Masters of the Night: By now, anyone who has spent even 10 minutes watching one of those nature documentaries knows that, 1) bats aren't blind; 2) bats aren't genetically predisposed to rabies; 3) bats rarely attack human beings; and 4) the poor little guys suffer from a bad PR problem. Keep your mind open while perusing the Fort Worth Zoo's Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats, but just to keep things hopping, don't completely abandon the rich lore of superstition that surrounds bats. The exhibit kicks off today and runs through May 29 at 1989 Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth. For more information, call (817) 871-7012.
Il Travatore: The great 19th-century composer Giuseppe Verdi excelled in the unglamorous role of craftsman. He understood opera's strength (its ability to convey grand emotions based on the escalating rhythms of voice, music, and plot) and its weakness (a tendency for even the most innocuous tangent in an opera to upset the balance of a story told in song). Thus, Verdi was happy to tear up and rearrange the original texts of works like Shakespeare's Othello and Gutierrez's El Trovador, on which Verdi's great tragedy and the latest production by the Dallas Opera were based. The last performance happens at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Tickets are $25-$105. Call 443-1000.
Bass Fishing Techniques: Having just recovered from a cold spell that turned local lakes into Mrs. Paul's freezers, the idea of fishing may seem a bit premature, at least to folks who generally associate warm weather with fish hooks and those Chinese take-out containers of earthworms. But two nationally recognized fishing experts come to North Texas ahead of spring weather to get you psyched up for a sport that is closer than any other to a Zenlike religious experience. Two-time B.A.S.S. angler and TV star Jimmy Houston and 1995 BASS Masters Champion Mark Davis preside over a two-day seminar entitled "Bass Fishing Techniques '96." They're just the biggest stars in a roster of experts that will offer fishing freaks hints, tricks, and techniques for a competition that many aficionados will tell you is, at heart, a game of "who blinks first" between human and fish. The seminar happens February 10, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and February 11, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in Room 108 of the University Hall at the University of Texas at Arlington, 601 S. Nedderman Drive. Registration is $89. For information, call (817) 272-2581.
Juan Williams: Brookhaven College hosts a nationally lauded writer/analyst/activist who has an opinion or two on the American civil-rights movement, where it's headed, and where it should be headed. Juan Williams will perhaps forever be recognized as the writer of Eyes on the Prize--America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, one of the seminal histories of the movement by African-Americans (and some whites) to achieve equality before the law. Williams and other black intellectuals currently grapple with the complexities of a post-civil-rights America, in which the African-American community enjoys unprecedented protection by and access to the political process, yet seems to be imploding from a combination of continuing institutional racism and an internalized rage passed down through generations. Williams adjusts his lecture to offer suggestions for new methods of social change. The talk begins at 10 a.m. in the Performance Hall of Brookhaven College, 3939 Valley View Lane in Farmers Branch. It's free. Call 620-4115.
Marina Abramovic: Multimedia artist Marina Abramovic, 50, has been traveling the globe for the last 20 years. She was environmentally conscious before environmentally conscious was cool. She has a way of dealing with issues of the planet by tying them together into highly personal, at times humorous works. (She filmed the breakup of a relationship between herself and a lover. The two walked the length of the Great Wall of China, met in the middle, and said goodbye.) She makes her Texas debut with Boat Emptying Stream Entering, a two-part series of elements. Part I of the piece--which includes photographs, videos, and wall rubbings--opens February 8 with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Art Building, Mulberry and Welch, at the University of North Texas in Denton. The show ends March 15. Part II consists of sculpture and a video installation created on site and gets under way March 9, 6-8 p.m., at the Center for Research in Contemporary Art at the University of Texas at Arlington. For more information, call (817) 565-4005.
Mnemonic Light: The Photography of Marjorie Content: It seems remarkable that the late photographer Marjorie Content, having been connected with the prestigious Alfred Stieglitz in the '20s and having devoted decades of her life to a period that art critics agree was her best, was never exhibited during her lifetime. Indeed, her photos, which turn the discipline of "still life" on its ear by manipulating light and shadow to achieve the illusion of motion, were only reproduced twice. The Gallery at Southern Methodist University hosts a retrospective of the work of Content, who died just a dozen years ago at the age of 89. The show runs through February 25 in SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center. For more information, call 768-4439.
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