Celebrating 70 years together

The couple operated Stewart's Market at 2498 Sutter.

A taste of the old Fillmore will be on display today at a special celebration being held at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church honoring local residents Norman and Mable Stewart on their 70th anniversary.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments in business and marriage and we want to share it with everyone,” says granddaughter Anassa “Kandee” Stewart, who helped organize a lunch to honor the couple after the Sunday morning service at Jones Memorial. The Stewarts have been members of the church for more than 55 years.

They were married in 1940 in Texarkana, Arkansas, where they ran a grocery, cafe and service station. After they moved to San Francisco, they owned and operated a neighborhood market for more than 30 years. Although they retired in 1976, Stewart’s Market at 2498 Sutter Street still bears their name.

Drama at the Queen Anne

Beginning tonight, Sweet Bird of Youth will be
presented at the Queen Anne Hotel.

It was soon after the new year began that Diane Bailey approached the Queen Anne Hotel on a scouting mission. The veteran actor and director was looking for just the right Victorian hotel in which she could bring to life the classic Tennessee Williams play Sweet Bird of Youth.

As she entered the historic old hotel at Sutter and Octavia, she knew she had found the perfect place. “I walked in and the lobby was so grand — with curtains framing the doorway into the parlor,” she says. “It was just so gorgeous. It looked so authentic to me.”
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A Fillmore rap

The song “What You Finna Do?,” released earlier this month by Fillmore District rapper DaVinci, opens with a vocal sample from the 2001 PBS documentary The Fillmore. It condenses the gentrification process the area underwent from the 1960s into one slogan, lamenting, “Basically, after the urban renewal, it was basically Negro removal.”

As the gloomy beat kicks in, DaVinci starts to rap, eventually coining his update on the situation: “Down the corner of the street used to be the spot/Till they replaced all the liquor stores with coffee shops.”

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Like a kid in a candy store

Fillamento's Iris Fuller, with a pearl-encrusted bunny, in yet another kind of candy store.

There she is, the Queen of Fillamento, with a glue gun in one hand and a bag of jelly beans in the other, a nice Jewish girl making a sign celebrating Easter candy. Iris Fuller is back — not quite in the neighborhood, where she ran the much-beloved Fillamento emporium for two decades, but not far away. She’s lending her retailing magic to a friend who owns Sweet Dish, a candy store at 2144 Chestnut Street in the Marina. And what a sweet dish it is: Candy of all kinds and exquisite chocolates for the connoisseurs, plus Mitchell’s ice cream in the back. This may be worth a trip down the hill.

Stalking the wild manzanita

Soon after the February issue of the New Fillmore hit the streets, with its report on the discovery and delivery of a manzanita plant in the Presidio thought to be extinct, the phone rang.

“There’s another one,” the caller said. “I’ll show you.”
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Sheba: authentically Ethiopian

Sheba is located in the Fillmore Jazz District at 1419 Fillmore.

Since she and her sister opened Sheba Piano Lounge on Fillmore in 2006, Netsanet Alemayehu has created a distinctive ambiance with a sophisticated design, live music and a menu offering authentic Ethiopian dishes.

Much of what makes the food special is the spices — the cardamom, berbere, mitmita and oregano — Alemayehu imports in suitcases with the help of her family in Ethiopia. “It’s the same, only different,” she says of Ethiopian oregano. “It makes a lot of difference in the taste.”

Now Alemayehu has branched out and started selling the spices — and incorporating them into new cocktails and small plates.

“It’s nearly impossible to find a lot of the Ethiopian staple spices in San Francisco,” she says. “People have been asking for them. Since I get so many rare things directly from my family in Addis Ababa, I thought it was a good idea to sell them to the public so it’s easier for home chefs to create Ethiopian dishes.”
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A news project: reinvent journalism

Q & A | ROSE ROLL

R ose Roll, a local resident and occasional contributor to the New Fillmore, is involved in creating the Bay Area News Project — a new nonprofit venture funded by neighborhood philanthropist Warren Hellman that is being heralded by some as a reinvention of journalism.

With The New York Times signing on as a partner, momentum seems to be building for the Bay Area News Project. Can you describe what it is in a nutshell?

The Bay Area News Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan publicly supported news organization. Our mission is to stimulate innovation in journalism, foster civic engagement and fill the gaps in reporting Bay Area civic news at a time when newspapers have had to make severe cuts in their coverage for economic reasons. We’re just getting started, but in time our professional newsroom will generate original, in-depth coverage of Bay Area topics including government and public policy, the arts and cultural affairs, education and the environment, as well as neighborhood news and events. Our primary channel will be online and mobile, but we expect also distribute our news through print (via The New York Times), radio and television. Our goal is to launch in late spring of this year.
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