Events for the week
Shadow of a Man: The Bath House Cultural Center hosts the premiere production of the Cara Mia Theatre Company, a brand-new Chicano theatre troupe whose aim is both to honor the Chicano experience in Dallas and offer that experience to anyone who enjoys the catharsis of live theater. Its first production is a North Texas premiere Shadow of a Man, written by playwright Cherrie Moraga, who has also subtitled the play, "A Story With Secrets We Wouldn't Talk About." Moraga and company want you to know the work contains mature themes and the occasional use of a less-than-proper noun and verb. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. Tickets are $15 for the May 23 opening night, which includes a reception, and $5 for all other shows. Call 670-8749.
25th Anniversary Kerrville Folk Festival: The triumvirate of corporate sponsors behind this year's Kerrville Folk Festival includes the shaggy-haired Whole Foods Market, which should consider exporting its checkers for counterculture atmosphere. Actually, although you're likely to find plenty of bare feet, overgrown beards, tie-dyes, and hand-rolled cigarettes among the crowds that flock to Rod Kennedy's Quiet Valley Ranch (nine miles south of Kerrville on Highway 16), these folks are less "counterculture" than cheerfully divorced from popular American culture as a whole. For its silver anniversary, the festival includes such stellar names as Nancy Griffith, Robert Earl Keen, Patty Larkin, Odetta, Tom Paxton, Guy Clark, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, and Trout Fishing in America. They assemble on concert stages and campfire sing-alongs for the kind of low-key strum-and-wail that creates a nationwide pilgrimage every year. For concert schedules, ticket prices, camping information, and directions call 1-800-435-8429.
38th Annual African Liberation Day: The debate rages on over how best to develop a national African-American identity that's not contingent on animosity toward and/or dependence upon the dwindling Anglo majority. During his lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. expressed deep discomfort over transplanting African nationalism to U.S. shores, yet the separatist-inclined Louis Farrakhan continues to tap deep emotional and intellectual wellsprings among black and brown audiences. The Dallas chapter of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party commemorates the 38th anniversary of African Liberation Day, which was conceived as an international holiday at the First Conference of Independent African States in 1958. Events include an International Pan-African Symposium Day May 24 at 7 p.m. at the University of Texas at Arlington, Pickard Hall; an International March and Rally May 25, 11 a.m., at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center; and an International Cultural Rally that follows the march. For information on any of the events, call 942-3481.
National Tap Dance Day: In one of its more-productive moments, Congress seven years ago declared that today would be a national holiday to honor the almost-dead but beloved art of tap. Why May 25? It was the birthday of legendary dancer-actor-singer-Vaudevillian movie star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. If Mr. Robinson was alive today, he probably wouldn't feel up to the festivities--there would be 118 candles on his cake--but Fred Kelly, brother of the late, great Gene Kelly, comes to Dallas to honor Gene at the National Tap Dance Day celebration, which also includes classes, talks, and an interactive performance of the National Tap Anthem. (They assure us the steps are simple.) Events take place 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the West End Marketplace, downtown Dallas. Most events are free, but master classes are $20. Call 385-8729.
11th Annual Texas Black Invitational Rodeo: The Texas Black Invitational Rodeo began as a fund-raiser for the African-American Museum long before that institution enjoyed its current digs inside Fair Park. In 1986 there were 150 participants and $10,000 in prize money to go around; as of this writing, there are 300 professional cowboys and cowgirls converging on Dallas from around the country to compete in bull-riding, calf-roping, barrel-racing, steer-wrestling, and other stuff--and the purse stands at a combined $25,000. To kick off the activities, there's a Celebrity Rodeo Hoedown MCed by V-100 radio's Scott West. Events happen May 24, 8 p.m., and May 25, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., around the African-American Museum in Fair Park. For admission prices call 565-9026.
Fine Arts Chamber Players: D'Drum started out as a loose ensemble of Dallas musicians, some of whom hail from our own Dallas Symphony Orchestra, who jammed together while the lights were out at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Their infrequent public performances of polycultural rhythms generated a buzz that reached across the country--the producers of National Geographic tapped D'Drum to record the score for an upcoming special titled Lions of Darkness. D'Drum joins the Fine Arts Chamber Players for its Fourth Saturday concert series at the Dallas Museum of Art. The performance kicks off at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free, but seating is limited. Call 520-2219.
Synth-Pop-A-Luza III: Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis may have midwifed that unruly beast known as rock and roll, but their instrument of choice--the keyboard--somehow didn't influence the impressionable youngster much. Fast forward 30 years to the second British invasion of the very early '80s, and you have the most recently thwarted attempts by keyboardists to replace those legendary three guitar chords. Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Human League, Erasure, New Order--cock-of-the-walk rock critics snickered under one hand as the greatest phallic symbol in pop culture was exchanged for a more sensitive, melodic instrument. Group W Entertainment brings back Reagan's Morning in America with a showcase of local and national acts whose main instrument is the synthesizer. The bands start playing at 3:30 p.m. at Lone Star Club, 1849 E. Belt Line Rd. in Coppell. Call 462-1234.
