Reversing The Tide: Organizing the Mainstream in Support of Public Education and Religious Tolerance: The so-called Religious Right is a special-interest group that has earned its current control of the Republican Party with ballot-box vigilance. Still, all Christian voters in America don't hate immigrants, homosexuals, single mothers, and welfare recipients. Many devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ are deeply uncomfortable with the damning rhetoric of Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and their ilk in the name of Christianity. The most prominent statewide organization of sympathizers, Texas Freedom Network, stirs the faithful with its concern about social agendas espoused by the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and others. Public education is the rallying cry for the Network's public forum, Reversing The Tide: Organizing the Mainstream in Support of Religious Tolerance, which includes an address by Ann Richards' daughter Cecile, the executive director. Discussion happens from 7-9 p.m. at Northaven United Methodist Church, 11211 Preston Road. For information call (512) 322-0545.
Carlos: The San Francisco Bay-area pop-punk trio Carlos has worked hard to achieve its own polished brand of impoliteness. Guitar-slashing mixed with classic-rock melodicism isn't exactly a new thing, and to make sure you understand that, lead singer Rich Scramaglia records his vocals like Billy Corgan in love with '60s girl groups. The 1994 debut album, Salamander Coriander, was hailed as the work of a young band trying real hard to improve, which they did on the new Amy Armageddon. The Major is perhaps the only venue in Dallas that will showcase Carlos' catchy minimalism before it receives major-label distribution. The show kicks off with opening band El Guapo at 9 p.m. at the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell Blvd. For information call 821-3456.
New Visions, New Voices: The Theatre Division at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts nurtures not just actors and directors, but playwrights as well. Although the curriculum dictates a familiarity with all three, the annual showcase, "New Visions, New Voices," focuses on the oft-ignored writer--the person who inspires a director's need for control and an actor's desire to express. The plays of three graduating seniors are featured in the 1996 festival: Aaron Ginsburg's Archaeology of Knowledge follows the death of intellectualism in trapped circumstances; David Schulner's Disturbed By the Wind chronicles the invention of the Wright Brothers as an imaginary leap; and Peter Fulton's At A Loss features improv actors bedazzled by Lewis Carroll-inspired whimsy. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:15 p.m. in the Greer Garson Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts, on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $2-$3. Call 768-3510.
Fat Men in Skirts: The comedies of New York-based neurotic Nicky Silver are based on the worst possible consequences occurring in the best possible universe we can imagine. His breakneck, absurdist farces often begin with an idea and proceed to pummel it mercilessly through broad characterizations and catastrophic plot turns. Dallas-based Open Stage presents Silver's Fat Men in Skirts, which offers the tale of a filmmaker, his glamorous wife, and their "Katharine Hepburn-obsessed" son torn apart by the wife and son's unexpected sojourn on a desert island. Fat Men in Skirts runs Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. through May 12 at Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park. Tickets are $8-$12. Call 871-ARTS.
Kate Clinton: You can bet that comic Kate Clinton has exploited her surname royally in this election year. She is no relation to Bill by bloodline or principle, which is to say, unlike the president, she has stood by her ground at least since 1981, when being an open lesbian and a female stand-up doing unabashedly political humor weren't the most popular things in the world. Clinton, who learned how to work a room as a high-school English teacher, has gradually expanded her audience from lesbians to gay men to left-leaning heterosexuals unimpressed with "lesbian chic" and other hip exploitations. The only thing fashionable about Clinton is the constantly shifting targets of her low-key humor, which betrays an obsession with current politics channeled through a withering common sense. Kate performs at 7 and 10:30 p.m. at Caravan of Dreams, 312 Houston in Fort Worth. For tickets call (817) 429-4000.
PIECES: The Dallas-based modern-dance troupe PIECES presents a kind of hope-they'll-be-greatest-hits program called "Selected PIECES." Artistic director J. Davis Hobdy has overseen the premiere of a new ballet by associate-collaborator Jacquelyn Ralls Forcher, as well as three new works created by Hobdy himself. The show happens April 20 at 8 p.m. and April 21 at 2 and 8 p.m. at Danse En L'air, 9205 Skillman. Admission is $6-$8. Call 601-9832.