Events for the week
Spring Gallery Night: The title of the simultaneous night of receptions in the so-called Gallery District--around Fairmount and Cedar Springs--around Deep Ellum, and at other galleries around town is "Spring Gallery Night." Technically, it's still spring, although if temperatures persist toward the 100-degree mark, you may wish the owners had provided something festive and wet--like, say, an installation that doubles as a water slide into a beer cooler. DADA (The Dallas Art Dealers Association) is eager to attract the audience that thinks only the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the Dallas Museum of Art provide free visual stimulation and generally present a united, professional front in a world where many galleries have earned the reputation of not dealing fairly with artists. We'll get to see if a few dozen gallons of champagne and slabs of pate can smooth things over, as DADA opens 18 different exhibitions for public consumption. Receptions for each happen simultaneously, 6-9 p.m., at 17 different locations in the Gallery District, Deep Ellum, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, and Southern Methodist University. Call 939-0242.
Culture: Like purists of other indigenous music in this postmodern world, the torchbearers of reggae face a constant battle to keep their roots distinct from the high-speed blender known as world music (a genre whose "experimentalism" has grown increasingly indistinguishable from American and European club mixes). Indeed, reggae scholars and musicians have reserved the label "roots" for the Rastafarian artist with the mission of tradition; those scholars stand as vigilant gatekeepers, permitting artists into that exclusive club on a case-by-case basis. The Jamaican vocal trio Culture is not only a card-carrying member; it has, since its debut in 1973, set standards for reggae artistry. The rich, evocative, booming voice of lead vocalist Joseph Hill is the catalyst behind impressive worldwide sales, but all three performers are renowned for their onstage generosity. They perform at 9 p.m. at Club Dread 'N Irie, 2807 Commerce. Tickets are $15-$20. Call 742-IRIE.
Storms From Other People's Lands: Such conservative pundits as George Will and William Bennett continue to reject the idea that history is a subjective, multilayered organism dependent on interpretations from as many different sources as possible because they know (but will never admit) the hand that writes the official record rules the world. Proponents of so-called multiculturalism, on the other hand, have often substituted their own brand of intellectual tyranny, glossing over gross factual inconsistencies and peddling tokenism in the name of social justice. Poet-storyteller-musician-activist Roxy Gordon stands somewhere in the middle of the fracas, an eloquent voice for the American Indian experience but a man not given to the dry-as-a-bone harangues launched by many multiculturalists. His latest performance, Storms From Other People's Lands, uses music, poetry, and prose to dramatize how European settlers used Native Americans to settle old scores. The presentation begins at 8 p.m. at Sequoyah's Bookstore, 5930-F Royal Lane. It's free. Call 827-9309.
Festival Hong Kong: The USA Film Festival joins forces with the government of Hong Kong to present what in all likelihood will be the least boring part of Hong Kong-USA '96, one of those "cultural exchanges" that's really just smoke and mirrors for business fat cats to secure their foothold in a particular marketplace. For devotees of Asian cinema, especially fans of movies that don't star Jackie Chan and weren't directed by John Woo (there are a few of them out there), the four films that compose the three-day Festival Hong Kong will be like manna from some lush, subtitled heaven. Hu-Du-Men (Stage Door) makes its U.S. premiere June 7 at 7 p.m. at the Sony Theatres CityPlace, 2600 Haskell Ave.; the John Woo-produced Somebody Up There Likes Me screens June 8 at 8 p.m.; The Blade June 8 at 10:15 p.m.; and A Chinese Oddysey June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes, 9450 N. Central Expressway. Tickets for individual events are $7.50-$10. Call 821-6300.
Comatheatre: The press material for the summer-long Saturday-night performance series Entermind by the multimedia collective Comatheatre reads like a celestial e-mail from Edgar Cayce: "The power of this positive experimentation is its capacity to knock down one of the ultimate barriers, between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Entermind suggests the pathway between separate minds and the travel between parts of the individual brain...in both the performer and the audience." There are no warnings in the material prohibiting pregnant women or individuals on psychoactive medication from taking Comatheatre's trip. There are also no clear guidelines as to what, exactly, Kim Corbet, Chad Evans, Bruce Richardson, and Amy Seltzer plan on doing once they take the stage, but these veterans of the Dallas multimedia scene have proven themselves as individuals. Come check out their collective effort. Comatheatre performs every Saturday night at 10 p.m. at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Admission is free. Call 953-1212.
Dogs Days of Summer: A dream for Dentonites who love canines and a rich, fertile lawn around their courthouse, the Second Annual Dog Days of Summer is the largest event dedicated to dogs and their owners in North Texas. The Denton fathers and mothers have for the past decade pushed that sound-and-chemical orgy known as Fry Street Fair further and further into the closet. We wonder why the potentially raucous Dog Days of Summer earns more favor, since the pooper-scooper-to-participant ratio should be at least as high as on Fry Street, or maybe higher. There's ample food and water for both parties, as well as live afternoon music, children's games, pet-care demonstrations and information, and a series of contests including stupid pet tricks, a dog-and-master look-alike contest, dog singing, and a Heinz 57 show. The event happens 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the lawn of the Denton County Courthouse, 115 W. Hickory in Denton. It's free. Call (817) 566-8529.
Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games: Like most cultural debris caught in the wide nets of American mainstream entertainment, the bagpipe enjoys an ancient, revered reputation antithetical to its function as an ethnic sight gag. Just don't expect a lot of non-Scots who watch the solo and group bagpiping competition at the 10th Annual Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games to be surprised at how much the real instrument looks like its cartoon cousin. The Festival and Highland Games feature all manner of competitions and activities, including Celtic harp performances, whiskey-tasting, country dancing, genealogy, and military re-enactments. Events happen June 8, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and June 9, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., at Maverick Stadium on the grounds of the University of Texas at Arlington. Call (817) 654-2293.
African, Asian, and Pacific Art: There are a few items at the Dallas Museum of Art's new third-floor African, Asian, and Pacific Art installation that diehard DMA-ers haven't seen before. The coup here is historical and cultural context, the thrill of seeing more than 800 priceless artifacts from the ancient to the modern era arranged by geography. The Dallas Museum of Art has earned a national reputation for its Indonesian art holdings, and sculpture and textiles from that culture are a highlight of this installation. The show opens June 8 at the DMA, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free. For more information call 922-1200.
The Eyes of Texas II: Four years ago a collection of professional Dallas artists who met once a month decided to make it official and name themselves--Art Focus. After the planning of its first touring group exhibition, 1995's Inner Vision, the group became Art Focus XC and incorporated into its mission statement the mandate to work with charitable organizations. Field of Vision is the group's 1996 exhibition and something of sequel to the first, a show of visual art in various media that attempts to trace the creative process in the participating artists from concept to execution. The Foundation Fighting Blindness, an organization the artists chose because they, more than most, know how precious sight is, benefits. The show runs through June 30 in the Upper East Pavilion of the Trammell Crow Center, Flora between Olive and Harwood.
The Art of Bible Making: While there is little doubt the U.S. founding fathers desired that our government should be conducted as a secular entity, religion and civilization are as tangled up together in their conception here as everywhere else. Indeed, what many scholars insist is the very foundation of culture--the written word--made its debut in mass-production form as a Bible by Germany's Gutenburg. An example of an early printing press is one piece in The Art of Bible Making, a national exhibition assembled by the Living Word Bible Museum and hosted by the local Biblical Arts Center. The show traces the Bible through its three distinct historical periods--the manuscript, early printed, and early English--with priceless original examples from each. Let's just hope exhibition organizers are honest about the changes in content this sacred document has undergone through translation and political engineering. The show is open through May 1997 at the Biblical Arts Center, 7500 Park Lane at Boedeker. Tickets are $2-$3. For information call 691-4661.
Miss Manners Rescues Civilization: The lengthy title of the new book by nationally syndicated columnist and author Judith "Miss Manners" Martin may sound like hyperbole--Miss Manners Rescues Civilization From Sexual Harassment, Frivolous Lawsuits, Dissing, and Other Lapses in Civility--but her patented brand of "well-meaning hypocrisy" is exactly what America could use more of right now. Political correctness may have championed a ridiculous standard of "sensitivity" during its brief, exaggerated reign, but the backlash against it has made abusive rhetoric a mainstay in public discussions. Miss Manners comes along to remind us that treating people with respect and civility--even the impossibly deluded idiots who disagree with us on political points where no rational, caring human could possibly disagree--is not only "the right thing to do," it makes the world an easier place in which to live for all of us. She chats and signs copies of the book at 7:30 p.m. at Borders Books & Music, 1601 Preston in Plano. It's free. Call 713-9857.
Much Ado About Nothing: Fort Worth's nonprofit Shakespeare in the Park debuts its 1996 season with a new feature designed to thrust the play's action right between your eyes--or, at least, to the edge of your lap. The newly remodeled stage of the Trinity Playhouse Theatre now includes a thrust stage not unlike the setup enjoyed at Samuell-Grand Park by the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. This means, depending on where you sit in Trinity, you won't have the luxury of forsaking the Bard's florid, convoluted dialogue for headphones without the actors knowing it. The hijinks in the 1996 debut production of Shakespeare in the Park, the mistaken-identity comedy Much Ado About Nothing, are pretty much self-explanatory--think of it as a special sweeps-week episode of Friends and you'll do just fine. Performances happen every Tuesday-Sunday at 8:30 p.m. (gates open at 6:45 p.m.) in Trinity Park Playhouse, Seventh and Trinity in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6-$12. (Kids younger than 12 get in free). Call (817) 923-6698.
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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.