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.
George Wallace: As a guest on one of those new and improved, squeaky clean, "you won't catch ho's and cheatin' dogs on my show" episodes of Oprah Winfrey, stand-up comic extraordinaire George Wallace regaled the audience with "ugly momma" jokes and traded favorites with fellow comics on the panel. (Best joke heard on the program: "Your momma's so ugly, she used Secret and it told on her.") It's typical of TV, feature-film, and live-performance veteran Wallace that he can keep people in stitches with a bit of recycled juvenilia. There's no Carrot Top-style prop shtick for this 1995 winner of the American Comedy Award for Best Male Stand-up; with Wallace, it's all in the timing. He performs with Jetta Jones at 8 p.m. at the Dallas Convention Center. For ticket information call 373-8000.
1996 SolstiCelebration: In last week's "Street Beat," Observer music editor Matt Weitz covered the troubles experienced by the organizers of an annual summer solstice celebration known as "SolstiCelebration." Seems that a religion writer for The Dallas Morning News titled an otherwise well-meaning article about the drum and dance festival "Pagan's progress," prompting a drearily predictable response from the upright fundamentalists who infest our fair city. In the interest of full disclosure, the Observer Calendar begs forgiveness from SolstiCelebration organizers; seems the knuckle-headed writer who rules this space also referred to last year's festivities as "pagan rituals," contributing to the brouhaha. For the record, the 1996 SolstiCelebration features no cannibalism, public nudity, group sex, animal sacrifices, or anything else traditionally considered "pagan." (There will be a "sacred drum and dance service" Sunday morning.) It's just a family-friendly recognition of summer's arrival that features cool people hanging out. We still love the word "pagan," though. Events happen all weekend beginning June 21 at 7 p.m. at White Rock Lake in and around the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. It's free, but bring your own musical instruments, refreshments, etc. Call 823-DRUM.
Healing the Hate: It's an ugly image many thought had faded with the '50s and '60s: an African-American church, reduced to charred timbers and ashes by racists. No one thought that sleepy Greenville, Texas--or anywhere--would again see the smoky shadow of Jim Crow cast so blatantly. With copycat arsons springing up now across the South, it's more important than ever to make a stand against the church burnings that have brought so much pain and suffering--and so many questions--to not only the residents of Greenville, where the first recent arsons occurred, but to the rest of us. Rob Pira and Evryman, his alternative Dallas band, have set up an afternoon and evening of music at the CopperTank Brewing Company, the proceeds from which will go directly towards the rebuilding of the torched Greenville churches. On the roster will be surf faves the Nitrons, rockin' blues stalwarts Cold Blue Steel, Robert Ealey, Evryman, Judy Hill's punky Psalm 69, and a host of others not yet confirmed. The benefit starts at 3 p.m. at the Coppertank at 2600 Main in Deep Ellum. The suggested donation is $10. For more information call 744-2739.
Eileen Fulton: Since the days of radio serials, the so-called "soap opera" has supplied millions of Americans with a much-needed daily dose of sex, treachery, intrigue, murder, infidelity, and other fun stuff. In the process, our prison system is kept free of those individuals who might become wanton felons if they couldn't find a regular vicarious outlet for their illicit passions. Veteran actress Eileen Fulton is one of the grande dames of the genre, a woman who has seen more personality changes in 36 years than a dozen psychotic wards. That's how long Fulton has portrayed Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi on As The World Turns, vamping on men and tossing them aside like orange rinds in an era when you couldn't even say the word "pregnant" (much less "slut") on TV. Fulton signs copies of her show-biz tell-all, As My World Still Turns, a refreshingly self-deprecating look at her roller-coaster career. She appears to chat with fans and sign the book at 2 p.m. at Borders Books & Music, 1601 Preston Rd. in Plano. It's free. Call 713-9857.
A Place Called Timothy: Matthew Zrebski and Joseph Fisher, managers and cofounders of the Southern Methodist University-based Youth Could Know Theatre Company, have subverted a sacred theatrical tradition for the sake of a little attention. Monday is a "lights-out" night for every other theatrical company but Youth Could Know, a troupe of whippersnapper writer-actor-directors who (mostly) attend the theater department of SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. The company fills the void by offering the world premiere of a drama by Zrebski as its first entry in the '96 summer season. Press material for A Place Called Timothy warns that the play is "sometimes political," a nice touch in an era where on-campus displays of opinion are crushed as often as beer cans. Otherwise, it's the story of a messed-up family, its equally messed-up relationships, and a serial killer on the loose. Performances happen June 24-30 at 8 p.m. in Basement Theatre, B-450, Meadows School of the Arts, on the campus of SMU. It's free, but donations are encouraged. Call 361-7847.
5th-Annual 20th Century Erotic Art Show: Republicans and Democrats alike launching election-year ultimatums at the sin-soaked entertainment industry! Southern Baptists boycotting Disney! Famous gospel singer disassociating herself from the most apolitical group of gay men in the world! What's the meaning of this renewed Puritan fervor? A little troublemaker spelled S-E-X, nature's oldest aerobic exercise and one of the few consolation prizes awarded for adulthood. It's bad enough that human beings actually do the dirty deed in various combinations, but those of us who want to explore the subject and its effect on the nonsexual parts of our lives through visual media have co-opted a necessary evil and become the devil's valets, boys and girls. The 5th-Annual 20th Century Erotic Art Show is a celebration of painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, poetry, performance, etc. that celebrates the human body and its pleasure potential. Milam Gallery owner Justine Pokladnik Yeager promises that no image degrades or exploits, but that's cold comfort to the fiery censors who roam America's avenues in this ultraconservative era. Come in and check your long gray overcoat and dark glasses at the door. The show runs through July 15 at Milam Gallery, 5224 Milam St. It's free. Call 821-9045.
Picturing Asia-America: Communities, Culture, Difference: The title of this exhibition at the Arlington Museum of Art says it all: 17 emerging and midcareer Asian-American artists (in this case, that ethnic designation includes Filipino, Indian, Korean, and mixed-race ancestries) rendering their opinions and experiences as visual art. Asian-Americans are probably the group most often ignored at America's fractious race-debate table, but there is no dichotomy more glaring than that between East and West. Photographers from all around the country are included in Picturing Asia-America: Communities, Culture, Difference and they explore the aforementioned tension as they've internalized it, being American citizens who react to the same issues (gender, media, tradition, identity) as their fellow country folk with an added layer of cultural complexity. A free art program for families featuring some of the exhibited artists happens at the opening June 22, 1-3 p.m. The show runs through August 10 at Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main in Arlington. It's free. Call (817) 275-4600.