Northside SF  

'Paws for Laughter' benefit a huge success

"Paws for Laughter,” a comedy fundraiser for Rocket Dog Rescue held Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, at Fort Mason’s Southside Theater was a huge success. Not only was the event sold out, we had to turn people away at the door. It was Northside San Francisco’s first foray into fundraisers, and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our volunteers, the comedians who donated their time, and the wonderful businesses that donated items for our raffle.

Perhaps the most coveted prize was the San Francisco 49ers autographed team football. Denise DeBartolo York and I became e-mail buddies through our mutual love of food and dogs. Last year, she invited me to sit in the owners’ suite with the York family and friends during a game with the Arizona Cardinals. I was struck then, as I am now, how down-to-earth Denise is, and what a class organization the Yorks are running.

Another class act, Gary Danko, donated dinner at his eponymous restaurant, which also happens to be one of the most desirable seats in town; likewise, Fleur De Lys, Hubert Keller’s fabulous French eatery, will be providing a special night for some lucky audience members.

Our wonderful advertisers also donated terrific items. Brandy Marts didn’t just give a gift card to one restaurant, she gave gift cards to five: Bobo’s, The Stinking Rose, Calzone’s, The Franciscan, and the Crab House; some folks will be enjoying meals at the Brick Yard and Café Divine. Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel offered a one-night stay by the sea, while Hotel Del Sol gave a two-night and a one-night stay in their charming Marina abode. Alex Feldman of San Francisco Optics will be styling someone in a pair of his cool custom shades; Debbie does Dinner and the Wandering Vet will be offering their services in the comfort of a raffle winner’s home; while others will be able to work out hard at Polk Street Gym and pamper themselves at Descend Salon.

Of course, the event would not have been possible without the creative folks: Northside S.F. and Marina Times art director Sara Brownell created the fabulous ad, poster and program, which featured artwork donated by award-winning painter Mark Ulriksen (he also donated one of his dog prints to our raffle). And there wouldn’t have been a show without topnotch comedians Steven Pearl, Jeff and Josh Applebaum, Max Curry, Coree Spencer, and Sammy Obeid (and a surprise visit from Larry “Bubbles” Brown).

I also want to thank the people behind the scenes: Fort Mason for generously donating the beautiful Southside Theater; Bill Knutson, who writes our “Kitchenless Cook” column and who usually works backstage for the likes of Lady Gaga, set up the green room and ran lights with his stepson, Zach Parker; Copy Factory in Palo Alto donated all of the printing; Simone Alexander and Jill Smith manned the front door; Rocket Dog Rescue volunteers Tammy Hillbrich and Audrey Joseph helped produce the event; Café Divine provided food for the hungry comics; and Iris Rowlee took photographs of the evening, some of which you will see in this month’s “Scene Around.”

None of this would have been possible without Northside S.F.’s own Ed Attanasio, who came up with the idea and followed it through from inception to the night of Jan.15 when he stood on the stage as our master of ceremonies (dressed in a dog suit, much to his wife’s dismay).

The biggest thank you of all goes to those of you who attended to support a great cause, and to Pali Boucher, who has dedicated her life to saving the lives of throwaway dogs. I have one of those myself – a former death row pit bull named Jasmine Blue – and I can say without hesitation that shelter dogs make the most loving and loyal companions in the world.

We raised a lot of money for Rocket Dog Rescue at “Paws for Laughter,” but, like all nonprofits, the group is working with a fraction of the donations they received during better economic times, and with the foreclosure crisis and ever-increasing pet overpopulation, there are more homeless animals than ever. If you are interested in fostering or adopting a dog or making a donation, please call 415-756-8188 or visit

Thank you again to everyone, and we’ll see you next year!

– S. Reynolds

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September 2011 Issue


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