The Hothouse: 11th Street Theater Project stages the work of one of the murkiest, most cerebral of British playwrights for its latest production. Dialogue in a Harold Pinter play isn't explanation; it's clue. His deliberately ambiguous themes and situations often take audiences on a scavenger hunt. It's difficult to find a tone and pace that does Pinter justice, but when all the elements click, you're sent on a safari into the tangled brush of "civilized" white-collar class psyches. The Hothouse is one of Pinter's wry comedies, a look at the internal politics--including sexual--of a mysterious British government agency. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m. through August 23 at St. Matthew's Cathedral, 5100 Ross at Henderson. Call (214) 522-PLAY.
Beyond Life With Timothy Leary: There was so much more to Timothy Leary than LSD, although cultural traditionalists would have you believe Leary's fling with the notorious hallucinogen was the illicit sum of his contribution to American popular thought. As sober and intelligent a documentary as any countercultural icon could hope to receive, Beyond Life With Timothy Leary, being screened by the Video Association of Dallas in connection with CineMAC, interviews a number of the famous and infamous connected with Leary from the 1960s through his death last year. The title is a pun, both on Leary's recent death and his whole quasi-spiritual philosophy--his sense of the human imagination as God's greatest gift, allowing us to transcend physical limitation. Screenings happen Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney. Tickets are $5. Call (214) 651-8600.
Heather Gorham: Washington, D.C., native Heather Gorham's brightly colorful paintings create a cheeky, sometimes vaguely sinister world where animals of different species collide and reform in different combinations. With her new one-woman show at State St. Gallery, Gorham culminates four years of various group shows across North Texas. She is a viewer's painter, which is to say she's more interested in relating universal experience (albeit in a surrealistic way, and with fantastically vibrant colors) than messing with the form of painting itself. The new show of her paintings opens with a reception August 8, 7-9 p.m. through September 5 at State St. Gallery, 2606 State St. Call (214) 220-0556.
Grandma Had It, Now I Do--So What Is It? Yes, she was supportive, unconditional in her love and encouragement, but there's still the bottom line that death draws between the deceased and their survivors: Is all the old stuff left in her estate worth anything? In the first of its series of antique programs, Lower Greenville Antique Mall offers an appraisal-workshop--"Grandma Had It, Now I Do--So What Is It?"--that whisks participants through the current market value of furniture, tableware, and other household accessories as well as an educational overview of five periods from 1890-1950. If there's time, the workshop conductors will offer preliminary evaluations of items brought by participants. The event starts at 2:30 p.m. at Skillman Southwestern Branch Library, 5707 Skillman. Call (214) 670-6078.
Texas Establishment For Animal Rights: Last month's issue of Harper's contained a thoughtful, sometimes indignant call for tolerance on the part of one of America's most suspect political movements--animal rights. It's about as fair to equate the extremists who shoot out the windows of research universities with the majority of animal rights proponents as it is to compare the Ku Klux Klan with the Religious Right (on second thought, let's try a better example...). The nonprofit organization known as T.E.A.R. (Texas Establishment for Animal Rights) includes in its manifesto that the group "confronts and challenges animal exploitation on an ethical basis and with fact-based research." Yes, they do challenge certain types of medical experimentation on animals that explores human treatment alternatives. But as the Harper's piece pointed out, many researchers, when pushed, will admit that transspecies experimentation yields little that can be practically applied to humans. T.E.A.R. meets at at 1:30 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak. It's free. Call (972) 623-6170.
The Baltimore Waltz: With Paula Vogel's searingly intimate study of incest and exploitation, How I Learned To Drive, currently providing Mary Louise Parker and David Morse with a vehicle to wow 'em Off Broadway, Kitchen Dog Theater dips back into the Vogel canon to stage arguably her most famous work, The Baltimore Waltz. It's true that the play, which concerns a brother and sister traveling together on an imaginary European adventure, has its tragic side--the brother is battling a fatal illness, not unlike Vogel's late sibling, who died of AIDS. But Kitchen Big Dog Joe Nemmers wants people to know that the show is essentially a comedy about how to live in the shadow of death--a place where all of us dwell, regardless of our HIV status. Performances happen Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through September 14 at 3120 McKinney. Call (214) 871-ARTS.