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News Briefs: Castro bookstore shares in city grant

by Cynthia Laird

Dog Eared Books, with locations in the Castro and Mission, received a share of a city grant to help bookstores. Photo: Courtesy Dog Eared Books
Dog Eared Books, with locations in the Castro and Mission, received a share of a city grant to help bookstores. Photo: Courtesy Dog Eared Books  

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development announced that 11 local bookstores will share a $103,000 grant to preserve and enhance their businesses.

Lesbian-owned Dog Eared Books, which has locations in the Castro and Mission districts, received a portion of the grant for each business.

Others included Comix Experience, Bolerium Books, Mission: Comics and Art, Adobe Books and Arts Cooperative, Alley Cat Books and Gallery, East Wind Bookstore, Just a Touch Christian Bookstore, Green Apple Books, and Stevens Books.

"Neighborhood bookstores are essential components of San Francisco's character, culture, and history," Joaquin Torres, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said in a news release. "This program supports these impactful small businesses that bring charm and vitality to our neighborhoods, foster curiosity, cultivate individual thought, encourage the exchange of ideas, and provide a space where adults and children can curl up with a great book."

The office pointed out that in addition to pressure from rising rents, bookstores face stiff competition from big box and online retailers. In order to remain competitive, small businesses must innovate to grow their customer base and sales, the release stated.

The Bookstore SF program will fund the revitalizations of bookstores to help them become welcoming spaces where people can attend an event or workshop, hear staff recommendations, or just relax and read.

The grants will also allow the stores to grow their book of the month membership programs and redesign their websites to increase e-commerce revenue streams, according to the release. As part of the program, bookstores receive a variety of services, including technical assistance on marketing, financial assistance, human resources and management consulting, and real estate and broker services such as long-term lease negotiation.

"Bookstores are more than just retailers," Green Apple owner Pete Mulvihill said in the release. "The passionate book-lovers and thousands of books help open worlds, create connections, allow discovery, start conversations, and act as a 'third place' for members of our community."

The Bookstore SF Program is part of the Small Business Resiliency Fund, which is led by the economic and workforce development department in partnership with the Small Business Development Center and Working Solutions.

Shanti online auction live after gala cancellation
Shanti leaders were caught off-guard by the recent hotel workers strike against several Marriott-owned properties, including the Palace Hotel, where the agency was to have held its gala earlier this month. In solidarity with the workers, Shanti canceled the benefit and is now holding an online auction to help raise money.

The gala is Shanti's biggest fundraiser of the year. District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, who was to have received an award at the event, instead asked her friends and supporters to make a donation to Shanti, which offers practical support services to people living with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Kim made a $250 donation, she wrote in a Facebook post.

Kaushik Roy, Shanti's executive director, wrote in an email announcing the online auction that people can bid until 10 p.m. Sunday, October 28.

Some of the auction items include courtside tickets to a Golden State Warriors game, dining experiences, and Bay Area entertainment.

In addition to the auction, people can make a special Fund-A-Need donation to support Shanti's programs that provide compassionate care to vulnerable San Franciscans who live with life-threatening or disabling diseases.

To check out the online auction, visit

Former B.A.R. reporter needs help due to medical issues
Former Bay Area Reporter Dennis Conkin is facing health challenges and has set up a GoFundMe campaign.

Conkin, 65, now a working artist, wrote in a summary on the site that he has been diagnosed with a rare, genetic eye disease called adult vitelliform dystrophy. He is legally blind in his right eye and losing the vision in his left eye. He is also hard of hearing and wheelchair bound.

Conkin covered crime and other matters for the paper, where he worked in the 1990s.

He is raising money to pay for a pair of prescription glasses and to purchase canvas, acrylic paints, and other critical supplies, and for living expenses.

The glasses, he wrote, will help him see better to navigate and to paint.

"The art supplies will help create a historical record in weekly paintings from inside this truly tragic situation," he wrote.

To donate, visit

Breed, Wiener mix update with pumpkin carving
Mayor London Breed and gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will offer a legislative update and pumpkin carving Saturday, October 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Noe Valley Courts, 24th and Douglass streets.

A flyer stated that there will be youth activities and pumpkin carving at non-taxpayer expense. The event is free.

In an email, Wiener said that celebrity drag queens Mercedez Munro and BeBe Sweetbriar will judge a pumpkin carving contest. Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is also expected to be on hand.

To RSVP or for more information, go to or call Wiener's district office at (415) 557-1300.

SF library's Big Book Sale
The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library will hold its 54th annual Big Book Sale October 31-November 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion.

This year, there is a Halloween twist in that it will be a fun and safe trick-or-treating spot for Bay Area families — Friends' volunteers will provide treats for costume-clad kids on Wednesday and Thursday.

This year's sale will feature 500,000 used books and media. Tables featuring 70 of the most popular subject categories will be stocked with everything from art and architecture to photography and children's books. All items will be priced from $2-$4. On the last day of the sale, Sunday, November 4, everything will be marked down to $1.

All money raised goes toward Friends and its mission to support the public library.

Friends' members can attend a preview October 30, from 4 to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit

DIFFA benefit for Ward 86
Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS will hold its San Francisco benefit Thursday, November 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard Street.

The party will celebrate couture fashion and honor those involved with AIDS care and research. Fashion collections will be presented by Kentaro Kameyama, winner of the 2017 "Project Runway" competition; Nicholas Clements-Lindsey, celebrating his 10-year anniversary as a designer; and Dexter Simmons, a competitor on "Project Runway" and Rihanna's "Styled to Rock."

Trans woman Honey Mahogany will serve as hostess.

DIFFA will honor Dr. Monica Gandhi, medical director at Ward 86, the UCSF HIV clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. A news release noted that Ward 86 remains the largest single provider of HIV care to some 3,000 uninsured patients. The DIFFA event is its sole source of purely discretionary funding.

Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at

Updated, 10/29/18: This news brief was updated to include a change of venue. DIFFA organizers wrote in an email Monday morning that they were moving the event in solidarity with the hotel workers strike at several Marriott-owned properties, which includes the W.

Openhouse Fall Feast coming up
Openhouse, the San Francisco agency that provides services and housing for LGBT seniors, will hold its annual Fall Feast Thursday, November 8, in the Green Room at the San Francisco War Memorial Building, 410 Van Ness Avenue.

The meal will include an autumnal menu from Mollie Stone's, including pumpkin pie for dessert.

There are two seatings — from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and from 4:30 to 6.

Interested people should RSVP and indicate which seating they prefer and the number of guests. The dinner is free but donations are welcome.

For more information and to sign up, email or call (415) 347-8509.

Queer Bay Area woman wins poetry prize
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has announced that a queer Bay Area woman won first place in the adult category in its 2018 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards.

Carla S. Schick received the prize for her poem, "When Birds Migrate, They Follow Nature."

A retired public school teacher, Schick is a social justice activist. She works in her community in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. Schick has been published in the Berkeley Times, Sinister Wisdom, the Peralta Press, Suisun Valley Review, and Word is Bond.

An honorable mention in the adult category went to Madison Trice for her poem "The Family Wore White." Trice is a sophomore at Harvard University and the political action chair for the Association of Black Harvard Women.

For more information on the awards and a complete list of winners, visit

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