Events for the week
In the Land of the Deaf: A recent Spy magazine essay pinpointed with deadly accuracy the career rewards many Hollywood actors and actresses reap when they portray a character with a physical impairment. While it seems there aren't enough such roles to go around for performers eager to bask in the reverse glamor of the disabled, there's a conspicuous dearth of work for actors and actresses who are themselves impaired in some way--one need only look at the post-Oscar career plunge suffered by Marlee Matlin to realize this. Some deaf people have long decried the use of hearing actors in nonhearing roles when there are, in fact, deaf theater groups all over the country full of actors eager and able for the task. French filmmaker Nicholas Philibert was particularly aware of this gulf between reality and presentation on film when he decided to make his feature documentary In the Land of the Deaf. The final result is plainspoken and traditional in form, but the filmmaker has achieved something quite singular thematically. Philibert, a hearing man, follows the daily lives of a handful of folks who cannot hear, including a little boy making a difficult voyage into the written language; a veteran teacher of sign language whose hands can't keep up with all the stories he's collected over the years; and a young couple who are forced to interact with the hearing world when planning a marriage and their living arrangements. Philibert has constructed a landscape--even an entire universe--separate from but parallel to the one nondeaf folks inhabit. Indeed, those of us with full ear capacity experience the eerie but enlightening position of being the outsiders, beautifully summed up in a scene at the newly wedded couple's reception. At least half the guests there aren't deaf, and when the band quits, the dance, for them, is over. But not for the couple of the moment--they keep right on sweeping across the floor, oblivious to everything but their own steps. The Dallas Museum of Art screens In the Land of the Deaf March 9 at 7 pm, March 11 at noon and March 12 at 3 pm in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. Tickets are $4, except for the Thursday screening, where the suggested donation is $5. For screening information call 922-1319. For a list of events surrounding Deaf Awareness Week, call 783-8963.
St. Patrick's Day Parades: The Irish have been famous down through the centuries for their tempers, but don't worry, you're safe as far as having to decide between the two big St. Patrick's Day parades in Dallas. There's no rivalry going on between the organizers of these separate events, at least none that can be discerned from the schedule--one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade is the smaller of the two, but also the homier. Howard Stern's own Gary "Baba Booey" Deli-Abate is the Grand Marshal, heading a crowd of Stern look-alikes and conducting a contest for floats and costumes in a number of categories. The Downtown Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade attracted over 25,000 people last year, and the crowd is expected to be bigger this year, because 1994's event was televised locally on Channel 21--and people make pains to appear places where there's a TV camera. The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade kicks off March 11 at 11 am and travels north to south from Greenville at Blackwell to Greenville at Yale. For info call 368-6722. The Downtown Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade starts March 12 at 2 pm on Main Street east of Pegasus Plaza, turning into the West End. For more information call 991-6677.
West End 5 Mile Run: For nine years now, The West End Five Mile Run has been staged for a steadily increasing number of participants. But the organizers have finally noticed a trend--every year, half the entrants have chosen to walk rather than run--and adjusted their program accordingly. This year, they offer a separate 5K walk for those who wish to take life at a slower pace. More than $4,000 in prize money is to be given away, with the top prize $500 each for the male and female record-breakers in the run-only and wheelchair divisions. Last year, some 7,000 people took part. The West End 5 Mile Run takes place at 9 am at the corner of Record and Ross. Entry fee is $10 for kids, $17 for adults, with all proceeds benefiting Texas Special Olympics. For more information call 943-9984.
Paul K and the Weathermen: When a musician's press biography lists "junkie" among his many accomplishments, it's tempting to roll your eyes and guess that here's another middling talent trying to get as much glamor mileage as he can out of his personal demons. That would be a mistake in the case of Paul K, a Michigan-born, Kentucky-based singer-songwriter-guitarist whose original songs speak a sometimes funny, sometimes chilling well of experience. Simply put, his music pulses with an authenticity that no amount of tragic hipster marketing could ever dilute, although there are probably major labels out there who'd love to try. Mr. K and his Weathermen, a motley back-up band who've changed names and personnel numerous times over the last 10 years, create the kind of lurching, squalid rock 'n' roll that provides a catharsis similar to the cry-in-your-beer twang-balladry of Hank Williams and George Jones. But beer may not be quite enough to shake the regret, frustration, and sadness that permeate the ensemble's latest album, Garden of Forking Paths. Paul's ragged voice, often self-assured enough to make his lyrics sound wise rather than self-pitying, sails over ringing guitars and a mid-tempo beat. It's not what you'd call an uplifting experience, but when this crew brings you through the hailstorm of romantic despair, you'll know you've visited somewhere profound and even ennobling. Paul K and the Weathermen perform at 7 pm at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave at Bowen, as part of the MAC's "True Songs of the Highway Patrol" series. Tickets are $8. Call 953-1MAC.
