This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, October 2
Without high school marching band, we might never have known the glory of "You Can Call Me Al" and "Crocodile Rock." But thanks to our state-funded training, we can now delight fellow restaurant patrons with our sing-a-long renditions to the Muzak. And it helped in other ways, too. There's discipline, working as a team and being a gracious loser. Not to mention getting grass stains out of polyester and walking in a straight line. The Texas Music Project, a statewide initiative trying to "support, strengthen and restore" music education in public schools, wants generations of kids to have similar experiences. To raise money for the project, Kacy Crowley, Ruthie Foster and Houston Marchman will perform at the Gypsy Tea Room, 2548 Elm St. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $40 for reserved table seating and $150 for the deluxe package, which includes dinner at Sambuca, valet parking, reserved table seating at the show and drinks, and can be purchased at Gypsy and Front Gate Tickets. All proceeds benefit the Texas Music Project. Doors open at 7 p.m. for those 17 and up only. Call 214-74-GYPSY.

Friday, October 3
Visiting the International Gem & Jewelry Show is kind of like shopping at Sam Moon, only the jewels are real and it takes more than a $30 minimum to get out the door. The touring extravaganza features more than 300 vendors selling fine jewelry, plus costume jewels, estate pieces and items such as handbags, watches and beaded shawls. Each show also features the museum stuff that you're not allowed to even breathe near, and this year's is a 171-carat diamond necklace that once belonged to the Duchess of Marlborough (formerly Consuelo Vanderbilt) and her granddaughter Lady Sarah Spencer Churchill. The show is open noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 N. Stemmons Freeway. Admission is $6. Those 16 and under are admitted for free. Visit www.intergem.net or call 214-655-6181.

Saturday, October 4
Rhett Miller once crooned, "What's so fine about art?" Judging by how purty his hair looks these days, we bet he knows a lot more about art than we do. But an even better authority is the Cottonwood Art Festival, which presents two festivals a year of fine art. And by "fine" they mean expensive and professional. You won't find birdhouses with beer can roofs or adjustable toe rings embossed with bugle beads. Nope, this festival has "museum-quality" paintings, photographs, sculpture, glassworks and jewelry by more than 200 artists (who were chosen out of 900 candidates). There's also live music, junk sculptures by local teenagers, a hands-on creative activity area and food and drink. The Cottonwood Art Festival is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Cottonwood Park, which is located near Coit Road and Belt Line Road in Richardson. Admission is free. Call 972-744-4580.

The affair of the necklace: The International Gem & Jewelry Show features the 171-carat honker owned by Lady Churchill and her grandmother.
The affair of the necklace: The International Gem & Jewelry Show features the 171-carat honker owned by Lady Churchill and her grandmother.

Sunday, October 5
One day we will be the "crazy lady down the street." We'll have two dozen or more well-fed cats, which will be our only company as we rock in our creaky wooden chair while wearing a garish flower-print muumuu. It's just destiny. What can you expect from someone given the Catholic confirmation name "Francis"? That's as in St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals. To celebrate his feast day and his words about taking care of animals, the McKinney SPCA hosts the Blessing of the Animals. At 3:30 p.m. Father Greg Kelly, a priest of the Franciscan order from St. Gabriel The Archangel Parish, will lead a traditional blessing of everything from, in the SPCA's words, "elephant to fish." Pets must be current on vaccinations and be contained either by leash or carrier. In conjunction, the SPCA is offering microchips for $20 (a discount from the regular $25 fee) from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointments are needed. Both events take place at the SPCA's Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, 8411 FM 720 east of Custer Road. Call 1-888-ANIMALS.

Monday, October 6
We can't find anything cynical, sarcastic or otherwise funny to say about this. And that's a good thing. It means that somewhere beneath our 21st-century world-weary exoskeleton there still beats the heart of the teenage idealist we used to be. We feel sorta like the Grinch on Christmas morning. On Monday, affected families, their supporters and other well-wishers will participate in the 15th Annual North Texas Golf for SIDS Tournament and Auction in support of preventing and educating people about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The day begins with registration at 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch, the tournament, cocktails, dinner and a benefit auction, all of which takes place at the Shady Oaks Country Club, 320 Roaring Springs Road, Fort Worth. Registration for play is $250, which includes supplies and entry to all events. Admission for the dinner and auction is $35 per non-player. Call 817-732-3333 or visit www.infantsurvival.org.

Tuesday, October 7
We imagine that Molly Ivins is the friend you'd love to have and also the friend you'd love to hate. She'd never lie and say, "No, really, your ass looks great poured into those skin-tight, double-knit pants," or, "You're right; frosting your hair is coming back into style." Some people call her "mean." We prefer "sassy." And it's funny as long as it's not directed at us. But her favorite target is George W. Bush. Her latest bull's-eye is Bushwacked. Whereas Shrub followed Dubya's time as governor, this one puts his first term as president within the range finder. While she covers the same stories told again and again (tax cuts, Iraq, Enron, etc.), she doesn't rehash from others' stories or her own syndicated columns. Ivins will sign and discuss Bushwacked at Borders Books & Music, 10720 Preston Road, at 7 p.m. Call 214-363-1977.

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