BR5-49: Take a listen to either their debut EP Live at Bob's or their recently released, self-titled debut album on Arista, and it's clear why BR5-49 have earned an ecstatic following by folks who normally pooh-pooh roots country...and have been condemned as a bunch of pretty-boy smartasses by some of the more conservative elements of Nashville, the city from which they hail. These five fabulously talented musicians combine a supremely confident mastery of western swing and honky-tonk with a lyrical sensibility that lands somewhere between Kinky Friedman and Randy Newman. "Me and Opie Down by the Duck Pond" is their ode to a fictional lost episode of The Andy Griffith Show, one in which Opie and his pal turn Otis on to an intoxicant that comes from a plant, not a still, and "Bettie, Bettie," an ode to '50s pinup Bettie Page, are just two of the dance-friendly charmers these talented musicians spin for your listening pleasure. This is a must-see show for fans of upstart country. Doors open at 8 p.m. at Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm. For ticket information call (214) 747-4422.
Spontaneous Combustion: Only an artist would have the tenacity to confront an ancient racial enmity like that between Arabs and Jews and seek a reconciliation through a public performance. Dallas-based performance artist Fred Curchack and percussionist extraordinaire Jamal Mohamed are two guys with a lot of talent and a lot of nerve. They combine both in an evening called "Spontaneous Combustion," which uses the Biblical and Koranic stories of Ishmael and Isaac as a point of departure for a multimedia excursion that poises the Jewish Curchack and the Muslim Mohamed as friends, enemies, creators, and destroyers. Although each has enormous respect for the other, both promise that the gloves are off for this one. Performances happen November 29 and 30, 10 p.m. at the Mc-Kinney Avenue Contemporary. Tickets are $7. Call (214) 953-1212.
The Sleeping Beauty: Somewhere on the trip from old Europe to colonial America, the word "pantomime" changed meanings. In America, a pantomime is a performance without words; in England, it's a traditional fairy tale with songs, dances, tricks, and, above all, interaction between audience and actors. Theatre Britain is a North Texas ensemble dedicated to promoting some of the more archaic English traditions in our area. Their production of The Sleeping Beauty hews much closer to the European fairy tale than does the version Disney has peddled here in America. Performances are Saturday at 2 p.m. through December 21 at the Plaza Theatre in Old Downtown Carrollton. For ticket information call (214) 373-8000.
Polly Maynard: The Dallas Classic Guitar Society takes a break from flying in those superstar instrumentalists from all corners of the world and focuses on an acclaimed guitarist right here in Texas. Although Polly Maynard both graduated from and taught for ten years at the University of North Texas, she has appeared on both sides of the Atlantic, having participated in master classes with the likes of Oscar Ghiglia and Eliot Fisk and performed as a soloist and member of ensembles. She performs her third show with the Dallas Classic Guitar Society as part of its DMA series. The show is at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $6. Call (214) 528-3733.
Pictures With Pets: We all know the world is divided into two kinds of people--those who send out Christmas cards featuring photos of themselves and their pets, and those who think the first group are pathetic. Pet lovers have a habit of tuning out negative karma--perhaps it has to do with having friends so laid-back that they don't mind cleaning their anuses in front of others--and making their quadrupeds a part of the holiday cheer. Operation Kindness, the no-kill animal shelter in Carrollton, offers people the chance to get their pets photographed with Santa Claus and make a donation to the organization. Santa appears for pictures November 30 and December 7 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Warehouse Photographic and Lab, 2225 Beltline at Kelly, Carrollton. Cost is $5 for a professional Polaroid mounted in a holiday folder. Call (972) 418-0938.
The Littlest Angel: As part of a trio of holiday performances, Theatre Three has tapped a nationally lauded puppetmaster who has worked with Jim Henson and Sid and Marty Kroft to offer Dallas audiences his original Christmas fantasy. The Littlest Angel is the creation of Pady Blackwood, the official stringpuller for Howdy Doody since the mid-'70s. He turns to the sacred with this tale of a trouble-making angel who must learn to tone down his hijinks for heaven--until the Christ child locates the pure heart that everyone else has ignored. Performances are Saturday, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. through December 28 at Theatre Too, downstairs at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh in the Quadrangle. Tickets are $5-$6. Call 871-3300.
Don Perlimplin and Belisa In Her Garden: You say The Littlest Angel didn't quite quench your thirst for professional puppetry? A more adult spectacle is hosted by Teatro Dallas. The legendary Spanish scribe Federico Garcia Lorca wrote poems of amazingly sensual heartiness, invoking taste, smell, and touch as well as sight in his pieces. As a playwright, Lorca was just as determined to utilize every medium of expression offered by the stage, including masks and pupppetry. Teatro Dallas invited the Puppet Theater of Juan Jose Barreiro from Mexico to perform as part of its 4th International Theater Festival; the chosen play was Lorca's Don Perlimplin and Belisa In Her Garden, a tale of tragic love the author originally envisioned as a puppet spectacle. Performances happen November 29 and 30 at 8:15 p.m. at Teatro Dallas, 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $15. Call (214) 741-1135.