We have a simple method when it comes to handicapping horse races: Pick the horse with the funniest name and put all of your money on it. It's not a foolproof method--we've won only once with it since we started going to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, and even then it only netted us $7. Hey, we never said it was good, just simple. However, it's not as simple as it sounds. The names of most thoroughbreds sound as if their owners picked them using the world-renowned close-your-eyes-and-point method. To find the silliest name on a racing form takes skill. Well, we assume it does, seeing as how the method hasn't worked worth a damn so far. We might as well just write a check to Lone Star Park as soon as we arrive on the premises. But that wouldn't be nearly as fun. At least we don't think it would be. Lone Star Park begins its third season of live racing on Thursday. Admission is $2-$5, and parking is $5. Races begin at 6:45 p.m. The park is located at 1000 Lone Star Parkway in Grand Prairie. Call (972) 263-7223.
Don Graham first crossed our path several years ago, when we were attending the University of Texas in Austin. We were enrolled in a course on "Life and Literature in the Southwest," and Graham was the professor. He strolled in 10 minutes late on the first day of class, tanner than George Hamilton, sunglasses on, and announced that everyone could go home; he had just returned from the Bahamas, he said, and wanted to be inside a classroom about as much as we did. We've loved him ever since. And not just for his whimsical way of teaching. Graham's knowledge of Texas literature is exceeded only by his love for it. More important is that he wants you to love it too, and he's so enthusiastic about it, you can't help but try. As part of the Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live series, Graham travels north this week to lead a discussion and retrospective on Texas author Cormac McCarthy's career. The discussion, titled "Outlaw Heart: Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy," will focus on the El Paso author's most popular trio of novels, including The Crossing, Cities of the Plain, and All the Pretty Horses, currently in the process of being brought to the big screen by director Mike Nichols. By the end of the evening--which also features contributions by Raphael Parry, Tom Staley, and others--you'll know more about Cormac McCarthy than you thought you needed to. And you'll want to know more. The event happens on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the DMA's Horchow Auditorium, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $13-$15. Call (214) 922-1220 or (214) 922-1219.
We can't tell you whether the Lean Theater's latest production, The Road to Nirvana, is any good or not; we haven't seen it yet, and you probably wouldn't believe us anyway. And we don't even know that much about the play, other than it stars the lovely Nance Watkins, last seen on Dallas stages playing a troubled young woman who thought she was a raccoon. Or something like that. All we have to go on is the press release the Lean Theater sent us, which was fairly vague, yet intriguing nevertheless. The gist: The biggest female rock star in the world has written a screenplay of her life, and two producers are interested, except for one thing--she's calling it Moby Dick, and replaced the whale with, uh, something more appropriate for the title. It'll be either one of the funniest and sexiest plays to hit the Dallas theater scene in years, or the live version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Judge for yourself when The Road to Nirvana opens this week at Theatre Too! (the downstairs basement space at Theatre Three), 2800 Routh in the Quadrangle. The play previews on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and begins its regular run on Saturday. Performances happen Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10-$12. Call (214) 871-3300.
There's a chance we've said this before, but we can't stress this point enough: Brian Regan is the funniest comedian working today. Maybe we enjoy him so much onstage because that's the only place we'll ever see him. He's not an actor, and there's not a shot that his act will ever become the basis of his own sitcom. He's just a comedian, and he's damn good at it. And he works clean, like Jerry Seinfeld, except he's, you know, funny. If you don't believe us, check out his 1997 comedy album, simply titled Live, for further evidence. Over the course of 24 loosely connected riffs, Regan turns a severe lack of self-esteem into one of the funniest routines you'll ever hear. But that's missing half the fun of Regan's routine, the bits of physical comedy and subtle facial gestures that can push even the most overdone material (Hey Brian, everyone sucked in Little League) over the top. Trust us, don't miss him. Regan appears at the Improv, 4980 Belt Line in Addison, Friday through Sunday. Shows happen on Friday at 8:30 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m.; and Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12-$15. Call (972) 404-8501.