Be careful, Carlos Mencia, or people will start calling you the Latino Dave Chappelle. Like Chappelle, Mencia's comedy deals with racial stereotypes, misconceptions and differences in an "equal opportunity offender" style. And now, following in Chappelle's footsteps, Mencia is preparing a television show for Comedy Central. But don't expect a Hispanic version of Chappelle's "I Know Black People" game-show sketch. Mencia's show, Nothing Sacred, will be like his stand-up comedy, attacking the sacred cows and saying things other people won't. Get a sneak peek when Mencia performs at the Addison Improv, 4890 Belt Line Road, Thursdays through Sundays, September 16 through September 26. Tickets are $22. Call 972-404-8501.
Friday, September 17
Early this summer we dedicated our Saturday mornings not to sleeping but to xeriscaping, turning our yard into a Texas native plant wonderland that needed little water and worked with our East Dallas soil. Then it rained for weeks on end and all of our freshly planted, water-sipping Texas plants drowned. Even Mother Nature is against us. So we'll seek help during the 21st Annual Fall Dallas Home & Garden Show. Even those who already have green thumbs and greener yards can find help. Brian Santos, "The Wall Wizard," will teach three workshops on dressing up your walls, and other experts will be in attendance to discuss flooring, painting, choosing contractors and discussing an energy company. There will also be vendors displaying and demonstrating products and services for around the house. The show is 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Cash-only admission is $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors. Kids 12 and under will be admitted for free. Call 1-800-654-1480 or visit www.texashomeandgarden.com.
Saturday, September 18
Sculptors were kinda like ancient plastic surgeons. Though they worked from models, they still had the freedom to improve on the looks of their final pieces. Shave a little off around the waist, chisel a bit fuller lips, make the eyes completely symmetrical. Anyone willing to get naked in front of a guy with a slab of rock and a metal hammer would have the perfect body, just not in real life. See how sculpture changed the ideal of the human form in Bodies Past and Present: The Figurative Tradition in the Nasher Collection, then see how artists strove for perfection by making many versions of the same piece in Variable States: Three Masterworks of Modern Sculpture, which shows how Rodin's, Giacometti's and Koons' works changed with time. Both exhibits open at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., on Saturday. Bodies is ongoing; Variable closes November 28. Call 214-242-5100.
Sunday, September 19
It's almost impossible to see a new movie with an open mind. The trailers give away the best jokes, your friends and co-workers recount most of the plot twists, and film critics tell you it's not worth paying $8 to see in the first place. But you can pay for the privilege of seeing something before almost anyone else. During Talk Cinema, film critic Harlan Jacobson's sneak preview and discussion series, participants will get to see an unannounced film fresh from the festival circuit--before the critics, the free screenings and trailers. After the screening, a guest speaker will start the discussion, which viewers can join. Past films have included The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Super Size Me, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Amelie and Pulp Fiction. For $20 per show or $120 for the series, it will be worth it to be the spoilsport around the water cooler. Talk Cinema is selected Sundays at 10 a.m. beginning September 19 at the Magnolia Theatre in the West Village. Call 1-800-551-9221 or visit www.talkcinema.com.
Monday, September 20
In childhood, we sampled everything from dirt and sand to paste and crayons to butter straight from the tub. But the worst thing we ever tasted was Nestlé's banana-flavored Nesquik. We were certain it would kill us, but it didn't, and flavored milk products continue to be developed and marketed. The latest: milk that comes in flavors such as cookies-and-cream, cappuccino and root beer. And it's not even being marketed to the paste-tasters and crayon-chompers. It's for teenagers. It's all part of a plan to ensure that teens get the calcium they need. Even the Got Milk? Shake Stuff Up Tour sounds delectable in comparison. The tour, sponsored by Rolling Stone and MTV, includes auditions to be in the next milk-mustache campaign, a dance contest and, on one day, a battle of the bands. The tour, minus the bands, makes stops at the Plano Balloonfest on Saturday, Fair Park's Science Place on Sunday and Wal-Mart in Bowie on Monday. The tour and band competition takes place Tuesday at Hulen Mall in Fort Worth. Visit www.whymilk.com for a complete schedule.
Tuesday, September 21
We've never understood those British films with people watching trains. The only time most American people watch trains is when Thomas the Tank Engine's showing on PBS or when they're stuck at a railroad crossing counting off seconds of their lives with each passing car. With planes and 18-wheel trucks, trains seem almost as obsolete as the Pony Express. But it takes only a few minutes looking through the lens of Lothar Baumgarten to see how trains used to be the central nervous system of the country, tracks running through towns, the desert, forests, over rivers. The photographer spent six months in 1989 traveling America's train tracks, taking several thousand photos and documenting his progress on paper and cassette tapes besides film. The Dallas Museum of Art presents Lothar Baumgarten: Carbon, the most comprehensive exhibit about this project, beginning Sunday and running through December 5 in the Barrel Vault and Quadrant galleries. The exhibit includes 116 photographs of tracks, stops, trains, monuments and more, plus other documents that were included in Baumgarten's book, also called Carbon. Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. Call 214-922-1200.
Wednesday, September 22
You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family. If you could, there'd probably be a lot less tension in the Cheney family. We're sure Dick Cheney loves his lesbian daughter Mary, but she hasn't exactly simplified his campaign. Likewise, Mary's support for her old dad has led to scrutiny about her loyalty to gay rights issues. Check out a similar, but fictional, situation when Fort Worth's Q Cinema hosts a screening of Poster Boy, a festival-circuit film about the closeted gay son of a right-wing politician whose homosexuality is used by an ex-lover to disrupt the campaign. The screening is at 8 p.m. at the Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., Fort Worth. Admission is $5 to $7, which includes an after-party at Club Vivid. Visit www.qcinema.org.