Celebrated violinist Joshua Bell appears with the San Francisco Symphony

Violin star: Celebrated violinist Joshua Bell appears with the San Francisco Symphony. Music by Glazunov

Violin star: Celebrated violinist Joshua Bell appears with the San Francisco Symphony. Music by Glazunov

Who’s in town

Physicist and “Warped Passages” author Lisa Randall, named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” presents “Fascinating Physics,” an audience-friendly look at the latest ideas in physics and the role of science in our lives. [7 p.m., Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F.]


Susan N. Herman: The American Civil Liberties Union president examines whether national-security policies such as the Patriot Act are constitutional and effective, or just counterproductive. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Michael Brune: The Sierra Club executive director shares his views on climate change and other important environmental issues. The Harvard Club presents the talk; admission is $25 at door.  [6 p.m., University Club, 800 Powell St., S.F.]

Joel F. Brenner: The former head of counterintelligence for the National Security Agency gives a talk titled “Cybersecurity: America at Risk?” [6 p.m., World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter St., S.F.]

Speakers discuss new environmental standards for commercial trucks and examine the move to increase efficiency, create jobs and build a cleaner transit sector. [11:30 a.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Andrew Jameson: The military historian and veteran of the Battle of the Bulge describes, with visuals and maps, both the German and American perspectives on the historic event. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Literary events

Christopher Phillips: The best-selling author and scholar talks about “Constitution Cafe: Jefferson’s Brew for a True Revolution.” [7:30 p.m., Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., S.F.]

Women’s voices: Mary Ann Irwin, Robert Cherny and Susan Englander discuss “California Women and Politics.” [6 p.m., California Historical Society, 678 Mission St., S.F.; RSVP: rsvp@calhist.org]

At the colleges

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain: The former Musee Rodin curator discusses the American critics, collectors and exhibits that brought Rodin’s art to the United States. [6 p.m., Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University]

At the public library

‘Poetry World Series Playoff’: Two teams of poets take turns at “batting up” to a poem topic “pitched” to them. Judges include KQED’s Michael Krasny. [6 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Francisco Herrera: The singer and guitarist presents songs, games and tongue twisters in Spanish and English for children of all ages. [10:30 a.m., Main Library, Children’s Storytelling Room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Local activities

Young dancers: Students from the educational programs of Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet perform a range of dance works in Union Square. [12:30 p.m., Powell and Post streets, S.F.]

San Francisco Whisky Week: Today’s events include expert-led whiskey tastings in San Francisco and Redwood City. [Details at www.thewhiskyadvocate.com]

Ry Cooder: The world-famous guitarist discusses his music and his first published collection of short fiction. The evening benefits the 826 Valencia scholarship program. [8 p.m., Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Violin star: Celebrated violinist Joshua Bell appears with the San Francisco Symphony. Music by Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Elgar is on the program. [8 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Dining out

Farallon Restaurant: Chefs Mark Franz and Ryan Simas’ appetizer highlights include sashimi of hand-line-caught ahi tuna, served with Spanish white anchovies and lemon-chervil cream. For an entree, the pan-seared Alaskan halibut, with sweet white corn chowder, roasted pancetta and crisp leek tops, is recommended today. [450 Post St., S.F.; (415) 956-6969]

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