Hamlet: Kitchen Dog Theatre stirs up an autumn blast of theatrical introspection with its production of Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's most-produced tragedies. It's also one of his least understood. This means that, unlike Romeo and Juliet or Othello--straightforward Shakespearean studies of human nature that should be mothballed for a few decades so they can be rediscovered--audiences can virtually always find something fresh in its tale of a man consumed by anger. Unfortunately, careless actors and directors can always find something to screw up, but Kitchen Dog Theatre imports Toni Dorfman, who directed 1993's masterful KDT production of Death and the Maiden, so Dallas audiences should be in confident theatrical hands. This version features an ensemble of eight actors performing multiple roles with no Elizabethan costumery to smother the dialogue. Hamlet runs Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through November 3 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $8 to $14. Call 953-1055.
World Music With Miguel Antonio and Friends: The sounds contained in this "world music" presentation go beyond most Texans' experiences with Latino music. The show goes back to Latin roots with flamenco guitarist Miguel Antonio, Paraguayan musician Lorenzo Gonzalez, and the vocal stylings of the Chilean singing troupe El Quarteto de Chileno. The evening kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Tickets are $8, and seating is limited. For more information call 670-8749.
Thrillvania and Screams: In case you didn't know, Texas is considered the haunted-house capital of the country; out-of-state entertainment fat cats pour big bucks into our Halloween-themed amusement. The big new innovation is the "terror theme park," which offers a veritable Six Flags Over Texas of haunted houses, stage performances, spooky hayrides, and more. These are the diversions offered by two sprawling operations that present their inaugural season this year in locations outside of Dallas. Thrillvania opens today and operates evenings through October 31, just south of Interstate 20 on Wilson Road in Terrell. For general information call 559-5779. Screams offers previews to the public September 27 and 28 for $10; opening night is October 3, and doors are open all evenings, except Mondays, through Oct 31. Screams is 30 minutes south of Dallas near Waxahachie. For directions and info call 1-888-3-SCREAM.
Arlington Public Library Book Sale: Why is it that the same conservatives who champion a return to the Dead White Males of European and American literature are the first to slash funds for public libraries at the local level? They should be thrilled that any kid with an address can wander into a local library and borrow all the Milton, Shakespeare, and Twain he or she wants. Maybe a privatization of our library system would be the best bet, since libraries all across the country suffer from outdated materials. Get something back for your donation at the Arlington Public Library Book Sale, which features more than 50,000 items at rock-bottom prices. The sale happens September 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; September 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and September 29, noon to 5 p.m. at the George W. Hawkes Central Library, 101 E. Abram in Arlington. Call (817) 548-9768.
State Fair of Texas: You can clock the arrival of a Texas autumn with the opening of the State Fair of Texas, the place where many of us city slickers saw our first cow (and for that matter, our first real-life cowboys). What the 1996 edition of the State Fair boasts besides foot-longs, cotton candy, and nausea-inducing rides, is an amazing lineup of top-drawer musical acts for its Miller Lite main stage performance series, including big-boned gal Wynonna, the Neville Brothers, Emilio, and Delbert McClinton. Since each of these shows is free with a State Fair ticket purchase, expect a larger than usual knot on key nights. The State Fair of Texas opens with its usual fanfare on September 27 at 10 a.m. and runs through October 20. For complete information on the range of ticket prices and events, call 421-8716.
Wild Goose Chase: Members of acclaimed Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth and the theater department of Texas Christian University pool their talents to create a weekend that combines avant-garde dance with one-act drama. Perhaps sensing the elusive nature of this recipe, they've called the stew Wild Goose Chase (dance and other adventures). The bill features three choreographers and five dancers, as well as two playwrights with one play each. Included are Susan Douglas Roberts' Voices Rising, which combines Shakespeare and the British author Jeanette Winterson; Mercy Sidbury's The Evolution of Drama, a dance duet choreographed to themes from Alfred Hitchcock movies; and Steven Alan McGaw's Blah, Blah, and More Blah, about a man trapped in an airport coffee shop with a fellow who won't shut up. Performances happen September 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. in the Studio B Theatre of the Ballet & Modern Dance Building, University Drive and Bellaire Drive on the campus of Texas Christian University. Tickets are $3 to $7. Call (817) 921-7000.
Celtic Heritage Festival: In late 20th-century America, the phrase "tree hugger" is an anti-environmental insult; in the pre-Christian Celtic period, it could describe the prevailing sentiment of nature-worshiping pagans who never thought a tree was just a tree. Journey back with us to that Druidic neverland with the Celtic Heritage Festival. The real pull of this event probably isn't the inevitable arts and crafts booths and live musical and dance performances; it's the representatives of 20 Celtic clans who gather at individual booths to offer anyone who can trace his or her roots back to Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales information about family origins. Events happen September 28, noon to 10 p.m., and September 29, noon to 6 p.m., at the Bedford Boys Ranch Park, Forest Ridge and Highway 121. Tickets are $5; kids younger than 10 get in free when accompanied by an adult. Call (972) 496-3064.
