Noe Valley Voice November 2004

Short Takes

An Alternative Afternoon

Aromatherapist Cary Friedman is producing Noe Valley's sixth holistic health fair, on Nov. 13 from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. It is a chance to sample the services of alternative and holistic healers free of charge.

"A friend's 80-year-old mother came to one fair. She'd never had a massage, so I suggested she try one," Friedman recalls. "She had the biggest smile on her face after the first one. Then she went around to all the massage therapists and got one from each. She was really, really happy by then. It was wonderful to see."

Other disciplines represented will be Chinese medicine, life coaching, naturopathic medicine, energy healing, Reiki, yoga, chiropractic medicine, psychic reading, and more. "This helps demystify alternative healing, and it's a good place to see who the practitioners are instead of just seeing a card on a wall somewhere. And it's a very enjoyable and fun afternoon," Friedman notes.

The fair will be held at Open Door Yoga, 1500 Castro Street at 25th Street. People can drop in for a few minutes or spend the whole afternoon. For more information, call Friedman at 285-2457.

Ministry Hosts Solo Guitarists

The Noe Valley Music Series presents an evening of solo steel string guitar at the Noe Valley Ministry on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 8:15 p.m. The lineup features Noe Valley resident Teja Gerken along with former local merchant Dale Miller. They will be joined by Peter Lang, a Minnesota resident who is making his first San Francisco musical appearance in 25 years.

Gerken, who lives at 27th and Church streets, describes the music as "folk-blues based--a mixture of those with some classical elements." He is known for his original guitar compositions, which often involve alternate tunings, tapping, and percussive effects, but he also plays jazz standards and traditional Irish music. He has recorded a CD titled On My Way.

Miller, formerly part owner of Noe Valley Music at 3914A 24th Street, has enjoyed a long career as a Bay Area guitarist. In the 1990s, Miller released Both of Me, a CD of jazz duets; he recently followed that up with Azzurro Verdi, a compilation of opera arias arranged for solo guitar.

Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, call 454-5238 or visit

Enlightenment on Dolores Street

Dolores Street resident and activist Charlie Spiegel is thrilled with the outcome of a public meeting on Oct. 18 to discuss design proposals for the new lights being installed on his street.

Originally, city officials planned to install utilitarian--and unattractive--light fixtures known as cobras along the historic Dolores Street corridor as part of a citywide project to put utility cables underground. But, working with District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and officials at the Public Utilities Commission and Department of Public Works, Dolores Street neighbors rallied for more attractive and historically appropriate lighting.

That's what they got. Neighbors and officials met to look at possible designs and agreed on one that satisfies all parties. "It was city government at its best and a gorgeous result," Spiegel says.

Drawing on funds from the PUC's Capital Improvement Program budget, officials agreed to allot additional money to fund the fixtures, given the historic nature of the area. Spiegel notes, "It's a happy ending for Dolores Street."

Notes from Undergrounders

San Francisco's ongoing citywide undergrounding project will create a temporary inconvenience for several more blocks in Noe Valley, beginning in early November. (See "25th Street Goes Underground," Voice June 2004.)

Pacific Gas and Electric will begin removing overhead wires and utility poles and replacing them with a new underground system of electric, telephone, and cable wires. At the same time, some gas pipelines will also be replaced. Newly designed streetlight poles will replace the lights now affixed to utility poles.

Workers will break ground on Dolores Street between 24th Street and San Jose Avenue, Hill Street between Castro and Church streets, 22nd Street between Castro and Sanchez streets, and Noe Street between 21st and 22nd streets.

Officials at PG&E estimate that the total trenching and repaving for each project will take six to eight weeks. For more information, go to PG&E's web site at

Teens Stage 1940s Comedy

"The entire show is designed and acted by students," says Dan Kryston, who is one of two adults helping direct a play this month at San Francisco School of the Arts high school. The other is teacher Keith Carames, known to students as Mr. C.

The play is Out of the Frying Pan, a beloved 1940s comedy written by Francis Swan. It tells the comic story of six young actors struggling to make it on Broadway. "We just wanted to go back to a time where there was a lot of fun and innocence," says Kryston. "It's a nostalgic piece. It has an Andy Hardy or Judy Garland flavor to it." He notes that it also fits with their student population, since many of the teens attending San Francisco School of the Arts hope for a theater career themselves.

The student cast includes Hillary Ake, Allen Darby, Katelynd Galloway-Smith, Sergy Khalikulov, Carla Selvin, and Alicia Stamps in lead roles. The scenic designer is Anna Scarbourgh, and the costume designer is Danielle Giglione.

Performances are scheduled for Nov. 10 to 12 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 13 and 14 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. The production will be held at the school's Mainstage Theatre at 555 Portola Drive. Tickets are $12 for general admission or $9 for students and seniors. For more information, call the box office at 695-5720.

Health Fair for Seniors

Seniors and caregivers in and around Noe Valley and the Mission District are invited to participate in On Lok Senior Health's second annual health fair. Organizations, such as the Family Caregiver Alliance, UCSF Over 60 Program, Independent Living Resource Center, and Health and Environmental Resource Center, are coming together to raise awareness about seniors' health. The free one-day fair will include blood-pressure checks and other screenings, an introduction to community resources for seniors, live music, and arts and crafts.

According to On Lok spokesperson Liz Scarborough, this is the first time such an event has been held in Noe Valley. "We brought together over 150 attendees from the community" at the Fillmore Senior CareFest last year, she notes. Organizers at On Lok hope to match or exceed that number this year.

The Mission Senior CareFest will take place from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, at On Lok. The center is located at 225 30th Street between Church and Dolores streets. For more information, contact Maria Martinez-Mont at 550-2235.

A Feast of Sound

What would you do if you were awarded $12,500 for a creative project? As recipients of the 2004 Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, the wife-and-husband team of Sri Lankan poet Pireeni Sundaralingam and Irish violinist Colm O'Riain used their grant to produce Bridge Across the Blue. It is a collaborative music and poetry CD that celebrates the diversity of the Bay Area.

"We wanted to bring together artists from a range of different ethnic communities to share their immigration stories, and in doing so, to see if they could find any common ground, through their music and the metaphors of poetry," says Sundaralingam.

All of the artists involved in the project will share the Noe Valley Ministry stage at their CD release party, set for Saturday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. These include Castro Street residents O'Riain and Sundaralingam, as well as California poet laureate nominee Francisco X. Alarcon, jazz composer and bass player Marcus Shelby, Afro-Caribbean musician and poet Avotcja, Indian-American poet Neelanjana Banerjee, Jewish "beatboxer" Andrew Chaikin, Jimmy Biala, Jessica Ivry, Ilya Kaminsky, Javier Muniz, Lillis O'Laoire, John-Carlos Perea, Oliver Rajamani, Amy Tobin, and Francis Wong.

Sundaralingam says the event will be a rare opportunity for local listeners. "Where else will you hear a Gaelic singer and a Native American Lakota singer, singing in their own languages in duet?" she asks.

The Noe Valley Ministry is at 1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd Street. Tickets for the event are $15, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Get your reservations by phone at 550-1839 or online at

This month's Short Takes were compiled and written by Erin O'Briant and Laura McHale Holland.