Events for the week

John Erickson: Dr. Seuss may be doing 360-degree spins in his coffin now that his widow has made the decision to franchise his beloved characters, but since Bugs shills for soda and Snoopy pimps insurance, this latest commercial defection of a childhood icon hurts a little less. Can we look forward to Hank the Cowdog selling Wolf Brand Chili? John Erickson is the Texas Panhandle resident and author of the enormously successful book and audio series about that crafty, four-legged herder. Erickson's program for Arts & Letters Live includes musical accompaniment by children's author-musician Willy Welch. The afternoon starts at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium in the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $5-$10. Call (214) 922-1219.

Four Day Weekend: Three members of the Dallas-based comedy sextet known as Four Day Weekend have two experiences in common--studies at Chicago's prestigious comedy mecca Second City, and stints with Ad-Libs, Dallas' long-standing improv troupe. Beyond that, all six members of this new improvisational company have a common goal--to keep the laugh meter past 10 with material gleaned from audience suggestions. Improv is one of the scariest exercises an actor can perform, but daredevils Four Day Weekend crave danger the way most of us crave Kool-Aid with our baloney sandwiches. Four Day Weekend performances happen Friday, 10 p.m. and Saturday, 11 p.m. through March 29 at Casa Manana Theater on the Square, 109 E. 3rd St. at Main, Fort Worth. Tickets are $9. Call (817) 226-4DAY.

march 2
Planet Blooms: Exactly why the Dallas Arboretum has chosen an interplanetary theme for the month leading up to Easter is unclear, unless this is a nod to that little-known, vaguely pagan moon-phase calculation that's used to determine the exact date of Easter every year. Planet Blooms uses millions of tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and other blossoms to create solar system and constellation displays in various areas of the Arboretum. Martian music and planet painting are among the activities for kids, whereas adults can attend demonstrations and seminars from plant experts on everything from making potpourri and herbal vinegar to caring for flowers. Events happen every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through April 6 at 8617 Garland Rd. Tickets are $3-$6 (children under 12 get in free). Parking is an additional $2. Call 327-8263.

David Parker: To close the final performance of its 1996-'97 Familiarts season, the Jewish Community Center of Dallas presents a nationally acclaimed performer who doesn't have to shout to be heard--a few waves of his skilled hands will do the trick. David Parker is a musician-dancer-comedian with a Cheshire Cat grin who's wowed 'em at venues as various as The White House and Nickelodeon with his combination of vaudevillian goofery and sign language. He performs at 4 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Rd. Tickets are $6-$7. Call (214) 739-2737.

march 3
The Rapture: If you think David Duchovny had his hands full with demented plastic surgeons and evil Betty Page tattoos on The X Files, you need to see how ol' Dave fares with the Second Coming when he co-stars in Michael Tolkin's creepy, powerful 1991 fundamentalist horror flick The Rapture. Tolkin isn't a stealth evangelist, just a guy who decided to make a film about one young woman (Mimi Rogers) who slowly discovers that the world is about to end, and that her ticket on the salvation train hasn't arrived. University of North Texas English professor Dr. Peter Richardson introduces this remarkable little "What if...?" indie classic. The screening happens at 7:30 p.m. in Room 265 of the Speech/Drama Building at the University of North Texas in Denton. It's free.

march 4
Chet Atkins: If you've ever been channel surfing on your TV and encountered the great Chet Atkins playing bluegrass in one of his countless appearances, you're likely to think that he's the greatest bluegrass player you've ever heard. Atkins has attracted legions of fans out there who think he's the greatest (rock, jazz, country) guitarist they've ever seen, until they realize that none of these descriptions encapsulates the breadth of his musical mastery. His oft-copied finger-picking style alone has made him one of the most influential guitarists America has ever produced. The Dallas Classic Guitar Society invites Atkins for a show at 8 p.m. in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Tickets are $15-$60. Call 871-ARTS.

Female Power and the 21st Century: As much as sexism is still a cold reality in 1997 America, some U.S. feminists have attracted the reputation of being pampered whiners in a world where wives and daughters in other countries are burned, beaten, drowned, raped, smothered, or enslaved on a male whim. Way cool feminist author-essayist Naomi Wolfe is one of those gender leftists whose kvetching is steeped in common-sensical priorities, not utopian rhetoric. Southern Methodist University has selected her to give the keynote address at its two-day, 32nd annual Symposium on the Education of Women for Social and Political Leadership. "In Search of Balance" is the theme of the symposium, and the articulate, self-deprecating Wolfe sails on an even keel. Her speech begins at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater of Southern Methodist University. The lecture is free, but space is limited. Call 768-7658.

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