Birthday suit: Pan American Gallery presents Icons, Myths and Prophets featuring Colin Garland's "Sable Venus."
Birthday suit: Pan American Gallery presents Icons, Myths and Prophets featuring Colin Garland's "Sable Venus."

This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, January 1
How the tradition began is up for debate. While searching for the truth, we happened upon, which contained answers from Miss Vickie's older relatives concerning the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. (Note: We have no idea who Miss Vickie is, but trusting her, and her relatives, seems only natural.) One says that the lentils were used only as cattle feed, but, during the Civil War, folks were forced to eat them to survive after soldiers burned all the other crops. Another says that they symbolize coins, and collard greens represent currency for the new year. We have no clue which is correct, and we aren't huge fans of black-eyes unless smothered in Dixieland Chow Chow, but we eat them on January 1 just in case any of the legends are right. Dixie House (the original Black-eyed Pea Restaurant), 6400 Gaston Ave., understands the need for luck, so with every meal they'll be serving a ramekin of the lucky lentils. A Southern tradition, so it's only appropriate that Dixie serves it up right. Call 214-826-2412.

Friday, January 2
What better time than the holiday season to offer an Icons, Myths and Prophets exhibit? None that we can think of. Seriously, the city has just been inundated with Santa and Jesus; those guys pretty much sum it up right there. Not to mention the Christmas trees, menorahs, angels, candy canes, wise men and various manger-dwelling mammals. So maybe the exhibit at Pan American Gallery, 3303 Lee Parkway, Suite 101, isn't Santa oriented, but as far as religious iconography goes, it's got us covered. Works by artists from Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Italy and Mexico examine and interpret icons and prophets in settings ranging from biblical to pagan to "non-Western." Some pious, some fiery and mythological, the works by Carl Abrahams, Hector Hyppolite, Stefano Tartaglia and others expound further upon ideas skimmed over in the past month. Peer at an icon or two. Just do it before January 17, when the prophets will cease speaking from these gallery walls. Call 214-522-3303.

Saturday, January 3
We got a little nervous when the word "Orinoco" popped up on the schedule. After all, who doesn't run from Enya's ubiquitous Celtic Moods hit "Orinoco Flow" with the repetitious "sail aways" that once inundated the new age ear? Relax. This is all in reference to something more lovable and enticing than that song. We will be honest here. It does have fangs, scales and parents "considered to be non-releasable animals" by the Venezuelan government, but it's still inexplicably cute. Jump, a baby Orinoco crocodile, makes a two-week public debut at the Dallas World Aquarium, 1801 N. Griffin St., through Monday. Barely 9 months old, little-ish Jump is aptly named for his "seemingly innate ability to propel himself to impressive heights." That's noteworthy to us since we can only put a few inches between us and the floor, and we even stand upright. Jump is a highly endangered species and the only croc of his kind to be hatched outside of his natural habitat, which is where he might be returned once he reaches proper maturity. The aquarium is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission ranges from $6 to $10.95. Call 214-720-2224.

Sunday, January 4
On Sunday, how 'bout a little dinner, some drinks and a comedy that combines two genres we would never, ever put together? Pocket Sandwich Theatre, and more specifically playwrights Joe Dickinson and Rodney Dobbs, give us a combo show that begs for the popcorn to fly. Fangs for the Memories is an original spoof that jabs at fedora-wearing film noir and...gothy N'awlens vampires? Yep. We just imagine these two fellas sitting at a bar brainstorming. "You know what would be awesome? OK, OK. Film noir and, no, no hear me out. This is totally cool, totally cool. Vampires like the ones in Anna Rice books! No really, it could work. We just make fun of them both at...the...same...time!" The response to that pitch just had to be, "Dude, that's f'n brilliant. I so gotta write it now!" Vamps, hoods and fans of both can decide just how brilliant Fangs really is on Sunday at 7 p.m. The theater is located at 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane. Tickets are $8 and food and beverage service begins at 5:30 p.m. Call 214-821-1860.

Monday, January 5
We set forth a challenge: We bet the Dallas Jugglers Association can't even get us barely started juggling. We've tried, and despite our father's lessons and gifts of Learn to Juggle sets, we get no farther than throwing one beanbag straight up and another halfway across the room. Like playing the drums, juggling seems to be outside our realm of coordination--there's just too much going on and too many appendages involved. For others, however, juggling seems to be such a passion that it demanded the organization of the Dallas Jugglers Association. They meet Monday nights at Half Price Books, 5915 E. Northwest Highway, at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are free, as are lessons (again, our confidence fails us and we'd love to be proven wrong), and the group welcomes all levels from professional to novice to our own level, on-looker. Call 214-328-JUGL.

Tuesday, January 6
Remember a time when a class or a lab prompted you to dig into your creative soul and really produce? Sometimes the assignments penned you in, and sometimes that little bit of direction flooded you with ideas and inspiration you never thought possible. That's the great thing about art classes: They make you do it. Creating a portfolio in school can egg an artist on to continue the soul mining after graduation and, when that happens, those student loans don't seem like such a burden. Good luck to those presenting their masterworks in the portfolioSHOW Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Art Institute of Dallas, 8080 Park Lane. Students in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, video production, animation art & design and multimedia & Web design show their student fees' worth during a public showing. And, when the show closes, here's a toast to keeping the designs ever-flowing. Call 214-692-8080.

Wednesday, January 7
In the late 19th century, lithographs from Currier & Ives (yes, the same C&I of "it'll be just like a picture-print from Currier & Ives/these wonderful things are the things we'll remember all through our lives" fame) were a way for the non-wealthy to get a slice of the fine visual art pie. The firm touted themselves as "Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints" and they were popular indeed. Popular enough to earn a mention in the aforementioned "Sleigh Ride" (trying to place those incredibly familiar lyrics now, weren't you?), the prints of yore are now highly collectible and pieces of art in their own right. Thus, the Amon Carter Museum presents The America of Currier & Ives, an exhibit consisting of prints by Nathanial Currier and James Merritt Ives in the museum's permanent collection. It's a bit of art history, a bit of nostalgia and it's free. The exhibit, at 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., runs through March 7. Call 817-738-1933.


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