Wake-Up Call '96: Some of the statements made by the Christian-based men's movement offshoot Promise Keepers sound like empty whining when you consider that males have ruled Christianity and just about every other cultural institution for countless centuries now. Men are suffering a collective identity crisis? They've abdicated their role as leaders in the church and family? Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, Bill Price, and other high-profile male Christian activists don't appear to have wilted in the shadow of excessive personal analysis, nor have they squandered any of their considerable political capital as community leaders. But judging by the arenas they fill every year throughout the country, the Promise Keepers are saying what a lot of Christian men want to hear. Wake-Up Call '96 is a two-hour distillation of the Promise Keepers' basic male-affirmative philosophy, which contains some irrefutable good advice about respecting women and your fellow man. But is there a hidden political agenda? The event kicks off at 6:45 p.m. at Mount Olive Baptist Church, 301 W. Sanford Drive in Arlington. It's free. Men are encouraged to bring a son, father, brother, or male friend. Call (817) 261-9495.
Ballet Concerto: Ballet Concerto's annual Summer Dance Concert is Fort Worth's only large-scale, full-length, free outdoor professional dance performance. More than anything, it's a meeting of the minds for folks from throughout the country in a variety of theatrical disciplines--choreography, performance, costume, set design. Internationally renowned Spanish dancer Luis Montero returns in 1996 both as choreographer and performer of traditional Spanish ballet. Kerri Kreiman of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth and Fort Worth artists Kathy Webster and Cameron Schoepp have collaborated on a new contemporary ballet entitled Hugo's Ball. The program includes classical and postmodern elements that highlight the contributions of the nondance artists who have participated. Performances happen June 27-29 at 8:45 p.m. at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery in Fort Worth.
Books, Boxes, Text, Video: A recent essay in Harper's offers a fascinating lament for the (pending) demise of the printed word and the cumulative nature of traditional narrative. The author, a former environmental journalist who now makes big bucks writing blurbs for informational CD-ROMs, cites recent scholarly predictions that narrative writing as it's practiced now in books and articles would soon be reinvented by the CD-ROM and other computer technology that offers inter- and outer-textual bursts of information with the stroke of a key. This is the kind of philosophical speculation, both obtuse and very relevant, that informs Michigan-born, law-school-trained artist James Magee, who opens a one-man show entitled Books, Boxes, Text, Video. Magee moved from an up-and-comer in the Manhattan art world to an El Paso resident so he could obsess over his three-dimensional explorations of the tension between verbal and visual storytelling in peace. Try to find the relationship among the media described in the show's title, and you'll understand the quandary in which everyone who studies the changing nature of mass communication finds themselves. The exhibit opens with a reception June 28, 5:30-8 p.m. at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney at Bowen. It's free. Call 953-1212.
Romance Writers Workshop: Do words like "throbbing," "heaving," and "supple" find their way into your everyday conversation? Do you dream of writing a novel profound enough to deserve Fabio's image in oils on the cover? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, either your weekly calendar is tragically underscheduled or you have the stuff to create million-selling romance fiction. Romance novels are the ugly stepsister of the publishing industry, which is to say glamorous literati may scoff at such populist scribbling, but they're perfectly happy to let the poor dear keep major publishing houses afloat with her massive sales. Four Dallas authors who specialize in purple, hormonal prose converge for the Romance Writers Workshop. Francis Ray, Elisabeth Fairchild, Deana James, and Elizabeth Sites, each of whom toils in a different genre with the romance field, discuss topics like the writing process, research, finding a publisher, and other stuff. The discussion kicks off at 2 p.m. at the Audelia Road Branch Library, 1005 Audelia. It's free. Call 670-7838.
Counteracting the Religious Right: Last month's Supreme Court ruling against Colorado's Amendment 2 has already set off a national backlash by the powerful Religious Right, which isn't accustomed to losing a battle these days, much less being "betrayed" by folks traditionally viewed as fellow warriors (the Reagan and Bush appointees that populate the Court). Texas Republican Party Chairman Tom Pauken's ritual sacrifice of the Log Cabin Republicans at this year's state convention is just the latest example of a politician throwing election-year meat to the dogs who bark loudest and longest. (Bill Clinton's support of the Defense of Marriage bill is another.) Mr. Pauken faces a tough challenge within his own party from a radical right-winger who makes Pauken look like Jane Fonda. But hell hath no fury like a gay Republican scorned; the Log Cabin Republicans host Counteracting the Religious Right, an afternoon workshop for homos and heteros who're made uncomfortable by the decidedly un-Christian goals of some fundamentalist Christian activists. The workshop happens 1-5 p.m. at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 2701 Reagan. It's free, and everyone who's interested is encouraged to attend. Call 877-4154.
Six Legs Over Texas: A Live Insect Collection: If most scientific displays about insects you see are typical of the field as a whole, it's tempting to assume that entomologists have evolved just a few rungs upward from the nasty little kid down the street who loved to stick pins in bugs and watch them writhe: Bug specialists like 'em dead or dying. The Dallas Museum of Natural History's new exhibit, Six Legs Over Texas, is the cool exception to dry, glass-encased bug corpses, as more than 20 different specimens of local and exotic arthropods are captured in all their wriggling, gross-out glory. There are also the inevitable mounted dead specimens, interactive displays, live presentations by trained educators, photos, and videos. On June 29, the Museum of Natural History teams up with the Dallas Aquarium for the joint Bug Day Family Festival, with special coordinated activities between the two institutions. The show is open through August 11 at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, 3535 Grand in Fair Park. Admission is $2-$3. Call 421-DINO.
