Nobody knows the trouble they've seen at the Dallas Arboretum, all stirred up because of a simple event called Cool Thursdays. Every Thursday night during May, June and July, the arboretum hosted a live band on the lawn along the arboretum's part of the White Rock Lake shoreline. For seven years, event planners booked diverse bands, mowed the grass, built a temporary stage and waited. Thundering hordes of al fresco music lovers flocked in, and soon the audience was too big, the bands were grouchy and arboretum staffers couldn't believe they were actually experiencing too much of a good thing. "We took a hiatus last year to regroup," says arboretum spokeswoman Karen Hinds Vassar. "The last straw was in 2002 when part of the stage collapsed under the Dallas Wind Symphony." Arboretum staff had to make changes or scrap the weeknight concerts altogether. They spent 2003 making Cool Thursdays cool again. Arboretum patron Nancy Rutchik stepped in to donate a permanent music stage, in memory of her husband, Martin. "The new Rutchik Concert Stage is a beautiful, flagstone structure," Vassar says. "We decided to limit the audience size and sell tickets online." This summer's lineup features everything from Elvis impersonator Dave Tapley to a Beatles retrospective. "There's plenty of room for picnics. It's OK to bring wine and low beach chairs or blankets. It's a great date experience and fun for families as well." Kicking off the new and improved Cool Thursdays on May 6 at 7 p.m. is Emerald City, the 10-piece, "funky cool" house band for the Dallas Mavericks. Tickets include parking at the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road. Prices are $12 for adults, $5 for children and $3 for members. Tickets are available online at www.dallasarboretum.org or by phone at 214-515-6519. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Believe it or not, works of socially conscious humor regarding the routines and struggles of The Woman occasionally branch out beyond "Garsh, girls sure are emotional!" and "Good luck getting that remote control, ladies!" Almost as surprising, what sounds like the next Trey Parker opus, Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo, is actually the work of noted Italian playwrights Franca Rame and Dario Fo. This anthology premieres Thursday evening at Sons of Hermann Hall. Running through May 29, Risk Theater Initiative's take on Orgasmo's gender politics isn't intended for Li'l Suzie Pigtails, but with "playlet" titles like "Monologue of a Whore in a Lunatic Asylum," let the grown-up good times roll. Sons of Hermann Hall is at 3414 Elm St. Call 214-747-4422 or visit www.risktheinitiative.com. --Matt Hursh
Live classical music on neighborhood summer nights is usually performed as the sunset songs of birds and insects. But thanks to an outreach program in Fort Worth, for at least one night it means a diverse selection of well-known works performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Upgrade your front-porch seat for a front-row seat and take in performances of Bizet, Mendelssohn, Strauss, Faure and Vaughan-Williams at the symphony's Neighborhood Arts Performance. The concert, conducted by the FWSO's Eduardo Browne, takes place at 6 p.m. May 8 at Beth Eden Missionary Church, 3208 Wilbarger St., Fort Worth. Admission is free. Call 817-665-6500 or visit www.fwsymphony.com. --Stephanie Durham
Pump It Up
Stop giggling. A musical called Pump Boys & Dinettes deserves to be taken seriously, right? After all, its original incarnation was good enough to jump to Broadway in 1982 and snag a Tony nomination, and the country-fried musical has since seen countless re-creations in dinner theaters across the nation. So it's no Death of a Salesman, but at least it's not Sunset Boulevard. Besides, when the Pump Boys go to the Double Cupp Diner, you know some kid in the crowd at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, 5601 Sears, will wind up giggling. Tickets are $12 and up, and the show runs every Thursday through Sunday until May 29. No shows will be performed May 9 or May 20. Call 214-828-0094. --Sam Machkovech
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