Thursday, April 1

We've been told that to appreciate NASCAR and not see it as cars driving in circles, we must attend a race. Only then, schooled by a fan of the sport, will we fully understand the skill behind pit strategy, the technology of cars going really fast for a really long time, the role of aerodynamics, something called a "point system" and the sheer endurance of risking your life behind a wheel. We'll get our chance this weekend when Texas Motor Speedway hosts the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 and Samsung/Radioshack 500, plus many, many related qualifying rounds, special races and rally events Thursday through Sunday. The speedway is located at 3601 Highway 114, between Denton and Alliance Airport on Interstate 35 East. Tickets for Saturday's 300 race are $24 to $67, and admission to the 500 race on Sunday is $40 to $125. Call Ticketmaster at 214-373-8000 or the speedway ticket office at 817-215-8500 for $10 qualifying-round tickets for Thursday and Friday.

Friday, April 2

What can you say about J. Peterman? He used a eulogy for an employee who committed suicide to discuss his sexual past with her and plundered tribes for items he could mass-produce for his mail-order store. Well, the fictionalized version of J. Peterman played by John O'Hurley on Seinfeld did, anyway. The real J. Peterman, who runs the fake-antiques store known as J. Peterman, has not done these things (as far as we know). But he will speak about his furniture line, which includes drool-worthy pieces such as the Tuscan Sideboard and 1930s Modern Armchair, by Jeffco at 7 p.m. Friday at Robb & Stucky, 7240 N. Dallas Parkway, Plano. Call 972-403-3000.

Saturday, April 3

No offense to Jackson Pollock fans, but we just don't "get" him. We know we should, educated, forward-thinking adults that we consider ourselves. But we just have to wonder how many other people splashed some paint on a canvas, thought "no one's going to buy this" and went back to realistic-looking artwork. Pollock just seems so...lucky. We feel more akin to Medardo Rosso, an Italian Impressionist sculptor and a tortured perfectionist after our heart. In his career, he produced fewer than 50 primary sculptures. Then he spent years recasting and reworking them, producing more than 400 variations on the original 50. But he did something right. His works were important in the evolution of sculpture, changing realism with his sketchy works, expanding the use of materials and making wax as important as bronze in casting. See his evolution through 20 sculptures and the three to four variations of each in Medardo Rosso: Second Impressions at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., beginning Saturday. The exhibit runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, plus 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, through June 20. Admission is $5 to $10. Call 214-242-5100.

Sunday, April 4

While Ireland has wearing green and drinking beer, Scotland has wearing plaid and eating haggis. Alcohol or something traditionally made using the stomach of a sheep? It's no wonder St. Patrick's Day has parades, and we, descended from red-headed folk with the last name Bailey, didn't even know America had an official Tartan Day for paying homage to Scottish roots. Since 1998, April 6 (the date the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320, giving Scotland territorial rights from England) has been the day to shout about those Scottish roots. Half Price Books on Northwest Highway is starting the celebration early with events from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the community room. Activities include bagpipe and fiddle music, recitation of poetry by Robert Burns, a workshop on Highland folk dance and, of course, haggis (but this one will be made with beef). Admission is free at 5803 E. Northwest Highway. Call 214-379-8000.

Monday, April 5

If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, then The Matrix is possibly one of the best movies ever made. Well, the special effects at least. Those slow-motion fight scenes have been ripped off and parodied and have also become the inspiration for movies from Spider-Man to Shrek to Underworld. Years from now The Matrix just won't seem as cool and revolutionary because everyone else will have done it by then. So prove your devotion now by buying The Matrix Revolutions, the final part of the trilogy, the minute it goes on sale. The Plano Best Buy location at 2800 N. Central Expressway is hosting The Matrix Revolutions party Monday night with lineup beginning at 10:30 p.m. There will be prize giveaways, including a coat and sunglasses like the ones worn by Neo in the movie. Also, the first 50 people in line receive one of The Matrix Revolutions CD cases. One minute after midnight, fans will be able to purchase the movie, which officially goes on sale Tuesday in the form of a two-disc DVD with special features such as documentaries, games and behind-the-scenes footage. Call the store at 972-578-8000.

Tuesday, April 6

Dear Athens, Greece, we're very proud of you for hosting the 2004 summer Olympics. But, please, feel our pain. For what awaits us, besides several medals, is a month of jokes based on My Big Fat Greek Wedding in newspaper stories, headlines, newscasts and talk shows. It's just not fair. But those who want to know more about Greece than Olympics broadcast filler and Hollywood films that play on stereotypes can race over to the Dallas Children's Museum for the new exhibit Greek Village. The addition to the permanent collection is a kid-friendly replica of a Greek village where children can learn about the language, food, music, games, history and more through displays and activities such as mosaic making, shopping, cooking and participating in Olympic games. The exhibit is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays at Valley View Center. Admission is $3 for adults, $4 for children 2 to 12, $2 for seniors and free for kids under 2. Call 972-386-6555.

Wednesday, April 7

Here's a tip that bridal shows don't offer to just-engaged couples as they prepare for their big day: Don't go see Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or its more comic variation, Marriage Play. The once-in-love couples in each--during four acts in Who's and one in Marriage--show how affection and tolerance can turn into resentment and sadism as they try to embarrass, weaken and defeat their other halves. During these game-like interactions, the pairs reveal not just their histories, but also how each reacted to them and what they see in the future. WingSpan Theatre company performs Marriage Play through April 24 with a preview 8 p.m. Wednesday. The rest of the run includes performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, plus a 2 p.m. matinee on April 17 and an 8 p.m. show Wednesday, April 21. Tickets are $10 for the preview and $12 to $17 for the rest of the run. The April 21 show is pay-what-you-can. Bath House Culture Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Call 972-504-6218.

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