Noe Valley Voice February 2004

Short Takes

Attention, Worker Bees

The first official meeting of the Noe Valley Library Capital Campaign Planning Committee is set for Wednesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. Here's a chance for you to roll up your sleeves and get in on the ground floor of a major fundraising effort on behalf of our local library.

San Francisco voters passed a $106 million bond measure to refurbish and build neighborhood branch libraries in 2000, but the bond funds are earmarked for construction, repairs, and building improvements only. Friends of the San Francisco Public Library has initiated a capital campaign for each neighborhood library to raise an additional $16 million (citywide) for computers, shelves, chairs, tables, and other fixtures and equipment.

The seismic retrofit work at the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library at 451 Jersey Street is scheduled to go out to bid this summer. So, the capital campaign will get rolling soon to keep up with the physical renovation, which may take up to two years. If you'd like to learn more about the capital campaign, call Marian Chatfield-Taylor, the Friends of the Library's branch campaign manager, at 437-4859.

Impromptu Love Stories

How We First Met, a popular Valentine's Day entertainment, has resurfaced in San Francisco for a limited engagement at the Velvet Lounge in North Beach. In the show, which was created by Noe Valleyan Jill Bourque, couples from the audience are interviewed on stage about how they met. Then a troupe of actors recreates their love story on the spot with improvised songs and sketches. The theater work debuted in San Francisco on Valentine's Day 2001, and has since charmed audiences in such places as New York, Florida, Canada, and Australia.

The show runs Friday and Saturday evenings from Feb. 6 through 28. Opening night is Saturday, Feb. 7. Doors open at 7 p.m., and show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for regular performances and $35 on Valentine's Day. The Velvet Lounge, located at 443 Broadway, sells alcohol, so you must be 21 or over to attend. For tickets, go to or call 845-4314.

Finger-Pickin' Good

The 2004 San Francisco Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival has scheduled some hot acts at the Noe Valley Music Series this month, including a children's concert featuring Gayle Schmitt and the Toodala Ramblers. Five shows will be held in the upstairs sanctuary of the Noe Valley Ministry at 1021 Sanchez Street.

The local hootin' and hollerin' starts on Saturday, Feb. 21, with two groups from Colorado--Open Road, featuring traditional bluegrass, and Uncle Earl, playing old-time string-band music. The following day, Sunday, Feb. 22, the popular San Francisco bluegrass band Dark Hollow will appear with the Lonesome River Band, contemporary bluegrass "heavy-hitters" from Nashville. On Friday, Feb. 27, David Nelson (of New Riders of the Purple Sage fame) and the Papermill Creek Rounders will share the stage with two Bay Area groups, the Earl Brothers and Thompsons' String Ticklers.

Headlining on Saturday, Feb. 28, will be local legend Peter Rowan, who played with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys back in the '60s. Joining Rowan will be the Bluegrass Intentions, another Bay Area group with an old-time groove.

All these shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door, except for the Peter Rowan concert, which will run you $20 or $22.

The kids' concert winds up the 10-day festival on Sunday, Feb. 29, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children. (The event was very popular last year, so if you like songs about biscuits, bugs, and jumpin' frogs, get your tickets early.)

For a full schedule of performances, including shows at the Great American Music Hall, Café du Nord, and other Bay Area venues, visit You can buy tickets via the web site or at Streetlight Records, 3979 24th Street.

The Ice Cream's on Dufty!

Bevan Dufty, our District 8 supervisor, and Reuel Baluyot, the owner of Isabella's Ice Cream & Dessert Cafe, have found a cool way to introduce the city's newest school board member, Heather Hiles, to the neighborhood. They're hosting an ice cream social on Hiles' behalf on Saturday, Feb. 7, from 1 to 3 p.m.

"I think Heather has a tremendous background, and I'm excited to provide an informal opportunity for her to meet parents, children, and neighbors. It's a great connection for her to meet parents who do so much for Alvarado, Lick, and Fairmount, among other great schools," says Dufty. "Remember, the ice cream is on me!"

