Good Day: Aug. 24, 2010

Who’s in town

Carol Scott, an emergency room physician and author of “Optimal Stress,” provides practical steps for reducing and better managing stress and for achieving goals. [Noon, Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Lectures

Jackie Speier: The congresswoman from the Bay Area talks about the power of women’s voices and actions in these times of turmoil, change and financial uncertainty. [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Disasters and transit: Transportation experts discuss what we should do now so we can safely and quickly restore crucial transit links that will fail in the event of a major earthquake. [12:30 p.m., SPUR, 654 Mission St., S.F.]

Literary events

Mary Roach: The popular science writer talks about “Packing for Mars.” [7 p.m., BookShop West Portal, 80 West Portal Ave., S.F.]

Robert K. Wittman: The art-theft specialist and former FBI agent talks about “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures.” [7 p.m., “M” is for Mystery, 86 E. Third Ave., San Mateo]

Book group: The Found in Translation book-discussion group talks about Bernardo Atxaga’s “The Accordionist’s Son.” [7 p.m., Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., S.F.]

At the colleges

Barbecue fundraiser: “Heart Healthy BBQ” — featuring chicken, turkey and veggie burgers — benefits San Francisco Heart Walk. [11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., UCSF, Sauders Courtyard, 513 Parnassus Ave., S.F.]

Chess night: The Mechanics’ Institute hosts its Tuesday Night Marathon, an evening of serious chess playing. Players at all levels are welcome. [6:30 p.m., 57 Post St., S.F.]

At the public library

Radar Reading: Emerging and underground writers share their work. Michelle Tea hosts the reading. [6 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

‘Toddler Tales’: Session features books, rhymes, music and movement for ages 18 to 36 months. [10:30 a.m., Eureka Valley Branch, 1 Jose Sarria Court, S.F.]

Local activities

Piano concert: Pianist Mack McCray performs music by Beethoven, Liszt and Gluck. Noontime Concerts presents the program. [12:30 p.m., Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, 660 California St., S.F.]

Northwest alt-country: Pacific Northwest Americana darlings Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs play their tangy, haunting tunes on tour. [8 p.m., Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St., S.F.]

Kurosawa series: The “Samurai Saga Vol. 2” series features samurai and sword-battle films by Akira Kurosawa. Screening today: “Rashomon” (1950) at 5 p.m. and “Yojimbo” (1961) at 7 p.m. [Viz Cinema, 1746 Post St., S.F.]

Jurassic jokers: The “Dinosaurs of Comedy” — Johnny Steele, Michael Meehan, Larry “Bubbles” Brown and Steven Pearl — perform. [8 p.m., Punch Line Comedy Club, 444 Battery St., S.F.]

Community dancing: Redwood City’s Dancing on the Square series presents an evening of rumba dancing, with instructions for beginners. [6 to 8 p.m., Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City]

Dining out

Mezes: Chef Nikos Maheras cooks Greek cuisine, and “Tuesday Night Bites,” a menu of bite-size items for two ($35 for 12 bites), is happening today. Dishes include stuffed grape leaves, zucchini cake, white beans in tomato sauce, spinach-and-cheese pie and seasoned grilled sausage, to name a few. Coming up Thursday: live Greek music. [2373 Chestnut St., S.F., (415) 409-7111]

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