Friday, May 16
Modern art is frequently difficult, brutal and sterile. It leaves us wondering to ourselves, "Why?" instead of making us burst with a sense of wonder and awe. Our favorite antidote is Nic Nicosia, the local (but internationally respected) photographer and filmmaker who never fails to wow us, whether he's leading us around and around a neighborhood until we feel at home and yet solitary or letting us peek into someone's house, seeing things we perhaps shouldn't. His latest photographic series--the first one in about seven years not based on film or video--contains 10 of his staged photographs. More surreal than voyeuristic, the photographs are inviting rather than isolating like some recent works. The exhibit, which also contains a new film, opens Friday with an artist's reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and continues through June 14. Joseph Havel's Toy, Dream, Rest also opens Friday. Dunn and Brown Contemporary, 5020 Tracy St. Call 214-521-4322.
Saturday, May 17
Our pets eat from mismatched bowls and drink tap water. Unchilled, even. We know; we're horrible people. If you can't treat your pet like the laziest, most spoiled child from the 'burbs, you shouldn't be allowed to care for animals. But it's worse than you've imagined: They're home right now. Alone. No nanny. By themselves. But that doesn't have to happen anymore. Now there's Pet Stay and Play, a doggy day-care and boarding facility (with soothing music in the sleeping areas and a limited number of private rooms). And it's throwing a party to introduce pet owners to its play rooms with couches and TVs (nicer than ours, we might add) and outdoor playgrounds with toys and a giant fire hydrant. The party--with games and treats for pets and owners--is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and also includes a costume contest for most "creatively garbed pet." Sorry, folks, the ballerina costume from PetCo just won't do. Save that one for tomorrow night. Pet Stay and Play, 1114 N. Denton Road near Belt Line and Interstate 35. Call 972-466-3653.
Sunday, May 18
A stereotypical group of ladies gathering for afternoon tea might be found carousing in white lace gloves with violet-print china on starched white tablecloths and doilies. But no proper Southern lady from the '50s would ever be caught dead chillin' with aliens obsessed with Elvis. But that's what makes fiction fun. Playwright Werner Trieschmann's play, The Tea Ladies, transports three women (with the help of a Martian) to the future. While trying to find their ways home, they learn about the future, modern longings for the simplicity of the past and what it's like not to fit in. Ground Zero Theater Company presents a stage reading of The Tea Ladies at 7 p.m. at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, 5601 Sears St. in the Greenville Avenue Center for the Arts. Admission is free, and a discussion with the playwright, actors and directors follow. Call Ground Zero at 214-339-0585.
Monday, May 19
Our favorite mask from childhood was Wonder Woman. Put on that plastic face with the elastic string (that always got tangled in our hair) and--pow!--we were the most beautiful, ferocious, awesomest girl in the world. In other cultures, masks usually represent animals and, like our kiddy playthings, they're given qualities that the wearer then takes on himself. The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary presents 26 African masks (taken from a collection of more than 100 belonging to McKinney biologist Jay Pruett) as the exhibit Animal Masks. Children may like the creature faces, but parents will be drawn to the craftsmanship. Both will understand what it would be like to wear the masks--strong like an elephant or fast like a cheetah--and how other people used them in ceremonies and rituals. The exhibit runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through July 27 at Heard, One Nature Place, McKinney. Admission is $5 to $8 but free for kids under 3. Call 972-562-5566.
Tuesday, May 20
Dr. Fred Pescatore says he holds the key for banishing sniffles, sneezes, wheezes and ha-choos forever. And he's nice enough to share it in his book The Allergy and Asthma Cure: A Complete 8-Step Nutritional Program. Let's do a comparison: A box of 24 tablets of over-the-counter allergy relief is $5; Pescatore's book is $25. Antihistamines require a few minutes reading the small-print directions on the back of the box; Pescatore's plan involves reading about 250 pages of meal plans (with low-carb recipes), tests, reviews, food restrictions and more. But, hey, singer/songwriter Roberta Flack testifies that he's "truly a healer." We guess he kept those pesky allergies from killing her softly. Pescatore will sign The Allergy and Asthma Cure at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Park, 7700 W. Northwest Highway. Call 214-739-1124.
Wednesday, May 21
Countless episodes of Scooby Doo taught us that there are no such things as ghosts. They're just really naíve criminals who think a white sheet, a spooky whistle and a strobe light can convince everyone else otherwise. But in the town of Lily Dale, New York, ghosts are respected members of the community and a large part of its industry. (And it has nothing to do with linens or meddling kids.) In Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead, reporter Christine Wicker visits this famous area, which caters to visitors in search of spiritual mediators between this world and the afterworld. A landmark in the Spiritualism movement, Lily Dale has been visited by the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Mae West and Upton Sinclair, plus millions of unfamiliar names and faces. Wicker, a Baptist herself, doesn't shed her religion or her skepticism following her time spent after staying in this town known for people who communicate with the dead. But she does admit to wanting to believe even when she just couldn't. Wicker will discuss and sign her book at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Park, 7700 W. Northwest Highway. Call 214-739-1124.