Winnie the Pooh's 70th Birthday: Remarkable as it may seem, A.A. Milne's world-weary, potbellied, honey-suckin' protagonist actually earned a mortal enemy shortly after his birth. Between bathtub gin and adulterous affairs, Vanity Fair critic Dorothy Parker found the time to poke the little bear and his creator in print whenever she could, skewering what she regarded as the prefab gentleness "Whimsy The Pooh" vomited in bucketfuls. Seven decades have rescued Winnie from Parker's cynical (if hilarious) condemnation, although the Walt Disney-produced versions almost proved her right. The Enchanted Forest, a children's bookstore, celebrates Pooh's birthday with a reading and puppet show of Pooh Stuck in Rabbit's House at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, and 12:30 p.m. Winnie also makes an appearance to have free birthday cake with the tots. The Enchanted Forest is located at 6333 E. Mockingbird and Abrams. Call 827-2234.
Big Cat Weekend in Fort Worth and Dallas: When the little one closest to you turns and says, "I want a kitty," in his or her best Jackie Coogan impersonation, press for more details. Will this animal require Tender Vittles poured in a bowl or a side of beef dangled on a pole? Will a team of wranglers and a tranquilizer gun be required to prepare Tabby for The Big Snip? Most important question of all:Who took you to "Big Cat Weekend" at the Fort Worth and Dallas Zoos? Youngsters and oldsters alike will probably fall in love with the 3 1/2-month-old Amur leopard and the 6-month-old clouded leopard that are the Fort Worth Zoo's special guests for these two days of talk on endangered big cats and the care required to keep them happy in captivity. For children there are special art activities and for older kids and adults there are demonstrations and lectures about these animals. Events happen August 10 and 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at 1989 Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth. Tickets are $2.50-$5.50 (kids younger than 2 get in free), and parking is $2. Call (817) 871-7000. As for the Dallas Zoo, it offers its seventh annual Big Cat Weekend with neutered know-it-all Garfield as the master of ceremonies. There are videos, craft activities, "Act Like a Cat" and other contests, live music, and discussion. Events happen in the afternoon and evening of August 10 and 11 at 621 E. Clarendon Drive. Tickets are $2.50-$5 (kids younger than 3 get in free). Call 670-6825.
Mike Hill: Secret Histories: Mike Hill likes to draw pictures of his toys using colored pencils. He also likes to "explore the 'secret history' that operates beneath the historical narrative we observe." Translation:He likes to draw pictures of his toys using colored pencils. The images created by the award-winning Hill, who has been featured in local and national forums, are extraordinary in their depth, dimension, and liquid grace. For Hill, toys are tools we have all at one time or another used in our lives to express the dramas that play out inside us--the tapestry of souls, or "secret history," that pulses like a heartbeat underneath the official explanations of The Way Things Are. The show opens with a reception August 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., and runs through August 30 in the Mezannine Gallery of the Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss Ave. It's free.
Alone In a Crowd: Prints by African-American Artists of the 1930s-40s: If you want to know why much of the imagery in Alone In a Crowd: Prints by African-American Artists of the 1930s-40s is so embittered, consider the defining American experiences of those decades--and try to imagine experiencing them as a triple whammy that includes state-sponsored racism. The Great Depression struck blacks as a population considerably harder than it did any other ethnic group. World War II may have been the last "morally certain" war in which the United States engaged, but the federal government enlisted large numbers of black men to defend a country that had segregated them in public places and hindered their rise in the private sector. Alone In a Crowd features 105 rare prints by 42 African-American artists whose documentation of the period went largely unnoticed by the Art Establishment. The show opens August 9 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free. Call 922-1200.
Health, Herbs, and Happiness: If President Clinton's botched attempt to overhaul the national health-care system accomplished anything, it was to provide a much-needed reality check for everybody. As more and more cost-conscious private companies turn to the HMO model, even those of us lucky enough to afford health insurance must face increasingly skeptical gatekeepers as we seek treatment. Prevention and maintenance would seem to be the best alternative. Sisters Organized to Survive, a monthly discussion and support group for African-American women, had those two things in mind when it organized its August meeting, dubbed "An Evening of Health, Herbs, and Happiness." The holistic approach to care of the self--massage, fitness, meditation, aroma therapy, stress-reduction therapy, bioenergy--is outlined in an evening of lectures and one-on-one discussions with licensed doctors, therapists, and counselors. While the evening is geared toward African-Americans, everyone is invited. The meeting kicks off at 7 p.m. at Stephanie's Collection, 6955 Greenville Ave. It's free. Call 368-2024.