Mike Renfro: Baby-faced raconteur Mike Renfro has entertained national listeners with his memories and anecdotes broadcast on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition." So-called "serious" writers often like to disdain advertising writers, a profession which has earned Renfro a handsome living as creative head for The Richards Group advertising agency. The UT graduate has managed to succeed in both worlds, and he will appear for a reading from his latest, Under the XZ in Texas. Join him at 8 p.m. in the Richardson Civic Center, 411 W Arapaho Rd. Tickets are $10. Call (972) 238-4000.
Sweet Honey in the Rock: TITAS (The International Theatrical Arts Society) closes its 1996-'97 season with a shot of old-fashioned left-wing folk drama that sold out McFarlin Auditorium during a 1996 show. For 24 years now, Sweet Honey in the Rock has found the core that unites blues, spirituals, folk, poetry, and humanism into a fireworks explosion of a cappella. Although focusing on the African-American tradition of song, Sweet Honey in the Rock has a universalizing agenda for its song programs--to find the melody or lyric that can bulldoze pesky barriers. Performances are April 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call (214) 528-5576.
Dance For the Planet: The tasteful acronym "S.O.L." pretty much describes Dallas dance fans, who must rely on an enthusiastic but ever-revolving and mercurial roster of cash-strapped companies and indie performers for their fix. "Dance for the Planet" wants to connect our city with greener pastures with its two-day, two-stage festival that includes over 50 local and national performers. National Dance Institute legend and former New York City Ballet star Jacquest d'Amboise is the keynote speaker at a luncheon that includes Larry North. The festival takes place April 19, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and April 20, noon-5 p.m. at Artist Square in Dallas. Tickets are $3. Tickets to the April 18 noon luncheon are $50-$150. Call (214) 522-7972.
Dallas Institute Poets: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is a modest oasis of reflection in a city that sometimes typifies the unexamined civic life. Religion, psychology, sexuality, history, and science collide in the courses available there. Three of the Institute's Fellows and Poets give a reading of their nationally acclaimed work--Frederick Turner, literary and cultural critic and Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at UTD; Robert Trammell, poet-essayist-director of WordSpace; and William Burford, a former UT and TCU professor. The readings begin at 8 p.m. in the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, 2719 Routh St. Tickets are $10. Call (214) 871-2440.
The Case of Karen Carpenter: How do a made-for-TV movie and an experimental film stack up against each other in terms of portraying the problematic life of a dead star? Mary Desjardins, author of the forthcoming Recycled Stars: Hollywood Stardom in the Age of TV and Video, comes to an RTVF Forum in Denton to discuss the network bio The Karen Carpenter Story and Todd Haynes' way-underground indie hit Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. She will examine how the agendas of filmmakers and the expectations of audiences shape a biography of anorexia. The discussion opens at 1 p.m. in Room 265 of the Speech/Drama Building on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton. It's free.
1997 Texas Brewers Festival: There are some mighty strange laws on the Texas books concerning the operations of brewpubs and breweries and, specifically, their distinctions. You needn't worry about anything but the ubiquity of good head at the 1997 Texas Brewers Festival, a convergence of the state's most prolific sudsmeisters--including Celis from Austin, Bosque from Waco, and Saint Arnold from Houston--that will allow you, the seasoned beer drinker, to select the best of Texas. Events happen April 18, 4-9 p.m.; April 19, noon-10 p.m.; and April 20, 1-8 p.m. on Main Street in Deep Ellum. Entrance is free, but a festival mug is $3 and beer is purchased with $2.50 tickets. Call 1-800-BREWFEST.
River Out of Eden: Even if you're not a Christian, there's much to gleaned from the rich mythology of the Bible that, in terms of pure literary conceit, is as perpetually prophetic as the wisest philosopher. Oxford University Professor Richard Dawkins has recently published River Out of Eden, a book that explains evolution (supposedly at cross-purposes with mysticism) in terms of a genetic stream that connects every organism on Earth to its prehistory. Danny Barnett, a history student at Eastfield Community College, presents a lecture examining Dawkins' contribution to the evolution canon. The angels, you might say, begin dancing on the pin at 2 p.m. in the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. It's free. Call (972) 306-3187.