Brave Combo: Speaking of weird and wonderful ways to approach the upcoming holiday weekend, Denton-based masters of the world pulse Brave Combo present their annual, packed-to-the-rafters holiday show, featuring music off their 1992 yuletide album It's Christmas, Man. The boys only warm their chestnuts on an open fire one concert a year (and even then, they keep a nervous eye on the door to make sure the cops don't bust them for public lewdness), so that means if you miss this performance, you'll have to wait another 12 months to hear the samba version of "O, Christmas Tree" and numerous other classics and originals, reenergized, of course, with the supremely danceable international grooves they've rendered permanently hip. Brave Combo promises to devote equal time to Hanukkah rhythms and melodies, which means those in the Jewish community who are sick to death of hearing about Christ and Santa Claus can sample some musical traditions more appropriate to their festivities (those of us who can swear we've never heard a word of Yiddish drop out of Carl Finch's mouth before will be in for a treat as well). They're calling their Dada performance "A Brave Combo Christmas Pageant," so expect a few surprises of the audience-participation variety. Brave Combo performs at 9 pm at Club Dada, 2720 Elm. For more information call 744-DADA.
Trees, Toys, and Traditions: The Irving Arts Center had so much success with its Christmas tree exhibition last year that it decided to make it an annual tradition and give each yuletide season a different theme. This year's theme is the not-too-mentally-taxing "Christmas Through the Eyes of A Child," and so the Trees, Toys, and Traditions: The Arts in Irving Celebrate features many elaborately festooned trees, each by a different arts organization of the city. A panel of celebrity judges from WRR 101.1 FM, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and KDFW-TV Channel 4 gave out their awards for favorites three weeks ago based on appearance, how well the tree represents the organization, and how creatively the theme was developed. If you just can't bear to let the 1994 Season of Good Will pass without one more tinsel fix, stop by and peruse the exhibition--it'll be up through January 2, 1995. Also part of the show is art work created by elementary students from the Irving Independent School District and winners from the 1994 international art competition entitled "Families Celebrating Year-End Holidays." Trees, Toys, and Traditions is on display through January 2 at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N MacArthur Blvd in Irving. It's free. For more information call 252-7558.
Ronald Judkins: One of the audio wizards who worked on the team that looped an Oscar for Jurassic Park will speak about his impressive recent accomplishments at the invitation of the Dallas Communications Council. (Suggested question for the Q&A segment--how the hell did they come up with that terrifying bellow-screech that erupts from the jaws of the Tyrannosaurus Rex?). Ronald Judkins, a former Dallasite and Southern Methodist University student, is a much-sought-after Hollywood sound technician. Spielberg's box office dino-mite is only one blockbuster that bears a Judkins credit--he also worked on the sound for Schindler's List (a film he says he's prouder of than Jurassic Park, because Spielberg gave him more creative freedom on that one), the new Miracle on 34th Street, Toys, Hook, and Drugstore Cowboy, as well as countless high-profile television projects. Judkins promises to keep his discussion of the sound process at an accessible level, and he'll venture at length into one of his pet assertions--that Hollywood studio blockbusters really don't use the best and most up-to-date sound technology available, because they've got so much money tied up in mono equipment and other fossilized sound junk they don't want to chuck it all and go really high-tech. This is a must-be-there for every die-hard Hollywood fan. Ronald Judkins speaks at the request of the Dallas Communications Council at 6:30 pm at the Stokes Group, 5602 Dyer. For admission information call 869-0222.
Jim Bailey: You can't spit these days without hitting a (presumably) heterosexual male box office star showing how he's so secure with his masculinity, he'll gladly learn to tease a wig and walk in high heels for a few laughs. This phenomenon really is a question of financial, not sexual, security, since Mrs. Doubtfire netted well over $200 million and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert has become this year's runaway art-house hit. Here's a little secret from inside the community that turned drag into an art form, in the interest of educating hetero consumers to make smart entertainment choices: there are two kinds of drag, the really good and the really terrible. And unfortunately, there's a lot more of the latter than the former. Men putting on a dress is only inspired when they create a character to go with it--when they actually take a cultural risk and attempt to become the opposite sex in as much performance detail as possible. Caking on foundation and base, bitching at the audience, and lip-synching to Diana Ross ballads isn't artistry, it's tedious. There's a wide chasm between Robin Williams in the aforementioned Mrs. Doubtfire, a mediocre movie lifted by Williams' carefully studied turn as a crotchety old British nanny, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior, a wretched flick made even more appalling by the Austrian Republican's lazy, Milton Berle-esque walk-on in a frock. It's also the difference between the thousands of drag artists who ape diva Barbra Streisand and Jim Bailey, who's taken the time not only to adopt the minutest details of her mannerisms with uncanny accuracy, but develop a singing voice that rivals the original. If you still say, "What's the point?" then you've read too far. Jim Bailey performs December 27 through December 30 at 8 pm and December 31 at 8 and 10:30 pm at the Playhouse at Park Cities, 6719 Snider Plaza. Tickets are $25-$40. For more information call 691-7469.