Friday, July 18
Alex Thomas is Straight Clownin' in his documentary/stand-up performance that's part of Black Cinematheque's Laughing, Lying & Signifying: An African American Comedy Film Festival. Thomas is joined on screen by Tyra Banks, Jamie Foxx, Shaq, Will Smith and Dr. Dre in this film, which shows that having talent and the desire to perform doesn't make entertaining easy. Straight Clownin' demonstrates the difficulty in putting on a stage act. And in this case the difficulty is physically getting to the venue (just the idea of watching this guy search for transportation to his own show makes us laugh). Black Cinematheque cites the film as a comedic turn that rises to the ranks of Eddie Murphy's Raw and similarly iconic performances by Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. Thomas steps on the screen, and hopefully the stage, at 8 p.m. Friday at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh St. Admission is a mere $5. Call 214-426-1683.
Saturday, July 19
It's vacation time, and we've got the trip all planned out: Travel to Crestview, Fourth World in the Goolagong System and see the kingdom guarded by the powerful pandas. There might be some trouble along the lines of a pumpkin guillotine, kidnapping and time travel snags, but Binky, Vivian and Bob will get the group through and back in time for lunch. It's cheap. It's fun. It's for all ages, and, no, we're not crazy. The Plano Repertory Theatre performs David Mamet's sci-fi show for children, The Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock. OK, so maybe it's really Mamet that's a bit off his rocker to come up with a title like that. The production's (part of PRT's children's series) last two performances are Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $8, and the play takes the stage at the ArtCentre Theatre at 1028 E. 15th St. in Plano. Call 972-422-7460.
Sunday, July 20
Nothing goes together like Celtic culture and chimpanzees. What? Now the connection may not make all that much sense, but it doesn't have to, since one benefits the other, and that's always a good thing. RELEAF (Rescuers of Environmental Life, Earth and Animal Foundation) hosts its fourth annual Celtic Festival Benefit, and this year it's Chimp Haven that gets the proceeds for assistance in bringing to life a Shreveport sanctuary for chimpanzees formerly used in biomedical research. Chimp Haven will be on site for presentation as well as an Irish dance troupe and a list of Celtic bands that runs a mile long (that's a bit of blarney). The kids also have their own lineup of activities and entertainment, and that means the entire family can benefit a chimp that probably helped them somewhere along the way in their suffering for medical science. By supporting RELEAF and Chimp Haven, we can all sort of be a monkey's uncle...or sponsor, at least. Stop by the festival at the South Fort Worth American Legion Post 569 at 400 Felix St. from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $2.50 for kids 12 and under. Call 817-913-7047.
Monday, July 21
Mondays are always madness. They mark the beginning of another workweek, two long days before the hump and the downward roll to the weekend. Terilli's Dallas location has something to offer the masses on a mundane Monday, and it involves even more alliteration than that last phrase. Welcome the week with Martini Madness Monday, or at least welcome the night with a nice inexpensive buzz. All day the restaurant offers $2 house martinis (mind you, they use nary a plastic jug, the wells are Bombay and Monopolowa), $2 domestics and $1 off wells, calls and premiums. Not to mention they also provide some delicious fare to soak up the intoxicating spirits. (They make a hell of a piccata, and the chicken Terilli rocks real hard.) The Sam Walker Trio takes the stage Monday so ears get a jazzy treat. Terilli's is located at 2815 Greenville Ave. Call 214-827-3993.
Tuesday, July 22
If you've taken an avocado pit, stuck toothpicks in it and suspended it from the rim of a glass, you've done a bit o' gardening, but you're definitely no botanical pioneer. Now if you were the first person to develop, say, a hydroponics system of growing herbs, some people we know revere you in their blissfully hazy state. On a more sober note, though, Texas has had its share of botanical pioneers, plant perfectionists and herb heroes. On Tuesday, Barney Lipscomb, a chair at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and author, will tell us all about them. The program, Botanical Pioneers of Texas: Past, Present & Future, covers gardening greats from the past and present and offers thoughts on the future, plus a stroll through the Benny Simpson Texas Native Plant Collection for a look at today's botanical research. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Reservations are required for this free event, so call 214-428-7476.
Wednesday, July 23
We still know the lyrics to Tom T. Hall's "Sneaky Snake," and we have memories of having a pet grass snake named Randy. Somewhere, however, in between second grade and age 21, we acquired an unrelenting phobia of the slithering creatures. The respect for the creature is still there, but the affinity for handling them and building snake condos in the back yard is long gone. Maybe Miss Jo can help. She's bringing a reptile buddy to the Dallas Children's Museum for Reptile Round Up dedicated to Sneaky himself. Not only can we learn about snakes--crafts for the kids include making snakes, tube binoculars and foot painting. Accompany a youngster and see first hand the odd contrast of the courage of the young and, if we go, the stammering, stumbling wimpiness of us "adults." The museum is located at 308 Valley View Center. The round up is free with regular admission and begins at 10 a.m. with additional shows at 10:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 12:50 and 1:50 p.m. Call 972-386-6555.