Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games: Like most cultural debris caught in the wide nets of American mainstream entertainment, the bagpipe enjoys an ancient, revered reputation antithetical to its function as an ethnic sight gag. Just don't expect a lot of non-Scots who watch the solo and group bagpiping competition at the 10th Annual Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games to be surprised at how much the real instrument looks like its cartoon cousin. The Festival and Highland Games feature all manner of competitions and activities, including Celtic harp performances, whiskey-tasting, country dancing, genealogy, and military re-enactments. Events happen June 8, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and June 9, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., at Maverick Stadium on the grounds of the University of Texas at Arlington. Call (817) 654-2293.
African, Asian, and Pacific Art: There are a few items at the Dallas Museum of Art's new third-floor African, Asian, and Pacific Art installation that diehard DMA-ers haven't seen before. The coup here is historical and cultural context, the thrill of seeing more than 800 priceless artifacts from the ancient to the modern era arranged by geography. The Dallas Museum of Art has earned a national reputation for its Indonesian art holdings, and sculpture and textiles from that culture are a highlight of this installation. The show opens June 8 at the DMA, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free. For more information call 922-1200.
The Eyes of Texas II: Four years ago a collection of professional Dallas artists who met once a month decided to make it official and name themselves--Art Focus. After the planning of its first touring group exhibition, 1995's Inner Vision, the group became Art Focus XC and incorporated into its mission statement the mandate to work with charitable organizations. Field of Vision is the group's 1996 exhibition and something of sequel to the first, a show of visual art in various media that attempts to trace the creative process in the participating artists from concept to execution. The Foundation Fighting Blindness, an organization the artists chose because they, more than most, know how precious sight is, benefits. The show runs through June 30 in the Upper East Pavilion of the Trammell Crow Center, Flora between Olive and Harwood.
The Art of Bible Making: While there is little doubt the U.S. founding fathers desired that our government should be conducted as a secular entity, religion and civilization are as tangled up together in their conception here as everywhere else. Indeed, what many scholars insist is the very foundation of culture--the written word--made its debut in mass-production form as a Bible by Germany's Gutenburg. An example of an early printing press is one piece in The Art of Bible Making, a national exhibition assembled by the Living Word Bible Museum and hosted by the local Biblical Arts Center. The show traces the Bible through its three distinct historical periods--the manuscript, early printed, and early English--with priceless original examples from each. Let's just hope exhibition organizers are honest about the changes in content this sacred document has undergone through translation and political engineering. The show is open through May 1997 at the Biblical Arts Center, 7500 Park Lane at Boedeker. Tickets are $2-$3. For information call 691-4661.
Miss Manners Rescues Civilization: The lengthy title of the new book by nationally syndicated columnist and author Judith "Miss Manners" Martin may sound like hyperbole--Miss Manners Rescues Civilization From Sexual Harassment, Frivolous Lawsuits, Dissing, and Other Lapses in Civility--but her patented brand of "well-meaning hypocrisy" is exactly what America could use more of right now. Political correctness may have championed a ridiculous standard of "sensitivity" during its brief, exaggerated reign, but the backlash against it has made abusive rhetoric a mainstay in public discussions. Miss Manners comes along to remind us that treating people with respect and civility--even the impossibly deluded idiots who disagree with us on political points where no rational, caring human could possibly disagree--is not only "the right thing to do," it makes the world an easier place in which to live for all of us. She chats and signs copies of the book at 7:30 p.m. at Borders Books & Music, 1601 Preston in Plano. It's free. Call 713-9857.
Much Ado About Nothing: Fort Worth's nonprofit Shakespeare in the Park debuts its 1996 season with a new feature designed to thrust the play's action right between your eyes--or, at least, to the edge of your lap. The newly remodeled stage of the Trinity Playhouse Theatre now includes a thrust stage not unlike the setup enjoyed at Samuell-Grand Park by the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. This means, depending on where you sit in Trinity, you won't have the luxury of forsaking the Bard's florid, convoluted dialogue for headphones without the actors knowing it. The hijinks in the 1996 debut production of Shakespeare in the Park, the mistaken-identity comedy Much Ado About Nothing, are pretty much self-explanatory--think of it as a special sweeps-week episode of Friends and you'll do just fine. Performances happen every Tuesday-Sunday at 8:30 p.m. (gates open at 6:45 p.m.) in Trinity Park Playhouse, Seventh and Trinity in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6-$12. (Kids younger than 12 get in free). Call (817) 923-6698.