Good Day for Sept. 16, 2009

Who’s in town

Harry Markopoulos, early and unheeded whistle-blower in the Bernie Madoff fraud case, provides an inside perspective on why the Securities and Exchange Commission is vulnerable to such fraud and suggests a plan to fix the system. [8 p.m., Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F.]
 
 
Lectures

Michael Pollan and Michael Schwarz: The author and the filmmaker, respectively, presents “The Botany of Desire,” a film based on Pollan’s book about the co-evolution of humans and plants. [7 p.m., Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]
 
Amateur Astronomers: The group presents a lecture on NASA’s Fermi gamma-ray space telescope. Robert P. Johnson, a UC Santa Cruz professor, appears. [7:30 p.m., Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, S.F.]
 
 
Literary events

Mary Beard: The British classicist discusses her work and answers questions about her lifelong interest in antiquity. [7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F.]
 
Beth Roy: The author and mediator, joined by additional guests, talks about “41 Shots … and Counting.” [7 p.m., Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia St., S.F.]
 
 
At the colleges

Nicholson Baker: The novelist talks about “The Anthologist.” [12:30 p.m., Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post St., S.F.]
 
 
At the public library

Opera talk: The San Francisco Opera Guild presents a lecture on the Mozart opera “The Abduction From the Seraglio.” [Noon, Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]
 
Architecture film: The Architecture and the City film series presents “Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans” (2008). [6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., S.F.; RSVP: www.aiasf.org]
 
 
Local activities

Shady characters: “Rialto’s Best of British Noir” film series closes with a double feature of “The Third Man” (1949) and “The Fallen Idol” (1948). [Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.; (415) 621-6120]
 
Opening night: American Conservatory Theater presents “Brief Encounter,” a fusion of theater, film and music from England’s Kneehigh Theatre. Director Emma Rice adapted the play from Noel Coward’s story. [8 p.m., 415 Geary St., S.F.]
 
Salsa night: Salsa in the Square presents an evening of community dancing, featuring Los Boleros. Salsa lessons are followed by an open dance floor with live music. [6 to 8 p.m., Union Square, Post and Powell streets, S.F.]

Dining out

Millennium: Chef Eric Tucker is featuring seared sweet-potato gnocchi with gold chanterelle mushrooms from Oregon and smoked tempeh “sausage.” It’s served over a fennel and pear puree. [580 Geary St., S.F.; (415) 345-3900]

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