Wynton Marsalis is a jazzman's jazzman, a purist with a discography longer than a Charlie Parker solo and the chops to back it up. But he has also found time to indulge his other love--classical music--squelching the notion that jazz players "just make it up as they go along," to quote noted music scholar Homer Simpson. While his brother Branford may have earned more street cred with his genre-hopping work in hip-hop jazz-fusion projects like Buckshot LeFonque and the Jazzmatazz albums, Wynton has proved his equal in terms of versatility. He has played with legends like drummer Art Blakey and younger experimentalists like bassist Ron Carter, and now, he's sitting in with members of New York's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis and friends will perform Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, as well as premiere one of Marsalis' own compositions, The Fiddler's Tale, a reworking of Stravinsky's piece. It's fitting that he has an affinity for Stravinsky's work, because the composer was heavily influenced by American jazz (though he had never heard it). If you've never heard Stravinsky, this is a rare treat to hear a masterpiece performed by a master. The concert begins at 8 p.m. at Texas Christian University's Ed Landreth Auditorium, University Drive at Cantey, in Fort Worth. $12-$36. Call (817) 335-9000.
The latest exhibit at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, New York: A Sidewalk View, offers a captivating glimpse of the Big Apple, especially to those neophytes whose only knowledge of the city comes from Seinfeld. The exhibit features works by John Albok, Helen Levitt, and Walter Rosenblum, who use the city's distinctive architecture and melting-pot culture to compose photographs that juxtapose the playful (children playing in the streets) with the serious (the war-bond effort of the early '40s). The exhibit doesn't completely capture the essence of the city, but it does provide beautiful snapshots into parts of New York that we never see. By the way, Seinfeld is filmed in Los Angeles. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday, and continues until June 13 at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, located at 3115 Routh St. Call (214) 969-1852.
It would be easy to dismiss BR5-49 as career-boosting schemers who hopped on the neo-country chuckwagon, if they weren't so damned good. Country crooner-hat rack John Michael Montgomery once offered the quartet $50 for every Hank Williams song they could play, and he left $700 poorer. BR5-49 is a virtual jukebox of country music's past, trotting out western-swing standards, rockabilly stompers, and tears-in-my-beer ballads with the greatest of ease. The band's originals--like "Little Ramona"--sound as though they could have been written 50 years ago. The band's look is definitely full of shtick, but it's worth it. Make sure you drop a buck in the tip jar. BR5-49 plays at the Snake River Saloon, 2614 Main. Doors open at 8 p.m. Call (214) 744-4777.
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If a sport were judged only by the best film made about it, pro beach volleyball would easily rank as the worst sport ever. Football has The Longest Yard, baseball has The Natural, basketball has Hoosiers, boxing has Rocky (the first one), and beach volleyball has...Sideout. The 1990 film stars C. Thomas Howell (remember him?) as a stuffy Midwestern law student who becomes a laid-back King of the Beach and--big shock--learns something about life along the way. The biggest surprise is that this stinker apparently had the full support of the beach volleyball community, including cameos by most of its top stars. Since then, the sport has made significant strides, and it even achieved exhibition status at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Glowing with newfound respect, the Miller Lite-sponsored Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour makes a stop in Dallas (even though there isn't a beach for hundreds of miles) for the ninth year of the Sunkist Open. Some of the sport's top players--including Karch Kiraly, Kent Steffes, Mike Whitmarsh, and Jose Loiola--will compete for the tournament's $100,000 purse. The Sunkist Open happens at Crescent Court, Cedar Springs Boulevard and Olive Street. It begins on Saturday at 9 a.m., and the championship match takes place on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $6-$25. Call TicketMaster at (214) 373-8000.
We have no idea how to answer the question "What wine goes best with this?" Of course, that query doesn't come up that often at Denny's, and when it does, it's usually followed by a polite request to leave. The participants at The Dallas Morning News Wine and Food Festival know what wine goes best with what food, and what food goes best with a good wine. Fifteen restaurants and some of the nation's top wineries will take part in the four-day festival, which includes a new "Salute to Texas Wine and Food" at Delaney Vineyards. The Wine and Food Festival begins Thursday and concludes on Monday. For a list of participating restaurants and wineries, call (214) 319-7000, or to make reservations call (214) 887-9915.
We'll be honest: We hate The Mommies--the "comedy" team of Caryl Kristensen and Marilyn Kentz. When we saw them a few years ago performing at the Montreal Comedy Festival, we weren't sure if their being-a-mom-really-sucks routine was their actual act, or some subversive comedy troupe's witty parody of bad comedy. Unfortunately, the former was the case. So we were shocked--shocked!--when some misguided executive gave them their own sitcom, and then (after that show was rightly canceled) they were given another show, this time an equally lame daytime yakfest. Now, it seems, Caryl and Marilyn have taken their show on the road, further proof that talent isn't the only key to success. But that's just our humble opinion. Feel free to check 'em out; just don't blame us. The Mommies perform at Carrollton's Plaza Theatre, located at 1115 Fourth Street, at 8 p.m. Call (972) 660-8300.
There is perhaps no writer in Texas who embraces everything that is great about our state more than Gary Cartwright (Yes, we've heard of Molly Ivins, now hush up). Whether he is writing about Willie Nelson for Texas Monthly or remembering the past in his book Confessions of a Washed-Up Sports Writer, Cartwright clearly loves Texas. And he loves writing even more. His prose is sharp, colorful, and always interspersed with personal embellishment. Cartwright comes to town to sign and discuss his latest book, Heartwise Guy. Unlike many authors, he can express himself in person as well as he can on the page. The book signing and discussion happens at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 2201 Preston Road at Park Boulevard. It's free.