Gone But Not Forgotten Championed as an heir to Eisenstein, Armenian director Sergei Paradjanov made an international splash in 1964 with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. In Shadows, Paradjanov's "dramaturgy of color" (co-conceived with cinematographer Yuri Ilyenko) evokes a world of sex, death, murder, madness, and family feuds. Flamboyant and outspoken, Paradjanov spent more than seven years in Soviet prisons on a variety of trumped-up charges (anti-Soviet nationalism, homosexuality, and incitement to suicide); he died in 1990. Praised by current directors like Atom Egoyan, he's experiencing a posthumous surge in popularity, though: Coupled with various co-features, a new print of Shadows highlights "Mystic Eyes: The Films of Sergei Paradjanov," a weeklong tribute. The movie starts at 8 p.m. at the Castro Theatre, Castro & Market, S.F. Tickets are $6; call 621-6120.

december 9
Anthropomorphic Antics Question: What would you like for Christmas this year? Answer: A) Fruit; B) Vegetables; C) Toys. Those are the three options chimps, orangutans, gorillas, and elephants at the S.F. Zoo have to choose from. They'll tear into, stomp on, and generally destroy boxes containing the aforementioned gifts at scheduled times from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at S.F. Zoo (where kids can join Santa in the Lion House) on Sloat Boulevard (near the Pacific Ocean), S.F. Admission is $1.50-7; call 753-7171.

Party Arty An art sale and raffle for Visual Aid -- an organization devoted to producing, presenting, and preserving the work of artists living with AIDS -- "Big Deal" offers hundreds of pieces this year, all priced at 75 buckeroos. Contributing artists include Bruce Conner; Margaret Crane and Jon Winet; and photographers Nina Glaser and Jim Goldberg (whose Raised by Wolves monograph about homeless youth provides a perfect antidote to the exploitive creepiness of Larry Clark's teen fixation). Also featuring food, drinks, and music, the event lasts from 5 to 11 p.m. at Space 743, 743 Harrison, S.F. Admission is $10; call 777-8242.

Dozens of Dervishes Seven-hundred-year-old Eastern music and sacred dance will take over a high school gymnasium when the Mevlevi Order of America performs "Sema -- The Dance of Ecstasy," a tribute to Sufi Master Mevlana Jalalludin Rumi. Adorned in tall hats and white-skirted garments, the whirling dervishes will spin in unison at 7 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, 350 Girard, S.F. Tickets are $15; call 695-0472.

Picture This "From the West: Chicano Narrative Photography" features over 100 images by six photographers: Robert C. Buitrón, Christina Fernandez, Harry Gamboa Jr., Miguel Gandert, Delilah Montoya, and Kathy Vargas. The final installment in a four-part traveling series, the exhibition examines the links between Chicano history, the history of photography, and the cultural construction of the American West. You can see it from noon to 5 p.m. at Fort Mason Center, Bldg. D, S.F. The show continues through Jan. 7. Free; call 441-0404.

december 10
Tribute to Essex Along with fellow author Joseph Beam (whose In the Life he contributed to) and filmmaker Marlon Riggs (whose Tongues Untied he appears in), Essex Hemphill is another gay African-American voice recently lost to AIDS. Jewelle Gomez, Alan E. Miller, Thom Bean, Brian Freeman of Pomo Afro Homos, and April Sinclair (author of the great Coffee Will Make You Black) pay tribute to Hemphill at a 4 p.m. reading at A Different Light, 489 Castro, S.F. Free; call 431-0891.

Fishy Business As its name suggests, the Fish Roundabout is a circular tank filled with a variety of fast-swimming fish. Whether or not you know anything about aquatic life (and whether or not you're on drugs), it's the kind of hypnotic sight you can gaze at for hours, mainly because there are so many types of fish: fluorescent, huge, small, big-eyed, and just plain weird. In celebration of the renovated 100,000-gallon, 204-foot tank's reopening, Steinhart Aquarium has filled it with California barracuda; Pacific bonito and mackerel; yellowtail tuna; ocean whitefish; and more. (Anchovies and sardines will be on hand to demonstrate the food chain.) Watch the fish go round and round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (though the 2 p.m. feeding time is especially thrilling) at California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, S.F. Admission is $1.50-7; call 750-7145.

december 11
Pretty Poison In 1991, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story director Todd Haynes presented his feature debut, Poison, an ambitious film that braids together three separate stories -- a B horror tale of a scientist who turns into a "leper murderer"; a mock TV-documentary about a boy who shoots his abusive father and flies off into the sky; and a grimy, sexy prison drama based on the writings of Jean Genet -- into a singular vision of stigma and transcendent escape. "Two by Todd" starts with Poison at 7:30 and 9:15 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight, S.F. Tickets are $4.50-5.50; call 668-3994. (The cruelly overlooked Safe -- best film of 1995, according to critics Graham Fuller and Jonathan Rosenbaum, director John Waters, and Night + Day -- finishes the program at 7 and 9:25 p.m. on Tuesday.)

december 12
Ol' Blue Eyes Today is Frank Sinatra's 80th birthday. Accordingly, the man has been the subject of much recent fanfare, from a three-concert salute at Carnegie Hall in July to a complete retrospective (24 CDs) of his Reprise recordings this fall. Megatalent or megajerk (or both)? Whatever the answer, there's no denying that big Frank currently gets more respect -- and attention -- than the fey Johnnys (Ray and Mathis) and Rat Packers (Sammy and Dean) of his heyday. Club Deluxe offers its own special tribute: Men and women will smoke cigars and drink martinis as owner J. Johnson croons Sinatra tunes to canned music. Also featuring a look-alike contest and video/CD giveaways, the night begins at 9 p.m. at Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight, S.F. Admission is $4; call 552-6949.

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