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.
North Texas Skeptics: Tired of eating televangelists, New Age gurus, and business charlatans for breakfast, The North Texas Skeptics change diets for the group's latest presentation. But have the Skeptics bitten off more than they can chew with their latest target, the Smithsonian Museum-Enola Gay flap from last year? "Historical revisionism" (read "history we don't like") is the subject of a talk led by Louis Read, a survivor of the Bataan Death March and a man with a definite opinion on how Smithsonian curators approached the tortured topic of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Can the Skeptics be intellectually honest enough to admit attacks launched against the Smithsonian were inspired by the Right's own brand of political correctness? The talk happens at 7 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak. It's free and open to the public. Call 247-7886.
The Premiere World-Renowned Leonard Peltier Art Auction: Incident At Oglala is the 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford that makes you ask the question: "If Leonard Peltier were a white Montana rancher who espoused pro-white rhetoric, would he be in jail today?" Peltier is the Native American activist currently serving two life sentences for the alleged murder of two FBI agents. The state's case was not only frighteningly circumstantial, but evidence counter to Peltier's conviction raised in the documentary has been floating around without benefit of a Republican congressional cadre to champion it. Peltier from jail continues his pet charity, the Leonard Peltier Charitable Foundations, with the aim of creating a network of clinic-homes for disadvantaged American-Indian Kids. The Premiere World-Renowned Leonard Peltier Art Auction offers five of his paintings. A private showing for $35 kicks off at 4 p.m. and includes a first crack at the art. The public showing happens at 6:30 p.m. It's free and features Native American dance and other "historical entertainment." Doubletree Lincoln Centre. Call 933-6832.
Texas Conservatory of Young Artists: For seven consecutive years, the Texas Conservatory for Young Artists has been flaunting its international reputation (to the delight of North Texas classical fans) with a public program of recitals and master classes by some of the most respected musicians in classical music. As always, the Texas Conservatory's "season" is a mix of top collegiate performers as well as international artists. The trio representing the latter category are Gordon Fergus-Thompson, a man feted in the European press for his mastery of Debussy and Ravel; Marc-Andre Hamelin, a Grammy nominee; and Boris Berezovsky, gold medalist at the 1990 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Recitals, master classes, and performances happen afternoons and evenings June 16-23 in the John Anthony Theatre of Collin County Community College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Pkwy. For ticket information call 985-0392.
Operation Kindness: As the weather in Texas gets warmer, the cat population gets friskier. We mean "frisky" in the Biblical sense, as hundreds of felines who haven't had The Snip dive front paws first into parenthood, consequences be damned. Trouble is, humans are the ones who shoulder the responsibility for stray cats, and we've instituted a rather harsh method of population control. Operation Kindness, the Carrollton-based no-kill shelter, has acquired 70 cats and kittens over the last two months, and desperately wants these little charmers to avoid Kitty Auschwitz. They've dedicated the month of June to adopting cats; a $55 donation gets you a vaccinated, collared, tagged, and spayed or neutered fuzz buddy. The shelter is open seven days a week at 1029 Trend in Carrollton. Call 418-PAWS.
Texas Bound: Ever mindful of the cultural rivalry between Fort Worth and Dallas ("Our museums are better!" "Oh, yeah? Well, our theater is better!" "Oh, yeah! Well, you have ugly steers!"), the organizers behind Arts & Letters Live, Dallas' claim to national literary status, have decided to share the wealth. In 1995 they expanded the "Texas Bound" part of the series--which sees Texas actors reading the words of Texas authors--into Fort Worth, and continue that tradition this year. The 1996 Fort Worth installment of "Texas Bound" includes Barry Corbin reading Tom Doyal; Doris Roberts reading William Goyen; James Black of Houston's Tony-winning Alley Theatre reading James Lee Burke; and Adelina Anthony reading Sandra Cisneros. The evening kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Scott William Edrington Theater, 3505 W. Lancaster. Tickets are $8-$10. Call 922-1220.
Carlo Pezzimenti: It's true that this evening's performance at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas by guitarist Carlo Pezzimenti and pianist Marta Urrea is free, thanks to the aforementioned City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. But it's also true that Pezzimenti and Urrea, both of whom specialize in music by 20th-century composers, are world-class artists whose haunting sound may not leave you when the performance is over. Bring some extra cash and you can leave with a piece of the remarkable Mr. Pezzimenti, who'll be selling his latest CD Aetheria as well as previous recordings on site. The show itself includes music by Ponce, Villa-Lobos, Brower, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The evening happens at 7:30 p.m. in the Zale Auditorium at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Rd. It's free. Call 739-2737.
Richland Infrared Photography Workshop: As educational planners search for ever-more-innovative ways to apply the teaching process to more-vivid student experiences, the minimester was born. It's a time-intensive way to earn three credit hours, and especially useful for instructors who want to take their pupils out of the classroom grind. Photography teachers Wayne Loucas and Roy Cirigliana have just finished their third year teaching three-week Infrared Photography Workshops as minimesters, and their second year taking the Workshops to New Mexico. Don't worry--students kept to a minimum the cow-skull-and-cacti combinations we've come to fear from otherwise well-meaning New Mexico artists. The best images were collected in an exhibition. The show opens June 7 and runs through June 29 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. For information call 324-7920.