One of the problems with improvisational comedy is that it never feels very improvised. It always seems as though the cast members have worked out what they're going to do beforehand--maybe not exactly, but close enough--which kind of misses the point. The Ad-Libs Improvisational Comedy Troupe may have solved this problem by completely removing themselves from their latest show, Stage-Time. The show involves the entire audience participating in improv games, moderated by one of the Ad-Libs cast members. We're sure there will be a couple of ringers in the crowd--at least we hope so; otherwise, the show would probably be about as funny as a visit to a proctologist. For the most part, though, it's the audience's job to be funny. Stage-Time begins on Friday at 11 p.m. in Ad-Libs' alternate theater, located next door to Ad-Libs Main Stage, 2613 Ross Ave. Admission for Friday's show is free. Call (214) 754-7050.
The music industry is full of traps that most people can't see until they've already fallen into them. When you're working in the music business, all that separates you from the unemployment line is that week's record sales. Forget "What have you done for me lately?" Now, it's "What have you done for me today?" One minute, you're trying to straighten the gold record on your wall; the next, you have an empty cardboard box and 15 minutes to leave the building before security escorts you out. Collin County Community College hopes to shed some light on the inner workings of the business with the 1998 Music Industry Conference, a day's worth of seminars and meet-and-greets for prospective music-industry employees. Representatives from Crystal Clear Sound, One Ton Records, Rainmaker Records, Elektra Records, Universal/MCA Records, Sony Records, and others will be on hand to answer questions and meet potential employees, and seminars will be presented on legal issues for musicians, studio design, and selling music to major labels. One quibble: They're letting former Jackopierce member Cary Pierce conduct a "Songwriters Forum." It's hard even writing that sentence. The 1998 Music Industry Conference happens on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Collin County Community College's Spring Creek campus, 2800 E. Spring Creek in Plano. Admission is free, but all participants must be registered. Call (972) 881-5973.
Looking back on it, one of the best modern-day adaptations of a William Shakespeare play was the episode of Moonlighting (the series that featured Bruce Willis before he began playing the same down-on-his-luck, drunk cop in every movie) that put a new spin on The Taming of the Shrew. The 1996 reworking of Romeo and Juliet--starring a pre-Titanic Leo DiCaprio--was a mess of urban gangsterisms and archaic English wordplay. The Moonlighting episode was much better, putting a new spin on an old classic while staying true to Shakespeare's original idea. Kitchen Dog Theater's new adaptation of the play is in the same vein, a wild new version that manages to blend physical comedy and sharp political insights and still keep Shakespeare's original play intact. The Taming of the Shrew continues at The MAC, 3120 McKinney Ave., until November 22. Performances happen Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 ($10 for MAC members), and Thursdays are pay-what-you-can. Call (214) 953-1055.
If Brad Pitt looked like Joe Pesci, the only acting gigs he'd get would be in community-theater productions. But he doesn't, so he gets to star in projects like the upcoming Meet Joe Black, a remake of the 1934 classic Death Takes a Holiday. Since Death Takes a Holiday has yet to be released on video, the only chance to see a real actor (Fredric March) in the title role happens at the festival's screening of the film as part of its First Monday Classics series. In the film, March plays Death, who assumes mortal form to observe humans and find out why they fear his approach. In the process, he falls in love with a beautiful young woman, played by Evelyn Venable, and his outlook is forever changed. Maybe Pitt can pull the role off, but we wouldn't bet on it. Go see the original instead. The screening happens on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Tickets are $6-$7. Call (214) 821-FILM.
Since 1979, Carl Sidle has shot photographs in Dallas, East Texas, and Louisiana of neighborhood people and local architecture. What showed up on the film was more than that, though, snapshots conveying the fears and anxieties of inner-city life, portraits of the human spirit. For the next few months, The Texas African-American Photography Archive will exhibit a retrospective of Sidle's work, photographs of people peering around doors and negatives printed on top of one another until the tension isn't just imagined. The exhibition opens on Friday with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Texas African-American Photography Archive, 5501 Columbia Ave, and continues until January 30. Call (214) 823-8824.
Satirist P.J. O'Rourke spent the last few years traveling around the world in search of answers to his questions, specifically, Why do some parts of the world prosper and others don't? The results of his quest are compiled in his latest book, Eat the Rich, one of the sharpest and funniest books in his career. A sample: "Microeconomics concerns things that economists are specifically wrong about, while macroeconomics concerns things that economists are wrong about generally." Amen, brutha. O'Rourke will sign copies of Eat the Rich at Barnes & Noble, 14999 Preston and Belt Line, at 7:30 p.m. Call (972) 386-5898.