Riverdance is a celebration of Irish music, song, and dance that almost every person of Irish descent would probably like to see quietly disappear. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen anytime soon. The Irish dance troupe attracts inexplicably large crowds wherever it travels, including Dallas, where it is currently packing houses in the Music Hall in Fair Park. Riverdance is Irish culture for everyone who likes to drink green beer or wear a "Kiss me, I'm Irish" button on St. Patrick's Day. More importantly, it's pretty boring, like being stuck on a really bad Epcot Center ride for a couple of hours. The show at least has more credibility than Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance. Flatley, a former principal dancer for the troupe, ripped off his entire routine from Riverdance scraps. Plus, he's Canadian. Riverdance continues at the Music Hall at Fair Park through Sunday, August 16. Shows happen on Friday at 8 p.m., Thursday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17-$67. Call (214) 373-8000.
Soul Rep Theatre's Annual New Play Festival continues on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with six new plays: Four Holy Ghosts in America, The Wounded, The Drums of My so Black Me, RACE, Sand Dancing and Things in the Mail, and Shorts in Black (see Stage review on page 60). The festival is one of the few of its kind in the Southwest, showcasing new works by both emerging and established playwrights. On Thursday, Holy Ghosts, Drums, and RACE will be performed, beginning at 7 p.m. Shorts, Sand Dancing, and The Wounded show on Friday at 7 p.m. The festival comes to a close with a marathon run of all the shows on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. All performances are being staged at the Dallas Theater Center. Tickets are $10 for the Thursday and Friday performances, and $12 for the Saturday marathon run. Call (214) 565-0186.
All artists dream of one day having their works hang on the walls of a gallery. On Saturday, Photographic Archives Gallery intends to make those dreams come true with PushPin, a unique event conducted by Clarke Evans, the president of the Texas Photographic Society. Artists (or anyone, really) can bring as many as five unmounted photographs to the gallery, and the gallery will hang them on the walls with pushpins. The event gives artists a rare chance to have the entire photographic community view their work and give them feedback. No pressure, huh? PushPin happens on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Photographic Archives Gallery, located at 5117 W. Lovers Lane. Admission is free. The gallery opens at 10 a.m.; come early to reserve wall space. Call (214) 352-3167.
Almost everyone can remember playing baseball in the front yard growing up. Games were played with plastic bats and balls, and the bases were mailboxes, rocks, shoes, and whatever else happened to be lying around. Yard Ball gives people a chance to play the front-yard game for real. A sister event to Hoop-It-Up and NFL Air-It-Out, Yard Ball is played four to a side on small-scale baseball fields, with plastic bats and balls. The event will feature everyone from struggling ex-minor-league hotshots to kids just learning how to swing a bat. Although the deadline has passed to enter a team in the tournament, you can still come down and watch. The Yard Ball tournament happens on Saturday and Sunday at Lookout Park in Richardson, located at Lookout Drive and Plano Road. Call (972) 392-5865.
Elvis Presley was a man of many sides, especially in his later years, when his midsection was exploring the outer limits of his polyester jumpsuits. Dick's Last Resort celebrates at least two of those sides with a memorial concert on Sunday. Betty Lewis and her Gospel Choir honor Elvis' spiritual side with a special gospel celebration starting at 7 p.m. Following the choir, renowned Elvis impersonator Johnny Harra pays tribute to The King's less-than-spectacular Vegas years with a performance of classic Elvis tunes. The Elvis Presley Memorial Celebration takes place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Dick's Last Resort, located at the corner of Ross and Record streets in the West End. Admission is free. Call (214) 747-0001.
Because of corporate and government funding cuts, Teatro Dallas needs to raise $20,000 by September, and another $50,000 between September and December. Throughout August, the theater group will be offering special food and entertainment at lunchtime every weekday to help raise some of the money. The food includes tortas (a special Mexican kind of sub) and aguas frescas (a fruit or flower drink), and the entertainment features plays by Guillermo Reyes and Emilio Carballido, and a film about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. On Monday, Venezuelan harpist Carlos Guedes performs. Teatro Dallas' special lunchtime fundraising drive happens every weekday between noon and 1 p.m. The theater is located at 2204 Commerce. Call (214) 741-6833.
Twenty years ago, a bill featuring The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays, and Earth, Wind & Fire would have been exciting. A decade ago, it would have been interesting. Now, it just seems kind of pathetic. All three bands come into town riding a wave of nostalgia sparked by younger hip-hop artists' reworking of their old hits--and lugging around back catalogs that haven't grown since Reagan was president. But even though they're on the oldies circuit now, all three bands can still bring it when they want to. They just don't have much to bring anymore. The Sweet Sounds of Soul Tour plays the Starplex Amphitheatre on Tuesday. Tickets are $29.50 and $35.50. Call (214) 373-8000.
The Karen Mitchell Gallery has evolved from an accessory boutique that also featured art into one of the area's best galleries. Its latest exhibit, Lost America: The American Landscape of the 1950s and 1960s, is a new body of work by artist Jeff Scott that focuses on historic American architectural landmarks. The gallery also is staging its first photography exhibition, a show that features Catherine Chapman, Frank Dugan, Libby Goff, Donna Lovely, Roger Moore, Waco Moore, and Diana Sentell. It's an impressive one-two punch from a gallery that is on its way up. Both exhibits continue through August 31. The gallery is located at 4532 Cole. Call (214) 559-4700.