Tales from near and far are explored this weekend in Santa Barbara, including a new documentary film based on “Island of the Blue Dolphin,” an exhibit of Asian paintings that tell stories and a lively performance of folktales from around the globe.

Film debut

The inspiration for the classic children’s book “The Island of the Blue Dolphin,” Juana Maria was a Native American woman stranded on San Nicolas Island for 18 years in the mid-1800s. Now, her real-life story is the subject of a new documentary film, “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” which premieres on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. It's co-presented by Santa Barbara County Archaeological Society. Filmed on location by Paul Goldsmith, it shows the cave she inhabited and other locations, giving an insight into her survival. A post-show discussion of the film and the book features an archaeologist, scientist, historian and Chumash elder. Tickets are $15. (682-4711, www.sbnature.org)

Tales to live by

Boxtales Theatre Company is renowned for its innovative performances based on multicultural folktales and use masks and movement to bring the stories to life. “Stand Up Stories” presents four tales, all lessons “to live by.” Children and adults alike will be enchanted at performances held at the Lobero Theatre on Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

A rash son disobeys his father, Helios, the God of the Sun, and endangers the earth in the Greek tale “Phaethon,” which is ultimately about patience and listening. “The Boy Who Fed Eagles,” from the Pacific Northwest, shows the rewards for showing respect for clan values. A Chinese story, “The Stonecutter,” reveals the danger of envy; and African tale “The Lion’s Whiskers” is about gaining trust. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for children, and $15 for students/seniors, all general admission. (963-0761, www.lobero.com)

Narrative Asian art

Paintings from China, Japan, India and Tibet showcase the diversity of approaches to pictorial storytelling in a new exhibit, “Story-Telling: Narrative Paintings in Asian Art,” opening Sunday at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. This exhibit includes a handscroll annotated with text, a huge panel with successive scenes and a continuous narration in a single frame. It coincides with the exhibit “Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now,” in which the artist experiments with narrative. Renovations are still taking place, so enter the museum from La Aracada. Admission is $10. (963-4364, www.sbma.net)

Flamenco premiere

Award-winning flamenco artist Patricia Guerrero presents the U.S. premiere of her latest work, “Upclose,” at the Lobero Theatre on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. as the culmination of this year’s Flamenco Arts Festival. Guerrero has an acclaimed signature style that has captivated audiences around the world. This intimate show pays tribute to the three elements of flamenco: guitar, song, and dance. Juan José Amador and Paco Iglesias are also featured in what is sure to be an evening of stunning dance. Tickets start at $52, and an optional after party with DJ Real is $14.50. (963-0761, www.lobero.com)

Julia McHugh can be reached at southon101column@yahoo.com.