Some years back, Cacophony Society members pulled a prank in which they stationed riders dressed as clowns at every stop on one Muni route. I've often wondered what the other passengers on the bus thought as one clown after another climbed aboard and pretended that nothing odd was going on. Probably a bit like observers of this weekend's International Bear Rendezvous as they notice city streets and venues suddenly filling up with hundreds of beefy, hirsute men with an enormous appreciation for one another's company. Yes, San Francisco is teeming with fellas who have come from all over to bask in parties, pub crawls, and tours of Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, and, of course, the make-your-own-teddy Basic Brown Bear Factory (we'd like to get a load of the tourists who share sewing-machine space with the crowd on that day). The events of this five-day blowout range from the expected (Saturday's beer bust at the Eagle Tavern) to the quirky (a sightseeing excursion to City Hall on Friday). The rendezvous runs Thursday through Monday at various S.F. locales, and admission to individual events is $5-30 (or $60 for a festival pass); visit www.bosf.org for more information.
-- Joyce Slaton
How I Wonder
Comic geek invasion
Huge events like WonderCon can be intimidating. The comic-book convention hosts hundreds of artists displaying their work and a weekend full of luminaries talking about their projects -- Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, film director Kevin Smith, and Mad Magazine stalwart Sergio Aragonés are a few.
Among the many interesting events sure to lure comics enthusiasts is one that caught our Douglas Adams-loving eye. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is soon to be a Disney movie (expected in theaters in May), and Executive Producer Robbie Stamp discusses the CG-heavy production and shows a sneak peek on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Don't panic -- the film got the author's go-ahead before he died three years ago -- but true fans may be surprised at seeing someone else's conception of Marvin the Paranoid Android. WonderCon starts at noon Friday (and continues through Sunday) at Moscone Center North, 747 Howard (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $12-35; visit www.comic-con.org for a complete schedule.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
A Cunning Linguist
Winning for the complete loser
We've got to hand it to Republicans: Most of them seem to have been on the debate team in high school. So why do Democrats always come off like the nerds?
In George Lakoff, left-leaning types may find a beacon of hopeful rhetoric. At "Framing the Debate: How Democrats Can Win," author and linguistics professor Lakoff discusses some of the troubling quandaries from the last election, such as who made conservatives the owners of words like "freedom" and "patriotism." He also provides talking points intended to help Dems win arguments with their political opponents. Debate training begins at 8 p.m. at the Roxie Cinema, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia), S.F. Admission is $15; call 863-1087 or visit www.roxie.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Hoary and Horny
World War II era Hollywood set designer Ambrose DuBek had an eye for hunky gentlemen, and today's crop of kitschy smut appreciators are the beneficiaries. More than 200 of the homoerotic drawings DuBek amassed are finally available for inspection in author Thomas Waugh's new book, Lust Unearthed: Vintage Gay Graphics From the DuBek Collection. Catch slides from the title at 2 p.m. at the GLBT Historical Society, 657 Mission (at New Montgomery), No. 300, S.F. Admission is free; call 777-5455.
-- Joyce Slaton