Events for the week
Black Velvet and George and Scheherazade, sad, sad, sad: 11th Street Theatre Project brings these two short plays written by a playwright who graduated from Southern Methodist University to the Dallas area for the first time. Angela Wilson, who currently teaches on the faculty of Mountainview College, has seen Black Velvet and George and Scheherazade, sad, sad, sad staged apart in New York and Missouri, but 11th Street is bringing together for the first time what the writer always intended as one evening of theater. Black Velvet follows a Southern boy's attempts in 1956 to steer his life among some very tempting choices that include a woman, a rock and roll career, and God. George and Scheherazade, sad, sad, sad investigates the marriage between a woman who shields herself from real life through Audrey Hepburn movies and her unusually supportive husband. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. through June 7 at St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral, 5100 Ross Ave. Call (214) 522-PLAY.
Angry Girl Sextet: From the Pulse Ensemble Theatre and The Nurorican Poets Cafe in New York City to Club Clearview and the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, the estrogen-fueled ensemble of furies known as Angry Girl Sextet has been spreading its compulsively humorous feminist gospel. There are two kinds of feminism: the dogmatic and lazy kind that "empowers," and the truth-telling, brain-fired kind that humanizes and contextualizes. C.J. Critt, Fran Carris, Melissa Dowlearn, Carrie McClutre, and Morgana Shaw (just don't call them a quintet) use slam tactics to assert their wise sisterhood. The Dallas Poets Community hosts their latest rant in a solo performance. The event happens at 8 p.m. in the gallery of the MAC, 3120 McKinney Ave at Bowen. Call (972) 394-1580.
Peter Applebome: Regional rivalries--North vs. South, L.A. vs. New York, Dallas vs. Fort Worth--are among the more pointless pastimes in which Americans dabble, especially when you consider TV, movies, and other national media have all but erased our most stubborn geographical-cultural particularities. But Peter Applebome, national education correspondent for The New York Times and Yankee turned Atlanta resident, believes the real homogenization of American culture is taking place in the form of the Southern-ization of the U.S. as a whole. The Friends of the Public Library invite him to town to discuss his book Dixie Rising: How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics, and Culture, which insists that the new conservatism is a distinctly Suh-thuhn phenomena, sort of like kudzu branches multiplying to ensnare the entire country. Can the planet be far behind? He speaks at noon on the seventh floor of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St. Call (214) 670-1458.
A Capitol Idea: You may have already caught Ted Davey and Royce Cooper's musical revue, A Capitol Idea, when it was performed at this year's DTC Festival of the Unexpected, but chances are you were like a lot of Dallasites who found tickets to those tiny Unexpected events were gone before you picked up the phone. Davey and Cooper restage their tribute to the Capitol Records artists of the '40s and '50s with a swingin' show that includes tunes by Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, and Cole Porter made great by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Nancy Wilson. The Undermain again loans its Sound and the Fury set, but this time presents the suave songfest under its auspices. Performances happen May 23 and 24 at 11 p.m. in the Undermain's Basement Space, 3200 Main St. Tickets are $7. Call (214) 747-5515.
National Tap Dance Day: You don't have to be Tommy Tune's mother to love the art of theatrical dance, but it doesn't hurt. Gracey Tune, herself a veteran professional hoofer, is among visiting artists like Fred Kelly, Henry La Tang, and Jay Fagan who'll participate in National Tap Dance Day. This year the event benefits from the combined involvement of the Dallas Dance Council, Junior Black Academy of Arts & Letters, and Dance Educators of America, who over two days present a free tap dance show at the West End, dance competitions at Booker T. Washington, and a dinner and floorshow with some of the aforementioned dancers. Events happen May 24 starting at 11 a.m. and May 25 at 8:30 a.m. in the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, 2501 Flora at Routh. Tickets are $12-$35. Call 1-800-229-3868.
