An Evening With Gary Leva: It may not be Grauman's Chinese Theater, but then again, Grauman's Chinese Theater ain't what it used to be either: The AMC Glen Lakes offered Dallas native turned indie filmmaker Gary Leva a stellar reception when his first flick, Plan B, wound up outgrossing its big-budget Hollywood neighbors, Starship Troopers and In and Out, on a per-screening basis. Plan B is what happens when a group of wayward young adults has to fall back on alternative plans (hence the title) in order to make a living. The film got terrific local notices, so the Dallas Screenwriters' Association is hosting a return screening of the film with a follow-up by Leva. The event happens at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Theatre, 1825 Abrams Parkway. Tickets are $12. Call (214) 922-7829.
Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company: While flamenco is indisputably a bedrock cultural phenomenon in Spain, some critics of multiculturalism claim that it's more recreational than artistic, essentially the Latino equivalent of calling square-dancing a high Anglo art. Jose Greco II might be inclined to punch somebody in the nose for such an assessment, considering that for two generations now his family has taken this sweaty, castanet-clicking, guitar strumming form to heights of international acclaim. Midway through its 15th season, TITAS presents Jose Greco II Flamenco Dance Company in performance. His sister Carmela, often cited as the show's star, is rumored to be able to melt the gold in your teeth when she does her thing. The performance happens at 8 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call (214) 528-0126.
Southern Exposure: The question isn't so much "Is there a Southern perspective?" but "How do we define it without shortchanging its richness?" Certainly writers such as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and Flannery O'Connor all dealt with the travails of a post-Reconstruction American South, but the similarities end there: Each dealt with unique topics within that very large arena. So it is, in the last few years, that major institutions across the country have grappled with pinning down a Southern style of photography. Photographs Do Not Bend throws in its two cents with Southern Exposure, a show of regional photographers including Shelby Lee Adams, Keith Carter, and Sally Mann. The show opens with a reception January 23, 6-8 p.m., and runs through March 7 at Photographs Do Not Bend, 3115 Routh St. Call (214) 969-1852.
The Misanthrope: We're inclined to look askance at 20th-century updates of classic literature, having watched with horror as one Dallas actor delivered lines from The Taming of the Shrew complete with snakeskin boots, cowboy hat, and a drawl so slow you could take a guided tour on it. But novelist-translator-playwright Neil Bartlett has earned a sparkling international reputation for his Moliere adaptations, and he's found a smashing equivalent to the backstabbing and decadence of the 17th-century French Royal Court--contemporary Hollywood. Fort Worth's Stage West mounts his update of The Misanthrope, a comedy that may be almost 350 years old but is still quite capable of inducing laughs--at least, for anyone who cherishes the art of the well-aimed insult. Performances happen 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday through February 7 at Stage West, 3055 South University Drive, Fort Worth. Tickets are $11-$14. Call (817) 924-9454.
Imagining the Open Range: Erwin E. Smith, Cowboy Photographer: Cowboy movies tend to be a drag for their "black hat-white hat" moral simplicity; even so-called complex studies like Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven feature the kind of one-dimensional villains normally pursued by Canadian mounties. But take those images of the turn-of-the-century frontier and freeze them as photographs, and all the mythology comes pouring out for us. One of the most celebrated of cowboy snappers was himself known to form unusually close friendships with horses. From shortly after the 1900s began until his death in 1947, Erwin E. Smith snapped eerie, beautiful images of Texas herders and range riders. More than a hundred are collected in a one-man show, Imagining the Open Range. The show runs through May 10 at Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. Call (817) 738-1933.
A Dallas Dance Gathering: A dancer without a company is a little like a Southern Baptist at a dirty bookstore--you know they exist in droves, but they rarely get a chance to express themselves. For 10 years now, A Dallas Dance Gathering has offered these underrepresented souls (freelance dancers, not Baptists with porn budgets) an annual opportunity to pool their resources and present a show that offers original works in the fields of contemporary, ballet, jazz, and ethnic dance. The 1998 program offers a premiere by Sherry Lacey; a memorial to the late Daryl Sneed choreographed by Lily Cabatu Weiss (who serves as the Gathering's artistic director); and the usual assemblage of graduates from the dance department at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. Performances happen at 8 p.m. January 22-24, in the Dance Studio Theater of Booker T., 2501 Flora. Tickets are $5-$8. Call (214) 871-8967.
Welcoming Sunday: Speaking of Southern Baptists, the recent decision by the General Baptist Convention to separate from its more--shall we say--enthusiastic brethren came about in part because of the Southern Baptists' anti-gay boycott of Disney. Not that the General Baptists are likely to march in a PFLAG rally anytime soon, but they're smart enough to realize that when a church demands that a corporation deny standard benefits to a segment of its employees, a reputation for un-Christian behavior ensues. For many Christians who believe that homosexuality is as boringly routine as heterosexuality (the stigma adds the spice), accepting gays and lesbians becomes a question of challenging bureaucracy, not God. Bethany Presbyterian Church joins dozens of main-line congregations across the country with its "Welcoming Sunday" for gay and lesbian Christians, a celebration of the 18-year-old decision to resist Presbyterian policy against ordaining homosexuals as church leaders. The event happens at 11 a.m. at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Cedar Springs and Hawthorne. Call (214) 823-2317.