In college, there was always an event stapled or taped to a lamppost or bulletin board to rescue the disenchanted, lonely or just plain bored. A poetry slam, live music night, an indie film screening. The appeal was fleeting, and attendance was often bleak (unless they were showing Spinal Tap or The Breakfast Club). And somehow the only person truly interested in the event and meeting new people always got stuck on the couch with the couple making out. The kids over at the Student Union & Activities Advisory Board at the University of Texas at Dallas got it right this time with the Underground Poetry Circus. The event combines all of the usual Student Union tricks with the addition of an animated "ringmaster." Films, performance and music all in one place that's less aggressive and more amiable than the bar scene. Admission to the monthly gig is a student-friendly zilch, and it all starts at 10 p.m. in The PUB on campus at 2601 N. Floyd in Richardson. Head out for a little continuing education and entertainment. Call 972-883-6438.
The foosball basics, as we've experienced, are as follows: Beer always helps, don't play after the sweaty-palmed, girls almost always desperately spin the rods and the ball does, in fact, leave a mark after making high-speed contact with a forehead. But then, we're amateurs. We need our liquid confidence, and we grip the handles too tightly as we spin the hell out of our little players. And that part about the forehead knot? Firsthand information. That said, the Third Annual $3,000 Vegas Warm-up Foosball Tournament at Pugsley's Library is still our destination Friday as it's open to the public--and, more important, to all skill levels. Better yet, the tourney is free to watch and only $5 to $30 to play. The games kick off at 9 p.m., and the competition continues through Sunday at 2443 Walnut Hill Lane. Call 972-243-1111.
The initial allure of the classic carnival was the colorful and dramatic banners. When the trucks rolled into town and tents went up, the lines started to form at a front gate typically flanked with depictions of the astounding, shocking and world-famous attractions inside. Banner artists gave the bearded ladies, snake boys and fortunetellers enormous calling cards and a sort of infamous version of a marquee. Webb Gallery, 209-211 W. Franklin, gives us a reason to make like a carnie and caravan to Waxahachie for Sideshow, an exhibit of vintage carnival banners by artists such as Snap Wyatt, Fred Johnson and Bob Wicks of Coney Island fame plus contemporary ones by Glen C. Davies. Saturday's opening party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. also features the "Sultan's favorite belly dancer," Tamra Henna. It's free, so we can all save our green for the gas tank. Call 972-938-8085.
Dad has a secret that will never pass from his lips--or the fire-proof safe--no matter what form of coercion, torture or pleading is inflicted upon him. All we know of it is venison and cumin. The rest of his beloved chili recipe is beyond the clamoring reach of humanity. Hence, Father Chili will not be participating in the Super Bowl of Chili's chili cook-off because recipes must be supplied to the judges. The stewy contest is just part of what's safely the biggest Super Bowl party in town. The airplane hangar behind the Outer Marker at 16138 Addison Road will house a DJ, draft beer, a silent auction and two 9-foot projection televisions tuned into the gridiron. The admission of $15 at the door beginning at 3 p.m. leaves plenty of time for entertainment before the 5 o'clock kickoff. All proceeds benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so feel good about playing armchair coach with a draft in hand. Buses provide transportation from Mockingbird Station for $10 per person. Call 214-327-9060.
Dallas has the film-festival scene covered. Deep Ellum, USA, Asian, Indian, gay and lesbian and the list goes on. But what about the sprouting film fans, the toddling Kurasawas and Herzogs? The tykes want a little international flair when the sprockets roll, but they need something that's still kid-friendly. The St. Luke United Methodist Church, 5710 E. R.L. Thornton Freeway, has the answer. Beginning Monday and continuing through Wednesday, it hosts the Children of the Sun Film Festival's screening of films from the African Diaspora. Early enough for school-age kiddos, it starts at 7 p.m., and the good news for parents is that the whole thing is free. Plus, the international vibe means parents won't be stuck with the usual mind-numbing boings, hee hees and creepy voices from purple dinos and other things that shouldn't talk. Call 214-821-2970.
With his chaotic films--The Cremaster Cycle series--and illustration work on display at the Dallas Museum of Art, Matthew Barney seems to be omnipresent. Some artists and art buffs are Barney disciples, and some, like Carolyn Sortor, may consider Barney's work the "greatest achievement in contemporary art" while still throwing a little humor in to her mix of tribute and original art. Her works may poke fun and pay a little homage, but the meanings are still complex, as well as "less male-centric and distinctly funnier." The Conduit Gallery, 1626-C Hi Line Drive, features Sortor's Creamistress 6: The Centered Polenta, a multimedia (meaning video, prints and sculptures) spoof of Mr. Cremaster's renowned works. Sure, go see the Barneys at the DMA, but then check out Sortor's take on the cycle. Decide if "imitation" is indeed flattery. Call 214-939-0064.