Towse: views from the hill

March 4, 2011

Fundraiser for North Beach Citizens.

Filed under: nonprofits,photographs — Tags: , , , — Towse @ 12:24 am

Missed the opening blowout for the latest fundraiser for North Beach Citizens tonight. 6-9pm at Gallery 28 on Grant. (We were at an event at the San Francisco Food Bank. I won’t even =begin= to tell you the other events that were happening citywide.)

Famous folks with their fundraising art. Less famous folks with theirs. All for a good cause. BUY! SPEND! DONATE!

This, of course, is mine — a collage titled, “Cool, Grey City of Love.” Challenge was to take an LP and create some art on it. The theme was VINYL TRANSFORMATION. You couldn’t do something 3-D but anything else was up for grabs.

This photo of my collage maybe not so hot, eh? But the collage is worth $5, don’t you think? $10? Who will give me $20 for a GOOD CAUSE! HERE, FOLKS! $50?

I haven’t seen what Ferlinghetti, or Hirschman did, and I couldn’t be at the blowout tonight, alas. Check in with Gallery 28 on Grant to see what the other donees did and spend money for a good cause.

Couldn’t make it to the opening reception and want to bid in person? There will be a closing reception on 26 March 2011, with poetry reading and auction.

October 25, 2010

And the Giants win. On to the World Series.

Filed under: life,sports — Tags: , , , — Towse @ 5:17 pm

Saturday night we were at the annual fundraiser for the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, which is on Filbert, next to Saints Peter and Paul. The fundraiser is actually in the basement of Saints Peter and Paul.

Deal is, you buy a raffle ticket for a chunk of change when you get the party invite in the mail. On the evening of, the raffle ticket gets two of you into the fundraiser where you have congenial companions, open bar before dinner and throughout, buffet dinner (with shrimp, raw oysters, multiple salads, pastas, the whole works, including guys carving roast beef). Followed by the need-not-be-present-to-win raffle and then live music. All for a good cause — making sure the Club has enough funds to serve all the kids who attend, who pay a membership fee of only $10/year.

Saturday night was rainy. The Giants were in the playoffs. The turnout for all that was robust. Must’ve been the Disco theme!

We were there, of course, primarily because the guy who runs the Club is married to someone I know from grade school days. We were seated at the Scoma table w/ Ms Scoma and another person we’d met at previous SBGC fundraisers, others. Then we were moved over to the Gumina table, where my grade school friend held sway. Then we moved back to the Scoma table because the Gumina table was overbooked and two more people showed up, wanting to sit there. Two of the Copp godchildren, with their spouses, showed up late and joined us at the Scoma table. Finding parking had been a problem. It’s all family and friends, interesting people, and we land wherever we land.

The raffle was over (twenty prizes, ranging from tickets for Beach Blanket Babylon and dinner beforehand to an all-expenses-paid African safari or $15K cash).

We didn’t win. :-(

Live music. Disco theme, did I mention? The attention of the crowd, though, was on the ballpark, over the hill and down the Embarcadero. The score, which had been 2-0 Phillies earlier in the evening, was now tied at 2-2. Sure there were dancers on the floor, but there was a growing crowd clustered around the TV that someone had found and set up at the back of the hall.

Eighth inning. Cheers erupted as Juan Uribe hit a home run, putting the Giants ahead 3-2.

The band tried to lure back their crowd by playing a song that Tony Bennett sings on occasion. Didn’t work. Ninth inning. Giants don’t score. Bottom of the ninth. Brian Wilson pitching. One out. Two. The dance floor was practically empty as the inning progressed. The band finally just stopped playing. They’d lost their audience with the score 3-2, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two Phillies on base. Could the Giants’ Wilson make that third out and clinch the game?

He could!

And the crowd cheered. And the band began playing again as their audience drifted back to the dance floor.

May 29, 2009

The continuing saga of North Beach Library

Filed under: libraries — Tags: , , — Towse @ 8:14 pm

[prior screeds]

Had a heads-up from Friends of Joe DiMaggio Playground mid-May:

Dear Friends of Joe D:

The next step toward civic improvement in North Beach is to say:

“Yes, I support the Library Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission in unanimously approving the North Beach Library / Joe DiMaggio Playground Master Plan, including the relocation of the North Beach Library to 701 Lombard Street, including the closure and greening of Mason Street. Completing this project will provide a much needed new library, greater green space, and improved parkland that is more accessible to all North Beach residents!”

Please show your support for the new library and future playground improvements by writing to:

Bill Wycko, Environmental Review
Officer, San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400,
San Francisco, CA 94103


With clicks and links to this and that. …

So, I wrote a letter. Sent it off a bit after noon today with a copy to David Chiu (President, Board of Supervisors, and also our very own District 3 Supervisor) and Luis Herrera (City Librarian).

I’d talked with David Chiu at the SPUR Urban Center opening event yesterday afternoon and told him to expect a copy of what I was sending to the City.

Mr. Wycko,

A note from Friends of Joe DiMaggio Playground (FJDiMP) asked me to send you a note beginning, “Yes, I support the Library Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission in unanimously approving the North Beach Library / Joe DiMaggio Playground Master Plan, including the relocation of the North Beach Library to 701 Lombard Street, including the closure and greening of Mason Street.”

Although I am a member of the Friends group, I support neither the placement of the new library at 701 Lombard nor the closure of the segment of Mason Street that’s being asked for to facilitate the 701 Lombard location.

