Today's Picks for Political and Civic Nerds

Thomas Jefferson: politician, rebel, and all-around manifester of destinies. Photo via Jon Meacham's Facebook.

For Wednesday:

Twinkle Twinkle Freeway Park

Pike's Freeway Park hosts an illumination ceremony and winter celebration, complete with free hot chocolate, hot cider, kettle corn, and s'mores. Performance by the Dickens Carolers.

Wednesday, Nov 28, 4:30–6:30pm, Freeway Park, 700 Seneca St, free.

Jon Meacham: A Biography of Thomas Jefferson

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham speaks to the political "genius" of his latest biographical subject: former president and founding father Thomas Jefferson.

Wednesday, Nov 28, 7:30–9pm, Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, $5–$35.

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with Natalie Diaz and Sherman Alexie

Four local authors with tribal roots read excerpts from their work, all of which tie back to the all-American sport of basketball. Natalie Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Shann Ray, and Jess Walter will all be on hand, their latest works in hand.

Wednesday, Nov 28, 7–9pm, Connolly Center, Seattle University, 900 Broadway, free.

Rainier Beach Station Area Urban Design Open House

City officials host this open house for Seattleites to review and comment on the new Rainier Beach urban design study—intended to guide land use, zoning, and transit changes related to the light rain station.

Wednesday, Nov 28, 6–8pm, South Shore School, 4800 S Henderson St, free.

Providence's O'Christmas Trees: Gala Dinner Auction

Our state's largest health care provider holds a glitzy auction and dinner to raise funds for its Senior and Community Services ministries, which provide heath care, housing, and hospice for those in need.

Wednesday, Nov 28, 5–10pm, The Westin Seattle, 1900 Fifth Ave, $300.

Blackberry Begone

Able adult volunteers are needed to remove blackberries along the Burke-Gilman Trail. Wear weather-appropriate clothes, bring a water bottle and a coffee mug; project leaders will provide tools, gloves, and a hot cuppa joe.

Wednesday, Nov 28, 8:30am–12:30pm, meet at the corner of NE 48th St & 39th Ave NE, free.

And for Today:

Tamim Ansary talks all things Afghanistan this Tuesday at Town Hall. Photo via Identity Theory

Tamim Ansary: The Untold History of Afghanistan

Learn the deeper, tribal circumstances of the war in Afghanistan through author Tamim Ansary's unique perspective on the country's complicated history and cultural evolution—all taken from his recent book, Games Without Rules.

Tuesday, Nov 27, 7:30–9pm, Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, $5.

Heist: Who Stole the American Dream? 

Make the trek to the state capital for this free screening of Heist, a new documentary exploring the roots of America's latest economic crisis.

Tuesday, Nov 27, 6:30pm, Davis-Williams Building, 906 Columbia St SW, Olympia, free.

Mayor's Town Hall

Part of Mayor Mike McGinn's outreach program, this town hall meeting includes a meet-and-greet with local city departments and organizations, a youth performance, and a Q&A with McGinn himself.

Tuesday, Nov 27, 5:30–8pm, Northgate Community Center, 10510 Fifth Ave NE, free.