World AIDS Day: If you don't understand why it was necessary to both politicize and commercialize AIDS, then pop out and buy yourself a copy of Urvashi Vaid's indispensable Virtual Equality, which is mostly about the gay and lesbian rights movement but deals significantly with how that movement's goals sometimes had to be relegated to the back seat in order to deal with a plague that combines America's two biggest shames--sex and death. While the HIV virus worldwide has infected more heterosexuals than homosexuals, it's difficult for many of us to see the outside clearly from that fish bowl called the United States. In commemoration of World AIDS Day, the Red Cross presents an agency information fair in which major AIDS service organizations in Dallas are present to discuss their activities, including Bryan's House, Oak Lawn Community Services, and the Dallas Urban League. The fair happens 10 am-2 pm at the Red Cross, 2300 McKinney Avenue. Admission is free. For info call 871-2175.
Voices de Nuestra Gente: Author, poet, screenwriter, and social critic Dr. Carmen Tafolla is fascinated with people and the way race, ethnicity, gender, and economic status influence the choices they make. Dissatisfied with some of the more orthodox tools of study, Tafolla took a route similar to that of New York stage dynamo Anna Deveare Smith--straight to the stage, where she set out to create and portray an entire cast of characters from the barrio. The result, Voices de Nuestra Gente (With Our Very Own Names), has been performed in Mexico City, London, Madrid, and all over the United States, most notably in a performance requested by the Department of Education. Dr. Tafolla brings her show to Dallas under the auspices of Teatro Dallas' 3rd International Theater Festival. The single performance happens at 8:15 pm at Teatro Dallas, 2204 Commerce. Admission is $12. For info call 741-1135.
James Earl Jones: The USA Film Festival is honoring James Earl Jones with its 1995 Master Screen Artist Award, but the peerless Mr. Jones has robbed American movie audiences of a truly star-quality film career by choosing to work his magic on the American stage. Think about it--when was the last time you saw Mr. Jones in a film role worthy of his talents? (Granted, the actor's vocal performance as Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy was singlehandedly responsible for creating one of American cinema's greatest villains).Actually, that's part of the reason he's in town--to premiere his latest movie, and possibly the most important one of his career. The Oscar buzz is veritably swarming over his performance in Cry, The Beloved Country, an adaptation of Alan Paton's 1948 novel that was, for many people around the world, their introduction to the tragedy of apartheid. Jones will be in attendance for the screening as well as a film-clip retrospective of his 31-year movie career. He will also take questions from the audience. The evening begins at 7 pm at General Cinema's Northpark 3 &4, North Central Expressway at Park Lane. Ticket prices are $15, $55, and $75. For additional information contact the festival at 821-NEWS.
Star Gazing: The events sponsored by Richland College in association with its planetarium are always great fun to attend, not only for the stars but for some of the people who avail themselves of the service. There is often a high quotient of what Arsenio Hall once described as the "Twinkies and Visine" set--folks whose interest in astronomy is accompanied by strange symptoms such as bloodshot eyes, cotton mouth, and the tendency to repeat the word "cool" with an awe more suitable to a Virgin Mary sighting. Since the show is free, it's usually fairly crowded, so get there early. The evening consists of a show inside the planetarium of the moons, planets, and constellations that are visible from Richland, followed by telescope set-ups outside for folks to catch a glance of their favorite stars. The planetarium show happens at 7:30 pm with outside telescope viewing to begin at 8:30 pm (if the weather is friendly, of course) in the Planetarium of Richland College, 1800 Abrams. Donations are gratefully accepted. Call 238-6013.
Las Meninas: Variations: When artists use one artistic medium (say, painting) as an influence on a completely different medium (music), it's an extremely brave gesture but also a journey fraught with peril. Anyone who's ever read Gertrude Stein's attempts to find a verbal equivalent to the great European painters of her era knows that even great individuals can stumble in the effort to find a vocabulary that transcends but at the same time connects the two media. Still, for folks who consider great art to be one of God's gifts to a brutal world, trying to define the relationship between two artworks can be a heady experience. Voices of Change, the Dallas-based 20th-century music ensemble that has earned critical acclaim all over the nation, presents the premiere Dallas performance of Las Meninas: Variations, a chamber piece based partly on Pablo Picasso's visual riffs, which are based, in turn, on the Velasquez painting Las Meninas. The show happens at 3 pm in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. It's free, but seating is limited. For info call 368-0800.
O'Keefe at Abiquiu: Georgia O'Keefe, who died in 1986, has been coopted in ways that the renowned curmudgeon herself must have found either amusing or appalling. She has been bandied about as everything from the most important lesbian artist in America (her sexual status is and probably always will remain a mystery) to a heterosexual female pioneer who conducted amorous adventures with men many years younger than herself (also unconfirmed) to a pioneer of the abstract form (in fact, she loathed much of the geometric minimalism of modern art). Her weathered, profoundly handsome face has been a beacon to a generation of fans, and it's been captured in a show by Colorado photographer Myron Wood, who first gained access to O'Keefe's very private adobe dwelling in Abiquiu, New Mexico in 1979 and snapped photos of her and her workplace for two and a half years. O'Keefe At Abiquiu December 2 with an open house reception noon-5:30 pm and runs through January 27 at Photographic Archives Gallery, 5117 W Lovers Lane. For info call 352-3167.
