Cellist and composer Zoe Keating is among the performers playing a benefit concert for Open String, which helps students and musicians acquire quality instruments. (Courtesy Joel Richard)

Dec. 8-9: Open String benefit concert, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Scott Saul, Jonathan Franzen, Riptide Toy Drive concert

TUESDAY, DEC. 8

Open String benefit concert: “One-woman orchestra” Zoe Keating, Swiss violinist Gilles Colliard and San Francisco Symphony cellist Amos Yang are in the lineup of the fundraiser for the nonprofit, which provides schools and musicians with access to quality string instruments, [8 p.m., Grand Theater, 2665 Mission St., S.F.]

Shelley Fisher Fishkin: The Stanford professor discusses her book, “Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond to Wounded Knee,” an eclectic collection of meditations on literature and history, covering over 150 National Register historic sites. [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]

Creativity Explored Holiday Art Sale: The nonprofit gallery-studio for adults with developmental disabilities hosts its annual seasonal sale (which runs through Dec. 31), featuring limited edition items and 25 percent discounts on framed artwork and ceramics. [10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3245 16th St., S.F.

Scott Saul: Celebrating his book’s paperback release, the biographer speaks about “Becoming Richard Pryor.” [7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave,, S.F.

Jonathan Franzen: The National Book Award-winning novelist (“The Corrections,” “Freedom,” “Purity’) appears in conversation with Ann Packer. [7:30 p.m., Nourse, 275 Hayes St., S.F.]

Riptide Toy Drive concert: The Outer Sunset bar sponsors the show, a benefit for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, featuring appearances by Red Meat, Pine Box Boys and Nickel Slots; bring a new toy for donation. [8 p.m., Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.]

Holiday Heathens: Keith Lowell Jensen, Kate Willett, Trevor Hill, Matt Gubser and special guest Rebecca Watson appear in the standup show. [8 p.m., Punch Line Comedy Club, 444 Battery St., S.F.]

A Brass and Organ Christmas: Local brass musicians join in concert with Grace Cathedral’s 7,466-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ. [7:30 p.m., Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.]

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 9

Raw Fabrics: The Los Angeles-based alternative rock band is known for its Warhol-esque imagery and fondness of over-the-top jungle drums and sounds. [8:30 p.m., DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., S.F.]

Spencer Day: The singer-songwriter-pianist’s new cabaret show is “A Rebel Without a Claus.” [7 p.m., Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F.]

S.F. Symphony: “Classic Christmas” includes holiday music by Britten, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Vaughan Williams, with guest violinst Elena Urioste and the San Francisco Girls Chorus, led by Valérie Sainte-Agathe. [7:30 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

RAWdance: The contemporary company presents the return of the critically praised “Mine,” an evening-length inquiry into the human urge to possess, consume and control. [8 p.m., Joe Goode Annex, 401 Alabama St., S.F.]

Kara Platoni: The Oakland-based science writer talks about her book “We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time.” [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]

Diane Cook: “Man V. Nature” is the writer’s debut collection of short stories, about which Ira Glass from “This American Life” said: “Many of them are dispatches from the end of the world, and it turns out to be a surprisingly familiar place.” [7:30 p.m., Green Apple Books, 1231 Ninth Ave., S.F.]

Jewish Noir: Editor Kenneth Wishnia and contributing writers Eddie Muller, Wendy Hornsby, Michael J. Cooper and Summer Brenner talk about the genre short story collection. [7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave,, S.F.]

Sallie Ford: The Portland-based female rock band headlines a show, with openers Tacocat, a pop punk foursome known for tongue-in-cheek songs with a feminist bent, [9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F.]

Jonathan FranzenOpen String benefit concertRiptide Toy Drive concertScott SaulShelley Fisher Fishkin

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