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.
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.
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.
Fort Worth Dallas Ballet: Paul Mejia, artistic director of Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, proves he has the biggest Balanchine fetish in the Southwest with another dance program featuring the late New York City Ballet's founder. Balanchine's Valse Fantasie (with music by Maurice Ravel) and Tzigane (to the composition of Mikhail Glinka) are featured short dances in the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet's latest presentation. The latter stars wiry, charismatic Sergei Pakharev, anointed with the Tiger Beat-styled sobriquet "the most beautiful dancer alive" and acres of panting critical reception in every city he plays. This show also includes Swan Lake Act II and Mejia's own Danzon Cubano & El Salon Mexico, performed to Aaron Copland. Performances happen March 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. at the Music Hall in Fair Park. For info call (214) 373-8000.
Lori Cohen and Randy Pearlman: Recent scientific studies suggest that a love of showtunes, like the bitterness of alkali strips and the ability to curl your tongue, is a phenomenon to which one is genetically predisposed. The Jewish Community Center sends out a flare to all those congenital Broadway fans so they may quiet their raging jones with an evening inclusively titled "Songs Everyone Knows and Loves From Broadway, Film, and Television." The native Dallasite Lori Cohen, who earned her theater degree from University of Chicago, and pal Randy Pearlman, who earned his from the University of Southern California, combine talents with pianist John Schweikhard for a program of hopefully-not-too familiar tunes. The event happens at 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Rd. Tickets are $13-$15. Call (214) 739-2737.
20th Annual Greater Southwest Guitar Show: Mark Pollock and Jimmy Wallace, producers of the Greater Southwest Guitar Show, are more frustrated than ever at the celebration of their show's 20th anniversary. Many people think this convergence of guitar players and dealers is only for professional musicians, but Pollock and Wallace want people to know: if you have ever fingered the air, alone in your room or your car, during a solo by Clapton or Page, then the Greater Southwest Guitar Show is for you. As usual, the roster of star players is unannounced, because Pollock and Wallace are never sure who'll appear, but every year they pop up. Performances are scheduled by the likes of Radish, recent signers with Mercury; Andy Timmons; Bugs Henderson; Jim Suhler; Anson Funderburgh; and national headliners The Kentucky Headhunters. Events happen March 22 and 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Automobile Building at Fair Park. Tickets are $10-$15 (children 6-10 are $5, and under five get in free). Call (214) 665-9534.
A Grand Night For Singing: You say Cohen and Pearlman didn't quench your thirst for big-hearted, big-voiced show tunes? New Theatre Company's Bruce Coleman continues wearing many hats for Theatre Three; after directing and costuming their hit production of Once On This Island, he applies his theatrical genes to another in a long line of T3's "composer salutes." The Tony-nominated A Grand Night For Singing rounds up some stellar Dallas vocalists--including Island's Liz Mikel, Natalie King, and Patrick Amos; Susan Read; and Gaitley Matthews, founder of Deep Ellum Theatre--for a full-throated tribute to Richard "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" Rodgers and Oscar "The Gentleman is a Dope" Hammerstein. After Monday's opening night performance at 8:15 p.m., performances happen Tuesday-Friday, 8:15 p.m.; Saturday, 2:30 and 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. through April 20 at Theatre Three in the Quadrangle. Tickets are $12.50-$24. Call (214) 871-2933.
The Mosaics Series: Miok Chung: When Americans discuss nebulous concepts like "multiculturalism," the Eastern cultures often get ignored, seemingly opposite as they are from Western traditions and ideas. Miok Chung, who received her bachelor's degree from Hong-Ik University in Seoul and a master's from the University of North Texas, knows something about being overlooked. As one of a handful of Asian women who regularly exhibit art in Texas, she has been marginalized by the forces of Anglo Westernism and art-world tokenism. She continues to make prints that combine Korean and American concepts of death and an afterlife with an iconography that doesn't fit comfortably in either realm. The opening reception for her show happens March 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m. The show runs through May 2 at 2917 Swiss Ave. Call (214) 821-2522.
The Literary Cafe: Every year, the "Distinguished Writers" and "Texas Bound" series of Arts & Letters Live either sells out or comes very close, while the organizers practically have to stand on busy street corners with cardboard signs begging people to attend their "Literary Cafe" events. One reason why this program of informal readings is superior to the other events on the Arts & Letters Live roster--it's free. The first in the series has been dubbed "The Latino Literary Cafe," and features three writers performing their own words--playwright Octavio Solis, poet Rosemary Cataclos, and poet-musician-painter Dennis Gonzalez, who is accompanied by the Banda de Brujos. The evening starts at 8:30 p.m. at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St. It's free. Call (214) 922-1220.