Masqued Venetian Carnival Wine Dinner: Masks have served as an interchangeable symbol of deception and honesty in theaters across the globe. Their transposition to theme parties and dinners is meant to carry a bit of that intrigue and dramatic tension into what might otherwise be just another get-together. Antinori Winery and Arcodoro Ristorante have joined forces to bring Dallas a little bit of that European decadence in their "Masqued Carnival Wine Dinner." Masks are, of course, mandatory. Opera singers will serenade you between courses, Aldo Rafanelli from the Antinori Winery will address the diners, and a five-course Venetian dinner is served in honor of the Italian Mardi Gras. Should you at one point accidentally catch a glimpse of a fellow diner's face and there's a disturbing absence of skin there, it's time to have the valet bring your car 'round. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Arcodoro Ristorante, 2520 Cedar Springs. Admission is $95 per person. Call (214) 871-1924.
Jason Vieaux: 24-year-old Jason Vieaux may have won the Guitar Foundation of America's top prize in 1993 and the hearts of critics who are astounded that one so young could apply his fingers with such patience and sensitivity to centuries-old music. But take one look at his angelic mug, and you can't help but think Beck without the irony, a tow-headed brat who's bratty only in the sense of his precocious technique. The fact that he was by far the youngest winner of the Guitar Foundation's competition probably prompted competitors to use more choice descriptions; this victory certainly echoed through the classical music world four years ago. That's also when he released his debut CD and began a concert career that brings him to Dallas under the auspices of The Dallas Classic Guitar Society. The show opens at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium in Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $12. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
Radu Lupu: The iron curtain was never thick enough to contain the sounds of great classical musicians; Radu Lupu is a prime example. This veteran pianist leapt from local Soviet acclaim while studying at the Moscow State Conservatory to transcontinental plaudits when he grabbed the Gold Medal at the Second Annual Van Cliburn International Competition. Lupu returned to study at the Conservatory, then slow trekked across Europe through the '60s and '70s, picking up one first prize after another. He appears in Fort Worth as part of the Cliburn Concert series to perform two of the composers whose reputations have become intertwined with his own--Brahms and Beethoven. The music begins at 8 p.m. in Ed Landreth Auditorium of Fort Worth's Texas Christian University. Tickets are $10-$35. Call (817) 335-9000.
The Dallas Big Smoke: All you hetero men out there grateful for the revival of any ritual which encourages women to wrap their lips around cylindrical objects in public, here's a chance for you to shake the gentleman's hand who made it all possible. Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Cigar Aficionado, is almost singlehandedly credited with the return of the stogie in polite society. A recent withering Spy profile notwithstanding, Shanken did perform something of a miracle in a monomaniacally anti-tobacco world when he resurrected this oldest pleasure of the old boys club--and, for better or worse, got the girls in on it as well. Shanken appears to host "The Dallas Big Smoke," a mix and match with port and elegant munchies--and, of course, Freud's favorite symbol. The evening is at 7-10 p.m. at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Freeway. Call (214) 748-1200.
Africa: The Serengeti: If you have to pick someone to narrate a great force of nature, you could do a lot worse than James Earl Jones, who with just three little words suggests the global cyberspace sweep of CNN. He gives a few more words over the beginning and end of Africa: The Serengeti, which will appropriately match the grandeur of the Omni Theater's latest IMAX film. The theater's 80-foot screen depicts director George Casey's vision of the Great Animal Migration that occurs in the East African countries of Tanzania and Kenya. More than 200,000 zebras, 500,000 gazelles, and countless African elephants, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, and monkeys will remind us how birth and death are part of an inextricable planetary cycle. The film opens February 7 and screens twice every day in the Omni Theater of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery St., Fort Worth. Tickets are $4-$6. Call (817) 732-1631.