28th Annual Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot: It's highly recommended, should you choose to participate in the Dallas YMCA's 28th Annual Turkey Trot, that you dig in slow after the run--oyster dressing and multiple-mile runs are not known to be pleasant combinations. Still, as the Trot nears its third decade, many Dallasites have come to regard it as a family tradition, or at the very least a healthy activity for a famously gluttonous day that also benefits a great cause. There are three official contests--an eight-mile race, a three-mile fun run for the I'm-enthusiastic-but-not-that-enthusiastic, and an eight-mile wheelchair race for folks who really want to develop their biceps and pectorals. Just added for this year's festivities is an activity pavilion for all the family members who are left to stand around waiting for the runners--there is a Thanksgiving costume contest, face painting, a soccer kick, arts and crafts, etc. The event kicks off at 9 am at City Hall Plaza downtown. For more info call 954-0500.
Baby Doll's Thanksgiving Dinner: One of Dallas' preeminent strip clubs, Baby Doll's, makes available every Thanksgiving a free holiday meal with all the trimmings for anyone who wishes to partake. It's important to them, from a public-relations standpoint, to give something back to a community that produces such a faithful clientele. If you are without access to family or friends this holiday, consider the fascinating range of folks you'll meet at a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Baby Doll's. If you have children, rest assured that the professionals won't take the stage until the last underage mouth is fed. Serving begins at 11 am and runs until approximately 2 pm at 3039 W Northwest Highway. It's free. For info call 341-3691.
Dallas Fantasy Fair: There has been so much fuss over the last year about the violence in children's entertainment--"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," the video game Mortal Kombat, etc.--that the concerned, self-righteous pundits have deliberately ignored the intelligence quotient. The discerning viewer actually can find far more imagination, ingenuity, and generally stimulating entertainment in children's fare than is available to the average adult. American pop culture needn't be considered the equivalent of a prefrontal lobotomy for those who indulge with enthusiasm. The Dallas Fantasy Fair is a veritable meeting of the minds for folks who prefer the grand themes of science fiction and fantasy over this boring world. The comic books, trading cards, action figures, role-playing games, speakers, and seminars included in this three-day event are proof positive that while the American imagination may not always be as couth as we'd like to believe, it's alive and well. The show is open Friday and Saturday, 11 am-7 pm and Sunday, 11 am-5 pm at the Harvey Hotel, I-635 at Midway. Admission is $8-$20. For more info call 980-8877.
Hansel & Gretel: You know the story from the classic tale by those purveyors of adolescent sexual angst, The Brothers Grimm--brother and sister escape single-parent home to become the main menu items of a forest-dwelling witch who loves to entice children into her lair with exquisite promises of all the naughty foods they can eat. Hansel & Gretel is at once one of the most familiar of children's mythologies and also one of the richest for psychological interpretation. And there is no medium better for elevating human emotion to its symbolic summit than opera, in which people are pawns to their own fate but are forced to tell their tale through song. The Dallas Opera gives performances of Hansel & Gretel November 24, 29, December 2 & 9 at 7:30 pm and December 26 at 2 pm at the Music Hall in Fair Park. The December 9 show is a special family performance at which each adult ticketbuyer can bring one child free. For information call 443-1043.
My Thing of Love: For 20 years now, the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre has married great playwrights with great authors and promoted an extraordinary array of formidable theatrical talent--John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Sam Shepard, and Laurie Metcalf, to name a few. If the critical acclaim continues as it has, you might add the name of actress-playwright Alexandra Gersten. Her first play, a dark-comic drama about the travails of one married couple called My Thing of Love, has won numerous national awards in its journey from staged readings at Steppenwolf to a recent Broadway production starring Laurie Metcalf. The Dallas-based New Theatre Company presents Gersten's play hot off the Great White Way, a forum increasingly hostile to such intimate character studies. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm through December 16 in the Swiss Avenue Theater Center, 2700 Swiss. Tickets are $8-$10. Call 520-ARTS.
