Linda Ronstadt: Linda Ronstadt has notched 25 years in the music business, worldwide album sales of 30 million, and grown a thick hide to protect herself from the critical thorns that have scraped her along the journey. She's also periodically grown a face: earnest country-rock girl, slick, stadium-filling pop star, silky, sad nightclub chanteuse from the '40s, singing jazz-pop standards with Nelson Riddle at her back. She can change directions abruptly, as she did when she rediscovered the Mexican folk songs of her childhood or her disastrous stab at new wave, Mad Love. Indeed, she's been uncool for so long, that she's actually cool in a world where consummate professionalism is often eclipsed by media savvy. Still, her eternally youthful face and pitch-perfect voice contribute to the overriding impression her career has made--that she's a precocious talent playing with the musical styles and production gimmicks in her toy box but never quite making a serious statement of purpose with them. Her new album, Dedicated To the One I Love, is a collection of rock, pop, and classical covers recorded as lullabies. She appears at 3:30 p.m. at Borders Books & Music, Preston and Royal. It's free; prepare for a crowd. For info call 363-1977.
The Second Annual Clearview Slam Off: The Second Annual Clearview Slam Off is the event that won't feature former Observer writer and editor Robert Wilonsky as a guest judge, although the organizers might be happy to accept him as a volunteer for the dunk booth. There are five other local luminaries--including Tim Wood, publisher of The Word; Martha Heimberg, instructor at Richland College; and Dark Room poetry host Matt Morgan--sitting in judgment on 11 poets. These poets will slam off to see which three will accompany poet-host-provocateur Clebo Rainey to the National Poetry Slam in Portland on August 24. If you've never been to a poetry slam, the white-hot competition involved in this one should provide an entertaining introduction. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. at Club Clearview, 2806 Elm. Admission is $5. Call 942-6892.
James Mardis: The City of Dallas' Office of Cultural Affairs sponsors the appearances of local artists on what it calls "Neighborhood Touring Programs"--performances that move across the city area by area to kindle not only an appreciation for the arts but a new awareness of community. It's community that poet-commentator James Mardis has in mind when he appears at Paperbacks Plus in East Dallas, although he'll be talking a whole lot about the individual, too. As an award-winning, oft-anthologized poet and a teacher of poetic forms, Mardis is keenly aware of role-playing in the public sphere. As a single father, he has more than a passing interest in the city's future. His presentation focuses on how individuals can develop creative, proactive voices. His mission? Nothing less ambitious than the resurrection of the concept of "citizen." He performs at 7 p.m. at Paperbacks Plus Upstairs, 6115 LaVista. It's free. Call 388-4249.
Intertribal Powwow: Eagle Studio, Two Bears Originals, and the Chamber of Commerce of Mabank, Texas, have joined forces to stage the Intertribal Powwow, which is most definitely open to those who are not tribe members. "But what do I wear to a powwow?" might be the first thing out of your lips, and ignorance of Native American custom your excuse not to attend. Actually, the members of American Indian tribes have been living with nontribal ignorance their entire lives, so most are accustomed to it. Demonstrations of the variety of dances being performed (not all of which are open for public participation) will take place to make sure everyone feels they can join in without looking too foolish. The powwow happens 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Market Street off Highway 175 in downtown Mabank, Texas. It's free. For information call 254-2080.
Are We Having Fun Yet? Dallas comic writer-actor-director-entrepreneur Judy Truesdell is the woman behind the Grassy Knoll Players and its hugely popular Christmas revue Dallas Got Run Over By a Reindeer. She loves our fair city so much, she can't help ripping it to shreds with her buddies in song parodies and comedy sketches written about Dallas celebs, national and local. Are We Having Fun Yet? is Grassy Knoll's latest revue, complete with jabs at talk-radio relationship savior Laura "Stop Talking and Listen" Schlessinger and the hazards of a family trip to Discovery Zone. Performances happen Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Churchill's at the Dallas Grand Hotel, 1914 Commerce. Tickets are $15-$26. Call 255-7306.
Heathen Valley: Romulus Linney's Heathen Valley is the kind of drama which needs to be revived every era--sort of like Inherit the Wind in its recent Broadway incarnation--to remind us all that religious faith can heal or destroy, depending on its application. The 11th Street Theatre Project stages Linney's articulate look at the war between good and evil, set in the Appalachian mountains of the 1840s, as a battle between Christian missionaries for the souls of a dirt-poor, uneducated, sometimes brutal populace. Decide for yourself whether the cure is worse than the illness. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. through June 29 at St. Matthews Cathedral, 5100 Ross Ave. at Henderson. Tickets are $8-$10. 522-PLAY.