15th Annual Fort Worth Home and Garden Show: In many ways, the paltry winter experienced by North Texas over the last few months has felt like a spring that won't just come right out and reveal itself. Warm days, cool days, then more warm days--people who are inclined to participate in the gardening rituals nature promises come March and April have been in something of a spin. To provide relief for people who've been waiting by their front doors with spade in one hand, store-bought bulbs in the other, The 15th Annual Fort Worth Home and Garden Show comes along to offer exhibits, examples, and expert advice on everything from maintaining a healthy, beautiful lawn to upkeep of gardens where the blooms require more specialized attention. Agricultural experts from various cultural agencies throughout North Texas, as well as private business owners who specialize in advice, discuss tree-planting, rose gardens, environmentally conscious living (in and out of the house), as well as a series of cooking classes by Texas master chefs that features both decadent and health-conscious fare. The 15th Annual Spring Fort Worth Home and Garden Show happens Thursday, 6-10 pm; Friday, 2-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; and Sunday, 11 am-6 pm at the Tarrant County Convention Center, 1111 Houston St in downtown Fort Worth. Tickets are $12 for adults and 50 cents for kids under 12. Call 680-9995.
Brendene's Wildwoman Weekend: If last November's mid-term elections represented a referendum by America's "angry white males," as so many pundits have claimed, then what about the political agendas of our "angry white females?" These are women who were supposed to be included in the second wave of feminism, but were, in large measure, intimidated out of participation by the elitist credentials of so many feminist spokeswomen. Not to mention the fact they didn't have time to raise their consciousness in a group--they were too busy caring for the kids and maintaining an unfashionable household they had no desire to subvert, just inject with a little dignity and a few fair labor practices. This is the milieu Dallas actress-comedienne Jill Peters addresses with her series of monologues by Brendene, an original character who hails from a Red Oak trailer park, works at a cafeteria, and finds liberation in fantasies of becoming the great musical divas she worships. Peters has staged various one-woman shows around the city to popular acclaim, and her latest production takes on a TV-obsessed culture that foists so much pop-psychological drivel on lower-middle class and poor women. She presents Brendene's Wildwoman Weekend through Mar 6 in the basement space of Theatre Three. Tickets are $7-$10. Call 321-8565.
Two Hours of Sex For Only $8: With the firing of Jocelyn Elders over innocuous comments about masturbation and hard-core fundamentalists' patrol of any TV movies and programs that dare to discuss nontraditional views of human sexuality, it seems as though we've entered into an era of neo-Victorianism. Hypocrisy is championed as long as it's practiced by the politically influential (hello, Newt), while frankness, even the unscintillating kind, is punished. What's a dissenter to do? Support every local organization willing to get down and dirty. The Unnamed Comedy Troupe presents a strictly heterosexual view of the relationship between the sexes in Two Hours of Sex For Only $8, a live program of skits, parodies, and original songs that covers everything from condoms to centerfolds to the dating rituals of unmarried amour. The Unnamed Comedy Troupe performs Two Hours of Sex For Only $8 every Friday and Saturday night at 11:15 pm through March 18 at the Pocket Sandwich Theater, 5400 E Mockingbird. Tickets (as you probably guessed) are $8. Call 821-1860.
The 35th Annual Autorama: Automobile enthusiasts are likely to be a bit confused by the constellation of second-rate celebrities booked to appear at the 35th Annual Autorama. Why, for instance, are pop-celeb, junk-drawer guests, from the ever-grimacing Days of Our Lives hunk Drake Hogestyn to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers member Thuy Trang to a couple of NBA greats, on display next to all the countless new and classic cars, automotive seminars, motorcycle shows (there's one focusing on nothing but Harley Davidsons)? Because the organizers of the Autorama feel they have to entertain the entire family while one or two members, in particular, come to see the hardware. Purists may gasp at the Eagle One Tribute Car on display, a hodgepodge of features of three classic Ford models from the '40s. The 35th Annual Autorama happens February 17, 5-11 pm; February 18, 11 am-10 pm; and February 19, 11 am-9 pm at Market Hall on Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $3-$8; kids under six are admitted free. Call 458-1627.
