Noe Valley Voice September 2005

Short Takes

Say Goodbye to Old Library

As most local residents know, the Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library is slated to close this fall for a remodeling that could take up to two years. In preparation for the event, the city will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m., at the branch at 451 Jersey Street.

Attendees will have an opportunity to hear Alice Carey, the project architect, describe the latest renovation plans. The project's goal is to reduce the seismic risk of the 89-year-old Andrew Carnegie library and bring it up to code, while preserving the building's historic details.

Several of the San Francisco Public Library's top brass will be on hand at the meeting, including City Librarian Luis Herrera. "I'm pleased that the renovation project for the Noe Valley Library is finally near at hand," he says. "We anticipate closing sometime this fall, likely in October, and then reopening in late 2007, but the close will be worth the wait. In the meantime, interim services, including bookmobile service, will be provided at various locations in Noe Valley."

During the renovation, the library's regular "lapsits" and preschool story time will be held on Wednesday mornings at the Upper Noe Recreation Center on Day Street. The bookmobile will be parked two to three days per week in front of St. Philip's School, at Elizabeth and Diamond streets. Both the lapsits and the bookmobile will be staffed by Noe Valley's branch librarians.

Voters passed a bond measure securing funds for the structural work in November 2000. Funds for the building's interior fixtures, such as furniture and computers, are being raised by the neighborhood. For more details on the renovation, call the Library's chief of branches at 557-4353 or the bond program manager at 557-4354. To learn about the fundraising campaign, call Kim Drew at 643-4695.

A Harvest of New Sponsors

Over the summer, Sterling Bank and Trust plunked down some big bucks--$5,000 in fact--to become a major sponsor of Noe Valley's first-ever Harvest Festival. Zephyr Real Estate agreed to sponsor a pumpkin patch, and Guerrero Street Gardens will foot the bill for gardening activities and contests. But more sponsors are needed for the October event, says festival co-organizer Richard May.

According to May, by late August the organizers had raised $9,000 in cash and in-kind donations and $9,000 in booth fees. With a budget of $20,000, they're on the right track, but festival organizers would love to do better than break even. May speculates that, with a few more sponsors, they might be able to use the funds from souvenir sales to spring for a neighborhood beautification project. "So everyone should buy lots of T-shirts, tambourines, wine glasses, and coffee mugs," says May.

The fair is set for Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., along 24th Street in "downtown" Noe Valley. It will feature more than 60 booths and five bands performing live onstage. The festival will also coincide with the annual hayride sponsored by the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association.

Other sponsors include Friends of Noe Valley, B.J. Droubi Realty, Artery, Forbeadin', Makras Real Estate, Urban Cellars, Plumpjack, and Tully's Coffee.

Visit the Harvest Festival web site at for the latest scoop on entertainment. To find out about sponsorship, contact May at 206-0231 or e-mail

Healer Reading in the 'Hood

Author and physician Michael Blumlein is doing Noe Valley proud with his new book, The Healer. It has a fantasy setting, but don't let that scare you--it's a novel about the experiences of a man gifted with amazing powers to heal.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., the Douglass Street author will read from the book and sign copies at Cover to Cover bookstore at 1307 Castro Street near 24th.

Blumlein, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1971, is also the author of X, Y--a 1993 bestseller about a female stripper who wakes up to find that she's a man living in a woman's body.

Authors All Over the Map

Be the first on the block to own a copy of the San Francisco Literary Map--and witness some literary history in the making--by attending a reading with several renowned Bay Area authors. The event, a benefit for both 826 Valencia and Litquake, takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.

Attendees get more than a map. Authors including Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman, Kirk Read, and Michelle Tea will pay homage to the neighborhoods from which they draw inspiration, including the Mission and Castro districts. Musician Jonathan Richman will provide entertainment.

The illustrated literary map includes a timeline of San Francisco's literary history; literary landmarks; locations of bookstores, publishers, journals, and magazines; annual literary events; ongoing poetry readings and open mikes; and listings of literary organizations.

The celebration and benefit will be held at the Swedish American Hall at 2174 Market Street. Admission is $15.

Music Fest at Noe Courts

Noe Courts, the small city park on 24th Street between Douglass and Elizabeth streets, will be the venue for a free "Music in the Parks" event on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sponsored by the Friends of Noe Courts Park in conjunction with the San Francisco Parks Trust, the event will feature live music, food and wine, a raffle, activities for children, and free prizes and gifts for dogs and kids. People of all ages and their well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Several local bands will perform Dixieland jazz, blues, and rock. Shops including Just for Fun, Belgano Chocolatier, the Animal Company, and Cooks Boulevard have contributed raffle prizes, and the Friends of Noe Valley has supplied a Bounce House for the kids.

