Noe Valley Word Week 2019

Word Week 2019 starts Friday, March 8 with a celebration of International Women’s Day and ends Saturday, March 16 with San Francisco Shakespeare. Here’s the list of all nine events. To RSVP or learn more, go to each event page.

Friday, March 8
International Women’s Day
“Thelma and Louise-Back Behind the Wheel”
Would they still have to drive off a cliff?

Remember this iconic road movie directed by Ridley Scott in 1991 about two friends on a heady weekend trip that turns crazy as they become desperados in a high-speed flight from the law? Would Thelma and Louise have more options today? How far have women come 25 years on? Indeed, have things really changed for women? 7pm, Folio Books San Francisco with San Francisco Chronicle film Ruthe Stein, documentary filmmaker Wendy Slick, law professor Susan Rutberg, and moderator Maxine Einhorn. Free admission.

Saturday, March 9 
Noe Valley Authors Festival

The 5th Noe Valley Authors Festival will feature local authors like best-selling novelist Cara Black, award-winning historian and war correspondent Mary Jo McConahay, children’s book author Emma Smith, poets Susan Dambroff and Eveline Kanes, and memoirist & novelist Ramon Sender. Book exhibits and readings run from 3pm to 5pm, Saturday, March 9 at Umpqua Bank Noe Valley, 3938 24th St. Free admission and free refreshments.
To apply for exhibit space, email

Sunday, March 10 
“Classical Mediterranean Poetry”
Greek, Roman, Hebrew, and New Kingdom Egyptian

Local poets and authors read from Classic Mediterranean poetry on Sunday, March 10, 4pm to 5pm at Olive This Olive That, 304 Vicksburg St., just off 24th St. in Noe Valley. Erika Atkinson reads from Roman poetry, Marylee Mcneal from Greek, Wayne Goodman Hebrew, and San Francisco poet laureate Kim Shuck New Kingdom Egyptian. Readings will be in English, with snippets in the original languages. Free admission and free refreshments.

Monday, March 11
“Ridin’, Ropin’, and Writin’ Western Novels”
Odd Mondays at Word Week

The long history of writing novels about the West ranges from Zane Grey to Louis L’Amour to Bill Vlach, David Watts, and Bill Yenne–the three authors reading at “Ridin’, Ropin’, and Writin’ Western Novels,” the Odd Mondays for March 11, 7pm at Folio Books San Francisco, 3957 24th St. in Noe Valley. Free admission and free refreshments. A book signing follows the discussion.

Tuesday, March 12
“Tangled Paths: True Stories from Latin America”
Nonfiction Night

Join us for an evening with local nonfiction authors Mary Jo McConahay and Chris Feliciano Arnold, spanning World War II to the modern Amazon basin, Tuesday, March 12 in the ground floor meeting room of the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey St., between Castro and Diamond Streets. Moderated by Brandon Brown. Free admission and free wine reception at 6:30pm. The readings and discussion begin at 7pm.

Wednesday, March 13
Small Publishers Night
Manic D, Nomadic, Two Lines, and Why There Are Words presses

At Word Week’s Small Publishers Night, we feature four of the best Bay Area small presses: Manic D Press, Nomadic Press, Two Lines Press, and Why There Are Words Press. Join us at 7pm, Wednesday, March 13, at Umpqua Bank Noe Valley, 3938 24th St., for an exhibition of books from these excellent publishers and readings by a few of their authors. Free admission and free refreshments provided by Umpqua Bank Noe Valley.

Thursday, March 14
“Cara Black Takes Us to Paris”
Tour the 13th Arrondisement with the best-selling mystery author 

Cara Black has set her novels in 18 of the 20 Paris arrondisements, or, en anglais, districts. Her latest book, Murder on the Left Bank, takes place in the 13th Arrondisement, which, as Cara tells it, is not all Left Bank coffee houses and famous bookstores. On Thursday, March 14, Cara takes us on a tour of the 13th in words and photos. The 60-minute tour starts at 7pm at La Boulangerie, 3898 24th St. Admission to the reading is free, but La Boulangerie de San Francisco is staying open late for us, so come early and buy yourself une café and a dessert before we fasten our seatbelts and we’re off to Paris!

