Under Her Belly: Glistening: None of the press "Calendar" has ever received about Cara Mia Theatre's artistic director, Adelina Anthony, indicates that she considers herself a "performance artist." That's a pretty nebulous term anyway, but if we can agree that a performance artist is one who doesn't just perform, but mounts an entire theatrical vision, then Anthony made it into the clubhouse. She presents three performances of her one-woman show, Under Her Belly: Glistening, which was previously offered, in a slightly different form, in San Antonio's Festival de Libre Enganche. Performed in Dallas under Cara Mia, Belly takes the unpleasant topic of the torture of political prisoners in Latin American countries and uses it as the engine for a spiritual journey of one woman. Performances happen Thursday and Friday at 8:30 p.m., with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Saturday at The Bathhouse Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Tickets are $10. Call (214) 328-5068.
Westfest: The organizers of Westfest are shameless in courting the local press, and we, in turn, are shameless in our Pavlovian response. You can set your calendars by their annual late-summer visits. Operating on the maxim that the way to a journalist's heart is through his or her stomach, the Westfest folks come bearing a bag o' goodies (this year we got a kolache refrigerator magnet!) and a box o' hot kolaches. Our fingers sticky at the keyboards, we rush to tell you that Westfest, in its 21st year, is a really cool celebration of the Czechoslovakian heritage in Central Texas. There's a parade, arts and crafts, a live performance amphitheater, a Saturday and Sunday performance from world-beat phenoms Brave Combo, and, best of all, 25 food booths. Events are planned day and night Friday through Sunday in the Central Texas town of West, located 15 miles north of Waco on I-35. Tickets are $2-$5 (kids under six get in free). Parking at the grounds is $2. Call (254) 826-5058.
International Stars of Magic: How do you make a state convention of magicians disappear? Wait for the bar tab. We were amazed to learn that there is not only a Texas Association of Magicians, but an annual convention for them. For a world addicted to computer-generated effects, the subtle art of image manipulation and mechanical expertise involved in legerdemain would seem to be almost pointless, yet this endangered quality makes it a precious form of human communication. The convention itself is for members only (we don't relish the thought of a hat-trick seminar anyway), but in the evenings these performers will strut their stuff in combinations you'll never see anywhere else. Many of the participants are more famous abroad than in America, and we mean "Oh, do I have to give a command performance for the queen of England again?" kind of famous. The three public magic shows take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8 p.m. in the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth. Tickets are $12. Call 1-800-654-9545.
Chimpanzee Forest: It's sort of fashionable to diss Charles Darwin these days, to find and enlarge all the holes in his theories. David Denby had a helluva good time ragging on Chuck (or at least, the intellectual pretensions of so-called Darwinian psychologists) in a recent Harper's. But really, all you gotta do is watch simians for a little while to realize how humanish they are--sometimes, more so than the humans you hang out with. The Dallas Zoo opens an exhibit entitled Chimpanzee Forest, into which $1.9 million was poured so that we could view our flea-bitten cousins. A range of activities over Labor Day weekend includes docent talks, live bands, children's activities, and the chance to "adopt" (note the quotation marks, folks: this really means "donate money to") a baby chimp. The special events are held Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; and Monday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m at the Dallas Zoo, 650 R.L. Thornton Freeway. Tickets are $2.50-$5; parking is $3 a car. Call (214) 670-5656.
Charles Sheeler in Doylestown: American Modernism and the Pennsylvania Tradition: Painter and photographer Charles Sheeler came to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, with his colleague Morton Livingston Schamberg and basically said: "This is a cool place. I want to distill its essence into visual art." And he proceeded to paint, draw, and photograph the farm architecture of Doylestown. The results, in Charles Sheeler in Doylestown: American Modernism and the Pennsylvania Tradition, made his reputation among international circles as a premiere modern pictorialist. The show runs through November 2 at the Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. It's free. Call (817) 738-1933.
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.
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.
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.