3 Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox: One of the reasons institutions like the African-American Museum were created was to fill in gaps left by mainstream art historians. All those people who complain about their favorite version of history being rewritten are really afraid of the process of history itself, which requires constant adjustment and appraisal. Bet even if you majored in art history or sculpture at a major university, chances are you haven't heard of a majority of the subjects included in 3 Generations of African-American Women Sculptors: A Study in Paradox. The 10 women artists in this show are from the late 19th century through today. The show opens February 7 and runs through April 20 at the African-American Museum in Fair Park. For info call (214) 565-9026.
Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: Masters of the Ocean Realm: You can bet your bottom there'll be nary a reference to tuna at the Dallas Museum of Natural History's new show Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: Masters of the Ocean Realm. The point of the show is to educate kids on the grace and beauty of sea mammals so that they'll gladly paddle their dinghy into the path of a factory ship. Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: Masters of the Ocean Realm covers biology, zoology, evolution, and ecology with exhibits like the interactive "Whale Top 40" jukebox that categorizes whale vocals, tons of info and graphics through interactive technology, and a recreated Greek temple to trace the place of the porpoise in Greek mythology. The show runs through May 11 at the Dallas Museum of Natural History in Fair Park. Admission is $2.50-$4. Call (214) 421-3466.
Faith Healer: After a general description, you might be prone to dismiss Brian Friel's psychological thriller Faith Healer as Elmer Gantry 2. But while this fervently praised Irish playwright jumps off from a similar starting point--the story of a traveling Christian healer whose power lies in his passionate, eloquent ability to make the poor and uneducated believe the unbelievable--he lands in very different thematic places when someone connected to the faith healer comes up dead. Performances happen Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. through March 1. Tickets are $8-$15 (Wednesdays are pay-what-you-can). New Theatre audiences, take note--the company has a new, permanent performance space at 3202 Elm in the heart of Deep Ellum. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
Mark Curry: As is the desirable career trajectory for a TV comic actor, Mark Curry has every finger stuck in a different part of the tube pie--syndication (star of the five-year-old sitcom Hangin' With Mr. Cooper); cable (his recently broadcast HBO standup special Mark Curry--The Other Side); and talk shows (he is currently preparing to launch a late-night chatfest). What Curry brings to these ventures is sheer affability, a pretty precious commodity in a marketplace defined by Lettermanesque spleen. Long after the guys who hang quotation marks around their every word have curdled, Curry will find himself in demand. The show is at 8 p.m. at the McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. For ticket info call (310) 854-6067.
Cris Williamson and Tret Fure: The generic term "women's music" is simultaneously a cheeky password for potential gay and lesbian audiences and an effort to escape the limitations the mainstream press often places on any female artist who publicly declares her lesbianism yet wants audiences to know that the romantic details of her life--same-sex though it might be--bear a striking similarity to the hetero troubadour's tales of heartbreak. An acknowledged pioneer of the field and her musical-romantic partner of the past five years come to Fort Worth to perform tunes off their latest collaboration, Between the Covers. Cris Williamson, who possesses one of the most celestial voices ever granted a human being, and Tret Fure, a vocalist-instrumentalist who was one of the first female sound engineers in the country, share stories of their life together for audiences with a taste for romance. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. in Orchestra Hall, 4401 Trail Lake Drive, Fort Worth. Tickets are $17-$20. Call 373-8000.
Alexander Shtarkman: If you want to whet your appetite for a February 11 Russian piano virtuoso sponsored by the Cliburn Concert series, the Jewish Community Center of Dallas offers you a younger Moscow-trained talent who is also a veteran of the Cliburn Competition. Indeed, assessing one of his recitals, a Los Angeles Times critic declared "he plays with the sensitivity and mellow refinement one associates with certain grand old men of the keyboard, most of them Russian." Shtarkman comes to Dallas with more than 60 upcoming scheduled engagements in Italy under his belt. The show is at 7:30 p.m. in the Zale Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Rd. Tickets are $13-$15. Call (214) 739-2737.
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.