Deborah Mathis: As strange as it seems, the normally indefatigable national press has been cowed by House blowhard Newt Gingrich's claims that they are "a tool of the Democratic Party" (a charge leveled at professionals who, over the past two years, nailed Bill Clinton--sometimes fairly, sometimes hysterically--to the wall). Scenes like the post-Connie Chung fall-out in which Washington Press Corps members cluster around the Speaker's car asking, "Is your mother a liar?" have fueled the easily stirred ire of the talk-radio crowd. Dallas now has a chance to hear--and question--a woman who has made a living over the past two decades covering urgent national issues from Washington. Deborah Mathis is syndicated countrywide as a columnist by Gannett News Service. She has worked for both print and television, covering a wide range of socio-political issues from Nixon's resignation to the Gulf War (she traveled to Kuwait from Arkansas during that brouhaha and provided on-the-spot coverage). Still, her first love is national politics. Deborah Mathis speaks on "My Public Years Abroad: Not About Travel" at 10:30 am in the performance hall of Brookhaven College, 3939 Valley View Lane in Farmers Branch. It's free and open to the public. Call 620-4117.
Superconductivity and Modern Alchemy: Does science, as an institution, actually inhibit the discovery of knowledge by its fiercely restrictive and exclusive regulation of methods and entire fields of study? Many maverick AIDS activists have claimed so for a decade now, decrying researchers' single-minded pursuit of the HIV virus. At the same time, some feminist scholars maintain that the significant gender differences seemingly delineated by physiological and psychological tests are actually determined by the questions asked. Enter into this fray David Hudson, a chemist who raised more than a few eyebrows among his colleagues by patenting, in 1988, 11 single-atomic, nonmetallic elements. These orbitally rearranged monatomic elements (ORMES) all contained traces of previously established elements such as platinum, iridium, osmium, and palladium, yet they were, unlike those materials, superconductors (in other words, they possessed the property of acting as pathways for energy currents). What Hudson believes he'd found were the so-called "white powders" of alchemy, a field of study officially discredited a couple of centuries ago for pursuing a quasimystical link among all the elements. Why should you care? The discredited Hudson shares with genetic engineers the claim that they can mess with the very soul of the universe. David Hudson gives his talk before the Eclectic Viewpoint at 7:30 pm in the Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane. Admission is $15 per person. For more info call 601-7687.
Wynton Marsalis Quartet: The American art form of jazz is not given to popular consumption. It never has been, of course, but audiences continue to dwindle for the kind of defiant, arhythmic, tonally complex music pioneered by Charlie and Miles and Thelonius. Much of what's being produced now under the label "jazz" is, in fact, the go-down-smooth pop confections that have more to do with attitude than content. This is a dilemma Wynton Marsalis recognized early on, which is why, less than two decades ago, he decided to devote himself to the kind of jazz--at once difficult and universal, demanding and accessible--that inspired him as a youth. As he approaches 40, his dedication to the improvisational purity of the sound has grown greater, not to mention his determination to cultivate that predilection among younger artists--the average age of the other three members in the Wynton Marsalis Quintet is 21. They perform at the invitation of TITAS at 8 pm in McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-5576.
El Corazon: For three successive Februarys now, artists from Dallas and around North Texas have converged for an exhibition that asks them to render their interpretations of the human heart. Since most of us regard the heart as the only thing that keeps us alive (odd, since it's the brain that allows us to formulate such a concept in the first place), at what point do the organic and spiritual connotations of that organ collide? Is heart something in our chest or something in our character, and if it's both, at what stage do the boundaries begin to blur? These might not be the kinds of questions you wish to ponder on Valentine's Day, but they're behind the multimedia presentations offered in El Corazon. The third annual El Corazon exhibit holds a reception for the artists February 11, 6-8 pm. The Kobushi Taiko Japanese Drummers, an interesting mixture of cultural influences, perform for the opening. The show is open through February 25 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E Lawther on White Rock Lake. It's free (but seating is limited). Call 670-8749.
Voices of Change: When former Dallas Symphony conductor Eduardo Mata died in a plane crash, a sizable local community of fellow musicians and music lovers deeply mourned the loss of a man they'd never even met. The members of Voices of Change, Dallas' premier 20th-century chamber ensemble and recent recipient of some impressive national awards, can claim a more personal loss--over the last couple of decades they'd worked frequently with the generous Mata on various projects. Now, they offer their own tribute, in a program that includes works by the great Mexican composers Carlos Chavez and Silvestre Revueltes. Voices of Change presents its "Tribute to Maestro Eduardo Mata" at 3 pm in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. It's free and open to the public, which means in addition to acknowledging a past great talent, the uninitiated can sample the performance of one of Dallas' great treasures. For information call 368-0080.