Oh, Say Can You See...: The Dallas Poets Community couldn't let July pass without staging its own skewed commentary on Independence month and the whole rocky love affair an individual has with his or her country. While there will doubtlessly be no burning flags displayed in "Oh, Say Can You See...," a poetic evening that features Christopher Soden, Liza Bachman, Jason Edwards, Ann Howells, and Alan Gann, expect some sacred symbolic language to receive a good torching. The DPC dips into the dark side of patriotism--sometimes called nationalism, sometimes jingoism, sometimes redneck-ism--with a satirical look at how love of country is often perverted as an excuse to persecute outsiders.The reading starts at 8 p.m. in the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney at Bowen. It's free. Call (214) 953-1622.
Mixed Messages: Having seen two programs of her choreography to date, we can heartily recommend the talents of Dallas choreographer-Deep Ellum Opera Theatre general director Karen Robinson, especially to those who're unfamiliar with or have been stung in the past by undisciplined extremes of so-called modern dance. Robinson's work is tight, graceful, and consistent in tone throughout each piece, giving you the sense that she's developing ideas rather than just pacing movement. Robinson is one of five choreographers included on a bill of original modern choreography titled Mixed Messages. Dallas' Anna Marie Ewert-Pittman, Estela Tejeda, and Maureen Norvell join Robinson and Houston's Sophia Torres for four shows only this weekend. Performances happen July 24-26, 8 p.m., and July 27, 2:30 p.m., at Deep Ellum Opera Theatre, 3202 Elm St. Tickets are $10-$12. Call (214) 826-3368.
Anything Boys Can Do: From Sid Vicious to G.G. Allin, the spirit of punk music has often been qualified as masculine and quantified as premature death, an adrenaline burst of self-destruction. Women in New York underground bands like Thurst, Sexpod, and The Wives of Sister Grimm are certainly into the whole rage-at-the-world thing, if they're a little bit brighter than to snuff themselves out in a blaze of obscurity. Anything Boys Can Do is Ethan Minsker's foul-mouthed roller-coaster ride through the all-girl scene of New York's clubland. For the past two years, Minsker, a 'zine publisher and graduate of New York's School of Visual Arts, recorded performances and conversations with a host of ballsy dames who've discovered that "underground" is all too often a synonym for "misogynistic." The documentary screens July 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Admission is $5. Call (214) 953-1622.
12th Annual Mesquite Hot Air Balloon Festival: An Internet site known as The Darwin Awards is dedicated to individuals whose fatal or near-fatal dumb ideas help ensure that our gene pool stays relatively untainted by the more reckless, impulsive individuals among us. One recent nominee barely survived having soared past 10,000 feet into the air after he attached hot air balloons to his lawn chair. Best leave balloon-powered flight to the experts at big public events like the 12th Annual Mesquite Hot Air Balloon Festival, where more than 50,000 landlocked spectators will suffer from neck strain as they watch 40 different balloons take to the air for competitive events. There's also mud volleyball, skydivers, a fly-by from the Confederate Air Force, and a carnival to keep little people occupied. Flights are scheduled July 25, 7 p.m.; July 26, 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.; and July 27, 7 a.m. at Paschall Park off New Market Road, Mesquite. Admission is free, but nearby parking is $3. Call (972)-285-0211.
Radio Sex TV-2: Off the Dial: Who's Dr. Susan Block? Some say she's the heterosexual Susie Bright, or Dr. Ruth Westheimer with an hour-glass figure. Coquettish and comely though her media persona is, she shares with these other two women the belief that laughter can be an excellent educational tool. Her commonsensible tendency to deflate the self-righteousness of the right and left makes sort of like Dr. Laura thawed--she rails against prudes and hedonists alike and insists that America must engage in a dialogue to define what she calls "sexual values." Responsibility, honesty, and pleasure all enhance each other in a world where sex can be discussed between well-meaning adults, Dr. Block insists. Is she a self-promoter riding the oldest trend in the world or a welcome blast of fresh air in our neo-puritanical times? HBO airs her second hour-long show, Radio Sex TV-2: Off The Dial, midnight on HBO.
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Psychic Fair: A friend who recently confided that she'd studied the tarot at a metaphysical college phrased her avocation beautifully for skeptical ears: Life is a process of recognizing and interpreting symbols. You don't have to believe that the tarot has predicted your future to appreciate the statement its tradition-bound symbolism makes on the interconnectedness of all life, past and present--the cycles of the universe are eerily parallel to the cycles of human experience, and vice versa. A responsible metaphysician understands that such non-psychic ideas as intuition and empathy are the real force behind a good psychic reading. Dallas' oldest and largest Psychic Fair features tarot readers, astrologists, psychics, and crystal ball mavens with varying degrees of experience, skill, and success; come take a walk on the Other Side. The event is held noon-6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel on LBJ and Jupiter. Admission is $7, plus $10 per 15-minute reading. Call (972) 241-4876.
The Joe and Marl Show: What's one advantage of being a gay man at a Barbie show? You're a lot closer to the cool stuff on the upper shelves. Expect all kinds of intergenerational tension at The Joe and Marl All-Barbie Show & Sale, where grown men go hand-to-hand with TV commercial-crazed little girls who, in a different context, might be chivalrously escorted across a crowded intersection by their taller, hairier adversaries. Gender and age-based decorum won't be observed at Joe Blitman and Marl Davidson's touring show that features artist-designed makeovers, limited edition or one-of-a-kind creations, displays, and Barbies from 1959 to the present. Experts are on hand to give free appraisals of old Barbie merchandise and, when interested, will make purchase offers. Of course, few experts are more in demand for Barbie lore than Joe and Marl, who've parlayed their love for this plastic charmer (or fascist body-type terrorist) into a small video and book industry. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select-D/FW Airport North, 4441 Highway 114 and Esters Blvd, Irving. Admission is $2-$5. Call (214) 929-8181.
The Two Gentleman of Verona: For 42 years now, the Junior Players have been identifying those young men and women who need a spotlight and have given them one. Their dabblings every summer with Shakespeare Festival of Dallas have provided the legendary Elizabethan playwright with a fresh (if sometimes pimpled) face and voice that mark a torch being passed from one theatrical generation to another. Kitchen Dog Theater's Chris Carlos, not too far himself from spring-chicken status, directs this 1595 romantic comedy about sexual entanglements among two male best friends and their girlfriends, and has set the stage in a decade that Generations X and Why can't seem to leave behind--the '70s. Seventeen is the average age of the twenty-odd actors who've been cast from various north central Texas schools. Seven free performances are held July 29-August 3, with evening shows beginning at 8:15 p.m. at Samuell-Grand Park, 6200 E. Grand Ave. It's free. Call 526-4076.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus: If you've spent any time downtown around all the phalanx of morning, afternoon, and evening city buses, you're probably asking yourself: "Who is this Airiana chick, and why does she look like Barbi Benton?" We don't know whether the woman who advertises herself as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "human arrow" has ever had a fling with Hef, but she's certainly familiar with being flung through time and space, eyelashes perfectly mascaraed and every curl lilting gracefully under the pressure of G-forces. Airiana is the death-defying doll at the top of the marquee for the most famous show on earth. Acrobats from China, the Spanish highwire artist Quiros, and British animal trainer Graham Thomas Chipperfield are among the international entertainers sharing Airiana's air space. Morning, evening, and afternoon performances happen July 30-August 10 at Reunion Arena, 111 Sports Ave. in Dallas, and August 13-17 at Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth. Call (214) 373-8000.