Noir to nerds: 8 artsy-cultural happenings you could check out this week

Explore the relationship between art and labor at this year's Laborfest book fair Sun/22.

Remember the time you lived in one of the most exciting, cultured places in the world? Hold up, that's right now. Check our picks for 8 amazing -- and oftentimes free -- ways to spend your nights and days this week.

Jim Nisbet: Old and Cold

Jim Nisbet's protagonist is old, cold, and totally cool. A confusing infusion of mystery, Dexter-style serial murder, and flat-out noir creepiness, Nisbet's Old and Cold follows the wrongdoings of a man who lives under a bridge and will do anything for a martini. All the action is enveloped within our dear city's seven miles of dive bars, beaches, and grey sidewalk.

Wed/16, 7pm, free

City Lights Bookstore 

261 Columbus, SF 

Nerd Nite! 

What's better than a gregarious gaggle of boozed-up nerds? Robin Marks, Nick Bouskill, and Justin Benttinen will each give three snarky-smart 30-minute lectures at the Rickshaw as a part of the monthly lecture series Nerd Nite. Covering a broad span of topics -- peer-reviewed journal satire, to the nasty nuances of nitrogen, to a history of bizarre invention and innovation in San Francisco -- the lecture series even offers a brief break for DJs. Drink, dance, and dig the dork.

Wed/18, 7:30-11pm, $9

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF 

Pint Sized Plays 

Usually stationed in the Tenderloin's Cafe Royale, San Francisco Theater Pub's Pint Sized Plays is making a special performance at the Plough and the Stars. With more than 10 directors crammed into 90 minute show, variety is guaranteed: there'll be images of love and loss from Megan Cohen's Beeeeeeaar, Stuart Bousel and Megan Cohen's Llama let us follow the travails and triumphs of a llama at a crossroads, and William Bivin's Celia Sh**s makes an appearance reminding us that, well, everybody sh**s. 

Wed/18, 8pm, free

The Plough and the Stars

116 Clement, SF

Renegade Craft Fair 

Your dreams of glass-blown bug figurines, artisan jewelry, and paper-mache wall hangings have been answered. The fifth annual Renegade Craft Fair makes its appearance at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion for a day of showcasing unique, artisan products from over 250 emerging crafters. Enjoy a day of (hopefully) sunshine, food, drink, and, most importantly, art that you can actually use. 

Sat/21-Sun/22, 11am-7pm, free

Fort Mason, SF

Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Grand Slam 

America's youth has something to say and you're going to listen, dammit. The creativity and eloquence of these performers aged 13 to 19 are not to be taken lightly at the 15th annual BNV grand slam finals. BNV was created by Youth Speaks in 1998 to represent a forum of dialogue for a new, socially-aware, mutually respecting, and artistically-active generation of young individuals who are anything but shy. The competition and festival runs from July 17-21, with the the culminating grand slam competition offering an inspiring and hopeful alternative to your regular Saturday night. 

Sat/21 7pm, $20

Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph, Oakl.

LaborFest book fair and poetry reading 

The annual LaborFest kicks off the arts portion with an all-day reading series at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Speakers, poets, and authors like award-winning Sean Burns with his biography, Archie Green, The Making of a Working Class Hero will be present as testament to the longstanding collaboration between labor, community, and art. 

Sun/22, 10am-9pm, free

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

2868 Mission, SF

Dana Johnson and Paula Priamos

Dana Johnson and Paula Priamos paint an ironically dark picture of sunny Southern California as they read from their two books Elsewhere, CA and The Shyster's Daughter. Johnson's novel follows the search for self-discovery of Avery, a black girl growing up in Los Angeles who doesn't seem to fit in to her community's vision of ideal femininity and ideal blackness. Priamos' book takes a memoir-turned-noir tone, remembering her own family's actions and anxieties after the conviction of murderer Kevin Cooper for murdering an innocent family in a neighborhood not far from their very own. 

Mon/23, 7pm, free

Books, Inc.

601 Van Ness, SF

Sketch Tuesdays

The ultimate place to see and be seen. Sketch Tuesdays brings a night of live art making and artist-to-buyer exchange to 111 Minna. This Tuesday's artsy attendees can look forward to an all-female lineup of live artists and International Museum of Women, a full bar, music from DJ Pre-K, and current exhibition, "Shinkasen Conspiracy" by Last Gasp Publishing. 

Tue/24, 6-10pm, free

111 Minna, SF

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