Friday, March 15
Word For Word Reads “The Widow Dreams”

Members of the Charter Group of Word for Word, a program of Z Space will present a reading of “The Widow Dreams,” a narrative of transformation, at 7pm on Friday, March 15 at Folio Books San Francisco, 3957 24th St. in Noe Valley. In women’s voices, the piece chronicles the author’s journey through loss, grief, and anger, to the restoration of wholeness, creativity, and new life. The dreams will be read by Sheila Balter and Jeri Lynn Cohen, along with the author, Nancy Selby. Admission is free.

Saturday, March 16
San Francisco Shakespeare
“Did Shakespeare Really Write That?”

William Shakespeare used 31,000 different words, and some had hidden meanings. He also invented over 30 new words now in our vocabulary. Join Word Week 2019 as the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival players act out 400 of his most famous words for us Saturday, March 16 from 1:30pm-2:30pm in the ground floor community room of the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Library, 451 Jersey St. Adults and children are welcome. Free admission.


Garden Tour Thank You



Saturday, May 19th started off windy and a bit chilly but soon enough the sun broke through and the nine gardens showcased at the 13th annual Noe Valley Garden Tour were just spectacular! Flowers, plants, shrubs and trees were in full bloom. And to add to all this loveliness each garden highlighted local artists whose work was beautifully displayed.


There were 225+ attendees this year and many commented that they LOVED the addition of Art in the Gardens. Friends of Noe Valley has decided that this theme deserves a repeat. So for 2019 there will be Art in the Garden - once again.

The Friends of Noe Valley would like to thank everyone who helped make the Garden Tour so successful, and fun, this year.

To begin, a great big thank you goes to the nine amazing hosts who opened up their gardens for this year’s tour. Dorothee Noyon, Michelle Echenique, Jana King, Arete Nicholas, Bonnie McGregor, Terry Baum, Jason and Christy Friedrichs, Heather Solway, and the 30th Street Senior Center you are the best. We LOVE you!

Another group we would like to thank are the artists who made the Garden Tour so special. Hector Saba, Brennan Wenck, SA Kushina, Heather Solway, Jane Wilson, Brion Charles, Michelle Echenique, Henry Sultan, Jenny Badger, Robert Windle, Pickles, Kit Cameron, Sylvie Guillot, and Tachina Rudman-Young we cannot thank you enough! Really. We can’t. 

The Noe Valley Garden Tour absolutely could not happen each year without the generosity of local individuals and businesses. We’d like to especially thank this year’s sponsors who have all participated year after year after year after year. Without a doubt these are the people and businesses who go beyond just working in the neighborhood. They are the people who contribute and show their care for the Noe Valley community. Big hugs all around to our sponsor friends.

  • The Swann Group/The Agency – Lead Sponsor for 2018!
  • BJ Droubi Team
  • Dennis Otto at Compass
  • Dirty Hoe Landscaping
  • Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association
  • Sloat Garden Centers
  • Umpqua Bank
  • Duncan Wheeler at Compass
  • Zephyr Realty
  • Raffle sponsor - Stephanie Johnson Pacific Union Realty
  • Flora Grubb – gift certificate
  • Flowercraft – gift certificate

We’d also like to especially thank Umpqua Bank who not only sponsors the Garden Tour, but also hosts and staffs (at their expense) the lovely Volunteer Party each year. We ️love you Umpqua Bank! Oh yes we do!

And to the dedicated planning committee led by Linda Lockyer with Jana King, Lisa Erdos, Karin Levenberg, Michelle Echenique, Arete Nicholas, and Adrian Bonifacio whose countless hours make the Garden Tour come together each year - besos y abrazos!

We would also like to add a big shout out to the volunteer garden greeters.  Many are past Garden Tour hosts and others have been supporting the tour since its inception.  This group keeps the day running smoothly and we couldn’t do it without their help. You make us so very happy!

