Fair Play

Cowboys, capuchins and a carnival 8/19

The rodeo--the terminus for country-western thrills--is coming to Denton, and the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, running from August 19 through August 27, happens to be one of the good ones. It's no secret that the rodeo is enjoying a return to the spotlight, attracting big corporate sponsors such as Miller Lite, Bud Lite and Coca-Cola while socialites from Los Angeles to New York snap up high-crowned straw hats and Tony Lama boots. But the western carnival is more than just a John Ford movie. While the "cowboy way" is still alive and well among the nexus of young men and women risking their necks to ride a bull or rope a calf, the fair is also a place where the community showcases achievements in art, food, photography and beauty. There's the midway where the simple pleasure of an adrenaline rush from a Power Booster or a Thunderbolt will never quite loosen its grip on our imagination as it easily terrifies us into extreme glee with a stomach-lurching drop toward unforgiving pavement. And there are concerts, too, with a night under the stars listening to marquee entertainment--Kevin Fowler (Beer, Bait and Ammoand High on the Hog), Deryl Dodd (One Ride in Vegas) and Rick Trevino (In My Dreams)--that exerts an irresistible pull on those ever-ready with a blanket, a cold beer and a lighter for that special song. It certainly wouldn't be a fair without the freaks, er, novelty attractions. Thank goodness for Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey, a 17-year-old capuchin monkey who will herd sheep on his trusty steed, a Border collie imported from Scotland. The fairgrounds are at Carroll Boulevard at West University Drive behind Kroger's. Call 940-387-2632 or visit www.northtexasstatefair.com. --Emily Jacobs

African Adventure

8/19 My parents used to take me to a safari in New Jersey. Just a few miles away from chemical plants and Stepfordian subdivisions, we found ourselves within a few feet of exotic animals with nothing but the window of my dad's Oldsmobile protecting us from certain extinction. Now you can enjoy the world's fiercest animals in their natural habitat in the Imax film, Wild Safari 3-D: A South African Adventure, which debuts August 19 and features an all-star cast including the elephant, the Cape buffalo, the rhino, the leopard and the lion. With Liesl Eichenberger as a guide, it's billed as the first wildlife documentary to be filmed in three dimensions. And while Wild Safari 3-D does feature some of the world's most dangerous predators, the Rangers' Kenny Rogers is, oddly, nowhere to be seen. Cinemark IMAX Theatre, 1189 Webb Chapel Road. Call 1-800-CINEMARK. --Matt Pulle Up Late with Gordon Parks 8/19 Sometimes it's difficult to understand the collective sense of pride and triumph among African Americans when one of us succeeds. Without writing a dissertation on the psychology of black consciousness, I'll simply say I guess there's an innate sense of connectedness that is usually reserved for blood relatives. Whatever it is, it explains the pride I feel when I hear the name Gordon Parks. Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., celebrates the artistry of the living legend with Gordon Parks, Half Past Autumn: Selections from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which includes 130 photographs from 1940 to 1997 and strikes a beautiful balance between social and aesthetic concerns. The event, featuring talks, movies, music and kids' events, is 6 p.m. to midnight Friday. Admission is $10. Call 214-922-1200. --Stephanie Morris The Gonzo Show

8/19 The good doctor himself may be gone, but Hunter S. Thompson's fiery legacy of being incredibly, mind-blowingly bombed out of his noggin while producing some of the best journalism of the last 40 years shall live on in the hearts of aspiring writers everywhere. Anybody looking for tips on how perverse amounts of cocaine, hallucinogens and alcohol can help propel them to idol status would do well to study Terry Gilliam's 1998 film, Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas, adapted from Thompson's book of the same name. Of course, a true Thompson fan would be too thoroughly toasted to actually make it to Blockbuster and find the DVD, so the decadent, depraved people at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane, are more than happy to help out. They're hosting midnight showings of Fear and Loathingon Friday and Saturday. Call 214-764-9106. --Andrea Grimes Ruff Times

8/20 I'm about as big of a green, pinko, commie liberal as they come, but when somebody mentions a candlelight vigil in honor of National Homeless Animals Day that loud creaking noise you hear is the sound of my eyeballs rolling in my head at the inanity of it all. Nothing against cats or dogs, but shouldn't we be more concerned about the homeless people camped out in front of City Hall, littering the library and taking their precious time crossing the street between the two? Pets are great and every kid should have one so they can learn about responsibility, but the homeless problem is also our responsibility, and the last time I checked human lives were still slightly more valuable than animals. The National Homeless Animals Day candlelight vigil is Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Flagpole Hill, Northwest Highway and Buckner Boulevard.Visit www. queeniefoundation.org. --Jay Webb

 
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