Noe Valley Voice April 2010

Short Takes

April 2010

By Heather World

Your Ticket to the Garden Tour

The Friends of Noe Valley is pleased to announce that seven gorgeous gardens have been selected for this year's Noe Valley Garden Tour. Now all the group needs is to grow volunteers for the June 12 event.

Garden tour organizer Richard May says all parts of the neighborhood and all kinds of gardens will be represented on the tour. "The gardens are in all four corners of Noe Valley, on the flats and in the hills," says May. Some are full of flowers and others are mainly stone and fountain, with styles ranging from Japanese and Chinese to California, he says.

Volunteers are needed to work two-hour shifts in pairs at each garden entrance, checking tickets ($12) and selling more if necessary. Shifts are 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. In return for the labor of love, each volunteer will get a free tour ticket.

Proceeds from the garden tour will go to a Noe Valley beautification project, and the Friends of Noe Valley is still taking suggestions, May says. Projects must be publicly accessible, he notes, and within the area bounded by 21st, Guerrero, 30th, and Grand View Avenue/Diamond Heights Boulevard.

Call Richard May at 415-298-2344 to pick a shift or share a project idea.

Seniors Hold a Rummage Sale

The 30th Street Senior Center at 225 30th Street will turn its third-floor garden into a giant rummage sale on Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bargain hunters can look for bookcases, fabrics, senior art work, and framed prints while enjoying tamales, refreshments, and music, says Jessica Albee, assistant to the director of the center.

Funds raised at the event will go toward a $3,000 piano, Albee says. Anything above that amount will be put toward the activities--art classes, gardening, and field trips--that make the center a draw for about 300 seniors a day.

To find out more about the sale, call 415-550-2223.

All-Day Festival in Glen Park

Popular children's band Orange Sherbet will be just one highlight at the 12th annual Glen Park Festival on Sunday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the heart of the neighborhood on Diamond Street between Chenery and Bosworth.

The free day of festivities includes children's events, live music, and a raffle to benefit Friends of the Library and other area children's programs.

Parents can browse school information booths while their children make arts and crafts or play in the children's area. Both the police and fire departments will send vehicles for children to explore. Other booths sell jewelry, art, and clothes, or hand out information on various causes.

Dan Lopez of Dejavu Productions will be the master of ceremonies, ushering in Orange Sherbet at 10 a.m., followed by a performance by 9-year-old drummer Lars Laperal, who wowed the audience at the 2005 festival. Rockabilly wonder Whiskey Pills Fiasco takes the stage at 3 p.m. In between, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society will demonstrate a ballroom step or two, and Spark of Creation dancers will shake out some Hawaiian and Polynesian dancing.

Raffle prizes include donations from the merchants of Glen Park, Noe Valley, and beyond.

For more information visit www.glen or call 415-835-2112.

Ministry Uncorked

Find your inner connoisseur and raise money for the Noe Valley Ministry at a "Noe Valley Uncorked" wine-tasting on Friday, April 30, from 6 to 9 p.m.

The evening will center on tasting Argentinean wine, augmented by food and music from the Latin American country.

Yvonne Gemmell Keene, who is helping to organize the fundraiser, says wines from Argentina were chosen in part because they fall within most budgets.

"It's a good value," says Keene, who tapped into a professional relationship with another Noe Valley resident, Jonas Carslon, a sales representative from a wine company called Vine Connection.

"I thought it would make it a fun, ethnic event," she says. Some of the food will be catered, but some will be made by congregation members with a culinary flair.

The event takes place at the Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street. Tickets cost $35 at the door, $30 in advance, and $25 for Ministry members. They can be bought in advance at the church; the Ark toy store, 3845 24th Street; 24th Street Cheese Company, 3893 24th Street; or the Saturday farmer's market on 24th near Vicksburg.

All proceeds will benefit church programs. For more information, call the Ministry at 415-282-2317. Office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday services are at 10:30 a.m.

Opera Duets and Dog Tricks

You can have fun for a good cause at several school fundraisers this month.

First, the San Francisco School of the Arts vocal department hosts "Love's Philosophy: An Opera Gala" on Sunday, April 18, at 2 p.m.

The school choir and individual students will perform arias, duets, and scenes from Don Giovanni, Iolanta, The Magic Flute, Semele, Eugene Onegin, and Idomeneo on the campus Main Stage, 555 Portola Drive at O'Shaughnessy Boulevard. A reception will follow.

