Deep Ellum Blues History Event: At last, The Deep Ellum Association hosts an event that recognizes the true historical greatness the neighborhood can claim. That is, as a national mecca for the greatest American blues artists around in the '20s and '30s, the men and women who pioneered any and every popular music form you now enjoy - rock n' roll, heavy metal, country and western, folk, even the so-called "alternative" bands, many of whom are reaching backwards to their raw blues roots like no muscial scene has in decades. We're talking, of course, about the blues, a sound no other country on the face of the earth can match. This is where the Deep Ellum Blues History Event will take you, with lots of period music form greats like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bill Neely, and Heat Wave Swing. In addition, there's an authentic "soul f>ood" buffet, a talk by writer and historian Jay F. Brakefield, a personal testimony from a handful of folks who lived and performed during the musical heyday, and a live performance by 72-year-old blues master Big Al Dupree. The party kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Blind Lemon, 2805 Main. Admission is a $5 donation to the Deep Ellum Association. For info call 748-4332.
Celebrate Plano '95: What, Dallasites may be wondering, is there to celebrate about Plano, the land of housing developments and non-violent public schools? Apparently quite a bit, if you judge from the massive 10-day event herewith to be know as Celebrate Plano '95. More than 135 evetns will take place during this time span, with 50 of them charging no admission. Most of them will take place within a three-mile radius of historic downtown Plano. The freebies and the pay events are too detailed to describe here, but you get a wide roster of live acts that includes swing, country and western, Tejano, and European folk, as well as a film festival that features local talents, live theatrical performances, street dances, poetry readings, visual arts shows, and a lot more. Celebrate Plano '95 opens the celebration today at 5 p.m. at Haggard Park on H Avenue between 15th and 16th streets, followed at 7 p.m. by a "people's procession" to the Municipal Center at K Avenue and 15th. For tickets or more information call 520-ARTS.
State Fair of Texas: What can you say about the State Fair of Texas except that anyone who's grown up in North Texas knows to time the arrival of autumn by its opening - even if they haven't actually attended the thing in years. The State Fair of Texas is the place where the free food samples are never as good as the previous year; where the wirebound livestock pens always smelll the same and let you know you're near the Midway; where awful junk food like cotton candy, Pink Things, and corny dogs is the staple diet; where you can collect plastic bags full of free auto company pam>phlets and be serenaded by the glittery-gowned runway models who stand beside cars atop revolving platforms; where you will see many people vomit not from alcohol or drugs, but from the combined experience of overpriced fried food and rides that are too fast. Those are the things we love about theState Fair. The new features include fireworks shows; equestrian demonstrations; historical reenactments; and free performances by headliners like Cheap Trick and Clint Black. The Fair is open every day September 29-October 22. Building hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tickets are $4-$8, with kids under 3 admitted free and senior over 60 free every Thursday. Charge for parking in Fair Park in $5. For info call 565-9931.
Cavalcade of Folk Art: For anyone who's decried the limited space available to The Webb Gallery in Waxahachie - the only venue space in the state of Texas dedicated to so-called "self-taught" artists - they can now celebrate a historic moment fo an institution that wishes to salvage lost history. Last summer, The Webb Gallery began the process if moving into a historic building in downtown Waxahachie that offers them 5,000 square feet of gallery space. The inagural exhibit in the new space has been rather generically titled Cavalcade of Folk Art. There are three artists represented in this show, all of whom tap into spiritual traditions. Virginia sculptor Robert Howell started decorating his land with sculptures of animals and various abstract wind-powered designs based on materials he discovered around him. Baltimore Glassman works on any glass surfaces he can find, although he'll work with wood and canvas in his attempts to get his word-messages across. Louisiana-born artist Chuckie, labeled "developmentally delayed" by the state, has created hundreds of paintings and other works in his lifetime. The Webb Gallery is open Saturdays & Sundays, 1-5 p.m. and by appointment at 209-211 W. Franklin in Waxahachie. It's free Call (214) 938-8085.
Cutting> Edge Haunted House: In some ways, the folks who operate the Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth flirt with disaster every year, if only because the sheer size of their location - two stories and more than 110,000 square feet, housed in the former Pacific Railway warehouse - indicates that somebody's gonna freak out before the tour is over and try to get out fast. Getting out fast is the point of The Pit, a 40,000 square-foot black maze of interconnected passageways that tests your nerves and your ingenuity, with prizes awarded to the record-holders of the month. The organizers of The Cutting Edge Haunted House claim it's the largest high-tech annual haunted house in the nation. The house opens its doors today from 7 p.m.-midnight and then kicks off a regular schedule on October 6. It's located at I-30 & Lancaster in downtown Fort Wort, in the Pacific Railway Warehouse. Tickets are $10.50-$15. For info call (817) 792-FEAR.
Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra: When you think of the pharse "big band," you automatically conjure pictures from a much-mythologized era - USO benefits, political unity among Americans across the board, Benny Goodman leading his band. As a musician for more than 35 years, composer-arranger-pianist-bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi works in the big band tradition, but she leaves the nostalgia to the dreamers and has set about producing the largest body of jazz work ever created by an American woman. With her tenor saxophonist husband Lew Tabackin, she founded the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra back in 1982 and has been piling up Grammy nominations ever since. Being a Japanese-American woman, Akiyoshi is used to having people call her a trailblazer, but gender and ethnicity play a nominal role in her sound, which synthesizes American jazz conventions with Japanese musical theory in a contemporary orchestral setting. Akiyoshi and Tabackin don't tour much, so their Dallas performance, which kicks off the '95-'96 TITAS season is a big deal. The show starts at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-5576.
Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum: Chalk up another international tribute to the Kimbell Art Museum - the venerable Fort Worth institution is one of only two American museums (the other being the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) selected to showcase Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum. The British Museum permanently houses these 250 artworks of the vast, ruthlessly conquering Assyrian empire, which dates back to the first millennium B.C. in northern Mesopotamia. The Assyrians, like the Romans who would follow, were often merciless in their troucing of other nations, but they also had a fuzzy-wuzzy side. The Assyrian rulers, in particular, loved to commission (or steal) and stock their massive palaces with beautiful art works. The treasures in Art and Empire include gigantic carved stone relics and bronze, ivory, and lapis lazuli palace furnishings and decorations. The show opens October 1 and runs through February 4 of next year at 333 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $4-$8. For info call (817) 332-8451.
Mamma Roma: Martin Sorsese is at least as serious a movie fan as he is a filmmaker, which is borne out by his tireless efforts in the name of film preservation. He was the primary instigator behind the re-release of Luis Bunuel's Belle de Jour, which had a hugely successful run earlier this year in art houses all over the country. Another of his 1995 projects was the American premiere of Mamma Roma (1962), the second film by Pier Paolo Pasolini and one of the greatest performances ever by the tempestuous Italian acting dynamo Anna Magnani (her most famous American movie performance was in The Rose Tattoo, a play Tennessee Williams wrote for her but which she had to decline in its original stage version because her English wasn't strong enough; Maureen Stapleton stepped in). Pasolini was a p>oet, filmmaker, and one of the most hotly debated European artists of the postwar era, a gay man endlessly persecuted by the Communist party of his homeland. Mamma Roma is his ode to outsiderhood and endurance, the sweat-drenched saga of a prostitute (Magnani) who attempt to make a good life for her grown son. The film runs September 28 at 7:30 p.m. and October 1 at 2 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Museum, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $4. Call 922-1200.
The North Texas Church of Freethought: The religious right often insists it is among the most persecuted groups living today, a gutsy claim from the single most powerful social force within the American two-party system these days. If you really want to know what persecution feels like, stand up in this very conservative era (especially down here in Baptisville) and proclaim your atheism. The North Texas Church of Freethought has many nicknames for itself - "a congregation of unbelievers," "a church fo the unchurched" - but it is fundamentally a social organization for individuals and families who believe that most world religions are very well-financed, politically influential bastions of superstition and coercion. Why did they themselves organize? They understand that the concept of church fills a very basic need in human nature for fellowship. There are chapters all over the country, and their October service focuses on educating folks on how to use the Internet to access information from atheistic groups all across the world. The October service happens at 10:30 a.m. in the Wilson World Hotel in Irving. It's free and everyone is invited. Call 880-9201.
Colin Powell: If you caught Barbara Walter's hour-long "20/20" interview with General Colin Powell, it's hard not to make a comparison between the man who's heralded in the last few months as the most popular potential presidential candidate and a certain short, large-eared Texas billionaire who was, four years ago, heralded as the most popular potential presidential candidate. Of course, Perot did go on to make a history-making bid for the job, then squandered his cachet on ego and faux coyness. While Powell seems to possess a more even temper, the way he has handled his non-campaign for the presidency is troubling. Powell built his career as a four-star general on a foundation of caution and conformity. The rude, unruly, cutthroat American political scene ain't the U.S. armed forces. Can Powell build consensus in an era when people pride themselves on not listening to each other? Powell appears to sign copies of his autobiography at 6 p.m. at Taylors Prestonwood, 5455 Belt Line Road. For more information call 934-1500.
Brothers: Victims of the Conspiracy: Whether or not you believe O.J. Simpson is guilty of murder, his defense team has managed to raise some troubling questions about the manner in which the Los Angeles Police Department collected and processed evidence. These are the same questions which have been raised for years by folks who insist that Sirhan Sirhan was not responsible, or at least not solely responsible, for the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968. The conspiracy theorists behind RFK's murder don't seem to get as much attention as those who've built a cottage industry around the killing of JFK, but they do indeed exist, and have somewhat of a mentor in researcher-filmmaker Theodore Charach, whose award-winning documentary The Second Gun claims to present new evidence about the murder. Brothers: Victims of the Conspiracy is an exhibit at the Conspiracy Museum presented in conjunction with Charach that outlines the recovery, after 15 years in an Arkansas lake, of a gun owned by one Thane Cesar, a security guard who was behind Kennedy at the time of his death. The Conspiracy Museum is located at 110 S. Market opposite to Kennedy Memorial in the Katy Building. Tickets are $3-$7. For info call 741-3040.