Showing Off the DCCCD: As odd as it may seem, the Dallas County Community College District has never before, in its 30-year history, organized a group exhibition of art works by its faculty. When you consider that each community college location launches several large-scale visual arts shows a year, the delay is even more inexplicable. Seventy-five artists representing both full and part-time faculty converge for "Showing Off the DCCCD," and among them are names you may have encountered even if you've never set foot on a campus - Mary Iron Eyes, Nancy Chambers, Martin Delabano, Gordon Young. Ever since El Centro College opened its doors in the mid-'60s, the DCCCD has attracted an increasing number of professional and self-taught artists who already had a community reputation before they discovered their sideline niche as teachers. "Showing Off the DCCCD" opens August 25, 7-9 p.m. at the Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss, and runs through October 6. It's free. Call 821-2522.
Digital Dramas: Computer-Generated Photography & Video: Digitial imagery has already overtaken the commercial movie industry in America, with high-paid computer geeks in labs edging ever closer to computer-designing an actor who won't wave a Screen Actors Guild membership card and won't need a trailor since he'll retire at the end of the day on a three-and-a-half inch disk. Digital imagery has already permeated the visual art world, where artists in the field are usually less interested in saving production costs than in making some kind of personal statement. Both national and Texas artists have contributed work to Digital Dramas: Computer-Generated Photography & Video, a multimedia exhibit that combines common artistic media with the latest technology and applies both to contemporary political, geographical, and social concerns. There are continuously running video screens as well as computer-altered photographs. These days most of us tend to postpone all thinking as soon as we see a video image, but this is one exhibit where you should read the text notes - there's going to be quite a few weird, funny, eerie scenes, so a knowledge of the artist's media, background, and intent will really enhance your pleasure. The opening reception is August 25, 6-8 p.m., and that includes a gallery talk with some fo the artists represented. The show runs through October 21 at the Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main in Arlington. For info call (817) 275-4600.
Taste of East Dallas: Addison, the West End, Deep Ellum, now East Dallas - neighborhoods and provinces are lining up to exhibit their own "Taste of ..." celebrations. It's smart - the way to increased consumer patronage is through our stomachs, although we might consider drawing the line before "Taste of Plano" and "Taste of Mesquite" appear. East Dallas is a section of the city constantly reinventing itself but always retaining the charm of established businesses and old architecture. With honorary chairperson Mayor Ron Kirk presiding over the digs and WFAA-TV Channel 8's resident aw-shuckster Bob Phillips as master of ceremonies, The Taste of East Dallas features munchable donations from more than 30 restaurants in the area, including old friends like Snuffer's, Barbec's, and the Dixie House Lakewood. There's also continuous live entertainment, giveaways, and activities geared especially toward the little ones. The Taste happens 5-8 p.m. at Fair Park Tower Building in Fair Park. Tickets are $15, but kids under 6 get in free. 321-6446.
DeSoto Performance Festival: Those of you who think poetry is an elitist enterprise enjoyed by effete literary types have never been to a poetry slam, which combines the beauty and warmth of spoken-word verse with the audience participation of a monster truck rally. A group of poets sequenced through a random draw are given three minutes to wow the listeners, who at the end of the evening rate each performer with Olympic-style cards. And should Mr. or Ms. Tortured But Eloquent Soul run overtime, a referee blows a loud whistle and continues to do so at 15-second intervals if the microphone isn't surrendered. If you ask us, this is precisely the kind of exposure to hard, cold reality that some wordsmiths need, and it definitely provides a looser atmosphere for potential poetry lovers who might be intimidated by the more traditional reading atmosphere. The DeSoto Performance Festival combines both, with three hours of featured readers and open-mic poets, and three for the slam. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. in the DeSoto Town Center Amphitheatre, Pleasant Run & Hampton in DeSoto. Admission is your generous donation. Call 223-3222.