The Women in Theatre Festival: It's easy to fear that a series of short plays performed under the title "The Women in Theatre Festival," presented by the New Horizons Theatre Company and the Bath House Cultural Center, will spend most of their time scoring the obvious political points, but a quick perusal of the synopses for these works shows a spirited diversity of subject matter, and a nice emphasis on comedy as a vehicle to score some uncomfortable truths. There's a farcical exploration of male-female relationships, a broader comedy about a "marriage repairman" trying to heal a violent schism, and even a comic look at domestic violence. Performances of Pink Flamingoes and The Mother of God August 17 at 8 p.m.; Ara Watson's Final Placement and Laura Cunningham's A Man at the Door August 18 at 8 p.m. and 19 at 3 p.m.; Sherry Kramer's The World at Absolute Zero and Lynn Nottage's Poof! August 19 at 8 p.m.; Josefina Lopez's Simply Maria August 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets to the Festival are $10 for performances, $5 for readings, and $25 for a Festival pass. All performances at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. 670-8749.
Janmastami: The Hare Krishna sect in America has gotten a bad rap over the years. You know--bald guy with a ponytail in flowing robes, trying to sell flowers to you at the airport. Pesky though some of their members might be in public, the Hare Krishnas are part of a larger body of Eastern philosophies that both outnumbers and predates the Christian theology. Our snickers at Hare Krishnas reflect not so much on them as they illustrate the wide schism between the Eastern and Western minds. The Hare Krishna Temple at Kalachandji's (yes, it's not just a restaurant) and the Texas Krishnas, Inc. converge to celebrate the Indian holiday of Janmastami. Lord Krishna first appeared to the faithful over 5,000 years ago. In Janmastami, there's the offering of gifts, the ceremonial bathing of the deity figure, street dancing, music, and a vegetarian feast to round it all off. The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. at 5430 Gurley Avenue. For info call 827-6330.
Brave Combo: The name of the latest album by Denton-based world-rhythm blenders Brave Combo is Polkas For a Gloomy World. In case you didn't catch the implication, the boys feel it's their civic duty to shine a little light--and scuff a few floors in the bargain--onto a world too beset by the self-pitying confessional singer-songwriters and death-obsessed industrial outfits and flannel-clad, unwashed guys who make somber melodies out of guitar feedback. To wit, they're hosting another one of their Polka Parties, although you might expect some Latino and African rhythms thrown in when you least expect it. Prizes are awarded to couples who prove they can shake their groove thang in a uniquely Polish way. The fun gets under way around 10 p.m. at the Longbranch Country Club, 1850 Belt Line in pastoral Coppell. Admission is $7.50. Call 462-7715.
Theatre Crawl '95: Three of the most successful Dallas theaters are getting together because they're not satisfied with their current level of patronage. To be specific, they want you, if you're one of those individuals who always thinks about catching a play but just can't seem to make it off the couch. The Dallas Theater Center, The Dallas Children's Theatre, and the Undermain Theatre join talents for one evening guaranteed to offer you a diversity of flavors. Presented by the Playwrights' Project of Dallas, Theatre Crawl '95 is an evening of food, drinks, and a little one-act action--in this case, three short plays the companies hope will provide participants a taste of their unique personalities. The evening kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in the Dallas Theater Center's Kalita Humphreys Theater in Turtle Creek, where a shuttle awaits you after that performance to whisk you away to another. Tickets are $50 per person. For information call 497-1752.
Robert Anton Wilson: It's difficult to summarize in a blurb exactly what historian-author Robert Anton Wilson is coming to Dallas to speak about--this is a guy who deals in subject matter like quantum psychology, reality tunnels, numerology, astrology, the occult practices of folks like Aleister Crowley, and other arcana. Suffice to say if you're a fan of shadowy byways of human knowledge, Wilson has something to say that's right up your alley. He made a name for himself with The Illuminatis Trilogy, a trio of works that explored the real-life exploits of a semi-occultic 18th-century secret society known as The Bavarian Illuminatis, who planned to take over the world through mysticism. Do you follow us so far? Wilson is in town to give a lecture entitled Twelve Eggs In Search of A Box, which illustrates the relationship between the number 12 and the American jury system. Wilson gives a booksigning at 2 p.m. at Forbidden Books, 835 Exposition, and then bops on over to the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell, for a 7 p.m. talk. Call 821-9554.
Buck Ramsey, Andy Wilkinson, Chuck Milner: Cowboy music is often a product of solitude, which explains the yearning, cosmic quality of guys who sit around campfires and pass the whiskey bottle, get misty-eyed over tumbleweeds, and forge spiritual relationships with their cayuses. You'd expect cowboy poetry to be just as fiercely individualistic, shot through with the same sense of humor and emotional restlessness. You'd be right. For a triple shot of this uniquely American art form, check out the performance of three gen-u-ine, nationally recognized cowpokes. Buck Ramsey, Andy Wilkinson, and Chuck Milner have played at music and storytelling festivals all over the world, and won chuck- wagon-loads full of awards and citations. They're converging on the Sons of Hermann Hall to record a live album of storytelling, guitar-strumming, and verse, and they want you to come share the experience. The evening begins at 8 p.m. at the Hall, 3414 Elm. Tickets are $5-$7. For information call 747-4422.