Texas Baroque Ensemble: Some of the greatest centuries-old works in music and literature are presented to us as authentic--yet where, exactly, is the proof that what we are seeing was the original intent of the author? Certainly we know the meaning of the Bible and various Greek legends have changed significantly since they've been handed down through differing kingdoms and political climates. Why should European music, which so many revere as a holy expression in itself, be different? The Texas Baroque Ensemble has earned national recognition for its dedication not only to the compositions of 17th and 18th century musical greats, but to the instruments on which those pieces were originally played. It offers an interpretation of Thomas Arne's rarely performed Masque Alfred, a 1740 opera written to flatter the monarch of its day. The original version of the piece was lost in a fire, although its appeal was great enough that it underwent 20 revisions over the decades. The Texas Baroque ensemble performs the earliest known composition of Masque Alfred on traditional instruments. They perform at 7:30 pm in the St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, 2600 Merida in Fort Worth. Admission is free. For more info call Mark Scott at (817) 927-8411.
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Arts & Letters Live: Arts & Letters Live, a program of great national authors as well as national and local actors, has proven to be a refuge for theatrical artists who long for the simplicity a microphone, podium, and attentive audience brings. The 1995 program of the series begins with a dramatic reading by Academy Award-winning and Tony-nominated actress Kathy Bates, who is no stranger to the noncommercial, character-oriented fare in "Texas Bound," a series of stories from Texas authors read by stage actors. Bates reads a story by Janet Peery. She is followed on stage by another New York luminary, John Benjamin Hickey (he is appearing in Terrence McNally's much-lauded Love! Valor! Compassion!), and Dallas actors Norma Moore and Raphael Perry. Arts & Letters Live kicks off its 1995 season with the "Texas Bound" series at 7:30 pm in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. The event is officially sold out, but released tickets will be made available a half hour before the show. Call 922-1219 for info.
Eliot Fisk: Classical guitarist Eliot Fisk, born in Philadelphia, has spent the last 15 years hopping from prestigious institution to prestigious institution, establishing whole departments or conquering ones that already existed (he has taught at Yale, Cologne's Musikhochshule, and Austria's Mozarteum). Although Fisk has been responsible for commissioning countless new works by contemporary composers, he is most famous for his own guitar-adapted versions of rigorous pieces by Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Scarlatti, Mendelssohn, and scores of other lesser composers. He has made numerous recordings for prestigious international labels, but his first love--teaching--continues to take the fore in a series of workshops, clinics, and symposiums held around the world. Eliot Fisk performs for the third time at the invitation of the Dallas Classic Guitar Society at 8 pm in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora in the Arts District. Tickets are $8-$45. Call 1-800-654-9545.
Thomas Cole's Paintings of Eden: The work of 19th century American landscape painter Thomas Cole represents much more than just a stunning technical virtuosity that would inspire artists from Charles Russell to the Wyeths. Cole came of age at a time when America was at its most romantic and, in some ways, most savage--the lawlessness and wanton butchery that marked the efforts of North American pioneers determined to settle the western lands strangely coincided with an attitude of innocence we can hardly imagine today. These were people filled with the righteousness of mavericks, and Cole, a rigorously trained painter, was determined to capture the sense of freshly spoiled virginity in the lands on which they settled. His landscape paintings are more than just images of uncleared vistas--he attempted to re-create the supple style of Renaissance artists and imbue his pictures with religious profundity. Paintings of Eden is a collection that shows how Cole plundered European artists and literary sources such as Milton to create visions that progressed from sketches to fully realized landscape scenes. The Amon Carter Museum presents the exhibition Thomas Cole's Paintings of Eden February 18 through May 28 at 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd in Fort Worth. It's free. Call (817) 738-1933.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre: February is Black History Month--really, a most condescending and reductionist phenomenon when you think about it. How can we avoid the tokenism and segregation implied by a calendar-based acknowledgement of black achievement? First thing is to attend The Dallas Black Dance Theatre's Black Cultural Awareness Series, an annual program so named by the organizers because they believe Afro-centric artists need to be highlighted; then check your political preconceptions at the box office. This is true for both whites and many blacks who find themselves in the polarized position of judging everything according to the terms set by harsh national race debates. Two pieces are debuted in these performances--Elis Monte's Absolute Rule and Darryl Sneed's Time. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre presents four performances from its annual Cultural Awareness Performance series February 22-25 at 8:15 pm in the Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm. Tickets are $5-$30. For more information call 871-2390.