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Events for the week

january 1
New Year's Day Psychic Fair: Forget New Year's resolutions, those cynical promises we make to ourselves that are usually based on whom we think we should be, not on whom we really are. Why not find out what's going to happen in 1998 and arrange your life around that? Why quit smoking/drinking/carousing if you're just going to have your head blown off by someone's disgruntled boyfriend during a hostage standoff sometime this summer? Actually, reputable psychics aren't supposed to tell you that kind of stuff, even if they sense it, because then, the theory goes, you'll go out of your way to avoid any place where white male underachievers with one vein throbbing in their foreheads tend to hang out. The Psychic Fair, billed as Dallas' "oldest and largest," holds monthly events, but they really rake it in on New Year's Day, easily one of the most anxiety-ridden days of the year. There are astrologists, tarot-card readers, crystal-ball gazers, and channelers ready to give you their impressions of 1998--not to mention crystals, candles, books, and the various other "lifestyle" accessories one needs to make it in the ozone. The event happens noon-6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select, LBJ and Jupiter Road. Admission is $7; each 15-minute reading is $10. Call (972) 241-4876.

january 2
Drawing Children Together: What often makes children's art so much more fascinating than art made by adults--even when the kid isn't artistically inclined--is that children don't worry about things like inspiration, technique, and marketability. They just tip their minds over and start pouring onto the page--at least until the first obnoxious adult tells them they can't draw or they're doing it wrong; after all, art teachers claim, this is the point at which a person's artistic abilities stall and are ultimately neglected. Luckily, the students of New York University-educated Julio Suarez have an art instructor who's traveled all over the world teaching his illustration techniques. Drawing Children Together is a collection of artwork by more than 20 students between the ages of five and 15. Some of the artists in this show have studied with Suarez for seven years. The show runs through January 10 at ArtCentre of Plano, 1039 E. 15th St, Plano. Call (214) 423-7809.

january 3
Hercules and Xena Convention: Before you start polishing your scabbard in preparation for a jaunt to the Creation Convention for fans of Hercules: The Legendary Journey and Xena: Warrior Princess, be forewarned: neither Herc nor Zee will be in attendance. Syndicated television's best chest (his) and best pair o' gams (hers; although, come to think of it, Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless could swap these titles and nobody would notice) are busy filming the adventures you've come to crave like an opium addict joneses for the hookah. They've sent in their formidable stead a creature who bridges the narrow gap between the worlds of Hercules and Xena: Karl Urban, the mischievous Cupid who appears in both shows. This is the first convention for Dallas fans of the super hits, and as these things go, bring a fat wallet: The merchandise emporium might be the highlight. The event happens 1-7 p.m. at The Plano Centre, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. Tickets are $10-$18. Call (818) 409-0960.

Russian Winter '98: It looks like the closest Dallas will ever get to experiencing a Russian winter (unless the cows stop belching, global warming is reversed, and that hotly anticipated second Ice Age kicks in) is through the Russian American Center's cultural outreach. For the second year in a row, they present the cleverly titled "Russian Winter," an evening of performing and visual arts, as well as Russian pastries, appetizers, and tea. We're not sure about the instruction to dress formal (doesn't that constitute an extra layer of wool back in the former Soviet Union?), but the lineup sounds promising: a mixture of Russian compositions from Tchaikovksy and Rachmaninoff and centuries-old folk songs and ballads. Also featured will be a photo exhibit titled Moscow: 850 Years; dolls in the costumes of various eras and provinces; and crafts from Ivanov, the Russian sister city of Plano. The event happens at 7 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Call (972) 497-1719.

