Thanks to his trademark beatnik goatee, Pat Dinizio always looked like the girls prep school literature professor from those 1950s pulp films. Indeed, he is a poet, but not a midcentury one. His skills were proven by his songwriting, which turned out hits such as 1986's "Blood and Roses" and 1988's "Only a Memory" for college radio royalty The Smithereens. The band may have fallen to the grunge, slipping off the radar and touring here and there for cult fan audiences, but Dinizio is still out there inspiring folks. The romantically morbid lyricist hits Fort Worth's Rose Marine Theater, 1440 Main St., for a concert benefiting the new Next Steps Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m. Chris Gonzalez of the Dirt Blazers opens with an acoustic set, and Patrick Rummerfeld, "the only fully recovered quadriplegic," Ironman Triathlete, Antarctic Marathoner and co-founder of Next Steps will also be present for the reception. Tickets are a tax-deductible $50 and include food and drinks. Seats are limited to 250. Visit www.nextstepsfortworth.com.
Friday, September 10
Flying into a city, there's always that bizarre 10 minutes when, as you look out the insulated window, the world below looks like it's really a toyland of tiny figurines. Houses and streets appear as a Richard Scarry scene gone two-dimensional. Argentinean photographer Esteban Pastorino Diaz captures that view in one of three series featured at Photographs Do Not Bend. Diaz's aerial series easily could be mistaken for photos of a community made of miniatures instead of real landscapes shot with a remote control camera from a kite. The works are eerie in the uniformity of houses, but fun in their board-game resemblance. Also on display is a series featuring Argentinean structures at night and a series of contact prints of aerials shot with 120 film. An opening reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday kicks off the exhibition that runs through October 16 at 3115 Routh St. Call 214-969-1852.
Saturday, September 11
Kids today are steadily becoming more independent and, we hate to say it, more self-absorbed. It's too easy to retreat to the computer for fun, avoiding actual people while looking at a screen instead of combing the racks and thumbing through a book. That's why Paul Martin's The Search for the Golden Bone: The Adventures of the Blacktail Kids is a refreshing find (even if we aren't members of his tween audience). Martin details the adventures of Angel and J.J., two dog siblings, as they search the states for that elusive "golden bone." Ah, the parallels to adult humans seeking that ultimate material acquisition. But as opposed to stepping on each other to get ahead, the mates are unselfish, give team-like boosts to each other and persevere as friends instead of competitors. Ah, the contrast with adult humans. The journey also sheds light on stray animals and animal abuse without stepping into preachy prose that kids will shy away from. Martin signs copies of his canine tale at Barnes & Noble, Preston Road at Park Lane in Plano, on Saturday at 2 p.m. Call 972-612-4028.
Sunday, September 12
We aren't really familiar with strikes, but if the cause is worth it, a strike seems appropriate. Considering, though, our top bowling score never climbed past 70 until a fluke game last year, strikes seem pretty damn exciting. And in this case, the cause is right up our alley (sorry, we had to). Operation Kindness hosts its Pins for Pets Bowl-a-thon on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Plano Super Bowl, 2521 Avenue K. For just $15, participants get three games, shoe rental, refreshments and an event T-shirt. All proceeds from entry fees and the $35 minimum in required sponsorship donations benefit the local no-kill animal shelter. Not only do bowlers get the reward of saving innocent lives while playing a game, but prizes will be awarded to top-scoring teams and individuals as well as those who raise the most donations. Pre-registration is required, so sign up at www.operationkindness.org or call 972-418-PAWS, ext. 227. Make a strike, spare a life.
Monday, September 13
Here's a novel idea for a restaurant: Instead of pre-setting a menu, let the drinkers decide what should be on the wine list. Don't order cases of wines that will rarely be requested; stock up on sure-fire satisfaction for patrons. The Saffron Room, located inside Kismet Lounge at 3711 Greenville Ave., aims to "produce Dallas' best wine list" by offering tastings of various labels. The resulting additions to their wine rack will be determined by guest feedback. How's that for democracy? On Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Saffron Room and Prestige Wine help guests get into that voting spirit with samples of 2003 Penescal Blanc and 2001 Lelia Garnacha from Spain and other wines that will complement the Mediterranean Rim/Middle Eastern cuisine of the establishment. Fire up that opinionated part of the brain and vote for integrity, strength and taste. And may the best candidate, er, we mean wine, win. Call 214-887-1858 for reservations.
Tuesday, September 14
Anytime a Grambling halftime show is televised, you can bet we're either watching or the TiVo is set. We're not huge football fans, but there's one thing we love, and that's triple-time marching, kick-ass dancing and totally-into-it bands. We find ourselves moving around in our seat, tapping our feet and, yeah, it's embarrassing, even clapping along. John Posey, a sports photojournalist, and his daughter Mercedes have scoured their collection of more than 7,000 photos for the 60 that make up And the Band Played On: What Really Brings People to Black College Football Games, the latest exhibit to hit the African American Museum. Posey says, "Black college bands transcend the barrier of race and offer a forum for understanding people. It is the nature of the fine line between entertainment, showmanship and traditional band routines that spells the dynamic of black college bands." The Posey exhibit is the first to look into the impact of black college bands on American life. In our opinion, it just might be the thing to dissolve that whole "band geek" stigma, too. The exhibit runs through October 17. The museum is located at 3536 Grand Ave. in Fair Park. Call 214-565-9026.
Wednesday, September 15
If you grew up in the Lone Star State, you most likely had to take Texas history. We remember Mrs. Wood regaling us with tales of independence, defense and progress, but our textbooks were seriously lacking in visuals that weren't stiff portraits or grainy images. The Amon Carter Museum is now displaying, as a permanent collection installation, Encountering Texas, 1846-1856, featuring drawings and watercolors by Edward Everett, James Gilchrist Benton and Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge. Through December 19, the museum offers three different points of view of the expansive area that later became Texas. Most records were by soldiers or speculators (accounting for the current textbook entries), but these three artists put down their interpretations of the land in something the imagination can soak up with fervor...right along with Mrs. Wood's storytelling. The Amon Carter is located at 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. Call 817-738-1933.