On the Cheap listings

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On the Cheap listings are compiled by Paula Connelly. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com.

WEDNESDAY 8

California Nights California Historical Society Museum, 678 Mission, SF; (415) 357-1848. 5pm, free. Explore the history of California through the Historical Society's collection of artwork and artifacts pertaining to the Gold Rush, California's car culture, entertainment, nature, natural disasters, and agriculture. Open house to feature music and refreshments.

THURSDAY 9

Isabel Allende Fromm Hall, USF Main Campus, 330 Parker, SF; (415) 422-6828, reservations recommended. 5:45pm, free. Attend this book signing and interview with Chilean-American author Isabel Allende, one of the best known authors in Latin America whose books have been translated into 27 languages. Allende's new book, Island Beneath the Sea, marks her return to historical fiction, with a nine year old heroine who is sold into slavery in eighteenth century Santo Domingo.

BAY AREA

Dreamgirls Jack London Square, 2 Webster, Oakl.; www.jacklondonsquare.com. 7:30pm, free. Channel your inner diva at this outdoor showing of Dreamgirls, the award winning musical about the history of Motown Records and The Supremes. There will also be a Motown karaoke contest with prizes.

FRIDAY 10

Ceramics Annual Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason, Laguna at Beach, SF; www.ceramicsannual.org. Fri. and Sat. 10am-8pm, Sun. 10am-6pm; $10. Enjoy a comprehensive, current survey of ceramic art at this three day exhibition and fair featuring lectures, educational panels, tours, featured artwork by well-known artists, artistic childcare, and more. Kids under 18 get in for free.

Live Roleplaying Games Southern Exposure, 3030 20th St., SF; (415) 863-2141. 7:30pm, free. Since the birth of New Age sensibilities, people have sworn by the use of live role playing games to free oneself from the confines of social identity. Artist Brody Condon and Nordic live roleplaying game designers Bjarke Pedersen and Tobias Wrigstad will discuss the upcoming participatory performance on Sept. 16-18 called "LevelFive," talk about general character creation and preparation, and show examples of other live games from the past 10 years.

SATURDAY 11

Celebrate Larry Eigner Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin, SF; www.sfsu.edu/~poetry. 7:30pm, $10. Attend this tribute to the life and work of Larry Eigner, a poet who overcame Cerebral palsy to become an influential figure in the Black Mountain school of poetry and also a major influence in the Language School of poetry, featuring readings by Richard Eigner, Robert Grenier, Norma Cole, Steve Dickison, Stephen Farmer, Jack and Adelle Foley, Kathleen Frumkin, and more.

Cooking Tomatoes and Peppers Ferry Plaza, 1 Ferry Building, Market at Embarcadero, SF; (415) 291-3276. 11am, free. Watch two seasonal cooking demonstrations using tomatoes and peppers, starting with Joyce Goldstein, author of Mediterranean Fresh, and followed by Sandra Keros, of Sandra Keros Inc. Pick up some tomatoes and peppers at the farmer's market so you can go home and try out some of your new tricks.

Gesneriads San Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Ave. at Lincoln, SF; www.sfgesneriads.org. 10am, free. Start a collection or expand an existing one of these exotic and rare indoor plants which include African Violets, Flame Violets, Cape Primrose, Goldfish Plants, and many other varieties. Prices of cuttings range from $1-$3 and plants from $3-$8 or more for rare specimens. Experts will be on hand with tips and advice.

Power to the Peaceful Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; www.powertothepeacful.org. 9am-5pm, $5 suggested donation. Attend this unique music, arts, action, and yoga festival that aims to educate attendees on issues of social justice, non-violence, cultural coexistence, and environmental sustainability. The day starts with 1,000 yogis for peace, followed by an all-star line up of musical acts starting at 11am including Michael Franti and Spearhead, Rebelution, Rupa and the April Fishes, Sellassie, and more. Also featuring speakers, a DJ tent, exhibitors, food vendors, and more.

Solar Quest Meet at Koshland Park, Page at Buchanan, SF; www.sfbike.org. 9:45am, $5 donation. Take a tour of residential and commercial solar systems in San Francisco and learn how local efforts can help create a sustainable environment and economy, like how one San Franciscan organized her block to all go solar together. The two hour ride has an optional one and a half hour extension.

Writers with Drinks Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St., SF; www.writerswithdrinks.com. 7:30pm, $5-$10 sliding scale. This installment of the spoken word variety show featuring writers from different genres including novelist Brandon Sanderson, poet Shalija Patel, blogger Bonnie Burton, comedian Brian Malow, and fantasy writer Kristen Imani Kasai. Proceeds from the door to benefit StrangeHorizons, a science fiction webzine.

SUNDAY 12

Night Time Photowalk Meet at Fog City Diner, 1300 Batter, SF; www.trevorcarpenter.com. 7pm, free. Bring you camera and tripod for a night time photowalk along the Embarcadero, up past Coit Tower, to Fisherman's Wharf, and ending in Fort Mason with experienced photowalker Trevor Carpenter. Photographers of all skill levels are welcome, even those with point-and-shoot cameras.

BAY AREA

Solano Stroll Solano between San Pablo and Alameda, SF; (510)527-5358. 10am-6pm, free. Catch the kickoff parade at 10am or a performance by one of 75 entertainers, or just enjoy the food booths, arts and crafts booths, games, art cars, and community non-profit and government organization booths. Bike parking, and free shuttle service from the North Berkeley BART station available.