Impressionist and Modern Masterpieces: The Rudolf Staechelin Family Foundation Collection of Switzerland: We understand that the history of great visual art has been, to a large extent, made possible by the generosity of rich supporters who possess no particular artistic abilities themselves. But when names such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Matisse take a backseat in an exhibit's title to some Swiss high-roller named Rudolf Staechelin, we can't help but yearn for the quiet grace of those donors who sign themselves Anonymous. Impressionist and Modern Masterpieces is all you need to know about the Kimbell Art Museum's latest international collection of man-made beauty by artists so beloved, their work finds its way onto monthly planners and coffee mugs. The show runs through January 11 at 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd in Fort Worth. Tickets are $4-$8. Call (817) 332-8451.
6th Annual Oktoberfest: We happen to dig multicultural events--not because they're expanding our consciousness about the beautiful range of humanity on this big blue marble, but because we really dig eating stuff we've been taught to throw away. Of course, white people the world over, be they German or English, tend not to bust too many cultural taboos when it comes to grub. The 6th Annual Oktoberfest features the sort of nourishment our esteemed food critic recently referred to as the coveralls of food--durable and dependable, but not particularly sexy; that is, German food. It also has beer, the intoxicant of choice for Dallasites and Berlinites alike, as well as the music of world-beat masters Brave Combo. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. at The Gingerman, 2718 Boll. Cover is $8. Call (214) 754-8771.
Mission to MIR: A recent Atlantic Monthly article made a pretty good argument for the disposability of manned space flight. The author made a compelling case that it's more of a public-relations tool wielded by NASA to milk more money from the taxpayers: All the important discoveries about our universe have been made by robots and satellite cameras, not men and women in space. Furthermore, NASA officials will admit, if pushed, that there's a 50-50 chance of another Challenger-like accident happening in the next couple of decades. All that said, you can enjoy the beautiful images of our planet from space in Mission to MIR, the kind of footage the IMAX theater was built to broadcast. There are daily showings of the film through spring 1998 in the Science Place Museum at the State Fair of Texas. Special discounts on admission are available to State Fair ticket-holders. Call (214) 428-5555.
Playing With Fire: KERA-TV Channel 13 continues its laudable mission to create documentaries that focus on local history and culture--which is, after all, what public television was designed for; rerunning 20-year-old Britcoms is a nice diversion, but we think PBS can shoot higher. The station presents the 90-minute documentary Playing With Fire, a look at this year's 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which happened in Fort Worth from May 23 to June 8. Lest you think the classical music world is all bouquets and ovations, the creators have focused on the lives of a few international participants and, in particular, the rigorous training and enormous pressure the Cliburn Competition generates. This original production premieres at 8 p.m. on KERA-TV Channel 13. Call (214) 871-1300.