First-Annual Texas Film and Video Awards: The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics' Association, which boasts 30 highly opinionated men and women (and one purehearted calendar editor), has decided that all this talk about the expanding Texas film-production scene deserves its own seal of approval--something that only folks who get paid to express their opinions can offer, of course. Hence we have the 1996 Texas Film and Television Awards, a debut ceremony that offers a hearty thumbs-up to the best producers, writers, directors, and actors who toil in homegrown productions. Video clips are presented along with the awards, and many nominees have tentatively scheduled to appear. The event happens at 7:30 p.m. in the Lynch Auditorium at University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Drive in Irving. It's free. Call 361-7820.
Woman of Texas: So you say the noted 20th-century feminists--Emma Goldman, Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem--had to cut through the thorn bushes of modern sexism to earn their places in history? Well, let us introduce you to a relatively obscure woman named Jane Wilkinson Long who never uttered the "F" word, a modest little homemaker who managed acres of land by herself, fought off poachers and attackers with her own rifle, and served as a spy for the Texas Republic against Mexican conquerors--all without a man to light her way. (Her hapless husband was offed shortly after she came to Texas.) Historians Dr. Joan Jenkins and Neila Patrick Harris present a one-woman show starring Jenkins entitled Woman of Texas, which details this remarkable pioneer's survival in the 1830s. Performances are July 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hall of State, Fair Park. Tickets are $5-$10. Call 328-7612.
Every Man His Own Football: The Divine Madness of Dada: Playwright Peter Gooch and artistic director Johnny Simons and his Fort Worth-based Hip Pocket Theatre present yet another collaboration with perhaps the only Texas musical ensemble that can appreciate their mix-and-match sensibility--Denton's own Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks. Simons, Little Jack, and some good friends have collaborated on the musical extravaganza Every Man His Own Football: The Divine Madness of Dada. It was in the middle of World War I in Switzerland that a band of visual artists and performers formed Dada, a short-lived school distinguished by no particular style save the need to utterly subvert (and, in the process, lampoon) every rule of politics and culture you can name. Every Man His Own Football: The Divine Madness of Dada recreates the Dadaists' wacky aesthetic experiments. Performances happen Friday through Sunday at 9 p.m. through August 11 at the Oak Acres Amphitheatre, 1620 Las Vegas Trail North at 820 North in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$12. Call (817) 927-2833.
Kissing: The glorious act of kissing may be the best possible use of your lips--and that includes flapping them, which unfortunately is far more popular in this age of competing media pundits--but nobody stops and tries to find a rational explanation for why such a simple act so stirs the soul. Other than many hours spent on firsthand research (the first choice, we think), perusing photos of locked lips might provide some answers. Hence the traveling international photo show Kissing, which features white-hot international snappers (Annie Liebovitz, Keith Carter, and Henri Cartier-Bresson) as well as cool Texas talents (Nic Nicosia, Christina Patoski, and Nan Coulter). An opening reception happens July 19, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The show runs through August 31 at Photographs Do Not Bend, 3115 Routh St. It's free. Call 969-1852.
Stories Under the Stars: You've heard enough stories that manage to be both unbelievable and boring from your significant other's blowhard best friend after a few beers. Now it's time to hear some tall tales from a sober source who's actually paid to entertain you. The Tarrant Area Guild of Storytellers and Barnes & Noble Booksellers have collaborated on "Stories Under the Stars," the latest in an outdoor performance series called "Grapevine's Summer Gazebo." Expect fairy tales, international folklore, ghost stories, legends, myths, and other popular oral expressions. The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in the Gazebo at One Liberty Park Plaza in Grapevine. It's free. For directions call (817) 481-0454.
