Events for the week
The Comeback of Freddy Chicken: Internationally acclaimed Dallas-based performance artist Fred Curchack is a lamb on the phone, a lion when he steps on stage. Curchack, a hands-on kinda performance artist, is happy to give us a ring and follow up with his own bit of publicity for The Comeback of Freddy Chicken. Curchack has recently returned from a trip to Paris (that's France, not Texas) and is revving up his schizophrenic engines for Freddy Chicken, a complete reworking of a show, about a mythological superstar, that he performed a few years back. The actor-writer-director-mime-composer throws all of his diverse experiences into the soup for this one--which can be daunting, when you consider Curchack has trained in Indian, Japanese, Balinese, and Native American performance expressions. Fred is nothing if not generous to his audiences; this mime-dance-music video excursion shouldn't leave anyone behind. Perfomances take place Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through September 1 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney at Bowen. Tickets are $8-$12. For information call 953-1212.
Lysistrata: So many sanctimonious cultural critics would have us think that the current abundance of sex on TV and movie screens was some monster birthed by the hedonistic '60s, a mythical decade that everyone recalls but no one experienced. In fact, the Greek playwright Aristophanes knew that sex sells way back in 411 B.C., when he wrote Lysistrata, currently being performed by Fort Worth's resourceful Hip Pocket Theatre. Aristophanes was an unrepentant gadfly who often criticized political subjects past the point of tolerance by Athenian officials. He hid his secret messages behind bawdiness in Lysistrata, which recounts the tale of a nation's women ending a war by refusing their menfolk certain horizontal privileges. Sure, the dirty deed is never done on stage, but it becomes the dominant, if unseen force in every conversation exchanged. Performances happen Fridays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. through September 8 at Oak Acres Amphitheatre, 1620 Las Vegas Trail North at 820 North in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$14. Call (817) 927-2833.
Gallery E-Strange: In case you've never ventured into Forbidden Books and Video in Exposition Park, you should know that owner and operator Jason Cohen is the nicest guy ever to have several square inches of his body devoted to tattoos. In a related title, he's also the nicest guy (with the possible exception of Mr. John Waters) who ever devoted an entire business to mass murderers, Satanism, sadomasochism, fringe conspiracies, and other fascinating extremes of the human experience. You'll find all those topics covered in Cohen's selection of books, magazines, and videos. Not content with a couple media, Cohen strolls into visual art with the opening of his Gallery E-Strange, which features silkscreen posters, photos, and paintings by Frank Kozik, Lindsy Kuhn, and Barbara Lambert. An opening reception with "weird entertainment on hand" happens from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Forbidden is located at 835 Exposition. It's free. Call 821-9554.
MATV Radiothon: Mothers Against Teen Violence Inc. (MATV) was created in 1993 by the women close to two Dallas teens who were abducted, robbed, and killed execution-style by folks they didn't even know. MATV holds its second annual Radiothon in cooperation with KKDA-AM 730, which will broadcast all day from the South Dallas Cultural Center while various fund-raising events transpire. A morning address by Mayor Ron Kirk, an assembly, a choir, and a reception with vocalist Benita Arterberry are included. The events happen from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh. It's free. Call 565-0422.
Visions: The Women's Expo: There's an overwhelming Victorian flavor to Visions: The Women's Expo, now celebrating its seventh year as a Dallas event. In sharp contrast to all those economic reports that women have to work, regardless of their feminist sympathies, so the family can stay afloat, Women's Expo places a high premium on shopping, beauty tips, fashion, and career advice--subjects that certainly have their place, but aren't necessarily urgent for many working-class American women. Will its "career advice" accommodate questions like this: "I'm a truck-stop waitress supporting two kids who gets her butt pinched every other day; what should I do?" Visions events happen August 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and August 25, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $6. Call 523-0650.
