Photo by Raj Hanchanahal

We’ve got lights (real ones) and luminaries (as in boldface names) to share with you this month. Cheesy stories and touchy-feely stuff. And a reason to say thanks to the little store on the corner where you always find just what you need.

Have you met LIZ?

LIZ is short for Living Innovation Zones which are new public spaces along Market Street. The first of 10 debuted on Oct. 29 at Yerba Buena Lane on Market Street between Third and Fourth streets. Created by the Exploratorium the first LIZ features an exhibit called “Whispering Dishes,” two, large parabolic dishes facing each other that focus sound as people whisper into the surface. LIZ is designed to make science and technology more accessible “in public to the public.”

Sail On, Sail On

From now through Nov. 23 enjoy three-hour San Francisco sailing adventures aboard the 60-foot, 1891 scow schooner Alma, berthed at Hyde Street Pier in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.  Available on select days, the Alma transports passengers to a long ago era in this unique, hands-on educational sailing program with the National Park Service. Now in its seventh season, the cruise combines views of San Francisco with local history.  Boarding is at 12:30 for this three-hour sail which departs at 1 p.m. from Hyde Street Pier, at Hyde and Jefferson Streets.

Hockney is Huge! 

More than 300 works by artist David Hockney are being shown in 18,000 square feet of gallery space at the de Young through Jan. 20, 2014. “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition” is the first comprehensive survey of his work since 2002 and includes his experimentation with iPhone and iPad drawings; oil paintings on a grand scale, including many of Yosemite; watercolors, and “Cubist movies” which use as many as 18 separate digital cameras.

Touchy Subject

It’s baaack. The Exploratorium opened a new Tactile Dome on Oct. 30, 2013. It’s pitch-black, maze-like chambers and textured surface preserves its “groovy” past. Originally designed in 1971 by August Coppola (the father of actor Nicolas Cage and brother of film director Francis Ford Coppola), the Tactile Dome reveals the power of the sense of touch. 

The Bay Lights are On and On and On… 

Starting Nov. 1, 2013 The Bay Lights will stay on continually from dusk ‘til dawn. Originally programmed to shut-off at 2 a.m., The Bay Lights on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will now shine whenever it’s dark, and there’s a new, special early morning sequence created by artist Leo Villareal for the world’s largest LED sculpture.

A Day at the Opera

This is better than singing in the shower. On Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 join the San Francisco Opera for their free community open house, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Family friendly and adult activities throughout the day include onstage musical demonstrations and sing-alongs with the orchestra, chorus and soloists. Stage combat workshop and wig and makeup demonstrations for adults as well as scavenger hunts and a photo booth. 

Seven Decades in the Making

On Nov. 16, 2013 the USS Hornet commemorates its 70th anniversary with “living ship” activities and tours and gatherings of dignitaries and Hornet crew members from the 1940s-‘60s.The USS Hornet is a national treasure that participated in some of the most memorable events of the 20th century: World War II and the Apollo 11 and 12 manned space missions to the Moon.  Ship festivities will also honor the 15th anniversary of the highly-acclaimed USS Hornet Museum. The USS Hornet Museum is docked at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda.

Say Cheese! 

We know you’ve always wanted to make a fresh wheel of Gouda or be schooled in the intricacies of wine and cheese pairing. The Cheese School of San Francisco, 2124 Folsom St., offers an average of four classes a week. And be sure to check out the online store. Where else will you find a onesie with “I’m soft and a little bit stinky” on the front? 

The Big Top is Back

Cirque du Soleil returns to the San Francisco Bay Area with its latest production Amaluna on Nov. 15, 2013 under the blue-and-yellow Big Top near AT&T Park before heading to San Jose on Jan. 22, 2014. Directed by Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus, Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which means “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon” and is a symbol of femininity evoking both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of a goddess who protects the planet.

The Shop Around the Corner

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, is a shameless plug to support neighborhood businesses. Sometimes they’re no bigger than a walk-in closet, but inside you always find the perfect present and gift wrapping is included. Sometimes their name is on the door, like West Portal’s Papenhausen Hardware which opened in 1936 or sometimes it’s just “the corner” where you stop on your way home from work to pick up something for dinner. It may be just one day but every day they’re there for you.