Noe Valley Voice June 2004

Short Takes

An Intelligent Look at Iraq

The Noe Valley Democratic Club has assembled a group of experts for a June 16 panel discussion on the war in Iraq. The forum, titled Iraq: What's Next?, will take place at the Noe Valley Ministry and will be free and open to the public.

"I think people are worried about what's going on in Iraq and where the president is taking us. And it's natural for a Democratic Club to grapple with where we are, how we got here, and what the best way forward would be," says Rafael Mandelman, the club's president and moderator for the event.

Mandelman says panelists were selected to include political, military, regional, historical, and sociological perspectives. Those who have been lined up so far are Catherine Dodd, district chief of staff for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration; Maj. Gen. Mike Myatt, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of the Marines' Memorial Association; Dr. Nezar Alsayyad, chair of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at U.C. Berkeley; and Ayad al-Qazzaz, Middle East expert and sociology professor at California State University, Sacramento.

The panel discussion will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer period running until 9 p.m. If you have questions about the forum, call event organizer Richard May at 206-0231.

Mandelman says Noe Valley Democratic Club members will arrive at the Ministry (1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd Street) a half-hour earlier on June 16 to conduct their general business meeting from 7 to 7:30 p.m. New club members are welcome, he says.

Reception for Same-Sex Couples

Everybody's invited to what will likely be the largest wedding reception ever held in Noe Valley on Sunday, June 13, at Bethany United Methodist Church. The congregation sent invitations to each of the more than 4,000 couples married during what has been coined San Francisco's Winter of Love--the period from mid-February, when Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the issuance of marriage licenses to two people of the same sex, to mid-March when the California Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt to the practice. (The court heard arguments pro and con for the legality of same-sex marriage in May, and a final decision was expected within 90 days.)

"We have 14 couples just in our congregation alone, but we are getting RSVPs from couples across the Bay Area as well as throughout the state. One couple is coming from San Diego with their children," says Bethany's pastor, Karen Oliveto.

The celebration will begin with the church's 11 a.m. worship service, featuring guest speaker Mabel Teng, San Francisco's assessor-recorder. Following will be a huge cake and dancing, either to a live band or a deejay in the church hall.

Bethany is located at 1268 Sanchez Street at Clipper Street. Phone 647-8393 if you need more details, or visit

Paint, Draw, and Doodle All Summer

Artsake, an art supplies store that opened on 24th Street in March, is offering a full spectrum of summer art classes for children and adults.

Summer art camp for kids ages 6 to 12 will run in weekly sessions at the store from June 21 through Aug. 20. Taught by Noe Valley multimedia artist Jim Myrick, the camp will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays, and from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. The cost, including all art materials, is $185 per week for students who enroll for the entire nine weeks, $215 per week for a three-week enrollment, or $240 per week for less than three weeks.

"Children will work with pencils, charcoal, pastels, watercolor, acrylics, and tempera paint. They'll also learn printmaking, collage techniques, and papermaking," says Cristobal Oropeza, an artist who works at the store. "We're introducing them to all the media we have available to see which ones they're comfortable with developing."

Also for children will be a beginning drawing class taught by San Francisco School of the Arts graduate Brian Thompson. It will be held on Saturdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. starting June 19. In addition, an oil pastels class will be taught by Jody Hayes on Thursdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. beginning June 24. Both classes run for six sessions.

Classes for adults include beginning and intermediate drawing, live model drawing, drawing as self-expression, introduction to oils and soft pastels, bookmaking, beginning and intermediate watercolor, and cartooning and comic strip art. Most classes run for six weeks, with sessions beginning June 7 to 11.

Call the store for full details at 695-0506, or stop by and look at the bulletin board. Artsake is at 3961 24th Street between Noe and Sanchez streets.

Parents Quilt for Kids

For most of its 35 years in existence, the Noe Valley Cooperative Nursery School has raffled off a handmade quilt at the end of the school year. This tradition serves as the preschool's main fundraiser.

"This year's quilt is titled Our Children at School, and it was made lovingly, as usual, by the parents of children at the school," says Nina Youkelson, who has served as the school's director since its inception. "Each parent did a square to illustrate his or her own child at school. Some are portraits by the children that the parents then translated into fabric. Some are actual photographs that were transferred onto fabric. Some are abstract, others realistic. It's quite a variety," she adds.

The quilt is now on display at Cover to Cover Booksellers, 1307 Castro Street, until the raffle, which will take place in Douglass Park on June 11 at around 7:30 p.m. (You do not have to be present to win.) Other raffle prizes include a dinner for two at the Slanted Door, a black-and-white photo portrait, Giants tickets, acupuncture treatment, and more.

