Dr. Kent Weeks: The latest Egyptologist to make world headlines about his discoveries frolicking among the dead is Dr. Kent Weeks, whose recent discovery of a tomb that dates back to 1500 B.C. is said to house most of the 52 sons of the legendary Rameses the Great. The site may very well be the largest yet discovered in the Valley of the Kings, the "city of the dead" reserved for Theban pharaohs. This particular structure contains 67 known chambers, and dozens more are expected to appear as the explorers dig deeper. Dr. Weeks presents his discussion at noon in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. It's free. For more information call 922-1200.
4th Annual 20th-Century Erotic Art Show: As remarkable as it may seem, the national press has managed to give yet more mileage to a politician spouting off about Hollywood, the perennial evil corrupter of American virtue. Bob Dole's speech in Los Angeles about a month ago ranked among the most half-hearted rants by any major politico, and he took back most of it at his next stop, genially muttering, "I'm no extremist, everyone knows that." But he is catering to a faction of extremists--the Religious Right. Amid this new, opportunistic Puritanism, the Milam Gallery's 20th-Century Erotic Art Show--marking its fourth year--represents a chance for people to reflect on the delicate line that art walks between exploration and exploitation. Entries in the show are explicit but not pornographic, salacious but not degrading. More importantly, this is a show by adults and for adults. The 20th-Century Erotic Art Show previews with a poetry reading June 15 at 7:30 pm. The show itself opens June 16 at 7:30 pm and runs through July 15 at Justine's Milam Gallery, 5224 Milam. It's free. For information call 821-9045.
The 19th Annual Chisholm Trail Roundup: We Texans like to push that cowpoke-and-trail-dust image because it brings in the tourist dollars, but in fact most of us are tenderfeet. You won't find a larger crowd of air-conditioner addicts anywhere than in the Lone Star State. We're most likely to encounter cows and horses where they belong--in nice spacious pens next to the Midway in Fair Park. Accordingly, the 19th Annual Chisholm Trail Roundup gallops into Fort Worth with a huge variety of activities designed for the armchair cowboy. There's live kicker music from the likes of Radney Foster, Neal McCoy, and Confederate Railroad; armadillo and pig races; carnival rides; staged gunfights; car and truck displays; cowboy poets; barbecue and chili cook-offs; chuckwagon races; the Quanah Parker Comanche Indian Powwow & Honor Dance; and The Chisholm Trail Professional Women's Rodeo. The Chisholm Trail Roundup events happen day and night June 16-18 in Cowtown Coliseum and other sites in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. Tickets are $4 for general admission, with admission to the rodeo costing $5-$12. For information call (817) 625-7005.
David Sedaris: It might seem excessive to declare that a writer is the most brilliant satirist of his generation after just one book, so let's be more specific--Barrel Fever, a debut collection of stories and essays by sometime National Public Radio commentator David Sedaris, is the most brilliant book of satire published by anyone in the last decade. The fact that Sedaris is a gay man who's spent most of his young adult life working at a series of odd jobs just to stay alive in New York City makes his muse, at once blue-collar but angrily detached, all the more compelling. In addition to the occasional NPR gig, Sedaris has had one of his essays, "Diary of a Smoker," transformed into a short film by Matthew Modine, but it's the stunning, moody, hilarious Barrel Fever that stands as this author's real bid for literary greatness. "Glen's Homophobia Newsletter" deftly skewers both gay self-pity and heterosexual ignorance; "Parade" features a talk-show veteran revealing his secret affair with Mike Tyson; "Seasons Greetings" portrays a middle-class family under siege, with an unexpectedly macabre twist as a finale. Critics have long argued whether a gay sensibility exists. With this series of meticulous, brutal jabs at the world around him, Sedaris singlehandedly renders the argument obsolete--he transforms the entire universe into a playpen of dropouts and sexual outsiders who navigate their terrain with courage and, sometimes, cunning viciousness. David Sedaris reads from and signs his book June 16 at 7 pm in Crossroads Market & Bookstore, 3930 Cedar Springs, and June 17 at 7 pm in the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney at Bowen. The Crossroads stop is free, but the longer reading at the MAC costs $5. Call 521-8919 or 953-1MAC.
