A cinematic formula perfected by John Sayles in 1980 (in the form of The Secaucus 7): A group of old friends/time-sharers/students retreats to a house/hideaway/mansion, and mayhem/sexual catastrophe/murder inevitably ensues. Sayles kicked off the trend, which now has feelers extended into horror (Evil Dead--yeah, it's a stretch, but look at the formula), teen farce (American Pie 2) and, of course, other adult contemporary flicks (The Big Chill, Peter's Friends and even Gosford Park). With a large cast of well- or unknowns, there's many an option for miscommunication, infidelity and the occasional injury. Indie filmmakers Paul Leaf and John Courshon adhered to this method in their film-festival favorite God, Sex and Apple Pie. The tagline? "3 Days, 9 Friends, 1 Pair of Handcuffs." See, we told you so--weekend trip, old buddies and mayhem. The modern-day homage to Sayles serves as part of the Dallas Film Series on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Studio Movie Grill, 5405 Belt Line Road. Check out www.studiomoviegrill.com for tickets.
Friday, February 27
We're not really clear how kids are not frightened of a character with an enormous head of cheese, olive eyeballs and bacon eyebrows. Even in our adulthood, the Stinky Cheeseman, though quite a children's literature tour de force, is a touch creepy in all his disproportion. (And the name: Is that pronounced "cheese man" or "cheeseman," like Friedman and other last names?) But who are we to ruin the big stink for the kiddies with our too-analytical, grown-up mind-set? The title character from Jon Scieszka's Caldecott Award-winning tale The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales arrives for a 7 p.m. story time at Barnes & Noble, 2601 Preston Road in Frisco, on Friday. Not only is the opportunity to rub elbows with the famous dairy-headed one completely free, but high fives, hugs and photos with Mom's camera are complimentary as well. Call 972-688-2820.
Saturday, February 28
It's difficult to keep cultural traditions in active play in our speedy civilization, not to mention keeping mother tongues up to par in an English-speaking society. Thus, the Academy of Bangla Arts & Culture organized the Multicultural Children's Show 2004 so children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds can celebrate their culture instead of being teased about it on the playground. The production features two segments with performances by ABAC, Celtic group Amberhawke, Aztec Dance Group, West African group Kumaasi and others on the day that UNESCO has named International Mother Language Day. The academy expects more than 125 children to participate and the opportunity for an annual event. Help kick-start the cultural habit on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Tickets are $5 per person. Call 972-252-ARTS.
Sunday, February 29
There's a little song we like to sing as we nestle into the couch at night, and it goes a little something like this: Thank you for the TiVo/Thank you for the great DVD/All our favorite cable series/They are ours conveniently/We've season one of The Office/Some of Sex and the City/And now that lovely Showtime/Has QAF season three. It's a nice little ditty, but you really have to hear the symphonic arrangement. It's also wholly appropriate as we stand in line for the Queer as Folk DVD boxed set signing on Sunday at 2 p.m. We can momentarily forget our sadness over the final episode of Sex and the City as we glean Sharpied signatures from Queer stars Randy Harrison, Scott Lowell and Peter Paige. Justin, Ted and Emmett (as we know them on the screen) take the table at Borders Books & Music, 5500 Greenville Ave. at Lovers Lane. Call 214-739-1166.
Monday, March 1
We're of the "try anything once" persuasion...when it comes to vittles. Show us a buffet and we're all over it. It's not that we're gluttons or anything; we just really get into the whole bite-of-this, dab-of-that style of eating. Akin to the six-small-meals-a-day scenario, this taster's choice setup lets us pick and choose, prevents us from committing to a dish we don't really like and, thankfully, helps us keep tabs on the fullness of our happy bellies. This is why we turn to a suburb up north and say, "Hello, Taste of Plano!" Not only can we sample from more than 40 area restaurants, but we can dance some of the calories off and bid on silent and live auctions--all to benefit the Plano ISD Career Education Scholarship Fund. Tickets for the shindig Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Southfork Ranch are $17 for adults and $8 for kids grades K through 12. Call 469-752-8009.
Tuesday, March 2
When it comes to wine, we're no experts. We do know that in one evening it is not wise to mix the colors, that we shouldn't drink three bottles among the same number of people and if it comes in a box or "minis," it probably isn't for us. Or anyone, for that matter. In an attempt to educate ourselves on the great grape libation, we would love to venture to a warm and breezy vineyard, but with our meager earnings, we feel the Wine Market and More can better serve our needs with its $20 Spanish Wines Class. Senior wine consultant James McFadyen will let us sip on some Spanish goodness and learn a bit about the region. Maybe after this class we can choose a bottle based on more than the label design. Hit the shop at 7 p.m. at 3858 Oak Lawn Ave. Call 214-219-6758.