If a comedian is described as a "comic's comic," it means only one thing: No one has a clue who he is. Sure, you've probably seen his act a half-dozen times, and maybe even dug it, but you couldn't remember his name even if you were spotted the consonants. These are the comedians that fill the last segment of Late Night With Conan O'Brien or appear on one of the hundreds of stand-up specials on Comedy Central that kill time between episodes of South Park. The best thing they can hope for in their career is their own HBO special, or maybe a wacky-neighbor role on a sitcom starring one of their better-known peers (e.g., Michael Richards). Dave Attell is one of those nameless, faceless comedians, maybe even the best one of them. But as far as careers go, he has likely already hit his highest mark, with one HBO special under his belt, a short stint as a writer on Saturday Night Live, and just enough recognition to headline at comedy clubs around the country. See for yourself when Attell comes to the Improv, 4980 Belt Line in Addison, March 11-14. Maybe you'll remember his name next time. Shows happen at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, and 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12-$15. Call (972) 404-8501.
If The Deathray Davies aren't one of the best new bands in town, they certainly have the best name. But the group is much better than just its clever moniker. Started as a home-recording project by Bedwetter singer-guitarist John Dufilho, the band has since grown to include Peter Schmidt on guitar, Bedwetter bassist Jason Garner, Transona Five's Rachel Smith on keyboards, and drummer Matt Kellum of Chomsky. But the songs on The Deathray Davies' forthcoming CD, Drink With the Grown-Ups and Listen to the Jazz, feature Dufilho on all instruments. In preparation for its upcoming showcase at the annual South by Southwest Music Festival (which Dufilho scored an invite to based only on an unlabeled four-song cassette), the band has finally begun to play live, including a gig at 10 p.m. Friday at the Barley House. Legendary Crystal Chandelier, which also features Schmidt and Dufilho, headlines. $5. The Barley House is located at 2916 N. Henderson. Call (214) 824-0306.
Ross Perot Jr. has a herd of buffalo roaming on the property he owns near DFW Airport. Why? Because he can. When you're that rich, you can have whatever you want. It doesn't matter how strange or impractical it is; if you want it, all it takes is enough cash on the barrelhead. Personally, we've always harbored the dream of owning a bear cub should we ever hit it big. We have no idea what we'd do with it once it was big enough to kill us with one swipe of its paw, but still, we can't help thinking about how cool it would be to walk around our neighborhood with a bear cub on the end of a chain. But it's unlikely that dream will ever become a reality, because we'll probably never make enough money to circumvent all the red tape necessary to make owning a bear worthwhile. We'll just have to envy Perot and his kind from afar. If you're not rich enough to buy your own herd of buffalo and are worried about lingering outside of Perot's compound too long, you can get a good look at some at the Fort Worth Zoo's latest exhibit, Thundering Plains. It features American Bison, Mexican wolves, and wild turkeys roaming free as they once did before we killed most of them and built I-35. The display also features a children's area complete with replicas of turn-of-the-century covered wagons. Admission is $3-$7, and parking is $4. The Fort Worth Zoo is located at 1989 Colonial Parkway. Call (817) 871-7050.
Since the NBA lockout ended a month or so ago, the league and all of its teams have been trying to get back into the good graces of fans. It's a gesture that has more to do with self-preservation than with anything else (no fans equals no money, duh), but it's resulted in some nice moments, even if the motives aren't quite genuine. For example, on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks--along with IKON Office Solutions--are sponsoring the Basketball Shoot-Out, an event that benefits the Bret Bunnett Foundation for the Cure of Paralysis. The highlight of the event is supposedly the "Dallas Hot Shot," pitting players against each other in a shooting contest with a custom-made suit as top prize. But we think the real entertainment will come during the media challenge, when various local sports reporters put their money where their mouths are. There will also be a dunking demonstration by the ever-so-irritating mascot Mavs Man, a celebrity autograph session, and children's activities. It'll take more than this for us to forget the lockout, but it's enough to make us forgive. The IKON Office Solutions Basketball Shoot-Out happens on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at Reunion Arena. Call (214) 891-6800.
The Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live series continues with a full slate of activities. First up, on Thursday, Arts & Letters Live welcomes acclaimed novelist Tim O'Brien, author of two award-winning Vietnam novels, The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato. On Monday, the DMA kicks off the Texas Bound portion of the series--stories by Texas writers read by actors with ties to the Lone Star State--with appearances by Marcia Gay Harden, John Feltch, and Gail Cronauer. And on Wednesday, March 17, the series begins its Literary Cafe at Club Dada, a special St. Patrick's Day reading of fiction and poetry by Irish and Irish-American authors featuring Jac Alder, Peggy Healey, Joan Daeditus, Katherine Owens, and Mayor Ron Kirk. The Thursday and Monday events happen at the DMA's Horchow Auditorium, 1717 N. Harwood, and are sold out. Released tickets may be available 45 minutes before each show for $13-$15. Tim O'Brien's presentation begins at 7:30 p.m., and Texas Bound takes place at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. The Literary Cafe at Club Dada happens at 8 p.m. at Club Dada, 2720 Elm, and is free. Call (214) 922-1220.
More than those of almost any other photographer working today, Jeffrey Silverthorne's photographs are more like mini-films, each frame capturing an entire story in one shot. They're elaborately staged and disturbing creations, at times coming off like stills from David Lynch films. Whether it's blurred edges or skewed shades, there is something not quite right about his work. However, that's what makes it interesting. Some of his photographs will hang at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, 3115 Routh, beginning on March 12 with an artist's reception. The exhibit continues through April 24. Call (214) 969-1852.
It didn't take George Stephanopoulos too long to turn on his former boss, did it? As soon as the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, Stephanopoulos was all over the place, writing scathing articles for Newsweek and blasting President Clinton on CNN, acting as a one-man champion for special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. This, coming from the man once considered Clinton's closest ally, his most trusted advisor. It didn't make much sense, but then again, when was the last time anything in Washington did? Now, Stephanopoulos is on the road pushing All Too Human, his new tell-some book about Clinton and his own years in the White House. He appears at Borders, 10720 Preston at Royal, at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Call (214) 363-1977.