Jack Ingram: He seldom wears a cowboy hat; he has the shaggy-haired, bleary-eyed look of the guy who brings the beer funnel to the keg party; and he steadfastly maintains, even though he's been absorbed by that shameless sponge called Nashville, that he doesn't make country music--he makes "Texas music." That's the charismatic, honky-tonkin' rocker Jack Ingram, whose Steve Earle-produced album Livin' or Dyin' has been championed by everyone from Texas Monthly to Billboard as the purest fusion of country and rock and roll--stadium-unfriendly, but dance-hall-fresh. Of course, the pundits christen a new savior for the commercially lucrative, artistically strapped genre of contemporary country every couple of years, and Ingram's galloping, gutsy twang and precocious stage presence make him a natural for that status. Time will tell if he has the chops to sustain a fertile career through the high pressure of Nashville's commercial influences, but Livin' or Dyin' sends him off to an excellent start. He performs at 10:30 p.m. at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth. Call metro (817) 589-1711.

january 4
Star Trek Convention: A few years back, William Shatner hosted Saturday Night Live and, during the show's opening segment, performed in a skit that surely must have been his own dark fantasy fulfilled. Playing himself addressing a convention full of rabid Star Trek fans, Shatner was finally worn down by questions along the lines of "Do you remember the time when you and Spock...?" and "Do you reload or recharge a phaser?" Shatner snapped. "Get a life!" he barked at the crowd of astonished pork-bellied, live-with-Mommy Trekkers. "It was just a TV show!" In this age of celebrities playing distorted versions of themselves, it's hard to tell where glamour ends and satire begins, but Shatner is rumored to be a nice guy and endlessly patient during his rare appearances at various Star Trek Conventions. He beams in for an appearance at this latest Dallas-area Star Trek convention. The event happens noon-6 p.m. at The Plano Centre, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. Tickets are $10-$20.

january 5
Lolita: There are myriad reasons to see the USA Film Festival's screening of Stanley Kubrick's 1962 film version of Lolita, but most of them are only tangentially related to Kubrick's sleek but way overlong comedy. Short of reading Nabokov's darkly hilarious novel, catch Kubrick's sanitized 1962 version--even with this, the festival's presentation of an "uncensored European" cut--and try to fantasize about how much further director Adrian Lyne has gone back to the original source, preventing him from finding an American distributor for his new version. Instead of rooting one more time for Shelley Winters to drown in The Poseidon Adventure, root for her marvelous high-wire performance as Lolita's horny, would-be bohemian mother: The film begins to sag after her character rather violently departs. And finally, note the ice-cold, undertaker's precision with which Stanley Kubrick renders sexual obsession, and begin to fear for his feverishly discussed (but still very secret) sexual-obsession thriller Eyes Wide Shut, tentatively set for a fall '98 release. The screening starts at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central. Tickets are $7. Call (214) 821-NEWS.

january 6
Photographs and Papers: Have you ever felt isolated and alienated by today's reliance on e-mail-fax-chat-room communications? Feeling kind of insignificant at the realization that you've been reduced to a series of identification numbers to even friends and family? Well grasshopper, it's not your imagination: You are isolated, alienated, and insignificant. These are some of the World Wide Web-era feelings that North Texas artists Kathy Lovas and Karen Simpson are addressing in their show Photographs and Papers, an installation so big it takes up the entire studio space. The show combines digital photographs of children, shredded documents, and tagged vinyl bags containing freshly printed documents. The point (and since we haven't seen this show, we can't vouch for whether Lovas and Simpson actually make one) is supposed to be how personal identity has been correlated and catalogued in an information age out of control. The show runs through January 29 at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch. It closes with a reception January 27. Call 387-0958.

january 7
Old Wicked Songs: Having recently spoken to Jac Alder, one of the co-founders of the 36-year-old Theatre Three, to get his overview of the Dallas theater scene, Calendar couldn't think of a wittier, blunter old dog than Alder to star in the Southwest premiere of Jon Maran's Pulitzer-nominated drama Old Wicked Songs. Alder, whose stage appearances nowadays are infrequent enough to make this production an event, plays a bitter, anti-Semitic Austrian vocal coach who wrestles artistically and philosophically with a young American prodigy just as it's revealed that Austrian presidential candidate Kurt Waldheim was a former Nazi. The show opens January 5, 8:15 p.m., and runs Tuesday-Friday, 8:15 p.m.; Saturday, 2:30 and 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday, 2:30 p.m. through February 1 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St. in the Quadrangle. Tickets are $18-$25. Call (214) 871-2933.

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