Events for the week
Women in Exile: Refugee Rights and Realities: The recently convened fourth annual U.N. World Conference on Women provided the first chance Hillary Clinton got in a long time to stop playing Barbara Bush and start spouting off on the issues of women's health and safety across the world. Predictably, every possible social interest group in America put its own spin on the controversial event, including several presidential candidates who couldn't wait to co-opt yet another divisive issue for their campaigns. Although issues like clitoridectomies, forced abortions, and female infanticide stir up a strong desire in any halfway-caring individual to intervene, at what point does it become a matter of cultural imperialism for Western feminist leaders to insist on a rearrangement of gender roles in societies hundreds or thousands of years older than ours? Amnesty International presents a Dallas discussion on the plight of women across the world - specifically, those women who flee their country out of fear for themselves and their children, and the unique plight of refugees as opposed to immigrants. The panel discussion includes a firsthand account of the Conference, and accounts by Dallas women of troubles in their original homelands. "Women in Exile: Refugee Rights and Realities" happens at 7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, Hillcrest and Daniel, at Southern Methodist University. Call 768-3284.
Millennium: For imaginative, morbid children who haven't been raised in the Christian tradition. there's a special thrill in reading the Book of Revelation and every other "last day" prophecy in the Bible, so loaded are they with gorgeous poetic symbolism and dramatic dread. The first word of the latest art exhibit at the Biblical Arts Center, Millennium: Images of the Rapture, Revelations, and Other Last Day Prophecies of the Bible, refers not specifically to a thousand-year period, but the age in which God will finally come down and establish his kingdom. Artists from all over the country have submitted their visions of rapture and redemption. Millennium runs through November 26 at 7500 Park Lane. It's free. Call 691-4661.
The Lady of the Dawn: Teatro Dallas' annual production to celebrate the North American continent's El Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead rituals is among its most anticipated, as the venerable troupe has come to symbolize Latino cultural expressions in theatrical form. To take a break from its usual Don Juan Vampire sagas, the company presents playwright Alejandro Casona's The Lady of the Dawn, a fairy tale about death, resurrection, and the strange land that lingers between them. The lobby of the theater company is decorated with altars and crafts honoring those who've passed on, as per the Day of the Dead tradition. The Lady of the Dawn (La Dama del Alba) is presented Wednesday-Saturday at 8:15 p.m., with a Tuesday performance in Halloween, at 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $10. The show closes November 4. For info call 741-1135.
Cottonwood Art Festival: Richardson's Cottonwood Art Festival, now in its 26th year, has become an unofficial-official welcoming of autumn. And anyone who endured last summer's heat without an air conditioner should refrain from throwing off his or her clothes and rolling in the cool breeze-blown grasses of Cottonwood Park, the site of the event, which boasts an average annual patronage of more than 20,000. The Festival is actually a "visual arts" picnic, the opportunity for prominent Texas and national artist to display their wares and personally greet the people who want to purchase them. Live performances by the steel-drum ensemble the Panhandlers, as well as the Richardson Community Band and the Richardson Gymnastic Team and a variety of strolling entertainers and children's activities, are in the offing. The Festival takes place Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. at Cottonwood Park, Belt Line Road, one block east of Coit in Richardson. It's free. For more information call 231-4624.
Trio Drottningholm: When Swedish musician Dan Laurin walks up to people and tells them he's a recorder player, he assumes they know the difference between the flute-like instrument and the now-obsolete turntable. Laurin comes to Dallas to perform with Trio Drottningholm, which makes a rare U.S. appearance to open the '95-'96 Meryl P. Levy Gallery Concert Series. Trio Drottningham comes from the internationally acclaimed Drottningham Baroque Ensemble, which performs on authentic instruments and concentrates on everything from jazz to music from The Netherlands. The show is free and kicks off at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Seating is limited. Call 922-1200.
Ancient Egyptian Mummification: The Hows, Whys, and Wherefores: While any culture's death rituals are difficult to sum up in a few sentences, the motives behind the process of mummification in ancient Egypt were to ensure that the bodies of the dead would be kept intact for the journey to the other side, much like the practice of lining the tombs with personal possessions of the deceased so they could carry their favorite items with them. The Egyptians saw the material body as a reflection of the soul, and so it was to be treated as a holy vessel, not a pile of ashes to be returned to the earth. The North Texas Chapter of The American Research Center in Egypt presents a talk by arguably the most hotly debated Egyptologist in the field. Earlier this year Dr. Bob Brier set off a flurry of op-ed protests (and aroused the interests of National Geographic's producers so much, they filmed a whole episode) when he attempted to mummify a contemporary cadaver, using the formulas set forth by the ancient Egyptians. What was his scientific purpose? You'll find out when Dr. Brier talks about "Ancient Egyptian Mummification: The Hows, Whys, and Wherefores" at 7:30 p.m. in Room 153 of Heroy Hall on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. It's free.
Badi Assad: Although Brazilian classical guitarist Badi Assad has the exquisite looks of a pop-diva pin-up, don't be fooled by the heavenly publicity stills - this is on woman who has more important things to do than pose for adoring cameras. For starters, Assad is the sister of Sergio and Odair Assad, the near-legendary fraternal team of guitarists, which means she's got the right genes. But Assad has refused to coast on her famous last name, taking the licks she perfected from the conservatory and adding a mixture of vocals as well as percussion to create music that combines classical, folk, and jazz with the hot rhythms of Latino traditions. Badi Assad embarked on her first solo tour of the United States only last winter, performing to sellout crowds. The Dallas Classical Guitar Society presents Assad as the kickoff to its International Series. She performs at 8 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre, Elm and Harwood. Tickets are $10-$50. For more information call 1-800-654-9545.
