Wilco, Blue Mountain: We know you're a regular at Sons of Hermann Hall, cried when Naomi's closed, and read No Depression on a regular basis. So we don't have to tell you how great Wilco is. You were alternative country when alternative country wasn't cool. You know. But, even if you do read No Depression, you may not have heard of Blue Mountain, which features bassist Laurie Stirratt, twin sister of Wilco's John Stirratt. The band comes to town supporting their latest release, Homegrown, an infectious blend of y'all-ternative rock and gritty blues that seems familiar and different at the same time. Sounding as if it were recorded at a front-porch hootenanny, the album also features Willie--a dog the band found on tour in 1994--contributing vocals to two songs. Check 'em out now before Willie's manager starts grumbling about his share of the door, and the whole thing falls apart. They appear at 9 p.m. at Trees, 2707 Elm, (214) 748-5009.
Three Plays: 11th Street Theatre Project closes its 1997 season with Three Plays, a festival of three (obviously) 45-minute plays by contemporary American playwrights: Sam Shepard's Cowboy Mouth, Beth Henley's Am I Blue and Edward Albee's The Zoo Story. Shepard's Cowboy Mouth is the best of the bunch, an avant-garde look at an off-kilter time in his life. On the surface, it's a kidnapping tale suggestive of A Life Less Ordinary, the recent film from the Trainspotting team, with a few minor adjustments (one of the main characters is a wannabe Jesus Christ instead of a wannabe romance novelist, for example). Overall, it's a psychedelic roller coaster and an example of what that film could have been. Tickets are $5 per play or $12 for an evening pass, and performances are at 7 p.m. November 6-8, 13-15, and 20-22 at St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral, 5100 Ross Avenue at Henderson. Call (214) 522-PLAY for information.
America's Fall From Space: NASA has fallen on hard times since the 1986 crash of the space shuttle Challenger. There was a time when space shuttle launches caused millions of Americans to gather around television sets in hushed awe. A shuttle launch was always the top story in every newspaper across the country. But now, launches aren't even a good enough reason to interrupt Rosie or Days of Our Lives. David McNair is familiar with the problems NASA has experienced. In his new book, America's Fall From Space, McNair, a top rocket scientist who has worked for the Air Force and the European Space Agency, claims he knew about the problems that led to the Challenger disaster months before the launch. He also recounts his trip to Area 51, where he says he witnessed what could only be described as "alien technology," a fact he testified to before select members of Congress earlier this year. An entertaining and informative presenter, McNair will speak about all of this and more in a lecture presented at 7:30 p.m. by The Eclectic Viewpoint at the Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane, (972) 601-7687. Tickets are $20.
Saints, Sinners and Super Luchas: Mexican wrestling doesn't naturally spring to mind when someone mentions an art exhibit. Truth be told, it's one of the last things one would associate with a gallery showing. Fortunately, this exhibit is not a collection of paintings of Mexican wrestlers. That would be almost as interesting as a showing of LeRoy Neiman's portraits of sports figures. In the "Super Luchas" portion of the exhibit, artist Steve Cruz explores the dynamics of male-female sexuality through the eyes of the Mexican masked wrestler. Mainly, Cruz uses the Super Luchas as a filter to riff on Mexican pop culture and the aspects of life many of us dream about: money, adventure and fame. The other portion of the exhibit, "Saints and Sinners," is a series of drawings and paintings by Rosemary Meza that deals with the two extreme characterizations of women--the virgin-whore complex. The works stem from Meza's visits to Catholic churches in Mexico City. An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibit runs through December 7 at 500X Gallery, 500 Exposition Ave. Call (214) 828-1111.
Fang-tastic Saturdays: We'll admit it: Snakes scare the hell out of us. We're not alone, however. More than a few people have spent sleepless, sweat-drenched nights after finding a dead garter snake behind the refrigerator. The Dallas Museum of Natural History seeks to end the public's long misunderstanding of snakes with its Fang-tastic Saturdays. The day includes a show by snake handler Dannie Dell; Calandra and Kareem, a dancing, storytelling, snake-charming duo; and a petting zoo presented by the North Texas Herpetological Society. Author Jim Dunlap will be on hand to talk about Home Care for Unusual Pets. Face your fears. We'll be at home trying to kill whatever it was we saw slither into the garage. The show runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at 3535 Grand Avenue in Fair Park. Tickets are $4 for adults, $2.50 for children and seniors. Call (214) 421-3466.
Hidden Treasures from Tervuren: The heart of Africa has always been a mysterious place. Many people don't know too much about the land or its culture, gaining most of their knowledge from Discovery Channel specials that featured ferocious attacks by wild animals--not a good reputation builder. It didn't help that for nearly 100 years many of the most important works of art from Africa were hidden away in Belgium's Tervuren Museum, the world's foremost collection of Central African art. Many of the 125 masterpieces in this exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum have never been seen outside of Europe or Africa. Included in this traveling exhibition are several large and complete Kongo "minkisi" figures; objects of royal regalia; a variety of masks; and a Buli workshop kneeling female figure, one of the first works of African art attributed to a particular artist. The exhibit runs through January 2 at the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. Tickets are $4-$8. Call (817) 332-8451.