Wild Reid Local filmmaker Frances Reid, whose Academy Award-nominated documentary Straight From the Heart responded to national anti-gay campaigns, is first up in the six-week televised film series "Women of Vision." TV personality Jan Yanehiro hosts the series, a collection of features, shorts, animated films, video, and documentaries made by women. In the first installment, Reid discusses and shows clips of her socially minded cinematic work, including In the Best Interests of the Children, a '70s film about lesbian motherhood, and Faces of AIDS, about the epidemic in Africa. The series continues July 29 with Greetings From Iraq, Signe Taylor's documentary on women and children in the war-ravaged Middle East, but the lineup isn't all seriousness: On Aug. 11, Alicia Bissinger's Barbie and Ken Go Parking offers a highly technical animated primer on heavy petting. The programs air at 9 p.m. on KCSM-TV Channel 60; call 775-1835 for schedule information.
Two Tickets to Paradise Author Toni Morrison has finally produced her first book since she won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, the long-awaited novel Paradise. As in Morrison's other major works, including Song of Solomon, Sula, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved, familial ghosts and the often-wrenching history of black Americans linger. Paradise traces the origins of the all-black town of Ruby, Okla., back to 1890, and weaves them together with a narrative about an incident in 1976, in which nine of the town's men assault the women of a nearby convent. Morrison will be making two public appearances today, first at a luncheon with SFSU ethnic studies professor Dr. Raye G. Richardson, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel, 1001 Broadway, Oakland. Admission is $35; call (510) 652-2344. Her second appearance, in conversation with Bastard Out of Carolina author Dorothy Allison, benefits the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp.'s After-School Program. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Bay & Lyon, S.F. Admission is $18; call 392-4400.
Murder, Espionage, Publishing The violence has subsided since loyalist Orangemen made their recent annual march through a heavily Catholic neighborhood in Northern Ireland, but the tension remains. Author/documentarian Sean McPhilemy will no doubt offer his views on the march and the disruption to Ireland's peace process when he discusses his controversial book The Committee: Political Assassination in Northern Ireland. McPhilemy led a British TV crew in the filming of the 1991 documentary The Committee, which caused an uproar by asserting that a loyalist conspiracy involving the clergy and British security forces was responsible for the murders of innocent Irish Roman Catholics; the book tells the story of the documentary's creation and the legal action and death threats that followed its airing. The film and the book have both been banned in Ireland and the U.K., but American publisher Roberts Rinehart has published the book in the States. The reading begins at 7 p.m. at Green Apple Books, 506 Clement (at Sixth Avenue), S.F. Admission is free; call 387-2272.
Rosa's Romany Romance Feuding Spanish Gypsy clans take the place of Italian nobles in Los Tarantos, but otherwise, Alfredo Manas' drama of doomed romance is remarkably like Romeo and Juliet. The tale, which was made into an Oscar-nominated flamenco film in 1963, concerns a rich Gypsy and a poor Gypsy who both desire the ravishing Soledad. She marries the poor Gypsy, who is subsequently bumped off by the rich Gypsy's goons. Years later, Soledad's son and the rich Gypsy's daughter fall in love, and, well, audiences can guess the rest. For its 25th anniversary concert, Rosa Montoya Bailes Flamencos stages Las Palomas (The Doves), a world premiere flamenco piece based on Los Tarantos. Husband-and-wife duo Antonio Alcazar and Victoria Palacios, who direct their own dance company in Spain, dance the star-crossed lovers. Las Palomas pays tribute to Carmen Amaya, the flamenco legend who played Soledad in the film, and who is credited with bringing the pyrotechnic men's flamenco footwork to women's roles. A native of Madrid, Rosa Montoya has been teaching and performing locally since 1971; she'll direct a company of Spanish and Bay Area dancers in the piece, which features live accompaniment and begins at 8 p.m. (continuing through July 26) at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $16-30; call 392-4400.
Puppy Dog Tales With a solo show lasting 24 hours and one minute, San Francisco's Bob Ernst holds the Guinness Book of World Records' record for longest performance. Ernst is expected to turn in a much briefer improv bit at Pet Talk II, a two-night show about pets benefiting the SPCA. Ernst, who brought tears to viewers' eyes with a story about his dog's death at last year's benefit, will do another dog piece, as will Merle Kessler (aka Ian Shoales), although it should be noted that Kessler is actually dogless and owns Siamese cats named Mulder and Scully. The Face by the Door writer/performer Kristina Robbins, meanwhile, will turn in a story about how she discovered she was really her mother's daughter after her family cat, Muffin, dug up a flower bed one rainy night. They'll all be joined by Ben Franklin: Unplugged star Josh Kornbluth, who was still deciding at press time how to follow up last year's performance about the adventures of Turtle Boy. Kornbluth, the father of a young son, recently returned his pet turtle to an East Bay vivarium after learning that reptiles secrete a substance that's harmful to small children. He says he'll either tell that tale or do a different animal piece, "depending on what stage of grief I'm in." Eloise, a black lab-greyhound mix who played a reindeer in the Marsh's holiday pageant last year, is also expected to make an appearance. The show features additional performers (Kornbluth and Kessler appear Friday only) and begins at 8:30 p.m. (also Saturday) at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd Street), S.F. Admission is $15; call 826-5750.