Taming of the Shrew: Fort Worth beats Dallas to the "Shakespeare in the Park" punch with a production of Willie's ultimate battle-of-the-sexes comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. The question is, will actress Theda Reale--who has worked extensively in theater and film on both coasts--deliver Katerina's final acquiescence speech with the sly wink of irony that practically every other actress on local stages has done? Expecting feminist themes from an Elizabethan playwright is clearly absurd (although All's Well That Ends Well comes close to delivering that very sensibility), so it's always a treat to see how classical literary gender issues are handled in this post-feminist world. Performances happen every night except Mondays through July 6 at 8:30 p.m. at Trinity Park Playhouse, 7th Street and Trinity Park Boulevard, Fort Worth. Tickets are $6-$12. Call (817) 923-6698.
La Bete: As anyone who's ever been involved in a play like Noises Off can attest, the exhibitionistic side of actors gets a bracing workout when they get to portray ego battles between theater people. What better way to vent your frustration over the co-actor/director you don't like than to raise those conflicts to the level of art? Plano Repertory Theater hopes to do just that with the North Texas premiere of La Bete, playwright David Hirson's international award-winning hit set in fifteenth-century France that finds two theater company members vying for the attention of a finicky patron. New Theatre Company's Bruce Coleman has designed the costumes for the show. The show happens Friday and Saturday at 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 2:15 p.m. through June 29 at the Artcentre Theatre, 1028 15th Place, downtown Plano. Tickets are $9-$12. Call (972) 422-7460.
1997 Women's Pro Beach Volleyball Tour: Anyone out there who prefers the sight of toned female flesh but who's inevitably dragged by beefcake connoisseurs to those all-male pro volleyball matches, here's your day in the sun. The 1997 Women's Pro Beach Volleyball offers some of the most ferociously competitive (but with bodies to die for) women like Nancy Reno, Holly McPeak, and Linda Hanley, all of them former U.S. Olympians. Five sand courts are devoted to 64 different players who're pursuing a nice fat purse of $50,000. The qualifier is on June 13 at 1 p.m., and competition is June 14, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and June 15, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at "Mustang Beach" on Lake Carolyn across from Williams Square in Las Colinas. Admission is $5-$30. Children under 14 get in free. Call 1-800-527-4323.
North Texas Skeptics: For their latest bit of deflation, the North Texas Skeptics have decided to poke their collective needle into an anniversary balloon--the 50th year of the flying saucer. Of course, people had been seeing mysterious round objects in the sky and fearing outer space invasion way before 1947, but that was the year when U.S. news sources claimed a UFO crash had occurred and the federal government decided to cover it up. Skeptics Joe Voelkering and Pat Reed offer a presentation that'll compare and contrast new and old conspiracy theories as well as discuss the level of authentic military secrecy that was lowered onto Roswell. The talk starts at 2 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. It's free. Call (972) 276-1330.
Joseph Vincelli: Taking a gander at virtually any publicity still of Dallas-based saxophonist Joseph Vincelli would lead one to believe that this man made his recent national breakout on the strength of his looks. But no dice--he could've looked like Ernest Borgnine and still found the sweet, smooth sound of his horn sailing through the airwaves of New York City, where the seminal jazz station WQCD-101 began playing selections from his fifth CD, After Five. As is their wont, other stations have followed through, and Mr. Vincelli has found the national spotlight growing brighter. He appears for a free show he called "Unplugged" that'll also feature his favorite accompanying rhythms--Latin and African-style percussion. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. It's free. Call (214) 670-8749.
Lone Star Comedy: Starting a new comedy troupe is precarious, since it's almost a given that what you find funny won't necessarily translate to universal favor when performed on a stage. But recent Dallasite Randy Bennett has a few impressive credentials, having been a founding member of The Groundlings, the L.A.-based improv company that's spawned Lisa Kudrow and Paul Reubens, among others. Bennett has taught the likes of George Clooney and Helen Hunt between New York and Los Angeles; he now presents Lone Star Comedy, a brand new Dallas improv group that includes some of the city's busiest professional TV and stage actors. Performances happen every Saturday night at 8 p.m. through July 26 at KD Studios, 2600 Stemmons Freeway at Motor Dr. Tickets are $5-$10. Call 1-800-654-9545.
