First of all, Noel Coward never should have titled his play Hay Fever. It pretty much ensures that we'll never see it, read it or think about it positively. See, all we can think of is itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and more sneezing. We totally admit that Theatre Britain's allergy-free production of the selfish Bliss family's weekend of guests and comedic complications is probably perfectly enjoyable during its run from Thursday to April 3 (Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.) at the Trinity River Arts Center, 2600 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 180. The problem for us is that the damn cottonwood is blooming, and we can't even see through the tears to make it there. Shame on you, Noel Coward, for your irritating title--and, someone, please pass the Kleenex. Call 972-490-4202.
Friday, March 18
If you're looking for a philanthropic excuse to drink, here 'tis. The Wine Therapist, 1810 Skillman St. behind Tipperary Inn, hosts a night of sampling wine and sampling local art. And it's for good causes. The Chateau des Arts event promotes local art (from painting to weaving) by folks such as Niki Gulley, Linda Gossett, Marthalee Boles, Audrey Legatowicz, Marty Ruiz, Scott Williams and Virginia Lindsay. In addition to the artistic benefits, the event also asks for a $5 donation and offers a silent auction on the artwork and other prizes. All donations and silent auction proceeds benefit the National Marrow Donor Program at Baylor University Medical Center. Art is attractive, and helping people should be, too. Now get to sippin', lookin' and biddin' from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday. (A continuing art show and sale is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.) Call 214-821-9643.
Saturday, March 19
We know from experience. There's just nothing better than leading the life of a paranoid youngster. It wasn't enough that when Mom blew out a kitchen match, we had to submerge it in cold water until it was suitable for the trash bin. A tackle box was no guarantee of safety from pointy-tipped lures; we preferred sticking pencil erasers on the barb of every one. And we probably shouldn't even get into the homemade padding we concocted for activities that required running. So, yeah, maybe it's best to start the tykes off with a more, um, realistic safety lesson. The Great Safety Adventure offers a mobile mini-home with lessons in common safety hazards in rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room. Safety rangers run the whole shebang, and kids can actually have fun learning about home safety measures. Maybe we would have chosen to erect a protective fence with reflective signage around a kitchen spill as opposed to the GSA's suggested verbal alert of "Code Red Rover, Grown-Up Come Over," but we're not running the show on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lowe's Hardware, 3360 Preston Road in Frisco. Check out www.homesafetycouncil.org.
Sunday, March 20
Before it was a sappy love song by Bruce Springsteen and way before Jerry Maguire was written, The Secret Garden was a colorful, poignant and meaningful children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The story is of a young Mary Lennox, orphaned in India and sent to live with a reclusive and guarded uncle in his sprawling Misselthwaite Manor. There she discovers more than a few secrets about her family and her own strength. Yeah, fine, so it is a little sappy, but The Secret Garden proves to be just as mesmerizing and special almost a century after it was written. So maybe kids and moral stories can live in harmony! Check out just how the garden grows when Plano Children's Theatre presents a musical production based on the Burnett classic. The show is at 2:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Sunday (with additional shows Fridays through Sundays from March 18 through March 26) at 1301 Custer Road. Tickets are $6 and $7. Call 972-422-2575.
Monday, March 21
After we got that Weeble Wobble tree house set, we wanted our own secret lair in the back yard. Then, when we found out that the Keebler elves kicked out all that home-baked goodness from a tree, we wanted to grow up and work in one. Well, we don't work in a tree, and we've come to accept that, but we will be visiting The Living Lab at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, One Nature Place, McKinney. The new permanent exhibit is a science lab...one you'd find in a fantasy forest, that is. There are trees growing in the center of the room, a leafy canopy provides the "ceiling" and then, of course, there are the microscopes, scales, specimens and all sorts of interactive experimental activities. It's leafy green goodness in our books. But there's just one thing we don't get: Where are all the elves? Admission is $5 to $8, and the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 972-562-5566.
Tuesday, March 22
Erik Larson can turn an event that normally we'd have no interest in into something we really want to read about. Take the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, for instance. Honestly, we couldn't care less about the hideously large fair, but couple it with gruesome murders, and our true crime/forensics cells get all jumbly. Larson paired the story of an architect and a serial killer in the Windy City to create the National Book Award Finalist, The Devil in the White City: Murder and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. It was a recipe for page-turning bliss. The mastermind, Larson, now visits the area for a Tuesday lecture that will wrap up this season of the In Person Author Lecture/Series at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 972-744-4350.