Hypothalamusly Speaking Neuroanatomist Simon LeVay, who made headlines in 1991 with controversial findings suggesting that homosexuality is based in biology, speaks on "Queer Science." LeVay, a former Harvard professor who founded the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education in 1992, discovered size differences between straight and gay men in a region of the hypothalamus related to sexual behavior. The lecture begins at 4:10 p.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium, Bancroft and Telegraph, Berkeley. Admission is free; call (510) 643-7413.
Comic Curve High school may not be amusing while you're in it, but it gets funnier the further away from it you get. Nervous Laughter, a band of comedians from the late experimental club Holy City Zoo, pounce on the wealth of material within that great American institution, the high school assembly, in their new show Assembly North Gym. As Principal McElroy, Ron Lynch guides viewers through a maze of faculty members, students, and guest speakers. If that doesn't break you up, try the final round of the San Francisco International Stand-Up Comedy Competition, hosted by Will Durst. Five comedians compete for the title in 20-minute sets; they ought to be funny, since they were selected from 467 hopefuls and made it through three previous rounds in the pursuit of celebrity and a $10,000 grand prize. Assembly North Gym runs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. (through October 23) at the Marsh, 1026 Valencia, S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 641-0235. The Comedy Showcase final begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $20-50; call 392-4400.
New Life for the Dead Memories of the dearly departed are revived locally in anticipation of November's Day of the Dead, when the dead are treated to bouquets of marigolds and paper flowers, and pan de muerto. The Mexican Museum and Galeria de la Raza will offer holiday-related exhibits and events this month. "Desde Lejos Vienen/They Come From Afar," three altars made by community groups and focusing on ancestors, spiritual guides, and martyrs, opens at noon at the Mexican Museum, Bldg. D, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is free-$3; call 441-0404. Origines/Origins, a collection of altars linked by the theme of immigration, opens Tuesday at Galeria de la Raza, 2857 24th St., S.F. Admission is free; call 826-8009.
Imagine There's a Pencil Two portfolios of handwritten lyrics are among the attractions at an exhibit of work by the late John Lennon. More than 80 serigraphs, signed lithographs, and original drawings by the former Beatle, including the "Bag One" lithographs from the permanent collection at the New York MOMA, will also be displayed at this weekend-only show. The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. at Hotel Monaco, 501 Geary, S.F. Admission is free; call 292-0100.
Care Bear Fed up with psychics, nutritionists, doctors, and an Elvis-impersonating acupuncturist, a woman with a debilitating illness turns to history and mythology for healing in Like a Mother Bear. Out on the Alaskan tundra, the woman meets a grizzly bear mother who offers advice on survival. In this one-woman show, writer/performer Helen Stoltzfus draws on Sioux, Siberian, and Greek cultural traditions that present bears as symbols of renewal and transformation, and weaves in the modern practice of giving teddy bears to disaster victims. The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 17) at a Traveling Jewish Theater, 2800 Mariposa, S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 399-1809.
Dance Dance Dance Everyone's doing it this week, starting with the Dancer's Group/Footwork festival Dedication Project, which opens with "Thinking of You," a dance-video homage to noted Bay Area dancers artists whose deaths from AIDS have left a void in the community, and which continues with a tribute to the late teacher Ed Mock, and the Visceral Video Festival, a collection of performances from around the world. The first fall season of the Bay Area Dance Series also opens this week, with flamenco artist La Tania. Enrico Labayen and the LAB., Projekt Group offer a multimedia piece set to Gaelic mouth music and a dance-theater piece inspired by Hermann Hesse on the progression of human life. And the Lesbian and Gay Dance Festival showcases work by Dance Brigade, Fat Chance Belly Dance, the Bongo Brothers, and several solo performers in two separate programs. The Dedication Project begins at 6 and 8 p.m. at Dancer's Group/Footwork, 3221 22nd St., S.F. Admission is free; call 824-5044. The Bay Area Dance Series opens 7:30 p.m. (and continues through Oct. 26) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, S.F. Admission is $14-23; call 392-4400. Mouth to Mouth begins at 8 p.m. (and continues through Oct. 13) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, S.F. Admission is $18.50-25; call 621-7797. The Gay and Lesbian Dance Festival begins at 8:30 p.m. Friday (and continues through Oct. 19) at Brady Street Dance Center, 60 Brady, S.F. Admission is $13.50-15; call 558-9355.
Can You Dig It? Bay Area service agencies like Project Open Hand and the San Francisco Food Bank have found an ally in another nonprofit: Amphion (named for the figure from Greek myth whose music charmed stones into forming themselves into the walls of Thebes) raises money by enlisting bands for benefit concerts, CDs, and special events. Now Amphion tends to its own finances with "Boogie on the Bay," a cruise around the San Francisco Bay with live music by acid-jazz combo Dig. Proceeds will help cover Amphion's operating costs. The cruise begins at 9 p.m. at Pier 39, S.F. Admission is $25; call 885-5982.