Eric Gethers: A truism of the wacky, tacky world of Hollywood is that writers are the ill-respected bottom-feeders of the biz. The flip side reveals they often eat very well: A professional screenwriter who accrues the awareness of Hollywood producers can make a healthy living hawking final scripts that barely resemble an original draft or never get produced at all. The latter has been Eric Gether's experience. A recent transplant to Dallas, Gethers has a resume that includes 17 features, among them projects slated for Michael Douglas and Richard Dreyfuss--though none has reached celluloid. Gethers gives a talk to the Dallas Screenwriters Association about his career, such as it is. The presentation kicks off at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Harvey Hotel, 400 N. Olive. Admission is $8. Call 922-7829.
Joe Ely: When he's off his game, as he was for a good hunk of the '80s, Ely comes off as Bruce Springsteen's hillbilly cousin: too many guitars, too little passion. But when he keeps making three-pointers, as on his first four albums or 1994's Chippy or last year's Letter to Laredo, Ely is the consummate storyteller-songwriter--as evocative as Springsteen when it comes to describing a barren West Texas wasteland. Yet, unlike The Boss, Ely doesn't have much trouble cutting it hard or soft; Ely likes to rock without oversinging the point, and he can go acoustic without ever turning into a folkie. It's hard to say last year was a comeback for a guy who never went much farther than Austin, but the star of the Lubbock-or-leave-it crowd is in rare form these days: Letter to Laredo is a beautiful, haunting record that skips back and forth across the Tex-Mex border and occasionally stumbles into Spain (for Ely, flamenco and conjunto are two sides of the same coin). And to hear him in such an atmosphere as the Sons of Hermann Hall, hardwood and ancient from top to bottom, should prove a rare authentic experience. Joe Ely performs Thursday at the Sons of Hermann Hall, Elm and Exposition in Deep Ellum.
11th Annual Texas Storytelling Festival: Think about the number of times a week we cut short otherwise interesting anecdotes by friends and strangers because the only kind of communication our busy schedules permit is fax, e-mail, or short and sweet phone calls. Secondhand stories flourish as never before on film and television, but personal, face-to-face, unvarnished tales have been relegated to a novelty. So thank heavens for the 11th Annual Texas Storytelling Festival, which features top talkers from around the country spinning historical, regional, spiritual, and ethnic oral tapestries. Big names include Jeannine Pasini Beekman, Michael Cotter, Bobby Norfolk, and Jackie Torrence. Entertainment kicks off Thursday at 8 p.m. and runs day and night through Sunday at the Civic Center Park in Denton. Several performances are free, others run $5-$10 each. For information call (817) 387-8336.
Greater Southwest Guitar Show: Everything here is in pagan honor of that most melodic of phallic symbols--the guitar in all its shapes and sizes, the worthless to the priceless. Silvertones, Fenders, Gibsons, Gretsches--you name your weapon, and organizer Mark Pollock has likely touched its neck at one time or another. The 19th Annual Greater Southwest Guitar Show will no doubt be a bonanza for collectors, fetishists, and fans, a two-day jam session masquerading as a swap meet that is, in the end, more like a Star Trek convention for rockers; even the celebs show up once in a while to prove the point, as evidenced by past appearances from the likes of James Burton (used to play with Elvis), Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, and Ted Nugent. The show happens Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., in the Automobile Building at Fair Park. Tickets are $5-$10 (kids younger than 12 get in free). Call 298-3110.
Voices From the Other Side: Seems everybody's going online these days, including your dead grandmother. The Eclectic Viewpoint--a Dallas-based forum for international speakers on topics that are either brave, interesting, or pure hooey, depending on your perspective--invites author Mark Macy to discuss "Voices From The Other Side." Conversations Beyond the Light, a book Macy co-authored, asserts that the deceased are now attempting communication worldwide through telephone, video and audio tape, and computers. He is part of a small but international community that believes the latest communications technology has been exploited so the dead can bring messages and provide helpful advice to the living. These folks theorize there is a distinguished team of dead scientists and artists called "Timestream" who've spearheaded this project from beyond. (Well, it could happen--just not in this lifetime). The presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane. Tickets are $15. Call 601-7687.