36th Annual Les Femmes du Monde Benefit Fashion Sale: Many of us like to snicker at the idea of rich Dallas ladies opening their closets to the less fortunate, which is pretty much everybody in Dallas besides themselves and their husbands. But you can bet we'll be first in line to get our paws on a "gently used" Armani when the 36th Annual Les Femmes du Monde Benefit Fashion Sale gets under way. It's not just clothing that makes its way to the auction block, but also household items, jewelry, books and records, furs, shoes, and gifts. All proceeds benefit The Dallas Council on World Affairs, which ropes in international political and business bigwigs to speak to Dallas audiences. The sale happens September 13 and 14, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and September 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Exchange Park, 6300 Forest Park Road, Harry Hines Boulevard at Mockingbird Lane. Admission is free. Call 350-4406.
Manga by Sen Arimura: Considering its mixture of violence, honor, and large breasts, the mystery behind the popularity of Japanese manga and anime (comic books and animation) is why it hasn't exploded beyond cult dimensions. Americans dig the stuff for its convoluted plots and sexual energy, but any student of Japan will tell you that the best films and graphic novels are teeming with undercurrents of social commentary on contemporary Japanese life. Internationally hailed illustrator Sen Arimura, a manga veteran, has become something of a cultural gadfly with his fusions of folklore and the fate of the burakumin, middle-aged male migrant workers without families who have slipped through the harsh net of Japanese culture. The exhibit opens tonight with a lecture by University of Texas professor Dr. Susan Napier, a national expert on the manga and anime phenomena. The show runs through November 3 at the MAC, 3120 McKinney Avenue. It's free. Call 953-1MAC.
Transportation--Destination: A Look at Transportation and Architectural Images in American Folk Art of the 20th Century: Bruce and Julie Webb, curators and co-operators of that Texas folk-art paradise known as the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, have developed their latest exhibition around themes so simple and fundamental you've probably stopped considering how profoundly they affect your life. The boundaries of the subject matter are represented in the show's title, Transportation--Destination: A Look at Transportation and Architectural Images in American Folk Art of the 20th Century. Official places of public business and the public or private means people use to get to them are the subjects of sculptures and drawings by numerous nationally celebrated self-taught artists, both living and dead. An opening reception happens tonight, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the show runs through October 20 at 209-211 West Franklin in Waxahachie. Call 938-8085.
Isabel Nathaniel and Bryan Woolley: It's no secret that writers have egos the size of garbage barges; in both cases, the damn things carry some pretty stinky cargo, and they float from port to port with nary an enthusiastic reception. With this in mind, we'd hate to be a fly on the pile when two big talents like Isabel Nathaniel and Bryan Woolley have a marital spat. The New York born-and-bred Nathaniel and Texas boy Woolley also labor on decidedly different sides of the literary fence: She's a nationally published, award-winning poet whose first collection has been issued by Brown University's prestigious Copper Beach Press; he's a veteran journalist for the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News who also writes fiction. They share a reading hosted by The Writer's Garret and Wordspace. The presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 La Vista in Lakewood. It's free. Call 827-4860.
Sixto de la Rosa, Lupita Murillo, Sandra Maria Esteves: The Bath House Cultural Center is abuzz today with the activity of a pair of Latino-centered arts celebrations. The photography of Lupita Murillo, titled for this show Photos de Mi Familia, along with paintings by Sixto de la Rosa, a North Texas-based painter, are feted with an opening reception. A little bit earlier, the poet Sandra Maria Esteves appears to read from her poetry collections, answer questions, and sign copies of her books. The reception for de la Rosa and Murillo takes place tonight, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; the show runs through September 28. The reading by Esteves happens today at 4 p.m. All events are free and take place at 521 E. Lawther. Call 670-8749.
