The Playwright's Voice: The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, ready and willing to incite art-lovin' Dallasites with its cheap, noncommercial programs, continues to shout into the wind with the debut of an ambitious series entitled "The Playwright's Voice." The second Thursday of the month series focuses on short and full-length scripts by emerging playwrights as well as lesser-known works by established writers. A Month of Sundays, Vicki Caroline Cheatwood's look at an AIDS death, is the premiere work. The series kicks off at 7 p.m. in the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. It's free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Call (214) 953-1212.
The Wizard of Oz: Although overwhelmingly lavender, the internationally popular Turtle Creek Chorale hasn't always felt comfortable being identified as a gay men's chorus in a city whose conservative churches tend to confuse politics, righteousness, and sexual orientation. That supremely silly fear of homosexual "recruitment" plays into this, of course. Any gay and lesbian will tell you they didn't acquire their romantic inclinations through some kind of homosexual draft--it was their viewing habits as a kid that turned them. Many a roughhousing tyke went sissy after a single exposure to Victor Fleming's musical The Wizard of Oz. The Turtle Creek Chorale returns with their live celebration of L. Frank Baum's indoctrination classic. Performances are March 13-15 at 8 p.m. and March 16 at 2:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $10-$30. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
Ninth Annual Crawlmasters Pubcrawl: The organizers of the Ninth Annual Crawlmasters Pubcrawl in Deep Ellum insist that "the Crawl has always been about responsible partying, not drinking"--the word "always" here means "ever since people who don't know their limit began suing the barkeeps who sold them the booze." So while alcohol over-imbibing is the cultural right of every American, please don't involve others in your choice--e.g., killing them in a car accident or brawling with them or suing the poor schmuck who woefully underestimated your level of intake. The Pubcrawl has seven stops on a trail led by a bagpiper, with wacky games and fellowship littered along the way. The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. at Coppertank Brewery on Commerce St. in Deep Ellum. Entry fee is $15. Call (214) 520-3296.
The Yellow Boat: The desire for parents to shield their children from the reality of death is understandable, but many pundits suggest that not only is it a distinctly twentieth-century American phenomenon, it may not be all that healthy in the end. Dallas Children's Theater presents a play called The Yellow Boat, which deals imaginatively but honestly with one boy's battle with AIDS. Playwright David Saar took the artwork his eight-year-old son created while fighting HIV-related illnesses and transformed its themes into this play; little Benjamin died in 1987. Performances Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., through March 23 at The Crescent Theater, 2215 Cedar Springs. Tickets are $9-$11. Call (214) 978-0110.
Dino Day: Now that your tyke has come out from under the theater seat after the light-flashing, earsplitting trailer for this summer's Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World, the next step is not individual counseling (that will be needed in a few years). Rather, you must fuel your children's insatiable pop culture lust by taking them to "Dino Day" at the Dallas Museum of Natural History. While the Museum isn't receiving kickbacks from Spielberg, you can pretend they are and sneak in a bit of education with displays, paleontologist talks, interactive exhibits, and a "Dino Disco" that recreates the moves of the beloved prehistoric beasts. The afternoon happens 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Natural History in Fair Park. Tickets are $2.50-$4. Call 421-DINO.
18th Annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade: Warning to all those who use the "But I'm wearing green underwear" defense on St. Patrick's Day: the 18th Annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade is a very public event, so dropping your drawers to prove you don't deserve a pinch may get you a criminal record. The Greenville St. Paddy's stroll boasts any and every kind of entry decency laws allow, so bring family and friends for the appropriate gawkfest. The "unparade" kicks off at 11 a.m. and runs from Greenville and Blackwell south to Greenville and Yale. Call (214) 368-6722.
On Forensics: Joe Voelkering is an aviation accident investigator whose deeply scientific belief in method and analysis also led to his joining the North Texas Skeptics, a group dedicated to exposing fraudulent (and often commercial) practices that are based on gullibility. Voelkering discusses the art of forensic science, which determines culpability through physical evidence and the application of scientific standards. Voelkering will discuss his own investigations, including the fire that killed 300 aboard a Saudia Airlines flight. Let's hope he can apply his own powers of skepticism to a scientific enterprise that's ripe for manipulation and mismanagement. The afternoon kicks off at 2 p.m. in the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak. It's free. Call (972) 306-3187.
Dallas Sci-Fi and Toy Show: The same weekend that Return of the Jedi, the final and weakest entry in the Star Wars trilogy, is rereleased the Ninth Annual Dallas Sci-Fi and Toy Show boasts three Texas exclusives--appearances by the actors who donned the masks for Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) stop by to see who can endure longest the most trivial of Star Wars trivia by fans frantic to make an impression ("Have you ever been to Beggar's Canyon?" "Did you have to study the Clone Wars in school?"). In addition to the typical marathon gamings, auctions, merchandise rooms, autograph sessions, etc., there's an appearance by Richard "I Was the Han Solo Knockoff" Hatch from "Battlestar Galactica." Events happen March 15 and March 16 at the Plano Convention Centre, Spring Creek Parkway and Central in Plano. For info call 972-578-0213.