Proceeds from the 2018 Garden Tour will be donated to the Noe Valley Association to plant a new 35 gallon gingko tree and to install new plants and soil in the planter boxes along the 24th Street commercial corridor and to the 30th Street Senior Center for new plantings in their garden.

Finally, if you have a garden that you would like to be considered for the 2019 Garden Tour,
OR if you are an artist and would like to participate,
OR if you would like to help plan the 2019 Garden Tour,
OR if you would like to be a sponsor for the Garden Tour,
please email your contact information to:

Noe Valley Garden Tour



 Come one! Come all!
Tell a friend! Bring a friend!

Nine spectacular gardens are featured on the 2018 Noe Valley Garden Tour to be held on Saturday, May 19th from 10am to 4pm. The theme for the 2018 Garden Tour is Art in the Garden. Besides visiting nine gorgeous Noe Valley garden gems the tour will also showcase the talents of neighborhood artists!

  • On the tour is a Mediterranean “tropical” garden with many varieties of tropical and drought tolerant trees, shrubs and bromeliads complete with beautiful sculptural elements. Artist Sylvie Guillot will showcase her figurative, still life and portrait drawings.
  • In a 100+ year old garden established in 1900, with only three owners over time, you will find a three tiered fountain, hidden spaces, niches and statuary. This sacred space supports the practice of meditation, prayer and quiet reflection. Tachina Rudman-Young and Brion Charles will display their sculptures and paintings.
  • A lush vertical living wall is the highlight in a contemporary, family friendly garden. The photography of of Brennan Wenck and the pastel art of S.A. Kushinka will be on exhibit in this garden.
  • You will be delighted at a whimsical, designer created, entertaining garden that is both tropical and cosy. In this garden Jane Willson’s woodblock prints and acrylic drawings can be found.
  • The On Lok/30th Street Senior Center, a hidden gem in Noe Valley, showcases a spacious garden bursting with color and surprises. You will find redwood, olive and fruit trees along with vegetable beds and bee hives. Local artists Jenny Badger Sultan and Henry Sultan will be exhibiting their paintings.
  • A striking front garden is a sneak preview for the exotics you find flourishing in a backyard garden that leads to a koi pond. Here you can view figurative drawings by two artists – Pickles and Robert Windle.
  • A light and open entertaining garden features “found object” sculptures along with rare established trees. Michelle Echenique will display her mixed media art in this garden where she is also the head gardener!
  • A large established garden, perfect for entertaining, has meandering pathways, secluded sitting areas and great horticultural variety. The assemblage art of Hector Sabates will be shown throughout.
  • A thriving vegetable garden is accented with established roses, grapevines and native plants in a lovely sunlit cottage garden. You can also see an example of a rainwater collection system here.  Heather Solway, head gardener and artist, will be exhibiting her watercolor drawings.

In addition to viewing the nine gardens, Suzanne Bontempo of Our Water Our World will give a talk about natural pest controls that help keep our water system cleaner and safer. These practices work to create a healthy, beautiful, vibrant yard while conserving water, reducing yard waste, and preventing pollution of our air and local rivers. Suzanne’s program will be held at the On Lok/30th Street Senior Center.

Tickets will be sold at the Farmers Market in the Town Square on Saturdays May 5th, May 12th and on the day of the tour May 19th. You may also purchase tickets on 24th Street at Folio Books, Just for Fun, and Umpqua Bank.  Olive This, Olive That on Vicksburg Street and Omnivore Books on Cesar Chavez at Church will have tickets for sale. Tickets can also be purchased right here online! Prices remain the same at $18 for adults and $15 for seniors 65+. Children under 12 are free.

If you are feeling lucky, raffle tickets will be sold for a garden make over in conjunction with the Garden Tour. The GRAND prize is a $300 gift certificate to Sloat Garden Center and four hours of labor in your garden. Two additional prizes are $50 gift certificates to Flora Grubb. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the same locations as Garden Tour tickets and at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Tickets are 1 for $5, 3 for $10 and 10 for $20.

