Noe Valley Voice May 2011

Short Takes


Alison Faith Levy, of both Phoenix Books and Sippy Cups fame, tunes up for “Big Time Tot Rock,” her May 14 show at the Upper Noe Recreation Center.     Photo by Danny Plotnick 

Sippy Cups Legend in Concert

Former Sippy Cups star Alison Faith Levy will reclaim her inner child musician Saturday, May 14, at “Big Time Tot Rock,” a morning concert of tunes for the under-5 crowd at the Upper Noe Recreation Center, at Day and Sanchez streets.

“I couldn’t stay away from children’s music because it’s too much fun,” says Levy, who left the Cups in 2009 and went on to release an album with her “grown-up” Americana band McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

Levy plays keyboard and guitar, and she is mastering the accordion. Occasionally, she puts down her instruments and sings a cappella while leading dancing children through “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or one of her own psychedelic pop-rock hits.

The manager of Phoenix Books on 24th Street, Levy started developing new work about two months ago when she picked up a guitar to play for the youngsters gathered for Wednesday morning story time at the bookstore. The crowd has grown, she says. “It’s packed to the rafters,” says Levy, the mother of a 9-year-old son. “We need to find a bigger place.”

There will be plenty of room in the auditorium at the rec center during Levy’s concert. The free event, from 9 to 11 a.m., is sponsored by the Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center.

In addition to the rec center show, Levy will be singing and dancing with Charity and the JAMband on Saturday, May 21, at the Swedish American Hall in a benefit for Sunset Co-op Nursery School.

For the complete scoop, contact Levy at or Friends at

—Heather World


Upper Noe Recommendations

The Friends of Noe Valley Recreation Center is seeking parents and neighbors who’d like to help with several park projects this summer and fall.

One is a school fair that will bring together public, private, and parochial schools from Noe Valley, Glen Park, Bernal, Potrero Hill, and the Mission ­District.

Volunteers are needed to contact the schools, both elementary and preschool, and to help run the fair, to be held Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Upper Noe Recreation Center, 295 Day St.

Kate Haug, the group’s cochair, says the fair is aimed at parents who may be scouting out a school for their child.

“People can look at a lot of schools in one morning,” Haug says.

The Friends is also seeking ideas to improve the park. Money for new projects, from benches to landscaping, could become available through a $5 million Community Opportunity Fund. The deadline for Friends to apply is June 24.

In addition, the group has put out a call for new or gently used tricycles, pedal cars, or Skuuts (a brand of wooden bikes). If the rec center receives enough donations, Friends will start a once-a-week “tykes on bikes” class.

There’s also a need for volunteers to serve on the Upper Noe Recreation Council, a board that advises the park staff on what programs neighbors want to see at Upper Noe. The council meets four times a year, with terms lasting two years. (Call rec center director Joe Scott at 970-8061.)

In the meantime, the sandbox issue (which the Voice wrote about in March) has been resolved. To keep local kittycats away, the sandbox in the children’s play area will be locked and covered nightly and on Sundays and Mondays when the rec center building is closed.

For more on sandbox etiquette or to volunteer at the center, contact Friends at or

—Corrie M. Anders


Chamber Music a Neighborhood Classic

Cabaret, cabernet, arias, eats, and some flamenco guitar—the Noe Valley Chamber Music wraps up its 2010-11 season Sunday, May 22, with its annual fundraising gala, a silent auction with food and music that nets the group half of its operating costs.

Sopranos Ann Moss and Heidi Moss and pianist Steven Bailey will be joined by Nicaraguan-American composer and guitarist Gabriel José Bola–os Chamorro and local composers Liam Wade and Jake Heggie in a concert of 20th and 21st century works for piano, voice, and guitar. Like the series itself, the program of new and old music is designed to “engage, inform, and entertain,” says Ann Moss.

Longtime contributor Martha & Bros. Coffee Company is sponsoring the gala, and guests can bid on gift certificates to restaurants and tickets to Bay Area cultural events during the auction. This year, organizers have added a raffle. Prizes include an instant wine cellar valued at $500. All proceeds benefit the series, started nearly 20 years ago to strengthen appreciation and understanding of chamber music.

Raffle tickets cost $10 each or three for $25 and will be sold at the Noe Valley Farmers’ Market and during the gala, though participants need not be present to win. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, 455 Fair Oaks St. (between 25th and 26th).

The show costs $15 to $18, and the price includes refreshments and free childcare (children 12 and under are free). Tickets can be bought at the door or in advance by visiting or call 415-648-5236.

—Heather World



Jeff Troiano, shown here with 7-year-old daughter Dolores, plays at Phoenix Books on Sunday, May 8, starting at 4 p.m.

Wayfaring Musician Returns

He’s a single dad, but Noe Valley’s Jeff Troiano will croon to the Mother’s Day crowd at Phoenix Books on 24th Street on Sunday, May 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. “It’s not really a Mother’s Day performance per se,” says the Jersey Street resident, “though I will sing a couple of songs for the mothers that day.”

This is Troiano’s first performance since his return to San Francisco, but he had a good following in Sonoma County where he lived from 2003 to 2008, he says. He moved back to Noe Valley three years ago so his daughter Dolores could attend public school in the city.

“This is a homecoming of sorts,” says Troiano, who once hosted an open mic night at a Church Street café that has since closed. “I’m excited about it because it’s back in the heart of Noe Valley—Phoenix Books—which is the epicenter of all creative life in Noe Valley.”

Troiano says he has written about 50 songs over the years. His sound is influenced by Neil Young and Bob Dylan and by contemporary pop music. Most of his creative inspiration comes from relationships, especially romantic ones, he says.

He also has written about his daughter. “She is the light of my life,” he says.

To sample the music, visit!

—Heather World