Charlie Gilder has been around Deep Ellum long enough to remember when there was nothing there to remember. When he and his partner Steve Asbeck opened the Twilite Room on Commerce Street in 1983, the only residents of Deep Ellum were a few artists who hadn't yet been forced out by the city. For three years, the Twilite Room hosted some of the best underground bands of the era--Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, HYsker DY, Descendents, the Misfits--and gave people a reason to come to the area. Eventually, Gilder and Asbeck abandoned the club and moved to Exposition Park. The club that the duo opened there, Bar of Soap, is one of the most unusual venues in Dallas, or any city for that matter, a place where you can do a couple of loads of laundry in the back and check out some of the best local bands at the same time. On Thursday, Gilder and Asbeck celebrate their 15-year anniversary in the nightclub business with a concert featuring the Barry Kooda Combo, the first act to play at the Twilite Room, and The Fed-Ups. 8 p.m. No cover. Bar of Soap is located at 3615 Parry Ave. Call (214) 823-6617.
We'll admit that we've been a little too hard on all the festivals that have come and gone in the past few weeks, though we stick by our opinion that it is hard to tell them apart. If there is one festival to blame, it could be Taste of Dallas, the annual event that takes over the West End every year for three days. Taste of Dallas is Dallas' largest free outdoor festival, and it has spawned a host of imitators. This year, it features booths from restaurants throughout Dallas, a children's area, and music by bands such as the Grand Street Cryers, Mr. Pink, Flaco Jimenez, Ian Moore, and Sara Hickman. Taste of Dallas happens in the West End on Friday, Saturday (11 a.m.-midnight both days), and Sunday (noon-9 p.m.). Free. Call (214) 741-7185.
Last week, we printed an item that described some threatening phone calls many staff members at the Dallas Observer received, and made an indirect reference that the calls may have originated from local poet Clebo Rainey. We were duped. At this point, we don't really care to speculate on who threatened to kick our collective ass. All we can say is that it wasn't Clebo. You can tell Clebo you think we suck at the poetry slam he headlines every Friday at Club Clearview, located at 2806 Elm. Admission is $1. Call (214) 939-0077.
Oaxaca, Mexico, is two cities. One is filled with unrest, a revolution waiting to happen. The other looks like the land that time--or at least the 20th century--forgot. Both sides have been captured in The State of Oaxaca: A Tale of Two Cities, the latest exhibit at Photographic Archives Lab & Gallery. The exhibit is the result of a photography workshop conducted in Oaxaca in June by June Van Cleef, the chair of photography at Collin County Community College. Her students spent 10 days there capturing the diversity of the city. The State of Oaxaca: A Tale of Two Cities is on display at Photographic Archives Lab & Gallery, located at 5117 Lovers Lane, through July 25. A reception for Van Cleef and her students happens Friday, July 10, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call (214) 352-3166.
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CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographer's Showcase, the latest dance recital by Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, offers one of the more interesting dance works we've heard of recently. The show, which features five premieres among its eight dances, includes one number that is choreographed, in part, by the audience. The audience has a chance to devise tasks for the dancers to execute (within reason, of course) during a structured improvisation, an idea cribbed from a group of '60s modern dance choreographers, the Judson Dance Theater. CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographer's Showcase will be performed on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 p.m. All performances happen at Orchestra Hall, located at 4401 Trail Lake Drive in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$15. Call (800) 654-9545.
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt probably wasn't the best father to grow up with. Just based on his occupation alone, Flynt could not have been a good role model, even in the loosest definition of the term. Tonya Flynt-Vega will be appearing at Borders Books & Music to describe the troubled childhood she had growing up with the famed pornographer, a period that she emerged from with faith in God. Flynt-Vega is now one of the most vocal anti-pornography activists, claiming that it can be challenged without violating the First Amendment, contrary to the precedents her father helped set. Flynt-Vega will discuss and sign copies of her book, Hustled: My Journey From Fear to Faith, at 7 p.m. at the Borders Books & Music at Preston Road and Royal Lane. Call (214) 363-1977.
Dallas audiences finally get a chance to see one of the decade's most groundbreaking musicals when Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk debuts at the Music Hall at Fair Park. A celebration of the history of tap dancing, the musical--winner of four 1996 Tony Awards--features the choreography of Savion Glover, poetry by Reg E. Gaines, and music by Ann Duquesnay, Zane Mark, and Darryl Walters. Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk plays at the Music Hall at Fair Park from July 14 to 26. 8 p.m. Tickets are $7-$50. Call (214) 373-8000.
Maybe it was because we thought it strange that grown men always seemed to find Miss Piggy attractive, or that no one ever made a big deal about the fact that they were talking to a frog (and not only that, a frog puppet). Either way, there was always something about the Muppets, Jim Henson's odd collection of floppy puppets, that bugged us. The latest exhibit at The Science Place, The Vision of Jim Henson, offers an inside look at the late inventor-director's famed New York workshop, where characters such as Gonzo, Fozzy the Bear, Animal, Bert, Ernie, and Elmo first came to life. The exhibit features interactive displays, working models, videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and a chance for kids and adults to create their own Muppet. The Vision of Jim Henson appears at The Science Place, located in Fair Park, until September 13. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children. The Science Place is open seven days a week. Call (214) 428-5555.