The proceeds from the garden tour will be returned to the community through a donation to a beautification project in the neighborhood. The Friends of Noe Valley would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals and businesses for their sponsorship and continued support for this wonderful Noe Valley event. We could not do it without their generosity!

The Swann Group/The Agency – Lead Sponsor
BJ Droubi Team
Umpqua Bank
Sloat Garden Centers
Zephyr Realty
Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association
Dennis Otto
Duncan Wheeler
Dirty Hoe Landscaping
Stephanie Johnson/Pacific Union Realty
Flora Grubb




WORD WEEK – March 4 through March 10


Sunday, March 4
Creating Children’s Poetry
12noon-1:30pm, Noe Valley Library, 451 Jersey Street

A short workshop with San Francisco’s 7th poet laureate and Noe Valley resident Kim Shuck. She has worked with young people for over 30 years in San Francisco public schools. In this workshop, Kim is looking for 9/10/11 year olds to write and share short poems and listen to a brief reading of poems by and for younger writers. Free.

Monday, March 5
Obi Kaufmann, The California Field Atlas
7pm-8pm, Folio Books, 3957 24th Street

Artist, poet, and naturalist Obi Kaufmann will present his number one best-selling The California Field Atlas. Obi will present a short lecture and then offer signed copies for sale. Free admission and refreshments.

Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of hand-painted maps and wildlife renderings and based on his decades of walking the backcountry of California, The California Field Atlas is a phenomenal testimony to the natural world of the Golden State and unlike anything that has come before. Full of character and color, The California Field Atlas is quickly becoming a new classic, being hailed as a “gorgeously illustrated compendium” (Sunset Magazine) that “…it will provide you with a greater appreciation for the state’s ecological jewels and landmarks.” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Tuesday, March 6
Queer Words Wayne Goodman in Conversation with Bud Gundy
7pm-8pm, Folio Books, 3957 24th Street

Bud Gundy is a writer, producer, director, on-air host for KQED, and Noe Valley resident. He has won two Emmy Awards. His novel Elf Gift was nominated for an Over the Rainbow Award from the GLBT Round Table of the American Library Association. His latest novel Somewhere Over Lorain Road was released in February 2018. Bud will discuss his new novel and life at KQED, in conversation with Queer Words host Wayne Goodman. Free admission and refreshments.

Wednesday, March 7
Food Literature: International Cuisine
7pm-8:30pm, Olive This Olive That, 304 Vicksburg Street near 24th Street

Local writers Cara Black, Andrew McIntyre, and Anne Raeff read passages from their works that discuss food, cooking, and eating. Hosted by Olive This Olive That, an olive oil and balsamic vinegars boutique. Hear these talented authors discuss their interest in international cuisine and sample some of the shop’s wares. Delicious fun for all! Free admission and refreshments.

Cara Black writes the bestselling Aimee Leduc mystery series, with 16 books and counting. She is a Noe Valley resident. She’ll be reading about French cuisine. Andrew McIntyre writes short stories, has had several published in literary magazines, and is the author of one collection, The Short, the Tall, and the Long. Portuguese cooking will be his subject at this event. Anne Raeff’s short story collection The Jungle Around Us won the Flannery O’Connor Award. Her just-published second novel is Winter Kept Us Warm. She’ll be reading about Moroccan cuisine.

Thursday, March 8
Language & Power: Celebrating International Women’s Day
7pm-8pm, Folio Books, 3957 24th Street 

Our celebration will be led by three powerful women reading from their work and talking about how their writing has empowered them through language used in new and different ways. Thursday, March 8at . Book signing after the readings. Free admission.

Natasha Dennerstein is the author of Anatomize (2015) Triptych Caliform (2016), edgy novella in verse About a Girl, and a chapbook Seahorse (both 2017). Cassandra Dallett, poet and memoir writer, is author of Wet Reckless (2014), Raw (2015), and five chapbooks. Her full-length collection, Collapse, will be published this year. Kim Shuck, current poet laureate of San Francisco and Noe Valley resident, has published two collections of poetry, one chapbook, one collection of prose poems and is working on a collection of poems to be published in 2019.

