Our first year of college, we faced many challenges: trying to avoid the Freshman 15 while living off grilled cheese sandwiches, sneaking beer into our dorm without the RAs noticing and calculating the last possible second we could wake up and still make it to our 8 a.m. class. Admittedly frivolous concerns compared to those in TransGeneration: Four College Students Switching More Than Their Majors. This Sundance Channel production is a series that follows four college kids as they each cram for midterms, avoid freezing everything in the mini fridge and go through the process of reassigning their genders. The first four episodes have been edited into a film festival cut, which Sundance and OUT TAKES Dallas present during a free screening at 8 p.m. in the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station. Lucas, one of the featured students, will be in attendance. Admission is first come, first served, and a printed copy of the OUT TAKES Dallas Web site or e-mail newsletter is required for entry. Visit www.outtakesdallas.org.
Friday, September 9
Disturbed by Bob Saget's un-Full House behavior in The Aristocrats? Thought America's Funniest Home Videos would have been a lot funnier if Saget had used some of his R-rated material on that show? You're not alone. And neither is Saget; plenty of comedians go G-rated for a sweet TV or movie deal. Even Earthquake, a favorite of Def Comedy Jam and BET's Comic View, is toning down so kids can tune in. He'll play Root the Rooster in Barnyard, an animated film by Steve Oedekerk scheduled to be released next year. But, again, it would be funnier if he went no holds barred. Just imagine it: "Old MacDonald had a farm/E-I-E-I-O/With an F-bomb here/And an N-word there/Here an F/There an N/Everywhere an MF." Catch Earthquake now while his shows are still expletive-packed. He performs 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road. Tickets are $17 to $20. Call 972-404-8501.
Saturday, September 10
We fully support comedian Eddie Izzard's suggestion to reserve the word "awesome" for only its original meaning. No, not "totally rad"; it is "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime," according to Merriam-Webster Online. We're not sure if Big Thought's Awesome Arts Festival counts. Guess it depends on how much you fear, esteem and marvel at story times and performances featuring local dancers, musicians, artists and actors and their programs about different cultures, literature and elementary-school basics. Teaching kids from Dallas songs from South Africa and Eastern Europe? Even Izzard would have to agree that's totally awesome. The all-day showcase of multi-cultural programs is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Plano Centre, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway. Admission is free. Call 214-520-0023 or visit www.bigthought.org.
Sunday, September 11
The harp is an instrument reserved for chubby, winged angel babies, the cartoon embodiment of the nine lives of animated cats and sweet old ladies who play background music at weddings. One cannot "rock out" on a harp. One does not look "hip" playing one. And anyone truly rock 'n' roll wouldn't have the $8,000 to spend on one. Despite those things, the harp does have a history in popular music, mainly jazz with several women (and a few dudes) known for their straight-up jazz and improv-style music, including Alice Coltrane, who played with her husband, saxophonist John Coltrane. See the jazz harp firsthand when local musician Cindy Horstman performs with bass player Michael Medina as 2 Tone. The eclectic group performs as part of the White Rock Rhythms jazz series at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive on White Rock Lake. The show is at 2 p.m.; admission is free. Call 214-670-8749.
Monday, September 12
It still seems inconceivable that the New Orleans we've loved--the one glorified and romanticized in books, movies, art and music--now only exists in those media. But we can all take a look at the once and (we hope) future New Orleans while also raising money for the American Red Cross' relief efforts during a benefit screening of A Streetcar Named Desire, the 1951 film version of the Tennessee Williams play set in the French Quarter. Directed by Elia Kazan, it stars Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois and Marlon Brando as her brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station. Admission is a donation to the American Red Cross; the minimum donation is $10. Call 214-841-4700.
Tuesday, September 13
Most of us know Afghanistan only from the backgrounds of nightly news reports and what can be gleaned by flipping through National Geographic while waiting for our iced chai tea latte with soy at the coffee shop. Those who want to know more, without sifting through outdated academic works or politically biased recent histories, can read the accounts of Kathy Gannon, who was an Associated Press correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1986 until recently. Her book I is for Infidel, From Holy War to Holy Terror: 18 Years Inside Afghanistan covers the nation from the mujahideen defeating the Soviet Union to Western intervention, placing everything in personal, historical, political and global contexts. Get the abridged version when Gannon speaks and signs copies of her book during an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Greater Dallas. A reception starts at 6 p.m. at Park Cities Club, 5956 Sherry Lane. The program begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the autograph session. Admission is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Call 214-965-8400 or visit www.dallasworld.org.