Ronnie Dawson: Texas rockabilly legend Ronnie Dawson has lived a life that's proven that any number of tired old cliches are true: "It's never too late," "Rock 'n' roll will never die," etc. That he's also finally started to get some recognition in the bargain doesn't hurt, either. '50s musical Wunderkind from Oak Cliff; '60s singer-guitarist as the bottom began to drop out of roots rock 'n' roll; tour mate to the legendary, self-destructive Gene Vincent on that man's rocky road downhill; and American musical institution turned jingle singer rescued by--you guessed it--a fervent overseas cult. The 57-year-old Dawson has spent most of the '90s basking in the critical glow of his rip-snorting performances, but that ain't no way for a real rock 'n' roller to live. He needs live feedback. His ever-growing concert audiences threaten to spill out of the venues, but there's always room for one more. The guy is like lava onstage, flowing with the rhythm of whatever tune he's hammering out. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. in the 8.0 Courtyard, 2800 Routh in The Quadrangle. Tickets are $10. Call 979-0880.
Fieldwork: The Field is the name of one of the most important nonprofit arts organization in the country, a service group that specifically targets independent artists with the idea of helping them gain some insight into the audience-performer relationship. Too often artists--especially those who work with large institutions or just free-lance for them--haven't developed the ability to critically examine their own pieces and thus discipline themselves. Dallas is on a Field network that includes Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, and the fruits of that program show nationally as "Fieldwork," an evening of performance hosted by Moving Collaborations that features dancers, composers, visual artists, and writers in interdisciplinary pieces. The show happens July 18 through 20 at 8 p.m. in the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. It's $5. Call 298-6866.
The 16th-Annual Big D Collectibles Show: This year the three-day Big D Collectibles Show celebrates its 16th anniversary of unrepentant nostalgia for movies, toys, comic books, Disney paraphernalia, Western collectibles, and TV. This year's special guest hasn't written the final chapter of her life just yet, thank you very much, but she's happy to chat about her ultracool career as a young, sexy, gun-wielding cowgirl. She's Gail Davis, star of TV's The Annie Oakley Show, which ran from 1953 to 1956, and countless Western features (including 20 as Gene Autry's co-star). Readers of Billboard named her their favorite Western TV performer two years in a row. Come to the show to shake hands, chat, and get her autograph--but just don't cross her, mister. Events at the Big D Show happen July 20, 10a.m.-3 p.m., and July 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Sheraton Park Central, Coit Road and Interstate 635. Admission is $5. Call 261-8745.
Supercop: At a time when it seems everybody's got a beef with our police forces (though how would you like to walk the plank of our high-crime society without that thin blue line beneath you?), it's nice to know our heroes in blue still have a sense of humor. In conjunction with the release of the smashingly entertaining Jackie Chan action thriller, Supercop, North Texas police departments have been asked to nominate the people on their force as Texas "Supercops"--and then make them prove it in front of a live audience. Preceding a free public screening of Supercop, a Tae Kwon Do expert will lead about 10 game police officers through a series of the Chan Man's more elaborate martial-arts moves. The audience decides who the real Supercop is. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. in the UA Plaza, 9330 N. Central Expressway. For information on how to obtain tickets, call Christine Finnegan at 520-9700.
Lips Together, Teeth Apart: It's startling to realize that the work of Terrence McNally, the Texas native who has recently won successive Tony Awards for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class and regularly earns kudos as one of our most eloquent living playwrights, has rarely been performed by companies in his home state. An upcoming production of Love! Valour! Compassion! is planned by a new Dallas company, and this week Fort Worth's Stage West opens the author's scathing comedy-drama, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, which examines the disintegrating lives of two fortysomething married couples on vacation together for the Fourth of July. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m.; Friday and Sunday, 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 3 p.m., at 3055 S. University Drive in Fort Worth. Tickets are $13-$16. Call (817) 784-9378.
Ken-N-Jim: Sure, they might wear freaky hats, ride giant toothbrushes like bucking broncos, and channel the wisdom of your grandmother (most likely while wearing wigs that look just like hers), but Ken-N-Jim have serious business on their minds. This 3-year-old Fort Worth-based performance duo has been strutting its slapsticky stuff for kids to convey a serious message:Take your imagination seriously, boys and girls, and nurture it every day. The pair's latest show, entitled "Ready, Set, Read," features multiple characters who sing the praises of books. The performance happens at 3 p.m. in the Park Forest Branch Library, 3421 Forest Lane. It's free. Call (817) 377-4550.