Much more than an occasion for getting the Frisbee out and hitting the park, the original Earth Day was closer to a nationwide "teach-in" dedicated to saving the planet. A massive demonstration in Washington forced Congress to adjourn for the day. An impromptu parade of environmentally conscious protesters brought traffic to a standstill in downtown Manhattan. And several other large cities played host to environmental rallies. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act are all products of Earth Day 1970. Thirty-three years later, however, Earth Day is in dire need of a good kick in the booty. (The fact that ABC chose actor Leonardo DiCaprio to interview former President Clinton about the environment on Earth Day's 30th anniversary says it all.) The fact that Earth Day is not even coming close to stopping traffic these days translates into a lack of public pressure on the peeps in power to do something about the litter strewn along local lakes, parks and neighborhoods, not to mention the murky haze that sometimes makes the notion of jogging outside seem outdated. So those with offspring, or stuck with someone else's, can attempt giving Earth Day some meaning this year by hitting the Neighborhood Service Council's Earth Day celebration at Cottonwood Park. The council is a nonprofit dedicated to serving the needs of disadvantaged children and adults in Richardson and Dallas' Spring Valley-Coit area, so activity booths are set up specifically for teaching young people about Mother Earth. It's not a lot, but it's something. It happens Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cottonwood Park, 8500 Midpark Road. --Cheryl Smith
Forget for a moment that when you attend Plano Forum 2003, you will be within easy purchasing range of The Shops at Legacy. Concentrate on the speakers you'll hear! Reflexively liberal Beltway reporters who'll find their anecdotes amusing (Steve and Cokie Roberts)! A megalomaniacal college basketball coach who blames everyone else for his failures (Bobby Knight)! A former University of Oklahoma football star who found more fame and riches as a Republican tool of The Man (congressman J.C. Watts)! Not to mention the keynote speaker, holier-than-thou ex-New York mayor (Rudy Giuliani)! If you can make it through that pantheon of hot air, you may actually have fun at the forum's conclusion, when Three Dog Night plays. DoubleTree Hotel Plano, 7120 Dallas Parkway. Call 972-473-6444. --Eric Celeste
Curry up! Vishnu'd get it in gear! Brahman, let's go! That's all the Indian silliness we can muster, along with a pitiful rendition of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," which allegedly ripped off Motown's "He's So Fine." Perhaps we could get over the urge to stereotype hallowed cultures and ancient languages by listening to two serious Indian writers at the next Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Manil Suri could set us straight at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the DMA's Horchow Auditorium. Divakaruni will talk about her award-winning novels, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, and read selections from her four poetry books. Suri is sure to discuss his first novel, The Death of Vishnu, and his sequels-to-come, The Life of Shiva and The Birth of Brahma. Tickets are $16 to $18; available by calling 214-922-1220. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Felines go paw to paw
Sleeping, eating, defecating, licking oneself, throwing up in the most inconvenient places. Throw in a few hours of Trading Spaces reruns and we've pretty much described our typical weekend. Or, of course, the entire life of a cat. We don't want to get into the whole cat people/dog people argument, but if you need a companion that jumps on you when you come home and hangs on your every word, well, what can we say? Talk to your shrink about your codependency issues. If you've got it together and appreciate those alternatingly aloof and cuddly felines, check out some fine specimens at the CFA All Breed Cat Show, featuring Maine coon cats. The show, benefiting the Humane Society and Sheltie Rescue Group, takes place at Will Rogers Memorial Center, One Amon Carter Square, Fort Worth, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. Call 817-233-0281. --Michelle Martinez
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Farmers market feels the heat
For Canadians, a "south of the border" festival would involve, well, hot dogs, apple pie and Code Red Mountain Dew. Maybe some music--George Gershwin, Elvis and the Beach Boys--blaring on the PA; an exploration of American art as revealed through Lego sculpture; a Martin Scorsese film festival. Oh, yawn. Thank goodness when we look southward, it's Latino everything, as far as the eye can see. For Cinco de Mayo and just for fun, the Dallas Farmers Market is transforming its 1010 S. Pearl neighborhood into a Latin street fair on Sunday. The free festival will feature Latin art, music, dance, food and children's activities from noon to 10 p.m. The Association of Latino Arts and Studies is producing the art show, and music performances on two stages will include Grupo La Flama de Tejupilco Mexico, Grupo Abento, Tio and Havana NRG. Call 214-824-7495. --Annabelle Massey Helber