Proceeds from raffle tickets and other sales will benefit the future renovation of Noe Courts Park, which sports a playground, tennis and basketball courts, and a lawn for picnicking and playing fetch.

"I think that having a really fun event at Noe Courts will highlight the role that the park has in bringing neighbors together as part of a community," says Eden Halbert of Friends of Noe Courts Park.

For information about either the event or the park, send an e-mail to noecourts

Kids Party at Castro Fair

The annual Castro Street Fair is coming up, and it's a party that many Noe Valleyans wouldn't miss--even if they have to hike over the Castro Street hill. The 32nd annual event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the intersection of Market and Castro streets.

This year, Noe Valley's Bethany United Methodist Church will make the party fun for all ages by holding special activities for kids. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the church will sponsor a bouncy castle, outdoor sports, and face-painting for the little ones, in the garden at the corner of Market and Noe streets.

The Castro Street Fair is a free event (donations gladly accepted) that features non-stop outdoor dancing; booths showcasing merchants, artisans, and non-profit groups; and abundant food and entertainment. To find out more, visit

A Bird Is a Bird Is a Bird

There's inventory aplenty at Bird & Beckett Books & Records in Glen Park, but the bookstore also has a roster of cultural events chosen to feature local artists.

The Henry Irvin Trio performs jazz on the first Sunday of every month. The trio has "a Hammond B-3 organ sound, an instrument that was built in the '50s, and Henry, now in his 70s, is a kind of local treasure," says Bird & Beckett owner Eric Whittington. The show starts at 6 p.m., and includes a vocalists' open mike.

Another jazz group, the Chuck Peterson Sextet, performs on Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and creates what Whittington calls a "neighborhood jazz party."

In addition, the store is home to two book clubs. One meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., and focuses on fiction or other recently published books. This month (Sept. 7) the topic will be The Book of Salt by Monique Truong. The other group meets the second Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and reads up on current social and political issues. The book featured Sept. 8 is The Republican Noise Machine by David Brock.

Not to be forgotten are poetry readings. On Monday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m., poets Diane di Prima and Maria Gillan will read from their work. And on Sept. 20, also at 7:30 p.m., di Prima will return to host "Modest Proposal," a chapbook poetry reading featuring several local poets.

Bird & Beckett is located at 2788 Diamond Street, at Chenery. For more information, call 586-3733.

Photographer Honors Veterans

A photography exhibit at San Francisco City Hall by longtime Noe Valley resident Tom Graves is on display through Oct. 28. The exhibit, titled "Heroes All!", features black-and-white portraits of World War II veterans and accompanying interviews.

"I'm a commercial photographer," Graves explains. "I was exploring a couple of ideas I had for a project for myself, and about the same time I started having lunch with a group of veterans. I thought, Wouldn't it be terrific if other people could get to know them as I have?... They really have amazing experiences to share."

The idea evolved into 150 photographs and interviews. Not all of them are on display at City Hall, so Graves hopes to turn them into a book someday. "I have enough material for two or three books," he says.

The City Hall display includes many Bay Area residents, such as mystery writer Tony Hillerman, filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, and U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient. To view the exhibit, visit the ground floor of San Francisco City Hall at 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place, located between Polk and Van Ness and Grove and McAllister.

Volunteer Tutors Needed

Children in the Bay Area need help learning to read, and the Jewish Coalition for Literacy offers free training and support to volunteer tutors. Each tutor is paired with a child in kindergarten through third grade.

"There are no special qualifications for tutors," says Julia Stone of JCL. Everyone who wants to help children improve their reading is invited to participate.

Training sessions will be held in San Francisco on Thursday, Sept. 8; Monday, Sept. 19; and Wednesday, Sept. 21. To find out more, visit, e-mail, or call 977-7445.

Call for Artists

A law firm specializing in entertainment law is asking for Noe Valley artists to contribute to a neighborhood-centered art show this fall. The Austin Law Group and the Office of Marilyn Kalman, located at 799 Castro Street, has been showcasing photographers, filmmakers, sculptors, and painters in its space for the past four years. They plan to schedule the neighborhood exhibit after they've confirmed the participants. "We have not had a Noe Valley artist call before, so this would be a first for us," says Austin Law Group's Thomas Landry.

For information about entering work in the show, e-mail

Sweet Home San Francisco

They may seem few and far between, but there are some people in San Francisco who were born and raised here. The second annual San Francisco Native Day Jamboree brings together folks who share the bond of a lifetime in the city.

The jamboree will be held at the Irish Cultural Center at 2700 45th Avenue on Friday, Sept. 16, from 6 to 11 p.m. Food will be served and attendees can dance to the tunes of the Jazzaholics. Other surprise entertainment is planned.

Tickets are $55. For more information, visit, e-mail, or call 775-4421.

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