Kirk Whalum: In the midst of all those beltway arguments among critics and musicians as to who makes jazz and who makes Cheez-Whiz, certain contemporary artists have chosen to make their mark with a sound that capitalizes on the hippest jazz conventions while, at the same time, delivering an authentic kind of vulnerability, tenderness, and hope. Kirk Whalum performs this classically-influenced variety, what some fans have taken to calling "low-flame jazz," since it burns quieter but more intensely than those clinical, improvisatory models taught at all the big colleges of music. The sounds produced by Whalum's tenor sax are both poetic and very verbal. Listen to a few cuts by Whalum, and you'll start to think his instrument is talking to you, telling stories in a language that combines human communication with something more celestial. Whalum has retained that sense of approachable earthiness by continually returning to the music of his youth--gospel and rhythm & blues. That this artist comes to Dallas to present his work in an almost archetypal jazz environment--the dim, intimate, at-one-time-it-really-was-world-famous Venetian Room--only raises the entertainment stakes for audiences. Kirk Whalum performs June 22 at 7 & 9 pm and June 23 at 8 & 10 pm in the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N Akard. $25-$29. For more information call 373-8000.
Clean, Shaven: Quite a few passionate, left-leaning First Amendment defenders have found themselves in the position of championing films whose content makes them decidedly uncomfortable. Such is the road that a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian must tread upon. In order to preserve something as basic and sublime as the human need to express, we must stand up for movies like Clean, Shaven, Lodge Kerrigan's intense, unpleasant, but undeniably effective 1993 study of a man whose obsession with his young daughter causes a lot of nasty things to happen. To put it plainly, Clean, Shaven follows the deterioration of a masochistic schizophrenic child killer, with the various voices who influence him predominant, as well as an occasionally unbearable glimpse of carnage to assure the film some controversy. Ultimately brave and well-made, the movie takes its place alongside Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Man Bites Dog as an authentic celluloid chronicle of pathology. Clean, Shaven opens for a midnight run at the Inwood Theater, 5458 W Lovers Lane. Tickets are $7. For information call 352-5085.
Jazzin' In the Garden: The Sammons Jazz Series moves from its home base at the Sammons Center For the Arts for a special concert with two headliners. Why the change? Well, partly to mark the reason for the event--the recent release of a CD by both Pete Petersen and The Collection Jazz Orchestra and The James Gilyard Quintet--and partly because organizers smartly assumed folks would get off on the chance to hear some live jazz sounds outside. For a $20 admission price, folks can enter the Dallas Horticultural Center, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Fair Park, enjoy the music, sit or dance, and be served complimentary wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, and light appetizers. Both Pete Petersen (whose band The Collection is actually an orchestra with 23 instrumentalists) and James Gilyard have a long history of working with some of the top jazz artists in the country. The concert happens 7-11 pm. Call 520-ARTS.
Hoop-It-Up: If the documentary Hoop Dreams made urban street basketball look exciting simply because it was a training ground for future NBA stars, then the annual street basketball tournament Hoop-It-Up looks at the practice of amateur basketball as a worthy endeavor itself, a phenomenon which can give back to the community much more than just role models for kids. This 10th anniversary version of Hoop-It-Up sends money right back to local charities--in this case, organizations from The Family Place and the SPCA to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Promoters of the event have scrupulously tried to distance themselves from any perception that they are just a basketball competition fundraiser, and have succeeded magnificently--with the event happening every year across the United States as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Organizers say they take care in matching the various local teams so audiences will enjoy maximum suspense. Accompanying the event is The 10th Annual June Hoop-It-Up Bonanza, which happens June 24, 9 am-4 pm & June 25, 9 am-3 pm in the Spaghetti Warehouse lot at Dallas' West End in downtown Dallas. Spectators get in free. Call 991-1100.
Teatro Del Barrio Festival of Plays: The Junior Players, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary, have always seen themselves, if only indirectly, as an outreach organization, so it was business as usual when the group got together with SAFUR, Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas, and the Park and Recreation Department's Juvenile Gang Prevention Program to develop an afternoon of live theater by kids who are or might be in trouble. The Teatro Del Barrio Festival of Plays features an original piece, scenes from literature, and an original video production. The Festival kicks off at 4 pm in the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E Lawther. It's free. Call 526-4076.
All In the Timing: If live theater contributes anything to American culture, it offers us clarity, a sense that the various absurd complications in which we find ourselves with friends, family, and lovers are just a part of the noble but exasperating drama that is life. The choices we make may be largely determined by who we are, but the situations which we're forced to navigate are the raw materials playwrights use to create and comment upon human behavior. "Navigate" is a good word to describe what the four talented neophyte actors from the cast of the Dallas production of All In the Timing must do--find efficient and inspired ways to flourish within a series of disconnected absurdist skits. David Ives wrote this critically acclaimed, award-winning script, one of the most celebrated of last year's off-Broadway harvest, that features a man trying to initiate a conversation with a woman while an alarm marks his every mistake; a group of monkeys attempting to finish Shakespeare's Hamlet; a woman trying to shed a speech impediment by learning a new language; and other choice lunacies. All In the Timing opens June 24-26 at 8:15 pm, with a regular run Friday, 8:15 pm; Saturday, 2:30 & 8:15 pm; and Sunday, 2:30 pm through July 23 at Theatre Three in the Quadrangle on Routh St. Tickets are $15-$23. Call 871-3300.