A Family Outing: In case you were too far in the closet to hear the news, there are events planned all across the country this week to mark National Coming Out Day (which is actually October 11), a day in which gay, lesbian, and bisexual folks are encouraged to tell a straight friend or relative a little bit more about themselves than they have before. The single most important political act any person of the homo persuasion can perform has nothing to do with marches or campaigns - it is destroying, person by person, what Hunter Madsen calls "The Big Lie," which is that most straight people don't know anyone who's gay. In Dallas, Cher's daughter Chastity Bono speaks October 6 at 8 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center at Southern Methodist University about her experiences in and out of the closet. On October 8 at 2 p.m., Bono appears with Newtie's half-sister Candace Gingrich at a daylong National Coming Out Day celebration at the State Fair of Texas. On October 11 in the evening, KERA-TV Channel 13 broadcasts "The Question of Equality," a four-part look at the history of the gay rights movement in America, with an emphasis on more recent gains and losses. For info call 522-5533.
Oktoberfest: This weekend another North Texas public celebration edges one year past the quarter-century mark. The Symphony League of Fort Worth has been hosting its Fort Worth Oktoberfest all these years to raise money for the Student Concert Series of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. On its five continuous stages of live music, Oktoberfest breaks the German theme a bit with offerings in classical music, polka, Tejano, country and western, and jazz, although stout Teutonic sounds will be made by the Busch Gardens Band and Texas groups Alpenmusikanten and The Walburg Boys. More than 60 artists and craftspeople from across the United States will be present to offer their paintings, wood-carvings, jewelry, pottery, and sculpture. There will also be a children's area with 25 free exhibits, lots of German food, and a performance by the Fort Worth Symphony Chamber Orchestra that features a musical "petting zoo." The event takes place day and night Saturday and Sunday in the Tarrant County Convention Center, 1111 S. Houston in Fort Worth. Tickets are $4-$7.
International Air Show '95: As the season turns towards ghouls and other members of the undead, it's especially appropriate that the International Air Show '95 takes place, since this is really a show by men and women who like to thumb their noses at death (although, with the occasional tragic accident in these events, death sometimes calls their bluff). The world-renowned participants in this two-day annual aviation industry event include Charlie Hillard's Eagles Aerobatic Team; Gene Soucy's Showcat Wingwalking; the U.S. Army Golden Knights; and the Canadian Sky Hawks parachute teams, all of whom perform the kind of aerobatics that just might make a few spectators lost their lunches. The Show takes place Saturday and Sunday at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Interstate 35W at Alliance Blvd. and Eagle Parkway, 15 miles north of downtown Fort Worth. Gates open at 9 a.m. Tickets are $5-$10, but kids under 6 get in free. For more information call (817) 870-1515.
Vision: When you think about something as marvelously intricate and delicate as human vision, it's difficult not to determine there's some higher intelligence that went into the design of our bodies. Your eyeball may seem like just a squishy blob of tissue and vessels, but it's actually a highly sophisticated camera, using light to record images on the retina and send them straight to the brain. The National Eye Institute and the Institutes of Health have created a 2,000 square-foot, hands-on traveling exhibit to commemorate 25 years of research into the whys and hows of the human eye as well as an educated assault on some of the most common eye diseases. Vision features interactive demonstrations, optical illusions to explain the hallucinatory nature of light, a display of "eye-glasses of the rich and famous," panels and full-color illustrations, and lots more to put this whole sight thing into perspective. Vision is open daily through November 15 at the Science Place in Fair Park. For information call 363-3911.
Riga Dome Boys Choir: Back in 1990, as part of a broad international exchange program conducted by several major American cities, Dallas acquired one of its four current sister cities - Riga, Latvia, and Eastern European city about as far from Texas' conspicuous consumption as you can find (which was, of course, the whole point of the campaign). The arrival of the Riga Dome Boys Choir of Latvia, one of the world's largest and most critically acclaimed boys' choirs, is part of its outreach mission as a Sister City as well as one stop in the group's second, 13-city tour of the United States, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Our Latvian brothers are coming to stay in the homes of families of the Texas Boys Choir of Fort Worth/Dallas, who will join forces to present a show featuring traditional music from both countries, including a program of sacred and classical works. The Riga Dome Boys Choir and the Texas Boys Choir perform at 7:30 p.m. at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, 9200 Inwood Road at Northwest Highway. Tickets are $3-$8. For info call 360-0943.
Late Bloomers: If you were a regular reader of former Observer critic Matt Zoller Seitz's "Rushes" column, then you followed for over a year the trials and tribulations of Dallas filmmakers Gretchen and Julia Dyer as they embarked on their maiden cinematic voyage. The Dyer sisters had all the necessary qualities of indie moviemakers - moxie, endless patience, and talent stretched beyond the conventional call of duty - even when they lacked some of the components (such as money, equipment access, money, and cooperative backers) required to actually complete an indie film. With a final cut in the can and a completed soundtrack, the Dyers' romantic comedy Late Bloomers is now ready for movie audiences, and The USA Film Festival presents the Dallas preview of a film the sisters hope to see distributed nationally. Shot on location in our fair city, Late Bloomers features award-winning Dallas stage actors Connie Nelson and Dee Hennigan as middle-aged employees of the Eleanor B. Roosevelt High School, who fall for each other and set their community's tongues a-waggin'. Screening time for the film is 7 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes, 9450 N. Central Expressway at Walnut Hill. Tickets are $6.50, and go on sale an hour before showtime. For info call 821-6300.
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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.