Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth: If you're a Dallas dance fan and new dance is what you're looking for, Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth opens its eighth performance season with an all-premiere program that would have to be still tapping around in the choreographer's head to get any newer. As usual, CD/FW isn't afraid to go for laughs with their original stuff, so two highlights of the evening are Kerry Kreiman's The Mystery Dance, which uses a game show host, road signs, and the music of Brave Combo to comic effect; and Baby Boom, a slapstick glance at the biological clock using music and visual styles from the '60s. Dallas choreographer Lily Cabatu Weiss' A Troubled Resting Place... offers a stark contrast, as the title suggests. Events happen November 14 at 8 p.m. and November 15 at 2 and 8 p.m. at the Ed Landreth Auditorium, University Drive at Cantey, on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$15. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
The Conquerors From the Northern Frontier: Teatro Dallas opens its 5th International Theatre Festival with a production that combines talents from Canada and Costa Rica. Canadian actor-writer-director Luis Thenon presents his Kafka-esque study of political repression The Conqueror of the Northern Country as a two-person show with Costa Rican actress Maria Bonilla. They portray a man and a woman enclosed by a fence and doomed to repeat the same rituals. Take note: The show is performed in Spanish with some French. Performances happen November 14 and 15 at 8:15 p.m., with a special opening reception with live music at the Dallas Grand Hotel on November 14. Performances happen at 2204 Commerce. Call (214) 741-6833.
Lone Star Comedy: Comedy impresario Randy Bennett was a founding member of the L.A.-based comedy troupe The Groundlings and helped launch the careers of alumni Phil Hartman and Lisa Kudrow. He then turned around and operated Groundlings schools in Los Angeles and New York that educated George Clooney, Helen Hunt, and Daryl Hannah, among others. Transplanted to Texas, Bennett has been rounding up some of the most frequently employed TV, film, and stage actors who live in North Texas (yes, a living can be made, but often barely) for Lone Star Comedy, his new Fort Worth venture that hopes to cultivate a similar scene here. The debut run of the troupe happens November 14 and 15, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., at Circle Theatre, 230 W. Fourth St, Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$10. Call (817) 877-3040.
Carrot Top: We know we're supposed to be too cerebral to laugh at Carrot Top, the henna-mopped, high-caffeine master of props, but his relentlessness almost always knocks down our "that's so silly" wall and hammers our funny bone. Ever see Mr. Top do his shtick about terrifying the employees of various Wendy's establishments by putting his hair in pigtails, sticking his head into the drive-through window, and shouting, "Get busy"? And then there's his greatest invention, the tequila bottle with a note pad attached so you can scribble your apologies in advance. Carrot Top is upholding an all-but-dead vaudevillian tradition known as sight gag comedy, and since we've never actually seen him in a full-length show, we wonder--will people find his toy chest full of gimmicks funny for a whole hour? He performs at 7 p.m. at the Bronco Bowl on Fort Worth Avenue. Tickets are $20-$23. Call (214) 373-8000.
Art History of the Five Civilized Tribes: To Anglo Americans today as to AAs two hundred years ago, American Indian culture was one red monolith. But outsiders should have known by the sheer frequency of intertribal warfare that there were differences between the various tribes important enough to kill for. Visual art truly is the eyes of a civilization, and The Bath House Cultural Center presents an exhibit called "Art History of the Five Civilized Tribes" that illuminates the subtle but important variations among Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Creek tribes. Edward Hummingbird, the proprietor of The Gallery of Native American Art in Dallas, is guest curator. A public reception with Hummingbird happens this evening at 6-8 p.m. The show runs through November 26 at The Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Call (214) 670-8749.
Fil Alexander-Moegerle: So you say names like Pat Robertson, Flip Benham, and Donald Wildmon are the first that leap into your head when you think of the religious right's culture war? They're just among the more loudmouthed soldiers. One of the captains is businessman James Dobson, and he's all the more powerful because his ministry, whose national broadcasts are called Focus on the Family, has built a grassroots political structure as powerful and pervasive as, say, Benham's and Wildmon's are blustery and unsophisticated. Fil Alexander-Moegerle, a former executive in Dobson's organization turned disgruntled anti-right winger, has written a book called James Dobson's War on America that purports to expose the capitalist underpinnings of Dobson's moral crusade. Alexander-Moegerle appears to discuss and sign his book at 3 p.m. at Crossroads Market & Bookstore, 3930 Cedar Springs Road. Call (214) 521-8919.
Driven By Faith: Ever get up in the middle of the night to grab a drink of water and bump into a hundred-foot flaming Jesus standing in your hallway? Maybe, just maybe, last night's buzz has worn off, and you're being sent a not-too-subtle hint that your destiny is as a visionary painter. Waxahachie's indispensable Webb Gallery continues its mission to display the art of individuals who create their work without benefit of cocktail-party receptions and press coverage. Driven By Faith is a show of work by Southern Christian artists who, if they've not been slain in the spirit, have been tickled silly by it. The Rev. J.L. Hunter's angel carvings; Joe Light's painted signs; and the angels vs. demons battle scenes of Xmeah Sha Ela Re'El are all included in the show. The show runs through December 21 at Webb Gallery, 209-211 W. Franklin, Waxahachie. It's free. Call (972) 938-8085.
Flame of Powder, Soul of Man: Bruce Coleman, Charlotte Akins Jorgensen, and Jim Jorgensen, all artistic directors of New Theatre Company, extend their laudable mission to save Dallas from endless helpings of Menotti and Tuna by pumping newer, edgier, smaller scale stuff into the Dallas theatrical pipeline. Their "Newerx" series of staged readings continues with a presentation of Walter Bilderback's Flame of Powder, Soul of Man, starring Tina Parker and T.A. Taylor, two very reliable Dallas actors. Bilderback, also a director, recently served as dramaturg for the Undermain's terrific production of The Seagull. Flame of Powder, Soul of Man looks at a crisis that bubbles over in a small Michigan town in the 1920s. November 15 and 22 at 3 p.m. and November 16 & 17, 23 & 24 at 8 p.m. at Deep Ellum Opera Theater, 3202 Elm St. They're free. Call (214) 443-9104.
David Halberstam: In just the way that David Halberstam set the standard for journalism about the Vietnam War (and bagged a Pulitzer, to boot), he changed the way we look at one of the American century's most mythologized decades--the '50s--with his engrossing study The Fifties. In showing how that particular 10 years was neither the pinnacle of post-Victorian U.S. repression nor an idyllic oasis of morality, Halberstam demonstrated how historians on both the left and right had attempted to rewrite history through their own critical analysis. Destined to be considered one of the most important chroniclers of late-20th-century life in America, Halberstam comes to Richardson at the invitation of the Friends of the Richardson Public Library. He appears at 8 p.m. at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 West Arapaho. Tickets are $10. Call (972) 238-4000.
James Overturf: A Persistence of Vision: When a company like Eastman Kodak steps in and finances a young photographer's three-month trip solely for the purpose of letting him snap silly, you can imagine that some people in powerful places have deemed this individual talented. Only some of the photos in this show come from the European trip; the rest were completed by Overturf over the last four years. The show runs through December 12 at the Lakeside Gallery of Richland College, 12800 Abrams Rd. Call (972) 238-6339.