Tuna, Texas, may be a fictional city, but the characters who inhabit it are awful real. You can find them crowded around the back of a beat-up pickup truck in one of the countless one-stoplight towns that dot the back roads of Texas, or distributing "Free Richard McLaren" T-shirts in front of the Capitol in Austin. In the 15 years that have passed since Joe Sears and Jaston Williams first dreamed up Tuna and its eccentric populace, the small-mindedness of small towns hasn't much changed. Sears and Williams haven't evolved that much either, unless you count the 40-plus costume changes they make during Red, White and Tuna, the final (maybe) installment of the popular Tuna trilogy. The duo again play all of Tuna's off-center inhabitants, including men, women, children, and animals. This time, the focus of the play is the 4th of July Tuna High School Class Reunion, a chance for Sears and Williams to finally introduce some new characters. It's pretty much the same thing the twosome has been doing for more than a decade--skewering the quirks of small-town Texans--but that doesn't mean it's not funny. As long as there are still places in Texas that sell liquor and guns under the same roof, Tuna will remain relevant. Red, White and Tuna plays at Casa Manana Theatre, located at 3101 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth, through July 5. Tickets are $17.50-$37.50. Performances happen Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday, June 18. Call (817) 332-CASA.
The South Dallas Cultural Center has started to establish a strong presence with its once-a-month Black Cinematique film series and midnight Jammin' at the Center jam sessions. This month, the SDCC solidifies its third-Friday lineup by adding the J&J Group, a musical theater group managed by longtime Dallas arts-scene fixtures Nedra James and Ramona Jackson. In celebration of Juneteenth, the J&J Group will perform Bits of Ain't Misbehavin', an adapted version of the Tony Award-winning musical. The J&J Group's debut performance happens on Friday, June 19, at 10 p.m. A second performance of Bits of Ain't Misbehavin' will be held the following night at 8 p.m. The South Dallas Cultural Center is located at 3400 S. Fitzhugh. Call (214) 939-ARTS.
Frank Sinatra was already being eulogized long before he died. In the past year alone, more than a dozen books were published about the Chairman of the Board. One of the most interesting of these books was Esquire senior writer Bill Zehme's The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'. Written with Sinatra's cooperation, the book is a collection of anecdotes, rare interviews, and candid photos outlining the leader of the Rat Pack's personal code, from how much cuff should show underneath a suit jacket to how to treat a lady. Zehme is more than a little awestruck at times, but the book is an entertaining look at the Sinatra mystique. In the wake of Sinatra's recent passing, Club Clearview and Red will host Frank Sinatra and The Lost Art of Livin', a tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes that will feature a book-signing by Zehme. Also on hand will be about a hundred people who look like extras from Swingers, two former Playboy playmates, and Tony Ocean and his Orchestra. It's probably not as stylish as the kind of party Sinatra was accustomed to, but hey, how could it be? The event happens at Club Clearview and Red, located at 2803 Main, on Saturday, June 20. Doors open at 10 p.m. Admission is $6. Call (214) 939-0077.
One of the easiest ways to explain things we don't understand is to blame visitors from outer space. One of those things is the Sphinx, the ancient Egyptian sculpture with the head of a man and body of a lion. No one has been able to figure out why it's there or what it means. Graham Hancock, an award-winning British journalist and author of the books The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, and The Message of the Sphinx, thinks the Sphinx may have come from Mars. Well, the Sphinx itself didn't come from Mars, but the people who built it did. In his new book, The Mars Mystery, Hancock says that the Sphinx is a warning, left by a race of Martians who ended up on Earth after life on their planet was decimated by an enormous asteroid. He claims that the Martians built the Sphinx to indicate that the same thing could happen to our planet. His ideas sound crazy, but they are supported by several astronomers and scientists who believe that Earth is long overdue for a comet or asteroid to impact. Then again, those same scientists said not too long ago that they had found an asteroid that was on course to collide with us. Then they checked their math. Hancock will talk about his theories in a lecture presented by The Eclectic Viewpoint on Sunday, June 21. The lecture will happen at Crowne Plaza Suites, located at LBJ and Coit Road. Admission is $20. Call (972) 601-7687.
For two and a half decades, the photographs that appeared in Texas Monthly always lived up to Texas' reputation for being larger than life, whether it was a shot of the craggy features of dope-smoking outlaw Willie Nelson or of the skyscraping hair of some Houston socialite. The magazine has attracted some of the finest photographers around, including Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, and William Wegman. In honor of the magazine's 25th anniversary, more than 140 of these photographs have been collected in a book and a traveling exhibition, The Pictures of Texas Monthly: Twenty-Five Years. The exhibition recently opened at The Modern at Sundance Square and will be on view until August 2. The Modern is located at 1309 Montgomery St. in Fort Worth. Call (817) 738-9215.