26th Annual Big D Charity Horse Show: There are those who bond with horses faster than Elizabeth Taylor could drop a violet tear in National Velvet. But you needn't have much interpersonal equestrian experience to enjoy the 26th Annual Big D Charity Horse Show, which features four days of competition, demonstrations, and discussion. These proud beauties are likely to snub most nonequestrians, anyway, but bring some kids and get an eyeful. Hours are May 2, 7 p.m.-?; May 3, 1-7 p.m.; May 4, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; May 5, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The show takes place at the Las Colinas Equestrian Center, 600 Royal Lane in Irving. 506-0480.
Automatic 7: The members of Los Angeles-based punk quartet Automatic 7, like most bands you know and many thousands you don't, wandered around their home city in various guises. Singer-guitarist John Hulett and bassist Nic Nifoussi, best buddies since high school, had shared a love for such Southern California noise-meisters as Social Distortion and Youth Brigade, but they couldn't find a cohesive, satisfying sound between them or with other bands--that is, until San Franciscan Phil Jaurigui lent his guitar and his (on-the-sly) access to studio-recording technique. Thus was born Automatic 7, a high-speed outfit that tightened its sound as much through rehearsal and studio experimentation as live performance, and boasts the ability to play an entire set in a half hour. The band performs at 8 p.m. at the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell Blvd. Call 821-3456.
Fort Worth Dallas Ballet: Fort Worth Dallas Ballet artistic director Paul Mejia has employed all 32 members of his FWD company--as well as more than a hundred children studying at the Dallas Dance Academy and Fort Worth Ballet--to present this timeless tale of a woman, her two embittered sisters, and a suitor with a shoe fetish. Cinderella, based on the centuries-old children's story rather than more recent distorted popular updatings, is choreographed by Mejia using Sergei Prokofiev's classical score. Performances happen May 3 and 4, 8 p.m., and May 4 and 5, 2 p.m. at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $8-$41.
Insect City: Tykes who're terrified of their tiny multilegged neighbors on our planet are likely to benefit from the Fort Worth Zoo's "Insect City," which draws an educational distinction between the merely gross and the truly poisonous. Kids who bug out with pleasure at the sight of 'em will obviously get a kick, but be forewarned that among the 25 live species represented in "Insect City" are some they'd do well not to pick up--scorpions and black-widow spiders, say. The tots will learn the difference touring the live displays, microscope exhibits, and interactive events. The Fort Worth Zoo is open daily at 1989 Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth. Tickets are $2.50-$5.50. Call (817) 871-7050.
Arts & Letters Live: Dallas' venerable literary organization continues its fifth series with a holiday-themed program titled "A Cinco de Mayo Celebration of Latino Literature and Film." In marking the defeat of the mammoth French armies by rag-tag Mexican militias, Arts & Letters Live has invited two nationally renowned Latino writers, playwright and novelist Denise Chavez and novelist Rudolf Anaya, to read from their latest works. There will also be a reading of The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, the true story of the Mexican-Texan bandit whose wily ways reinvigorated the Texas Rangers and whose capture exposed the brutal racism of Lone Star justice. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $10-$12. Call 922-1200.
Ruth Montgomery: Though Ruth Montgomery currently enjoys a reputation as one of America's best-selling nonfiction authors on the subject of spiritualism, she earned her internationally renown in a much more cynical line of work. Montgomery served under five presidents as one of the most outspoken members of the White House Press Corps. (Her book Hail to the Chiefs is a staple in political-journalism classes). At first an investigative reporter, then a syndicated columnist, she has often been linked with tele-journalist Barbara Walters as trailblazers for women in journalism. But since 1968, Montgomery has dedicated her resources to channeling the wisdom of the dead through the discipline of automatic writing. Her subsequent books have sold millions. She speaks at 7:30 p.m. at the Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane. Tickets are $15. Call 601-7687.
Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth: Three premieres and three recently created works highlight the Spring Concert of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, a modern-dance company that sacrifices self-conscious experimentalism for a more grounded fusion of composition, choreography, and theme. Included on the program are "Severini Dances," a collaborative piece inspired by the Futurist painter Gino Severini and commissioned for this year's Retrofest '96; a premiere by San Francisco composer Mercy Sidbury titled "The Evolution of Drama," which examines personalities using theme music from Hitchcock films; and two premieres by CD/FW member Kerry Kreiman, "Organized Dances" and "Waltz of the Hemispheres, Right and Left." Performances happen May 3, 8 p.m. and May 4, 2 and 8 p.m. in the Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6-$20. Call (817) 335-9000.
