Mark Curry: Basketball coach Mr. Cooper, of the five-season ABC-TV show Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, was more than just a character for comedian Mark Curry--it was an alter ego. Witness Curry's three-year stint hosting The Jim Thorpe Sports Awards, or his recently completed feature film with Ed Asner, The Fanatics, about obsessive sports fans. Curry has managed a near miracle--pulling off that "I'm just a politically incorrect overgrown kid-caveman-regular guy" shtick without the obnoxiousness of Rob Becker or the mind-numbing repetitiveness of Tim Allen. His comedy act truly feels like a friendly game of hoop with a good buddy--a remarkable experience for those of us who've never picked up a basketball in our lives. Curry performs July 10-13 at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line in Addison. For ticket info call (972) 404-8501.
Heels & Nobs' Furnished Space: That scrappy little ensemble known as Heels & Nobs once again pops its collective head up from the Dallas theatrical underground--rumor has it, if they see a footlight, they'll put on a show. Furnished Space is their latest concoction, a stew of dance, comedy, and furniture. Shannon Slaton performs a silent piece as well as his new work The Wake; Tim McCanna revives Henry Noodle for a new adventure called Henry Noodle 3-D; Andrea Harris-Salisbury debuts her new choreography piece Rooms; and Coco Loupe premieres her three new dances Ohville, Roundtrip, and Dresser Tramp. Performances happen July 10-12 at 8 p.m. in the Deep Ellum Opera Theatre space, 3202 Elm St. Tickets are $10-$12. Call (214) 826-5330.
Rumpelstiltskin: Is Rumpelstiltskin the weirdest, most disturbing children's fable ever written? This story--immortalized by the Brothers Grimm in only the most famous of the many versions that spread across rural Sweden and Germany--gets its tension from the ambiguous role that the lonely, homely little man plays in the life of the young woman who needs his spinning skills. Is he a child-snatching villain, or just a determined dwarf who does exactly what he says he will? Dallas Children's Theater's resident playwright Linda Daugherty tweaks the details a bit to make the rascally antihero's motives more readily accessible, although you still may think he's the creepiest gold-spinner to come along since Donald Trump. Performances happen Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 1:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:30 and 4 p.m., through July 27 at Main and Market Streets near the West End. Tickets are $9-$11. Call (214) 978-0110.
11th Annual West End's Taste of Dallas: The taste of Dallas in mid-July is nothing like the taste of our sun-scorched city in August, but you could still compare it to a salsa made with nuclear waste. Try to ignore your frying skin as you sample fried ostrich and other, less exotic offerings from the more than 50 restaurants who cater the 11th Annual West End's Taste of Dallas. Tents, booths, and four different performance stages will be spread across a 10-block area, with live sounds ranging from the reggae-funk of Killer Bees to the rock 'n' roll of the Atlanta Rhythm Section to the pop jazz of Fingerprints. Events happen July 11, 5-10 p.m.; July 12, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; and July 13, noon-11 p.m. in the West End. It's free. Call (214) 720-7717.
North Texas Skeptics: Is nuclear power a Pandora's Box that humankind should've left sealed, or are Americans so easily spooked by yammering, self-proclaimed "critics" that public sentiment has blocked an effective energy source? On the one side, there's Western Europe's relatively safe, successful nuclear industry; on the other side, there's Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Those two events have helped create the unofficial 20-year moratorium on plant construction in America. North Texas Skeptics hope to shed some light on an emotional issue when Dr. James Espinosa, a physics teacher at Denton's Texas Woman's University, gives a talk that will sanely lay out the dangers and benefits of harnessing the atom as a fuel source. The talk starts at 2 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak St. It's free. Call (972) 306-3187.
Mel Chin: The adjective "multicultural" has been affixed to art so many times over the last decade that the description has lost any meaning it might originally have had. But Houston-born, internationally celebrated artistic gadfly Mel Chin is about as multicultural as you can get--born of Chinese heritage, raised in Latino and African-American neighborhoods; just don't expect him to be a cheerleader for anybody's tribe. Chin makes sculpture, prints, drawings, and mixed-media studies that sometimes expose, sometimes explore the abuses heaped on individuals by government, science, and industry. His affection for the iconography of many different nations suggests the core that links us all. Chin speaks at 6 p.m., and a reception from 7-9 p.m. follows at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 North MacArthur Boulevard in Irving, where Chin's show runs through August 9. It's free. Call (972) 252-7558.
Antique Tractor and Farm Implement Show: If it's old, and new versions of it are no longer manufactured, then there's a cult of aficionados somewhere in this country who'll want to celebrate it. Yet as arcane as the Antique Tractor & Farm Implement show might sound to someone whose closest encounter with a cow was at a petting zoo, the admiration of farm implements honors the preindustrial agrarian family dynasties whose toil quite literally put food on everyone's table. Mechanization and corporate muscle have butted the American farmer almost out of the picture, but time has endowed the corn grinders, rope makers, sickle mowers, and plows--not to mention the antique tractors at this show--with a mythic significance. The show takes place July 12 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Traders Village Flea Market, 2602 Mayfield, Grand Prairie. It's free, but parking is $2 per car. Call (972) 647-2331.