Ruth Laredo: You can be assured that when critics hail musician Ruth Laredo as "America's first lady of the piano," that title wasn't earned easily. Ever since Laredo made her New York Philharmonic debut in 1974, audiences and recording companies have been enthralled by her musical scholarship and uncanny ability to channel the best intentions of the ancient and modern composers in which she has specialized. Laredo is celebrated for both a light and heavy touch; witness her recordings of Chopin and Rachmaninoff. The latter has proven somewhat of a gold mine for Laredo, since she's best known the world over for recording his complete piano works during a five-year project that was recently rereleased by Sony Classical as a set of five compact discs. Ms. Laredo performs at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. The show is free, but expect a crowd. Call 922-1200.
Gloria Naylor: Southern Methodist University continues its 22nd Annual Literary Festival with a black female who has been somewhat lost of late in the flurry of publicity afforded to other black women writers. Toni Morrison may have won the Nobel Prize, and Alice Walker scored points on Oprah by coming out as a bisexual woman, but Gloria Naylor continues to offer an indelible literary vision of the African-American experience. Her group of tales about women in an inner-city project, The Women of Brewster Place, remains her most famous work, but in other books Naylor has illuminated the far less explored domain of middle-class black America and the peculiar dilemmas of black business owners. Naylor reads from her work at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater on the campus of Southern Methodist University. It's free, but seating is limited. On November 4 at 8 p.m., novelist James Wilcox performs for free in the McCord Auditorium at SMU. For information on either call 768-4400.
Barbarella: Did Roger Vadim's 1968 T-and-A space classic, Barbarella, represent a prophecy for the future domestic bliss of Mrs. Ted Turner? Before Jane Fonda became Hanoi Jane, or Klute, or one of the most prominent feminist activists Hollywood has ever produced, she was the sex kitten married to the European director who wanted to make her a star. Vadim took Henry Fonda's comely daughter and transformed her into a camp icon with Barbarella, the story of an intergalactic warrior sent to thwart the plans of a mad scientist (Milo O'Shea) who almost destroys her with a machine created to induce what might be termed "multiple fatal orgasms." The opening strip scene featuring Fonda in zero gravity and tasteful nudity is still a cheesecake highlight of bad cinema. She's so game being directed by an obviously exploitative European mentor, you can't help but view her retirement into the Turner empire as some kind of abdication. The screening happens at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central at Walnut Hill. Tickets are $6.50. Call 821-NEWS.
Beijing and Beyond: Women Artists Respond to the Fourth World Conference on Women: Some American men (and not a few women) often wonder what so many feminist activists continue to kvetch about in a contemporary United States where the female point of view has invaded every possible corner of media coverage. They are behind contemporary American feminism, which has shifted a large part of its focus away from our own country to places where some of the most heinous human rights abuses are gender-based--wife- and daughter-burning in India, forced abortions in China, the brutality of national laws against women in Muslim countries. Last year's controversial Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women's Rights in Beijing attracted a firestorm of anger from American conservatives, who viewed it as a shameless export of feminist sensibility to non-Western countries. A contingent from the national Women's Caucus For Art sent delegates, and the result is part of a traveling exhibition entitled Beijing and Beyond: Women Artists Respond to the Fourth World Conference on Women. The show opens November 1 and runs through November 27; an official opening reception happens November 7, 12:15 p.m., with a series of talks by women professors from the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas on related issues. Beijing and Beyond is free in the Visual Arts Building of UTD, Floyd and Campbell in Richardson. Call 690-2982.
Family Reunions at the Turn of the Century: If it's true, as so many right-wing commentators have insisted, that America's renewed conservatism stems from a collective disenchantment with the limits of individualism, then the renewed fervor for genealogy reflects a desperate search to locate ourselves inside a larger scheme. Heritage Farmstead, which identifies itself as "a museum of farm life on the Blackland Prairie," continues its history lecture series with a talk by Lloyd Bockstruck, a Dallas Morning News columnist and the Dallas Public Library's head genealogist. Heritage Farmstead currently has a show entitled Company's Comin': Family Reunions at the Turn of the Century, which explores the structure and traditions of Texas' turn-of-the-century extended families. Bockstruck extends the discussion with details about North Texas farm family life, as well as suggestions about how folks who hail from this area can hunt for their roots. Bockstruck's presentation begins at 6 p.m. at Heritage Farmstead Museum, 1900 W 15th in Plano. Admission is $3. Call (972) 881-0140.