Tony Shalhoub and 
    Stanley Tucci in Big Night
Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci in Big Night

Bang a Drum

Some movie stars are svelte and angular like Ben Affleck, or deliciously round and curved like Halle Berry or parts of J.Lo. But it's hard to get top billing when you look like a striated brake drum. Yet the 1996 film Big Night starred exactly that: timpano, or timballo di maccheroni, a pastry crust jammed with layered pasta, ragu, meatballs, peas, chicken and mozzarella. So elaborate and symphonic is timpano that its creation requires at least a whole day of ingredient-gathering and another for preparation. It makes a lavish Thanksgiving feast seem as complicated as a Jiffy Pop-and-Colt 45 movie snack. And it has seductive star power. Then again, virtually every crumb in this epicurean epic that also stars nonculinary items such as Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rossellini and Minnie Driver, has the seductive power of draped lace. Tucked in the final moments of the film is an unbroken shot of the meticulous preparation of a perfect omelette. Set in 1950s New York, Big Night is about a genius chef and his brother newly emigrated from Italy, a restaurant named Paradise, sexual intrigue and the ease with which passion for great food can slip one into pauperism. It's also about nefarious criminal acts--demanding a side of spaghetti and meatballs with a seafood risotto, for instance. "She is a philistine," screams the genius chef Primo when a Paradise dining guest wants to violate the risotto he spent all day preparing. The film concludes with a lavish feast wrought to save Paradise from ruin, with timpano arriving in the pivotal moment of supping. Timpano kicks off the Dallas Wine & Food Festival on April 23 in the West Village when chefs Kevin Ascolese and David Brawley will plunge into Big Night indulgences at Ferre Ristorante, preparing a lavish spread featuring the cuisine from the classic film beginning at 6 p.m. A private screening of Big Night at the Magnolia Theatre next door will follow at 8 p.m. with a question-and-answer session featuring the chefs after the conclusion of the film. Cost is $85 per person. Call 214-741-6888. --Mark Stuertz

Idol Worship

If frantically text-messaging your vote every Tuesday night isn't enough American Idol interaction for you, have we got a deal for you. The folks at Coca-Cola have teamed up with the show to bring even more festivities to shopping malls across the land. We're talking karaoke, prizes and the chance to visit with former show finalists. Yeah, it sounds lame to us, too, but the TV execs have to milk this cash cow till the cows come home...oh, sorry, we didn't mean to mix clichés. We'll leave that to American Idol. The tour comes to Northeast Mall in Hurst on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and to Irving Mall on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. --Rhonda Reinhart

Young and Jaded

If you've ever doubted the influence of the East on American society, look no further than our growing fascination with yoga, green tea and Hello Kitty. Feng shui is a lifestyle; ramen sustains life on college campuses. But for those who want to push past pop-culture trappings, JADE (Junior Associates Discovering the East) seeks "young professionals with the talent and energy to support The Crow Collection and its programs," says director Amy E. Lewis. The group's first event, a cocktail party catered by Liberty Noodles, features entertainment from the Indian Classical Music Circle at The Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St., 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. Call 214-979-6437. --Michelle Martinez

Smokin' DJs

We don't smoke. Not even weed, if you can believe that, simply because we don't like the feeling of smoke in our lungs. What about this makes people feel alive with pleasure? The lone exception is when we visit The Velvet Hookah, a bar/nightclub so laid-back and cool you expect Deano to saunter around the corner and take a puff of incredibly smooth tobacco filtered through your trippin' hookah. Great time to try this place out is Sunday during its 420 party (get it? April 20 and smoking?) with a night of jungle- and house-music DJs spinning from 9 p.m. till 4 a.m. Free hookahs until 10 p.m. 2712 Main St. in Deep Ellum. Call 214-747-6700. --Eric Celeste


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