Still time to get your holiday skate on


Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, speaks at the Commonwealth Club. The topics of his sold-out lecture include how the new health care reform bill will affect the longevity and viability of our medical system, and his goals of improving patient care while reducing waste.


Winter and wildlife: Point Reyes Bird Observatory presentation covers elephant-seal breeding, winter on the Farallon Islands and other subjects. [Noon and 2 p.m., California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, S.F.]

Decorative arts: “A Great Variety of Gold and Silver: Charleston’s Silver Trade” is the theme of an American Decorative Arts Forum lecture. [8 p.m., de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F.]


Mary Roach: The science writer talks about “Packing for Mars.” The evening includes music by Michael Hearst and Joshua Camp of One Ring Zero. [7 p.m., Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F.]

David Baker:
The writer and physicist talks about “The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System.” [7 p.m., Borders, 400 Post St., S.F.]

Passionate poetry:
Poet Jack Hirschman hosts a celebration of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade’s new anthology. Scheduled readers include Neeli Cherkovski and devorah major. [7 p.m., City Lights, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F.]


Faculty artist recital: Violinist Axel Strauss performs music by George Enescu. [8 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., 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.]


Radar Reading: Series, hosted by Michelle Tea, features emerging and underground writers. [6 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Holiday crafts:
Participants can make a charm or ornament during this program, which is presented by Mary Jane’s Attic. [4 p.m., Ocean View Branch, 345 Randolph St., S.F.]


Nopalito: Chef Gonzalo Guzman cooks organic, authentic Mexican food. Recommended dishes include bacalao fresco estilo toluca (stewed lingcod with tomatoes, green olives, capers, basil, cilantro, onion, pickled jalapeño and rice); and carne asada y nopales con chile (seared flank steak with nopales, chile v de arbol, chile guajillo, onion, cilantro, black beans and queso fresco). [306 Broderick St., S.F.; (415) 437-0303]


Film and music: The San Francisco Film Society presents a screening of Mauritz Stiller’s 1919 silent film “Sir Arne’s Treasure” with live music by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. [8 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.]

Holiday ballet:
San Francisco Ballet presents “Nutcracker.” The production features music by Tchaikovsky, a San Francisco setting and 200 costumed characters. [2 and 7 p.m., War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Art exhibit: “Arthur Szyk: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations,” an exhibit at the Legion of Honor, explores the work and career of the Poland-born American artist. [9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., 100 34th Ave., S.F.]

Tree lots:
Holiday trees are for sale at lots run by, and benefiting, the Delancey Street Foundation. [8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 2198 Market St., S.F.; 1599 Bryant St., S.F.; 2601 Van Ness Ave., S.F.; and Pier 32, S.F.]

Ice rinks: Holiday skating is happening in Union Square and at Embarcadero Center. Ninety-minute sessions start on every even hour. [10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Post and Powell streets; and Justin Herman Plaza, Embarcadero at Market Street, S.F.]

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