The Dallas Challenger: The Age of Steam Railroad Museum is a Dallas-based institution run by folks with a romantic fondness for railroad mythology and steam-engine lore. They're nostalgic for a time when the dynamic between machinery operator and machine was more like a relationship between equals--because as often as not you had to manipulate, coerce, cajole, and beg a beast powered by steam propulsion. The Age of Steam is sponsoring two round-trip rail excursions between Dallas and Fort Worth on the historic Dallas Challenger. This 15-car, million-pound locomotive is, as far as railroad mavens know, the world's largest operating steam locomotive, and the interiors have been done up with appropriate pride--the coaches, dining, and lounge cars have been restored with a eye toward authentic historic detail. The Dallas Challenger excursions depart at 9 am and 3 pm from Dallas Union Station. Tickets are $33 for coach seating and $60 for dome seating. To purchase tickets call 987-3985.
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The Platinum Follies: The Platinum Follies began six years ago under the auspices of a national program to encourage talent shows for folks age 55 and older. As audiences grew with each annual production, and as various community organizations began to express interest in the show throughout the year, the producers created "Platinum Follies on Tour," a smaller company that performs at venues and events throughout North Texas. You probably think that a phenomenon like the Follies is either an antidote to our culture's general disregard for its older members or proof positive of that disregard. Why would we need something like a senior talent show unless we were failing to incorporate the talents of seniors into the society at large? But the vaudevillian pomp and circumstance that goes into these shows--expect it at an all-time high with this year's performances, for which the theme is "Hollywood to Broadway in the 1930s"--demonstrates exactly what makes entertainment entertaining. The Platinum Follies happen June 15 & 22 at 8 pm; June 16-17 & 23-24 at 2:30 & 8 pm; and June 18 & 25 at 2:30 pm in the Performance Hall of Brookhaven College, 3939 Valley View Lane in Farmers Branch. Tickets are $6-$8. Call 620-4118.
Carlo Pezzimenti: Carlo Pezzimenti's most recent performance in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art with a chamber ensemble was enjoyable, as usual, but Pezzimenti's delicate sounds too often were lost among those of the other instruments--partly as a result of the Horchow's wildly unpredictable acoustics. Pezzimenti is the kind of artist who deserves a showcase as patient and pristine as his music--the thrill of his performances lies in how he refuses to show off, how the piece in front of him always takes precedence, and how, through some soulful agreement between instrumentalist and composer, the two become indistinguishable. You can hear the eerie symbiosis on any Pezzimenti recording, but it's most apparent on his latest CD, Mosaic, which features some of the 20th-century Spanish composers for whom he has a strong predilection. Once you become a Pezzimenti fan, you'll have to restrain yourself from cursing any sound that interferes with the spell the man can weave. In his work, the quiet moments are everything. Carlo Pezzimenti performs with pianist Mart Urrea at 7:30 pm in the Zale Auditorium of the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Rd. It's free. For more information call 739-2737.
Infrared Photography in New Mexico: When 15 students from a photography class at Richland College ended their term with a traveling workshop in New Mexico, they were instructed not to fall in love with the spare, rugged trappings of architecture and landscape in that state. Those stark Southwest images had already been captured a million times before in print and on canvas. What the workshop instructors wanted to emphasize was the medium being employed on this trek--infrared photography, which detects energy wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. Everything they'd learned about the importance of light in a composition was now reversed--the composition would completely surrender itself to the light source and would be not just affected but literally shaped by it. The students traveled more than 800 miles and used more than 6,500 frames of black and white infrared film. The resulting exhibition is titled simply Infrared Photography in New Mexico. The show runs through July 15 at the Photographic Archives Lab & Gallery, 5117 W Lovers Lane. It's free. For information call 352-3167.
The Garden of Eden: Virtually every culture known to anthropologists and sociologists shares one unique feature--a story of the fall, an explanation of the origins of human frailty and destructive impulses. In the vast majority of cases since the establishment of Judeo-Christian, Muslim, and Far Eastern patriarchal systems, a society's fall is precipitated by a woman, which says a lot about the fear behind the near-universal repression of women in these post-pagan times. The fall stories can be understood as parables for the journey from the sheltered dependency of childhood to the live-and-learn exigencies of adulthood. Most of us experience a fall from the pure love of parents or guardians into our own imperfections--our greed, lust, jealousy, narcissism. The rescue may change radically from one culture to another, but it always involves a surrender to a higher power outside ourselves, a recognition of the need for transcendence. The latest show at The Biblical Arts Center, The Garden of Eden, is especially fascinating when you consider the artists who painted these images of the Old Testament Christian paradise--they range in age from four to 12. How does a child view concepts such as evil and the end of innocence? The show includes three categories--The Entrance to the Garden, In the Garden, and (gulp) Paradise Lost. The Biblical Arts Center presents The Garden of Eden through July 30 at 7500 Park Lane. It's free. For more information call 691-4661.