Second Annual Have a Ball: Over 40 artists from North Texas and around the country swoop in to contribute work for a very good cause--the continued health of Dallas' McKinney Avenue Contemporary, the artspace dedicated to nurturing theater, poetry, film, and visual art from Dallas and around the world. Dallas faves Brian Bosworth, Kristina Bowman, Steve Ralston, Mark Ross, Albert Scherbath, Judy DeSanders, and Judy Walgren join New York artists Giles Lyon, K. Olsen, and Vaal; Los Angeles artist Richard Hawkins; and Houston artist Travis Pfeiffer to collectively blow a multimedia "horn o' plenty" to trumpet the good word about the MAC. The event happens at 8 p.m. at The ART Bar, 2803 Main St. For info call (214) 522-8399.
Soul Rep's Second Annual New Play Festival: With a home performance space in Fair Park's African-American Museum and a new, more aggressive publicity machine working behind it, the Soul Rep Theatre Productions aims to dig in for the long haul the way Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre has--by performing groundbreaking original work in an African-American voice. Soul Rep's Second Annual New Play Festival is a strike in this direction, with the company staging a marathon of six new one-acts by folks within the company (including artistic director Guinea Lada) and outside the city (Sacramento artist Chris Herod). Performances are Thursday and Friday, 7:45 p.m. and Saturday, 6 p.m. through July 26 at the Dallas Theater Center's Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. Tickets are $5-$10. Call (214) 565-0186.
Stonewall Business and Professional Association: Public relations guy, gay activist, and once-maligned author Hunter Madsen must feel a certain vindication now that his 1989 book After the Ball has proven to presage the oh-so-humdrum, nitty-gritty issues that have found themselves on the top of the 1997 gay agenda--marriage and adoption rights, employee protections and benefits, etc. Unfairly pegged as a "gay conservative," Madsen is, in fact, a brilliant contrarian who had the nerve to challenge the dreary revolutionary dogma of the New York-L.A. gay intelligentsia with an arsenal of wicked wit and common sense. He will, of course, find a sympathetic audience in the suit-and-tie set of the Stonewall Business and Professional Association, who host Madsen. The event starts at 11:25 a.m. at Sammons Center for the Fine Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd. at Oak Lawn. Tickets are $15-$20. Call (214) 521-5342.
Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks: With the release of their third Carpe Diem CD, my charmed life, the Denton-based ensemble Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks must be bracing themselves for the hyphenated string of adjectives that the local and national press drag out every time they write about this fantastically talented group. "Neo-cabaret-avant-pop-post-lounge-anti-songwriter-quasi-jazz-semi-orchestral"--pop music writers construct descriptions like monstrous Lincoln Log sculptures to get the essence of what these potently lyrical popsters accomplish. Deep Ellum's quintessentially moody hangout The Lava Lounge plays host to Little Jack's CD release party. The Paul Slavens Trio opens for Little Jack and the Boys at 8 p.m. at the Lava Lounge, 2604 Main. Call (214) 698-3020.
Dallas Visual Art Center's Annual Membership Show: Of the Dallas Visual Art Center's total current 850 members, 650 have contributed jewelry, painting, illustrations, prints, sculpture, photography, film and video work, etc., to the 1997 Annual Membership Show. This makes the largest contribution ever to a DVAC membership show. Eastfield College music professor Enric Madriguera helps the group celebrate with a performance of Spanish classical standards from his critically acclaimed 1996 release Old World/New World. The 1997 Membership Show opens with a reception July 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m., when Enric Madriguera performs. The show runs through August 22 at 2917 Swiss Avenue. Call (214) 821-2522.
The Bodycheck Concert: Like so many Dallas performance ensembles, Groundlevel Dance Company is a loose association of independent artists who've worked with other local companies that will rear its head every once in a while to present a show. The three artistic directors of Ground Level--Shanon Leyrer, CoCo Loupe, and Angela Sharp--are familiar to anyone who's caught DecaForms, Moving Collaborations, or one of Karen Bower Robinson's programs at the Deep Ellum Opera Theatre. They each present three original bits of choreography to a show they're calling "The Bodycheck Concert"--works with names like "Nudge Me at Six," "the story of me," and "LaLa Polka." Performances happen Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sunday, 2:15 p.m., at Deep Ellum Opera Theater, 3202 Elm St. Tickets are $8-$10. Call (214) 828-0377.
Hemlock: A Greek Diner Tragedy: After having sponsored some of her own excellent original work as well as shows by Dalton James, Extra Virgin Performance Cooperative artistic director Gretchen Swen has decided to call it quits--but not before one last go-round with the Virgin. Hemlock: A Greek Diner Tragedy is a new play by Bob Jude Ferrante that "marries vaudevillian farce with Orwellian-style musings on rationality, institutionalized religion, and the failure of humankind to live up to the precepts of Western civilization." Ferrante has had his work produced off-Broadway and in London; he'll be attending the premiere of Hemlock with his wife. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. through August 10 at the Swiss Avenue Theater Center, 2700 Swiss Avenue. Tickets are $8-$10 (Sundays are pay-what-you-ought-to). Call (214) 941-3664.