Tickets are $1 each; six for $5. They are on sale at Cover to Cover, as well as at the nursery school, located within the Noe Valley Ministry at Sanchez and 23rd streets. Need more info? Call the school at 647-2278.

'Pretty Talk' Author on Tour

Popular author David Sedaris, who is well-known for his humorous and self-deprecating monologues on National Public Radio, will be at Cover to Cover Booksellers on Saturday afternoon June 19, to do a reading and sign his new book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

Cover to Cover is delighted to host such a big literary star. (Sedaris' last collection of satirical essays, Me Talk Pretty One Day, was a runaway bestseller.)

"He specifically requested that he come to our store because he's known this neighborhood for a long time," says Cover to Cover co-owner Tracy Wynne, noting that Sedaris has a close friend in Noe Valley. "We're very honored that he chose to come here and do something as prestigious as an event on his newest book tour."

The catch is, the store can hold only about 100 people and therefore must sell tickets to the reading part of the event, which starts at 1 p.m. Wynne says tickets will go to the first 100 people who come to the store after 10 a.m. on June 1 and purchase Sedaris' book ($24.95) through the store.

"During the second part of the event, when Mr. Sedaris is signing individual books, we expect to be able to accommodate all comers," she says.

For further information, contact Cover to Cover at 282-8080 or go to its web site at You can also drop by the bookstore, at 1307 Castro Street between 24th and Jersey streets. Note: The store will also accept phone or e-mail orders, but only after 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 1. The e-mail address is

By the way, July's big event at Cover to Cover will be the Growing Readers program, which benefits the children at Mission Learning Center. Wynne invites you to pick a blossom from the Growing Readers "tree" and buy a book for the child whose age and interests are on the tag. The kids will not only receive books, but pencils and paper and other goodies donated by the store.

Wholesome Fun at the YMCA

The Mission YMCA has plenty of high-energy fun planned for youths attending day camp at the Noe Valley Ministry this summer.

"We'll be out doing hiking, swimming, going to museums and other field trips like the Jelly Belly Factory and Great America," says Theresa Arroyo, Mission Y's youth and family program associate director. "There's also arts and crafts and dancing throughout each week. We'll even have 'YMCA Idol,' where kids can do karaoke if they want to."

Open to children in kindergarten through eighth grade, the camp runs from June 14 through Aug. 27, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It's okay to sign up for any amount of time, from one week to the entire summer. The cost is $162 per week, which includes all trips and extended care. Financial aid is available for low-income families.

"All the programs are built on the YMCA character values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility," says Arroyo. "Our camp gives kids a sense of challenge and adventure, and a chance to be creative. The staff also really encourages them to have goals and to achieve them."

The Noe Valley Ministry is at 1021 Sanchez Street. To sign up or get further information, call Arroyo at 586-6900.

What's in Store for 24th Street?

If you're concerned about the future of 24th Street, mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 9. That's when Larry Badiner, the city's acting planning director, will be the featured speaker at a joint meeting of the Friends of Noe Valley and the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association.

"The meeting will encompass everything from clean streets to empty storefronts and parking on 24th Street, but the primary reason for the gathering is to give people in the neighborhood the chance to come together, meet with Larry Badiner, and talk about how they'd like to see vibrancy return to 24th Street," says Debra Niemann, president of Friends of Noe Valley. "It's a chance to find out what the new chain store legislation means for our neighborhood, how people want our commercial district to grow, or stay the same, and what changes can and cannot be made."

The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey Street at Castro Street. Need more particulars? E-mail Niemann at

Terra Mia's Creative Camp

Kids from 6 to 14 will find creative inspiration at Terra Mia Decorative Art Studio's third annual summer program. It's an art intensive taught by Rene Capone, which incorporates the use of watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil, ink, and ceramics.

"It's fun, very interactive, and we keep the class sizes small--10 or less in each group--so there's a lot of one-on-one instruction," says Terra Mia's owner, Christine Simmons. "The kids will have our private room in back for the summer, and they'll take trips to Douglass Park to take botanical prints with items we find in the park," she adds.

The program runs for nine weeks from June 28 through Aug. 27. Children are split into two groups (ages 6 to 10 and 11 to 14) and will attend on alternate weeks. Classes are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fees, which include all supplies, are $275 per child per week. Students can enroll for one or more weeks.

During the summer, Terra Mia will continue to be open daily for general ceramic painting between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. To sign up for camp, call 642-9911 or stop by the store at 1314 Castro Street near 24th. You can also visit for the full scoop on the studio.

Short Takes are compiled and written by Laura McHale Holland.