Artist-Prophet Royal Robertston: Comfortably nestled in its new historic digs, the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie continues its vital mission of providing a respectful and knowledgeable space for the artists often called "naive" or "self-taught"--men and women who are often older, poorer, and less educated than the average successful gallery artist, but whose constant visions compel them to seek a means of expression. It's a tortured, often lifetime relationship with creativity that can include anything from alcoholism to state-certified mental illness. In other words, these people are no different from other creative types except that their suffering isn't as glamorous because there aren't so many people to watch it. The Webb Gallery's latest show is an exhibition of the works of Louisiana-born Royal Robertson, a self-described prophet who began to create signs, shrines, calendars, and celestial designs at the age of 14. Opening reception for the show is November 11, 6-9 pm through December 1 at 209-211 W Franklin in downtown Waxahachie. It's free. For more information call 938-8085.
SMU's 21st Annual Literary Festival: The truly great thing about living close to so many major colleges and universities is that they frequently offer excellent cultural programs at no charge to the general public. Indeed, even if you can't afford to attend Southern Methodist University, you can still partake of its 21st Annual Program Council Literary Festival. All nine readings during a five-day period are free and all happen in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer at Airline. Yusef Komunuakaa, Vince Gotera, and Walt McDonald discuss "The War Within: Vietnam Poets 20 Years Later" November 12, 8 pm. C.W. Smith reads November 13, at 3:30 pm; Craig Lucas reads November 13 at 8 pm; Ralph Angel reads November 14 at 3:30 pm; David Guterson reads November 14 at 8 pm; Robert Kellhy reads November 15 at 3:30 pm; Alison Lurie reads November 15 at 8 pm; SMU student readings are scheduled November 16, 3:30 pm; and the festival wraps up with Bebe Moore Campbell November 16 at 8 pm. For info call 768-4400.
Robert Rauschenberg: Sculpture: Artists become so revered for their accomplishments in a certain medium that curators, scholars, and admirers begin to let work in other media fall through the cracks of study and appreciation. Such is the case with internationally acclaimed artist Robert Rauschenberg, who for the past four decades has made his name with paintings and prints. In honor of the artist's 70th birthday this year, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents the first exhibition ever assembled dedicated to Rauschenberg's sculpture. More than 50 pieces are on display in Robert Rauschenberg: Sculpture, with the oldest dating back to 1952. The show runs through December 31 at 1309 Montgomery at Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. It's free. For more information call (817) 738-9215.
The Sequential Art Truck and Tractor Pull: There is an alternative universe that exists parallel to the one most of us inhabit. The Twilight Zone? The Outer Limits? Nope, the world of underground comics. Us mainstreamers got a taste of the level of devotion accorded the men and women who pour out their darkest fantasies with paper and ink when we saw Terry Zwigoff's Crumb. But the exquisite perversities recorded by the grand old man of the underground are nothing compared to the apocalyptic, black-humored visions of succeeding comix artists. Indeed, what with all the political bluster about dirty art, it seems remarkable that some opportunistic politician hasn't stumbled on this stuff--the mainstream still seems to think that comic books are for kids, so the kinky, violent images that often abound surely deserve at least as much righteous indignation as TV and movies. Club Dada and Stage & Screen pool their resources to present "The Sequential Art Truck and Tractor Pull," a show of more than 70 pieces of original comic art by the likes of Dan Clowes (Eightball), Peter Bagge (Hate), Sam Hurt (Eyebeam), Shannon Wheeler (Too Much Coffee Man), and nationally syndicated guys Buddy Hickerson (The Quigmans) and Dan Piraro (Bizarro). The show runs November 13-December 10 at Club Dada, 2720 Elm. The opening reception happens November 16 at 8-10 pm. All artists except Bagge are scheduled to appear. For more info call 871-2466.
Miep Gies: The decades have numbed us to the horrifying film footage of the Allies exploring the concentration camps after World War II had ended, but there is one face that, for generations of readers, forever drives home the massive toll in human life. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl has been hailed not only for its historical context but also for its blunt, articulate presentation of female adolescence. Remarkable as it may seem, the woman who helped supply Anne Frank, her family, and others with food and shelter during the Nazi Occupation is still very much with us. The Jewish Community Center of Dallas invites Miep Gies to Dallas to speak about her experiences, which include retrieving Frank's diary after the girl was snatched from her hiding place. Ms. Gies will also autograph a new, expanded edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. She appears at 7:30 pm at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest. For admission information call 739-2737.
The MAC Members Invitational: Folks who attend a visual art show often don't realize the blood and tears that are spilt over the curatorial process, which is a fancy way of saying there are many egos bruised when it comes time to figure out what makes the cut. The McKinney Avenue Contemporary sponsors a Members Invitational to give folks a chance to play curators themselves--decide what they like and what they think is incredibly pretentious or just plain clumsy. This show was open to all MAC members in various media, and organizers have deliberately tried to eschew the sloppy "salon" style of so many open shows and present each piece respectfully. The show runs through December 31 at 3120 McKinney Avenue. Admission is free. For info call 953-1212.