Ron Kirk Addresses PFLAG: So you think it's no big deal for Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to address an apolitical support group like PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)? In a sane world, such an address would merit a collective yawn, but we are living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, where Newt Gingrich is considered a pinko and any suggestion that homosexuality is a normal expression of complex human sexual identity will get you trampled at a school board meeting. Of course, Dallas mayors have courted homo supporters for years--behind closed doors, and with feet placed close to the fire. In fact, Kirk's public, unapologetic inclusion of the gay and lesbian community in his policies amounts to a Dallas historical first. Could it be that our first African-American leader knows something about outsiderhood that the white boys could not grasp? The PFLAG meeting with Ron Kirk kicks off at 7 p.m. at Midway Hills Christian Church, 11001 Midway Road between Northaven and Royal. It's free, and everyone is invited. Call 348-1704.
Forget the Lithium--Pass Me a Beer: The three young male painters featured in the new Milam Gallery show, Forget the Lithium--Pass Me a Beer, share a few biographical threads: Each grew up in working-class parts of the South on a steady diet of TV, movies, comic books, and fast food. The title of their painting exhibition is at once self-deprecating and dead serious in how it reflects their blue-collar approach to making pictures. Little Rock native Jeff Davis comes home every night, sheds his executive garb, picks up a brush and a Budweiser, and paints wiry, wicked imagery about contemporary chaos. Richard Lewis continues characters like the Boy and the Snowman from painting to painting, providing a bawdy, full-color, large-scale canvas equivalent to the comics page. South Beach native Joseph Seeman enjoyed considerable success at Florida galleries before he moved to Texas; one of his notable projects is a full-scale show on the subject of Mexican wrestlers. Forget the Lithium--Pass Me a Beer opens with a public reception August 9, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and runs through August 31 at Milam Gallery, 5224 Milam Street. Call 821-9045.
Planet of the Apes: The USA Film Festival unveils an August midnight movie series that will tingle your spine so much, this month's air-conditioning bill will look like the price tag on a pack of gum. The Day the Earth Stood Still and 2001: A Space Odyssey are the haunting classics being screened later this month, but the August 9 debut entry for the Festival's "Sci-Fi Summer" is that rarest of sci-fi flicks--a time-capsule curio you can appreciate for its campy moments while still feeling the impact of its somber statement on humankind's collective God Complex. Twenty-eight years ago, Chuck Heston was well prepared for his 1996 public spat with Gore Vidal, for Heston had already gone three rounds with The Planet of the Apes. The latex, sculpted masks worn by Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall, and Maurice Evans are still startling in their expressiveness, and Heston, oblivious as usual to his strengths and weaknesses, makes a superb hypermacho everyman. The screening happens at midnight at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Tickets are $6.50. Call 821-NEWS.
Mingei: Japanese Folk Art From the Montgomery Collection: You can tell a lot about a culture by how it views the role of art and the artist. The dormant idea of the artist as a superior citizen and anointed vessel for some divine source, whether it be God or just that overused description "genius," was pretty much a Western invention, starting with the Greeks and winding through the Roman Catholic Church-influenced Renaissance. Meanwhile, the Asian nations and other Eastern cultures recognized little distinction between the humblest pottery maker and the silk-tapestry weaver for royalty. The Japanese, in particular, would have found that backhanded description "functional art" redundant, since all art was there to serve some practical purpose. Mingei: Japanese Folk Art From the Montgomery Collection features paintings, textiles, sculpture, woodwork, ceramic, paper objects, and more originating from the 15th through the 20th centuries. International collector Jeffrey Montgomery spent 22 years amassing these pieces, many of which go on display for the first time here. Mingei: Japanese Folk Art From the Montgomery Collection opens August 9 and runs through October 6 at the Meadows Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. It's free. Call 768-1688.