75 Years of Cuban Art: The U. S. trade embargo against Cuba hasn't kept tourism or fabled cigars from breaking the barriers, but most Americans still base their knowledge of Cuban culture on the words and tastes of charismatic camera hog Castro. Robert Borlenghi, owner of the Pan American Gallery in Oak Lawn, has been amassing a collection of some of Cuba's finest 20th-century art for two years now in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts in Cuba. He now presents that collection, the majority of which has never been seen in America, as an exhibit called 75 Years of Cuban Art. The show opens with a reception November 15, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., at the Pan American Gallery, 3303 Lee Parkway at Turtle Creek. Call 522-3303.
Bill Maher: Esquire magazine got it right when it dubbed Comedy Central's nighttime yuckfest, Politically Incorrect, the coolest show on television. When the chemistry doesn't cook, the show can taste flatter than beer left open all night; but fans have so many precious memories of the outrageous moments that earn the show its title, like the Timothy Leary deathwatch episode in which Michelle Phillips extols the joys of intaking LSD during middle age or the special hour conversation with lesbian firebrand Camille Paglia, who as usual managed to piss everyone off. Bill Maher is the ringmaster for the show's insanity; he is a bull's-eye dart thrower whose restrained style belies his training as a standup. The trenchant Maher returns to his standup roots when he comes to Dallas for two shows--at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. at the Improv, 4980 Belt Line in Addison. Tickets are $25. Call (972) 404-8501.
Printmaking of South Africa: States of Contrast: When it comes to the recent painful dismantling of South Africa's apartheid system, it seems that, no matter how well-meaning and supportive of oppressed black South Africans, leaders and activists from outside that region have crowded the citizens out of the debate. Most of the people who talked about the poverty, illiteracy, and political and economic subjugation hadn't actually lived it. The Gallery at the University of Dallas presents an exhibition of prints that allow the South Africans to speak for themselves with pictures rather than words. Printmaking of South Africa: States of Contrast features works by residents both famous and obscure, both self-taught and formally educated. The subjects range from depictions of daily household chores to complex, symbolic pictorials that sum up the new ruptured race and class layers that have defined the thinking of most living South Africans. The show runs November 15-December 11 at the UD, 1845 E. Northgate Drive in Irving. Call (972) 721-5099.
Teatro Libre: Teatro Dallas opens its Fourth International Theater Festival--which boasts groups from Argentina, Austin, Spain, Mexico, and Japan--with a guest performance by a theatrical troupe heralded worldwide for its evocative imagemaking. Teatro Libre hails from Argentina, where artistic director Omar Pacheco and his troupe began stirring international interest with their mostly nonnarrative, deliberately surreal original fables. Dreams and Ceremonies is the show being performed at the Teatro festival; the performance is a plunge into the subconscious that attempts to unite the Western duality of life and death. Teatro Libre performs November 15 and 16 at 8:15 p.m. in the Teatro Dallas space, 2204 Commerce St. Tickets are $15-$20. Call 741-6833.
Doug Varone and Dancers: Of all the classical arts, dance is the one that benefits most from the agility and impetuousness of youth. The International Theatrical Arts Society (TITAS) presents the Dallas debut of a modern dance troupe whose average age could qualify it to be Baryshnikov's brood. You might think the master himself sired Doug Varone's dancers, although the guiding hand in this outfit is the versatile and veteran Mr. Varone, who founded the troupe a decade ago after he left the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Since then, Varone has earned eight choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and more awards than could fit in Marlon Brando's tights. Performances happen November 15 and 16, 8 p.m., at McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-5576.