San Francisco does not have the greatest track record when it comes to presidents. In 1923, President Warren G. Harding, by all accounts something of a jackass, keeled over at the Palace Hotel. In 1975, President Gerald Ford narrowly missed a bullet fired by Sarah Jane Moore in front of the St. Francis Hotel. In 2015, former President Jimmy Carter is visiting Books Inc. to sign copies of his autobiography, A Full Life, so we all need to be on our best behavior, everybody. Do not ask Carter to snap a selfie with you, do not ask him to sign a can of Billy Beer, do not impress him with your Saturday Night Fever dance moves. And Jimmy, maybe avoid The City's luxury hotels.
The former leader of the free world is appearing at 4:30 p.m. at Books Inc., 601 Van Ness Ave., S.F. Free; booksinc.net. More
Webster's dictionary defines neon as "a chemical element with symbol Ne and atomic number 10." And while that's true, there's much more to this rare element than a name and a number. For example, signs. Neon signs represent something in the imagination, particularly in the iconography of the American city. Without these late-night, back-alley beacons, how would we navigate our urban underworld? How would we know where to drink, to catch a late-night sex show, to have our palms read? Neon, lighter than air, occupies a space in San Francisco's urban history, and that's being celebrated with an illustrated talk by Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan, authors of San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons, followed by a screening of The Lady from Shanghai. The 1947 film noir stars Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, and San Francisco's neon-drenched Chinatown.
The lights go on at 6:30 p.m. at the Vogue Theatre, 3290 Sacramento St., S.F. $12-$15; 415-346-2228 or cinemasf.com/vogue. More
The Mexican supermarket is comedian Stephen Furey's Disneyland. The candy is weird, there's a dude selling corn from a cart, the expiration date on the meat just says "mañana" — ¡Es una aventura! The Sacramento comedian does not exactly live large (he once contemplated fighting a dog for a three-legged couch), but he does live funny. Furey, who co-hosts the Belligerently Uninformed podcast with Emma Haney, does observational humor about everyday situations. Well, everyday situations for the kind of guy who enjoys hanging out in McDonald's ball pits. Ask him why!
Stephen Furey performs at 8 p.m. at the Punch Line Comedy Club at 444 Battery St., S.F. $15; punchlinecomedyclub.com. More
Starting a punk band in 1977, in Northern Ireland, right in the middle of one of the most violent and politically fraught periods in the country's history, takes guts, resilience, and just a soupçon of crazy. Continuing to play in that band nearly 40 years later, however, is almost completely insane — or rather it would be if Stiff Little Fingers didn't still have such a huge and dedicated following and such large, still-untapped reserves of rage. The band's 10th album, 2014's righteous and critically acclaimed No Going Back, stands as proof that the Belfast quartet still have plenty to say for themselves. With an energetic live show that isn't afraid to hark back to the band's earliest albums as well, this is sure to be a riot for new- and old-school fans alike.More
5700 Geary Blvd., 415-333-8899
Instant lines greeted the March opening of this new Richmond restaurant from the owners of Koi Palace, Daly City’s perpetually packed dim sum banquet hall.
Embarcadero at Mission, San FranciscoEmbarcaderoCA94105
Call us old-world traditionalists, but we believe New Year's Eve should be about romance. There are packs of people in this big small town who think it's All That to visit the desert around Labor Day, drop acid, and fall in love with a person named Tree Frog who's wearing six sets of goggles and a bikini while witnessing what's known in rural areas as a “control burn.” Sure, sure, that's okay (we guess). Ecstasy is where you find it (or, in this case, buy it). But for our money, there's nothing more romantic than getting dressed to the nines, cracking a bottle of bubbly, embracing the one you love just before midnight on New Year's Eve, and watching fireworks – literal as well as figurative. And what better backdrop than a view of the Ferry Building, the Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline? That's what you get tonight as the Port of San Francisco launches hundreds of explosives into the air at Pier 14 in its New Year's Eve Fireworks show. Organizers estimate that in recent years as many as 150,000 people have shown up to ring in the new year with these pyrotechnics. Restaurants and bars along the Embarcadero are sure to fill up early, but if you're a true romantic, as long as you have your sweetie by your side, it won't matter where you are, just as long as you can see that fire in the sky. Oh, and no need for ecstasy, either.
Sat., Dec. 31, 11:59 p.m., 2011