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.
Before unthinkably poor politics and preparation let a storm break its levees and tar its shores, before television made it a landfill for unsolicited pity, New Orleans was an incomparable den of iniquity. In pre-Katrina mythology, the city was a place of back-alleys and brassy jazz, a hub of sweltering heat and sexual savoir faire. It was tits on toast. It is of note that Woody Allen has long been living out loud — working to thrust New Orleans and its definitive jazz back into the gutter where it belongs. The auteur's longstanding love of jazz is no secret. He borrowed his stage name from clarinetist Woody Herman, opened his valentine to New York (Manhattan) with flourishes of Gershwin, and, notably, laid down tracks for 1973 dystopian flick, Sleeper. But gone are the days of Allen's overzealous and awkward musical peacocking. The clarinetist finds contentment in the simple cycle of performance and self-crucifixion. Woody Allen & His New Orleans Jazz Band embark on their first multicity tour of California, breaking from a regular gig at New York's Carlyle Hotel. Notable among the lineup is Jerry Zigmont, a trombonist who has played and toured with Allen and the band for a decade and who has 30 years experience in New Orleans style. Tonight's concert is a nostalgic jaunt down early 20th-century NOLA, promising improvisation from a repertoire of 1,200 songs. The grit of New Orleans may have finally been baptized by a cultural force majeure, but for two stolen hours we're allowed to forget our politeness and revel in sleazy sanctity of The Big Easy.
Wed., Dec. 28, 8 p.m., 2011