Greenberg's Great Train, Dollhouse & Toy Show: For folks who have a thing about dollhouses, train sets, and other miniature toys, detail is the real source of stimulation. Where else but the Great Train, Dollhouse, & Toy Show can you attend a clinic designed to teach you how to create realistic trees for your train layout or dollhouse by Dallas-based miniature maniacs Jane and Duncan Lawrence? Although the marketplace of national toy exhibitors is perhaps the biggest draw for collectors, curiosity seekers will enjoy a display called "American Spectacular"--a miniature extravaganza of more than 100,000 individual pieces depicting the late 19th-century "Wild West" and designed by the Zweifel family, who recreated a tiny version of the White House for the Smithsonian Institute in 1993. Greenberg's Show happens November 25, 11 am-5 pm and November 26, 11 am-4 pm at the Dallas Convention Center. Tickets are $2-$5, but kids under six get in free. For more information call (410) 795-7673.
The Fine Arts Chamber Players: People who complain that high ticket prices prevent them from enjoying cultural events in Dallas clearly don't read the newspapers--from the "pay-what-you-can" performances offered by many local theater companies to the kind of free classical concerts offered every fourth Saturday of the month by the Fine Arts Chamber Players, there are numerous opportunities for cash-strapped Dallasites to enjoy the refined entertainment that season-subscribing blue-hairs take for granted. The Fine Arts Chamber Players present what they call an "Oboe Celebration" that boasts guest artists such as Kathryn Greenbank (principal oboist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra); Jan Everle (principal oboist of the Fort Worth Symphony); and David Matthews, associate principal oboist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This is an oboe-obsessed show featuring music by Beethoven, Britten, Schumann, and Saint-Saens. The show starts at 3 pm in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. It's free, but seating is limited, so arrive early. For info call 520-2219.
Texas African-American Photography Collection: Someone once said that American history is a series of patchworks waiting for a larger design--a lovely metaphor for the ongoing experiment that is democracy in the United States. We are all of us still deeply divided by economic, racial, and sexual barriers, but thankfully, historians have ignored the right-wing backlash against that dead horse known as "political correctness" to salvage a more complete history of American life. Such was the motivation behind the Texas African-American Photography Collection, a massive, recently catalogued assemblage of more than 16,634 pictures (some represented as undeveloped negatives) taken by famous and obscure black Texas artists since the late 1870s. What is perhaps most valuable about the collection is not the individual voices involved, but the comprehensive record of daily life in black Texas provided by these pictures. Weddings, funerals, Juneteenth parades, church services, civil rights protests, and other political gatherings--all are represented in this unique and very detailed portrait of African-Americans during the past 120 years. The Collection is housed at 5501 Columbia Art Center, 5501 Columbia Avenue. Admission is free. For more info call 824-3377.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky: When music critics start talking about an opera singer's "intonation," "enunciation," and "delivery," most readers rightfully find themselves falling asleep. All of these are features that a master singer balances in performance, and a seasoned audience takes for granted. The Russian-born, impishly handsome Dmitri Hvorostovksy is a relatively young baritone who has sent writers racing for superlatives and audiences swooning at the sound of his authoritative vocal instrument. Hvorostovsky is still a somewhat guarded treasure by those who manage his talent--he just recently made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera. More remarkably for a singer of such reputation, he made his American operatic debut a scant two years ago in Chicago. Hvorostovsky is accompanied by Mikhail Arkadiev. The show starts at 8 pm in the Ed Landreth Auditorium of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Tickets are $10-$32. For info call (817) 335-9000.
A Brief Look at the Stars: Just as President Clinton received much unnecessary flak three years ago for answering on MTV what kind of underwear he prefers, so there are all kinds of folks waiting to criticize the very gauche concept of a celebrity underwear auction. To those people, we must reply--boxers and briefs and panties are the great equalizer, since most of us put them on just one leg at a time. Planet Hollywood and MIX 102.9 host, for the second year, a Celebrity Undie Auction that allows us to purchase the (hopefully) washed undergarments of the rich and famous. Imagine owning a cotton fabric that's embraced the naughty bits of folks like Arnold Schwarzennegger, Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, and Meat Loaf. The Celebrity Undie Auction allows you opportunity, and it benefits AIDS Services of Dallas, the largest service provider in the Metroplex for men, women, and children with HIV-related illness. The auction kicks off at 7 pm at Planet Hollywood, 603 Munger Avenue in West End Marketplace. Admission is $20 per person, with all proceeds to benefit AIDS Services of Dallas. For info call 946-