National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America: Unfortunately, the history of human civilization has been one ethnic/religious/sexual group repressing and exploiting another, weaker one. But can we distinguish between garden-variety atrocities and atrocities with a capital A? Here's a handy guide: Your group's suffering is an atrocity, but my group's suffering is an Atrocity. N'COBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America) believes that Americans of African heritage are owed reparation by the U.S. government for the undeniable tragedies that were slavery and segregation. The Dallas chapter of the group meets to discuss "Reparation & Self-Determination for African People in America," with Nan Kwame M Atta of Fihankra International and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price leading the talk. The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bill J. Priest Institute, 1402 Corinth St, Room 2200. Call (972) 285-7753.
Howl: The Artwork of Luis Jimenez: If you've caught New Mexico-based artist Luis Jimenez's current show at the DMA, Working Class Heroes: Images From the Popular Culture, then you got a raw, poignant, meticulously crafted lesson in how pop art doesn't have to be all pose. Turner & Runyon Gallery is now ready to supply you a second shot--not to mention the chance to meet the artist--with an exhibition of more sculpture and drawings in conjunction with the release of his book, Howl: The Artwork of Luis Jimenez. The show opens with a reception for the artist June 19 at 7 p.m. and runs through August 2 at Turner & Runyon Gallery, 2642 Elm Street. Call (214) 653-1130.
Second Annual Rainbow Reading: The official reason June is celebrated as Gay Pride Month is in commemoration of the June 1969 Stonewall riots; the real reason is that summer is shorts weather, and there's scarcely a gay man or lesbian alive who can resist the sights of fellow revolutionaries in less than full regalia. We can't guarantee how much flesh will be exposed at the Dallas Poets Community's Second Annual Rainbow Reading; maybe someone will take a leaf from Clebo Rainey's book and rip off his shirt in the middle of the poetry reading. In any case, DPC director Christopher Soden, Dalton James, Jason Edwards, Bob McCranie, and others will shake their poetic moneymaker with musings on the gay life. The show happens at 8 p.m. at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Call (214) 953-1212.
Opus III with Carlo Pezzimenti: Regular readers of the Observer calendar page have probably wondered why so many of Dallas-based guitarist Carlo Pezzimenti's shows make it onto these pages, but people who've actually seen Mr. Pezzimenti's stunningly nuanced performances of twentieth-century Spanish compositions don't. Calendar doesn't get kickbacks from Pezzimenti--he's just too damn good to miss, his live performance schedule is erratic, and his shows are usually free. He appears for a chamber concert with Opus III, the cello-flute-piano ensemble. The concert kicks off at 7 p.m. at Borders Books & Music, Preston and Royal. It's free. Call (214) 363-1977.
What Is the Alien Agenda? Well, it ain't getting a federal antidiscrimination law passed, according to journalist Jim Marrs. The New York Times bestselling author has made a career of debunking conventional wisdom with books like Crossfire, one of a myriad of tomes that challenged the government's explanation of JFK's assassination. But with his new HarperCollins title, Alien Agenda, Marrs reaches beyond mere dissection to construct a bold and, many will say, utterly ridiculous theory--that the U.S. government and the gas and oil cartels are in cahoots with extraterrestrial intelligence. Not only are alien abductions part of the bargain, but Marrs claims antigravity energy resources are being hogged by our leaders, who continue bilking the developed population of the planet with costlier methods. Marrs' talk for the Eclectic Viewpoint happens at 7:30 p.m. at Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane. (972) 601-7687.
Before You Say I Do: All these conservatives who stomp around harumphing about the high rate of divorce in America have it backwards. Leaving aside for the moment Gloria Steinem's bit of wisdom that "the leading cause of divorce is marriage," we suggest this--don't make it harder to get a divorce, make it harder to get married. A fishing license is harder to obtain than the piece of paper that's supposed to signify a lifelong, committed relationship between two people. Jubilee United Methodist Church's monthly Love Clinic looks at the subject from an African-American, Christian perspective with a talk called "Before You Say I Do: What Every Christian Should Know Before Marriage." The talk happens 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Jubilee United Methodist Church, 301 Frank Keasler Blvd, Duncanville. It's free, and free child care is provided. Call (972) 283-2264.
