Sorrow and Solace: Every American military action since the mid-'70s--Kuwait, Panama, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia--is examined up, down, and sideways by the press and politicians for any sign of infection by that most dreaded of American viruses--Vietnamitis. Everyone wants to know if the latest deployment of troops into a foreign conflict most Americans don't understand shows the symptoms of a chronic national humiliation. Politicos and pundits seem less interested in the real issues involved than whether they'll be able to explain it later. Sorrow and Solace is a drama of voices about the Vietnam War--including the Vietnamese themselves, who speak as the voice of the Memorial Wall--by Boston playwright Bill Strubbe that makes its world premiere under the N.M. Productions Theater Company. The show runs Thursday-Saturday at 8:15 p.m. through March 31 at the Hickory Street Annex Theatre, 501 Second Ave. A special poetry reading by local vets and mothers of vets happens March 25 at 8 p.m. at the theater. For information call 680-4466.
Streb: TITAS (The International Theatrical Arts Society) continues its fine tradition of hurling people through the air like basketballs. Its latest jaw-dropping import to the city of Dallas is an internationally acclaimed troupe founded by a former Catholic schoolgirl whose favorite teen-age pastimes included downhill skiing and motorcycle riding. Choreographer and founder Elizabeth Streb doesn't like to describe her 10-year-old eponymous company as "dance" group; she prefers "pop action." "Daredevil choreography" might be an even more accurate phrase. The ferociously accomplished performers in Streb put their limbs on the line with horizontal movements on a wall; hellacious trampoline and parallel-bar combos, and more. Performances happen March 22 & 23, 8 p.m., at McFarlin Auditorium, Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-6112.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical Discovery Adventure: The crypto-fascist, megabillion-dollar Walt Disney Company brings to Dallas its sprawling "medieval festival" as part of a 21-city tour. It sounds more like an infomercial directed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Disney's latest big-budget animated Xerox, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, won't hit the theatres until June 21, but if your kids, like millions across the country, can't survive the anticipatory D.T.'s, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical Discovery Adventure" arrives with a new concept in promotion: the multimedia advertisement. Press material promises two live shows every hour; one bell-ringing ceremony every hour inside a 24-foot reproduction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame; a 10-minute puppet show performed by one of Disney's Hunchback characters, Clopin (he is described as "colorful and flamboyant," which is Disneyese for "he's the flamer this time"); and the chance for kids to gorge themselves dizzy on Disney glitz. The "Musical Discovery Adventure" rolls through Plano March 22-24 at Collin Creek Mall. For information call 750-4661.
Legacy of the Lone Star State: In its short time as a major North Texas arts institution, Waxahachie's Webb Gallery has built up steam with so-called "self-taught" artists from all over the country. It finally releases what is at once a labor of love, statement of purpose, and a declaration of the gallery's desire to maintain the state's cultural reputation. Texas Self-Taught: Legacy of the Lone Star State is the result of married founders Julie and David Webb scouring 6,000 miles through every corner of Texas. They were looking for just less than 10 times the feet worth of pieces (the recently expanded Webb Gallery clocks in at over 50,000). The drawings, paintings, sculptures, and found-object assemblages in the show draw from the collection of nationally celebrated artists both living (Carl Nash, who has constructed images of both Jesus and the Antichrist) and dead (the recently deceased Lone Star celeb "The Texas Kid"). The Texas Self-Taught: Legacy of the Lone Star State exhibit opens with an artists' reception March 23, 5-9 p.m., and runs through May 5 at 209-211 W. Franklin in Waxahachie. It's free. Call 938-8085.
Kweikwei Music Festival: The numerous Texas choirs that have entered the competition for the final showdown of the Kweikwei Gospel Music Festival all work within a profound American religious tradition reinvigorated by one faraway place: Africa. The Kweikwei Ensemble is a good-natured battle between prejudged, 15-or-more-member choirs from churches, high schools, college, or community groups. This is a presentation of the Dallas branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians and KHVN-FM "Heaven 97." The show happens at 6 p.m. at the Carver Heights Baptist Church, 2510 E. Ledbetter Drive. For information call 376-6037.