8th Annual Gallery Tour: The beneficiary of The Dallas Gallery District Association's 8th Annual Gallery Tour is "Adopt-a-Bed," a program by the Turtle Creek Association dedicated to the upkeep of flower beds throughout one of the most beautiful areas of Dallas. While we're tempted to suggest such programs be enlarged to, say, flora-deficient South Dallas, stretches of beauty are hard to find in any major American city. The area known as historic uptown (roughly between McKinney and Cedar Springs) maintains its chichi appeal through galleries more than blooms, which is why the DGDA continues to repeat its "open house" evenings of 24 establishments. The tour happens May 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and May 5, noon-5 p.m. It's free. Call 754-7070.
Adoptathon '96: The Dallas chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Carrollton-based no-kill animal shelter Operation Kindness are just two of the North Texas entities participating in a nationwide campaign to find homes for fuzz-covered friends. A total of 700 agencies and shelters gather at different spots for Adoptathons. Humane leaders in our city want to adopt out more than 60 young and adult dogs and cats, so they're making this year's Adoptathon a kind of carnival with raffle prizes, dog-obedience demonstrations, refreshments, and more. The event is scheduled May 3 and 4, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and May 5, noon-6 p.m. at Operation Kindness, 1029 Trend Drive near Belt Line and Marsh in Carrollton. Call 418-PAWS.
Celebration of Chicano Literature: The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Writer's Garret join ranks to commemorate Cinco de Mayo by honoring a great Texas voice. Ricardo Sanchez was collecting and publishing the works of Latino writers years before the word "multicultural" was uttered by a condescending Anglo teacher. Sanchez was a poet whose ground-breaking anthology Los Cuatro served as one of the premier voices of Chicano-Hispanic literature in the Southwest. For this celebration, Adalena Anthony performs her one-woman show Pancho Villa, and such poets as Pat LittleDog (a friend of the late Sanchez), Terri Aguilar, and Maria Velasco will read. The afternoon kicks off at 2 p.m. at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 La Vista. It's free. Call 827-4860.
3rd Annual Old West Storybook Family Day: Usually, when an event advertises itself as celebrating "The Old West," it's the romantic image that is being cited and not the harsher aspects like chronic body odor, rampant vigilantism, and lack of air-conditioning (how often those three are related). The 3rd Annual Old West Storybook Family Day features plenty of interesting things tinged with Western mystique, such as the Museum of Dry Bones, a medicine-man show, a cowboy comedy revue, hay rides, and steer-roping. There's also lots of food, sports competitions, children's games, and more. The event happens noon-5 p.m. at 3701 Custer Rd., an eight-minute drive north from Plano. Call 562-8308.
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Betty Buckley: One-woman musical dynamo Betty Buckley needn't feel any jealousy over Glenn Close's Tony Award for Sunset Boulevard, the Broadway production in which Buckley replaced Close. For one thing, Texas native Buckley already has a Tony (for Cats), and for another, she preceded Close in the London production of Sunset Boulevard, snagging an Olivier Award nomination and helping set the buzz for the long lines she currently draws on Broadway. Buckley is perhaps the celebrity daughter of which Fort Worth is most proud, a giant of the American musical theater. She performs at 7:30 p.m. at Casa Manana, 3101 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth. Call (817) 332-CASA.
Rosemary's Baby: There's a lot that can be said for Roman Polanski's 1968 classic Rosemary's Baby that hasn't been said enough: It's a sophisticated satire of Roman Catholicism; a stunning psychological dissection of the individual crumbling under a monolithic "establishment" that capped a decade obsessed with individuals changing the state; and a ground-breaker in the subgenre of paranoid apartment thrillers. The USA Film Festival screens Rosemary's Baby May 6, 7:30 p.m., at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway, and May 7, 7:30 p.m., at the AMC Sundance 11, 304 Houston St. in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6.50. Call 821-NEWS.
Salvation Army Celebrity Fashion Show: The donors for the 1996 Women's Auxiliary Celebrity Fashion Show, which benefits the ever-important Salvation Army, is an eye-popping list of Dallas wives including Mrs. Ross Perot, Mrs. T. Boone Pickens, and Mrs. Bill Clements. The show is a sale featuring these ladies' gently used garments and new stuff from international designers. May we suggest a real big-ticket fund-raiser? Let's see these ladies trod the runway themselves sporting smart, tasty little numbers off the rack from the Salvation Army. The event kicks off at 11:30 a.m. at the Dallas Country Club. Tickets for this highfalutin society event begin at $45. Call 353-2714.
Juan Juarez Hernandez, Mi Mundo, and The Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company: This week marks the opening of a pair of exhibits by Latino artists who sit on opposite ends of the visual-arts spectrum. Juan Juarez Hernandez earned his art degree from Southern Methodist University and now teaches in the Dallas Independent School District. The students and gang members represented in the group show Mi Mundo, on the other hand, are using art without a professional pedigree to document their own experiences with the temptations and terrors of the inner city. The Ollimpaxqui Ballet performs traditional Central and South American dance at the same location May 4 at 8 p.m. It's free, but seating is limited. Receptions for both art shows happen May 11, 6-9 p.m.; they run through May 25. All events take place at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Call 670-8749.