August 21: Laugh with Downs and more S.F. events

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Who's in town

Ahn Ho-young, South Korea's ambassador to the United States, speaks in San Francisco. [Noon, World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter St., S.F.]

Lectures

Phil Ginsburg: The general manager of the Recreation and Park Department discusses how The City is ensuring access to open space and training future environmental stewards. [6 p.m., Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, S.F.]

'Corn, Cars and Cows': Speakers discuss whether corn should have a place in the national energy picture and how it affects California's clean-energy goals. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Joseph Myers and Tom Clarke: The Native American community leaders discuss the occupation of Alcatraz and share stories relating to the 1969 event. [6 p.m., California Historical Society, 678 Mission St., S.F.; RSVP: www.californiahistoricalsociety.org]

John Santos: The Latin-jazz percussionist conducts a session in a six-Wednesday “Discover Jazz” series. “The Spirit of the Drum” is the theme. [7 p.m., Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., S.F.]

Literary events

Kathleen Varn: The novelist talks about “Ameera Unveiled.” [7 p.m., Green Apple Books, 506 Clement St., S.F.]

'Smack Dab': The open-mic series, featuring words and music, presents its August edition. Poet and memoirist Neeli Cherkovski is the featured artist. [7:30 to 10 p.m., Magnet, 4122 18th St., S.F.]

Book group: The Central SF Classic Lit Book Club discusses “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury. [6:30 p.m., Books Inc., 2275 Market St., S.F.]

At the colleges

Open house: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which provides learning opportunities for people age 50 and up, hosts an open house focusing on upcoming courses. [3 to 5 p.m. San Francisco State, Downtown Campus, 835 Market St.. S.F.]

At the library

Starting a business: Martha Yanez, from the Office of Small Business, gives a talk titled “How to Start a Business in San Francisco.” [5:30 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room B, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Grace Mattioli: The local author reads from her debut novel, “Olive Branches Don't Grow on Trees” and provides tips for aspiring writers. [6:30 p.m., Anza Branch, 550 37th Ave., S.F.]

Comedy show

Comedian Jason Downs, seen on “Last Comic Standing” and at the San Francisco Sketchfest, performs a show, to be recorded for a live album. [8 p.m., Punch Line Comedy Club, 444 Battery St., S.F.]

Around town

Americana band: The Silent Comedy, a rock and Americana band from San Diego, brings its summer tour to San Francisco. “Friends Divide” is the group's latest EP. [8 p.m., Café Du Nord, 2170 Market St., S.F.]

Mexican artists: “Traces,” an exhibit of works by five emerging Mexican artists who weave indigenous ideologies into their contemporary practice, is on view at Galeria de la Raza. [Noon to 6 p.m., 2857 24th St ., S.F.]

Country singer: Locally based country singer Miko Marks performs a midday concert in Union Square. [12:30 p.m., 333 Post St., S.F.]

Chez Maman: French bistro fare is on the menu. The mussels, served Provencale, Thai, mariniere or poulette-style, and recommended with fries, are highlighted today. Also look for the pork chop, with brussels sprouts and apple-cider mustard sauce. [Chez Maman East: 1453 18th St., S.F., (415) 824-7166; Chez Maman West: 401 Gough St., S.F., (415) 355-9067]

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