July 28: Alec Baldwin and other SF events 

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Who’s in town

City Arts & Lectures presents actor Alec Baldwin in conversation with Steven Winn. [7:30 p.m., Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes St., S.F.]

Lectures

Asian policy: Daniel Russel, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, explains why an immediate freeze on provocative actions is essential for near-term stability and long-term prosperity in the region. [Noon, Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Gay-conversion therapy: Ohlone College professor Sheldon W. Helms shares the history of efforts to define homosexuality as a treatable illness, and what is being done to outlaw such practices. [5:15 p.m., Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F.]

Literary events

Chinese in America: Citizen University founder Eric Liu discusses the realities of Americans of Chinese descent and his new book, “A Chinaman’s Chance.” [6 p.m., Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.]

New fantasy novel: Joe Abercrombie discusses his new book, “Half a King,” which follows a reluctant ruler who must keep his kingdom intact. [7 p.m., 866 Valencia St., S.F.]

Human rights: Photographer Mark Tuschman discusses his forthcoming book, “Faces of Courage: Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge,” which documents women coping with a basic lack of human rights around the world. [7:30 p.m., Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park]

At the public library

Alka-Seltzer rockets: Learn how to make a homemade rocket — and what makes it go. [12:30-1:30 p.m., Bayview Branch, 5075 Third St., S.F.]

Films for grown-ups: Learn why there’s no crying in baseball in “A League of Their Own,” the hit 1992 film about the All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League. [3 p.m., Golden Gate Valley Branch, 1801 Green St., S.F.]

Marble madness: Have fun and learn some basic science concepts by tinkering with the marble machine. [2 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch, 500 Cortland Ave., S.F.]

At the colleges

Live jazz: The Jeb Patton Trio has performed at top jazz festivals around the United States and in Europe. [7:30 p.m., Campbell Recital Hall, Stanford University, 541 Lasuen Mall, Stanford]

Local activities

City Hall: The Failing Playgrounds Task Force discusses how to best identify problematic playgrounds and makes its recommendations on priorities for renovation. Members of the public are encouraged to comment. [5:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 278, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, S.F.]

Dance performance: Choreographer Christian Burns and musician Donald White tell the story of a fallen muse searching desperately for inspiration in “Sonorous Figures.” [8 p.m., Conservatory of Dance, 301 Eighth St., S.F.]

Rock show: The Andrew Jackson Jihad plays songs from its latest album, “Christmas Island,” and more. Hard Girls and Dogbreth open the show. [8 p.m., Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.]

New hip-hop

Rapper Ishmael Butler, formerly of Digable Planets, is now performing as “Palaceer Lazaro” in experimental hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces. The group’s new album is “Lese Majesty.” [8 p.m., New Parish, 579 18th St., S.F.]

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