Noe Valley Voice May 2013

Short Takes

Promising Authors: As part of this year’s WordWeek festivities, kids from three Noe Valley schools read their stories and accepted their prizes at a March 17 event at the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library. The young writers so impressed the crowd they were celebrated with wild applause and alphabet-shaped cookies donated by Noe Valley Bakery, said event organizer Peggy Cling of Friends of Noe Valley. “I’d especially like to thank the people who made the contest happen: Morgan Benz and Joyce Romano from Alvarado, Kim Green from Fairmount, and Marilyn Koral from James Lick Middle School,” Cling said. To see the literary works, some of them illustrated, click on “Kids Writing Contest Winners!” at the Friends of Noe Valley website,    Photo courtesy Peggy Cling

Garden Tour Spills Onto Sidewalks

Go from “Gray to Green” at the eighth annual Noe Valley Garden Tour Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and visit 10 gardens across the neighborhood from 20th to 30th streets.

There’s a jewel box garden of succulents and leafy perennials, a contemporary sunlit garden with a large koi pond, and more. As a lush bonus, your map will direct you to sidewalk gardens that are part of the city’s “Gray to Green” program to transform concrete squares into patches of green.  

“Noe Valley is a hotbed of gray to green,” said event organizer Linda ­Lockyer.

Noe Valley businesses will go green as well. Platinum sponsor DavidsTea will be handing out tea samples at each of the gardens, gold sponsor Dennis Otto of Pacific Union International will give away plants at his listing [listings plural?] in Noe Valley, and Cliché Noe Gifts will host a wine and cheese party at the store. All sponsor activities will be listed on the map.

Everyone who checks in at all 10 gardens gets to vote for Noe’s Favorite Garden. If you think your feet can’t take you there, then hop on the shuttle—free of charge, thanks to the Noe Valley Association and the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association.

Garden tour tickets cost $15 ($12 for seniors) or nothing if you volunteer for a two-hour shift of greeting visitors and selling tickets. To volunteer, email  Shifts run from 9:30 a.m. to noon, noon to 2 p.m., and 2 to 4 p.m. All volunteers are invited to the Garden Tour Thank You Party Thursday evening, May 9.

This year there will be a raffle for a $500 “anywhere” airline ticket, donated by Duncan Wheeler of Vanguard Properties. Tickets cost $3 each or $10 for four.  The drawing will be held Saturday, May 18, at noon at the Noe Valley Farmers Market at 24th and Vicksburg, but you need not be present to win.

Tour and raffle tickets can be bought online at, at tour stops, and at the Farmers Market on April 27, May 4, and the day of the tour. Tickets come with a map and guide.  Merchants selling tour tickets include Cliché Noe Gifts, Independent Nature, Just for Fun, Omnivore Books on Food, Phoenix Books, Small Frys, Taylor’s Home & Garden, Video Wave, and Wink.

Each year, tour producer Friends of Noe Valley donates proceeds toward a neighborhood beautification project. This year’s beneficiary is the garden at the Valley Library on Jersey Street.


Classical Meets Broadway

Noe Valley Chamber Music will celebrate its 20th Anniversary Gala with “A Musical Feast” of world-premiere opera and Broadway show tunes on Sunday, May 19, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell St.

At the center of the banquet will be selections from San Francisco composer Jake Heggie’s Book of Nightmares (poetry by Galway Kinnell)sung by soprano Lisa Delan and accompanied by Heggie on piano and Emil Miland on cello.

Renowned opera star Frederica von Stade, a mezzo-soprano, tenor William Burden, baritone Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek and Delan will also sing a range of selections solo and duo from beloved musicals and operas such as Show Boat, West Side Story, and La Belle Helène.

Board President Karen Heather founded the popular chamber festival in 1993 while she was working at the Noe Valley Ministry on Sanchez Street. Heather handled space rental, and she was impressed by the success of Larry Kassin’s Noe Valley Music Series.

“I thought, if they could do it, we could have chamber music here as well,” said Heather, a pianist herself.

“Once it was known we were giving chamber music concerts, the musicians came out of the woodwork,” she said.

