The Dallas/Fort Worth Tell-Off: Members of the Dallas Area Storytelling Guild and the Tarrant Area Guild of Storytellers are not, generally speaking, folks who shrink when a microphone is shoved in their faces. They have so much to get off their chests, in fact, that they must organize an annual event just to contain their loquacious personalities. That event is the Dallas/Fort Worth Tell-Off, now celebrating its second year as an evening of oral entertainment provided by the likes of Toni Simmons, Mary Ann Brewer, Dan Gibson, Phyllis Tucker, and DeeCee Cornish. The Dallas Area Storytelling Guild and the Tarrant Area Guild of Storytellers battle it out for victory based on who spins the best yarn. The winner is you. Some of the stories in the show are of an adult nature, which is not to say they're pornographic; it is to say kids might be bored stiff by the evening. The event happens at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic Palace Theatre, 308 South Main in downtown Grapevine. Tickets are $7 per person. For info call (817) 543-0018.
24th Annual Dallas Collector Car Auction: A quick perusal of the slick catalogue comprising entries in the 24th Annual Dallas Collector Car Auction is like poring over pictures of a stranger's new offspring; you're just glad the person isn't looking over your shoulder to point out every freaking detail of their prized possession. A partial list of models and makes at the two-day display is beguiling--the auction includes a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Runabout; a 1949 Cadillac Series 61 Fastback Coupe; a 1951 Mercedes-Benz 170 Da OTP 4 Drive Convertible; and a 1965 Pontiac GTO--but it might as well be the Hebrew alphabet to those of us who have trouble distinguishing an Omni from a Rabbit. There are other vehicles on display including an original circus parade calliope and, for those who have a taste for the hog, some truly exquisite Harley-Davidsons. The Dallas Collector Car Auction happens November 23 and 24 at 10 a.m. in Dallas Market Hall, 2100 Stemmons Freeway. For ticket info call (800) 968-4444.
Christmas at the Arboretum: The Magic of Christmas: You can spend weeks before the 1996 Christmas holiday making little snowy cottages out of milk cartons, stringing up lines of tinsel between those cobwebby corners of the ceiling, and trying to force that plush reindeer-antler head strip onto your kitty's wriggling skull. Or you can just skip the decoration project and head straight to the DeGolyer House in the middle of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, which has been lavishly bedecked for your vicarious enjoyment. "Christmas at the Arboretum: The Magic of Christmas" is the theme for this year's celebration, which is once again overseen by the all-volunteer Women's Council of the Arboretum; the organization tapped a dozen Dallas designers to deck every inch of the DeGolyer's 21,000 square feet--as well as the 8,000-square-foot Camp House at the arboretum--with lights, ornaments, ribbons, patterns, etc. The biggest bonus: If something's hideously tacky, you can call it like you see it, because you didn't spend thousands of dollars on expert living. The monthlong season for the DeGolyer House opens at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, 8617 Garland Road. Admission is $3-$6; children younger than 6 are allowed in free. For info call 327-8263.
Kongo Nail Figure: The Dallas Museum of Art is justly proud of its extensive African art collection, which has largely come to DMA coffers through the good taste and benevolence of rich people, who, as everybody knows, are also responsible for a majority share of public tackiness and venal community decisions. Not so Margaret McDermott, the woman who is responsible for the museum's eight-piece West African masterworks on the third floor and who has now scored a real coup. The DMA has scored, through the McDermott Fund, one of only seven Kongo Nail Figures created in the Chiloango River Valley of Lower Zaire. Other Kongo Nail Figures are on public display in America--one in Chicago and the other in Detroit. The Kongo language identifies the sculpture as a nkisi nkonde, a figure that was used in ritual involving contracts or agreements between parties. (Interestingly, freedmens graves unearthed during Central Expressway contruction were ringed with shells in a burial practice brought from the Kongo.) The sculpture can be seen for free Tuesdays through Saturdays at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. For info call 922-1200.
The Tempest: Doing its part for the Japanese-American Sun and Star 1996 festival, which nears an end, is the Dallas Opera. It offers one of that autumn festival's more intriguing transcontinental concoctions, a highly praised production of Lee Hoiby's The Tempest with libretto by Mark Shulgasser. The Dallas Opera has declared a commitment to presenting 20th-century works, although those works still number in the minority. Not only was The Tempest written in 1986, but its 70-year-old composer is still alive and kicking, thank you very much. The opera has enlisted set designer Setsu Asakura and lighting designer Sumio Yoshii, two of Japan's most in-demand theater artists, to offer their kabuki-ized version of the work. Performances happen November 22, November 27, and November 30 at 7:30 p.m.; and there is a matinee performance November 24 at 2 p.m. at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $25-$110. Call 443-1000.