Events for the week
Dallas Video Festival: For in-depth critical appraisal of the tenth annual Dallas Video Festival, check out this week's Observer coverage by Arnold Wayne Jones and Jimmy Fowler. For a tirade about the unfair bias many people hold against video, read on: It's certainly true that the tacky residue of too many Three's Company reruns and local TV news broadcasts, not to mention family holidays presided over by a camcorder, have imbued the medium of video with a certain disposable aura. And there's also that free-floating, illogical assumption that can be phrased best as: "Why should I pay $8 to see stuff at the DMA that I can see on cable or PBS?" The answer is, the vast majority of the stuff programmed here will never surface anywhere besides forums like the Dallas Video Festival. It's true that the ratio of brainless stuff to stimulating programs is tiny, which might, in the end, be the festival's undoing. Unlike most of what you get on the tube at home, at the festival you have to be willing not only to think, but learn when you buy your pass. Tune in, turn on, flip out. The festival happens January 9 and 10, 7-11 p.m.; January 11, noon-11 p.m.; and January 12, noon-10 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. Passes are $8-$25. Call (214) 823-8909.
Der Rosenkavalier: For the famous comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, the great Bavarian composer Richard Strauss and Austrian librettist Hugo von Hofmannstahal were mining a centuries-old comic tradition that didn't begin when Nathan Lane donned a Barbara Bush wig and pearls for The Birdcage--boys trying to look and act like girls. Gay male entertainers hardly have an exclusive patent on drag, but it's true they took this genre to its next level, transforming the source of comedy from failure to success--in other words, getting laughs not by playing women badly but by playing them well. Der Rosenkavalier relies on the hetero version of drag, the absurdity of a man disguising himself as his beloved's handmaid and succeeding when, of course, it's obvious that he's a man. In the Germany of 1911, the year this opera was written, the major cities featured seamless female impersonations that were the kind of "perversions" that would be severely punished under Adolf Hitler. Performances are January 10, 15, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and January 12 at 2 p.m. at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $25-$110. Call (214) 443-1000.
Establishment and Revelation: Dallas Visual Art Center is on a roll for Texas artists. Last year they began their trilogy of shows dedicated to the Lone Star State with Establishment Exposed, a look at some of the brightest of our own state who've earned national and international reputations while working outside of New York City and Paris. The Establishment trilogy continues with Establishment and Revelation, a show that also features no common style or theme other than the fact the artists are all Texans and they are all just now making an impression on the national art community. Those represented include Michael Collins, James Drake, Mary McCleary, Gael Stack, and Dixie Friend Gay. The show opens January 10 with a reception at 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss Avenue. Call (214) 821-2522.
Joan Laage: Dancer-choreographer Joan Laage isn't letting the dust settle beneath her pointe shoes. After having premiered a trio of performances last month at the New Dance/New City Festival in Seattle, Laage comes to the McKinney Avenue Contemporary to perform one of her solo dances, a piece called "White Sanctuary." In it, Laage dances for 50 minutes through a forest of sculptures draped with clear and opaque pieces of plastic. She'll follow this show with "Waiting for Butoh," a 15-minute improvisational number that features Laage in Japanese cotton robe, black wig, men's briefs, T-shirt, and silver sandals. The piece is reportedly either comic or tragic, depending on audience feedback. If Laage, who is artistic director of Seattle's acclaimed Dappin' Butoh dance company, doesn't pull this one off, the tragedy will be all those contemporary dance lovers who lost $12 at the MAC box office. Performances happen January 9-11 at 8 p.m. and January 12 at 2 p.m. at the Mc-Kinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $12. Call (214) 953-1212.
Dallas Democratic Forum's Kickoff to the Presidential Inauguration: Although many of us have long since resigned ourselves to Bill Clinton's reelection in November 1996, his actual inauguration in Washington, D.C. doesn't take place until January 20. The Dallas Democratic Forum is too excited to wait for an inaugural ceremony that just two years ago looked flat-out impossible. They're throwing a local shindig that not only kicks off the presidential inauguration but celebrates their 20th anniversary. Honored guests will include Congressman Martin Frost, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congressman John Bryant, and Congressional Candidate John Pouland. Considering Clinton's recent stands on social and economic issues, however, we have one question--has the Forum checked to make certain the president is still a registered Democrat? The event happens at 6:30 p.m. at the home of the Forum's founding member. Tickets are $50, which includes a 1997 membership. For info call (214) 742-1160.
Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris 1945-1965: We all know that Europe after each world war was a mecca for American artists who'd grown dissatisfied or simply bored with much of American culture and politics. That a large part these expatriates were African-American raises an interesting question--how do strangers react to a foreign land when the homeland they've just left effectively treated them like second-class citizens? Did African Americans feel any more out of place in Paris than they did in their own birth place? These are some issues to ponder in "Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris 1945-1965." Organized by the Studio Museum in Harlem and arriving at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (the only Southwest venue the show will make an appearance), "Exploration in the City of Light" features works by Edward Clark, Harold Cousins, Larry Potter, and Barbara Chase-Riboud. The show runs through March 23 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery Street in Fort Worth. Call (817) 738-9215.
In Remembrance of Martin: With the rise of fiery black leaders as diverse as Louis Farrakhan and Alan Keyes, strong men whose opinions sometimes stray into a bigotry they decry when whites express it, the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. doesn't get much airtime these days. The Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters is stepping into this void with a documentary called In Remembrance of Martin, which insists that Dr. King's image as a peaceful resister and dreamer has obscured some of the subtleties--and, specifically, the hard-edged practicality--of the man's complete message. Dallas minister and DISD administrator Clarence Glover takes the stage after the 90-minute film is over to lead audiences into a discussion that will, hopefully, shed light on some of the obscured corners of Martin Luther King's vision. The evening happens at 8 p.m. in the Clarence Muse Cafe Theater, Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters, 650 South Griffin. Admission is a donation. Call (214) 426-1683.
Indiscretions (Les Parents Terribles): The Dallas Theater Center rings in the new year with a bit of adult comedy that brought down the censors for its French premiere 60 years ago. It most recently made headlines as the smash hit Broadway revival that earned Tony nominations for practically everyone involved except its star Kathleen Turner, who at this stage in her career would be thrilled to accept an award from a plumbers' union if she could slap it on her recently meager resume. Indiscretions (Les Parents Terribles), newly translated by Jeremy Sams (who also translated New Theatre Company's recent production of Don Juan on Trial), was a script by perpetual provocateur Jean Cocteau. Indiscretions tells of a moneyed French family in the 1930s that implodes because everyone's in love with the wrong person. It is Cocteau's third riff on the Oedipus myth. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Boulevard. Tickets are $16-$44.50. Call (214) 522-TIXX.
Betting on the Market: Just a few years back, Wall Street was to a majority of Americans just a room full of men in suits shouting underneath great digital displays of numbers. It was a foreign country unto itself, a place where only rich people (or clever people who represented rich people) dared to tread. This is still true for most of us, but ever since the '90s began, a growing number of independent middle-class investors have literally bet their futures (retirement plans, college funds, etc.) on the whims of the market, guided by a quick self-education or investment advisers who may not know much more than the investors do about the risk of various ventures. A new episode of the PBS documentary series Frontline examines this phenomenon. "Betting on the Market" is based in part on the 1994 book A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class. The episode airs at 9 p.m. on KERA-TV Channel 13. Call (214) 871-1390.
The People vs. Larry Flynt: The USA Film Festival has scheduled what should be one hellacious evening of entertainment and passionately defended opinions. You can decide for yourself whether Hustler publishing magnate Larry Flynt is a fervent free-speech warrior or an opportunistic scum bag (and why can't he be both?) when the man himself wheels onstage for a discussion of Milos Forman's critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated The People vs. Larry Flynt. He will be joined by James Cromwell, a Flynt co-star best known in the states for his Oscar-nominated, pig-serenading role in Babe. Both will talk about the film and answer audience questions after the USA Film Festival offers a preview screening of The People vs. Larry Flynt. The evening starts at 7 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes, 9450 North Central Expressway. $45 tickets include a reception for Flynt and Cromwell; $15 gets you into the screening and discussion only. Call (214) 821-
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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.