Ophidiophobes beware. Quad C Theatre is taking on Robert Schenkkan's Handler. The stage will play host to the story of a man released from prison, accepted back into his home and desperate for some sort of change. So desperate, in fact, that he decides it would be a great idea to run right out and handle a snake at Brother Bob's church service. That's correct: Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes, and while we're not sure (OK, fine, we don't want to know) whether Quad C is using a live snake or a prop, we're steering clear of Handlerand any church with its own herpetarium, for that matter. Oh, the play's inevitable accident is shattering, and the subsequent miracle is inspiring, for sure, but we'll be happy with second-hand audience accounts. There is a very good reason we're familiar with the word "ophidiophobia." Handler opens Thursday and runs through October 23 with shows at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2:15 p.m. matinees Sundays and October 22. The theater is located on the Collin County Community College campus at 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. Tickets are $6 to $8. Call 972-881-5100.
Friday, October 14
For the umpteenth year in a row, you purchased shrubs and trees that withered by Christmas. Then gorgeous plants for your flower beds, borders, window boxes and everywhere else that were struck down by June, July and August. The problem is so not you. It's Texas' fault. All right, so maybe you could've done a little research first, but seriously, Texas really is to blame for those repeated and guaranteed kills that keep your home improvement budget at nil and Wal-Mart's garden center celebrating your arrival. The Heard Natural Science Museum offers some assistance this weekend at its New Fall Native Plant Sale at Elliott's Hardware, 2049 Coit Road in Plano. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, learned Heard-ians will offer suggestions, answer questions and sell trees, shrubs, vines and perennials that will weather Texas weather, as well as offer food for native birds and butterflies. Proceeds go to the Heard Museum and Nature Stores. Just remember, your black thumb isn't to blame, it's Texas. Call 972-562-5566.
Saturday, October 15
Grapevine's Eighth Annual Butterfly Flutterby would be downright perfect if only the organizers could arrange for LeVar Burton to sing the opening line to the Reading Rainbow theme song. "Butterfly in the sky" would be rather obvious as 550 butterflies are released into migration (plus there are already some monarchs passing through town on their way from Canada down to Mexico for the winter), but you gotta admit that lovely tenor vibrato would enhance the experience so much. The downtown event (held at the Cotton Belt Depot, 701 S. Main St.) is free and offers a Gossamer Parade of children and pets dressed as butterflies, as well as gardening demos, interactive crafts and live entertainment. Call 817-410-3185 or flutter by www.grapevinetexasusa.com.
Sunday, October 16
Inspired by a co-worker's success training her kitty, we decided to pull out the ol' leash and go for a little jaunt with our handsome feline. Right. We got three yards from the door and suddenly our usually very regal 16-pound, 7-year-old Ocicat was flattened to the concrete like a heat-seeking toad. He even busted out that pitiful cat pant forcing us to pry him loose and haul him back insidewhere he was more than happy to entertain himself by chasing the leash for a little over an hour. Very mature. The cat-on-a-leash idea may not be the greatest, but the feline-friendly can help raise funds for KittiCo, a nonprofit that helps strays and ferals, at the KittiCo CatWalk Sunday at noon. Humans can hit the Big Thicket at White Rock Lake for a Big Cat 5K, Kitten 1K, adoptions, face painting, prizes and more. Registration is $30 for either walk. Call 214-826-6903 or visit www.kittico.org/catwalk.html.
Monday, October 17
One can often look back and realize a defining moment in life--you know, the "kneading biscuit dough with Granny at age 4 inspired me to be a chef" moment. I shunned learning to play the guitar at around age 10. My sister and I were summoned (yet again) by our father, who was playing his "guit" (at deafening levels) along with a B.B. King album. We were told to "Listen to this!" and the solo that followed was, well, interesting. Now if that were it, I might have become a rock star, but Dad then told us to go outside, split and walk in opposite directions making note of how many houses we passed before we couldn't hear his "wailing axe." It was then that I decided to become a writer just so I could write about the most absurd incident in my childhood memory. Mark John Sternal, however, will still offer you, me and possibly my father his autograph and a guitar seminar as he promotes his book Guitar: Total Scales, Techniques & Applications at Borders Books & Music, 5500 Greenville Ave., Monday at 6:30 p.m. Call 214-739-1166. Check out www.mjspublications.com for details on other signings/seminars Thursday through Saturday.