Events for the week
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Get a jump on the sure-to-be-insipid animated Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which will be released this June, with a surefire unpredictable evening. This 1923 film version was the first cinematic take on the classic and remains (Charles Laughton's full-blooded 1939 interpretation notwithstanding) the definitive. Lon Chaney Sr. gave his star-making performance and scared the hell out of millions when the film was released. It's full of swoons, maniac action, and melodrama--as are most silent films--but watch how the pounds of makeup on Chaney's face merely exaggerated an expression that was already there. A quartet of Denton-based musical veterans, including Ten Hands co-founders Paul Slavens and Gary Muller, improvise behind the screen. The screening-performance kicks off at 10 p.m. at Club Dada, 2720 Elm in Deep Ellum. Admission is $6. Call 744-3232.
Reversing The Tide: Organizing the Mainstream in Support of Public Education and Religious Tolerance: The so-called Religious Right is a special-interest group that has earned its current control of the Republican Party with ballot-box vigilance. Still, all Christian voters in America don't hate immigrants, homosexuals, single mothers, and welfare recipients. Many devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ are deeply uncomfortable with the damning rhetoric of Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and their ilk in the name of Christianity. The most prominent statewide organization of sympathizers, Texas Freedom Network, stirs the faithful with its concern about social agendas espoused by the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and others. Public education is the rallying cry for the Network's public forum, Reversing The Tide: Organizing the Mainstream in Support of Religious Tolerance, which includes an address by Ann Richards' daughter Cecile, the executive director. Discussion happens from 7-9 p.m. at Northaven United Methodist Church, 11211 Preston Road. For information call (512) 322-0545.
Carlos: The San Francisco Bay-area pop-punk trio Carlos has worked hard to achieve its own polished brand of impoliteness. Guitar-slashing mixed with classic-rock melodicism isn't exactly a new thing, and to make sure you understand that, lead singer Rich Scramaglia records his vocals like Billy Corgan in love with '60s girl groups. The 1994 debut album, Salamander Coriander, was hailed as the work of a young band trying real hard to improve, which they did on the new Amy Armageddon. The Major is perhaps the only venue in Dallas that will showcase Carlos' catchy minimalism before it receives major-label distribution. The show kicks off with opening band El Guapo at 9 p.m. at the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell Blvd. For information call 821-3456.
New Visions, New Voices: The Theatre Division at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts nurtures not just actors and directors, but playwrights as well. Although the curriculum dictates a familiarity with all three, the annual showcase, "New Visions, New Voices," focuses on the oft-ignored writer--the person who inspires a director's need for control and an actor's desire to express. The plays of three graduating seniors are featured in the 1996 festival: Aaron Ginsburg's Archaeology of Knowledge follows the death of intellectualism in trapped circumstances; David Schulner's Disturbed By the Wind chronicles the invention of the Wright Brothers as an imaginary leap; and Peter Fulton's At A Loss features improv actors bedazzled by Lewis Carroll-inspired whimsy. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:15 p.m. in the Greer Garson Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts, on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $2-$3. Call 768-3510.
Fat Men in Skirts: The comedies of New York-based neurotic Nicky Silver are based on the worst possible consequences occurring in the best possible universe we can imagine. His breakneck, absurdist farces often begin with an idea and proceed to pummel it mercilessly through broad characterizations and catastrophic plot turns. Dallas-based Open Stage presents Silver's Fat Men in Skirts, which offers the tale of a filmmaker, his glamorous wife, and their "Katharine Hepburn-obsessed" son torn apart by the wife and son's unexpected sojourn on a desert island. Fat Men in Skirts runs Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. through May 12 at Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park. Tickets are $8-$12. Call 871-ARTS.
Kate Clinton: You can bet that comic Kate Clinton has exploited her surname royally in this election year. She is no relation to Bill by bloodline or principle, which is to say, unlike the president, she has stood by her ground at least since 1981, when being an open lesbian and a female stand-up doing unabashedly political humor weren't the most popular things in the world. Clinton, who learned how to work a room as a high-school English teacher, has gradually expanded her audience from lesbians to gay men to left-leaning heterosexuals unimpressed with "lesbian chic" and other hip exploitations. The only thing fashionable about Clinton is the constantly shifting targets of her low-key humor, which betrays an obsession with current politics channeled through a withering common sense. Kate performs at 7 and 10:30 p.m. at Caravan of Dreams, 312 Houston in Fort Worth. For tickets call (817) 429-4000.