Isabella's is at the corner of Castro and 24th streets. Call Dufty's office at 554-6968 or Isabella's at 648-4256, if you'd like a bigger scoop.

Young Women Rock!

Cover to Cover Booksellers will spotlight the authors of GirlSource: A Book by and for Young Women about Relationships, Rights, Futures, Bodies, Minds, and Souls, on Thursday, Feb. 12. The reading will begin at 6 p.m.

The book is a project of GirlSource, Inc., a nonprofit group located in the Mission District that supports low-income women, ages 14 to 18, by helping them shore up their leadership and job skills.

"We hire young women to create media and education products that are personally meaningful and relevant to their lives," says Anne Moses, a Noe Valley resident and executive director of GirlSource. "Several years ago, we hired these young women to write a health and life guide that we published ourselves. Ten Speed Press has recently republished it, and that's what this reading will celebrate."

Young women who were involved in the book project and some of the youths now working with GirlSource will read selections from the book. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

For information on GirlSource, send an e-mail to, or call Moses at 252-8880, ext. 304. Cover to Cover is at 1307 Castro Street, between 24th and Jersey streets.

Treasures Nearby

The Marsh, a theater now celebrating its 12th year on Valencia Street (and 15th in existence), is inaugurating a new series called the San Francisco Treasure Series, and Noe Valley's resident satirist, Charlie Varon, will be the first "treasure" to perform, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. The series showcases the work of seven local artists, all of whom have played the Marsh and gone on to achieve success.

"It's an incredible opportunity to see these wonderful performers who have performed or been artists-in-residence here and are now performing all over the world. Many of them will be showing their newest work," says Stephanie Weisman, the Marsh's founder and artistic director.

Varon will perform his critically acclaimed monologue Visiting Professor of Pessimism. Next up will be comedian Marga Gomez on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. She'll be doing the show she'll take to the Kennedy Center in March. Other artists slated for the series are Pamela Z, Jeff Greenwald, Josh Kornbluth, Sara Felder, and the Joe Goode Performance Group.

Tickets for each show are $25 to $50, sliding scale, or $125 for the seven-performance series. To buy tickets or learn more about the Marsh, located at 1062 Valencia Street, call 826-5750 or visit

Sizzle in February

The 26th annual Carnaval San Francisco, a two-day celebration of food, music, dance, and artistry, will take place Memorial Day weekend, culminating in a grand parade through the Mission District on Sunday, May 30. But Carnaval season's kickoff event, the Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras & Crab Festival, is happening on Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., at the Roccapulco Supper Club.

Fat Tuesday's festival is being produced by the Mission Neighborhood Centers with support from San Francisco's Grants for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Loco Bloco, an intergenerational drum and dance ensemble, will headline. The group is known for its vibrant dancers, funky horns, booming beats, and stilt walkers. Also entertaining will be the Bayonics and DJ Papi Chocolate. What's on the menu? Crab enchiladas.

Tickets for this event are $12. You can get them by phone at the Carnaval hotline, 920-0125, or online at All proceeds will benefit youth education programs for local drum and dance ensembles. The Roccapulco Supper Club is located at 3140 Mission Street at Precita Avenue.

Support for Dads

When Lawrence Shweky became a dad just over a year ago, he was surprised to find that our child-friendly neighborhood did not have a support group for new fathers. Rather than complain, he decided to start one himself.

"I thought the idea had merit in terms of the numbers of dads I see walking around on 24th Street, seeming to have a great time with their little ones," he notes. He envisioned a place where dads could share their accomplishments and challenges, "and just their day-to-day experience of fatherhood."

The New Dads Group welcomes fathers of any age, orientation, or experience level, and meets on the second and fourth Thursday of the month, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Natural Resources, 816 Diamond Street, between 24th and Jersey streets. "We'll typically start with a check-in to see how everyone's doing," says Shweky, "and then identify one or two key topics that we'll focus on for that particular evening. It could be career/ family balance, getting a good night's sleep, relationship issues, or a child development issue."

The group meets on a drop-in basis, $5 per meeting. Need more info? Call Shweky at 550-8369.

This month's Short Takes were written by Laura McHale Holland.