Granbury Antiques Fair: Although you won't find this definition in Webster's, the true meaning of the word "antique" has two parts: It's anything that a) your beloved grandma owned, and b) will fetch a lot more at a garage sale than it's actually worth. The organizers of the Granbury Antiques Fair might shudder at their event being called a garage sale (a jury approved what would and wouldn't be sold), but we think that's a compliment for this collection of cheap-to-expensive knickknacks. In the frenzy of buying and selling, check out the Third Annual Civil War Re-enactment, but don't take sides; it's amazing how riled up people still get about a battle from last century. The fair is open September 28, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and September 29, noon-5 p.m., at the historic Courthouse Square of Granbury, 75 miles southwest of Dallas. For information call 1-800-354-1670.
Stark MCMXCVI: A tempest of homophobic reaction from the likes of Deion Sanders and other Cowboys was stirred in the wake of Skip Bayless' Hell Bent, which is remarkable considering that Bayless clearly defuses the gay rumor that has dogged Troy Aikman for years now. But just raising the specter of homosexuality in those touchy-feely all-male professional sports is regarded as an accusation--unless you're Dennis Rodman. Just five years ago an NBA superstar and a drag queen would seem to be natural antagonists, but the orange-headed, wedding gown-wearing Rodman has married the two and, remarkably, not experienced rampant speculation about his own sexuality. The former Dallasite returns to revive the glamour of a decade gone by as he hosts the reopening of the Stark Club, our fair city's symbol of '80s decadence. Joining him for the opening of Stark MCMXCVI is RuPaul. The doors open at 9 p.m., with RuPaul's show scheduled at 11:30 p.m., at 703 McKinney Ave. Call (972) 395-9034.
The Boy Who Drew Cats and Other Tales From Japan: In the spirit of the Dallas-based Japanese-American cultural celebration known as Sun & Stars '96, the Dallas Children's Theater presents an original production that dramatizes a form startlingly similar from culture to culture--the children's story. The Boy Who Drew Cats and Other Tales From Japan is the show adapted by Mary McCullough and scored by internationally acclaimed musicians Yuji Tatsubuchi and Yoko Sugihara. There are four ancient Japanese fables dramatized with the sumptuous budget that the well-heeled Dallas Children's Theater can boast: The Boy Who Drew Cats, Momotaro, The Peach Boy, and The Princess of the Sea. Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. through October 20 at 2215 Cedar Springs. For tickets call 978-0110.
24th Annual Edom Art Fair: Edom is probably the most famous artist's colony in Texas. Situated near Canton, this town with an official population of 300 decided 24 years ago to make a big public deal out of all the craftsmen who had come to settle there since the '60s. The estimated attendance for the inaugural Edom Art Fair in 1972 was 2,000; last year's fair topped out at 15,000 folks who perused the turn-of-the-century storefronts where so many have come to create their pottery, sculpture, drawing, painting, embroidery, prints, and almost any other form you can name. The fair happens September 28 and 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It's free. Edom lies east of Canton on I-20. For directions call (903) 852-6473.
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Hispanic Heritage Celebration: The Dallas Public Library offers its own nod to National Hispanic Heritage Month with a Sunday afternoon of four events that constitute their Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Folklorico dancers from the Zaragoza Elementary School open the festivities, followed by a presentation from The Secret of Two Brothers author Irene Beltran Hernandez; a signing by Richard Dominguez, the creator of El Gato Negro, the Hispanic superhero who kicks inner-city butt; and Delia Reyes, from the business group Hispanic 50, who discusses the issue of leadership. The show runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St. It's free. Call 670-1400.
Snoopy On Ice: Some of us who grew up idolizing Snoopy and the gang of kids who hung around with him were perfectly happy when they plugged Dolly Madison desserts; those were the cool sugar concoctions advertised between broadcasts of the various holiday Peanuts specials. When Snoopy became an ubiquitous and rather boorish insurance sales dog, we knew then that Charles M. Schulz had parlayed the comic strip, which featured surprisingly profound moments during the '60s and '70s, into just another franchise. While we have our own agendas regarding Snoopy and his cruel, unforgivable betrayal of our childhoods, we won't stand in the way of other grade-schoolers who dig the beagle. The "Snoopy On Ice" revue celebrates both the Peanuts and their creator, Charles M. Schulz, who is honored with a retrospective art show at the site. The show happens September 28 and October 5 at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; September 29 and October 6 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.; and September 30 through October 4 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Prestonwood Ice Chalet. For ticket info call (972) 980-8988.
Montserrat Gascon and Javier Coll: The classic combination of flute and acoustic guitar is like a battle between soft, subtle voices: Unlike the saxophone and the electric guitar, a sudden boost of energy applied to either the flute or the acoustic guitar is likely to result in a shrill disruption. And so it is that the press material for guitarist Javier Coll and flutist Montserrat Gascon describes them as "one of the most solid, stable duos of their generation." These may not sound like glowing recommendations for musicians, who are assigned the duty of making us thrilled, depressed, and terrified with their interpretations of the masters. Gascon and Coll have the chops to do all three, although the design of their instruments dictates that they refrain from rocking out. The Dallas Classic Guitar Society presents Montserrat Gascon and Javier Coll at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $12. Call 528-3733.
Freedom to Read: Is It For Everyone? Liberals and conservatives alike have contributed to America's rich tradition of smothering an opinion somebody in power doesn't like. The University of Texas at Arlington celebrates National Banned Books Week with an exhibit featuring student and scholarly issues on perpetually verboten authors such as Salinger, Flaubert, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Huxley, and Fitzgerald. The show runs through October 11 on the second floor of the Central Library at the University of Texas at Arlington. It's free. Call (817) 272-2761.