“How to Swim” by Paul Spooner (from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre) is among the fun works in a new exhibit at the Exploratorium. (Courtesy Amy Snyder/ Exploratorium)

“How to Swim” by Paul Spooner (from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre) is among the fun works in a new exhibit at the Exploratorium. (Courtesy Amy Snyder/ Exploratorium)

Nov. 17-18: Curious Contraptions, Michael McClure, Dale Bredesen, Anne Chu, LANY, Eyes on the Shore, Black Girl, Star Trek Live!

THURSDAY, NOV. 17

Curious Contraptions-Featuring Cabaret Mechanical Theatre: The new exhibition showcases more than 20 charming sculptures known as automata; a Cardboard Automata Tinkering Workshop is part of Thursday After Dark activities. [10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m., Exploratorium, Pier 15, Embarcadero at Green Street, S.F.]

Michael McClure: The writer reads from “Mephistos and Other Poems,” described as a “landmark work of bio-romanticism” and the first new collection in five years from the legendary Beat poet. [7 p.m., City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F.]

Dale Bredesen: The president of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and neurologist speaks on “Breakthrough Work in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease: The First Reversals of Memory Loss.” [Noon, Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., S.F.]

Anne Chu: The solo exhibition of sculptures and works on paper is both an unveiling of recent art and a tribute to the life of the artist (known for drawing from Eastern and Western cultures) who died in July. [5 to 7:30 p.m. reception, Anglim Gilbert Gallery, Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota St., S.F.]

LANY: Rolling Stone described the three-piece Los Angeles group’s sound as “electronic pop mixing eighties flash, blue-eyed soul and the ongoing search for genuine connection on a smart phone.” [8 p.m., Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Yoga for Change: The candlelit yoga session for participants of all levels is a benefit for the Community Preschool. [6:30 p.m., Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.]

Eyes on the Shore: The San Francisco-Oakland alt rock quintet plays to release the EP “Maestranza” on a bill with Strange Vine and Owl Paws. [8 p.m., Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.]

Black Girl: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents the first of three screenings of the groundbreaking 1966 debut feature by African director Ousmane Sembene about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white couple. [7:30 p.m., 701 Mission St., S.F.]

Kanye West: Named by Time magazine in 2015 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, the hip hop star brings his Saint Pablo Tour back to the Bay Area. [9 p.m., SAP Center, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose]

FRIDAY, NOV. 18

Star Trek Live!: Drag performers take charge in D’Arcy Drollinger’s send-up of the classic episode “Mirror Mirror,” which is opening a 14-run engagement. [7 p.m., Oasis, 298 11th St., S.F.]

Jennifer Holland: The author of “Unlikely Friendships: Dogs,” a collection of 28 stories of canine kindness accompanied by adorable photos, talks about the book. [4 p.m., Reading Bug, 785 Laurel St, San Carlos]

David Rovics: The singer-songwriter plays a concert called “Folk against the TPP and a wall on the border,” which benefits efforts to support the campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. [7 p.m., Redstone Labor Temple, 2940 16th St., S.F.]

Oakland Symphony: Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins joins the orchestra for “Lost Romantic Symphonies,” a concert of works by George Gershwin, Siegfried Matthus, John Williams and Joachim Raff. [8 p.m., Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland]

Elvin Bishop: The veteran blues guitarist, songwriter and vocalist is enjoying the success of his Grammy-nominated Alligator Records CD “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right.” [8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley]

Vonda Shepard: The Emmy-winning nightclub singer of “Ally McBeal” TV fame opens a two-night engagement playing tunes from her career and holiday selections. [8 p.m., Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F.] |

Telegraph Quartet: ”Chiaroscuro–The Light and the Dark” features violinists Eric Chin and Joseph Maile, violist Pei-Ling Lin and cellist Jeremiah Shaw playing works by Haydn, Berg and Schubert. [8 p.m., Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F.]

Epica: The Dutch symphonic metal band’s 2016 album is called “The Holographic Principle,” [6:50 p.m., Social Hall, 1270 Sutter St., S.F.]

Anne ChuBlack GirlCalendarCurious ContraptionsDale BredesenEyes on the ShoreLANYMichael McClureStar Trek Live!

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