Comic Tommy Johnagin performs at the Punch Line

Who’s in town

New York Times columnist and best-selling author Gail Collins talks about her new book, “As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.” [Noon, Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto; 8 p.m., Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Literary events

Steven Saylor: The novelist and expert on Roman politics talks about “The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World.” [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]

Lev Grossman: The book critic and best-selling novelist talks about “The Magicians” and “The Magician King.” [7 p.m., Cubberley Community Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto]

Elise Frances Miller: The novelist talks about “A Time to Cast Away Stones.” [6 p.m., Books Inc., 1375 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame]


Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim: South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations and cooperation discusses Africa’s conflict zones and the role his country is playing as a mediator. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Lindsey Hilsum: The international editor for the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 News provides a concentrated look at Libya under Gaddafi and the revolution that brought him down. [7 p.m., World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter St., S.F.]

Frank Deford: The Sports Illustrated writer and longtime chronicler of American culture discusses his life as a sportswriter. [6 p.m.,Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Jack Curtis Dubowsky: The composer-filmmaker discusses “Submerged Queer Spaces,” a documentary exploring the architectural remains of former LGBT gathering spots. [7 p.m., GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St., S.F.]

David Kruse-Pickler: The San Francisco Botanical Garden associate curator presents “A Pictorial Trip to the Cloud Forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica and Ecuador.” [5 p.m., SFBG, 1199 Ninth Ave., Golden Gate Park, 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. [2 to 4 p.m., SFSU, Downtown Campus sixth floor, 835 Market St., S.F.]

At the public library

‘Frida and Diego’: The program, presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, looks at the art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. [2 p.m., Ocean View Branch, 345 Randolph St., S.F.]

Documentary film: Filmmaker Eric Slade screens “Hope Along the Wind,” his documentary about 20th-century gay-rights and labor-rights advocate Harry Hay. [6 p.m., Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Local Activities

Stand-up comedy: Comic Tommy Johnagin, seen on “Live at Gotham” and “The Late Show” with David Letterman, performs at the Punch Line. [8 p.m., 444 Battery St., S.F.]

Cherry trees: A ceremonial planting of cherry-blossom trees takes place in Union Square in honor of the centennial of the United States and Japan’s tradition of exchanging the gift of cherry trees. [10 a.m. to noon, 333 Post St., S.F.]

Mozart opera: The San Francisco Opera presents Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” Romance, spiritual transcendence and bird catching transpire. [7:30 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

San Mateo County Fair: In honor of Police Actitivies League Day, admission is free until 3 p.m. Today’s concert: Tower of Power at 7:30 p.m. [11 a.m. to 10 p.m, County Fairgrounds, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo]

Dining Out

Burritt Room and Tavern: Starters and share dishes include oysters and charcuterie plates. Recent entrees include Pacific sea bass with Basque-inspired nage, mussels, squid and piperade. [417 Stockton St., S.F.; (415) 400-0561]

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