Molka Alexandrova and Sasha Botcharova: Third Planet Theatre is a Dallas-based performing-arts company that specializes in importing Russian and other international talent as part of a post-communist, good-faith project. Its latest care package to the arts-loving Dallas population is a pair of singer-actor-dancer-comics who promise to deliver "love, Russian-style" (but hands off, patrons!) for the Valentine's weekend. The evening kicks off with a performance of playwright Anna Akhmatova's By the Sea Shore, a modest comic exercise about a young woman waiting for the perfect love. The script is simultaneously performed in English and Russian to give folks a chance to compare two of the most difficult languages spoken on the planet. If that doesn't drive the stake into the heart of the cold war, the performance is follwed by an interactive, informal but high-spirited concert of folk songs, dancing, and games. Molka Alexandrova and Sasha Botcharova performances are scheduled February 15-17 at 8 p.m. at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Admission is $9; seniors and students $7. Call 528-3766.
Citizens '96: An Issues Forum: The conventional wisdom about contemporary national politicians says they live in an elitist bubble sealed off from the influence of the voters, but with elected officials falling all over themselves to conform to the latest opinion polls, there's ample evidence to suggest our leaders have traded strong, principled stands for pandering. Continuing this fine tradition of mob rules, KERA-Channel 13 and The Dallas Morning News offer "Citizens '96: An Issues Forum," a program which gathers together 14 Capra-esque little people from around the state to discuss a variety of hot-button topics including crime, government spending, and Medicare. The recently published Dallas Morning News-Houston Chronicle statewide poll provides background and context for the show's format. The program airs at 8 p.m. on 13. For information, call 871-1390.
Romantic Rendezvous at Teatro Dallas: Theater fund-raisers usually tend to be evenings of cheap champagne by the case, crackers and aerosol cheese, and silent auctions of donated goods you wouldn't offer at a garage sale. To raise money for Teatro Dallas' upcoming 11th season, Artistic Director Cora Cardona has asked a few friends to lend their talents for a truly memorable evening. First, Teatro playwright Valerie Brogan penned an original script, about one woman's search for love, entitled Romantic Rendezvous at Teatro Dallas. Brogan provided some plum cameos for some of the top Hispanic leaders in town, including Councilmen Chris Luna, Luis de la Garza, and Steve Salazar; Rep. Roberto Alonzo; and Executive Assistant Police Chief Manny Vasquez, among others. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. at 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $25-$40. For more information, call 741-1135.
Winefest '96: Speaking of fund-raisers and cheap booze, there's another really great cause in town that's offering another really great way to contribute and get a nice buzz at the same time. If your favorite wine label comes with a screw-on bottle cap, perhaps it's time for a little horizon expansion. For the seventh year in a row, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation presents its WineFest '96. More than 100 wines from the greatest vineyards in the country are available for epicurean inspection. Also on the program is food from the top restaurants in town and--you guessed it--a silent auction of donated items like weekend getaways, certificates for gourmet meals, and wine-related items. The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. at Union Station, Hyatt Regency Dallas, 400 S. Houston. For information, call 669-DIME.
36th Annual Autorama: Dallas leaders generate much Sturm und Drang about our fair city being "international," and then try and prove it with the proposed development of one of the largest auto-racing venues in the world. It's not exactly the same as boasting the Metropolitan Opera, but is in keeping with the earthiness that's a virtue of which Dallasites, and Texans in general, can be proud. There is no shortage of interest in cool, fast cars around North Texas, which might explain why the Autorama notches its 36th consecutive year as a major source of auto satisfaction. In addition to the typical classic models, futuristic cars, Harley Davidsons, and weirdly out-of-place celebs--this year boasts Party of Five star and Emmy winner Michael Goorjian as well as local singing sensation Lee Ann Rimes--the 1996 Autorama includes "Race World," an interactive exhibit that exhausts the subject of auto racing and features No. 1-ranked speeder Rob Fellows. The Autorama is February 16, 5-10:30 p.m.; February 17, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; and February 18, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Market Hall. Tickets are $3-$8; children younger than 6 will be admitted free. Call 732-6100.
