This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, January 15
It may not be on display like ours, but we'll bet it's there. Somewhere in the house there is a toy (old or new) that is special. An item that is so important, no matter what spring cleaning occurs, the toy is staying come hell or high water. Ours: a beanbag Snoopy that's been through several ear reattachments. Yours: could be a first Luke Skywalker, original Fisher-Price man or a Buck Rogers figure. Our mom still has a creepy Kewpie doll we can't even look at, but, dammit, she loves it. So what Gray Matters Gallery, 113 N. Haskell Ave., is trying to say with its group show Island of Lost Toys is that these seemingly immature objects are important and have a place in art as well as our child psyches. The gallery asks, "Where do those toys go?" And artists such as Paul Beck, Julie Ross, Tom Sale and Brian Scott answer with "Right here in this profound and yet innocent work of art, thanks very much." The exhibit runs through January 31, so go and justify those young-hearted collections we know you have. Call 214-824-7108.

Friday, January 16
Look, it's been really great. The time we had was totally special; it's just that, well, the spark has...no, uh, what I mean is...it's just time to go those separate ways, you know? Sound familiar? While we're not exactly sure that those words were actually uttered, a famed Dallas duo break their ties to pursue separate ventures. Lugo and Long, the longtime comedic pair, are calling it quits so Lugo can crack a few smiles in NYC and Long can create a new comedy troupe here in Big D. But they won't go without having the last word. Friday (and Saturday) at 11:15 p.m. kicks off the string of final performances as the L's launch into their R-rated Lugo and Long's Last Standat their venue of choice, Pocket Sandwich Theatre at 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane. And, yes, just like the rest of us mid-breakup, they promise to keep in touch and remain friends. Call 214-821-1860.

Saturday, January 17
These are a few of our favorite things: paper, pulp/camp art and el pulpo, the Spanish word for octopus. Blissfully combining all three, Plush gallery, 1410 S. Akard St., dives into yet another unusual exhibit combining a works-on-paper invitational, vintage mags and an opening-night fashion show that incorporates performers in categories of "Illusion," "Artistic Evening Wear," "Creative Costume" and "White Canvas." And did we mention it's drag? The "tentacles of pulp/camp" extend with a reception at 7 p.m. Saturday to open the show running through January 31. The fashion show begins at 10 p.m. with an 18-and-up restriction and a $5 fee. Artists include Randall Garrett, Michael Wynne and others with performances by Tina Turner (Jenae' Whitney St. Jaymes), Divine (Amy Zahn) and others. Now maybe we have only four limbs to the octopus' eight, but if we don't get to el pulpo, we're definitely suckers (insert rim shot here). Call 214-498-5423.

Sunday, January 18
Kitka, while being awfully fun to say, is also a world-renowned women's vocal ensemble. They've been featured on the soundtrack of Braveheart and have performed on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and NPR's Performance Today. Able to perform dissonances and asymmetric rhythms as easily as lush complementary harmonies in their Eastern European vocals, Kitka offers sacred and secular melodies rich with tradition but far from bland or predictable. Plus, for those nay-saying hubbies out there, if there were a magazine called Scarborough Babe, every member of Kitka would belong there. She sits and listens, he stares and daydreams, and Sunday is a happy day for all at the 7:30 p.m. performance at Saint Rita Catholic Community, 12521 Inwood Road. Tickets are $15 and $20 and are available at the door. Call 972-934-8388.

Monday, January 19
Feeling like that karma just ain't hitting the mark? Love the color red? Still in the giving spirit after the holidays? Get thine ass (should it be 17 or older, at least 110 pounds and in good health) to the Donor Room at the Red Cross Blood Center, One Medical Parkway, Suite 109, in Farmers Branch, today (call for an appointment) between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sure, we're scared of needles and most other blood-sucking things (vampires, leeches, what have you), but there is this amazing trick that after years of research, we now feel confident enough to print: Don't look. Rich, isn't it? Since all blood levels are currently at a less-than-one-day supply, we feel it's time to suck it up, turn our cheek and, well, let the Red Cross suck it on up, too. Blood levels are dropping, so rise to the challenge. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.

Tuesday, January 20
Long about the late '50s and early '60s, some filmmakers said, "Enough with the daunting narration and flowing pans, let's get some grit, some shake and some realism up in this." Thus, "direct cinema" was born (nonfiction but similar to the French cinema verité for all you film nerds). Edgy and revolutionary, Robert Drew, Albert Maysles, DA Pennebaker, Richard Leacock and Frederic Wiseman took their handheld cameras and true-time sound recordings and broke through the boundaries of the uptight documentary. The Video Association of Dallas honors these pioneers with the eight-part screening and lecture series American Verite: A Direct Cinema Movement. The first installment features the film Primary by Drew, Leacock, Pennebaker and Maysles on the JFK and Hubert Humphrey presidential campaigns. Drew is in attendance at the screening Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Magnolia Lounge at Fair Park. Tickets are $8 to $10 (or $65 for the entire series). Call 214-428-8700 or check out www.dallasvideo.org.

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