Whatever Happened To Neanderthal Man?: If you believe the creation scientists, the answer to this question is "Languishing on the heathen humanist dungheap with the rest of evolution." However, Professor Francis B. Harrold, chair of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington, will take for granted that recent findings on Neanderthal behavior and adaptation point us in the direction of a very old earth and a distinctly animal humankind. He asks "Whatever Happened To Neanderthal Man?" and then attempts to respond using the most recent research. The lecture happens at 8 p.m. in Room 153 of Heroy Hall, between Hillcrest and Dublin on Daniels, Southern Methodist University. It's free. Call (214) 625-4226.
Arte de la Communidad: Dallas artist and freelance curator Jose Vargas was selected by the Office of Cultural Affairs' Icehouse Project to oversee the latest result of that program, a Latino folk art exhibition entitled "Arte de la Communidad." The Icehouse Project utilizes the Oak Cliff space to spotlight Latino visual and performing arts in a neighborhood rich with Hispanic cultural traditions. An opening reception for "Arte de la Communidad" happens February 27, 6-8 p.m. and runs through March 20 at the Icehouse, 1000 W Page St, Oak Cliff. Call (214) 670-4870.
18th Annual Spring Home & Garden Show: The thrill of attending something like the 18th Annual Spring Home & Garden Show is vicarious, much like reading Martha Stewart's magazine. Somehow, by sheer dint of touring the designer gardenscapes, culinary demonstrations, gardening seminars, and decorating displays, you have enhanced your nesting instincts without actually picking up a hoe, a spatula, a seed packet, or a swath of lovely material. Don't expect Pamela Anderson Lee or a cast member from Party of Five to do an autograph session; this show is strictly for the serious-minded. The show is held February 28, 1-9 p.m.; March 1, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; March 2, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $6 (children under 14 get in free). Call (214) 732-6100.
Command Performance: A Perfect 10 of International Ballet: All-you-can-eat buffets, otherwise known as troughs, are a popular restaurant style in Texas. TITAS has extended the concept to internationally lauded stars of dance. Think of "Command Performance: A Perfect 10 of International Ballet" as a ballet buffet where the hungry fanatic can partake of ten lavishly praised performers from across Europe and America. The Bolshoi's reigning prima ballerina, Nina Ananiashvill, heads up this troupe of performers from the American Ballet Theatre, the Kirov, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Donetsk Ballet of the Ukraine, and the San Francisco Ballet. "A Perfect 10" is the third annual "Command Performance" of international dancers TITAS has featured. The only performance is at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $17-$100. Call (214) 528-6112.
15th Annual North Texas Irish Festival: It's not uncommon that one downtrodden people feels a sympathy for another broad enough to stretch across many miles of ocean and land. In 1847, the Choctaw Indians organized a relief effort for an Ireland paralyzed by potato famine--only 16 years after the Choctaw were forced into Oklahoma on the infamous "Trail of Tears." The 15th Annual North Texas Irish Festival, the largest Celtic gathering in the American Southwest, honors this historic aid with its "Festival of Friendship" (Fay-luh un Kardish) theme. As always, music is the main pull, and this year's headliners include Solas, headed by composer Seamus Egan (Brothers McMullen, Dead Man Walking); Begley & Cooney; The Makem Brothers, and Norman Kennedy. Festival hours are February 28, 5-11 p.m.; March 1, noon-midnight; and March 2, noon-8 p.m. Tickets are $8-$12 (children 11 and under get in free). Call (214) 741-7481.
A Rose By Any Other Name: Teatro Dallas opens its 1997 season with a two-woman comedy written by Emilio Carballido and translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's translator. Carballido is generally credited with ushering in a more light-footed (though not necessarily more light-hearted) era to a Mexican theater weighed down with confrontational realism. The playwright's comedy A Rose By Any Other Name takes a no-nonsense approach to female friendship and rivalry in its story of two gals who bond over a bottle of rum a single, frustrating problem they share. As is often the case when a coupla chicks sit around and talk, the language in this play is sometimes raw. The show runs Wednesday-Saturday, 8:15 p.m. through March 29 at Teatro Dallas, 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $5-$12. Call (214) 741-1135.
Getting Started Genealogy Workshop: Want to know what the ratio of crooks-hustlers-psychotics to overachievers is in your family tree? KERA-TV Channel 13's free afternoon genealogy workshop entitled "Getting Started" is a good place to begin your search for the unpleasant truth--that great-great uncle who never harmed a soul until that fateful day was just the beginning. Michael Matthews, host of KRLD 1080's "Family History Show," moderates a discussion on how and where to begin your search with a host of North Texas experts. You'll find the show at 1-5 p.m. at KERA, 3000 Harry Hines Blvd. It's free. Call (214) 740-9220.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Re/View: Photographs from the Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art: Covering a span of some 127 years, Re/View may be little more than the DMA's digging through its attic for cool things to display, but this is the kind of stuff you don't find in any old cardboard box. Documentary photos of the Civil War combine with 1912 views of New York City and photo portraits of art legends like Henri Matisse in this grab-bag tour of photographic history. The show runs through May 11 at 1717 N. Harwood. It's free. Call (214) 922-1200.