A silent auction begins at 4 p.m. and includes a signed score from Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, recently performed at the San Francisco Opera, a two-night stay at Lynne’s Noe Valley VRBO, a flight for two over San Francisco, and many tickets to arts performances. A wine cellar will be raffled.

The concert begins at 5 p.m. and is followed by a champagne-and-dessert reception. Tickets cost $60 in advance and $75 at the door.

For the full menu of music, visit or call 415-648-5236.


Fair Oaks’ Fair Bargains

Get those ones, fives, and tens ready: the 37th annual Fair Oaks Street Fair happens Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The popular multi-garage sale runs from 21st to 26th streets, along Fair Oaks, a quaint street tucked between Dolores and Guerrero. Bargain hunters will find antiques, books, furniture, kitchenware, and kids’ toys and clothes, among other good buys. Hungry shoppers usually find fresh tamales and bake sale goodies to keep themselves fueled.

Occasionally something larger trades hands, said Charlie Moser, who has lived on Fair Oaks for 41 years. He’s seen a classic Mercedes convertible sell for $17,000 and a classic Mini Cooper go for $12,000.

Moser and his wife Blair have organized the sale since its inception and were happy to hand the baton to other neighbors this year. Newish neighbors Kenneth and Marie Libeson hosted an afternoon potluck to attract volunteers, netting at least a dozen families who’d never participated, Libeson said.

“A lot of new families didn’t understand what it was and how to be involved,” she said.

Kenneth set up an online volunteer sheet through Sign-up Genius, and soon all the tasks were being managed.

The Mosers were delighted with the 21st-century twist, Blair said.

“It was breathtaking and heartening and thrilling to see the response,” she said. “It was a whole way of networking, and it really worked.”

The old-timers offer sage advice to shoppers: get there early because that’s what the professionals do.

One bookstore owner would drive down from Ukiah, and break out his two giant duffle bags at 8 a.m., Charlie said. “By 11 a.m. he looked like Santa Claus,” he said.

Food sales benefit the Jamestown Community Center’s youth programs and the Fair Oaks Community Coalition’s Alley Project.

To learn more about the organizations and see pictures of the sale from the past 37 years, visit


Curb Your Dog Run

Progress on the $13.2 million project to redesign Dolores Park hit a snag April 2 when a Church Street resident filed an appeal that questioned the safety of the two areas planned for off-leash dogs.

Claudia Praetel argued that the off-leash dog areas would impinge on the open space needs of children in a neighborhood densely populated with kids. Off-leash dog parks also create hazardous waste runoff, blight the view with plastic bag holders, and increase traffic, noise, and parking problems, according to her appeal. The matter goes before the Planning Department May 2.

Meanwhile, construction on the 13.7-acre park is scheduled to begin in October. The ADA-compliant renovation includes new athletic courts, restroom buildings, picnic areas, and a new operations building beneath the basketball court. The multi-use field and dog play areas are being improved as well.

If the appeal is upheld, the environmental impact document would go back to the Planning Department for further review. There is no way to estimate the delay that might cause, said Andres Power, legislative aide to District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener.

If the appeal is rejected, the park plan, which has been vetted at many public hearings and community meetings, will go before the Recreation and Park Commission for final approval in June.

Power noted that under current law people are allowed to appeal city projects at any time, even after construction has begun. Because the city must continue to pay contractors whether or not construction is happening, Supervisor Wiener has written legislation that proposes to cut off appeals before shovels hit the ground.

“There is a finite amount of money for projects,” Power said. “If we had to [stop the work], money would come out of the project itself, which means we would do less of the project.” 

Praetel’s appeal, however, would not be affected by the legislation.


Noe Courts’ Redirection

The Recreation and Park Depart­ment has changed the location of the Noe Valley Courts meeting to St. Philip’s parish hall, 725 Diamond St. The meeting, which was convened to solicit input as to how the park should be re-landscaped, happens Wednesday, May 15, 6 to 8 p.m. There is limited parking in a lot off 24th Street.


This month’s Short Takes were written by Heather World.