Revelation: The great thing about shows at the Dallas Visual Arts Center is their not-so-hidden agenda--pushing the works of Texas artists, whether in the context of national styles or just in helping to develop a regional identity. The latter is the philosophy behind their "Establishment" series, which imports works by acclaimed Texas artists in smaller cities who have never been seen in this area. Their third "Establishment" show is called "Revelation," and once again, it's a gloriously chaotic grab bag of the funny, the sad, the angry, the horrifying, and the mundane. If you thought "Texas art" meant metal steer sculptures and paintings of cowboys crying in the prairie, come drink in some of the funky sights of these born-and-bred Texans. The show runs through February 20 at the Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss Avenue. Call (214) 821-2522.
Ruckus Rodeo: Speaking of funky sights, we've never been a big fan of that venerable Texas tradition known as the rodeo: How much of a sense of accomplishment can a grown man really get from chasing down a calf and tying its legs together? But the late Red Grooms' gigantic installment Ruckus Rodeo has almost singlehandedly turned us into fans of this curious sport. It's among this artist's more famous works, and the Modern at Sundance Square, the downtown annex of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is taking the 21-year-old, 1,237 square feet of high-strung rodeo action out of the vaults to coincide with the 1998 Fort Worth Exposition and Stock Show. Grooms' weirdly kinetic scene is like a three-dimensional cartoon that seems about to break out of its stasis and stampede you. Created in New York, but forged with a weird combo of urban irony and rural earthiness, Ruckus Rodeo is, to some of us, way more fun than the real thing. The display shows through February 15 at the Modern at Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. Call (817) 738-9215.
The Magic Flute: There's an exchange of high-brow culture in the Dallas Opera's latest production, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute (Die Zuberflote). For this show, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's music director, Andrew Litton, picks up the baton; in February, opera music director Graeme Jenkins takes Litton's podium for a symphony featuring works of Britten, Walton, and Elgar. Mozart didn't free himself from royal patronage until this comic work about ethereal love. Its popularity across two centuries suggests Mozart, had he lived beyond 35, would have conquered opera as surely as he placed his adolescent stamp on symphonic works. Performances happen at 7:30 p.m. December 12; 2 p.m. December 14; and 7:30 p.m. December 17, 20, and 27 at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $29-$150. Call (214) 443-1000.