Rhinoceros: As a pioneering member of the school of writing known as Theater of the Absurd, French dramatist Eugene Ionesco, in the minds of some critics, came to typify the image of the pretentious, self-important Gallic intellectual. Indeed, Ionesco was a rabble-rousing humanist of the old school whose best works aren't supposed to mean anything deeper than what you see on stage - life is arbitrary, ambiguous, existential comedy. Perhaps his best work, and certainly his most famous, is the scary-funny dark comedy Rhinoceros, a play whose original London cast included Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright. It's the story of one man who tries to resist mob mentality - in this case, the increasing pressure by friends, neighbors, and family to join the crowd and become a rhinoceros. Rising Moon Theatre performs Rhinoceros Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. through November 11 at Swiss Avenue Theater, 2700 Swiss Avenue. Tickets are $5-$12. Call 824-9859.
Philip Glass' La Belle et la Bete: Live musical accompaniment to old black-and-white films is often a rather scattered affair, since most musicians are often more interested in publicly displaying their own free-form virtuosity than truly complementing the film in question. Philip Glass conceived of something a little more ambitious when he decided to accompany Jean Cocteau's 1946 classic La Belle et la Bete with a musical ensemble that includes seven instrumentalists and four opera singers. The result has earned him the nationwide acclaim that Glass is, by now, accustomed to receiving. He and his musical co-conspirators come to Dallas under the auspices of TITAS to perform his "Wagner Meets Cocteau" score while the film screens. Performances are October 19-21 at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-5576.
Barbie Meets Whiplash: Dottie Whiplash is a musician/performance artist/visual artist/poet and venerable Dallas rabble-rouser. If you didn't catch her live ceremonial "performance" of rabid cavewomen consuming Rush Limbaugh, then maybe you've caught her "Barbie in Bondage" at the Milam Gallery's annual Erotic Art Show. Ms. Whiplash headlines a show called Barbie meets Whiplash that features a mix of her own art and music as well as the fine sounds of The Lucky Bible Co. and The Boozaphonics. The evening kicks off at 9 p.m. at the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell Blvd. across from Samuell Grand Park. Tickets are $5. For more information call 821-FILM.
Portals: With their last show Legacies of Health, Happiness, and Harmony, the gallery Lloyd-Paxton displayed 74 pieces of rare and precious Chinese art. Now they're traveling even farther east to India, with an exhibition of priceless architectural artworks. The one-word title, Portals, says it all - these are ornately designed entrances for the homes of India's wealthy that date all the way back to the 16th century. The symbolism of the door wasn't lost on the Indian gentry, who decorated their doors with appropriate splendor. Portals opens with a reception the evening of October 20 at the Lloyd-Paxton, 3636 Maple Avenue. It's free. For information call 521-1521.
A Litany of Survival: When Audre Lorde died of breast cancer three years ago, the poet, essayist-activist was mourned by fans who felt less like they'd lost an idol than a dear friend whose journey they shared. Lorde was a feminist who knew that her status both as an African-American and a lesbian didn't fit in with the largely hetero, white middle-class ranks that swelled the second wave of the women's movement in the '50s. She came to symbolize the struggle for identity and self-respect that so many other feminists also encountered but didn't chronicle with nearly as much warmth and insight. Cathedral of Hope screens the feature-length documentary A Litany of Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde, which examines the activist life of a woman who many say lost her rightful place as symbolic leader of the women's movement to the more conventionally attractive, hetero, Caucasian Gloria Steinem. All proceeds from A Litany of Survival benefit breast cancer charities. The show starts at 7 p.m. at 5910 Cedar Springs. Tickets are $3. Call 351-1901.
Texas Brewers Festival: There are two kinds of people who will attend the Texas Brewers Festival - those connoisseurs who really do, as the press material says, "appreciate fine quality craftbeer brewed in Texas," and then those people who appreciate quantity, not quality, in their alcoholic beverages. The Texas Brewers Festival is keenly aware of this, and so has enlisted the Yellow Cab Company to offer rides to the temporary disabled. If you know you fall into that category, be smart and take them up on the offer. Ten different brewpubs from Waco, Austin, San Antonio, Midland, Houston, Dallas, and Shriner are offering patrons the best of their wares, which are purchased with $2 wooden tokens and distributed in a $3 mug you must purchase in order to drink. The Texas Brewers Festival happens October 21, noon - 8 p.m. and October 22, 2 -8 p.m. in Sundance Square of downtown Fort Worth. For info call (817) 336-7468.
