Leaving Lestat Author Anne Rice departs from the bloodsucking theme with her latest novel, Servant of the Bones, a biblically influenced tale of Isaiah and Jeremiah and the destruction of Solomon's temple, as told by a genie. Rice became a household name with the "Vampire Chronicles," a five-volume collection that began in 1976 with the publication of Interview With the Vampire; that book, a best seller, introduced the Vampire Lestat character and went on to become a film. Rice's Gothic repertoire includes a trilogy of witch books, but she also writes erotic novels and stylized porn under pen names. Her biographer, Michael Riley, interviews Rice onstage at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.
A Merry Go-Around June busts out all over again as England's Royal National Theater stages Rodgers and Hammerstein's love story Carousel, directed by Nicholas Hytner (who did The Madness of King George). Carnival barker Billy Bigelow marries his factory-worker sweetheart, Julie Jordan, and proceeds to disappoint her at every turn. Who says musicals are dated? This is a good one, too, with memorable tunes like "You'll Never Walk Alone" and a lesser-known but rousing number about a clambake. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through Nov. 10) at the Golden Gate Theater, 1 Taylor, S.F. Admission is $34-62.50; call 776-1999.
Bite on the Brat Beer and sausage, sausage and beer, and polka music. Oktoberfest, that veritable barrel of fun, offers Americans the rare and appealing opportunity to suit up in lederhosen and stuff our faces with sauerkraut as the autumn chill nips at our heels. This year there are at least two local parties: a Red Cross benefit today, which features hofbrau-style food from local restaurants, beers from several area breweries, and polka tunes by the Golden Gate Blaskapelle; and on Tuesday, the World Affairs Council event, where revelers will be treated to kegs of beer, Bavarian entertainment, and a historical perspective on the festival, which began as a royal wedding celebration in Munich in 1810, and is now celebrated there by millions of visitors. The Red Cross event begins at 7 p.m. at Building A, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $25-30; call 202-0798. The Council event on Tuesday, Oct. 22, begins at 6:30 p.m. (registration at 6 p.m.) at the World Affairs Center, 312 Sutter, Second Floor, S.F. Admission is $10-15; call 982-2541 before Monday for reservations.
Choice Cut In her new movie, Oscar-nominated director Dorothy Fadiman makes the startling assertion that although Roe vs. Wade still protects a woman's right to have an abortion, 80 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion providers. In The Fragile Promise of Choice: Abortion in the U.S. Today, Fadiman follows the declining strength of the famed 1973 Supreme Court decision, exploring violent clashes between pro-lifers and pro-choicers, and the inequality of services delivered to women of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Author Isabel Allende joins guest speaker Dian Harrison, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, at Choice's premiere, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, 3301 Lyon, S.F. Admission is $10-25; call 392-4400.
Ceausescu Meets Churchill Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu may be most remembered for what he left behind after he was ousted in 1990: a glut of orphans and a country in economic and emotional shambles. With Mad Forest, English playwright Caryl Churchill examines the emotional tension in late-'80s Bucharest before Ceausescu's downfall, the disappointment that followed the revolution, and the forces that drove the man and the people who brought him down, while setting up the possibility that a new kind of tyranny may emerge in that unstable region. The show begins with a preview at 8 p.m. (and continues through Oct. 27) at the Little Theater, Creative Arts Building, 1600 Holloway, SFSU campus. Admission is $7-9; call 338-1341.
Stitch in Time "Pieces of the Quilt" began as a memorial by actor Sean San Jose Blackman to his parents, both of whom died of AIDS; it has evolved into something larger than even he may have anticipated. With Magic Theater Artistic Director Mame Hunt, Blackman solicited stories from major American playwrights like Angels in America creator Tony Kushner, The Zoo author Edward Albee, and for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf writer Ntozake Shange, with which he constructed a kind of theatrical quilt. He and a company of local artists will perform the collection of short plays against a backdrop of panels from the Memorial Quilt, and proceeds will be donated to the NAMES Project Foundation and to Project Open Hand. The show opens with a preview at 8:30 p.m. (and continues through Nov. 17) at the Magic Theater, Southside, Building D, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is $15-21; call 441-8822. "Git on the Mic!," a spoken word benefit for Blackman's Alma Delfina Group/Teatro Contra SIDA (Theater Against AIDS), features local performers in a poetry slam next Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. at 1013 Guerrero, S.F. Admission is $5-15; call 642-9461.
Waltz Through Vienna How did an age-old city come to be called the birthplace of urban modernism? The cultural shifts that took place in Vienna at the end of the 19th century are the subject of the two-day lecture and performance program "Vienna Fin-de-Siecle: Nostalgia and the Modern." Soprano Gloria Wood sings the cabaret songs of Arnold Shoenberg, backed by a chamber ensemble, and Dance Through Time presents dances of the era on opening night. Author Carl Schorske moderates lectures on art nouveau, Klimt, Strauss, Nietzsche, and Freud, among other topics, throughout the day tomorrow. Events begin at 8 p.m. (also Saturday at 10 a.m.) at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, S.F. Admission is $20-30; call 392-4400.