Dallas Chamber Orchestra: The Dallas Chamber Orchestra includes in its mission statement the intent not only to preserve, but also to use rare and extremely old musical instruments in their performances. Kurt Sprenger, principal second violinist for DCO, will play a stringed instrument from 1610 created by Hieronymous Amati, whose father conceived the design we recognize as the violin today. Mr. Sprenger, whom we sincerely hope was never called "Butterfingers" in his youth by an impatient school marm, joins DCO music director Ronald Neal, who will brandish a 1724 Von Schwerin Stradivarius violin for a program that includes Handel's Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 12; Tchaikovsky's Andante Cantabile from String Quartet No. 1; and Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1 for Piano and Strings. Performances happen 2 and 7 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $10-$17. Call (214) 871-2787.
22nd Annual Prairie Dog Chili Cook Off and World Championship Pickled Quail Egg Eating: Funny how some cliches apply to our lives, while others are utterly foreign. Some of us who grew up in Texas could practically log our days from birth by the various bowls of chili we were fed. On the other hand, the habit of consuming pickled quail eggs, which apparently constitutes a fond memory for many, is, to many of us, about as familiar as blood pudding (and not much more appetizing). The 22nd Annual Prairie Dog Chili Cook Off and World Championship Pickled Quail Egg Eating purports to be the largest event of its kind in Texas, but then again, don't they all? Last year drew almost 75,000 people from all over the country. Events happen April 5, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and April 6, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Traders Village, 2602 Mayfield Rd, Grand Prairie. It's free (but parking is $2 per car). Call (972)647-2331.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: It's a good thing that life doesn't imitate the movies when it comes to The Cuteness Factor. In real life, the beautiful, the homely, and all of us in between are pretty much guaranteed to receive similar punishments for our crime sprees (money, not looks, is the key that unlocks the justice system). In the movies, beautiful people not only die more tragic deaths than the rest of us, their most reprehensible personality features become adorable quirks. Case in point--George Roy Hill's endlessly enjoyable Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, whose heroes just wouldn't have been the same as played by Joe Pesci and Louie Anderson. The USA Film Festival screens it as part of the First Monday Classics series; come drown in the crystal blue, homicidal waters of Paul Newman's eyes. The screening happens at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Tickets are $6.50. Call (214) 821-NEWS.
Carl Bernstein: Whether exposing Tricky Dick as a paranoid liar or Pope John Paul II as an undercover Cold Warrior, Carl Bernstein has consistently set his targets so high as an investigative journalist that he's managed to maintain a stellar reputation that even Nora Ephron couldn't besmirch in Heartburn, her pre-director memoirs of his womanizing. Bernstein comes to town for a lecture on his latest mega-powerful subject, the rampaging media mogul Rupert Murdoch. "Murdoching: The Use and Abuse of Media Power" is the name of his critical talk that aims to dissect Murdoch's cutthroat acquisitiveness, which has become the modus operandi for communications titans around the globe. The event happens at 7:30 p.m. at The Theater in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. It's free. Call (972) 385-1202.
Alexander Toradze: Georgia-born (that's Russia, not the U.S.) pianist Alexander Toradze isn't polite when he sits down to tickle the ivory keys. This is why his interpretations of the Russian and Romantic canon have earned him the reputation of an iconoclast. Although the intense, virtuosic passion which he brings to these compositions would seem to be just what the composers ordered, Toradze, who won the Silver Medal at the Fifth Van Cliburn International Festival in 1977, is considered something of a maverick in the decorum-obsessed classical world. He returns to North Texas after a 10-year absence to appear as the finale for the 1996-97 season of Cliburn Concerts. The performance happens at 8 p.m. in the Ed Landreth Auditorium on the grounds of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Tickets are $10-$35. Call (817) 335-9000.
Where Art and Morality Meet: The Dallas Philosopher's Forum hosts a talk by Southern Methodist University sociology professor Anthony Cortese. The title of the discussion means different things to different people: There's the camp who insist that real art should provide some kind of moral guidance, a model for living, or it is useless; others, like Woody "The Artist Creates His Own Moral Universe" Allen, insist that real art exists on a plane above morality, which can be radically different from culture to culture and therefore compromises the process of art with a social agenda. Cortese covers not only the conflict between artists and moral watchguards, but the ways in which their visions are sometimes parallel. The talk starts at 7 p.m. at Wyatt's Cafeteria, Forest and Marsh Ln. Tickets are $4. Call (214) 373-7216.