There's a different way of doing things in the South. After all, where else can you still find hoop skirts at a debutante ball, have Grandma stare you down when you say you like white bread dressing better than the cornbread variety and be able to crown yourself a Sweet Potato Queen? Authors Jill Conner Browne (the Sweet Potato Queens series), Molly Ivins (Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?) and Maryln Schwartz (Southern Belle Primer and New Times in the Old South: Or Why Scarlett's in Therapy & Tara's Going Condo) know the Southern shtick and bring it to Conversations with Three Funny Women at the Women's Museum, 3800 Parry Ave., Thursday at 7 p.m. The 21-and-up event features not only the sage advice of the ladies, but Southern cuisine and adult beverages (yeehaw!). A Sweet Potato Queen crown by Larry Vrba (valued at $2,500) will be auctioned off as well. Tickets are $100 for museum members and $150 for non-members. Reserve seats online at www.thewomensmuseum.org/funnywomen or call 214-915-0878.
Friday, May 13
Poke us with sticks, make us eat bugs, give us those freakish twisty arm burns. Basically, you can torture us any way ya like, just don't involve a possum and don't mess with our eyes. We have such an extreme "eye thing" we can't even wear contacts. You know that Friends with Rachel and the eye drops? That's us. And yet we don't really know a lot about the fifth sense, the orbs that provide it or how to keep them healthy. The Science Place, 1318 S. Second Ave. in Fair Park, can help us see the light with Eye Didn't Know That, a week-long exhibit that offers hands-on activities and interactive learning about the eyes. It can only open our eyes to visual health through May 20, however, so slap on the UV-blocking shades and get over there quick. Call 214-428-5555 or check out www.scienceplace.org.
Saturday, May 14
Unfortunately, there seems to be an expiration date on caring when it comes to something like a natural disaster. Look at the tsunami, for instance--the talk has died down and so have the donations, though they're still desperately needed. So we got all excited to see that the fifth annual Stuffed with Hugs at Build-A-Bear Workshops is partnering this year with UNICEF for a "bearlift" of 40,000 teddy bears to kids in Myanmar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. On Saturday, the first 200 customers to visit Build-A-Bear Workshops (area locations include Stonebriar Centre, Grapevine Mills, The Parks at Arlington and Ridgmar Mall) can put their heart into a Stuffed with Hugs: Project Bearlift bear that just might offer a little bit of much-needed solace on the other side of the world. It's free to participate (you even get a coupon) and totally worth skipping "snooze" for a pre-brunch trip to the mall. Call 1-877-789-BEAR or visit www.buildabear.com.
Sunday, May 15
Now if you'd rather ship your child across the world instead of a handsome little bear, maybe you should tune in for ABC's Supernanny Monday nights at 9 p.m. Better yet, maybe you should apply for Supernanny Jo Frost's expert advice. You might have 15 minutes left before you lose it, but the nanny extraordinaire has 15 years of expertise in calming young terrors. Just pay $5 to $8 admission to the Taste Addison festival this weekend and visit with the Supernanny team in the children's area. They will be accepting applications from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sure, it's a bit embarrassing to air your child rearing inabilities on national television, but isn't it more embarrassing to raise a rude degenerate? Visit www.addisontexas.net.
Monday, May 16
We realize how impossible this sounds, but seriously, if you go to Maggiano's Little Italy and order either the Boston cream pie or the fresh strawberry shortcake, $2 of that sumptuous purchase goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Eat-A-Dish for Make-A-Wish is just one of Maggiano's three fundraising events for the foundation. Through Father's Day (June 19), the restaurant will encourage diet-shunning for charity. (And for those stickler health nuts, the "Become a Star" program allows you to make a direct donation, without the whipped cream.) Both Dish and Star programs culminate with a Father's Day putting contest, also benefiting Make-A-Wish. So now that you've spent days justifying a splurge, try this: That teeny little caloric indiscretion can help make a kid's dream come true. Now that's good taste. Maggiano's Little Italy is located in NorthPark Center and at 6820 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway. Call 214-360-0707 (Dallas) or 972-980-9917 (Plano).
Tuesday, May 17
It's no easy task for an artist to get an exhibition. The predicament is much like applying for a job: To get a showing you need to have had a showing, but no one wants to hand you the first one. For an art enthusiast, it's difficult to find a local artist from whom you'd absolutely love to see more if they don't have a show. The 2005 Texas Visual Arts Association Show at NorthPark Center (Northwest Highway at Central Expressway) through May 29 is therefore an ideal set-up. The juried show is a group exhibit featuring 171 pieces of art from a wide range of mediums and by a variety of artists. The artist may not have a solo show but gets his work out there. And the enthusiast has an array of possible new obsessions. Check out www.tvaa.org.