Friday, March 9
Memoir & Prosecco
7pm-8:30pm, 4175 24th Street

Memoirs are hot right now! At Memoir & Prosecco, local authors of different types of memoir will read from their work. Following the readings, moderator Mary Jo McConahay will lead the authors in a discussion of writing memoir, the why and the how. Mary Jo is a Noe Valley resident, a college instructor of memoir, and an award-winning memoirist herself. Prosecco will be liberally served. Free admission and refreshments. Books for sale and signing.

Erika Atkinson is the author of five books: the memoirs Happily Lost in Time And Place, Frozen Stillness: A Journey to Antarctica, More Miles and Moments, and Ode to the Castro and Exhort the Goddesses, a poetry collection. Tsun Yuan Chen was born in Mainland China and studied in Taiwan and Tokyo before arriving at these shores. He says his book Along Alien Roads is an “autobiographical novel” because he had to imagine some of the scenes when describing his parents’ life before he was born. Linda Joy Myers’s two prizewinning memoirs are Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains. She is also the author of The Power of Memoir and Journey of Memoir and teaches the intensive “Write Your Memoir in Six Months.” Ramon Sender Barayon was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1934. He is the author of Being of the Sun, the novel Zero Weather and memoirs A Death in Zamora and Home Free Home. Ramon is a Noe Valley resident.

Saturday, March 10 - Two events!
•Noe Valley Authors Festival - Book exhibits & readings
1pm-5pm, 4175 24th Street

Local authors exhibit their books for sale and signing. Readings by some of the authors exhibiting occur at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm. Free admission. A glass of Prosecco or Pellegrino with every purchase! Free admission.

•Therapy Animals Can Change Lives!
4pm-5pm, Umpqua Bank, 3938 24th Street

You often think of the SPCA as a place for animal rescue, however did you know they have one of the largest animal therapy programs in the World. With the help of 300 local volunteers, San Francisco SPCA therapy animals touch the lives of such diverse groups as returning veterans with PTSD to children having challenges with reading. Each year over 100,000 members of our community benefit from animal therapy, which includes specially trained dogs and even a pig! Join us as Dr. Jennifer Henley, Manager, San Francisco SPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Program, shares her insight on the Human-Animal bond. Free admission and refreshments.

Garden Tour Thank You

The weather was spectacular and the gardens were lush on Saturday, June 3rd for the 12th annual Noe Valley Garden Tour! Turnout was fabulous! More than 200 people visited the nine beautiful neighborhood gardens. While viewing the gardens, many visitors were inspired to create their own eye catching landscapes. To help them in this endeavor raffle tickets for a garden make over, donated by Noe Valley neighbor Stephanie Johnson of Pacific Union Realty, and several gift certificates donated by Flora Grubb Gardens were enthusiastically purchased by garden guests. This year a donation will be made to the Noe Valley Town Square for additional greenery and moveable planters.

The Friends of Noe Valley would like to thank all of the homeowners who graciously opened their gardens to guests this year. WELL DONE!

We want to thank the merchants who, year after year, volunteer to sell tickets to the Garden Tour. BRAVO!

  • Cliché Noe Gifts+Home,
  • Folio Books,
  • Olive This, Olive That
  • Omnivore Books
  • Just For Fun

We would also like to thank the many volunteers who manned the tables and welcomed visitors to the gardens. TAKE A BOW!

And finally, we absolutely could NOT have done it without the generous support of these big-hearted Noe Valley friends and businesses! A MILLION THANKS!

  • The Swann Group – Lead Sponsor 2017
  • BJ Droubi Team
  • Cliché Noe Gifts+Home
  • Dennis Otto, at Compass
  • Dirty Hoe Landscaping
  • Flora Grubb
  • McGuire Real Estate
  • Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association
  • Regent Thai
  • Sloat Garden Centers
  • Stephanie Johnson Pacific Union Realty
  • Umpqua Bank
  • Urban Farmer Store
  • Valley Tavern
  • Zephyr Realty

When you are out and about in the neighborhood, please stop by and thank these folks for helping to keep Noe Valley Great! and GREEN!