Road to the Olympics: Dallasites have just recovered from a nonstop barrage of Summer Olympics coverage and advertisement tie-ins, but the Olympic powers that be and the megacorporations that pull their strings aren't finished with you yet. Ostensibly a part of the ubiquitous Sun and Star '96 celebration but also an advance plug for the 1998 Winter Olympics, the free public event known as Road to the Olympics boasts performances by two leading skaters, Japan's Yuka Sato and America's Tara Lipinski, a native Texan. Two years down the line you'll get the chance to say, "I saw 'em before the gold." Also, 30 local skaters are scheduled to perform a flag routine. The event happens today at 2 p.m. at the Galleria Ice Skating Center, LBJ and Dallas Parkway. It's free. Call 702-7114.
Larry McMurtry: With the reputation of a curmudgeon and the bank account of a Fortune 500 CEO, staunch Texan Larry McMurtry is one of our state's more intriguing celebrities, a man who recoils from overexposure yet toils in the most mass-consumed of artistic fields--movies and paperback fiction. With the long-awaited fall 1996 sequel to Terms of Endearment reteaming Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson, McMurtry has filed another chapter in his long and wildly successful association with Hollywood. He gives a rare public presentation for the Dallas Historical Society entitled "Writing For Fiction and Writing For Film." The presentation begins at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Hall of State in Fair Park. Tickets are $50. Call 421-4500.
Singles Fair '96: Those of us who toil in a universe of single-serve sizes, light laundry loads, and cat hair all over the furniture deeply resent the pity that is sometimes bestowed on us by well-meaning friends who have chosen to couple. Given the catastrophically high divorce/split rate, it seems singlehood is not a disease to be overcome, but rather a lifestyle to which even the most happily matched among us may soon return. And so it is that Singles Fair '96 offers a balance of events for singles, managing to glorify the bright side of being No. 1 even while scheduling mixers in which folks try to shed their singleness like the plague. Singles Fair '96 features 30 exhibits of products and services, 10 speakers, prize drawings, and a dance. Events happen from noon to 6 p.m. at the Dallas Park Central Hotel, LBJ Freeway and Coit Road. Tickets are $20. Call 241-4876.
The Longer View--Panoramic Photographs: Be advised that the Dallas Visual Art Center will not provide medical compensation for any neck strain that might be produced as a result of viewing photographer Paul Greenberg's show The Longer View--Panoramic Photographs. You can't help but swivel your head in awe at the very long continuous images that Greenberg has captured with his hand-held Widelux camera. Greenberg is a military man-turned-doctor whose photos are wildly popular in Texas. The exhibit takes place at the Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss Avenue. Call 821-2522.
Christopher Parkening and Jubilant Sykes: You don't have to be a classical music fanatic to have seen the face or heard the authoritative guitar plucks of Christopher Parkening. His Germanic good looks have graced not only countless album covers, but also numerous guitar instruction books--like Pavarotti and Marley, classical guitarist Parkening is a practitioner of a nonmainstream musical form whose name has transcended that form. Speaking of names, Parkening kicks off the 1996-'97 Dallas Classic Guitar Society with a fellow who gets a DO thumbs-up on the cool musicality of his Christian name alone:Baritone Jubilant Sykes takes the stage with Parkening to slay us with a program that stretches from centuries-old European chamber music to modern African-American spirituals. The performance happens at 8 p.m. in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora. Tickets are $12-$54. Call 871-ARTS.
Africa: One Continent, Many Worlds: The rest of us can sit and snicker while anthropologists and historians bicker about whether Africa is indeed the cradle of civilization, a debate that has more to do with racial politics than science, anyway. The fact is, this populous continent remains a greater mystery to most Americans, Anglo and African-, than almost any other region of the world, with the possible exception of the Middle East. The Dallas Museum of Natural History hosts its largest-ever interactive exhibit, the 8,500-square-foot show Africa: One Continent, Many Worlds. The exhibit is divided into five parts that explore art, family life, commerce, community, and the African diaspora. Throughout this journey there are hands-on activities, African artifacts, photos, multimedia presentations, and more. The exhibit runs through January 5 at the Dallas Museum of Natural History in Fair Park. Tickets are $2.50-$4. Call 421-3466.