Ampersand Dance/Theatre: The title of the latest multimedia showcase by the Fort Worth-based Ampersand Dance/Theatre is nicely populist for a troupe which dabbles in decidedly noncommercial media--"Better Than A Movie and Cheaper Than A Cowboys Game" (a two-part statement to which we reply: "We'll see about that," and, "Yeah, but what isn't?"). The company's four artistic directors have each created short works which rely heavily on the contributions of Denton-based composer Dr. Paul Slavens and local media artist Doug Hopkins. Works include Eric Salisbury's The Early Years, which blends dance and video to carry us on a trip through this roller coaster we call life, with a surprise ending; a three-part look at the coldness of modern communication by Shannon Slaton using love letters, the silent movie, and centuries-old German texts; three works by Andrea Harris that chronicle the dead end of a relationship, the joys and sorrows of conformity, and an ancient religious ritual; and a surprise work by Tim "Henry Noodle and the Radar Blip" McCanna. In its press material, Ampersand warns us to catch these performers "before they continue their expansion out of Dallas and become a rarity." Decide for yourself whether they're worth courting. Performances happen March 14-16, 8 p.m., in the Theatre on Elm Street, 3202 Elm. Tickets are $8-$10. Call (817) 338-1658.
Mosaics: Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba: It's a good thing the parents of Japan-born artist Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba didn't force him to stop playing with his food. As part of its Mosaics series, D-Art Visual Center opens a one-man show of works by the young artist. Nguyen-Hatsushiba links tragedies like AIDS and persecuted refugees hunting for a homeland with what he calls "the fundamental purity of action we take to satisfy our hunger," and wraps them up in images composed of anchovies, seaweed, fruit rinds, egg shells, beans, and other yummies. The show opens March 15, with an opening reception 6:30-8:30 p.m., and closes April 19 at 2917 Swiss Avenue. It's free. For information call 821-2522.
Terrence McNally: Arts & Letters Live opens its "Distinguished Writer" series with an individual so distinguished, you have to wonder if the organizers didn't kick themselves for shooting their wad too early because of schedule issues. Playwright Terrence McNally is a rarity on the American stage today--a man whose work can pull 'em in with the hottest of Neil Simon's comedies, yet who refuses formulas with each new project. He is the winner of the 1995 Best Play Tony for Love! Valour! Compassion! and co-author of Broadway's hottest ticket, the portrait-of-the-diva-as-a-temperamental-teacher musical hit, Master Class. (The generally mixed reviews for the latter were more than compensated by his previous 1993 Best Book of a Musical Tony for Kiss of the Spiderwoman, still going strong in New York City). Texas native McNally comes to share his unique views of life, love, and the stage. He appears at 8 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Although the performance is officially sold out, returned tickets go on sale 15 minutes before showtime. For information call 922-1200.
Like a Double-Edged Sword: The Civil Rights Movement in Texas: Need a single stark image as a reminder of consequences that lurk behind the rhetoric of certain candidates in this year's presidential campaign? The historical exhibit, Like a Double-Edged Sword: The Civil Rights Movement in Texas, has one 1960 shot that says it all: a black man named Felton Turner, thrashed with a tire iron and strapped to a tree, the calling card of the perpetrators (KKK) slashed across his stomach. This is perhaps the darkest note of the exhibit, which includes photos, newspaper clippings, text, and images screened across the show's six kiosks, each of which represents a different topic: "The Culture of Segregated Schools"; "Jobs Open, Businesses Closed"; "Neighborhoods, Changing and Disappearing"; and "Segregation Remembered." The exhibit continues through April 30 in the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young. It's free. Call 670-7838.
The 13th-Annual Downtown Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade: Scan through the list of descriptions provided in the press material for the 13th-Annual Downtown Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade, and you'll be charmed by the various events--high-school marching bands, pony rides, a parade featuring over 100 entries by local organizations--and struck by an omission that casts St. Patty's Day in a whole new light: no beer. Lemonade and soft drinks aplenty, but no beer. This is, of course, perfectly in sync with a family parade in Dallas, which seems to need all the prohibitions it can get so everyone has a safe time. But no beer feels like a grievous ethnic slur on a day used by many thousands of grownups, Irish and non-, to get face-on-the-pavement drunk. The parade begins at 2 p.m. downtown at Main and Harwood, then travels west for a stop at the West End Historic District, and presents closing festivities at Dallas Alley around 4 p.m. For more information call 720-7717.
Deep Ellum St. Patrick's Weekend Festival on Crowdus: You say no beer is a problem? The Deep Ellum Association offers you the chance to imbibe (just don't screw it up with a DWI or a public-intoxication rap) and celebrate for three days with its St. Patrick's Weekend Festival. Friday the 15th features street vendors serving Irish food, bagpipe players, and Irish music at George Wesby's; continues Saturday the 16th at 6 p.m.; and wraps up on Sunday the 17th, beginning at noon. All of it happens on Crowdus in Deep Ellum. There's also a St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl that starts on Friday with a $15 entry fee. For more information call 748-4332.