Mush-brained by midweek, fellow indentured servants? Added toner to the copier one too many times? Thank gawd (or any reasonable facsimile) that you live in Dallas, where you may work like a dawg all week, but you can find real escape and cerebral stimulation somewhere, somehow, every weekend. Perfect example: an annual play-together called The Festival of Independent Theatres, starting Thursday at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive at White Rock Lake. A dozen local theater companies are producing and performing one-act plays in a series of Wednesday-through-Sunday rotations through August 1. Veteran and novice theater-goers tend to slurp up the all-you-can-eat buffet of one-hour-or-less performances. It's a smorgasbord of contradictions: established theater companies and newcomers, regional premieres and time-tested favorites. Plus, the FIT offers late-night, outdoor performances for the happily single and kid-free along with a couple of family-friendly matinees. First up Thursday at 8 p.m. are Core Performance Manufactory's Lot 13: The Bone Violin by Doug Wright, directed by Elizabeth Ware; Ground Zero Theater Company's three short plays under a Necessary Errands umbrella, written by Valerie Brogan Powell and directed by Wm. Paul Williams; and WingSpan Theatre Company's Dallas premiere of Crave, written by Sarah Kane and directed by Rene Moreno. Ticket info is complicated and varies by day of week, but Thursday's ticket price is $10. Advance tickets are available through TITAS at 214-528-5576. An all-festival pass is $45. Call 214-670-8749 for more information or visit www.bathhousecultural.com/fit2003schedule.htm for the entire FIT schedule. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Tired of honky-tonk heartbreak songs? Weary of the Curdling Blood Brothers scene? How about something a bit more soothing? Like the Basically Beethoven Festival that gets under way at 2:30 p.m. July 13 in the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. To set the mood, award-winning cellist Kyng-Mi Anna Lee will give a pre-concert recital, accompanied by Yurie Iwasaki on piano. Then comes Mozart Quintet for "Horn and Strings in E flat Major, K. 407," featuring Lorin Larson on horn; Kimberly Fick, violin; Laura Bruton and David Hermann, viola; and Leda Dawn Burak, cello. Then, Swang Lin, violin; Xiaowei Shi, violin. Hermann and Burak will perform "Beethoven String Quartet in A Minor, Opus 132." Call 214-520-2219. --Carlton Stowers
I Love You, Now Close
Theatre Three has its Perfect ending
If only marriage was as entertaining as Theatre Three's long-running performance of the musical review I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. In the real world, you could have a ditty built around a man's irrational anger over the smallest of slights, called "I Don't Know Why You Annoy Me, You Just Do, OK?" Perhaps a showstopping number that turns a woman's small white lies into a song titled "Yes, I'm Still Attracted to You, Despite Your Gut and Hairy Back." OK, those don't sound too entertaining, except perhaps to my wife and me. Our sense of humor is slightly skewed, though. After 16 years together, our favorite joke is to wake up, turn over and say, "Christ, are you still here?" Although, given that I Love You is ending its run July 13 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., after three years of sold-out shows, perhaps a sense of humor is the secret to staying in love. If not, we don't wanna know. Tickets are $22 to $33. Call 214-871-3300. --Eric Celeste
And boys drool over Hellcats
Do bad, bad boys make you feel so good? Do the letters PVC remind you of your favorite dress rather than sewer pipes? Are your vices red lipstick, bourbon shots, Marlboros and passing notes in homeroom? If you're already bad to the bone and haven't even gotten a diploma yet, you might be a high school hellcat. Like they say, only the good die young, so you can look forward to long, happy years of AA meetings, lung cancer and skin that looks like an old handbag. We advise you to check out Pocket Sandwich Theatre's High School Hellcats in Heels, a popcorn-tossing spoof of preachy '50s "moral" films. Tsk, tsk. Things happen to girls like you. Teen-age girls run amok Thursdays through Sundays, July 11 through August 23, at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane in the Mockingbird Central Plaza. Call 214-821-1860. --Michelle Martinez
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Frank Caliendo wants to take over your world. Or so it would appear. Just visit his Web site and you can have Frank Caliendo sounds on your computer, Frank Caliendo sounds on your stereo, even Frank Caliendo ring tones on your cell phone. This is some serious media infiltration; who are the ad wizards who came up with this one? Best known for his John Madden impressions on MAD TV, Caliendo has also performed stand-up on Premium Blend, The Late Show with Craig Kilborn and Late Night with Conan O'Brien and has performed at more than 300 universities. On tour again in support of his second CD (both of which are available on his Web site), Frank Caliendo appears through July 13 at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road. Call 972-404-8501. --David Wilson