Events for the week

december 9
Livin' Fat: Politicians like to portray the virtues of working hard for very little money--even while most of the men encouraging this have, on the average, worked very little for a lot of money. "Money Changes Everything" goes the title of a classic R & B song, but is this change inevitable, and is it always for the worst? Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre presents an original comedy by Judi Ann Mason that explores what happens to one relatively happy, extremely hard-working, rather poor family when it stumbles into money it didn't earn but could certainly use. Livin' Fat recounts the tale of a father who holds two jobs; a mother who scrubs floors and praises the Lord on her off hours; and a teenage son whose job as a bank security man accidentally results in a windfall of $15,000. Will things ever be the same again? Performances happen Friday at 8:15 p.m.; Saturday at 3:15 and 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday at 3:15 pm at 506 Main in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$14. Call (817) 338-4411.

George Wallace: Sometime during the '80s, the art of stand-up comedy became little more than an audition for network sitcoms and cable. Comedy clubs all over America have died pitiful deaths, and those that remain in business have, for the most part, relied on so-called "one-man shows" (read: theme monologues that will attract the attention of network executives) to stay in business. Comedian George Wallace, having survived the cancellation of a TV show based loosely on his act (1993's "Tall Hopes" on ABC) is refusing to kowtow to the trend of live performances based exclusively on one subject. Along with the brilliant Paula Poundstone, Wallace is the best living hope for a renaissance of stand-up comedy. He can riff endlessly on major political skirmishes and silly little everyday dilemmas with equally impressive insight. The failure of his sitcom seems less a sign of his limitations as evidence that the true greats can't be pigeonholed. Wallace performs at Earthquake's Comedy Corner in Arlington December 8-10. For time and admission information call (817) 226-2663.

Maestro Antonio Zepeda: Although Cora Cardona, the inestimable artistic director of Teatro Dallas, has gone on record as comparing the music of Antonio Zepeda with a peyote trip taken for divine inspiration, that shouldn't be construed as meaning you need to ingest hallucinogens in order to enjoy this show. Cardona, as always, is being lyrical in her description, and encouraging patrons who would never dream of ingesting such chemicals to come and hear a master concert that will draw you into another plane of existence--a pre-Christian, pre-Columbian place where Zepeda recalls the sounds of nature as objects of worship. He has performed concerts all over the world with his ancient instruments, most of them replicas but a few originals from a pagan continent. Zepeda uses instruments that were originally designed to be used as part of sacred rituals, and you may feel that intent all over again. He is the last artist of Teatro Dallas' 3rd International Theater Festival and performs December 8 & 9 at 8:15 p.m. at 2204 Commerce. Admission is $12. Call 741-1135.

december 10
La Rosa Mistica-La Virgen de Guadalupe: In last week's "Gallery" review, critic Denise Spellman Getson outlined the feud that has simmered between two camps over a woman who is an object of both severe political disagreement and worldwide reverence. For Catholics, the Virgin Mary is a symbol of Christian benevolence and grace even stronger than Christ. At the same time, the political baggage that she's accumulated from one patriarchal culture after another demands close scrutiny, lest we confuse religious doctrine with contemporary convenience. Who, exactly, is Mary, and why does she excite such speculation among even those outside the Catholic faith? The sides have been clearly drawn--Jose Vargas' show at the Bath House Cultural Center offers a traditional view, holding that the lady should not be a symbolic tool of artists who are more interested in shocking than enlightening. And then there's the show mounted by ARTE (Artists Relating Together & Exhibiting), a group that's never been afraid of connecting the spiritual and the sexual. Vargas' show runs through December 23 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther, with a reception December 12 at 6 p.m. ARTE's exhibit opens December 10 at 2 p.m. in the Upper East Pavilion of the Trammell Crow Center, Ross at Harwood.

The Nutcracker: If ever there was a story ripe for contemporary psychosexual interpretation, it's E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker and The Mouse King, which has for more than a century now borne the brilliant, eccentric score by Tchaikovsky in almost every international production. A spoiled little girl is given an ornate nutcracker (the beginning of her ambition to dominate men?) by an uncle who coddles her like a "princess." Her bratty little brother breaks the toy out of jealousy, which sends the young woman into a dream state in which her honor is protected from the advances of a Rat King by this symbol of power. Is this "men who hate women and the women who love them" or what? Beyond your own sordid thoughts, Fort Worth Dallas Ballet should prove to be its usual ultra-professional but ultra-predictable self. Performances are December 8 at 8 p.m.; December 9 at 2 & 8 p.m.; and December 10 at 2 p.m. in the Tarrant County Convention Center, 1111 Houston in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8.25 to $41. For more information call (817) 763-0207.

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