Mandalay Las Colinas Festival of Arts: The second annual presentation of this massive, corporate-sponsored public art festival has so many arms, side events, and celebrations, it looks like a gigantic octopus on paper. It would take a couple of pages to adequately list, describe, and give the times for each event, so we'll just fast-forward through them and expect you to attend and get your own schedule. There are poetry readings; street performers; visual art shows that include paintings, sculpture, carvings, etc. and a special exhibit featuring the drawings of John Lennon; a video arts competition chaired by the legendary, it's-impossible-to-underestimate-his-influence video artist and author Kenneth Anger (see the article "Sweet cesspool" in the Film section); a musical stage featuring a host of '70s "classic rock" biggies such as Spencer Davis and Texas world-beat boys Brave Combo; foods from all over the world; and on and on. The Mandalay Las Colinas Festival of Arts happens April 28 & 29, 11 am-midnight; April 30, 11 am-9 pm on the Mandalay Canals in Irving. It's free; yes, free. We promise. Call 831-1881.
North Texas Herpetological Society: In case you're wondering, the North Texas Herpetological Society is not a support group for folks with a venereal disease. Webster's defines "herpetology" as "the branch of zoology having to do with reptiles." In other words, people with fetishes for scales and cold blood get together and compare favorite reptiles. The Society's 3rd Annual Spring Symposium is actually two events--the symposium itself, which boasts lectures by 10 top national herpetological experts as well as field trips and other stuff, and an exposition which features more than 40 herp vendors from around the state selling everything from reptile and amphibian supplies to the little charmers themselves. The symposium is open to the public, though it's geared toward specialists and costs $20-$50. The exposition is more regular-folk friendly, and it's great for kids who get off on snakes and frogs and lizards. The North Texas Herpetological Society presents its public expo Saturday and Sunday, noon-6 pm at the Arlington La Quinta Inn and Conference Center. Tickets are $1-$3. For more info call (214) 933-HERP.
The 20th Annual Bob Marley Festival: African-Unity productions and the folks at Dred 'N' Irie present the 3rd Annual Bob Marley Festival, a convergence of some of the top bands from Jamaica and elsewhere who play the kind of soulful, swaggering, authentic reggae that sends purists higher than a kite. This show originated in Houston 10 years ago and has expanded steadily, first across Texas and then beyond, into an annual touring event. Expect at least several thousand attendees, and if word gets out, a lot more than that. Bob Marley, a guy who loved peace but also knew how to express anger eloquently, would've turned 50 this year. The Bob Marley Festival happens at City Hall Plaza in downtown Dallas, noon-10 pm. Admission is free, but PLEASE bring a nonperishable food item for the Methodism Bread Basket.Call (713) 947-1233.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension: While it might be a stretch for The USA Film Festival to include this cheerful, uneven 1984 curiosity as part of its First Monday Classics series, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension nevertheless has acquired a cult enthusiastic enough to trample me for saying so. If it had been scripted and directed by, say, Terry Gilliam, the movie might have felt sharper and less like it had been written by a bunch of stoned college sophomores--so many ideas and gags are crowded in here, the filmmakers stopped caring which ones were funny and which weren't. Still, Peter Weller mugs with enough icy charm that you don't mind the fact it's all he's doing, and John Lithgow foreshadows his terrific villainous double-turn in Brian DePalma's Raising Cain with Pythonesque oomph. If you've never seen Buckaroo Banzai, then chances are you have a friend who'll drag you to see it. Decide for yourself. The USA Film Festival screens The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension at 7:30 pm at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N Central Expressway. Tickets are $6. Call 821-NEWS.
Stephen Hawking: If there's a question-and-answer session that follows the Willis M. Tate Lecture Series-sponsored talk by physicist and Cambridge mathematics professor Stephen Hawking, somebody should stand up and ask him, "So...what does it, you know, feel like to be so smart?" It might be a relief to Hawking, who's become the quantum physics equivalent of John Bradshaw--a pop guru with a charismatic mastery of complex ideas who has all kinds of strange expectations placed on him. Between his best-seller A Brief History of Time--a sort of Li'l Golden Book about gravity, space, time, and multiple universes--and Errol Morris' feature documentary, Hawking has achieved a media celebrity he probably never envisioned. His ideas are so vigorous and involving they resemble poetry or music in the way you can lose yourself riffing on them. Stephen Hawking speaks at 8 pm in McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $15-$60. Call 768-4315.
Santos & Santos: Poet and playwright Octavio Solis, a native Texan transplanted to San Francisco who made a name for himself in Dallas in the '80s, has collaborated with Dallas Theater Center artistic director Richard Hamburger on a homecoming of sorts--Hamburger directs the DTC's world premiere of Solis' family saga Santos & Santos. A lawyer returns to Texas from an unsatisfying position in California to work at the El Paso firm of his two older brothers, and finds there have been some interesting changes in the firm's clientele. Santos & Santos purports to explore issues both personal and political--from moral responsibility to family to culture identity and assimilation. It's more traditional fare than the work that made Mr. Solis' name in Dallas artistic circles and underground theaters, but he's getting a big-budget boost from the Theater Center's involvement. The Dallas Theater Center presents Santos & Santos Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2:30 & 8 pm; and Sunday at 2:30 & 7:30 pm through May 21 at the Arts District Theater, 2401 Flora. Tickets are $9-$36. Call 522-