Tickets cost $25 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors, and $50 for priority seating. All proceeds benefit the school's vocal department. Tickets are available at the door or in advance through

The over-21 crowd can hit the dance floor Saturday, April 10, at "An Evening of Music by Mestiza," an Oakland-based band that mixes Latin, soul, rock, and urban funk music. The fundraiser, which also benefits the SOTA vocal department, starts at 8 p.m. and goes to midnight at Elan, 839 Howard Street. Tickets cost $25 and include the price of one drink.

Down the hill, McKinley Elementary School will host its third annual Dogfest fundraiser on Saturday, April 17. Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., dogs will strut their stuff at Duboce Park at Noe and Duboce streets.

Admission is free, and fees vary for entering your pup in one of many creative contests, including "best bark" and "best look-alike duo," judged by Top Chef veterans Ryan Scott and Preeti Mistry.

A 12:30 p.m. live auction led by Lemony Snicket creator Daniel Handler will be followed by a 2:30 p.m. performance by Busy Bee Dogs, a local four-dog act full of tricks and jokes. Those who buy raffle tickets will have a chance to win box-seat tickets to a Giants game (plus dinner), a night at the opera, and a wine cellar filled with wine.

All proceeds go toward enrichment programs at the school, which is located at Castro and 14th streets. The school raised $26,000 last year and hopes to raise $35,000 this year, says parent (and balloon-animal maker) Patricia McFadden.

"The dog community in San Francisco is huge," she says, and so are the kids and parents who enjoy watching them. "This event is really bringing them together."

Children's activities, including carnival games and face-painting, take place all day. For more information, visit, email, or call 415-710-7387.

Free Investment Seminars

Tax-free investing is the topic at a free financial seminar hosted by Edward Jones Investments, 4190 24th Street, on Friday, April 9, at 10 a.m.

"I'll be discussing the difference between taxable and tax-free investments and the advantages and disadvantages of both," says financial advisor Meagan Brown, who will conduct the half-hour presentation. After the talk, the floor will be open to Q&A.

"We usually go off topic and start talking about other things," says Brown. "People have general questions."

Edward Jones hosts free seminars each month. On Friday, May 14, a representative from the Social Security Administration will give a presentation about filing for social security and answer questions about Medicare.

Brown's office can hold up to 25 people. Call 415-282-4079 to reserve a seat.

District 8 Cleanup Day

The Community Clean Team, a citywide volunteer program run by the Department of Public Works, will bring its brooms and bags to District 8 this month. Local residents are invited to join in the crew's cleaning and greening of Christopher Playground (named after former San Francisco mayor George Christopher) on Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Volunteers will plant trees, work on landscaping projects, and remove weeds, graffiti, and litter at the playground, which is nestled behind the Safeway shopping center off Diamond Heights Boulevard at Duncan Street.

The 10-year-old program visits each district once a year, says Shih-Wei Lu, DPW's public relations officer. Cleanups average about 200 to 300 volunteers, but in the past most of the crowd has been connected to the city program.

"We also want local people to come out more," she says. It's a great way to commemorate Earth Day.

To sign up or for more information, email or call 415-641-2600.

Match the Haas in Donations

The "Playground Challenge" may sound like a children's obstacle course, but until April 30 it means every dollar you donate to the nonprofit Neighborhood Parks Council will be matched by money from the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund.

The goal is to raise $15,000 by month's end, says NPC development associate Anita Chordia. The $30,000 total will go toward the organization's Playground Initiative, which sponsors cleanup days and other events at local playgrounds.

"A hundred dollars will ensure each playground is evaluated for safety hazards and prioritized for any needed repairs," points out Chordia. "And $250 allows NPC to plan a volunteer workday at a playground to improve its condition."

Chordia says the group already has helped to replace failing play structures at Balboa, Franklin, and Rossi parks and that Dolores Park on 18th is next in line for a facelift.

NPC runs ParkScan, a partnership with the Recreation and Park Department that enables park users to call 311 or go online to report damage or other problems at city parks ( The group also recruits stewards for neighborhood parks and playgrounds.

To meet the Playground Challenge, visit For more information, contact Chordia at 415-621-3260 or