courtesy photoMalian musician Bassekou Kouyate

February 12: Bassekou Kouyate and other SF events

Who’s in town

Political satirist and writer P.J. O’Rourke, whose new book is “The Baby Boom,” details how the postwar generation evolved by never quite maturing and created a better society by turning society upside down. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Lectures

Geoff Dyer: The former Financial Times Beijing bureau chief discusses how the United States can continue to set the global agenda in a new era of competition with China. [6 p.m., Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post St., S.F.; RSVP: www.milibrary.org]

Neighborhood arts: Speakers discuss a plan developed by the Yerba Buena neighborhood to add an anchor art piece, develop art in the alleys and encourage artistic exploration in the area. [6 p.m., SPUR, 654 Mission St., S.F.]

All about beer: Ask a Scientist and KQED Science, celebrating Beer Week, present “The Science of Beer.” [7 p.m., SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th St., S.F.]

Literary events

Jennie Shortridge: The novelist talks about her book “Love Water Memory.” [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]

Jenny Offill: The novelist talks about her second book, “Dept. of Speculation.” [7:30 p.m., Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., S.F.]

Fred Turner: The journalist discusses “The Democratic Surround.” [7:30 p.m., Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View]

At the colleges

Black History Month: Professor Johnetta Richards leads a discussion on African American women in the West. [7 p.m., City College, Mission Campus, Building 106, 1125 Valencia St., S.F.]

Film screening: Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch” (1969) is the featured film. [7 p.m., Building 260 (Pigott Hall), Room 113, Stanford University, Stanford]

Jill Magid: The artist, writer and performer discusses her work. [7:30 p.m., San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut St., S.F.]

At the public library

Soul-music clips: Music-history writer Richie Unterberger presents “The Golden Age of Soul Vol. 3,” a program of film clips featuring soul-music stars. [6:45 p.m., Park Branch, 1833 Page St., S.F.]

Cecile Pineda: The novelist reads from and discusses “Face.” [6:30 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Music of Mali

Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate, whose instrument is the ngoni (a small four-string lute) and whose sound features both traditional and popular elements, appears with his ensemble. [7:30 p.m., SFJazz Center, 201 Franklin St., S.F.]

Local activities

Coen all the way: Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Fargo,” starring an Oscar-winning Frances McDormand, and “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” with Billy Bob Thornton, screen at the Castro Theatre. [7 and 8:55 p.m., 429 Castro St., S.F.]

Visiting ballet company: The Hamburg Ballet performs “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” choreographer John Neumeier’s dance interpretation of the Shakespeare play. [7:30 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Zare at Fly Trap: The stuffed calamari, with a chorizo and pork-sausage filling, is recommended today. Also try the freekeh with wild mushrooms, brassica, broccoli, cauliflower, English peas, and almond, atop fennel and spring-garlic puree. [606 Folsom St., S.F.; (415) 243-0580]

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