Sappho's Symposium: Dallas' nonprofit Extra Virgin Performance Cooperative is fully aware that naming its latest play festival Sappho's Symposium is bound to keep droves of the Dallas curious-but-conservative away. ("Sappho? Didn't she live on the island of Lesbos, enjoy women's professional tennis, and own every Indigo Girls album plus bootlegs?") Rest assured that while the lesbian experience will certainly be addressed in Sappho's Symposium, it's just one ingredient in the wicked witches' brew that these seven short, previously unproduced, experimental plays concoct. All of them were written by women, which is the main reason Western Civilization's oldest female writer is invoked as a muse. Plays include The Names of the Beast, Linda Eisenstein's frantic comedy about a frustrated writer who gathers friends together to destroy her life's work, and Charlotte Robinson's Bruce 'n' Barbie, a farce about a brother and sister struggling with gender roles in the crib. Performances happen Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Swiss Avenue Theater Center, 2700 Swiss Ave. Tickets are $8-$10 (Thursdays are "pay-what-you-can"). Call 941-3664.
Gathering of the Spirits: Carol Neff, owner of the hugely successful Renaissance and Romance store in Oak Cliff, wanted to sponsor what she calls "a space for people open to spiritual dialogue across religious lines." Knowing that the quickest way to attract individuals to an event is by calling it "a celebration," Neff offers her first "Gathering of the Spirits," a summer-solstice welcome that includes a guided meditation about the "Divine Mother" experience, minireadings, drum circles, chair massages, speakers, and general low-cost camaraderie. The gathering happens 6 p.m.-midnight in Arlington Hall in Lee Park between Lemmon and Hall on Turtle Creek. Admission for a seat at the meditation is $5. For info call 521-LOVE.
The Love Clinic: Imagine the expressions of all those poor saps who wander into "The Love Clinic" at Jubilee United Methodist Church and discover no one is playing doctor there, that all they're gonna do is talk about love. Still, expect a few tempers to flare and loads of laughter. Here we're talking about that ever-controversial heterosexual love between men and women, with a special emphasis on the stresses peculiar to African-American relationships. The June 21 program is entitled "When a Man Loves a Woman" and features a panel of North Texas Christian professional black men who've never been in jail, don't care for gangsta rap, and believe respect is the surest way to a woman's heart. (Contrary to your evening TV news broadcast, there are a few out there.) They'd like to get a few things off their chest about their image as African-American males and how it affects the women they love--or want to love. "The Love Clinic" happens 7-9 p.m. at Jubilee United Methodist Church, 301 Frank Keasler Blvd., Duncanville. It's free. Call 283-2264.
20th-Annual Chisholm Trail Roundup: No period of American history is as likely to be romanticized by traditionalists as the Old West, and since most of those party-pooping "historical revisionists" have forsaken cowboys and Indians for A-bombs and Vietnam, the traditionalists are free to paint a mythology that Andrew Wyeth would reject as bombastic. This much is indisputable--the great Longhorn drives of the 19th century saw Western settlers and Native Americans (sometimes) working together to establish trading posts and way stations between South Texas and Kansas, around which grew towns and the occasional city (Fort Worth is its most famous by-product). After that, the romance of the hot, dirty, smelly, conflict-ridden, often lawless "frontier" is up for debate. The 20th-Annual Chisholm Trail Roundup celebrates the founding of Fort Worth and the last great cattle drives with three days of powwows, dances, chili and barbecue cook-offs, historical re-enactments, and more. The event happens June 21-23 in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, north of the Trinity River in Fort Worth. Adults get in for $5, kids 12 and younger for free. Call (817) 625-7005.
Surls, Moroles, Manjarris: Three Paths in Our Garden: For three years now the Irving Arts Center has worked alongside three Texas artists--two nationally celebrated, one on the verge of breaking out--on its sculpture garden, currently under construction with a target completion date of 1997. In the meantime, James Surls from Splendora; Jesus Bautista Moroles from Rockport; and Michael Manjarris from Bayside join forces for a group exhibition of their sculpture entitled Surls, Moroles, Manjarris: Three Paths in Our Garden. Surls is the grand old man (relatively speaking of the trio) whose works are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheimin in New York and the Seattle Art Museum. Moroles' work is included in Hillary Clinton's sculpture garden at the White House, and Manjarris became something of a hometown hero in Corpus Christi for his work on the Mariposa Sculpture Park there. The exhibit opens with a reception June 22, 7-9 p.m., and closes August 17 at Irving Arts Center Main Gallery, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Irving. It's free. For more information call 252-7558.
Zoo Babies 1996: You are cordially invited to attend a baby shower that'll last through the end of July. Two warnings: Some of these mothers you'll have to congratulate through a restraining fence, and watch where you step, because Baby doesn't bother with diapers. The Fort Worth Zoo hosts weekly events and demonstrations this summer under the title "Zoo Babies 1996," at which the facility's newest residents are highlighted so the public can get a better idea of how animals are nurtured in captivity. Specific events include a weekend demonstration show known as "Animal Encounters"; talks by zoo keepers about the daily responsibility of caring for newborns and youngsters; a special guide so visitors can move from baby to baby throughout the exhibition areas; and lots more. The Fort Worth Zoo is open weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and weekends, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at 1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth. Admission is $2.50-$5.50 (kids 2 and younger get in free). Call (817) 871-7050.