Gospel Jubilee: Most people forget that Billboard magazine charts the sales of gospel albums just as it tallies rock and country. Slowly, sales of Christian-inspired music are overcoming jazz, world music, and easy listening, with the sad trend being that so-called "Christian Contemporary"--the pablum churned out by moussed-up white boys and girls with synthesizers--has set the trend for devotional music. African-American artists who create the more traditional, roof-raising spirituals aren't exactly a growth industry. But for a dose of old-time religion by young folks, check out the annual Gospel Jubilee concert at Six Flags. Hezekiah Walker and his Love Fellowship Crusade Choir (which currently has two albums in Billboard's Top 40), Canton Spirituals, and Mississippi Choir round out the bill. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. in the Music Mill Amphitheatre of Six Flags on I-30 in Arlington. Tickets are $4, plus park admission. For info call 373-8000.
New Arts Six: If you've never seen New Arts Six, the sextet of women who weave music, storytelling, poetry, and acting into a tour of African and American folk traditions, you're missing out on a treat. They become a different outfit each night of the week, depending on which influence they choose to emphasize. For this latest performance at the legendary Dallas Grand Hotel, they've chosen to highlight their sleek, sophisticated side. The evening is called "Cool Jazz in Hot August: Serving Collard Greens To Caviar," and features an impressive roster of Dallas jazz artists--including Roger Boykin, Carla Hopkins, Simone Jackson, and Sandra Kaye--who've committed to perform half-hour sets. The evening happens 5-9 pm at the Dallas Grand, 1914 Commerce Street in downtown Dallas. Tickets are $15. Call 520-2787.
Behold the People: R.C. Hickman's Photographs of Black Dallas: Retired photographer R.C. Hickman, a nationally celebrated freelance artist who was, for a time, the official picture-snapper of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is happy that his latest exhibition is being posted in the first-floor lobby of Dallas City Hall. He says that all the people who come there to do their daily business with the city can get a gander at some of the unsung heroes who helped shape it. Behold the People: R.C. Hickman's Photographs of Black Dallas, 1949-1961 features the very best images culled from thousands of pictures taken during a crucial 11-year period, a time when the American civil rights movement really grew legs and started marching. In addition to photos of average citizens making their way in a decades-old Dallas, the exhibition features luminaries like Dr. King, Thurgood Marshall, Ella Fitzgerald, and Eleanor Roosevelt making visits to the city. Behold the People runs through August 31 at City Hall, 1500 Marilla Street. 426-1683.
Sweet Medicine: Although the three artists represented in Sweet Medicine: Indian Spiritual and Southwest Paintings are Dallas-based, they've explored the American Southwest and its rich tradition of Indian folklore and imagery, prompted by personal ethnic heritage or explorations in the states that inspired them. Carol Peterson, Filiberto Chapa, and Wendy Myers are painters who take traditional forms like landscape and portraiture and attempt to give them the same sense of rustic calm and organic simplicity with which many American Indian artists have distinguished themselves. Sweet Medicine opens August 18, 7:30-9:30 p.m., through September 2 at the Milam Gallery, 5224 Milam. Call 821-9045.
Greg Travis: Though you might not think being nicknamed the "Fuck-You Guy" by your professional peers is a compliment, stand-up comic Greg Travis earned that charming moniker years ago for one of his original creations, a manic, confrontational punk magician. Travis, who was born and raised in Dallas but left our fair city at the age of 19 to seek his fortunes in Los Angeles, has already discovered what countless other TV and film stars found--the best way to a successful acting career is in the comedy clubs. Travis has a prominent role in director Paul Verhoeven's upcoming flesh-fest Showgirls, and already in the can is a feature film he wrote and directed. Okay, okay, you say--but is he funny? He mixes original characters, uncanny impressions, sketches, and one-liners with a wild energy. The fact that he looks like a French intellectual disarms audiences from the get-go. Travis performs August 23 & 24, 8 p.m. and August 25 & 26, 8-10:30 p.m. at Live 2 Nite Comedy Club, 770 Road to Six Flags East in Lincoln Square Shopping Center in Arlington. Admission is $5-$10. For information call (817) 226-LIVE.
Club Dada's Poetry Showcase: Although the crowded Wednesday night showcase at Club Dada in Deep Ellum often highlights a rag-tag assortment of open mic readers, this evening is given over to a special collaborative showcase featuring four Dallas-based poet-performers. Lora Cain is a nationally syndicated radio show host (you've heard her in Dallas on KRLD 1080) who reads from her published poetry and dances; Chris Boyce is a writer and visual artist who specializes in multimedia presentations; Fran Carris is a visual artist and a contributing editor to the Dallas-based poetry 'zine The Word; and Cassandra Fink dabbles in poetry, dancing, and drumming. Their show kicks off 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Dada, 2720 Elm. Admission is $2. Call 744-