New Arts Collective: The five members of New Arts Collective are all professional theatrical artists with extensive national credits to their names, but this multimedia troupe, which emphasizes dance and other forms of movement, has a few things to say about Dallas, too. Composer Kevin Hanlon created a bluesy solo entitled Rant, about the perils of driving on our constantly under-construction expressways, and collaborated with the other four members on Kine, a "satirical" look at the cult of country and western line dancing. Other pieces on tap for the troupe's two Fort Worth performances are Calling Dogs, which is whistled by dancers, and Beauty Passed On, which looks at the crushing pressure on women to conform to impossible standards of beauty. Performances are February 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. at Circle Theatre, 203 W. Fourth in downtown Fort Worth. Tickets are $5-$8. Call (817) 303-0543.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company: Last year a New Yorker critic created a firestorm of controversy by refusing to review a new piece of choreography by one of the most revered and influential living choreographers in America today. The problem? Bill T. Jones' Still/Here was developed in workshops with terminally ill people (many of whom were living with full-blown AIDS) in an attempt by the dancer to capture what he calls "the resourcefulness and courage necessary to perform the act of living." Sight unseen, New Yorker declared the piece "victim art" in a now-legendary essay explaining why the show would not be reviewed. (You really have to wonder if a less politically charged disease like, say, heart disease would automatically earn the title "victim art"). The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs the otherwise lauded Still/Here February 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium, on the campus of Southern Methodist University at Mockingbird and Hillcrest. Tickets are $7-$40. For more information, call 528-5576.
Don Giovanni: The Dallas Opera brings its 1995-'96 season to a close with a timeless tale about a guy who thought that tail was timeless, and couldn't get enough of it. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, himself a man who was known to enjoy a furtive roll in the broom closet in between writing 17 operas, 46 symphonies, and 26 piano concertos, took the Spanish legend of Don Juan and Italianized it into Don Giovanni. He also threw in a bit more comedy and tragedy than the original story contained to make it a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Native Texan soprano Donna Elvira plays the woman who just might be Don's match, and Loverboy is delivered in a booming baritone by acclaimed Russian singer Sergei Leiferkus. Performances of Don Giovanni are February 16, 21, and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and February 18 at 2 p.m. in the Music Hall at Fair Park. For more information, call 443-1043.
George Winston: George Winston's reputation as the kingpin of new-age piano isn't entirely justified. Rather, it's built upon a handful of his seasonally themed records (Summer, December, Winter into Spring...you get the idea) and storybook soundtracks (The Velveteen Rabbit with Meryl Streep, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes with Liv Ullmann) that rank among Windham Hill's bestsellers; Winston is, in fact, the label's franchise player, so central to its notoriety as the record company that will not only lull you to sleep, but make you a cup of tea, plug in the electric blanket, and tuck you in. Winston doesn't deserve the grief he gets from a so-called cognoscenti who would lump Winston in with John Tesh and Yanni. Winston ranks far above their meager lot. This immensely gifted pianist actually began recording in the early 1970s as something of an avant-stride player who softened the edges of Fats Waller and Blind Blake and came off sounding not too unlike early Randy Newman; Winston is more ragtime than naptime, and his 1972 album, Ballads and Blues, reissued 22 years later in 1994 on Windham Hill, suggests a range and passion you couldn't find on December if you had 11 more months to search. Winston's work with outstanding blues ethnomusicologist-guitarist Bob Brozman further cements the notion that Winston hasn't sold his soul, but has merely lent it out for an exorbitant fee. There's a hint around the corner that perhaps all isn't lost for Winston, who does break out into a stride number or two in concert: He's scheduled to release an album paying homage to the unsung pianist and composer of the 1960s, Vince Guaraldi--the man responsible for the immortal music that accompanied the Charlie Brown television specials. Winston's got taste, at the very least. George Winston performs at 7:30 p.m. February 19 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
The Dream and Lie of Franco: When he wasn't slapping women around, legendary brooding artist Pablo Picasso found the time to become outraged at man's operatic inhumanity to man, especially as symbolized in war. The Spanish Civil War weighed heavily on his mind, as his most famous mural, Guernica, attests. Not nearly as talked about are the suite of prints that Picasso completed before, during, and after the creation of Guernica. The two-part, metal-plate images in The Dream and Lie of Franco are equally filled with the rage and sorrow of the dying, and were also a reaction to the internal war that tore the artist's birthplace to shreds. Both parts of the prints are on display through March 10 at the Meadows Museum on the grounds of Southern Methodist University, Mockingbird and Hillcrest. It's free. Call 768-1688.
Camino Real: The story of a handsome, sexy, often shirtless wanderer who arrives in a port city full of really strange characters and a little magic, Camino Real is a lost Tennessee Williams masterpiece. One of Dallas' finest theatrical troupes, The Undermain Theater, will perform Camino Real Wednesday through Saturday nights through March 23 at 3200 Main. For ticket information, call 747-5515.