El Dia De Los Muertos: Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, there's one thing we can all agree on--that our present lives last a painfully short time. So there's no reason to deprive yourself of the Modern Art Museum's sixth annual El Dia de los Muertos celebration. With storytelling, dance, mariachi music, and those fabulously ornate altars to dead friends and family members, this event is Latino in conception, but if that seems like a barrier to all you non-Latinos, just remember: The Grim Reaper doesn't discriminate based on skin color. The celebration happens 2-4:30 p.m. at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery, Fort Worth. Call (817) 738-9215.
Dallas World Aquarium: We always knew there were animals in the West End, but we thought they were of the liquored-up, humanoid, can't-keep-our-lips-off-each-other variety. It turns out the Dallas World Aquarium, the West End's privately owned, AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association)-accredited aquarium, has been harboring various man-eating critters for a while. The latest guests are B.J. and Cody, two black jaguars visiting from the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in California. Sleek, beautiful kitties like these two can be found in only two habitats in the world--Northern Mexico and various facilities across America for breeding animals. The aquarium is open daily from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. and located at 1801 North Griffin in the West End. Admission is $5-$11. Call (214) 720-2224.
Mark Doty: As the second writer in a Southern Methodist University Literary Festival lineup that includes Alice Walker (November 2) and Norman Mailer (November 19), gay writer Mark Doty, winner of the National Book Critics Award and T.S. Eliot Prize, might be lost in the shuffle because he's a poet. We admit that contemporary Anglo poetry offers up a lot of reasons to be ignored--so much of what's written today by highly feted poets is just prose broken up into verse lines--but Doty is a real wordsmith. As a survivor of the AIDS epidemic, Doty has been forced to think about the bottom-line issues for the past 12 years. But he cares as much about the sound of language as AIDS politicizing, making his vision all the more effective. Doty reads from his works at 8 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater of Southern Methodist University. Admission is free. Call (214) 768-7654.
Two Poets, Two Books, One Night: One time, they were on opposite sides of a Dallas poetry battle over use of the word "fuck" in venues where children are present. Now, Dallas poetry ringmaster Clebo Rainey and self-styled Fort Worth "white trash garage poet" William Bryan Massey III have reconciled and joined forces to offer Fort Worth modern poetry lovers a taste of their unexpurgated, outraged word collages, and we suspect "fuck" will be among the tamer references. They're both celebrating new books: Rainey's The Spiral Notebook and Massey's Slow Death of An Urban Outcry. Both guys have a strong sense of humor, so don't take their more shocking material too seriously; that's the best way to enjoy offensiveness. The evening starts at 8 p.m. at the Wreck Room, 3208 W. 7th St., Fort Worth. It's free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Call (817) 870-4900.
Roots of Jazz: The roots of jazz are, of course, the roots of all great American music: the incalculable influence of African-American artists. As part of its Wednesday jazz series, Sammons Center for the Arts presents "Roots of Jazz," a performance of early forms like ragtime and Dixieland by the James Gilyard Ensemble featuring Kelly Durbin on piano and the vocals of Ron Davison. Performances happen at 7:30 p.m. at Sammons Center for the Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd. The $18 ticket price includes complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks. Call (214) 520-7788.