Although museums are clearly interested in luring the paying public, you wouldn't know it from the hours they keep. The vast majority are open weekdays only from midmorning to about 6 p.m., the same hours most people are playing wage-slave at some dreary office (not us at the Weekly, of course; we've got foosball and strolling peacocks). And who's going to hit a museum on Saturday when there's laundry to do and hangovers to suffer through?
That's why the Asian Art Museum's "Art After Hours" series is so clever. Every few months for the last two years, the museum has thrown nighttime parties that attract an über-hip Bay Area professional crowd that noshes, tipples, and mingles while perusing the artworks. Like the organizers of 111 Minna's perpetually packed after-work club "Qoöl," Asian Art Museum staffers have discovered that S.F.'s loaded with 30-ish urbanites who want to go out yet can't stay up late on school nights.
This time out the museum celebrates the first anniversary of its new Civic Center digs with "Art After Hours: A Birthday CelebrAsian." World beats DJ Cheb i Sabbah -- best known for his regular Tuesday night dance party at Nickie's BBQ -- spins Middle Eastern and South Asian music while guests check out exhibits on Chinese landscapes and Buddhist art, participate in Asian birthday rituals, and munch on traditional long-life noodles and birthday cake. Grab yourself a slice starting at 7 p.m. at the Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $15-20; call 581-3500 or visit www.asianart.org. -- Joyce Slaton
The perfect match of structure and content: "Documentary Salon" and Journeys With George. The salon, moderated by SF Weekly contributor Michael Fox, is a time to dive into intelligent discussion -- that is, if you're ready to ditch your Mystery Science Theater 3000 style relationship with movies in favor of actual conversation. Tonight, a tempting offering: Alexandra Pelosi's documentary about life on the presidential campaign trail has been lauded for its warmth and honesty, but criticized for its apolitical point of view and boring narration. What will you see? What do you think? Speak up, starting at 7 at the Mechanics' Institute Library, 57 Post (near Market), S.F. Admission is $5-7; call 393-0101 or visit www.milibrary.org. -- Hiya Swanhuyser
Paper Tiger S.F.'s lit hero comes home
There are no doubt those who admire Nicholson Bakerfor his finely tuned prose, imaginative story lines, and crackling dialogue. And Lord knows there's plenty to admire about the output of the man who wrote 1988's twitchy The Mezzanine and the 1992 cybersmut saga Vox. But to us he'll always be the hero who fought tenaciously (and ultimately unsuccessfully) to preserve S.F.'s public library card catalogs, and who created a pet nonprofit project, the American Newspaper Repository, which buys and preserves periodicals that would otherwise be trashed. After penning a passionate defense of hard-copy archives (2001's Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper), the author has returned to fiction with a quirky meditation on everyday minutiae, A Box of Matches. He discusses his life of letters starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second Street), S.F. Admission is free-$15; call 597-6701 or visit www.commonwealthclub.org. -- Joyce Slaton
Getting Fresh Springtime at Ferry Plaza
THURS & SUN 3/25 & 3/28
The first day of spring heralds many things -- insufferably cute kittens, shoe sales at Macy's, neo-pagans frolicking on Ocean Beach. But food geeks have been pining all winter long for spring produce, and even though we will wake up early Saturday mornings to get first crack at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, we don't exactly enjoy it. Luckily, Ferry Plaza's Thursday bazaar starts this week, and it doesn't get rolling till 10 a.m. Now we can ponder the ripe strawberries, buy eggs from Marin's happiest chickens, and get a good night's sleep, too. And if what you're looking for is gorgeous orchids, carnivorous plants, or a few window-box herbs instead of produce, check out the Sunday Garden Market, opening this week as well. Both of them begin at 10 a.m. at Market & Steuart, S.F. Admission is free; call 291-3276 or visit www.cuesa.org. -- Jane Tunks
Book reviewers are often excoriated for their flint-hearted dismissals of other people's work, but it's a safe bet Andrew Greerlikes 'em OK. The icy reserve authors tend to fear in critics is nowhere to be found in the glowing, almost sentimental praise for Greer's The Confessions of Max Tivoli in the New York Times and the Washington Post, to name a couple of admiring publications. Colleagues like Michael Chabon have also extolled the book, the tale of a man who ages backward, set in turn-of-the-century S.F. Greer reads at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room, 100 Larkin (at Grove), S.F. Admission is free; call 557-4400. -- Hiya Swanhuyser