Joan Rivers and Don Rickles: This double bill of acid-spewing show-biz legends is enough to send some folks scurrying under the couch cushions for the $40 admission price in spare change, while others reach for a bottle of TUMS. Anyone who caught Joan Rivers' post-Oscar assessment on Politically Incorrect knows that the lady works best when she's fighting to get back into the spotlight; her venom, still voluminous, finds its targets, and she manages to avoid the hysterical self-parody that made her presence well-nigh unbearable in the '80s. Don Rickles is still basking in the glow of his stellar supporting turn in Scorcese's Casino, long overdue after a series of failed sitcom attempts. If fellow nerve-grater Jackie Mason can pack 'em in with his one-man shows off-Broadway, Rickles' long-dormant insult shtick seems perfectly timed for a big comeback. The show kicks off at 8 p.m. at 3101 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth. All tickets are $40. Call (817) 332-2272.
Kevin Welch, Ray Wylie Hubbard: Kevin Welch isn't a country musician, but don't tell that to the marketing-department folks of the major labels, who're desperate to squeeze every artist into the most recognizable niche they can. Country-ish might be a better description for the 40-year-old singer-songwriter's introspective brand of folk-, swing-, and blues-inspired songs. Warner Reprise released his eponymous debut album in 1990, but discovered the mercurial Welch was a much more reliable moneymaker writing hits for other singers (Waylon Jennings, Trisha Yearwood, Ricky Skaggs) than recording his own. Along with fellow upstarts Kieran Kane, Harry Stinson, and Tammy Rogers, Kevin Welch decided to take control of his own destiny and start the independent label Dead Reckoning. Come let his gentle, world-weary tunes wash over you like a warm bath. Ray Wylie Hubbard opens. They perform beginning at 8 p.m. in the Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth. Tickets are $12.50. For more information call (817) 738-1938.
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Psychic Fair: Stop relying on the telephone psychics employed by Dionne, LaToya, and other infrequently employed celebs lured to the mysteries of The Other Side by the promise of a fast paycheck. (If you check the resume of your average telephone psychic, chances are you'll find several shady organizations listed with clever numbers like 1-900-DO-ME-NOW). Compare their usual $4-per-minute toll charge with the $10-per-15-minute readings at Dallas' oldest and largest Psychic Fair, and you needn't be the Amazing Kreskin to sense which one is the better deal. There are more than 40 professional psychic readers from throughout North Texas who ply their various trades (astrology, past-life experiences, palmistry, tarot cards) at the Psychic Fair, in addition to various "lifestyle" accouterments for the well-outfitted moon calf like books, jewelry, crystals, etc. The event happens noon-6 p.m. at the Dallas Park Central Hotel, LBJ and Coit. Admission is $7, plus $10 per 15-minute reading. Call 241-4876.
The War of the Worlds: For many of us diehard movie fans, watching Byron Haskin's 1953 War of the Worlds on TV was our first enthralling flirtation with celluloid sci-fi. Star Wars went on to consummate the relationship in 1977. George Lucas had both timing and merchandising on his side, which explains the shift of allegiance, but really, Is there any love like your first love? War of the Worlds not only featured spectacular special effects that have (remarkably) retained their modest effectiveness through five decades and eons of computer-imaging advancements, but it managed to bring author H.G. Wells' ultracreepy misanthropy to the big screen. In Wells' book you got the impression he thought the Martian conquest was not only inevitable, but perfectly logical in the scheme of the universe. When actress Anne Robinson catches her first glimpse of a Martian in the abandoned house, her repulsion is mirrored by the alien's. So who's uglier? You decide. Screenings happen July 1, 7:30 p.m., at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatres, 9450 N. Central Expressway; and July 2, 7:30 p.m., at the AMC Sundance 11, 304 Houston St. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $5.50-$6.50. Call 821-NEWS.
Invention Adventure: Invention Adventure is the kind of Lego monstrosity you would've created as a kid if you had a bedroom the size of a city museum and parents with a disposable income that roughly equalled Richie Rich's weekly allowance. Beware this new exhibit at Fort Worth's Museum of Science and History, however: Just like you'd expect, all four sections of the show contain ulterior motives that might be called educational. Thousands of the multicolored Legos have been employed to create the shapes in "Structures," "Machines," and "Robotics." The responsibility of kids and adults is to absorb the basic scientific principles demonstrated in each of the constructions. The exhibit is open daily through August 18 at the Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery in Fort Worth. Admission is $3-$5; kids younger than 3 get in free. Call (817) 732-1631.
Stained Glass and From Rembrandt To Retablo: Inspiring Art: The Biblical Arts Center hosts a pair of shows that highlight the Dallas institution's permanent collection as well as a bit of Dallas architectural history. From Rembrandt To Retablo: Inspiring Art features slides, woodcut prints, drawings, sculpture, and paintings by a host of American and European artists from throughout the century, including Rembrandt, Joseph Boggs Beale, and Rose Van Vranken. Pieces from the personal collection of Biblical Arts founder Mattie Caruth Byrd are included. Stained Glass is a permanent exhibition of eight stained-glass windows that were saved from the Old City Temple Presbyterian Church (now NorthPark Presbyterian Church) before the original structure was demolished. Byrd purchased the stained glass five years later. The windows are portraits of a series of influential Christian figures, including Paul the Apostle, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and St. Francis of Assisi. The show runs through August 18 at 7500 Park Lane. It's free. Call 691-4661.