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The third collection features interviews with North Beach/Telegraph Hill residents who help form the neighborhood’s vibrant, creative and close-knit character. These interviews were recorded by John Doxey, manager of THD’s Oral History Program, and feature video as well as audio recordings. John recorded the first six interviews for this collection in 2022, of which two are now fully transcribed and available online. More interviews are planned for this collection.

Individual Histories

Hearne
Dennis
Dennis is an acclaimed photographer whose work is represented in many museum collections. He was raised in New Hampshire and moved to San Francisco in 1965 to study painting at the Art Institute, but soon found himself drawn to photography. Dennis continues to spend much of his time in North Beach – usually with a camera at the ready – and often shoots at night around North Beach and Chinatown and at music venues. He is also well-known for campaign images he’s taken of Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi and other politicians. Dennis shares a studio at 480 Francisco Street with his wife, artist Magué Calanche.
Handleman
Ed
Born in 1933, Ed is an artist and long-time North Beach resident. He was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where he and his two older brothers grew up in a housing project and learned to be tough guys. After Army service in Korea, Ed enrolled in the University of Omaha’s art program in 1955, and later transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute to study painting. He’s lived in San Francisco ever since, and worked as a cook at the Old Spaghetti Factory, among other jobs, to support his painting career. Ed has lived in the same Grant Avenue apartment since 1970, which he now shares with his wife and fellow artist Peggy Huff.
Pisciotta
Rita
Born in 1942, Rita grew up in North Beach when nearly everything about the neighborhood was Italian. Her parents, immigrants from Calabria, turned an empty lot next to their house into a farm, where they raised vegetables and poultry. Like most people in the neighborhood, she was a regular at Saints Peter and Paul Church, and she attended Catholic schools before starting a 50-year career as a nurse. Rita and husband Blaine Ellis have a son, and in 1984 they moved into the same house at 2048 Stockton Street where Rita was raised. Rita and Blaine now divide their time between San Francisco and New Mexico, where they built a home. When in North Beach, they enjoy spending time with friends from the neighborhood.
McGurrin
Flicka
Born and raised in San Francisco, Flicka owns Pier 23, an iconic waterfront cafe and music venue on the Embarcadero, and Sweetie’s Art Bar at 475 Francisco Street, a neighborhood favorite. She is an accomplished painter who studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, and she enjoys open water swimming, singing and playing conga drums. Her three adult children, Meighan, McGurrin and Lelogoa, manage Pier 23 these days, while Flicka spends much of her time at Sweetie’s and in her painting studio. Flicka maintains an adventurous spirit and a firm commitment to North Beach.
Huff
Peggy
Peggy is a North Beach Artist.
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