Winter Comes to San Francisco


Show at AT&T Park previews winter thrills

I’M SURROUNDED by snow as you read this — right here in San Francisco. I’m at Icer Air 2006, a pre-season ski event at AT&T Park. The same folks who blew snow down the streets of San Francisco last year have trucked in more than 200 tons of snow for this event, which features the top 20 skiers and snowboarders in the world. All I can say after watching the action is “Bring on winter!”

GREAT NIGHT OUT: I popped into a cool San Francisco club the other night and found it was owned by Montclair dad Ben Doren. Levende Lounge, at the corner of Mission and Duboce, is Doren’s first bar and restaurant and evolved out of his niche for hosting big parties and events.

“Entertainment was a big part,” he says, “but then we hired a chef.”

The food, I can tell you, is fantastic. And on Sundays they even have a “Boogie Brunch” with breakfast, Bloody Mary bar and a live DJ. Doren says he wants to open a second bar and restaurant in Oakland.

“I’ve got the liquor license and it’s good for 90 days,” he says, so he has to look fast. I’m hoping he’ll take a look at the Montclair Women’s Club building, which is on the market and crying out for a high-class entertainment venue.

Speaking of a great time out, Marlo Thomas is starring in a tasty collection of one-act plays at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre in Fort Mason Center. As a young girl, Thomas made such an impression on me with “That Girl” that I had to see her in “Moving Right Along.” She didn’t disappoint, with a poignant portrayal of a wealthy woman whose privileged life had stunted her emotional maturity. And while Thomas was brilliant, she didn’t overshadow the other talent.

Mark Rydell played a dark yet comedic role as a desperate writer in the first short play, “Killing Trotsky.” All in all, “Moving Right Along” is a fitting way for the Magic Theatre to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

E-MAIL BAG: Hills homeowner Chris Cariffe says he was amused by last week’s reader’s comment linking Montclair’s aging sidewalks to a lack of taxpayer money.

“Especially after opening up my $10K, 2006-2007 property tax statement,” he writes. “I don’t see that Alameda County can be operating on a ‘shoestring’ if they are getting this from the residents every year.”

FAREWELL TOAST: Brian Goehry would like to say “thank you” to his former customers at Montclair Wine and Spirits. As the manager for more than 10 years, he says he developed quite a bond with folks in the village, and he hopes to open his own wine shop someday in Oakland.

Meanwhile, Brian will sip on selections from his own cellar and enjoy some well-deserved time off.

ANIMAL TALES: My driveway seems to see more than just cars these days. Two weeks ago, I spotted a one-antlered deer coming up the path. Just yesterday it was a fox — a small brown critter that looked more like a dingo. Neither animal is as exotic, though, as the menagerie reported by reader Laura Thomas, whose plumber not only keeps snakes in his house but a miniature alligator. I wouldn’t want to see one of those on my driveway.


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