Elizabeth Fox-Genovese: The media backlash against feminism started off as a long-deserved critique of the movement's excesses by veteran insiders. The torch was then wrestled away by right-wing pundits with scary "pro-family" agendas whose mission was to rewrite 20th-century American history by pretending that anti-discrimination laws, child-protection legislation, and even the right to vote were historical inevitabilities that came about regardless of feminist activists. Scholar Elizabeth Fox-Genovese falls somewhere in the middle of these camps. Her latest volley fired into the debate is the book Feminism is Not the Story of My Life: How Today's Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch with the Real Concerns of Women. The so-called "feminist elite" would love to be as influential and powerful as Fox-Genovese portrays them. The articulate, civil Fox-Genovese, like her more conservative counterparts, constructs a straw boogeywoman to obscure the subtler, more complex political realities of contemporary feminism. Her discussion, which is free, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in the Lynch Auditorium of the University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Drive in Irving. Call 721-5111.
Denton Arts & Jazz Festival: The Denton Arts & Jazz Festival kicks off an orgiastic weekend of spring-themed festivals. Take your pick, since they are basically just excuses to walks around in shorts. The Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, however, is a biggie, with an expected attendance of 40,000 and a program that features 1,000 musicians performing on five different stages. Defined, as often is the entire city of Denton, by its jazz music, the festival features such North Texas stalwarts as Carlos Guedes, Joe McBride, the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, and jazzy cabaret-pop faves Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks. The Arts & Jazz Festival happens April 26, 6-9 p.m.; April 27, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and April 28, noon-8 p.m. at the Denton Civic Center Park in downtown Denton. All performances are free. Call 991-9871.
Free Fall: Sandy Duncan as Marlene Dietrich? Sandy Duncan as a man? The native Texan, Emmy winner, three-time Tony nominee, and musical-stage veteran is probably tired of cracks about Wheat Thins everywhere she goes, so we'll resist and just say Duncan's debut as playwright intrigues us with its unexpected themes. Free Fall, co-written with Marc Alan Zagoran and directed by Duncan's longtime collaborator-partner Guy Stroman, is a one-woman showcase for Duncan, who pays tribute to performance greats Dietrich, Larry Hart, and Marilyn Miller with an invocation of their performances and their eras. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday at 8:15 p.m. through May 12 at the WaterTower Theatre at Addison Centre Theatre, 15650 Addison Road in Addison. Tickets are $20. Call 871-2787.
Spring Dance Fling: All skill levels in the discipline of dance--student, preprofessional, and professional--are represented in the Spring Dance Fling, which throws an even wider net across styles. Classical, jazz, tap, modern, ballet, and African media are all represented in a program that includes dancers from the Ngoma Mkristo African Drum and Dance Group, Dance Fusion, Ballet Jeunesse, Ozsoy Ballet, Amanda Stone Dancers, Cedar Valley College, and the University of North Texas. Performances happen April 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. at Cedar Valley College, 3030 N. Dallas Ave. in Lancaster. Tickets are $1-$3. Call 860-8160.
Townes Van Zandt: The Texas Music Connection and KNON-FM (89.3) join forces to revive a late, great institutional force in Texas music--"The Rock Creek Ranch Show." Ranger Randall Fields was a sympathetic ear and enthusiastic supporter of Texas musicians who didn't have a commercial contract but would go on to find major-label support and national acclaim--folks like Lyle Lovett, Darden Smith, and Robert Earl Keen. Tonight the "Rock Creek Ranch" is re-enacted with a performance that features once-and-future Flatlander Butch Hancock ("She Never Spoke Spanish to Me," "West Texas Waltz") and Townes Van Zandt, the latter being among the last of the great Texas singer-songwriters who keeps killing himself in the name of his art. A special announcement about KNON radio programs that support Texas music will be made prior to Butch Hancock's performance, which only makes sense since the evening's performances benefit KNON. The show kicks off at 6 p.m. at the venerable Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St. Admission is $15. Call 747-4422.
Fine Arts Chamber Players: This latest installment of the Fine Arts Chamber Players' 4th Saturday series is a special one for the troupe--a commemoration of its 15th birthday. The April edition of 4th Saturday features Gregory Hustis, principal horn player for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Robert Davidovici, concertmaster for the Vancouver Symphony; and Simon Sargon, Southern Methodist University composer and musical director at Temple Emanu-El. They'll perform, among other pieces, Brahms' "Trio" for horn, violin, and piano, p. 40; and Sargon's "The Legacy." The show kicks off 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 520-9919.