Films by Bill Schwarz, Bill Bolender, and Ken Harrison: "But the book was better" is about the oldest audience complaint in the free world. The Writer's Garret and the McKinney Avenue Contemporary bring you an evening of Texas short films by filmmakers who struggle to overcome the limitations of transferring literature to film, in the process attempting to exalt both. Ken Harrison and Bill Schwarz are present to introduce their own works, The Last of the Caddoes and Viewfinder, respectively, the latter of which was co-directed by Bill Bolender. The evening kicks off at 8 p.m. at the MAC, 3120 McKinney Ave. Donations of $5 are gratefully accepted to help cover costs. Call 828-1715.
Wayne Broadwell: The maitre d' for the dining room of Dallas' most celebrated restaurant, The Mansion, stops to give a talk about his celebrity-studded experiences. We can only assume that Wayne Broadwell is stockpiling the real dirt for his post-retirement tell-all. The stuff we really want to know probably won't be covered in his public talk at the Dallas Country Club--things like how many people he has seen Sinatra punch or whether Liz's pharmaceutical case was heavier than all the rest of her bags combined. Broadwell's expurgated talk happens at noon at the Dallas Country Club, 4100 Beverly Drive. For ticket info call 520-0206.
Daddy's Maybe: Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre had such a hit with its summer 1995 comedy by diannetucker, Hershey With Almonds, it decided to serve a second dish by ms. tucker with three Hershey cast members on board. Daddy's Maybe is the tale of a rowdy son whose momma loves him probably more than she should; his antics pull the entire family into a cauldron of trouble from which only the matriarch can save them. Although Daddy's Maybe is a comedy for and about family, Jubilee warns that it contains some mature language. Performances happen Fridays at 8:15 p.m.; Saturdays at 3:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.; and Sundays at 3:15 p.m. through November 24 at 306 Main in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$14. Call (817) 338-4411.
Boo at the Dallas Zoo and Haunted Gardens: These days taking night walks without a semiautomatic in almost any city neighborhood makes you feel like you're wearing a red target T-shirt. Carting young trick-or-treaters around can make you feel even more vulnerable. The Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Arboretum come to the rescue with weekend activities in a safe, controlled environment. Boo at the Zoo features trick-or-treating, a haunted castle, a children's entertainer, mask-making, and more. The arboretum's Haunted Gardens features hundreds of costumed volunteers working a haunted forest, games, activities, fortune tellers, and specially prepared treats. Boo at the Zoo happens October 26 and 27, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Dallas Zoo, 621 E. Clarendon Drive. Admission is $5 per person (kids younger than 3 get in free); parking is $3 per car. Call 670-6842. Haunted Gardens happens October 25 and 26, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Dallas Arboretum, 8617 Garland Road. Admission is $5 per person and $2 per parking vehicle. For info call 823-7644.
Oak Lawn Halloween '96: In keeping with the general influx of heteros into homo culture (especially the bars, where the drinks are cheap, the music is cool, and a boy and a girl can enjoy the company of the opposite sex, no strings attached), the annual Oak Lawn Halloween celebration has started to resemble a Hockaday prom--except, of course, for the 6-foot drag queens. More than one straight woman has been known to scream in pain because her boyfriend is clutching her hand so hard. Still, you won't find a cheaper, more outrageous, more good-natured Saturday-night soiree anywhere in town. General hours for the revelry are 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton. It's free, but come prepared for a mob (and parking troubles). Call 559-4190.
The African-American Cultural Heritage of Jazz Music: Preserving a Tradition: Musician and all-around culture guy Steven Meeks took advantage of the city's excellent Neighborhood Touring Program to create a two-day jazz event for other musicians and fans. The first part is a conference entitled The African-American Cultural Heritage of Jazz Music: Preserving a Tradition and features demonstrations, lectures, and master classes by nationally recognized jazz masters. The second part is an afternoon concert featuring Marchel Ivery, Earl Harvin, Sylvia Williams, Claude Johnson, James Gilyard, and others. The conference happens October 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and the performance happens October 27 at 4 p.m. at the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters, 650 S. Griffin. Both are free. Call 426-1683.
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.
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.
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.
Krissy's Cheez-e Films: You won't find a better film value in town for your dollar than Club Dada's monthly Krissy's Cheez-e Film series, because it doesn't even cost a dollar; you can use that buck toward a beer. What Krissy and company do is compile some of the funniest of public-domain 16mm films and then screen them on the patio for your guffaws. October's selection includes The Monkey's Paw, Houdini Never Died, and There's Something in My Attic. The screenings happen at 9 p.m. at 2720 Elm. It's free. Call 744-3232.
Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America The Jewish Community Center kicks off its Book Fair series with a conversation by a syndicated columnist who has made it something of a personal mission to document the inner lives of shiksas. Award winner Marlene Adler Marks comes to Dallas to talk about her book, Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America, a collection of voices that features personal anecdotes by some very Jewish, not always nice literary powerhouses like Erica Jong, Grace Paley, and Leyy Cottin Pogrebin. The luncheon program kicks off at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $20; directions to the event are provided with ticket purchase. For info call 739-2737.