PS – If you have a garden, or know of a garden, that you would like to nominate for the 2018 Garden Tour, OR if you would like to get involved in the planning of the 2018 Garden Tour, OR if you have some good ideas or suggestions for the 2018 Garden Tour, do not hesitate. Email right away! We are waiting to hear from you.

2017 Garden Tour


Tour de Fleur is the theme for the 2017 Noe Valley Garden Tour. After much needed winter rains, the 9 gardens on the 2017 Garden Tour are bursting with greenery. Trees, plants, shrubs and flowers are thriving with vibrant colors and lush foliage. You will be amazed at what a bit of water has done for gardens this year. Come be inspired!

The tour will be held on Saturday, June 3rd from 10am to 4pm and nine gardens will be on view. Ticket prices remain the same at $18 for adults and $15 for seniors 62+. Children under 12 are free. Tickets are being sold on 24th Street at Cliché Noe Gifts+HomeJust for Fun and Folio BooksOlive This, Olive That on Vicksburg Street and Omnivore Books on 27th at Church. Tickets will be sold at the Farmer’s Market in the Town Square on Saturdays May 20th, May 27th and on the day of the tour June 3rd. You may also purchase tickets on line right here.

Gardens this year include the 30th Street Senior Center where you will find one of Noe Valley’s hidden gems. This spacious garden is bursting with color and multiple surprises such as redwoods, olives, and fruit trees, vegetable beds, bee hives and a large entertaining patio. Three rooftop gardens are featured this year – a beautiful Mediterranean rooftop garden, a backyard with a modern contemporary rooftop garden and a well engineered and designed garden where obstacles were overcome to create a perfect rooftop for entertaining, bbq-ing or just relaxing. A fabulous pet friendly garden showcases a well appointed garden perfect for humans and their furry friends. Pets have room to run while their humans enjoy a lovely green oasis. Spectacular views over Noe Valley can be seen at a well established, beautifully landscaped garden filled with giant maples, and multiple entertaining areas. In a Malaysian style garden you will step into a green retreat created from rescued palms where calmness and relaxation dominate. You are sure to be enchanted in one lovely garden space where you will find a sunny front yard oasis and a shady backyard retreat. Come and be inspired by camellias, bromeliads, roses, ferns, wisteria, and numerous sculptural elements.

Returning this year is Suzanne Bontempo, of Our Water Our World, who will share her expertise in a talk about How to Grow a Beneficial Garden for Pollinators. You can hear Suzanne at the 30th Street Senior Center at 11am and 12:30pm.  Come learn and please bring your questions!

Raffle tickets will be sold for a garden make over in conjunction with the Garden Tour. Once again Stephanie Johnson of Pacific Union Realty has donated a $300 gift certificate to Sloat Garden Center and four hours of labor in your garden as a grand prize. Two additional prizes are $50 gift certificates to Flora Grubb. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the same locations as the Garden Tour tickets and at the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

If you would like to volunteer as a Garden Greeter, please email Shifts are two hours and Garden Greeters will receive a free ticket to the tour and a volunteer party on Wednesday, May 31st.

The proceeds from the garden tour will be returned to the community through a donation to a beautification project in the neighborhood. The Friends of Noe Valley would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals and businesses for their sponsorship and continued support for this wonderful Noe Valley event. We could not do it without their generosity!

  • The Swann Group – Lead Sponsor 2017
  • BJ Droubi Team
  • Umpqua Bank
  • Sloat Garden Centers
  • Zephyr Realty
  • Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association
  • Cliché Noe Gifts+Home
  • Dirty Hoe Landscaping
  • Urban Farmer Store
  • Valley Tavern
  • McGuire Real Estate
  • Stephanie Johnson Pacific Union Realty
  • Flora Grubb
  • Regent Thai
  • Dennis Otto, at Compass