Sometimes, the most basic images are the most striking. For example, about three years ago video director Spike Jonze--known for his work with the Beastie Boys and Weezer--created one of the most interesting music videos in recent years with a clip that consisted of little more than a lone man sprinting down a crowded city street. Of course, the man was engulfed in flames, but even with its high shock value, the video (for Wax's "Kalifornia") had a simplicity that set it apart, a mysterious quality that made you want to keep watching, even though the song wasn't that good. Along those same lines, video artist Bill Viola has created a visually riveting sound and video installation--The Crossing--which the Dallas Museum of Art recently acquired. In it, viewers are put into an environment composed of a 14-foot screen depicting a man being devoured by fire and flooded with water, accompanied by a soundtrack that ranges from a whisper to a scream. Viola will lecture about his creation at the DMA's Horchow Auditorium on Thursday at 7 p.m. Kind of takes the mystery out of it, doesn't it? Admission is $5-$7. 1717 N. Harwood St. Call (214) 954-1200.
Cresta won three trophies at the recent Topaz Awards, the pointless awards ceremony to end all pointless awards ceremonies (hopefully). It wouldn't be that noteworthy, except for the fact that Cresta singer Jenny Esping happens to be on the board of directors for the North Texas Music Festival, which, incidentally, also happens to run the Topaz Awards. Como se dice conspiracy? It might've been a scandal if anyone actually gave a damn about the awards. But hey, no one does, so no harm, no foul. Much more troubling is the fact that the band has released its second recording, the Trick EP. It sounds like garbage...oops, Garbage. Plus, their bass player is named Puppy. The band performs at a release party on Friday at Club Clearview. The first 30 people to pay receive a limited-edition promo copy of the disc. Sounds more like a threat. 2806 Elm. Call (214) 939-0077.
The main problem with most of the audience-participatory murder mysteries that various dinner-theater companies stage around town is that there is less mystery than an average episode of Scooby Doo. The latest production by Keith & Margo's Murder Mysteries shouldn't have that problem. In The Four Horsemen: A JFK Assassination Conspiracy Whodunit, the biggest murder mystery of the last century is the subject. While it's doubtful that anyone in the audience will be able to piece together a puzzle that has stumped hundreds of devoted (and pathetic) investigators for the past 35 years, at least you won't be able to figure out who the murderer is before you finish the appetizers. The Four Horsemen: A JFK Assassination Conspiracy Whodunit opens on Friday and plays every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. through November 28. Admission includes a three-course dinner for $35-$39; tickets for the show only are $19. The Hotel Inter-Continental Dallas, 15201 Dallas Parkway in Addison. Call (817) 572-2212.
It seems a bit strange to have an event in Dallas "showcasing everything there is to do on snow," as the press materials accompanying the 15th Annual Skifest and Winter Vacation Celebration say. If you are a skier or snowboarder, the closest place to go is a rump-numbing drive away (don't let the North Texas footage in The X-Files movie fool you), somewhere in New Mexico or Colorado. It snows in the Dallas area about once every two or three years, and it rarely sticks around long enough to enjoy it. Still, if you are planning a winter weekend getaway, the Skifest is probably the best place to go. The event boasts more than 150 exhibits featuring the latest in equipment, apparel, resort information, as well as performances by the MAX-AIR Snowflyers aerial show, a pro in-line skating spectacular, and a presentation of Warren Miller's feature film Freeriders. It'll probably be as close as most Dallasites get to snow this season. Skifest happens at Market Hall, I-35 and Market Center Blvd., Friday through Sunday. Admission is $8.50. Call (800) 831-EXPO.
Most people will never get to go to Madagascar or the Iguana Falls in South America. Some probably wouldn't even want to. After all, yellow fever is not exactly the kind of thing you can clear up with a shot of penicillin and a few painkillers. The latest film at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, The Greatest Places, lets you travel to seven of the most awe-inspiring places in the world, including Greenland, the Namib Desert in Africa, and the Chang Tang Plateau in Tibet, without leaving North Texas. Through aerial and remote-location cinematography, the film captures diverse wildlife, distinctive ecosystems, and exotic people and cultures indigenous to these locales, as well as spectacular landforms and beautiful vistas. The Greatest Places screens exclusively at the Omni Theater at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery St. in Fort Worth, through April 15. Admission is $4-$6. Call (888) 255-9300.
Although the timing of the Dallas Museum of Natural History's latest exhibit strikes us as odd, it still sounds like something that everyone in the family--well, mostly children--will enjoy. Easter would most likely be a more appropriate time for an exhibit devoted to The World of Peter Rabbit: The Art and Science of Beatrix Potter, but now is as good a time as any for kids to be reintroduced to Potter's imaginative characters and stories. The World of Peter Rabbit covers more than 2,500 feet, as young visitors are transformed to Peter Rabbit's size and placed in mean old Mr. McGregor's garden, complete with giant soft-sculpture carrots, radishes, and cabbages, as well as a six-foot-high watering can to hide in. The exhibit also includes interactive computer displays, a gift shop, and actors from the Dallas Children's Theater, who will read The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other classic Potter stories. The World of Peter Rabbit: The Art and Science of Beatrix Potter runs November 14 through January 3 at NorthPark Center. Admission is $1. Call (214) 421-3466.
Perhaps no film has captured the gritty glamour of the party-hard atmosphere of New Orleans better than director Les Blank's 1978 documentary Always for Pleasure. Filmed in the back streets of the city, Blank captures parades, pageants, musicians, drunken Irish marchers, and cooks preparing magnificent feasts of crawfish. His film chronicles the activities of the black Indian tribes in New Orleans whose annual rituals combine work and play, aggression and sensuality, and just about everything else. It's a look at New Orleans that moves beyond the bare breasts and mountains of beads and takes you to the heart of the city. Well worth checking out. The MAC screens Always a Pleasure on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Admission is $3-$5. 3120 McKinney. Call (214) 953-1055.