Events for the week

thursday
january 1
New Year's Day Psychic Fair: Forget New Year's resolutions, those cynical promises we make to ourselves that are usually based on whom we think we should be, not on whom we really are. Why not find out what's going to happen in 1998 and arrange your life around that? Why quit smoking/drinking/carousing if you're just going to have your head blown off by someone's disgruntled boyfriend during a hostage standoff sometime this summer? Actually, reputable psychics aren't supposed to tell you that kind of stuff, even if they sense it, because then, the theory goes, you'll go out of your way to avoid any place where white male underachievers with one vein throbbing in their foreheads tend to hang out. The Psychic Fair, billed as Dallas' "oldest and largest," holds monthly events, but they really rake it in on New Year's Day, easily one of the most anxiety-ridden days of the year. There are astrologists, tarot-card readers, crystal-ball gazers, and channelers ready to give you their impressions of 1998--not to mention crystals, candles, books, and the various other "lifestyle" accessories one needs to make it in the ozone. The event happens noon-6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select, LBJ and Jupiter Road. Admission is $7; each 15-minute reading is $10. Call (972) 241-4876.

friday
january 2
Drawing Children Together: What often makes children's art so much more fascinating than art made by adults--even when the kid isn't artistically inclined--is that children don't worry about things like inspiration, technique, and marketability. They just tip their minds over and start pouring onto the page--at least until the first obnoxious adult tells them they can't draw or they're doing it wrong; after all, art teachers claim, this is the point at which a person's artistic abilities stall and are ultimately neglected. Luckily, the students of New York University-educated Julio Suarez have an art instructor who's traveled all over the world teaching his illustration techniques. Drawing Children Together is a collection of artwork by more than 20 students between the ages of five and 15. Some of the artists in this show have studied with Suarez for seven years. The show runs through January 10 at ArtCentre of Plano, 1039 E. 15th St, Plano. Call (214) 423-7809.

saturday
january 3
Hercules and Xena Convention: Before you start polishing your scabbard in preparation for a jaunt to the Creation Convention for fans of Hercules: The Legendary Journey and Xena: Warrior Princess, be forewarned: neither Herc nor Zee will be in attendance. Syndicated television's best chest (his) and best pair o' gams (hers; although, come to think of it, Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless could swap these titles and nobody would notice) are busy filming the adventures you've come to crave like an opium addict joneses for the hookah. They've sent in their formidable stead a creature who bridges the narrow gap between the worlds of Hercules and Xena: Karl Urban, the mischievous Cupid who appears in both shows. This is the first convention for Dallas fans of the super hits, and as these things go, bring a fat wallet: The merchandise emporium might be the highlight. The event happens 1-7 p.m. at The Plano Centre, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. Tickets are $10-$18. Call (818) 409-0960.

Russian Winter '98: It looks like the closest Dallas will ever get to experiencing a Russian winter (unless the cows stop belching, global warming is reversed, and that hotly anticipated second Ice Age kicks in) is through the Russian American Center's cultural outreach. For the second year in a row, they present the cleverly titled "Russian Winter," an evening of performing and visual arts, as well as Russian pastries, appetizers, and tea. We're not sure about the instruction to dress formal (doesn't that constitute an extra layer of wool back in the former Soviet Union?), but the lineup sounds promising: a mixture of Russian compositions from Tchaikovksy and Rachmaninoff and centuries-old folk songs and ballads. Also featured will be a photo exhibit titled Moscow: 850 Years; dolls in the costumes of various eras and provinces; and crafts from Ivanov, the Russian sister city of Plano. The event happens at 7 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Call (972) 497-1719.

Jack Ingram: He seldom wears a cowboy hat; he has the shaggy-haired, bleary-eyed look of the guy who brings the beer funnel to the keg party; and he steadfastly maintains, even though he's been absorbed by that shameless sponge called Nashville, that he doesn't make country music--he makes "Texas music." That's the charismatic, honky-tonkin' rocker Jack Ingram, whose Steve Earle-produced album Livin' or Dyin' has been championed by everyone from Texas Monthly to Billboard as the purest fusion of country and rock and roll--stadium-unfriendly, but dance-hall-fresh. Of course, the pundits christen a new savior for the commercially lucrative, artistically strapped genre of contemporary country every couple of years, and Ingram's galloping, gutsy twang and precocious stage presence make him a natural for that status. Time will tell if he has the chops to sustain a fertile career through the high pressure of Nashville's commercial influences, but Livin' or Dyin' sends him off to an excellent start. He performs at 10:30 p.m. at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth. Call metro (817) 589-1711.

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