Who's afraid of the big bad ballet master? Certainly not Texas Ballet Theatre, formerly Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet, which recruited an internationally acclaimed Brit to run the creative side of its classical dance company. Word has it that Ben Stevenson is kindly yet tough on the dancers, and the box office is already benefiting from his showmanship. His own production of The Nutcracker promises something new for the Christmas perennial, with 16 performances in Dallas and Fort Worth. One new event is a Children's Nutcracker Party before the 2 p.m. matinee performance December 23 at the Fair Park Music Hall. Held in the Crystal Terrace, the party features games, magicians, Nutcracker character appearances and holiday snacks from noon to 1:45 p.m. Tickets are $20, but children 2 and under are admitted free. Call 817-763-0207, ext. 305, for reservations. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Port of Call
In some instances, we can understand the basis of the new craze of manufacturing enriched foods for women and their special needs. There's customized bread, oatmeal, yogurt, juice and more, all labeled with quirky names like Femme Vitale and Harmony. But seriously, corporate marketers, do we really need a product called Wine for Women? Who wants their merlot or pinot noir chock-full of calcium, folic acid, iron and soy? Oh, sorry, Wine for Women is Leslie Sbrocco's new wine guide chock-full of tips on shopping for wine, pairing it with specific foods and which wines are best for certain occasions, in addition to explaining the differences between a chardonnay and a zinfandel. She'll discuss her guide and sign copies at 7 p.m. Thursday at Borders Books & Music, 10720 Preston Road. Call 214-363-1977. --Shannon Sutlief
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Red and White
Call it sips for sickness
Searching for that special someone can be such a drag at bars. Sure, liquid courage helps in pursuing (or in some cases, tolerating) a potential mate, but are the bad Jimmy Buffett songs, the attention-draining flat-screen TVs and the idiotic creeps who "dance" to Guns N' Roses at last call worth the drink specials? Unless your name is Guido and your shirt is shiny, probably not. Don't worry: We haven't lost faith in the combination of mingling and merlot...just the implementation. That's why we think Wine Tasting for the Cure is a pretty good idea. This Monday, head to Tony's Wine Warehouse, 2904 Oak Lawn Ave., to sample more than 20 wines. And even better, your $30 entry is donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When mingling, the humanitarian angle will be much more attractive than that story of yours about meeting Jimmy Buffett. Call 214-282-4438. --Sam Machkovech