Watching the British version of Antiques Roadshow always makes me feel like a greenhorn. The U.S. Roadshow has oil paintings from the 19th century, aluminum toys from the '50s, maybe the odd silver-plated something from the old country. But on the U.K. program it's fairly common to see thousand-year-old artifacts. Don't get too cocky though, limeys, because the two millennia of creative works at the San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show could have you identifying with us hayseed Yanks. Intricate ancient jewelry and erotic paintings from India; resplendent kimonos, woodblock prints, and vintage netsuke from Japan; Chinese furniture, porcelain, and cloisonné; and Indonesian religious objects are all on display, with special exhibitions of modern Japanese ceramics, sacred Tibetan and Nepalese conch shells, and Buddhist artworks.
Get a whirlwind summation of the collections with walking tours conducted by Asian art expert Don Buhman, or just check out the eye candy on your own as a self-guided tourist. The show runs Friday through Sunday, with walking tours available Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m., at Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Show admission is $12, and walking tours are $18-25; call 379-8805 or visit www.caskeylees.com.
-- Joyce Slaton
The Dot Org
For those about to Craig
Craig Newmark -- hero, visionary, smart guy. What did we do before he came along? Anyone looking for a job, a home, a dog, or love sweet love begins his search on one of the rare worthwhile sites on the Internet, www.craigslist.org. Dating from the early days of the Web, this community bulletin board has an easy-to-navigate design, fair but strict content guidelines, and a complete lack of advertising that have made it the indispensable tool it is today. Newmark speaks at "The Craigslist Phenomenon: A Unique Online Community," a rare chance to see and hear the site's somewhat elusive founder, chairman, and customer service representative. A lot of things about the dot-com boom went wrong; learn more about something that went right. The lecture begins at 12:45 p.m. at the Carnelian Room, 55 California (at Drumm), S.F. Admission is $35, and reservations are required; call 422-6431.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A post-Beat, pre-hippie S.F. novel
Digging into the year 1964 must be satisfying, since the parallels between then and now are many: a Texan president, a war a lot of people can't get behind, a thriving cultural scene. Author Bill Pieperdid just that for his latest novel, Fool Me Once, set in San Francisco in that post-Beat, pre-hippie era. He concentrated his research on North Beach, a microcosm of the city's mood at the time. Pieper shares his findings and reads from the novel at "Fact, Fiction, and Mid-20th Century North Beach History," beginning at 7 p.m. at the North Beach Branch Library, 2000 Mason (at Columbus), S.F. Admission is free; call 274-0270 or visit www.sfpl.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Opening the Vault
Just over the Bay Bridge lies a historian's treasure trove containing Mark Twain's papers, Donner Party records, original Joan Didion manuscripts, and much more -- yet most people don't even know it exists. Learn about this magnificent archive at "The Bancroft Library: Past, Present, and Future," a lecture starting at 6 p.m. at the Society of California Pioneers, 300 Fourth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is free; call 957-1849 or visit www.californiapioneers.org.
-- Joyce Slaton