The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs sounds like a great idea. Pianists with a love for music greater than their skills, training, or opportunities can compete on an equal ground with others who have chosen another profession over music. However, these competitors aren't the kind of "amateurs" we had in mind. Sure, there is a minimum age of 30. And, granted, the people have jobs such as art critic, mathematician, news anchor, and philosophy professor--but they're amateur musicians only in the way Olympians are amateur athletes. Their amateur experience includes degrees in music and performing with and conducting orchestras. One guy even gave piano lessons to composer Philip Glass in college. Preliminaries, June 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 3 p.m.-7 p.m.; June 11, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 3 p.m.-5 p.m., 8 p.m.-11 p.m., $5-$25. Competitor discussion panel, June 12, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., free. Semifinals, June 12, 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m., $10-$15. Finals, June 13, 3 p.m.-8 p.m., $20. Bass Performance Hall, 330 E. 4th St., Fort Worth. Call (817) 212- 4280.
Poor Johnnie Gray can't fight in the Civil War, because he's too valuable as a train engineer. His girlfriend, Annabelle Lee, thinks he's a coward, but he proves her wrong when he must venture into enemy territory to save her and his beloved engine The General, which is stolen by enemy soldiers with Annabelle on board. Sounds like the standard, unoriginal movie plot, right? Nowadays it is, but The General is the original 1927 silent comedy starring Buster Keaton. Known mostly for his amazing feats of physical comedy, Keaton also co-wrote and co-directed The General, using fewer than 50 title cards to tell the whole story. The General is known for its comic chase scene through the narrow-gauge train lines of Oregon. Forbidden Books, Videos & Music and the Dallas Video Association are sponsoring a screening of the movie, which DJ Planet Skippy will re-score as it is being shown. 10 p.m. Free. XPO Lounge, 408 Exposition Ave. Call (214) 821-9554.
The Michael Johnson/Ray Crockett Celebrity Basketball Game is open to the public this year, which means that anyone who can get a seat at the game can watch football players play basketball--which has to be more interesting than watching NBA players, at least around these parts. This year's guests are scheduled to include Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis, Tennessee Titans wide receiver Yancey Thigpen, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman, and Dallas Cowboys Kevin Mathis, Izell Reese, and Kevin Smith. Expect lots of penalties for traveling and the occasional tackle, and Kevin Smith might have trouble catching the ball. Still, while they may look a little silly out on the court, it's all for a good cause. The Celebrity Weekend benefits Easter Seals of Greater Dallas and the United Negro College Fund. The Celebrity Weekend also includes a party at 10 p.m. June 12 in the Grand Hall of the Adam's Mark Hotel, 400 N Olive Street. $15. Celebrity Basketball Game: Doors open at noon. Seating is limited. Spectators suggested to arrive early. Game begins at 2:30 p.m. Free. A.J. Loos Athletic Complex, 3815 Spring Valley Road. Call (972) 818-1235.
Night & Day's chi, or life force, must be flowing very smoothly, as this is the second week in a row we've mentioned feng shui, the Chinese art of placement. Usually we'd try to mix up the subject matter a little, but how could we resist when Richard Webster, the New Zealand master of feng shui, is bringing his book tour to the metroplex? Webster has written several books about balancing personal chi with environmental chi, including Feng Shui for Beginners and Feng Shui for the Workplace. He also teaches aura reading, dowsing, astral travel, and Chinese numerology--but who doesn't? During his bookstore visits, he will sign copies of his books and suggest some ways to increase chi, such as adding wind chimes and crystals to a home. June 10, 6:30 p.m., Overtones Bookstore, 800 N. Coit Road, Richardson, (972) 705-9933. June 11, 4 p.m., Enchanted Forest, 6619 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, (817) 446-8385. June 12, 3 p.m., Barnes and Noble, 401 Commerce St., Fort Worth, (817) 332-7178. June 14, 7:30 p.m., Barnes and Noble, 14999 Preston Road, (972) 368-5898. June 15, 7 p.m., Barnes and Noble, 8525 Airport Freeway, North Richland Hills, (817) 281-7042.