Environmental Electromagnetic Fields and Health: The North Texas Skeptics, a non-profit organization dedicated to debunking conspiracy theories, crackpot science, exploitative spiritualism, and other irrational expressions, has long made it a mission to challenge paranoid organizations, and the latest presentation, "Environmental Electromagnetic Fields and Health," is no exception. They've invited John Blanton, a physics expert, to address the many wild theories that abound concerning how power lines, home appliances, and other innocuous conductors of electricity cause cancer or other maladies. There's no established scientific relationship, and the Skeptics want to explore where this idea comes from. Still, they might consider the old saying "Even a paranoid has enemies": science has on occasion chosen to serve big business over public well-being. The discussion happens at 2 p.m. in the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak and Liberty. It's free and open to the public. Call 558-1047.
Connections: African Vision in African American Art: The African American Museum opens a show that aspires, in part, to better understand the dichotomy of philosophies and cultural traditions that exists between Africa and America--and within the African-American community--as a continuous source of creative inspiration. Connections: African Vision in African American Art showcases traditional African art alongside contemporary works by black American artists, so visitors can come to their own conclusions about where one source begins, where the other ends, and how they are sometimes reconciled in the work of one individual. The show runs through July 28, 1996 at the African American Museum in Fair Park. The show is free. For more info call 565-9026.
Big Cat Weekend: Last weekend the Fort Worth Zoo opened a show that might unofficially be called "The Big Lizard Weekend," although the huge Komodo Dragons will be on display in comfy environs for a while now. In keeping with the "bigger is better" theme, the Zoo hosts a pair of very large, very toothy creatures who are playing this gig as a limited engagement only. The sixth annual Big Cat Weekend is designed to captivate visitors with the grace and beauty of predatory felines you will hopefully never find digging in your garbage can, and while officials have our attention, to educate us about the very real danger of extinction these animals face. This year the featured attractions are a North American cougar and a four-month-old Bengal tiger. There is also a variety of cat-related kiddie activities. Show times are 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:30, and 4 p.m. August 12 & 13 at 1989 Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth. Admission is $2.50-$5.50. For info call (817) 871-7000.
Neck: Matthew B. Zrebski, a co-artistic director of the Southern Methodist University-based Youth Could Know Theatre Company, worked this year with internationally acclaimed playwright Eric Overmyer, and the playwright/recent SMU graduate counts Overmyer as an early fan of his work. The phrase "cutting edge" is thrown around a lot these days, but if you really want to catch a young writer at the beginning of his career, then come see Youth Could Know's production of Zrebski's baroque drama Neck. The play takes us through the skeleton-filled closets of a wealthy family who've learned to live with vampirism as a disease. Inevitably, the affliction comes to overwhelm and define them. The company performs Neck every night August 14-20 at 8 p.m. in Basement Theatre B-450 of the Meadows School of the Arts on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. For information call 361-7847.
Geof Darrow: Nowadays it seems like most comic book artists are trying to outdo each other in the let's-shock-Bob-Dole contest--the alternate universes and post-apocalyptic planets so brilliantly envisioned by the cutting-edge guys are crammed with blazing guns, knife battles, personal vendettas, mutant psychos, and women who more often than not don't wear brassieres. Comic illustrator Geof Darrow has earned his share of fans by dabbling in this stuff, in particular his splendidly sordid graphic version of neo-noirist Andrew Vachss' Another Chance To Get It Right. But Darrow also has a cuddly side--he's designed several characters for the Hanna-Barbera animation mill, and his latest opus, Big Guy and Rusty the Robot Boy, is designed to be held in big and little hands alike. Darrow makes his only Texas appearance to chat and sign copies from 4-7 pm at Einstein's Comics, 1540 Northwest Highway in Garland. For information call 270-7878.
Dick Armey: Last week the Dallas faithful came flooding out to greet horror novelist Anne Rice, bedecked in their finest white face makeup, coffin shrouds, and fake teeth. Dick Armey, majority leader of the House of representatives, is an author with no less fanatical a following. His new tome The Freedom revolution is, along with Newtie's American Civilization book, a call to arms for the new conservative revolution. We think Armey deserves no less than the carnival-like atmosphere that surrounded rice's appearance--our collective mind reels at the possibilities. Participants could pay a dollar and get the chance to dunk an unwed mother on welfare (all proceeds benefit the NrA). We can hear the delighted giggles as the faithful poke and prod a gigantic piĖata shaped like an ATF agent. Armey appears--alas, without the appropriate fanfare--to sign copies of his book at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 8525 Airport Freeway in North richland Hills. For information call (817) 281-7042.