Bill Pickett Invitational Black Rodeo: All that multicultural reeducation about buffalo soldiers hasn't made much of a dent in the popular vision we have of the American West being a caucasian province. That's mostly the fault of popular American cinema (a sin both tweaked and reinforced by Mel Brooks in his classic Blazing Saddles) and the other great mythologizers of the West. The Bill Pickett Invitational Black Rodeo is the nation's only touring black rodeo, and it was named, appropriately enough, after perhaps the most famous black cowboy of his day, the fellow who invented "bulldoggin'"--steer wrestling to you. That's on the program, as well as bull riding, calf roping, ladies' steer undecorating, and barrel racing. The competition kicks off December 2 at 7:30 pm and December 3 at 3:30 pm in Fort Worth's Cowtown Coliseum. Tickets are $7-$12; parking is $3. For info call (303) 373-2747.
The Christmas Witch: The Dallas Children's Theater is very excited about its newest production for several reasons. First of all, it's the most expensive production in the 11-year history of the theater, and secondly, it stands as something of a vote of confidence from Steve Kellogg, on whose book the production is based. Kellogg, one of the best-selling author-illustrators in the country, finally allowed one of his books, Island of the Skog, to be adapted into another medium in 1993. Dallas Children's Theater was the first to perform it, and Kellogg was sufficiently impressed to adapt a second work for the DCT stage, the musical story of an apprentice witch who discovers (brace yourself) the real meaning of Christmas. Performances of The Christmas Witch are Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 1:30 pm; and Sundays at 1:30 & 4:30 pm with a final performance December 20 at 7:30 pm. All performances happen at El Centro Theater, Main & Market. Tickets are $11-$12. Call 978-0110.
The Peaceable Kingdom: As perhaps the most beautiful Dallas home you can visit regularly but never hope to afford, the 21,000 square-foot DeGolyer House is a seasonal treat for the entire city, transformed from holiday to holiday by the caretakers of the Dallas Arboretum. For the 1995 edition of Christmas at the Arboretum, organizers have taken a cue from Edward Hicks' painting The Peaceable Kingdom and done the DeGolyer up right, as a kind of pastoral tribute to raw America. The "peaceable" theme extends to the 66-acre gardens, which have been recreated as an "enchanted forest" of possibilities. Tours of the Arboretum are available daily through December 31, with special events slated to happen each weekend. Admission is $3-$6, but kids under six get in free; parking is $2. The Arboretum is located at 8525 Garland Rd on White Rock Lake. For info call 327-8263.
John McCutcheon: Many of us who were born and raised in Dallas have a distinctly love-hate relationship with White Rock Lake, especially those who have lived in or around the northeast section of the city. White Rock is at once the site of some of our most cherished memories (fishing with our parents as kids, goofing off with illegally purchased alcohol as adolescents) and some fairly scary run-ins with the late-night types who hang out there for God only knows what reason. White Rock Lake has been neglected for many years now, and the seedier elements have taken control of this public space. This was only one of the factors behind the referendum-approved bond issue intended for the improvement of the lake. You might be surprised what the bond money wasn't approved for--emergency telephones, the up-keep of water fountains, covered waste containers to keep folks from throwing stuff in the lake, and more. Nationally renowned folk musician John McCutcheon (Holly Near and Pete Seeger are among his fans) has been enlisted to give a concert "For the Love of the Lake." The show happens at 3 pm in the auditorium of Lake Highlands High School, 9449 Church. Tickets are $10-$15. For info call 622-SAVE.
The Greater Dallas Career Fair: Job fairs can be scary affairs for people who haven't quite honed their networking skills (which would probably be the majority of us), much in the same way that singles events can intimidate the unattached. The reigning two questions that overshadow both are: "How desperate am I? How desperate do I appear?" The Greater Dallas Career Fair comes 'round again to offer assistance for a fairly limited cross-section of the unemployed--recent college graduates and experienced professionals. Both local and national companies have sent representatives to discuss positions they wish to fill in industries such as computer science, insurance, telecommunications, finance, and more. The Fair happens 10 am-1 pm and 2-5 pm at the Grand Kempinski, 15201 Dallas Parkway. It's free. Call (402) 697-9503.
The Biggest Book Signing in Texas: The range of authors who've agreed to appear at "Authors & Autographs 1995: The Biggest Book Signing in Texas" offers a fascinating glimpse into the contemporary publishing industry and how it attempts to locate and court the most profitable niche for a rather specialized subject. Events like "The Biggest Book Signing in Texas" both undermine that philosophy (how much specialization is possible in a room full of such diverse talents?) and dramatically illustrate it. The 105 Texas authors included in this sign-a-thon are fitness gurus such as Larry North and Dr. Kenneth Cooper; TV celebrities like Chip Moody; true-crime hounds such as Carlton Stowers; and right-wingers like William Murchison. The event kicks off at 5 pm in the Umphrey Lee Center Ballroom of Southern Methodist University. Admission is a $5 donation at the door, which goes toward the Press Club of Dallas Foundation Scholarship Fund as well as the literacy programs of Dallas Can! Academy. For info call 740-9988.