Events for the week

may 7
Zoo Babies: Sometimes the only way to ease the woes of our hostile, impersonal world is to immerse yourself in cuteness. Visiting the local hospital's maternity ward offers pleasant relief, although the longer you hang around the window staring at the newborns the more likely you'll get called by hospital security for questioning, which tends to take the fun out of goo-gooing and face-making at other people's kids through a sheet of plate glass. Come to a place crawling with cute youngsters where the proprietors not only don't mind you hanging around shouting things like "THEY'RE ADORABLE!" and "I WISH I HAD ONE!"--they charge you for it. The Fort Worth Zoo has devoted the months of May and June to showcasing more than two dozen animal newborns and youngsters. Stations have been set up to give hands-on, audience participation demonstrations on the care of the young. There are also regularly scheduled performances of Wild About Zoo Babies!, a musical revue that tries to sneak some education into the spectacle of singing, dancing animal puppets. Folks who just want to tour the grounds themselves can follow the "Zoo Babies" signs, where specialists are on hand to discuss the task of zoo nurturing. Special events are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday through the end of June at the Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth. Tickets are $2.50-$5.50. Call (817) 871-7000.

may 8
Scott Peck: Back in 1993, military leaders and right-wingers wet themselves over the "bravery" and "character" it took for Colonel Fred Peck to declare at a Congressional hearing, "My son is a homosexual, and there is no place in the military for him." In fact, the admission, made to defuse an anonymous threat by one of son Scott's fellow college students, smelled of opportunism by a seasoned military strategist. The American military has always relied on a rather fragile notion of masculinity to reinforce camaraderie among soldiers, one that turns an outright fear of effeminacy into an obsessive need to make constant references to "fags" and gay sex. This is a blunt truth no military official had the guts to say in public, but that's precious little consolation to the tens of thousands of soldiers with exemplary records who've been tossed out either because they told the truth or a vindictive third party told it for them. Scott Peck (not the author of The Road Less Traveled) had no plans to enter the military, and up until two years ago he didn't envision himself coming out on national television, either. Peck has recently published All-American Boy, his memoirs about life before (including a wretchedly unhappy childhood culminating with his mother's cancer-related death when he was 15) and after he accepted his sexual identity. Scott Peck speaks and signs copies of his book at 7:30 pm in the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 2701 Reagan at Brown. It's free. For info call 521-8919.

may 9
Across Generations: Hispanic Children and Folk Traditions: The best art instructors and art therapists know that children's art follows a remarkably linear development--kid artists share the same themes, the same compositions, and most importantly, a rather finite set of symbols to render people, places, and objects. The best instructors and therapists can look at a picture drawn by an adult, and tell that person the age at which he or she was discouraged from pursuing art. A child's creativity is vigorous but fragile, and often reveals thoughts and feelings with a direct symbolism that adult artists spend their lives burying in obscure creative concepts. The kids represented in the exhibition Across Generations: Hispanic Children and Folk Traditions are all descendants of a mountain settlement in Northern New Mexico called the "santeros." Their name means religious image-carvers, and that's just what they do, with a magnificent obsession. The teacher-apprentice model practiced so long in classic European art circles is exercised here without much thought about the whys. It's a simple matter of kids watching their mothers weave and their fathers carve, which awakens their natural impulse to create. Art is the centerpiece of daily family life among the santeros, utterly ingrained into their relationships. Across Generations: Hispanic Children and Folk Traditions is presented Tuesday-Saturday through July 30 at the Biblical Arts Center, 7500 Park Lane. It's free. For info call 691-4661.

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