In the 1970s, funk met film with the introduction of a new cinematic genre. Especially designed for and marketed to African-Americans, blaxploitation flicks such as Shaft and Superfly were filled with action and sexuality and heroes who loved nothing more than kickin' ass and takin' names. Now, decades later, these films are still being scrutinized. With the screening of BaadAsssss Cinema, a 2002 documentary by Isaac Julien, Black Cinematheque Dallas asks, "Did the blaxploitation films of the '70s stick it to the man, or did they poison our minds?" Interesting question. And there are interesting arguments on both sides of the issue. While some have called the genre "empowering," others say its participants are guilty of "treason." Either way, these films left an indelible mark on our culture, and their soundtracks alone are unforgettable. Money may have been the driving force behind blaxploitation, but the music is what made it funkalicious. In celebration of Black History Month, Black Cinematheque Dallas screens BaadAsssss Cinema at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh St., on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. Call 214-426-1683. --Rhonda Reinhart
Blinded With Science Fiction
Look, it's true that some of us were slogging through the first stages of puberty when the Berlin Wall fell, but that doesn't mean we can't appreciate the finer points of the Cold War. First, the chilly relations provided a decades-long reason to buy miniature flags for our cars. So there's that. Wanna talk movies? Science fiction of the atomic generation benefited greatly from the unease, too, and the Video Association of Dallas is hosting a weekly Sci-Fi Saturday at The Magnolia Lounge to celebrate this genre and era. This week at 3 p.m., catch 1953's It Came From Outer Space, Jack Arnold's (The Creature From the Black Lagoon) ambitious picture (originally in 3-D) centering on a couple who witness the crash landing of an alien craft. Skepticism abounds from those nearby, but when folks in the small desert town begin disappearing, doubt turns to fear. Sure, it might be dated and maybe even a bit hokey, but age can't diminish inventive storytelling (this is based on a Ray Bradbury short story, after all), and beyond that, the spacy nostalgia is very kid-friendly. Besides, what's hotter with the kids right now than allusions to McCarthyism? That's right: nuthin'. The Magnolia Lounge at Fair Park is at 1121 First Ave. Tickets are $5 or $3 for kids under 12. Call 214-428-8700. --Matt Hursh
Channel surfing at 2 a.m., you luck on a televangelist and wonder: What if someone cloned Jesus? Instead of scourging the moneylenders, would he kick over the faith healers' TV cameras? Would he change water into a nice merlot? Check out The Jesus Thief, a novel by J.R. Lankford. A physician steals threads from the Shroud of Turin to obtain divine DNA. Lankford signs copies of her book at 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at Creekwalk Village, 801 W. 15th St. at Alma, Plano. Call 972-422-3372. --Glenna Whitley
There's but one search as legendary as the ones for the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth: the pursuit of the perfect pizza. John Peter Reinhart has dedicated his life to this noble quest, and will share his adventures with us lowly mortals on February 25 at Sur La Table, 4527 Travis St. Reinhart will discuss advanced pizza-cooking techniques and impart his knowledge of pizza history. Call 214-219-4404. --Mary Monigold
Turn those brown lawns green with Greg Grant
My wife and I have decided to trade roles. She is now the man of the house. For example, she handles the bills, gets rid of any cockroaches or possums that find their way inside and, when in the mood, demands carnal pleasure--often from me. Meanwhile, I cook, nurture and try to bring to life the many plants she kills with neglect. This is no easy task, which is why I'm headed this weekend to the Second Annual Dallas Flower & Outdoor Living Show, Friday through Sunday at the Dallas Convention Center. Surely they have tips on how a gardening idiot like me can quit killing everything green found in my home and yard. Tip No. 1 for said idiot: "Summer heat and drought are the biggest problems in Texas," says Greg Grant, a well-known horticulturist/author/lecturer from Arcadia. "Planting wimpy Northern and European adapted plants (much of what is sold) that can't stand the summers is our biggest problem. It's ALL about choosing the right plants and planting them at the right time." Grant will be one of the many featured speakers (check www.beloexpo.com/betterliving/ for the complete lineup, or call 214-977-2249) talking about how you, too, can create beautifully designed gardens just like the top landscapers. Or how you can die trying. They will also be there to dispel the myths people like me keep alive--namely, that it's not my fault nothing grows in my garden; it's the damn Texas weather. "Many great plants actually prefer heat, and some like it better dry," Grant says. "We just have to take advantage of that." Which means I'll have no more excuses. Unless the possums get in my garden. --Eric Celeste
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