What to do
The father of an old friend once shared some sage wisdom with me, albeit reluctantly, lowering his voice as if he were divulging an insider’s stock tip: “When meeting someone for the first time, usually the first sign of intelligence is a sense of humor.” His thesis still seems far-fetched some ten years later, but then I talk to someone like Demetri Martin, a Yale graduate and a former NYU Law student who also happens to be one of the funniest people on the planet.
Play: Ice Rinks
Starting Wednesday, you can get your skate on at the annual Safeway Union Square ice rink. Go for a midday run on your lunch break or wait for dark and take in the holiday lights afterhours. Come Thanksgiving, you'll also have a decorative tree to admire. If you're trying to steer clear of tourist-crazy Union Square, opt for the Embarcadero Center Ice Rink, which opens on November 19. Either way, you have plenty of time. Both rinks stay open through the first week of January. unionsquareicerink.com, embarcaderocenter.com
Discussion: Mad Men's Creator Matthew Weiner
The ad-tastic AMC series that has us plugged in every Sunday has been racking up awards and praise since the beginning, so it's no surprise that the JCC's discussion with creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner is sold out. Lucky for you, the center is simulcasting the lecture in Fisher Hall, for which tickets are still available. Dress the part and get ready to have your picture taken, Mad Men-style. $10; Wednesday 10/13; The Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., jccsf.org
On Tap: Oktoberfest by the Bay
Take part in the 11th annual Oktoberfest by the Bay, a festival of fine German food, the world's best beer, and authentic German music that will stick in your head through next year's celebration of our favorite European culture. As if you needed an excuse for weekend day drinking … $25-$30; Thursday, 9/23 - Sunday, 9/26; Pier 48, across from AT&T Park, oktoberfestbythebay.com
Lit: Jonathan Franzen
Confession: I've not yet read best-selling novel The Corrections. But, when I saw author Jonathan Franzen on the cover of Time magazine the other week carrying the heady title of "The Great American Novelist" for his latest book Freedom, I decided I had to get my hands on everything he's ever written, stat. Now, we all have the lucky chance to see this brilliant writer in person for a City Arts & Lectures discussion with CCA provost Dr. Mark Breitenberg. The event is not yet sold out (gasp!), so get your tickets now while you still can. $20; Monday 9/13; Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., cityarts.net
Art: Altered Barbie Exhibition
Look at America's favorite plastic plaything in a whole new light—the 8th annual San Francisco Altered Barbie Exhibition is back. It's weird, it's warped, and it's definitely worth your time. Local artists from all over the Bay Area take this icon and turn her into not-so-everyday art reflective of our current society in an effort to create dialogue sparked by a doll. Check it out. Free; Thursday, 9/9 - Friday, 10/1; Shotwell 50 Art Space, 50 Shotwell St., alteredbarbie.com
Music: Brandon Flowers
We all know him as frontman of The Killers, but Brandon Flowers is now trying his hand at the solo thing. His solo debut Flamingo is due out in September, and he's already begun his tour supporting the forthcoming album. It's no surprise that the intimate Slim's show is already sold-out, but we're betting someone will get sick and have to sell their tickets. $27.50; Thursday, 8/19; Slim's, 333 11th St., 415-255-0333, slims-sf.com
Online calendar editor Allison McCarthy gives her picks for must-attend events of the week.