January 27: Rhett Miller at Sketchfest and other SF events 

Who’s in town

Epic fantasy novelist Patrick Rothfuss, best known for his “Kingkiller Chronicle” book series, reads from his work. [7 p.m., Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St., S.F.]

Lectures

Lynne Martin: The executive director of Students Rising Above looks at the social importance of helping disadvantaged kids finance a college degree without taking on heavy debt. [Noon, Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Political roundtable: The afternoon features a panel of political journalists commenting on current events with an audience discussion and a news quiz. [Noon, Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Artist talk: Painter Chris Johanson, filmmaker Mike Mills, and artist Katerina Seda speak about SFMOMA project “Project Los Altos. [7 p.m., SFJazz Center, 201 Franklin St., S.F.]

Tech talk: “The Future of Collaborative Consumption” is the theme of a discussion hosted by the Bold Italic and General Assembly. [6 p.m., Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F.]

Literary events

Richard Powers: The novelist and Stanford University professor talks about “Orfeo.” [6 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Nick Turse: The journalist and historian discusses “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.” [7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F.]

Book talk: The Hands on Bay Area Book Club discuss “Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption” by Shon Hopwood. [7 p.m., Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View]

At the colleges

Theatrical performance: Poetic Theater Productions presents “Goliath,” Takeo Rivera’s 2008 play about the struggles of a war veteran. [8 p.m., Pigott Theater, Memorial Auditorium, 551 Serra Mall, Stanford University, Stanford]

Health seminar: The inaugural Bay Area Global Health Seminar looks at the current state of global HIV/AIDS. [2:30 p.m., Byers Auditorium, Genentech Hall, 600 16th St., UCSF, S.F.]

At the public library

Conversational English: The library’s Conversational English Language Group, for non-native speaking adults wishing to strengthen their English conversation skills, meets. [3 p.m., Main Library, Paley room, 100 Larkin St., S.F.]

Funny biz

The SF Sketchfest comedy festival presents “Wheels Off,” a night of music and humor with Rhett Miller (Old 97’s) and friends. Also tonight: the Don’t Watch This Show Live and Femikaze comedy troupes. [www.sfsketchfest.com]

Local activities

Singer-songwriter: Actress and indie-pop singer-songwriter Emily Kinney performs material from her second EP, “Expired Love.” [7:30 p.m., Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission St., S.F.]

Film noir: The San Francisco Film Noir Festival salutes world noir this year by presenting “The Murderers Are Among Us” and “Berlin Express” from Germany. [7:15 and 9 p.m., Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.; www.noircity.com]

Cotogna: Italian cuisine is on the menu. The sformato, a savory custard (currently featuring wild nettle and smoked ricotta) is today’s recommended appetizer. Also try the agnolotti dal plin (stuffed pasta) with veal, pork, and chicken. [490 Pacific Ave., S.F.; (415) 775-8508]

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