Events for the week

april 4
Ray Wylie Hubbard, Darden Smith, Chuck Pyle: This three-headliner event at Sons of Hermann Hall is called "Writers in the Round," which in this open-mic crazy town suggests yet another convergence of literary muses. Actually, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Darden Smith, and Chuck Pyle all work firmly within the American short-story tradition. Lyrics that attempt something beyond the sad-luck cliches that riddle the work of most singer-songwriters risk stomping all over the song structure, transforming the tune into that most dreaded of self-indulgences--a poem with musical accompaniment. Though all three are great musicians and great storytellers, they can be distinguished with simple descriptions: Hubbard loves the little guy, Smith the anti-hero, and Pyle the eerie power of place. The show kicks off at 8:30 p.m. at Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm. Tickets are $10-$12. Call 747-4422.

Easter Parade: The Easter bonnet is a tradition wrapped up in all kinds of issues that have nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus: class and other forms of social status; the dictates of contemporary fashion; internal congregational competition; etc. Transcending its cheesy Protestant origins, the bonnet has taken flight and landed in some unexpected places; chances are you'll see bigger, louder, more elaborate bonnets on Cedar Springs and in Lee Park this Easter than would ever fit in Highland Park Methodist. You might even catch some of the designs on display in the Third Annual Easter Parade, a production of DIFFA (Design Industry Foundation For AIDS). This runway show and silent auction features bonnets, hats, and chapeaus created by 40 different Dallas hair and makeup designers. In this context, less is not only less, but may be hissed off the stage. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. at the State Bar, 3611 Parry Ave. For information, call 522-8399.

april 5
Deep Ellum Spring Arts Festival: The rules for the Deep Ellum Spring Arts Festival are a little different than for more traditional Easter festivities. Here, "Sunday best" is translated as the pair of old jeans with the coolest constellation of holes, and the traditional egg hunt is replaced by club-weary scenesters retracing their steps on a hunt for lost keys. As you might've guessed, music is the big draw here, with 30 bands performing on two stages. The lineup includes local luminaries like Brave Combo, Marchel Ivery Quintet, Andy Timmons, and Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks. Other stuff on the program includes the Art Cars, a display of a dozen elaborately decorated autos; the "Walk on Walls" project, which finds local artists festooning the clean Deep Ellum surfaces with personal visions while the public watches; exhibitor booths; street performers; and more. Activities happen Friday, 7-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-9 p.m. For information, call 747-DEEP.

Richard Lewis: Take an informal poll of American thirtysomething comics who cut their teeth on stand-up, and a good percentage will name Richard Lewis as their favorite funnyman. As is often the case with performers who've greatly influenced their peers, he tends to polarize audiences. The persona that Lewis has created--an aggressively neurotic, love-starved straight guy--doesn't fool around with quotation marks: His delivery is hard-edged, compulsive, even a little haunted. Consequently, for some, watching him is like chugging a Drano martini with an emetic chaser. Lewis has hopped from one unsuccessful TV show to another, struggling to find material with a tempo sympathetic to his jitters. Live, of course, he sets the tone for the evening; consider that a blessing or a curse, based on your own opinion of the man's work. Performances happen Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 & 10 p.m. in the Arts District Theatre, 2401 Flora. Tickets are $20-$30. Call 570-1637.

april 6
Emily Mitchell: There are musicians whose knowledge of an instrument is inseparable from their love of a particular musical style, and then there are musicians who love their particular instruments because of their possibilities in every discipline. Although Emily Mitchell learned the harp through a rigorous classical training at the Royal College of Music, London, she happily "sold out"--in the name of broadening her audience and her repertoire--by becoming one of the hottest session harpists in America as well as a much sought-after instrumentalist for film scores. Mitchell comes to Dallas to perform a program that includes folk, classical, and pop. The performance happens at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free, but seating is limited. Call 922-1200.

No Exit: The late, great French existentialist Jean Paul Sartre was, like many artistic and philosophical pioneers, concerned about morality and compassion in the abstract. By many, if not most, biographical accounts, Sartre was capable of great cruelty in his personal relationships, especially his long, twisted affair with Simone de Beauvoir, a key figure in the development of 20th-century feminist literature who had a masochistic streak wider than the Champs Elysees. These are the contradictions--between what we say we want and what we need--that fire Sartre's world-famous comic drama No Exit. The play concerns four characters doomed to repeat their own inextricable cycles of pleasure and pain in a hellish brothel. Little Finger Productions performs No Exit Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. through April 27 at Theatre Too, in the basement of Theatre Three, at the Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. Tickets are $5-$7 (Wednesdays are "pay what you can"). Call 871-3300.

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