Events for the week

september 1
What's Up Doc? Some of us remember when Barbra Streisand was one of the most charming comedic performers in American film, not the taloned gargoyle queen who performs concerts on sets designed to look like her living room. The USA Film Festival serves up what might be Babs' best performance (the weird, wacky, pointed Up the Sandbox, also released in 1972, is a close second) as part of its First Monday Classics series. Although we didn't realize it at the time, What's Up Doc? is further prophetic evidence that director Peter Bogdanovich would eventually drift away from that messy enterprise called filmmaking into the cleaner, more abstract job of film historian. What's Up Doc? isn't so much a screwball comedy as a case study of a screwball comedy, a film oozing with affectionate self-consciousness for its mission. And it's great to see an actress play a genius and go for laughs. Think about it: Ultra-smart women are an under-utilized comic commodity. The film screens at 7 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Tickets are $7. Call (214) 821-NEWS.

september 2
Meerkat Mounds: To some of us, meerkats will always be rodents with the best PR company in the biz: Walt Disney. To many child and adult fans of The Lion King, they'll always be those mischievous, sardonic scurriers who talk like Nathan Lane. If you're one of those people who've had to buy a second copy of Disney's wildly successful animated father-son saga because the first one wore out, then come to "Meerkat Mounds," a new exhibit that doubles as a case study of meerkat society. These African plains mammals are great believers in division of labor; the Fort Worth Zoo provides written guides to various roles, and leaves it up to you to figure out who's got which responsibility. Especially rabid Disney fans, take note: Responsibilities like "sidekick" and "comic relief" are not in the meerkat vocabulary. The exhibit is open daily at the Fort Worth Zoo; go west on I-30, exit at University Drive, go south to Colonial Parkway, and follow the signs to the zoo. Tickets are $3-$7 (kids 2 and under get in free). Call (817) 871-7050.

september 3
Little Mexico/El Barrio: If you have any lingering doubts that the invention of the air conditioner was a major force in the breakdown of communities in the South, we present the KERA-TV original documentary Little Mexico/El Barrio. Of course, the show, narrated by Dallas lawyer Regina Montoya and executive-produced by Yolette Garcia, is only nominally about AC; it's a portrait of the neighborhood known as Little Mexico--roughly, Pike Park and the Arts and Historic West End districts. Summers in "Little Mexico" more than 50 years ago were social times when people left their doors and windows open and came outside at night to socialize. With photos, personal reminiscences, and commentary from contemporary Dallas Latino leaders such as Pancho Medrano and Abel Sanchez, Little Mexico/El Barrio takes a short glimpse into an ethnic community before it melted in the pot. As is usually the case, the heat of discrimination hastened the assimilation: Most of the Mexican immigrants encountered considerable resistance from the Anglos who already lived there and sent their kids to places like Travis Elementary and Cumberland High School. The construction of the North Dallas Tollway and Woodall Rogers effectively ended the saga. The show is broadcast at 8 p.m. on KERA-TV Channel 13. Call (214) 871-1390.

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