Sundance in China: Director Quentin Tarantino arrived in China on Friday to screen his "Pulp Fiction" at the first Beijing Sundance Film Festival, a six-day event backed by Sundance founder Robert Redford in an effort to "create alliances between filmmakers in China and America." But while Tarantino welcomed the recent opening of China's door to Western films, Chinese directors said Friday that they feared a flood of imports could wipe out their domestic film industry. Meanwhile, Chinese officials at the festival dismissed reports of restrictions on the flow of Chinese works to the West and denied that China's best-known film director, Zhang Yimou, had been barred from attending next week's New York Film Festival, where his "Shanghai Triad" holds the event's coveted opening slot. New York Festival officials said last week that the Beijing government had asked Zhang not to attend their festival because it includes a film about China's 1989 crackdown in Beijing's Tian An Men Square. Until 1994, China imported foreign movies only years after their release, leaving Chinese moviegoers to watch either propaganda films or old foreign movies. Last year, however, China began importing 10 big foreign films a year. The latest include "The Fugitive," "True Lies" and "The Lion King."
Dress for Success: Actress Julie Newmar, the "Batman" TV series' original Catwoman who also served as the inspirational muse of the current film "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," will be at the Sunset Boulevard Virgin Megastore tonight from 9 to 11 to judge a competitive "drag show" open to the public. In celebration of the film, which stars Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo as drag queens, contestants are urged to vamp it up in their most outlandish drag attire. The winner will receive a Virgin Megastore shopping spree.
Auctions, Auctions, Auctions: Hollywood memorabilia seekers have a trio of opportunities to scout for new acquisitions this weekend. One such offering is "Hollywood: A Collector's Ransom," a one-day sale of costumes, props, signed photographs, vintage movie posters and other items offered by historical autograph dealer Profiles in History. Highlights of the sale, taking place Sunday at 1 p.m. at West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center, include a cast resin "Maltese Falcon" from the 1941 film, the gingham pinafore worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" and a resin prop mask from Jim Carrey's "The Mask." Over at Sunset Boulevard's Butterfield & Butterfield, the auction house begins public previews this weekend for its "Entertainment Memorabilia" auction, scheduled for Oct. 14-15. Highlights of that sale include Janet Gaynor's 1928 best actress Oscar, Madonna's bustier from the "Like a Virgin" video and a Grateful Dead Cort acoustic guitar featuring a drawing on the back by the late guitarist Jerry Garcia. Also at Butterfield & Butterfield, the much-hyped "Elvis Presley Memorabilia" auction concludes today in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Remembering Selena: Slain tejano singer Selena was remembered Thursday with a Hollywood-style star outside the Hard Rock Cafe's San Antonio restaurant. The eatery also unveiled a collection of Selena memorabilia beside the guitars and belongings of other well-known musicians that are standard decor in Hard Rock Cafes. Hard Rock chief executive officer Art Levitt said that the Selena display had been planned long before the singer's death on March 31, but that the star was added to the festivities after a petition drive by Selena fans to place her name along the Hollywood Walk of Fame was turned down. Selena had performed at the San Antonio restaurant's grand opening in January.
Santa Barbara Museum Expansion: The Santa Barbara Museum of Art will break ground in early 1996 on a new $5.1-million, 13,000-square-foot wing. The three-story addition will dovetail with the existing building and include a new store and cafe at street level, a major gallery on the second level and administrative facilities on the third level. Relocating the store and staff to the new building will also make room for a new gallery, more art storage and a Graphics Study Center in the museum's existing building.
Oprah Winfrey ended several weeks of speculation about her future Friday by agreeing to continue hosting her top-rated talk show for another two years, through the 1997-98 season. . . . NBC News' "Today" show came in first in the 1994-95 morning-news ratings race, a yearlong period that ended Oct. 1. "Today" just squeaked by ABC's "Good Morning America," which dropped to second place after five years in the top spot. . . . Entertainer Bill Cosby will perform at the Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion next Friday in a benefit for USC's Guy Alexander Hanks-Marvin Miller Screenwriting Program, a scholarship fund for young African American writers. . . . Fox Searchlight Pictures is offering two-for-one admission to Sunday's first showing of its film "The Brothers McMullen" at either the Mann Westwood or Mann Criterion Santa Monica theaters. The buy-one, get-one-free ticket deal is open to anyone who attends the movie with a sibling. . . . Husband-and-wife producing team Arnold and Anne Kopelson ("Seven," "The Fugitive") have signed an exclusive five-year deal with 20th Century Fox, effective Jan. 1. The couple previously made movies for Warner Bros.