This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, September 4
Our favorite board games from childhood involved brightly colored mats and cute little place markers. We loved Candyland. But we wouldn't call it art. The Mexican children's game called Loteria, however, appears in visual art, but--in addition to being colorful--it has meaning behind it, with cards marked with items and ideas such as the moon (La Luna) and death (La Muerte). Inspired by a recent exhibit of Loteria-inspired art at the Bath House Cultural Center, Denton's Texas Woman's University is hosting Las Loterias, an exhibition of art with imagery from the game created by six female artists. The participants, who include Maria Teresa Garcia Pedroche and Viola Delgado, weave childhood memories and other personal narrative into Las Loterias. The show opens Thursday with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the University Gallery of Art with Mexican folk dancing at 6:30 p.m. and a talk by Enrique Fernando Cervantes from the Bath House at 7 p.m. A lecture-recital of flamenco music follows at 8 p.m. in the Margo Jones Auditorium. The exhibit is open through September 26. Call 940-898-3456.

Friday, September 5
Palestine is a name found often in the world news section, but not in the film reviews. But this weekend Dallas hosts its first Palestinian Film Festival with three days of films and related events at Southern Methodist University and FunAsiA. But don't expect the normally obligatory doses of romantic comedies and retro spy stories. The films shown are either documentaries or dramas that play like fleshed-out docs. Everything is about war, as war is their life. One focus of the fest is People and the Land, about the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Filmmaker Tom Hayes will be present Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a screening and discussion accompanied by dinner, comedy, dance and music at FunAsiA, 1210 E. Belt Line Road in Richardson. Tickets are $25. The film part of the festival runs Friday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day in SMU's McCord Auditorium inside Dallas Hall at Hillcrest and Daniel. Fifteen films will be shown over the three days. Admission is $10. There will also be live music, dance performances and appearances by other casts and crews. For info, visit the Web site at www.united4PnJ.com.

Saturday, September 6
We cherish the idea of a spa day for pets, but mostly because we're pretty sure anyone who tried to give our cats a facial or make them walk on a treadmill would face a demise similar to the killer rabbit attack scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That's probably why they stick to dogs. The Beneful Smart Spa for Dogs returns with pooch pampering in the form of facials, pedicures, nutrition advice and fitness training. Dog expert and Beneful spokeswoman Pam Dickens will speak along with local pet-care experts. They like to refer to it as spoiling pups the "smart way." We like to think of it as a way for people to get paid to give dogs facials. Amazing. The Smart Spa is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at White Rock Lake Park's Doran Circle, Northwest Highway at Buckner Street.

When good pianos go bad: Matthew Barney's "The Cloud Club," now on display at the DMA
When good pianos go bad: Matthew Barney's "The Cloud Club," now on display at the DMA

Sunday, September 7
If visual art had the kind of fans that Star Wars does, there would already be people lining up around the space where the Nasher Sculpture Center will open next month. Maybe they'd have costumes, perhaps dressing in tin foil as a metal sculpture. But that hasn't happened. So here's the second-best marketing idea: Celebrating Sculpture: Modern and Contemporary Works From Dallas Collections. The Dallas Museum of Art presents several galleries of sculpture installations showing off its own vaulted treasures, plus those of Dallas patrons, to get ready for the Nasher opening. It's a diverse collection, ranging from now-classic pieces by Rodin and Degas to recent works by "emerging" artists such as filmmaker Matthew Barney (whose sculpture "The Cloud Club" was recently purchased by the DMA). There's also homeboy Erik Swenson's furry, funny, nearly real mythical beasts. Celebrating Sculpture opens Sunday and runs through March 28 at 1717 N. Harwood St. Call 214-922-1200.

Monday, September 8
Kick off the first Monday Night Football of the regular season the right way. Start the night with a reception for an exhibit of antique books and Bibles at Southern Methodist University. C'mon, it will give you something to discuss during halftime. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., SMU's Bridwell Library at the Perkins School of Theology hosts a reception honoring Peter Schoeffer: Printer of Mainz, a new exhibit featuring Schoeffer's masterpieces, including the first books to bear a printed date, use Greek type, reprint classic literature (Cicero's De Officiis) and use color printing. All of the volumes date from 1457 to 1503. It's also International Literacy Day. See, more tidbits to share while refilling the chip bowl and wiping up spilled beer. The exhibit runs through December 8.

Tuesday, September 9
The "landmarks" we always remember from car trips through Oklahoma include billboards for the Arbuckle Wilderness safari park, water towers painted with names of "famous" people we didn't recognize and all those signs for Choctaw Indian bingo. Then suddenly there it was: the bingo palace, a giant neon-covered mirage after miles and miles of grass and rocks. We can understand how it would interfere with life in any neighborhood, let alone the traditional sort on a reservation. And that's the catalyst in Margaret Coel's latest American Indian mystery novel, Killing Raven, once again featuring Father John O'Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden. The duo begins investigating a casino recently built on the Wind River Reservation after a body is found in a remote area near it. There's fraud, murder and a band of "rangers" who want to shut down the casino for the good of the reservation's residents. Coel will sign her new novel and discuss it and the others in the O'Malley/Holden series at 7 p.m. at Borders Books and Music, 4613 S. Hulen, Fort Worth. Call 817-370-9473.

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