social Justice; and Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness.

For more information about the event or the Democratic Club, visit or call club president Andy Fleischman at 641-5838. The Noe Valley Ministry is at 1021 Sanchez Street between 23rd and Elizabeth streets.

25th Asian American Film Fest

The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary by showcasing more than 130 films from Thursday, March 15, to Sunday, March 25, in theaters around the Bay Area. The festival kicks off at the Castro Theatre with director Justin Lin's latest feature, Finishing the Game. A gala reception will be held afterward at the Asian Art Museum.

To celebrate the festival's 25th year, this year's program includes a look back at significant Asian American cinema. The retrospective features a one-time-only sing-along presentation of Flower Drum Song and a revival screening of Big Trouble in Little China. New films from local moviemakers include two from residents of the Mission District: M.R. Dhar's Muzak, a family drama set in the aisles of a grocery store, and Lee Wang's documentary Someone Else's War, set in the Iraqi war zone. For a detailed festival schedule and to buy tickets, call 865-1588 or visit

A Space for Dancers

If you think you recognize the newest dancer in Noe Valley, it may be from her performance in the film Rent, based on the Broadway musical by the same name. Choreographer and dancer Laura Padierne, who has many dance credits in addition to her film debut, has opened Noe Valley Dance Space at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street.

Padierne, a resident of Day Street, is offering a variety of classes, including toddler, child, and adult ballet; modern dance; prenatal ballet; and a twilight adult dance session that fuses jazz, hip-hop, and other dance styles. When teaching kids, she says she realizes that "every child who loves to dance is not necessarily aiming for it as a profession. Rather than having their legs extend to their ears, I focus on other things in class," such as developing flexibility, strength, and creativity.

Padierne is also a fan of ballet for expectant moms. She gave birth to her first child in February, and says that teaching ballet throughout pregnancy gave her a big boost during labor and delivery.

For a class schedule, contact Padierne by calling 341-2186 or e-mailing laura You can also visit her web site at

Family Fun This Summer

If you're wondering how to keep your kids busy this summer, the free second annual San Francisco Family Summer Resource Fair is the place to be. Scheduled for Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the event is coordinated by the city's Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families. Parents will find information from 200 organizations that provide summer programming--including camps, classes, activities, and services--for San Francisco children.

The fair will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street at Polk Street. For more information, visit www, then click on the blue "events" button, or contact Mary Boyle at 845-7079 or