John Berendt: Author John Berendt has had a remarkable, and rocky, last three years. Starting off, his stunning non-fiction account of festering secrets, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, has lingered in the top 10 of The New York Times bestseller list for at least as long, giving hope to those of us who fear that only turgid out-of-body experiences and you-can-do-it cheerleaderisms prop up the American publishing industry (it's true, but with beautiful exceptions like Berendt's, we can dream, can't we?). Then, speculation about the connections between this tale of high-socity gay life in Savannah, Georgia, and the author's personal life led to an unceremonious outing of Berendt, who finally admitted that he'd been--a bit like his real-life character The Lady Chablis--"hiding [his] candy." FinallyClint Eastwood optioned the rights to the book, confessing he wouldn't have believed even five years ago that he'd be "directing a movie about a cross-dresser." You're growing, Clint. Starring Kevin Spacey and, at her own insistence, The Lady Chablis, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is one of this fall's most eagerly anticipated cinematic dramas, and now its celebrated author John Berendt comes to Richardson to read from his work and answer questions about the celebrity that's been foisted on him. Berendt opens the 1997-'98 season of "In Person," sponsored by the Friends of The Richardson Public Library, at 8 p.m. at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 West Arapaho.
The Day After Roswell: Earlier in the summer, the pale sub-sect of American society known as conspiracy theorists was thrown a fastball down the middle of the plate when the U.S. Air Force announced that the "alien bodies" retrieved from Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 were crash-test dummies used in some sort of high-altitude parachuting experiment. Uh-huh. Lost in the shuffle was U.S. Army Col. (ret.) Phillip J. Corso's book, The Day After Roswell, in which he asserted that the Army derived computer microchips, fiberoptic cable, and an assortment of other "inventions" from research conducted upon the wreckage of the Roswell crash. William J. Birnes, who assisted Corso with the book, will give a talk about the book and participate in a Q & A session at Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20. For info call (972) 601-7687.
Mission To Mir: MTV has gone too far this time. Ostensibly a documentary giving viewers a tour of Russia's space station Mir, this IMAX film is really the story of what happens when cosmonauts and astronauts are picked to live together in outer space and have their lives taped. Find out what happens on "The Real World: Space Station Mir." The 40-minute film--shot in space by the astronauts--is an unprecedented opportunity to experience life aboard the first long-term space station. The film will run through spring 1998 at The Science Place in Fair Park. For info call (214) 428-5555, ext. 340.
Jack Kevorkian/Unplugged: Getting a head start on the Halloween season, local comedy troupe 4 Out of 5 Doctors presents one of its most popular shows, an irreverent series of sketches spoofing--of all things--death. The ubiquitous Doctor of Death serves as a sort of patron saint to the proceedings, which include "Dead Celebrity Jeopardy" and a hilarious meeting of a medieval executioners' union. The show runs Friday and Saturday nights through November 1 at 11 p.m. and on October 22 at 8 p.m. at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird, Suite 119. Tickets are $10. For reservations or info call (214) 821-1860.
Chasing the Dream: In their first film, Texas filmmakers Harry Lynch and Jeff Fraley explore some of the injuries and fears that face professional bull riders. Their look at the sport touches on some of its technical aspects, but mainly concentrates on what drives these men to do what they do. Shot mostly in Texas, the film features bull-riding greats Tuff Hedeman, Donny Gay, and Harry Tompkins. The film opens with a benefit screening at the Lakewood Theatre, 1825 Abrams Parkway, at 8 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Video Association of Dallas. Admission is $5, and Lynch and Fraley--as well as some of the riders--will be in attendance.
BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet: Much like the culture that has supported it, Cajun music--kept alive in the bayous and front porches of Louisiana for almost as long as the area has been populated--has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. For those unfamiliar with the style (heavy on fiddle and accordion), BeauSoleil is perhaps the perfect introduction. Called by Rolling Stone "the best damn dance band you'll ever hear," the Grammy nominees--whose innovative approach has done for Cajun and Zydeco music what Brave Combo has done for polka--kick off TITAS' 1997-'98 "You Gotta Have It" season at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $7 to $40. Call (214) 528-5576.