Events for the week

october 27
El Dia de los Muertos: Latin Americans celebrate El Dia de los Muertos--the Day of the Dead holiday for loved ones who have left the material plane--November 1 and 2. Fort Worth's Modern Art Museum celebrates the event pre-Halloween with a day of storytelling, traditional Mexican dance, food, and live music. There's also an installation of some of the museum's most colorful Mexican folk-art holdings. The events happen from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery at Camp Bowie Boulevard. They're free. Call (817) 738-9215.

Susan Sontag: If the noun "novel" doesn't automatically bring associations of Susan Sontag, it's because the writer's fiction has been dwarfed by her own towering reputation as one of the most important cultural critics of the past 25 years. Ms. Sontag was a couple of decades ahead of her time when she published the seminal essay collection about gay humor, On Camp; her studies on the art of photography and film have shaped thought on those subjects with equal force. Sontag opens the 22nd Annual SMU Literary Festival with a reading from her latest novel, The Volcano Lover. Her presentation happens at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater at Southern Methodist University. It's free, but seating is first-come, first-served. On October 30 at 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel, the festival continues with a free reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham. For both events call 768-4400.

Angels in America: Perestroika: With the success of last April's Dallas Theater Center production of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, our fair city showed it would actually pony up high ticket prices to enjoy that most derided of '90s hybrids--political entertainment. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a piece of work as mammoth in insight yet oddly intimate and humanitarian as Tony Kushner's justly celebrated meditation on sexual identity in Reagan-era America. DTC mounts Perestroika, the second part of Kushner's epic journey, so Dallas audiences can finally hear the angel speak. It's worth the wait. Performances are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. through November 17 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek. Tickets are $11-$44.50. Call 522-TIXX.

october 28
GayTV: The Movie: The USA Film Festival offers Dallas audiences a sneak preview of a made-in-Dallas feature that, if everything works out right, will make it to national theaters in the near future. GayTV: The Movie is director Jon Paul Buchmeyer's outrageous yarn in which the possibilities of cable access meet the ire of Religious Right censors. Wackiness ensues. A brother-and-sister team seizes the marketing initiative offered by the gay '90s and transforms a struggling local cable channel into GayTV, where the motto for shows like Gaywatch and Lesbian Lawyer is "all gay, all day." Jon Paul's dad, U.S. District Judge Jerry L. Buchmeyer, is one among a constellation of cameos that includes Jason Stuart and Jazzmun. Screenings happen at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Tickets are $6.50. Call 821-NEWS.

Childcare: Subverter or Supporter of Family Values: The post-feminist economic crisis has laid to rest the question of whether women should work outside the home when they have young children to raise. Many of today's women probably wish they could afford not to hold down a 9-to-5 job so the tykes could get their full attention. In the '90s, working mothers are a necessity, not a luxury, so where do we go from here? Dr. Bettye Caldwell, professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, gives a talk about this dilemma entitled "Childcare: Subverter or Supporter of Family Values." The talk happens at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Texas at Dallas Conference Center, Campbell and Floyd in Richardson. It's free. Call 883-2293.

october 29
Gwen Knight: Works from the '80s and '90s: When you've been an award-winning professional artist for more than 50 years of your life, one-person shows become troublesome to mount. Which stuff do you show, and how do you arrange it? The African-American Museum obviously thinks Gwen Knight only gets better with age, because it has highlighted her most recent output in Gwen Knight: Works from the '80s and '90s. Knight specializes in highly textured paintings of the human form, layered canvases that tease your eye with their detailed glops of paint. The show opens October 29 and runs through December 31 at the African-American Museum in Fair Park. For info call 565-9026.

Harry Wu: Harry Wu is like the Ralph Nader of the human-rights set; he doesn't let government, personal criticism, or even his own health get in the way of his moral crusade. Of course, Wu is uniquely equipped to discuss the cruelties of the Chinese government's campaign against dissident voices: He spent 19 years of his life imprisoned in a "bamboo gulag" for his criticisms of Chinese officials. Undaunted, Wu returned to China and almost disappeared again. He's about to release his new book, Troublemaker: One Man's Crusade Against China's Cruelty, and speaks to the Friends of the Richardson Public Library about his life. The engagement kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road. Single tickets are $10. Call (972) 238-4000.

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