The Dance Consortium: The Dallas-based modern dance company The Dance Consortium performs an educational-entertainment seried called Balletmobile every year. Balletmobile is geared toward developing a sense of appreciation in children for the medium of dance. Their latest kids' program, What?, is a play-within-a-concert about a dance troupe whose individual members speak differnt languages and must use their athletic skills to communicate a story about themselves to each other. The musical program includes Rossini's "William Tell Overture," Sibelius' "Valse Triste," and Offenbach's "Orphee aux Enfers." What? is performed October 20 at 7 p.m. and October 21 at 2 & 7 p.m. at the University of Texas at Dallas, Floyd & Campbell in Richardson. Tickets are $6-$8. For info call 883-2915.
Prophets and Losses: Jewish Experience and Visual Culture: Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts plays host to Prophets and Losses: Jewish Experience and Visual Culture, a two-day symposium that casts a wide net over the relationship between Judaism, visual art, and performance during the last 150 years. Twelve internationally recognized artists and art historians converge to discuss topics that might sound a tad obscure to some ears - one of the guests, SMU professor Janis Bergman-Carton, discusses the research for her upcoming book with a lecture about the cult of the Jewess in the late 19th-century France. Other topics include Jewish caricatures, the Holocaust, and the Dreyfuss Affair. The event happens October 22, 8:45 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. and October 23, 9:30 a.m. - noon in SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center. For additional info call 768-3822.
Texas Horror House: The task of picking haunted houses to attend each October is sort of like trying a new restaurant - since there are so many elements to a successful establishment, that means there are an equal number of opportunities for screw-ups. Rest assured that the organR>>izers of Texas Horror House, which benefits the very worthy non-profit shelter organization The Family Place, was designed with one goal in mind - to make you scream. Indeed, this particular haunted house won't allow kids under 16 without a guardian, if that's any hint of the scare level these folks are trying to generate. The Texas Horror House is open seven days a week, 7 p.m. - midnight, through October 31 in the Big Town Exhibition Hall, Highway 80 at Big Town Blvd. in Mesquite. Tickets are $10. Call 404-1946.
Urvashi Vaid: The first book by Urvashi Vaid, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a longtime lesbian activist, made headlines last year when it touched off a bidding war among major American publishers and netted Vaid a six-figure deal. Reading Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation, it's easy to see what all the fuss was about. A seminal work of gay and lesbian history, the book is both a scathing but fair-minded criticism of the major homo political organizations and a treatise on where change is most needed. Vaid contends that, starting with the election of Bill Clinton, gays and lesbians assumed "virtual equality," which means greater visibilty but very little change in social status. An unabashed leftist who targets racism and sexism as often as homophobia, Vaid possesses too much common sense to sound like an idealogical broken record. She appears to talk about her book at 7 p.m. at Crossroads Market, 3930 Cedar Springs. Call 521-8919.
Grace Mirabella: As the former editor-in-chief of Vogue and founder of the "where money meets menopause" lifestyle rag Mirabella, Grace Mirabella is not exactly an anomaly in the fashion world - a successful woman to whom many men must answer. Her recently published memoir In and Out of Style isn't the usual self-aggrandizing claptrap from people who've spent their lives making a lot of money in frivolous pursuits, although along with the sense of tattle-tale fun is a kind of name dropping provincialism that becomes annoying (the photo section in the center of the book suggests the most dangerous place in the fashion world may be between Mirabella, a famous person, and the camera). Still, this is a woman who's loved a hell of a life, and she comes to Dallas to discuss it as part of the Tuesday Talk Series. She speaks at noon at the Dallas Country Club, 4100 Beverly Drive. Tickets are $35. Call 520-0206.
Martha Argerich and Gidon Kremer: The tony classical review magazine Gramophone recently dropped its dignified manner to say of pianist Martha Argerich: "unquestionably among the greatest pianists of her time, her liquid-fire virtuosity and imaginative vitality are unique in the annals of piano playing" (you can almost feel the sweat soaking through from the other side of the page). Although a solo artist who regularly sells out concert halls in Europe and North America, Argerich is also known for her collaborations with the great symphonies of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, and New York. She comes to the United States as part of a joint tour wih violinist Gidon Kremer, who has maintained a recording and performing tour that encompasses 60 albums for the world's top labels. Their Cliburn Concerts show kicks off at 8 p.m. in the Morton H. Meyerson Center, 2301 Flora. Tickets are $18-$50. For info call (817) 335-9000.