On the Cheap listings by Caitlin Donohue. Submit items for the listings at email@example.com . For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.
Westin St. Francis sugar castle Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell, SF. www.westinstfrancis.com . Through Thu/3. 24 hours/day, free. There's still time (until tomorrow, to be precise) to visit this sugar-spun site in the lobby of these venerable Union Square lodgings, a yearly tradition that for the first time this year features the movers and shakers of our times – Gavin Newsom and Lady Gaga are included, if not exactly within hand-shaking distance of each other.
Brooklyn Visits Heath Heath Ceramics, 2900 18th St., SF. www.heathceramics.com . Through Jan. 13. Today: 5-8pm, free. Brooklyn-based craftspeople have trundled their wares out to the West Coast for a six-week showing at Heath Ceramics' SF location. An excellent chance to check out East Coast design, and to visit the venerable Sausalito ceramics company's relatively new showroom in the Mission.
Litquake's Epicenter Tosca Cafe, 242 Columbus, SF. www.litquake.org . 7-8:30pm, $5-10 suggested donation. Looking for a cultured Thursday? This manifestation of the city's favorite year-round lit fest should do the trick. Author Stuart Neville will be on hand to discuss Ratlines, his rip-roaring whodunnit featuring JFK, Jr., the Irish government, and a handful of dead Nazis.
"Speak Your Peace" SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF. www.somarts.org . Through Jan. 24. 6-9pm, free. Nathera Mawla's take on sex and identity should not be missed at this group exhibition of Bay Area-based artists of all medias. The Iranian-born artist provides a much-needed perspective of a Persian women in an era when we hear more about Middle-Eastern femininity than from it.
Free first Sunday at the Oakland Museum of California 1000 Oak, Oakl. www.museumca.org . Museum hours: 11am-5pm. The perfect day to enjoy art, natural science, and history under one soaring roof – today's free admission to OMCA will gain you entrance to the California studio glass exhibit, the "we/customize" open studio workshop from 1-4pm, and of course, time to sit and reflect on the many wonders in the lovely little Blue Oak Cafe.
The Imperfectionists book club Commonwealth Club office, 595 Market, Second floor, SF. www.commonwealthclub.org . 5:30pm, free to members, $5 general public. The comic debut novel by Brit author Tom Rachman takes place in the offices an English language newspaper in Rome. Come prepared with discussion questions – the Commonwealth Club crowd at this book club meeting should be rife with the involved, informed sort of city-dweller.
"Breaking News" SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF. www.somarts.org . 7:30-9pm, $5. Have you heard The News? Kolmel WithLove's year-old monthly exploration of queer artists is one of the most consistently unpredictable performance series in the city, which means that this extravaganza version curated by experimental performer Laura Arrington will be some kind of explosive. The list of artists reads as a who's-who of queer SF art today, and includes some of our faves: drag monster Vain Hain, "No Fags on the Moon" provocateur Philip Huang, and 2012 Goldies winner Mica Sigourney.
The Debt-Free Spending Plan: An Amazingly Simple Way to Take Control of Your Finances Once and For All The Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF. www.booksmith.com . 7:30pm, free. We love you, author Joannah Nagler. You have not only overcome the crushing ubiquity of debt in this American life, but written a to-the-point guide so that others can do the same. Today, you will share secrets in the charming back area of The Booksmith, and we can only hope you don't throw too much math at us.