Wilburrr! The real Mister Ed is dead -- he went the way of Flipper and Lassie in 1979, on an Oklahoma farm at the age of 33 -- but a palomino with similar markings has been roped into playing the late talking horse when Mayor Willie Brown declares July 31 "Mister Ed Day" in the city. This tribute to the equine entertainer began when KPFA radio personality Johnny Otis aired a contest to locate Mister Ed's last pasture; winners Chuck and Lorraine Colby beat out thousands of contenders with the photograph they took of Ed's headstone during an Oklahoma vacation. Actor Alan Young, who played Mister Ed's straight man Wilbur Post on the '60s sitcom, will make an appearance at the lunch, the proceeds from which benefit Glide Memorial Church. Young will be joined by Brown, Otis, the Rev. Cecil Williams, and a veritable stable of Mister Ed fans. The ceremony, presentation, and luncheon are open to the public and begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Gold Coast Restaurant, 230 California (at Battery), S.F. Admission is free with the purchase of lunch; call 777-4700.
TB Tales With the advent of a vaccine against the disease, any mention of tuberculosis would once conjure only historically distant, Gothic visions of pale, rail-thin invalids hacking away in sanitarium lounge chairs. But all that changed with the mid-'80s emergence of drug-resistant strains of TB, particularly in people with AIDS and among homeless and substance-abusing populations. In the operatic theater piece Phrenic Crush, playwright Erik Ehn, composer Lisa Bielawa, and epidemiologist Andrew Moss trace the history of the disease and touch on the modern, local implications of TB; S.F.'s Tuberculosis Control Division reported 261 active new cases in 1996, a case rate the office describes as four times above the national average. Ehn, whose work with S.F. General's TB diagnosis and drug adherence program inspired the piece, sets the drama in and around Tenderloin and SOMA SRO hotels. The show opens at 8 p.m. (and continues Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.) at the Studio Theater, Creative Arts Building, SFSU campus, 1600 Holloway. (An additional show is held Sunday at 2 p.m. at St. Boniface Church, 133-135 Golden Gate (at Leavenworth). Admission is free to all shows but donations are suggested; call 338-7605. Also, the panel discussion "The Soul in Plague Time" will address TB, AIDS, and the way disease moves through cultures and consciousness Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the SFSU Studio Theater.
Mob Mentality Hitler's rise to power is filtered through Marxist skepticism in Bertolt Brecht's satire The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, in which an Al Capone-like Chicago gangster uses fear and manipulation to gain control over a grocers union and the people of the city. Brecht names his bad guys after Hitler's minions, and uses Hitler's career as a gauge for Ui's exploits in his comic handling of a serious theme: the responsibility of people to recognize and resist evil behavior. Unconditional Theater, which staged last year's Fringe Festival hit Groping for Justice: The Bob Packwood Story, presents Ui. It opens at 8 p.m. (and continues through Aug. 16) at Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia (at 15th Street), S.F. Admission is $12-16; call 285-9776.
The Fat Lady, Alfresco San Francisco Opera singers and a narrator break down famous operatic tales in the outdoor performance series "Opera on the Square," illuminating for the opera-impaired a selection of arias and ensemble pieces from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Puccini's La Boheme, Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, Verdi's La Traviata, and more. The series is designed to celebrate S.F. Opera's return to the newly renovated War Memorial, and tickets to the 1997-98 season will be given away at three themed programs: "Dressed to the Nines" (Aug. 1), "The Favorite Heroines in Opera" (Aug. 8), and "Men in Opera and the Women Who Shop for Them" (Aug. 15). The shows begin at noon in Union Square, Powell & Geary, S.F. Admission is free; call 986-4300.
Climb Ev'ry Mountain Using three projectors and a 24-foot-long screen, travel photographer William A. Winans will attempt to re-create the breathtaking panoramic effect of the Indian Himalayas and the architecture of Central India in two slide shows preceding India's 50th anniversary of independence Aug. 15. Winans leads viewers from the source of the Ganges River through village life in the mountainous Garhwal and Kumaon regions in this weekend's "Hindu Himalayas" program, then guides us through ancient temple architecture, sculpture, and pastoral scenery in the second weekend's show, "Spirit in Stone." Winans will also exhibit photographic prints and paintings from his extensive travel and work in India, which included his stint as a cameraman on a 1970s American documentary about the country. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. (also 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday; "Spirit" is presented Friday through Sunday, Aug. 8-10) at the Herbst International Exhibition Hall, The Presidio, Montgomery & Moraga, S.F. Admission is $7; call 781-4281.