The DFW Antique & Collectible Bazaar: There are collectors--people who keep up with the annual market fluctuations in make, model, and year for their favorite old thing--and then there are pack rats. They're the folks who tend to like old things regardless of their relative value in the larger scheme. The DFW Antique & Collectible Bazaar has plenty to satisfy both, although, as with any event that includes the word "antique" in its title, browsers with a serious intent to buy and little practical knowledge of a given collectible should beware the claims of the seller. There are toys that do something and toys that just lie there; furniture, junky and rare; sports trading cards, ultra-expensive and for the fanatic; die-cast models; and such pop-culture memorabilia as Coca-Cola signs and other advertisements. The event happens May 25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and May 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at The Ballpark in Arlington, I-30 and Nolan Ryan Expressway. It's free.
ArtFest: You'll find us trying to convince the organizers of ArtFest that we really are younger than 12, despite our advanced height and overdeveloped facial hair, so we can get inside one of the few air-conditioned attractions, ArtFest for Kids. The activities inside there are free (once you pay the small admission price, of course). Activities include continuous free live entertainment by musicians, dancers, performers, poets, etc.; international foods; a Run For the Arts and a Kiddie Kilometer; and works for sale by more than 300 premier artists. Events happen May 24, 6-10 p.m.; May 25, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; and May 26, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Fair Park. Tickets are $5 plus parking, but kids younger than 4 get in free. For information call 361-2011.
First Annual Animal Care Fair: There are the pet owners who tend to talk about their animals like children, and those individuals who'd cheerfully steer around a squirrel in the road before they'd avoid that snot-nosed biped with the Power Rangers backpack. And then there are the exclusively vegetarian champions who lie under the wheels of pharmaceutical trucks and throw red paint on research scientists. Mix, mingle, and discuss "our animal companions" at the fair, which includes a petting zoo, animal-and-owner contests, adoptions, demonstrations, presentations, and more. The First Annual Animal Care Fair events happen May 25 and 26, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., at Flagpole Hill, Northwest Highway at Buckner Boulevard. Tickets are $2-$3 (kids younger than 3 in for free). Call 680-4424.
The Monster: Italian comic golden boy Roberto Benigni has thus far gotten two shots at wowing American audiences the same way he packs 'em in to the theater of his mother country. As the sunglasses-sporting cab driver with a very strange tale about pumpkins and a man's uncontrollable lust, Benigni was the funniest part of Jim Jarmusch's otherwise lackluster Night on Earth. He squandered the good buzz Jarmusch had generated for him from that film and the previous Down By Law by stepping into Peter Sellers' gigantic shoes for the last, and most execrable, of the Pink Panther series. Benigni returns to American shores with his latest Italian farce, The Monster, which he directed and co-wrote. The movie concerns a dimwitted, oversexed man who delivers mannequins for a living and is confused with a serial rapist-murderer who dismembers women. Wackiness ensues! The Monster is worth the price of admission to watch Benigni recite Chinese, but should be a half-baked treat for anyone who doesn't fall on the floor when the amiable actor enters the screen. Performances happen every evening through May 30 at the Inwood Theatre, Inwood Road and Lovers Lane. Tickets are $6.50. Call 352-5085.
Ghost in the Shell: Anime is the branch of Japanese animation that has obsessed the male audiences of that country for the better part of a decade. Import examples such as the now-legendary Akira have hit big with that small but fervent cross-section where sci-fi fans and art-house patrons meet, but animation created for adult consumption has by and large flopped (with the stellar exception of Fox's TV show The Simpsons). It's difficult to predict exactly why anime hasn't made more significant inroads into the consciousness of heterosexual male ticket-buyers, since the genre includes lots of violence and lots of women whose attitudes are exceeded only by their cup sizes. Ghost in the Shell, based on the phenomenally popular manga by Masamune Shirow, is more of the same on a densely philosophical plane: The film concerns the nature of human identity in a world where technology has overtaken everything including consciousness and physical healing. Gory, hormonal, and very strange. The film opens for an exclusive run at the UA Cine, Yale and Central Expressway. For ticket and time information call 369-5308.
Celebration of Southern Culture: There is a tradition throughout the South that has been hailed as an exquisite regional feature by some and a nerve-grating eyesore by others--in this case, "others" mostly being next-door neighbors. We refer, of course, to the yard show. You know, the crazy old geezer whose lawn is covered with the pseudo-sculpture you called "junk" until that gallery representative from New York City came down with contract in hand. Waxahachie's Webb Gallery presents "A Celebration of Southern Culture," a show highlighting topics of religion, history, customs, and personal experience by nationally celebrated folk artists from the South. Participants in the show include Robert Howell, Joe Light, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Rhinestone Cowboy, Hawkins Bolden, MC 5Cent Jones, and many others. The show opens with a reception May 25, 5-9 p.m., and runs through July 20 at the Webb Gallery, 209-211 W. Franklin in Waxahachie. It's free. Call 938-8085.
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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.