True West: With its slowly tightening Mamet grip and a wealth of comic relief that becomes less of a relief as the play goes on, True West is Sam Shepard's caustic reply to the myth of American male camaraderie on the frontier. The fact that the frontier fought over by these two very different brothers--played by Dan Day and Joe Nemmers in Kitchen Dog Theatre's latest production--is a slick Hollywood invention bringing a chilling resonance to their brutal showdown. This is a tour-de-force script for the right actors. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. through March 23 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Avenue. Tickets are $8-$14 (Thursdays are pay-what-you-can). Call (214) 871-ARTS.
37th Annual Autorama: You don't have to know or care jack about customized cars to attend this year's 37th Annual Autorama. The creations of this year's special guest are so familiar to TV and movie mavens, we feel like we've been at the wheels ourselves. George Barris opened a customizing shop in Los Angeles with his brother back in the early '50s, and once the right people got a look at his handiwork, the offers came rolling in--he created The Batmobile, the Munsters' Coach, The Flintstone Mobile, Walt Disney's "The Love Bug," The Beverly Hillbillies' jalopy, and more. He'll appear to sign and discuss his world-famous projects, past and future. Oh, yeah, and there are also a whole lot of other cars at the Autorama. Catch the cars February 14, 5-10:30 p.m.; February 15, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; and February 16, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Market Hall on Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $4-$9. Call (972) 732-6100.
Dallas Chamber Orchestra: There's nary a more romantic way to spend time with your sweetie than a special concert-dinner package that benefits the Dallas Chamber Orchestra. Right after work, suit up and trek arm-in-arm with your squeeze to the Stoneleigh Hotel, where cocktails and a candlelight dinner complete with strolling violins awaits. Then Houston-based, internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Susan McDonald takes the baton for a little postprandial serenade that includes Granados, Vivaldi, and Guastavino. If that doesn't melt their butter, we don't know what will. The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100. Call (214) 871-2787.
Manhattan Tap: The joy of watching a Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, or Gregory Hines tap has always been in the way the tune they accompany sails out of their soles, the sound of tap shoes sounding less like percussion than amplification. Apply that frenzied expression to the improv-happy strains of jazz, and it requires an unprecedented combination of endurance, agility, and musicality. The decade-old tap ensemble Manhattan Tap, headed by Heather Cornell, has danced on worldwide stages to the accompaniment of jazz greats like Ray Brown and Keith Saunders as well as their own instrumentalists, The Hard Bop Trio. TITAS welcomes this pair of ensembles to Dallas. Performances are set for February 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call (214) 528-5576.
Third Annual Theater Crawl: Two significant ways you can distinguish a Playwrights' Project Theater Crawl from a Pub Crawl--nobody drops his or her pants, and no one vomits. Unless, of course, the nature of the Project's Third Annual Crawl has changed; we couldn't detect it in the press material. Theater patrons will move from Priscilla Sample's Cultured Pearls at the Arts District Theater to Sterling E. Moore's Goliath at SMU's Bob Hope Theater to Jim Tyler's Stronghold back at the Arts District. Entertainment is provided en route. The Crawl begins at 7 p.m. in the Arts District Theater, 2401 Flora at Fairmount. Tickets are $50 per person. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
Cara Mia Theatre Company: Cara Mia Theatre Company, Dallas' professional Chicano actors' troupe, are on to something with their latest presentation, entitled "Ay Amor! A Latino Literature Night." The casual event is B.Y.O.P.--Bring Your Own Pillow. Curl up and listen to some of the loveliest, strangest, and most moving stories and poems by the likes of Carlos Fuentes, Santiago Baca, Jorge Luis Borges, and Federico Garcia Lorca. Cara Mia's actors will ignite these words for your delectation. The performance happens at 8 p.m. at Tolteca Art Gallery, 112 South Beckley. Donations are greatly appreciated. Call (214) 328-5068.
Text Tour: Text in Outsider Art: While it's true a portion of so-called "outsider artists" or "self-taught" artists are either undereducated or mentally ill, the fact is words mean a great deal to most of the imagemakers who fall into this category--if only because they've soaked them in through the billboards and street signs of life on a country road. Waxahachie's Webb Gallery opens a show called "Text Tour: Text in Outsider Art" that features six different artists whose work relies heavily on the interaction between words and pictures. Opening reception happens Feb. 15, 6-9 p.m. The show runs through April 6 at Webb Gallery, 209-211 W. Franklin, Waxahachie. It's free. It's a good idea to call first at (972) 938-8085.
Herstories: Just like in Anglo rural folktales, the legends and parables passed down through the African-American communities of the Southern countryside seemed to focus on the victories and failures of men or male characters--or, at least, those that have been oft-retold. The African-American Museum's resident company, Soul Rep Theatre, has assembled a trip of Dallas griots to share with us Virginia Hamilton's Herstories. Including "Malindy and the Devil" and "How Man and Woman Started Even" as well as live blues and folk, Herstories is brought to life by Melody "AFI" Bell, Guinea Bennett, Isis Brantley, and Lori Pendleton. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through February 23 at the African American Museum in Fair Park. Tickets are $10. Call (214) 565-9026.
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