Phillips Academy Cantata Choir and Academy Chamber Orchestra: Think of the Phillips Academy Cantata Choir and Academy Chamber Orchestra as the Menudo of the classical world--once body hair becomes a reality for its members, they'd better update their resumes. Actually, Phillips Academy has an excuse beyond the Teen Beat factor for its expiration date: It's one of the most prestigious musical high schools in America. The rigorous curriculum there has carved an international reputation for the choir and orchestra of handling some of the most difficult works in the choral-orchestral canon. They come to Dallas to perform Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah Op. 70. The concert is at 3 p.m. in the Hamon Atrium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free. Call (214) 922-1220.
Connemara's 15th Season: If your idea of communing with art and nature is riding one of those hideous ironcast steers downtown, then get thee to the Connemara Conservancy, where the sculpture is plentiful and noncliched and the nature is spread over 72 acres. This natural landscape preserve opens its spring season today with a display of 12 site-specific sculptural works you can touch and eat a sack lunch next to. Connemara opens to the public at noon. It's free. To reach Connemara from Dallas, take McDermott Drive (exit 34) and head west for 1.6 miles. Drive into Collin County on I-75, turn left on Tatum Drive, go 1.5 miles. Connemara Meadow is on the left, over the stile. Call (972) 934-0835.
Ukrainian Boys Choir of Kiev: There is a worthy benefit behind the U.S. debut of the Ukrainian Boys Choir of Kiev, sponsored by the Dallas-based Ukrainian-American Multi-Cultural Connection--the proceeds benefit the Chernobyl Children's Hospital in Kiev, which took on a considerable burden of care after the nuclear plant disaster in that area. However, many of the choir members, whose ages range from 9 to 23, were living within a hundred miles of the plant and themselves received high doses of radiation. The choir begins its three-week tour of 20 major American cities in Dallas. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora. Tickets are $10-$30. Call (214) 443-1000.
The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld There are two reasons you shouldn't bet your beer money on the Oscar-nominated The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story bagging the gold for Best Documentary at this year's ceremony: 1)the hyper-hyped, entertaining, but frustratingly incomplete When We Were Kings is a shoe-in and 2) The Line King doesn't deserve it because it's a depressingly typical, talking-head Academy choice. Still, if the filmmakers lack the imagination to do the legendary Broadway caricaturist justice, their subject remains an endlessly charming, articulate 93-year-old artist with an opinion on everything. The USA Film Festival screens the Dallas premiere of The Line King as part of its Independent Showcase at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Ewy. Tickets are $5.50-$6.50. Call (214) 821-NEWS.
Hopkinson Smith: Although compositions written specifically for the guitar didn't appear until the 19th century, thus incurring the disdain of classical purists who don't like anything less than 150 years old, the lute was a celebrated ancestor whose literature requires little fiddling to make it relevant to the guitar. Internationally celebrated lutenist Hopkinson Smith, who currently teaches at the Schola Cantorum Bailienses in Switzerland, has his name slapped on 15 solo recordings that preserve the beauty of the lute. This Harvard graduate makes his first appearance with the Dallas Classic Guitar Society in a program of baroque music by the likes of Bach, Weiss, and Sanz. The show happens at 8 p.m. at Caruth Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $12. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
A Cloud of Witnesses: Paintings by Jerry Dienes: The 20 oil paintings that constitute the one-man exhibition A Cloud of Witnesses: Paintings by Jerry Dienes are equal parts kitsch and eloquence, a combination that often produces something far more interesting than Great Art. Peter Dienes became a Christian in the early '80s and promptly decided to start painting contemporary renderings of Biblical scenes. The concept would seem to lend itself to the medium of velvet and blue light, except for the fact that Dienes has a way of painting the most exquisitely emotional expressions onto the faces of his subjects. The show runs through April 17 in the Haggar Gallery of the University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Dr, Irving. It's free. Call (972) 721-5099.
Walt Disney's World on Ice--Toy Hopefully, the backlash against Hunchback of Notre Dame won't cause the Disney juggernaut to tighten totalitarian quality control, thereby preventing the occasional, accidental creation of a smart, edgy children's flick. After all, Toy Story fit this bill and stuffed the Mouse's pockets with staggering worldwide box-office receipts. The Disney-fication of this very un-Disney movie was inevitable, as frustrated college graduates with drama degrees don ice skates and masks of Buzz, Woody, et al for Toy Story on Ice. Performances happen March 20 and 21, 7:30 p.m.; March 22, noon, 3:30, and 7:30 p.m.; and March 23, 1:30 and 5 p.m. at Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth, as well as March 27 and 28, 7:30 p.m.; March 29, noon, 3:30, and 7:30 p.m.; and March 30, 1:30 and 5 p.m. at Reunion Arena, 111 Sports, in Dallas. Tickets are $10-$18.50. Call (214) 373-8000.
A Celebration of Spring: Midnight tonight marks the Spring Equinox for 1997, a time of significance to pagans and Christians alike (all pagan-naysaying Christians, take note: one of your most important holidays, Easter, is determined every year by the moon cycle that follows March 21. Seems Jesus and the Moon Goddess have more in common than you like to think). "A Celebration of Spring" features neither overtly Christian nor pagan rituals, just a festival to mark the passage of seasons with poetry by Clebo Rainey and Opalina Herebia, dances by Lora Cain and Michele Sandlin, percussion by Jamal Mohamed, and ritual/talk by Amy Martin and Mahalene Louis. The event happens 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Club Dada, 2720 Elm at Crowdus. Call (214) 744-