25th Anniversary Kerrville Folk Festival: The triumvirate of corporate sponsors behind this year's Kerrville Folk Festival includes the shaggy-haired Whole Foods Market, which should consider exporting its checkers for counterculture atmosphere. Actually, although you're likely to find plenty of bare feet, overgrown beards, tie-dyes, and hand-rolled cigarettes among the crowds that flock to Rod Kennedy's Quiet Valley Ranch (nine miles south of Kerrville on Highway 16), these folks are less "counterculture" than cheerfully divorced from popular American culture as a whole. For its silver anniversary, the festival includes such stellar names as Nancy Griffith, Robert Earl Keen, Patty Larkin, Odetta, Tom Paxton, Guy Clark, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, and Trout Fishing in America. They assemble on concert stages and campfire sing-alongs for the kind of low-key strum-and-wail that creates a nationwide pilgrimage every year. For concert schedules, ticket prices, camping information, and directions call 1-800-435-8429.
38th Annual African Liberation Day: The debate rages on over how best to develop a national African-American identity that's not contingent on animosity toward and/or dependence upon the dwindling Anglo majority. During his lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. expressed deep discomfort over transplanting African nationalism to U.S. shores, yet the separatist-inclined Louis Farrakhan continues to tap deep emotional and intellectual wellsprings among black and brown audiences. The Dallas chapter of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party commemorates the 38th anniversary of African Liberation Day, which was conceived as an international holiday at the First Conference of Independent African States in 1958. Events include an International Pan-African Symposium Day May 24 at 7 p.m. at the University of Texas at Arlington, Pickard Hall; an International March and Rally May 25, 11 a.m., at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center; and an International Cultural Rally that follows the march. For information on any of the events, call 942-3481.
National Tap Dance Day: In one of its more-productive moments, Congress seven years ago declared that today would be a national holiday to honor the almost-dead but beloved art of tap. Why May 25? It was the birthday of legendary dancer-actor-singer-Vaudevillian movie star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. If Mr. Robinson was alive today, he probably wouldn't feel up to the festivities--there would be 118 candles on his cake--but Fred Kelly, brother of the late, great Gene Kelly, comes to Dallas to honor Gene at the National Tap Dance Day celebration, which also includes classes, talks, and an interactive performance of the National Tap Anthem. (They assure us the steps are simple.) Events take place 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the West End Marketplace, downtown Dallas. Most events are free, but master classes are $20. Call 385-8729.
11th Annual Texas Black Invitational Rodeo: The Texas Black Invitational Rodeo began as a fund-raiser for the African-American Museum long before that institution enjoyed its current digs inside Fair Park. In 1986 there were 150 participants and $10,000 in prize money to go around; as of this writing, there are 300 professional cowboys and cowgirls converging on Dallas from around the country to compete in bull-riding, calf-roping, barrel-racing, steer-wrestling, and other stuff--and the purse stands at a combined $25,000. To kick off the activities, there's a Celebrity Rodeo Hoedown MCed by V-100 radio's Scott West. Events happen May 24, 8 p.m., and May 25, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., around the African-American Museum in Fair Park. For admission prices call 565-9026.
Fine Arts Chamber Players: D'Drum started out as a loose ensemble of Dallas musicians, some of whom hail from our own Dallas Symphony Orchestra, who jammed together while the lights were out at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Their infrequent public performances of polycultural rhythms generated a buzz that reached across the country--the producers of National Geographic tapped D'Drum to record the score for an upcoming special titled Lions of Darkness. D'Drum joins the Fine Arts Chamber Players for its Fourth Saturday concert series at the Dallas Museum of Art. The performance 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 520-2219.
Synth-Pop-A-Luza III: Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis may have midwifed that unruly beast known as rock and roll, but their instrument of choice--the keyboard--somehow didn't influence the impressionable youngster much. Fast forward 30 years to the second British invasion of the very early '80s, and you have the most recently thwarted attempts by keyboardists to replace those legendary three guitar chords. Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Human League, Erasure, New Order--cock-of-the-walk rock critics snickered under one hand as the greatest phallic symbol in pop culture was exchanged for a more sensitive, melodic instrument. Group W Entertainment brings back Reagan's Morning in America with a showcase of local and national acts whose main instrument is the synthesizer. The bands start playing at 3:30 p.m. at Lone Star Club, 1849 E. Belt Line Rd. in Coppell. Call 462-1234.