Taste of East Dallas: While local citizens are fretting about arenas in Dallas and Irving, there are two landmarks--the East Dallas neighborhood in general and Fair Park in particular--that would've wilted under big-bucks politicizing if citizens didn't care. The East Dallas Chamber of Commerce sponsors its second annual Taste of East Dallas within the venerable, if crumbling grounds of Fair Park. Proceeds from this event--which includes music, a children's area, and participating restaurants like Snuffer's, Dixie House, Alfonso's, Dinger's, and Vick's--benefit both the Friends of Fair Park and the East Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The event happens from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Tower Building at Fair Park. Tickets are $5-$20, and kids younger than 6 get in free. Call 321-6446.
Love, Death, and the Four Seasons: Judith Garrett Segura is not only a woman who has risen impressively within A.H. Belo Corp.'s ranks--she is vice president and executive director of the A.H. Belo Foundation--but one who has slowly amassed a reputation inside and outside her employment for painting and poetry. Segura has self-published three books of poetry and seen her work purchased by private and corporate sources. She stops to show her latest pictures and read her latest writings in a presentation called Love, Death, and the Four Seasons. The show happens at 3 p.m. at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 LaVista in Lakewood. It's free. Call 827-4860.
Jewish Arts Festival of Dallas: You'll find more references to "the old country" at the Jewish Arts Festival of Dallas than in your average Mel Brooks movie, but who's counting? Yiddish is the dominant influence among the participants at this day-long extravaganza of Jewish visual and performance arts, which includes appearances by traditional Jewish folkies The Robyn Helzner Trio; and The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas, a high-speed hybrid of Israeli theater, Hebrew folk music, American jazz, and dance. Stage dynamo Tovah Feldshuh offers a musical finale for the evening. Events happen from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Rd. Tickets are $4-$6 (children four and younger get in free), but the Tovah Feldshuh tickets are $20-$40 (and include regular festival admission). Call 739-2737.
Graphic Expressions: African-American Printmakers of the '30s and '40s: The blues as a musical form has in the last decade stirred a very public debate in the African-American community between those who insist the blues are a seminal influence on American popular culture that can't be measured but must be preserved, and those who believe that the music was created as a necessary outlet for pain during a time of supreme oppression, and therefore should be consigned to the era from whence it came. One thing is true:Do a head count at a blues concert today, and whites will almost always outnumber blacks. There's no doubt that Dr. Tritobia H. Benjamin, art professor at Howard University and director of that school's gallery, has come to talk about the blues expressed by the forgotten black printmakers featured in the DMA's show, Alone in a Crowd. Dr. Benjamin's talk, called Graphic Expressions: African-American Printmakers of the '30s and '40s, happens at 2 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $5-$7. Call 922-1200.
Into the Woods: Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim writes musicals for people who hate musicals. In Sweeney Todd, Assassins, Passion, and other works, he has proven himself eager to use that most self-conscious of American products--the Broadway show tune--to illustrate themes far more bizarre, eclectic, and ingenious than any other American composer you can name. The Tony Award-winning Into the Woods is Sondheim at his friskiest and most sardonic, an off-the-cuff synthesis of several major European fairy tales with a contemporary sensibility. Dallas treasure Connie Nelson is one of the co-stars. The opening kicks off tonight at 8:15 p.m. and regular performances happen Tuesdays through Fridays at 8:15 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. through September 29 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh Street in The Quadrangle. Tickets are $5-$24. Call 350-7157.
Japanese Contemporary Clay Works and Japanese-American Claymakers: Masayoshi Homma, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Saitama, Japan, and curator for the Arlington Museum of Art's new exhibit, Japanese Contemporary Clay Works and Japanese-American Claymakers, confirms the chasm between the Arlington show and the history of Japanese clay-making. She declares that the work included in this show is "freer, less practical." A startling number of Asian dynasties placed a high premium on the usefulness of artworks, but the Japanese and Japanese-American sculptors in the Arlington Museum of Art show rejected the "utilitarian" edict to create works that suggested more and provided less--represented in this show by the period between 1972 and 1986. The show opens August 24 and runs through October 19 at the Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main in Arlington. It's free. Call (817) 275-4600.
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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.