Noe Valley Voice May 2010

Short Takes

Panel on Health Reform Law

The Noe Valley Democratic Club will sponsor a panel discussion on the nation's historic health care overhaul on Wednesday, May 26, 7:30 p.m., at St. Philip's Church, 725 Diamond Street, between Elizabeth and 24th streets.

Dan Bernal, a top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will moderate the discussion, which will center on the ramifications of the new law for a wide swath of American society. Panelists will include Herb Schultz, regional director of health and human resources for the 9th Federal District; Linda Lew, Northern California regional organizer for the Health Access Foundation of California; and John Caratzas, former director of the Small Business Majority, a nonprofit organization.

Molly Fleischman, the club's vice president, says a fourth speaker who has yet to be named will talk on how the legislation, signed into law on March 23, will affect Medicare and senior citizens. Q&A will follow the short presentations.

--Noel Lieberman

A Glimpse at the Gardens

Volunteers are still needed to staff the fourth Noe Valley Garden Tour, blossoming on Saturday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Richard May of Friends of Noe Valley, the group sponsoring the event, says the chores are easy--volunteers sit at the gardens' entrances and take or sell tickets. "The reward is great--a free ticket enabling you to see eight beautiful gardens," he says.

Before or after their two-hour shift, volunteers can sample each of the other gardens, which are notable this year for their variety, says May. "One is a traditional Japanese garden designed by a Japanese designer. It has a water feature with two waterfalls, blooming lotus, and medaka fish to eat the mosquitoes." Another, created by Katey Mulligan of Liquidambar Garden Design, offers plants native to China and stonework modeled after the entrance to a garden in Shanghai, where one of the homeowners once lived.

There is a Liberty Hill garden with fig, lemon, and avocado trees; a hillside arbor with old roses and antique seating; and two gardens designed by Janet Moyer Landscaping, including one that circles a large remodeled farmhouse in the northwest corner of Noe Valley.

The approximate boundaries of the tour, May points out, are 21st to 30th Street, and Guerrero Street to Grand View Avenue. If you plan to walk it, comfortable shoes are advised. Proceeds from the event will go toward a neighborhood beautification project.

Tickets, which cost $12, will go on sale on and around 24th Street on Saturday, May 22. (Children under 10 are free.) Look for stores with a Noe Valley Garden Tour poster in the window.

If you'd like to volunteer or you need more information, call May at 415-298-2344.

--Heather World

Mellow Custer/Crooked Jades

The Noe Valley Music Series features new music and a new collaboration in May, starting with the soothing tones of the Beth Custer Ensemble on Saturday, May 8. Custer, a clarinet player graced with a mellifluous voice, joins her ensemble to perform new work culled from their critically acclaimed release Roam, as well as songs created during Custer's recent residency at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga. Influenced by jazz, funk, and Latin rock, the ensemble's melodies meld with Custer's view of the world as her musical oyster. Tickets cost $16 in advance and $18 at the door, and the show starts at 8:15 p.m.

On Saturday, May 22, the Crooked Jades will pick up their old-fashioned instruments and join the modern dance group Kate Weare Company to preview "Gone Before and Rattling," an exploration of the cyclical nature of human experience that will premiere at New York's Joyce Theatre in August. The collaboration is just one highlight of the evening of old-time music from the Jades, a quintet that rocks on ukuleles, fiddles, banjos, and guitar. The show starts at 8:15 p.m. and costs $18 in advance, $20 at the door.

Both shows take place at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street. Pick up advance tickets at Phoenix Books, 3957 24th Street near Noe Street. For more information, visit or call 415-454-5238.

--Heather World

Long Summer for City College

School is cancelled at San Francisco City College this summer as a cost-saving measure, but the closed doors mean students can expect a full schedule in the fall, says Bruce Smith, dean of the Castro/Valencia Campus on Church Street.

Only a small number of courses necessary for certification will be offered this summer, and most of those will be at the John Adams Campus on Hayes Street, Smith says. The Everett Middle School campus will remain dark.

"We underwent a huge cut in state funding this year," Smith says.

While each California community college district will make its own decision on how to cope with less money, City College looked for savings by cutting summer school rather than reducing classes in the fall and spring.

"The choice was made to protect students getting through class sequences in the regular school year," says Smith.

Further savings was found by putting the course catalog online rather than mailing a paper version to every household, as has happened in years past, Smith says. Instead, interested students must go online at to see the schedule. Registration starts Monday, June 21, for the fall semester, which begins Monday, Aug. 16.

--Heather World

Need a Designer Doghouse?

Bring your pooch to the lush digs of the Palace Hotel Saturday, May 15, and bid on designer doghouses and cat condos to benefit a nonprofit organization that provides companion pets to the sick and needy.

"Petchitecture 15," an evening of food, drink, and auction bidding, is hosted by and for Pets Are Wonderful Support. For 23 years, the group has provided pet food, veterinary care, and volunteers so nearly 800 people can have the companionship of pets, says PAWS president John Lipp. (Bethany Church on Sanchez Street used to be a PAWS pet food outlet.)

Clients are low-income people living with HIV/AIDS, the disabled, and seniors barely getting by on Social Security. The number of people PAWS serves has grown by more than 30 percent in the past two years, Lipp says.

The annual Petchitecture event includes an exhibition of one-of-a-kind pet habitats created by some of the Bay Area's top architects and designers, including Greg DeLory, Gensler, Anshen + Allen, Huntsman Architectural Group, and Goren Architecture + Design. You can take a look at the petchitects' cat perches, dog divans, and bird sanctuaries at

Tickets cost $150, and can be bought online. Fully licensed and vaccinated dogs are welcomed. The evening runs from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery Street. For more information, call 415-979-9550.

--Heather World