Funny how fast things can change in Hollywood. In the early '90s, Keenen Ivory Wayans was high on the success of his groundbreaking sketch comedy show In Living Color, and the prevailing wisdom around town was that his brothers and sister would still be waiting tables and auditioning for bit parts in straight-to-video movies if Keenen hadn't cast them in his show. Now, Keenen is out of work, reeling from his failed careers as an action hero and talk-show host, while the rest of his family is enjoying a fair measure of Keenen-free success. Cheerily dismissed around the office as "the Daniel Baldwin of the family," Shawn Wayans is the Wayans sibling who has yet to make a name for himself, by himself. On television (The Wayans Bros.) and film (Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood), he has been relegated to playing brother Marlon's straight man, and even the book he co-wrote last year, 150 Ways to Know You're Ghetto, was simply a clever play on Jeff Foxworthy's redneck shtick. His three-night stand-up residency at the Addison Improv will show if he's got what it takes to shine on his own, or if he's just a poor man's Tito Jackson. Wayans performs at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line, April 9-11 at 8:30 p.m. Call (972) 404-8501.
In retrospect, it seems strange that--at one time--Deep Ellum had a reputation as a very dangerous place to be. The music was too loud, and the kids walking the streets with their black leather jackets and color du jour spiked hair were scary back then. Now that almost every suburban high schooler dresses the exact same way, that reputation has faded, and Deep Ellum merits full appreciation as a diverse neighborhood of music and art, a fact celebrated by the Fourth Annual Deep Ellum Arts Festival. This year, the festival features more than 100 artist booths, and music by Delbert McClinton, the Derailers, Cowboys & Indians, Grand Street Cryers, and many others. Admission is free, but parking costs $3-$5. The festival takes place Friday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m.-9 p.m. on Main Street, between Good-Latimer and Walton Street.
The Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth's answer to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, isn't scheduled to open until May 8, but the Kimbell Art Museum is offering a chance to get a sneak peek at its interior. The museum will unveil 40 proposed designs for the hall's decorative program, prepared by twin Fort Worth artists Stuart and Scott Gentling, and Hungarian-born sculptor Martin Varo. The Art of Ornament: The Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall reveals the evolution of various artistic motifs in the murals designed by the Gentling brothers for Founders Concert Theater's great dome, as well as two life-size working models Varo used for the heralding angels that will grace the grand facade of the hall. The exhibit will be on view through May 31 in the museum's east gallery. Admission is free. The Kimbell is at 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth. Call (817) 332-8451.
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It's scarcely conceivable what could be more frightening to a young child than a six-foot-tall rabbit. Oh, sure, we can think of monsters in the closet, maniacal circus clowns, and any number of projects featuring the dubious talents of the Olsen twins. But a six-foot-tall rabbit can be hard to accept, even for the most well-adjusted child. Nevertheless, the Dallas Zoo is offering kids and their families a chance to get their picture taken with the (yes, six-foot-tall) Easter Bunny, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parents who have trouble getting their kids settled in for a simple shot with Santa may want to skip out on this, but for those interested, the photos will cost $3 each. There will also be a variety of animals available for petting, including chicks, bunnies, guinea pigs, and goats. The Dallas Zoo is located at 650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway. Call (214) 670-7450.
Having Our Say, the Dallas Theater Center's latest production, is exactly the kind of play the Center had in mind when it began its Deloitte & Touche In Perspective series. The play, a host of recollections spun by two sisters who are more than 100 years old, examines a century's worth of race relations and strides made in feminism through the two leads' gentle eyes. Historian Kevin Gaines, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, will explore the social issues addressed in the play during a discussion moderated by the DTC's artistic director Richard Hamburger. The event is free, and happens at 7 p.m. in the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Boulevard. Call (214) 522-TIXX.
OK, the Dallas Mavericks sucked this year--again. But could we really have expected them to be that much better? Did we expect spindly center Shawn Bradley to gain 50 pounds and start rebounding like a 7'7" man should, or Don Nelson to remember how great he used to be at evaluating talent? Fact is, this year's Mavs team would have had a tough time advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, let alone competing with the defending champion Chicago Bulls for the NBA title. The team has shown moments of potential (upsetting those same Bulls in a come-from-behind win a few weeks ago), and the Mavs do have one of the NBA's best unknown players in guard Michael Finley. So who's to say that the Mavs can't pull off another stunner against the Los Angeles Lakers? Well, everybody. Let's face it; this is as close to a playoff game as it gets for the Mavs in the '90s. The Dallas Mavericks' final home game of the season begins at 7:30 p.m. at Reunion Arena. Call (972) 988-DUNK for more details.
It's almost too perfect that one of the most despised (or loved, depending on your political persuasion) politicians in our country is named Newt. Since Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry restructured his state's voting districts in 1812 and the term "gerrymandering" was coined (from one of the new district's resemblances to a salamander), the behaviors of politicians and reptiles have been forever linked, and the cold-bloodedness and general slipperiness of both species makes the connection seem apt. Love him or hate him, one has to admit that Newt Gingrich has been able to accomplish something that President Clinton hasn't: shedding some weight. Wielding a considerably lighter load in the past year, the Speaker of the House has weathered impeachment rumors and slowly started to put his Clinton-bashing ways behind him. Though he continually denies his intention to run, Gingrich's appearance in Dallas--signing copies of his new book, Lessons Learned the Hard Way: A Personal Report--gives us the rare chance to have some face time with a possible president of the United States (as frightening as the thought may be). The free book-signing happens at Barnes & Noble, 14999 Preston Road, at noon. Call (972) 386-5898.