Abortion and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian was recently acquitted on another murder charge yet faces still another trial. The passion with which America's legal system has taken after Dr. Kevorkian reflects not just the man's apparent credibility problems as a dispenser of mercy but also suggests how insulated, pampered, medicated America, unlike almost every other country on earth, is ill-equipped nationally to deal with the subject of death. The U.S. medical establishment, probably the most effective in the world, has steadfastly refused to fix a fatal flaw--a rejection of spirituality in the delivery of treatment. Abortion and Physician-Assisted Suicide is another polite, patient, thorough study by the School of Theology for the Laity, which applies Christian philosophy to everyday conundrums. The day-long discussion and seminar happens 8:45 a.m.-3:15 p.m. at East Dallas Christian Church, 629 N. Peak Street. Tickets are $30. Call 349-2792.
Star Moon Path: One of those reasons it's difficult to define a "traditional" American family is the mobility--legal, technological, and economic--of contemporary life in the U.S. Most folks no longer have the choice of setting down roots when a fractured economy propels workers from one job opportunity to another. A globalized free market and lightning-speed communication stretch the possibilities even further. Award-winning national playwright Megan Terry desired to capture some of that high-wire intransigence--both the thrill and anxiety--in her new work, Star Path Moon Stop, which makes its world premiere at the Dallas Children's Theater. Less of a story than a related showcase of images, situations, and characters on a constant search, the play attempts to define "home" for an era of perpetual travel. The show runs Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 1:30 & 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:30 & 4:30 p.m. through March 31 at 2215 Cedar Springs. Tickets are $9-$11. Call 978-0110.
Ugandan Children's Choir: Sure, they're colorfully dressed, precocious, and adorable, but don't condescend to the kids who compose The Music Dance and Drama of the Daughters of Charity Orphanage in Uganda. These tykes are seasoned pros who've traveled more miles in their short lives than most of us have in several times the years. They've honed their act with gigs that any professional musician will tell you are among the toughest--private parties, weddings, and theme festivals--throughout Uganda. The Daughters of Charity Orphanage has established a worldwide publicity arm to help support the 1,200 impoverished or handicapped kids who depend on it. Performances happen at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs, and the Junior Black Academy of Arts & Letters, Canton and Akard, at 4:30 p.m. Donations are gratefully accepted. Call 754-6000.
Behold the Lamb: Christian fundamentalists influence the contemporary American election process like never before with rigidly enforced rules culled from a literal interpretation of Biblical texts. Meanwhile, contemporary Christian artists of all denominations use paint and plaster to render fiercely individualistic visions of Biblical scenes in seeming defiance of the "relativism" against which the Christian Coalition campaigns. Behold the Lamb is a collection of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and embroidery by national artists that the life of Jesus Christ was revealed through four different personalities: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Frank Murphy Jr. mixes memory and physical sense in his depiction of the first meeting between the prostitute Mary Magdalene and Christ; and Kirsten Malcom Berry finds epiphanic styles from non-Christian faiths mix well with her own passions. The show runs through April 28 at 7500 Park Lane. It's free. Call 691-4661.
Angels in America: Millennium Approaches: The Dallas Theater Center is as justifiably euphoric as many of us are about its long-anticipated production of Millennium Approaches, the first half of Tony Kushner's poetic and political but never-pandering seven-hour epic, Angels In America. (See "Stage" for an interview with the author.) In fairness to ultrasensitive Dallas audience members--among whom are folks who freak out at a kiss between a black man and a white woman in a children's production--be warned that Mr. Kushner assumes you have "accepted homosexuality as a human phenomena." Millennium Approaches addresses far more than that: the religious, ethnic, sexual, and political schisms that drive us toward annihilation. Hint: For maximum enjoyment pick up a copy of the play and peruse it beforehand. Warning: Millennium Approaches is only the first half of Kushner's saga; the play doesn't end so much as break; restrain your urge to riot. The show opens March 21. Performances happen Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. through April 28 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Boulevard. Tickets are $15-$42. Call 522-TIXX.
William Bryan Massey III: He looks like a convicted Peeping Tom and writes like a man who once considered a career as a serial sex offender but dropped the idea because he'd rather drink beer and read a lot. William Bryan Massey III is a famous figure in Fort Worth poetry circles, which begs the question of why he hasn't grabbed the fertile, chaotic Dallas open mic with the same passion he pours into self-promotion on the international small-press circuit. Understanding the basic universal law which says humility is for no-talent chumps, Massey advertises himself as "the foremost leader in renegade white-trash garage poetry." We've waited breathlessly for that movement to find its Moses, and this poet's sticky hands should carry it far. Massey holds a reading at a popular Fort Worth nightspot to celebrate the release of a new poetry collection, Flies Land On My Knee...And Drink Sweat. The performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Dog Star Cafe, 2911 W. Berry St. in Fort Worth. It's free. Call (817) 924-1446.