My concerns:

1) re closing Mason
I have suggested in the past, and continue to suggest: (from e-mail to SFPL Commission, dated 28 Aug 2008) “The City should temporarily close the [Mason] street segment for [at least] a month and see what =really= happens to the traffic patterns. Such closure would ease the minds of the neighbors, if the traffic patterns flow as the models suggest, but could put the kibosh on the idea of closing Mason if the traffic patterns change as neighbors anticipate.

“While the K-rails blocking Mason are up, label them:

Temporary closure of Mason.
Permanent closure is proposed as part of
plans to build the new North Beach Library
on the Triangle.

“In addition to the temporary closure and signage, story poles need to be erected on the Triangle, showing the outline of the new library so that neighbors can see the impact of putting the library there.”

There is considerable controversy over what effect closing Mason would have. A temporary closure would help address those issues.

2) re placing the North Beach Library on the Triangle
Luis Herrera (in an e-mail 03-Sep-2008) stated, the Triangle location, “meets our service program requirements, including additional book and materials capacity of up to 15%.”

“up to 15%” in collection expansion? The North Beach library collection has been undersized for decades. “up to 15%” expansion is far less than the community needs or expects from a new library.

Currently the NBE circulation stats show ~ 6.4 turns per collection item per year. (Circ: 250K Collection: 39K items) That figure is 26% higher than the branch library =average= for SFPL, which shows 5.08 turns/item/year. (Branch circ: 6116K Branch collection: 1203K)

Currently the NBE circulation stats show 9.26 checkouts/capita/yr. (Circ: 250K Popn served: 27K) The City’s average for all branches is 7.42/capita/yr. (Circ: 6116K Popn served: 824K) The State’s average for public libraries is 5.78/capita/yr.

The North Beach library and its collection are heavily used. A potential incremental 10-15% collection growth over the life of the building is not enough from the get-go.

My major issue with the Triangle location is that if we ever need/want to expand the library, there will be NOWHERE to expand. Any further expansion beyond what is already planned (onto Mason, assuming Mason can be closed in part to make way for the new library) will be impossible without rerouting all utilities that currently run underneath that segment of Mason. Hardscape and landscape are suitable on top of a closed Mason, but structures cannot cover the utilities because of access issues.

While you are considering the impacts of closing Mason, could you also investigate the costs (financial and environmental) of re-routing the utilities under Mason when the library needs to expand onto that area in the future? Is re-routing even possible?

3) re alternatives to the Triangle and closing Mason. Environmental impacts?
I asked Luis Herrera in an e-mail dated 03-Sep-2008: “Was any thought given to blocking Greenwich at Columbus for added space for expansion? Blocking Greenwich would raise far less outcry than blocking Mason as there is an island in the middle of Columbus at that point preventing Greenwich-west drivers from turning left onto Columbus or proceeding through onto the western end of Greenwich, and vice versa.

“The last garage access off Greenwich between Powell and Columbus is at ~735 Greenwich, which leaves a major chunk of that roadway with no current requirement for vehicle traffic access. Are there issues with what lies under Greenwich similar to the issues with Mason?”

Luis Herrera replied, “The closure of Greenwich at Columbus was not discussed as that location would also provide for the proposed size to the programmatic needs.”

As part of the environmental impacts investigation, the City should investigate the environmental impact of closing Greenwich as an alternative to closing Mason. The new library could be placed where the tot lot currently is and expand onto Greenwich as far as any underground utility issues allow. This would address some of the issues that some FJDiMP members have regarding loss of a tennis court and location of the tot lot. The tot lot would be relocated elsewhere, perhaps to where the library currently is, adjacent to the bocce courts.

Which road closure (Greenwich or Mason) has less impact?

Thank you for your time.

February 2, 2009

Citizen Chain, North Beach

Filed under: photographs — Tags: , — Towse @ 7:20 am


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Citizen Chain on the corner of Powell and Chestnut

January 15, 2009

This day in history. January 14, 1954

Filed under: history,people — Tags: , — Towse @ 12:27 am

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio married at San Francisco’s City Hall and returned to North Beach for wedding photographs on the steps of Sts. Peter & Paul Church.

They could not be married in the church because DiMaggio was considered still married by the Roman Catholic church, which did not recognize his civil divorce from his first wife.

The DiMaggio-Monroe marriage lasted nine months.

Today you can see a photo of DiMaggio and first wife Dorothy Arnold displayed inside the church, but there can be seen no hide nor hair, no mention of the civil divorce nor of Monroe.

December 27, 2008

A philosophy of life

Filed under: life,shopshopshop — Tags: , , — Towse @ 2:49 am

Had a nice long, ranging chat with Hermon Baker when I stopped in at Yone Beads on Union on my way back from the library and further places afield. (Complete list of stops and purchases on the day after Christmas: Cost Plus: nothing. Even at 75% off there was nothing there I needed, but seems I needed a couple small, blank canvases and a sketchbook (all on sale — total price <$10) at Artist & Craftsman Supply on Columbus.)

Baker and I talked about life and warm beds, the weather and the tiger sculpture that’s allegedly over on the Greenwich Steps. I need to go over and see if I can find it. One of his earlier customers hadn’t been able to. We wondered whether it had already been removed.

We talked about the year ending and his negative view of “top ten” lists for the year. Life is not a competition, he said. We shouldn’t be ranking this or that as on or off the top ten list for the year. Winners or losers. Top ten or not. Don’t.

I left the shop with two beautiful beads I will find some use for and something to think about.

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