National Poetry Slam Benefit: Dallas poetry man Clebo Rainey doesn't have time to carry on petty feuds with white-trash Fort Worth poets; his eye is turned toward finding a last-minute fourth member replacement for this year's National Poetry Slam in Middleton, Connecticut. He's also looking to raise a little moolah to finance the road trip, and to that end has enlisted himself and a few friends to perform at a slam fundraiser. They include feverishly eclectic Dallas talent Dalton James, who will for the first time since May 8's Dallas Observer profile perform his own words, right after he finishes the final performance of his three-weekend run in For Whom the Bucket Tolls. Black poetry ensemble Oil is also on the bill. Those who are actually vying to join this year's slam team--Jason Carny, Brock Miller, and Sean Pool--reside among the best of regular performers at Dallas' poetry readings. Come lend them your ear for this benefit performance at 8 p.m. at Rock N Java on Henderson Ave. Donation at the door is $5. Call (214) 827-5282.
Filo: It's not surprising that the only place in Dallas you can hear Latino rock and dance on a bilingual show is KNON-FM 89.3, because KNON is the only place in Dallas you can hear a lot of things. Sin Fronteras producer-host Jesus Chairez and KNON are gearing up for what they call "A Post Modern Pre-Columbian Noche Caliente," a benefit performance to ensure that Dallasites continue to hear the radio station's eclectic but embattled program. Latino rock purveyors Filo join forces with DJ Adan Fuentes S., former disc spinner in the Aztec capital of Mexico City turned Dallas platterman. The performance kicks off at the Zone Club, 1911 N Griffin St. Tickets are $5-$8. Call (214) 220-2883.
ArtFest '97: As the Texas spring moves ever closer to June and with it a changeover to summer, the temperatures outside go from that pleasant roasty sensation on your bare arms and legs to the mandatory temperature required by the health department to thoroughly cook beef in restaurants. All those outdoor arts festivals begin to feel like rotisseries. Luckily, the organizers of ArtFest '97 are cognizant of this, and have switched many of their activities to indoor, air-conditioned facilities. All kinds of performing, visual, and craft artists are featured at this three-day roundup designed for family consumption. Events happen the night of May 23 and continue May 24 and 25 all day and night in and around the Esplanade at Fair Park. Tickets are $6. Call (214) 361-2011.
Ghosts of the Swamp: You should know before you attend the new Fort Worth Zoo exhibit "Ghosts of the Swamp" that the show deflates a bit of sacred human folklore: Those weren't the spirits of dead humans drunk swamp-dwellers saw shimmering in the darkness of the marsh, but albino or leucistic alligators, turtles, frogs, and snakes. Lest you offend any pale-bodied amphibian, you should also know there's a difference between "albino"--a lack of black pigment cells resulting in yellow or off-white skin--and "leucistic"--a total lack of pigment cells except for the eyes. "Ghosts of the Swamps" runs through July 31 at the Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth. Tickets are $3-$7. Call (817) 871-7050.
Critic's Choice: Every year for its "Critic's Choice" show, the Dallas Visual Art Center enlists the aid of Texans whose expertise in the field of visual art has made them high-profile on the national scene. For the 1997 "Critic's Choice," Art in America and former Dallas Observer critic Charles Dee Mitchell picks through the stacks with Suzanne Weaver, assistant curator of contemporary art for the Dallas Museum of Art. Mitchell and Weaver had a big job this year, as a record-breaking 858 works were submitted by artists from all over the state. A variety of examples from each medium were selected. Reception for "1997 Critic's Choice" happens May 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. and runs through July 3 at the Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss Ave. Call (214) 821-2522.
Encore! In addition to the occasional acting stint with Theatre Three, Terry Dobson is responsible for directing, arranging, and sometimes performing the music for that company's strongest asset--its musical productions. Dobson also serves as musical director for the Turtle Creek Chorale's Encore!, a by-audition-only ensemble of young men with songs in their hearts and the pipes to unleash them. New Theatre Company and Theatre Three director Bruce Coleman lends his backstage talents to this one-performance-only revue of comedy cabaret, Broadway tunes, and big-band ditties that feature non-Encore! members Shelley Clayton, Amy Mills, and Sally Soldo. The event happens at 8 p.m. at Theatre Three in the Quadrangle on Routh St. Tickets are $10. Call (214) 871-3300.
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What's happening in town? From underground club nights to the biggest outdoor festivals, our top picks for the week's best events will always keep you in on the action.