In the Land of the Deaf: A recent Spy magazine essay pinpointed with deadly accuracy the career rewards many Hollywood actors and actresses reap when they portray a character with a physical impairment. While it seems there aren't enough such roles to go around for performers eager to bask in the reverse glamor of the disabled, there's a conspicuous dearth of work for actors and actresses who are themselves impaired in some way--one need only look at the post-Oscar career plunge suffered by Marlee Matlin to realize this. Some deaf people have long decried the use of hearing actors in nonhearing roles when there are, in fact, deaf theater groups all over the country full of actors eager and able for the task. French filmmaker Nicholas Philibert was particularly aware of this gulf between reality and presentation on film when he decided to make his feature documentary In the Land of the Deaf. The final result is plainspoken and traditional in form, but the filmmaker has achieved something quite singular thematically. Philibert, a hearing man, follows the daily lives of a handful of folks who cannot hear, including a little boy making a difficult voyage into the written language; a veteran teacher of sign language whose hands can't keep up with all the stories he's collected over the years; and a young couple who are forced to interact with the hearing world when planning a marriage and their living arrangements. Philibert has constructed a landscape--even an entire universe--separate from but parallel to the one nondeaf folks inhabit. Indeed, those of us with full ear capacity experience the eerie but enlightening position of being the outsiders, beautifully summed up in a scene at the newly wedded couple's reception. At least half the guests there aren't deaf, and when the band quits, the dance, for them, is over. But not for the couple of the moment--they keep right on sweeping across the floor, oblivious to everything but their own steps. The Dallas Museum of Art screens In the Land of the Deaf March 9 at 7 pm, March 11 at noon and March 12 at 3 pm in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. Tickets are $4, except for the Thursday screening, where the suggested donation is $5. For screening information call 922-1319. For a list of events surrounding Deaf Awareness Week, call 783-8963.
St. Patrick's Day Parades: The Irish have been famous down through the centuries for their tempers, but don't worry, you're safe as far as having to decide between the two big St. Patrick's Day parades in Dallas. There's no rivalry going on between the organizers of these separate events, at least none that can be discerned from the schedule--one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade is the smaller of the two, but also the homier. Howard Stern's own Gary "Baba Booey" Deli-Abate is the Grand Marshal, heading a crowd of Stern look-alikes and conducting a contest for floats and costumes in a number of categories. The Downtown Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade attracted over 25,000 people last year, and the crowd is expected to be bigger this year, because 1994's event was televised locally on Channel 21--and people make pains to appear places where there's a TV camera. The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off March 11 at 11 am and travels north to south from Greenville at Blackwell to Greenville at Yale. For info call 368-6722. The Downtown Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade starts March 12 at 2 pm on Main Street east of Pegasus Plaza, turning into the West End. For more information call 991-6677.
West End 5 Mile Run: For nine years now, The West End Five Mile Run has been staged for a steadily increasing number of participants. But the organizers have finally noticed a trend--every year, half the entrants have chosen to walk rather than run--and adjusted their program accordingly. This year, they offer a separate 5K walk for those who wish to take life at a slower pace. More than $4,000 in prize money is to be given away, with the top prize $500 each for the male and female record-breakers in the run-only and wheelchair divisions. Last year, some 7,000 people took part. The West End 5 Mile Run takes place at 9 am at the corner of Record and Ross. Entry fee is $10 for kids, $17 for adults, with all proceeds benefiting Texas Special Olympics. For more information call 943-9984.
Paul K and the Weathermen: When a musician's press biography lists "junkie" among his many accomplishments, it's tempting to roll your eyes and guess that here's another middling talent trying to get as much glamor mileage as he can out of his personal demons. That would be a mistake in the case of Paul K, a Michigan-born, Kentucky-based singer-songwriter-guitarist whose original songs speak a sometimes funny, sometimes chilling well of experience. Simply put, his music pulses with an authenticity that no amount of tragic hipster marketing could ever dilute, although there are probably major labels out there who'd love to try. Mr. K and his Weathermen, a motley back-up band who've changed names and personnel numerous times over the last 10 years, create the kind of lurching, squalid rock 'n' roll that provides a catharsis similar to the cry-in-your-beer twang-balladry of Hank Williams and George Jones. But beer may not be quite enough to shake the regret, frustration, and sadness that permeate the ensemble's latest album, Garden of Forking Paths. Paul's ragged voice, often self-assured enough to make his lyrics sound wise rather than self-pitying, sails over ringing guitars and a mid-tempo beat. It's not what you'd call an uplifting experience, but when this crew brings you through the hailstorm of romantic despair, you'll know you've visited somewhere profound and even ennobling. Paul K and the Weathermen perform at 7 pm at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave at Bowen, as part of the MAC's "True Songs of the Highway Patrol" series. Tickets are $8. Call 953-1MAC.