Attack of the Killer Mutant Leeches: Fans of bad cinema practically declared a day of public mourning when Comedy Central announced it would cancel "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" (whose creator, by the way, will be honored at this year's Dallas Video Festival January 9-12). While some of us were happy to provide our own running commentary to favorite celluloid cheese, the absence of MST3K has clearly created a void in the marketplace. Fans who desire a fix with the patina of respectability that live theater brings with it should know that Dallas' Pocket Sandwich Theatre was encouraging you to laugh at clumsy melodrama and tacky sci-fi years before "Mystery Science Theatre" graced the tube. To start 1997 off right, check out their latest production, Dennis Millegan's Attack of the Killer Mutant Leeches. The script concerns how a nuclear accident in the Florida swamps of the 1950s coincides with an ambitious moonshiner and produces...well, check out the title. As with all Pocket Sandwich shows, you're not only allowed, but encouraged to air your opinions, whether it be through catcalls or a few fistfuls of well-aimed popcorn. William Shakespeare would be proud. Attack of the Killer Mutant Leeches runs Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday, 7 p.m. through February 15 at 5400 East Mockingbird. Tickets are $6-$12. Call (214) 821-4643.
In the Spirit of Resistance: African-American Modernists and the Mexican Muralist School: It's no coincidence that the mural and the billboard resemble each other in scale and drama--after all, when you want to make a statement, there's no more effective way than to print it big and stick it near a major public thoroughfare. The 20th century Mexican Muralist School expressed outrage at ethnic and economic inequality south of America; not surprisingly, many African-American neighbors to the north picked up on this confrontational style of visual art and began to paint their depictions of black oppression and resistance in a similar style. In the Spirit of Resistance: African-American Modernists and the Mexican Muralist School features 17 Mexican artists and 82 black American artists, including legends like Jacob Lawrence, Charles Alston, John Biggers, and Elizabeth Catlett. This national touring show is co-sponsored in Dallas by the Latino Cultural Center for the Arts and Letters, Inc. The show runs through March 2 at the African-American Museum in Fair Park. For info call (214) 565-9026.
Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble: Continuing its sixth season of the Meryl P. Levy Gallery Concert Series, one of those instances where a rich person actually does care about the quality of life among us putrid wage workers, the Dallas Museum of Art invites a toddler of a musical organization to its Horchow Auditorium for a free concert. The 11-member Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble debuted four years ago at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis with an auspicious premiere--a new string quartet by R. Murray Schafer. Ever since then, in concerts at Minnesota performances and all around the country, the ensemble has attempted to make music fans as familiar with 20th century American composers as they are with Mozart and Chopin. Their Dallas performance includes the Schafer piece Third String Quartet as well as Claptrap by Paul Siskind, Narcissus by Thea Musgrave, and Eight Lines by Steve Reich. The show happens at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. It's free. Call (214) 922-1229.
Matteo Mela and Giamaolo Bandini: The Fort Worth Classic Guitar Society continues its inaugural series with a performance by a pair of classical instrumentalists who've taken the major European cities by storm with their interpretations of German, Italian, and Spanish composers from across the centuries. Matteo Mela and Giamaolo Bandini won the coveted ARAM award five years ago for their achievements in duo musicianship. They swing into Fort Worth after an exhausting European tour schedule to perform Bach, Giuliani, and Piazzola. This Fort Worth Classic Guitar Society show kicks off at 8 p.m. in the Ed Landreth Auditorium of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Tickets are $10-$15. For more information call (817) 329-4430.
Russian Winter: You can avoid those nasty subzero Russian temperatures, not to mention those pesky little ethnic skirmishes, but still enjoy a taste of the Motherland with an evening offered by the Russian-American Cultural House and Transfiguration Orthodox Chapel. "Russian Winter" is the name of the program that celebrates some of the great Russian composers and choreographers of all time, interpreted by contemporary artists and performers. Music by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinski is interpreted by a quartet of instrumentalists, including pianist Goulnara Iliasova and baritonist Gerardo Garciacano. Nikolai Semikov, principal dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre, performs with students of the Svetlana Stanova Ballet Art School. The evening starts at 8 p.m. in Grand Ballroom B of the Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St. Tickets are $15. Call (214) 943-5996.
Stephen Wilder and David Dreyer: Paintings from the Landscape: Dallas-based painters Stephen Wilder and David Dreyer became best buddies at Southern Methodist University in 1988, although it was clear to both artists that they just didn't see eye-to-eye. Both enjoyed painting landscapes, but while Wilder said to-may-to with his fiercely detailed re-creations of depth, color, and placement, Dreyer said to-mah-to by concentrating more on how the process of applied paint strokes interacted with the forms he saw. Instead of calling the whole thing off, Wilder and Dreyer decided to display their differences side by side in an exhibit titled Paintings from the Landscape. The show is a textbook example of how different artists view their relationship to the world differently. It opens with a reception January 4, 6-8 p.m. and runs through January 31 at Hickory Street Gallery, 501 2nd Ave. Call (214) 821-0254.