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As Seen At: Presidio Dialogues Season Opener with Mark Bittner

Monday, Sep 12, 2016 Category History

We’ve just launched the third season of the popular, free cultural programs available at the Presidio Officers’ Club! The Officers' Club features a full slate of stimulating talks every Thursday night through Presidio Dialogues, live music through Presidio Sessions, and other Signature events, including what has become a Bay Area favorite, our annual Halloween Dance​. 

To kick things off, we chatted with guests at the first Presidio Dialogues of the season – a September 8, 2016 talk with Mark Bittner, author of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill and a new book, Street Song, a work in progress.

We asked them, "What brought you here tonight?"

See all upcoming events ​at the Pre​​​sidio Officers’ Club >>

Jeanne a​nd Nick Stathakos

Nick (Oakland): We’re regulars. We’ve been coming to Presidio Officers’ Club programs for two years and try to be here most Thursdays [Presidio Dialogues talks] and Fridays [Presidio Sessions live music]​.

Jeanne (Oakland): We try to come to all of the programs though sometimes we have scheduling conflicts so we don’t attend. But we’ve been here for some of the cooking demonstrations and we’ve come for almost all of the great musical performances at “Presidio Sessions” every Friday.


Louise Vogul and Gloria Chapuis

Louise (Cow Hollow): I’ve seen the wild parrots downtown near the Alcoa building – they were all there one spring eating the blossoms. It was an absolutely incredible scene, so that’s why I’m here tonight – I want to learn more about their history. I also wanted to show my friend the Presidio and the programs offered here. I’m delighted that you have wonderful programs and that they’re free.

Gloria (Cow Hollow): One of the ladies from our women’s club at the senior citizen aquatic park, Marisa, volunteers here. She’s a docent and is always telling us about Presidio Officers’ Club events – she even gave us brochures with event listings. And so several of us ladies wanted to hear what this guy had to say about the parrots.


Milena Simeonova and Berry Lavine 

Berry (Sunset): We’ve come to the Presidio Officers’ Club before and enjoyed the lectures. I checked the calendar and thought this would be very interesting.

Milena (Sunset): I briefly lived in Telegraph Hill and actually met Mark Bittner, and I knew about his movie, his writings, and a little bit of his life story. It was interesting to hear about him in more detail.


Judy Shoolery

Judy (Half Moon Bay): I moved to the Bay Area in 1963 and then I married a man who lived in Berkeley. We used to come to the Presidio Officers’ Club back in seventies – it was still the Army post then. They would sometimes have events that we could attend, and we’d come into this ballroom, make our own music, and dance. I think now this is a very nice use of the space, but sometimes I think back on times in that old ballroom. I’ve loved the Presidio Officers’ Club for many years now, and I’ve continued to enjoy exploring it.


Larissa and Calder (8) Rush; Amy and Lois (6) Miles

Amy (North Beach): We heard about the event from Judy, Mark Bittner’s wife. She’s one of our neighbors – we live in the North Beach/Telegraph Hill area – and we have a children’s theatre company that’s doing a musical about the wild parrots. Judy recommended this talk tonight, so we could hear about the parrots from Mark himself.

Calder (Presidio, Larissa’s son): We live in the Presidio!

Larissa (Presidio):​ We get the Presidio’s residence newsletter and I was planning to send info about this event to Larissa because we’re involved in the FOGG Theatre Company too, which focuses on telling local San Francisco stories. But she already knew about it!