Raw Power: The title of Waxahachie's latest Webb Gallery outsider art exhibit, Raw Power, refers to the urge to create. In a world where so many "artists" seem eager to co-opt that title rather than actually acquire it, the six creators in this show rarely, if ever, referred to themselves with that word. About half of the people included in this show--J.B. Murry, Hawkins Bolden, Mary T. Smith, and Ralph Griffin--are still living; some of them have suffered severe physical and mental disabilities in their lifetime. Most didn't really care whether other people saw what they did. Raw Power opens with a reception June 14, 6-9 p.m., and runs through July 27 at Webb Gallery, 209-211 W. Franklin, Waxahachie. Call (972) 938-8085.
Brian Clements: People don't automatically associate the city of Dallas with the genre of poetry, but then again, poetry seems to be a rootless expression that's lately flourished in underground pockets all over the country (including our fair city). Brian Clements is about as close as anyone can get to proclaiming themselves a "professional poet" (whatever that means), and he has the kudos to prove it: he recently won the prestigious Southern and Southwestern Writer's Breakthrough Award from the Texas Review Press for his book Essays Against Ruin. Clements' mentor at Southern Methodist University, Jack Myers, hosts this party to celebrate the publication of Essays. The Writer's Garret--of which Clements is a founder--does the rest. The event, including a reading, happens 4-6 p.m. at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 LaVista, old East Dallas/Lakewood. Call (214) 828-1715.
Neville's Island: The latest production by Fort Worth's Stage West doesn't officially open until June 19, but we're listing this weekend's preview performances for two reasons--to remind theatergoers who complain about high ticket prices for live theater that previews are performed at a discounted rate, and to call attention to a standard practice at Stage West, the open forum with audiences. Preview performances of British playwright Tim Firth's dark Neville's Island (A Comedy in Thick Fog) happen all weekend, but Sunday's show features a question and answer session in which, basically, the actors ask the questions and the audience gives them feedback. Neville's Island is an award-winning look at upper-crust British men whose civility deteriorates under awkward circumstances. The show previews this weekend with performances Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Stage West, 3055 S. University Drive, Fort Worth. Tickets are $11-$14. Call (817) STG-WEST.
SpeedZone: The press material for Malibu Speed Zone, the new 12-acre park built on recreational speeding, was delivered in a somewhat unusual way--by a guy who came to the front desk dressed as a cop. Get it? Cops? Speeding? (Dallas Observer employees who didn't get it took a nervous mental inventory from behind the copy machine: I thought terms of my probation had been fulfilled...). But the press packet for Malibu Speed Zone fairly buzzes with speed-freak enthusiasm. You have to have a legit driver's license to participate in one of the four different types of racing, whether it be custom-built Indy cars or dragsters, and experience accelerating from 0 to 70 miles per hour in three seconds. The park is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.to 2 a.m. at 11130 Malibu Drive. Park admission is free, but racer tickets start at $5. Call (972) 247-RACE.
Six Legs Over Texas, Part Two: The Infestation Continues: Although the actual opening festivities for "Six Legs Over Texas, Part Two: The Infestation Continues" don't happen until the Bug Day Family Festival on June 28, the Dallas Museum of Natural History makes over 20 different species of local and exotic arthropods available to Dallas amateur entomologists right now. Most of them are very much alive. Six Legs Over Texas emphasizes exotic species and large spiders. The exhibit runs through August 10 at the Dallas Museum of Natural History in Fair Park. Tickets are $2.50-$4. Call (214) 421-DINO.
Turtle Creek Chorale: The boys of the nationally acclaimed Turtle Creek Chorale have been feeling really groovy lately, and the reason is clear--rehearsals for "Feelin' Groovy," the new TCC show featuring all 225 members revisiting what must be either the most beloved or most hated, but is certainly the most overhyped decade of the 20th century--the '60s. In true Turtle Creek Chorale fashion, very few feathers will be ruffled by the song collection in this program, which tends toward pop hippie-ism by the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary, Mama Cass, and Simon and Garfunkel. Come on guys, how about slipping in a medley that includes Gil Scott Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" or Phil Ochs' "I'm a Liberal"? Performances happen June 15, 16, and 18 at 8 p.m. in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Tickets are $10-$30. Call (214) 871-