A concert to meow and bark about
Like anyone with half a soul, I was horrified by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Glued to CNN, all I heard was bad news getting worse, and there wasn't anything my beloved Anderson Cooper could say or do to make things all better. At one point in my 24-hour news overload state, however, something stood out from the glut of destruction on the television screen: cute, furry homeless animals! With needs! Needs I could meet! I high-tailed it down to the SPCA of Texas and scooped up a sweet-faced black and silver tabby cat so that the shelter could make room for all the animals coming in from the Gulf Coast. Two weeks later, Whiskey and I are the best of friends, and I have a tangible, fur-covered reminder that there's more than one way to increase your karma in times of crisis. It's infinitely rewarding, even if my new bundle of fluff won't quit tearing the bathmat to pieces. It would follow, then, that the MeowBowWow benefit concert and auction at the Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St., this Sunday night is my kind of shindig. Organizers Mary Armstrong and Carey Burres watched the storm coverage together and knew they could use their cultural connections to make something happen, but what? "We started talking about how awful it is for those people to have to leave their animals behind to be evacuated," Burres says. "As both of us are crazy animal lovers, it made perfect sense that we would turn our attention to that aspect." Sunday night's show will feature the musical stylings of Sorta, Day of the Double Agent and Pleasant Grove, among others. The Pupils, better known as the student band composed of young'uns from music teacher Marc Solomon's rock school, will also perform. Local artists have donated everything from jewelry to framed art to photography sessions for a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction and the $15 cover charge will go directly to the Humane Society Disaster Relief Fund to help feed and shelter found animals, reunite owners with pets and continue the search and rescue effort for animals still homeless. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. Call 214-747-4422. --Andrea Grimes
Friends in Need
Someone explain this one, please. How in the hell did Comedy Central, the TV station whose ratings exploded with vulgar, left-leaning hits such as Chappelle's Show and The Daily Show turn into the official wasteland of Blue Collar TV and Larry the Cable Guy? Jon Stewart's commentary on American idiocy doesn't seem like a natural segue for "redneck front yard" and some yokel telling us to "git-r-done," but maybe we just don't have a grasp on the true desires of American comedy fans. So who does? Maybe Vince Vaughn, the man who made playing himself over and over in movies a more profitable enterprise than Keanu Reeves ever did, as he rolls through Dallas with Friday's Wild West Comedy Show at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. Vaughn emcees the night, leaving most of the dirty/funny work to up-and-coming comics, but--luckily--some of 'em are good. Ahmed Ahmed is funny enough to override the fact that he takes the post-9/11 Muslim shtick a little too far, while Sebastian Maniscalco can sell even the lamest jokes with a strange onstage mix of goofiness and confidence. You might come for the movie star, but you'll stay for the funnymen. Tickets are $40 to $48; doors open at 7 p.m. Call 214-824-9933. --Sam Machkovech
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What isn't better on a stick? Hot dogs. Roasted corn. Babies. Moving otherwise hard-to-hold objects off our plates and into the realm of freestanding snackage, sticks give one all the ease of movement of finger foods and none of the mess. Really, they just make everything better, and stand-up comedy with puppets and an award-winning ventriloquist is no exception. Comic Jeff Dunham understands the magic of the stick, and so will you should you choose to check out his upcoming series of shows at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road. Famous for his Jose Jalapeño (on a, um, "steek") ventriloquist sketch involving a pepper puppet, Dunham will be joined by old favorites and notable new characters for four nights at the Improv. Dunham's been featured on stick-friendly Blue Collar TV (or is that steak-friendly?) and was voted one of Comedy Central's favorite comedians for 2005. Tickets are $20 and show times are 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Call 972-404-8501 or visit www.improv.com. --Andrea Grimes
I won't eat pork. It's not that I'm vegetarian; I just can't do it. It's not because of religious laws or because I necessarily think pigs are cute. It's just that they remind me of Wilbur, that lovable piglet in Charlotte's Web. I eat with my mind, and it consumed lots of childhood classics when I was a wee cuddly one. So let's nix the hasenpfeffer while we're at it. What would cute little Thumper think if I ate his cousin? Dallas Children's Theater will present E.B. White's classic story, Charlotte's Web, from September 23 through October 23 in the Baker Theater of the Rosewood Center for Family Arts, 5938 Skillman St. Since DCT was selected by Time magazine as one of the top five U.S. theaters for young audiences, your kids will see a top classic performed at a top venue. As Charlotte says in the book, "That's some deal!" DCT offers a study guide with character notes, creative projects and quizzes to let the play weave its magic into your lives. Warm your heart and combat arachnophobia. Tickets range from $10 to $16. Call 214-740-0051 or visit www.dct.org. --Danna Berger