PIECES: The Dallas-based modern-dance troupe PIECES presents a kind of hope-they'll-be-greatest-hits program called "Selected PIECES." Artistic director J. Davis Hobdy has overseen the premiere of a new ballet by associate-collaborator Jacquelyn Ralls Forcher, as well as three new works created by Hobdy himself. The show happens April 20 at 8 p.m. and April 21 at 2 and 8 p.m. at Danse En L'air, 9205 Skillman. Admission is $6-$8. Call 601-9832.
D'Drum and Artis the Spoonman: The McKinney Avenue Contemporary presents a free night of slinky syncopation that's guaranteed to be the coolest evening you've heard friends rave about all year...unless you mark the calendar and show up your own self. A national headliner and a secret Dallas treasure compose the evening's entertainment. First there's The Spoonman, a veteran who operated certain dining-table utensils with such improvisatory passion he earned the live spotlight alongside Pete Seeger, Frank Zappa, Soundgarden (who named a song after him on the 1994 album Superun-known), and k.d. lang. Then, giving one of their few live gigs is D'Drum, a Dallas-based ensemble of percussionists who jam weekly in private sessions at the Meyerson until someone prods them toward a paying gig. The show kicks off at 2:30 p.m. at the Mc-Kinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. It's free. Call 953-1212.
30th Annual Original Classic International Gem & Jewelry Show: Be aware that the 30th Annual Original Classic International Gem & Jewelry Show has no corporate affiliation with Tiffany's. The crystals, gems, stones, and jewels on display here are semiprecious, which means a few can get relatively pricey, but the majority are geared toward those of us who get excited perusing a boxful of costume jewelry. And speaking of illusion, the highlight of this year's show is "Fabulous Jewelry of the Stars," which features the tackiest mineral composites of Elvis, Liberace, Zsa Zsa, and Gypsy Rose Lee. The show happens April 19, noon-7 p.m.; April 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and April 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $5. Call 1-800-662-0411.
Texas Brewers Festival: Let's face it: Although there are a variety of great stick-to-your-ribs Dallas restaurants that have catered the Texas Brewers Festival, the real reason most folks attend is suds. They've heard some of the best head around is available on the 50 different varieties of handcrafted beers from breweries and brew pubs (there is a legal difference under the Eyes of Texas). Come enjoy the live music and statewide brands, but know your limit (or find a sober, designated driver). The event happens April 20, noon-8 p.m. and April 21, 1-8 p.m. in the West End. Festival programs are free, but participants who wish to drink beer must purchase a $3 mug and $2.50 tokens worth 12 ounces each.
Walter Rosenblum: Photographer Walter Rosenblum, 77, has witnessed as many earth-shattering 20th-century events as a history textbook, and praise God he brought along his camera to capture them in tender, deeply personal pictures. Rosenblum has been feted for the last two decades of his life by institutions enthralled with his instinctual humanitarianism. Rosenblum snapped moments from the Great Depression (where he perfected his chops as part of the leftist collective New York Photo League); European countries throughout World War II; the Spanish Civil War; impoverished Haiti; and racially conflicted South Bronx. Unlike many socially conscious artists, he is eager to capture the harmonious moments. The exhibition Walter Rosenblum opens with an artist and book signing April 19, 6-9 p.m. and runs through June 1 at Photographs Do Not Bend, 3115 Routh St. Call 969-1852.
Daniel Wiener and Jeanne Silverthorne: One subject of the McKinney Avenue Contemporary's latest art exhibit, Daniel Wiener, is quoted in press materials, stating, "I don't believe the physical integrity of the sculpture is equal to its moral integrity." This straightforward, if provocative, declaration is enough to send both seasoned East Coast art critics and neophyte Texas audiences scrambling for excuses to avoid the young artist's work. Wiener exhibits as part of a two-person show with Jeanne Silverthorne. Both of them see the death of Modernism as an inevitable, if slow and rather gory, process. Wiener works large-scale with primary colors and naive, aggressive shapes. Silverthorne is more deliberately polished with her forms, but even more obsessed with the interconnected deaths of the role of artist, the physical body, and idealism. The opening reception happens April 20, 4 p.m. and runs through June 9 at the Mc-Kinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 Mc-Kinney Ave. Call 953-1212.
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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.