Events for the week

march 20
The Rainbow Poets: The Writer's Garret, in cooperation with the Dallas Poets Community, presents an evening of lyrical male bonding as part of its "Soup's On" series. Football and fart jokes are being dispensed with; communication rituals practiced by the species homo attitudis are in the spotlight this evening. "The Rainbow Poets" is the name of this quartet of Dallas-based scribes who are among the city's best gay poets, or, as the press material qualifies, "poets who also happen to be gay." Readers include Christopher Soden, director of the Dallas Poets Community; Dalton James, actor/composer/poet and resident raconteur of heartbreak; Bob McCranie, former editor of The Dallas Review; and Jason Edwards, Deep Ellum performer and host of the Dark Room's "Spoken Art" series. The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. in the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney at Bowen. It's free. Call (214) 953-1212.

Helping Children Cope with Stress: You can argue till you drop from oxygen deprivation whether America is a more screwed-up place today than it was 30 years ago. One thing is certain--our nation is way more media-saturated now than then, which means the problems (and the often horrific images that accompany them) are in everyone's face to an unprecedented degree. How can we raise kids to not be scared of a stressed-out world when so many of us are ourselves terrified? Human development expert and Pulitzer nominee Dr. Bettie B. Youngs presents a talk about the first- and secondhand ways a chaotic world affects children and how parents can intercede with helpful countermeasures. Her books include Stress and Your Child and How to Develop Self-Esteem in Your Child. The talk happens 7:30-9 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Rd. Tickets are $5. Call (972) 437-9950.

march 21
Dallas Divas!: Dallas' all-professional musical theater company Lyric Stage follows its recent world premiere of Matthew Ward and Stephen Cole's Thomas Hardy-based musical After the Fair with an exhalation of pure musical theater. Dallas Divas! is a one-night-only compendium of Broadway and opera tunes with one very special bonus--an opening tune penned especially for this night by the aforementioned Ward and Cole. Two of the Observer's favorite local performers, Connie Nelson and Sally Nyusten Vahle, are included in a program that also features Liz Piazza Kelley, Pamela Dougherty, Dara Whitehead, Yolonda Williams, and Shelley Clayton. The performance starts at 8 p.m. in the Carpenter Performance Hall of Irving Ars Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd, Irving. Tickets are $17.50. Call (972) 252-ARTS.

12th Annual Tejas Storytelling Festival: We can all be thankful that the men and women who gather in Denton for the 12th Annual Tejas Storytelling Festival never shut up when their elders told them to. Otherwise, who would be around to remind us that the most satisfying human communication comes not from Internet inanities but face-to-face fat-chewing. Headline performers for the 1997 Tejas Festival are all nationally celebrated for their facility with a tall tale: Mary Ann Brewer, Donald Davis, Barbara McBride-Smith, and Tom McDermott all gather to offer their specialties. Anticipate a gumbo of story styles--myths, legends, ghost stories, adult tales, Bible stories, and more. The event starts March 20, 8 p.m. and runs through March 23, 3 p.m. at Civic Center Park in Denton. Tickets are $5-$10. Call (972) 387-8336.

Patricia Everidge Hill: Even more than in other major American cities, is civic policy in Dallas a slave to big business? Patricia Everidge Hill, a historian who wrote Dallas: The Making of a Modern City, looks at the city's development between 1889 and 1940 to answer this question. Her talk begins at 4 p.m. at McCord Auditorium, on the third floor of Dallas Hall at SMU. It's free. Call (214) 768-3684.

Back on the Corner: Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre presents the latest of its original productions, written by the in-house team of Joe Rogers and Rudy Eastman. Back on the Corner offers audiences a guided tour through the inner-city and attempts to locate, through Joe Rogers' barbed and boisterous score, the various points where poverty, race, and politics cross each other. Performances happen Friday, 8:15 p.m.; Saturday, 3:15 and 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday, 3:15 p.m. through April 20 at the Jubilee Theatre on Main St. in downtown Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$14. Call (817) 338-4411.

march 22
The Klezmatics: If klezmer doesn't seem as American as matzah balls and borscht-belt humor, that's because this traditional Jewish party music from Eastern Europe somehow never got assimilated into the Christian side of our Judeo-Christian culture like those other kosher conventions. In an effort to correct the situation, TITAS (The International Theatrical Arts Society) hosts the debut Dallas performance of The Klezmatics, a septet of musicians from New York's East Village whose musical training encompasses rock, jazz, and classical. Lest you dismiss these folks as just another bar-mitzvah band, their collaborations with Twyla Tharp, Allen Ginsberg, and Tony Kushner suggest a more ambitious artistic outlook. The performance happens at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call (214) 528-5576.

3rd Annual Easter Bonnet Pet Parade: If you thought parents were bad about projecting personal agendas onto their children, check out this spectacle of pet owners inflicting human senses of style onto their four-legged companions--the legal definition of abuse is a lot more elastic here. The 3rd Annual Easter Bonnet Pet Parade is a pet-owner extravaganza guaranteed to make Elsa Klensch pop a blood vessel. Judges qualify parade entrants in three categories--"Most Creative," "Best Owner/Pet Look-alike," and "Judge's Choice." Also scheduled are obedience training demonstrations, low-cost vaccinations, pet trick contests, and a performance for children by the Pet Rangers. The event happens 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the Historic Town Square of Lancaster. Call (972) 218-1101.

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