Midsummer Night's Full Moon Celebration: Amy Martin almost didn't hold a Summer SolstiCelebration of any kind this year, but unrepentant pagan (oops, we mean dedicated nature lover) that she is, she couldn't let the 1997 seasonal cycle turn without a ceremonial nod. And so she has organized a two-day outdoor soiree at White Rock Lake that everyone must attend to make sure it happens again next year. On June 20, the Midsummer Night's Full Moon Celebration features a participatory world beat drum circle, lunar circle dances, a full moon ceremony, and other stuff. The event happens sunset to midnight at the Big Thicket at White Rock Lake. A Summer Solstice picnic takes place June 21, 5 p.m.-midnight at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. It's all free, but a couple of bucks from appreciative participants will help defray Martin's costs. Call (214) 320-3851.
An Evening With Tito Puente Latin Jazz Ensemble: Fort Worth Theatre has corralled one distinguished musician to participate in their "An Evening With..." Indeed, it's reductionist to refer to Latin jazz master Tito Puente as a "musician," but "living legend" has a vaguely insulting ring to it, and "one-man institution" is a tad dehumanizing. Let's just say he's Tito Puente, the modern jazz innovator, and he's bringing his ensemble to Cowtown right before he flies northward for a gig at Carnegie Hall. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the Cowtown Corrals West, 1800 North Forest Park Blvd. Individual tickets are $100-$150. Call (817) 738-7491.
Heidi Kumao: Hidden Mechanisms: National Endowment for the Arts grant-winning, widely exhibited, New York-based artist Heidi Kumao has created a magical forest of memories inside the McKinney Avenue Contemporary for her latest show, Hidden Mechanisms. Using the nineteenth-century entertainment standby known as the zoetrope, Kumao projects moving images onto innocuous objects, walls, screens, and sculpture with the hope that the various surfaces will interact with the shadowy moving images and create their own messages and narratives. The show opens with a reception June 21, 5-7 p.m. and runs through August 24 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Avenue. Call (214) 953-1212.
The Noses and the Toeses and the Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas: The title of the opening production of Hip Pocket Theatre's 21st season is almost enough to make you double over with sugar shock. But given the track record of North Texas theatrical stalwart Johnny Simons, Hip Pocket's artistic director, it's easy to assume that there's more to The Noses and the Toeses and the Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas than a cute title. Simons' "tragicommedia," which has been scored with the music of George Gershwin, concerns an itinerant band of street performers whose matriarch and patriarch have begun to fray with time. As usual with the fiercely eclectic Simons, every theatrical device in the book will be packed into his saga. The two acts of his original revue are titled "The Ritual" and "Zee Ballet"; the latter is described by Simons as a "physical extension of desires" (read: choreography) that the characters related through the playwright's dialogue. Performances happen Friday-Sunday at 9 p.m. through June 29 at the Oak Acres Amphitheatre, 1620 Las Vegas Trail North at 820 North in Fort Worth. Tickets are $5-$10. Call (817) 237-5977
Cat Month at Operation Kindness: There are myriad reasons why cats make better companions than kittens, but when it comes right down to it, the age and size of the animal doesn't determine its cuteness--the creature's affection for you is what counts. Indeed, a fulfilling personal relationship with an adult feline can't help but raise your standards for human relationships--you won't be satisfied until you can find a human paramour who looks at you the way the cat does after you've just filled its food dish. Operation Kindness has declared June Cat Month in the hopes of adopting out sweet-lovin' adult cats who're the first to be overlooked. The $30 adoption fee includes The Snip, collar and ID tags, gift bag, and more. The shelter is open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Thursdays they close at 8 p.m.); and Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m. at 1029 Trend Drive, Beltline and Marsh, Carrollton. Call (972) 418-PAWS.
Twelfth Night and Macbeth: The two opening productions of the Dallas Shakespeare Festival's 1997 season boast direction by members from two of the city's best companies. The Undermain's Raphael Parry handles the bloody duties of Macbeth on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, while Kitchen Dog's Sheriden Thomas turns Twelfth Night into a flapper's fantasy from the silent film era on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The productions run in repertory through July 27 every night of the week at 8:15 p.m. in Samuell-Grand Park east of downtown Dallas. Admission is free, although a $3 donation is gratefully accepted at the door. Call (214) 559-2778.
Infrared Photography Workshop in New Mexico: Student art shows are often a hit-or-miss affair, with the participants discovering ideas and imagery that have been drained like vampire victims by previous artists--that precious saying "as if for the first time" doesn't always translate into love at first sight for the viewer. But the third annual Richland College Student Exhibition throws in an interesting angle--the students who attended Richland's photography mini-mester in New Mexico worked with infrared film, a bugaboo among photography techniques. At least the failures should be interesting. The show runs through June 28 at Photographic Archives Gallery, 5117 W. Lovers Ln. Call (214) 352-3167.