Events for the week

october 17
The Legalization of Marijuana: A political correctness not born of the American left has surrounded the debate over how to deal with drugs and drug addictions in our country. Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders got canned in part not for advocating the legalization of drugs, but for daring to suggest that legalization is an idea that should be explored further (oh, yeah, and for suggesting that the topic of masturbation should be addressed in sex education classes; this woman was just too sane to last in our insane public dialogues). A decrepit Bob Dole hammered away at a president some feel has been "soft" on drugs, insisting we pour millions more down the pit of a federal War on Drugs that many conservatives as well as liberals have conceded is a failure. Although the drug problem in pot-tolerant Amsterdam is more complex than the pro-legalization side admits, the argument that crime is created not by drugs but by their illegal status is a strong one. Did we learn nothing from Prohibition besides "Don't touch America's liquor cabinet"? And what about the mounting evidence that alcohol, the legal drug, is more destructive than all the illegal ones combined? Do the various practical applications of hemp warrant a repeal of anti-marijuana laws? Steve Hagar, editor in chief of High Times magazine, faces off against Curtis Sliwa, president and founder of the Guardian Angels, in a public debate about the legalization of marijuana. Guess who is on which side. Let's hope that both camps rely on facts instead of fury when they present their cases to the audience. The debate happens at 7:30 p.m. in the Bluebonnet Ballroom of the University Center of the University of Texas at Arlington, 301 W. Second St. in Arlington. Tickets are $3-$6. Call (817) 272-2963.

october 18
The Night of the Chupacabras: Teatro Dallas, our fair city's fearless Latino theater company, continues its seasonal tradition of honoring the Day of the Dead with an original production that mixes highfalutin cultural themes with rock-bottom entertainment goals. The Night of the Chupacabras is the latest exploration by Teatro Dallas' in-house playwright, Valerie Brogan, who has previously explored the undead myth through various incarnations of her character, Don Juan Vampire. The Night of the Chupacabras is a dramatization of a Latin American horror folk tale that has pre-Columbian roots. Come watch, and ask yourself: Did the European takeover of the North American continent set the stage for a centuries-old alienation from our own mortality? Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8:15 p.m. through November 2 at 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $12-$15. (Wednesday performances are pay-what-you-can; Thursdays there are two-for-one tickets.) Call 741-6833.

Sankai Juku: Perhaps the only American art form that comes close in spirit to the Japanese dance called butoh--and even this is a stretch--is the blues. Butoh is a naturalistic movement founded by Japanese masters in the '60s as a response to the carnage at Hiroshima and other horrors of World War II. These dancers attempt to find a strand of hope and humanity inside despair, although despair figures prominently in their facial expressions and the measured movements of their arms and legs. It's as if Sankai Juku, Japan's leading proponent of butoh, had skipped the form of art and headed straight to its turmoil-ridden contents. TITAS invites the dancers back to Dallas for a third showcase of their talents and a brand-new piece called "Yuragi." Performances happen October 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-5576.

Romance Extravaganza: The Barnes & Noble in North Richland Hills celebrates Falling For Romance, the conference for writers hosted by the North Texas chapter of Romance Writers of America, with a mass book-signing by local scribes. Although often discounted as a monolithic force in the publishing industry, romance novels actually have clearly defined subcategories--historical, erotica, mystery. Peruse some of the titles by authors who'll be appearing at the Romance Extravaganza--Leanna Wilson's Strong Silent Cowboy, Pat Cody's A Risky Rogue, Susan Macias' Courtney's Cowboy--and you can't help but find a trend. Lovers of big, hairy, tobacco-stained men, take note. The event happens at 8 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 8525 Airport Freeway, North Richland Hills. It's free. Call (817) 281-7042.

october 19
The Great Pumpkin Carnival and Sale: Those of us who have attempted to carve a jack-o'-lantern face only to have the orange vegetable look like Bette Davis after her stroke rely on the talents of others to brighten our Halloweens. You'll find some of the snazziest jack-o'-lanterns in Dallas at the Great Pumpkin Carnival and Sale. Created to benefit the Northaven Cooperative Preschool and Kindergarten, this annual event splits the fun down the middle for kids ages 2 to 7 and adults. There's a silent auction of items and services and a performance by the Town North Band for the adults; and games, rides, clowns, puppet shows, fake tattoos, and other stuff for the kids. Kids are encouraged to come dressed in costume. The pumpkin sale starts October 17, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and continues the October 19 date of the carnival, which happens 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Northaven Cooperative Preschool and Kindergarten, 11211 Preston. Admission is free. Call 404-9777.

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