Women's Voices: Kitchen Dog Theatre delivers a calmer though no less cerebral follow-up to its physically draining Zastrossi. Women's Voices is an evening of one-acts described by the company as "feminist"--not a very popular adjective these days. Still, both pieces strive to present a dramatic situation in which a fictional pair of women express thoughts and feelings that are, to this day, considered objectionable for women to harbor. The first piece is the Dog's world premiere adaptation of turn-of-the-century feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman's harrowing short story "Yellow Wallpaper." The tale was Gilman's scorching condemnation of the cruel Victorian practice of confining anxious or moody women to rigorous, round-the-clock bed rest. Kitchen Dog co-founder and Dallas stage talent Sally Nystuen stars as the wretched protagonist who begins to see an alarming array of images in her bedroom wallpaper. The second piece is the American premiere of Canadian playwright Charles Tidler's Straight Ahead. Tidler explores the tangled relationships of a shy but emotionally tumultuous 24-year-old who seizes a moment alone to fantasize about soon-to-be-over World War II and the future of an unborn baby. Women's Voices runs Wednesday-Saturday at 8 pm through February 11 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave at Bowen. For time and ticket information call 520-ARTS.
DecaDance IV: Even while anguished social critics keep announcing that post-modernism is dead (more wishful thinking than reality), people keep plundering the past to comment on the present, cross-pollinating references, spontaneously mixing different media in a drive to initiate art, to itemize and quantify and repeat until everything is equal and equally manipulated. This is the spirit behind the works submitted to "DecaDance IV," the annual experimental performance art forum hosted by Moving Collaborations. Various combinations of music, dance, sculpture, video, poetry, and dramatic readings are presented for your edification (unfortunately, if you should feel a case of heartburn bubbling up, you can't charge its remedy to the hosts). There is, however, one requirement--no piece can last longer than 10 minutes. Does that make the whole event sound more inviting? Moving Collaborations, with special guests from many different artistic fields, perform "DecaDance IV" January 20 & 21 and 27 & 28 at 8 pm in the Teatro Dallas theater space, 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $5. Call 298-6866.
A Dallas Dance Gathering: Speaking of free-lance dancers and choreographers presenting original works, The Dallas Dance Council co-sponsors its ninth annual "A Dallas Dance Gathering." Here, though, the program isn't strictly modern--it encompasses classical, ballet, jazz, and ethnic styles. Included in the presentation is Heywood "Woody" McGriff's "Mosaic Tales," performed by Ohio State University dance instructor Michael Kelly Bruce and partner Lily Cabatu Weiss; "El Manto de la Luna," choreographed by Spanish artist Luis Montero; a Chinese classical solo piece choreographed by Mei Hsiu Chan, a Denton native and current director of her own company in Arizona; and a contemporary work from Darryl Sneed, assistant artistic director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. "A Dallas Dance Gathering" takes place in the Dance Studio Theatre of the Booker T. Washington High School For the Performing Arts, 2501 Flora. Tickets are $5-$8. Call 720-7313.
The 11th Annual Kidfilm Festival: Depend on commercial television to shape your child's mind, and you can bet they'll be poisoned by that paleolithic sedative Barney (sorry, Mr. Purple, Newt is right: you should let the toy sales determine your extinction); the hip, hollow, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; or any of a number of Saturday morning 'toons modeled on popular home video games. There are a small but important group of animators, filmmakers, and video artists out there who recognize that children's entertainment represents not a fast buck, but a rich and rewarding opportunity to create elaborate works of the imagination. The USA Film Festival kicks off its 11th Annual Kidfilm Festival, a two-day program of tributes and screenings of short and feature-length animated and live action films. Highlights include a nod to master animator Henry Selick, the director behind the Tim Burton-conceived 1993 puppetoon extravaganza The Nightmare Before Christmas, with a discussion by Selick, a presentation of his terrific short Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions, and a program of favorite works selected by him; the Dallas premiere of Tall Tales, starring local actor Nick Stahl as a restless farm son who encounters mythical figures of the American West portrayed by the likes of Scott Glenn, Patrick Swayze, and Catherine O'Hara; and a repertory program entitled "KidFilm Noir," featuring three stylized (and sometimes surrealistic) flicks--Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and a pair of Roald Dahl adaptations, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. Kidfilm happens January 21 and 22, 1 pm-the early evening, at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N Central Expressway. Tickets are $3 per program for kids and adults. Call 821-6300.
Ruthless! With 11-year-old Macauley Culkin recently chosen a "Loser of the Week" by Time because of his "three flops in a row," we can only speculate how soon the cynical American media will create another criminal mastermind a la Todd Bridges or Dana Plato from the Diff'rent Strokes cast. At what point does a high salary and intense public scrutiny spoil childhood and redirect it toward the development of an egotistical monstrosity? This is the question posed by Ruthless!, a campy musical-horror story that's still attracting standing-room-only audiences in Off-Broadway theaters. The story combines elements of The Bad Seed with Gypsy, transforming the wannabe child star (Emily Parsons) into the ruthless shark poisoned by the luxurious ego-stroking of a female talent scout (played in drag by Paul Taylor). Here a saintly, devoted mother (Rose Mari Rountree) tries to dissuade her beloved from a career of vanity. Ruthless! runs Thursday and Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 5 & 9 pm; and Sunday at 2 pm through March 5 at Casa Manana's Theatre on the Square, 110 E Third in Fort Worth. Tickets are $15-$18. Call (817) 332-CASA.