Big D Back When: Determined not to be proven an elitist cultural force in the increasingly ugly battle for public television funding, Dallas' KERA-TV Channel 13 continues to produce documentaries on the history of North Texas cities. To be fair, the station had already begun this project well before Newt started wielding his gavel like an axe. Dallas Remembers and Cowtown Memories focused on the urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. The latest entry in the series shifts the focus to the various neighborhoods around downtown Dallas that make our city feel more like a cluster of townships than an urban metropolis. Big D Back When looks at the turn-of-the-century origins of Deep Ellum, State-Thomas, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and other areas using the same mix of photos, archival film footage, and interviews with prominent Dallas citizens, including Stanley Marcus, Dr. Mamie Mc-Knight of Black Dallas Remembered, Rose Biderman of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society, and Donald Payton of the Dallas Historical Society. The episode's highlight just might be an exploration of the little-remembered La Reunion colony, a collection of European immigrants who settled along the Trinity River in hopes of creating a social paradise all their own. Big D Back When screens at 7 pm on KERA-TV Channel 13. For more information call 871-1390.
KNON International Vegetarian Food Festival: As many nonprofit ventures have discovered, the way to a potential supporter's heart is through his or her stomach--there's no fund-raiser like one that invites people to stuff themselves silly. KNON 89.3 Community Radio, otherwise known as "The Voice of the People," has done well by this bit of wisdom, but they've added the proviso of healthy foods first. After all, it's in their best interests to make sure a benefactor's life isn't cut short by salt-induced stroke or red meat-inspired colon cancer. And so, The KNON International Vegetarian Food Festival arrives for the second year in a row with some of the top no-kill restaurants in the city--including Whole Foods, Cosmic Cup, Kalachandji's, The Green Room, Thai Lotus, and Dallul--providing the food for your gustatory edification. Last year's event was such a hit they asked the sponsoring eateries to crank up the chow volume. The KNON International Vegetarian Food Festival kicks off at 3 pm and serves food until 7 pm (or until they run out) at Club Dada, 2720 Elm in Deep Ellum. Live musical entertainment is provided by Spyche, Josh Alan, and Cricket Taylor. Admission to this graze-a-thon is $5, with all proceeds benefiting the community radio provided by KNON 89.3 FM. For info call 828-9500.
Gay and Lesbian Parents: Since hatred of gays and lesbians didn't play as well as expected with the American electorate, the Radical Right has adopted an Aunt Fanny-practicality in their rhetoric: a bias toward heterosexual marriage is in society's best interests. This sounds reasonable, except that it's based on the carefully perpetuated myth that gays and lesbians don't have children. The truer statement would be that society is best served by skewing its resources in favor of stable parenting partnerships, but that would legitimize homosexuality as just another component of human nature--and rob the fundamentalists and business interests of a useful political football. The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance offers a presentation on the topic of same-sex partners raising kids in a homophobic world. In addition to a panel discussion by gay and lesbian parents and their kids as well as two licensed counselors who specialize in providing support to these nontraditional families, a film produced by the DGLA for the Dallas Police Department, In Our Own Words: Dispelling the Stereotypes, is screened. The evening begins at 7:30 pm at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Reagan at Brown. It's free. Call 528-4233.
Beyond the Tanabata Bridge: A Textile Journey in Japan: Intellectuals like to scorn the fashion industry as a bastion of superficiality and trendiness, but what we wear at a given time and place directly reflects our place within society. With this in mind, the 75 examples of Japanese folk textiles contained in Beyond the Tanabata Bridge: A Textile Journey in Japan, convey reams of information about the two centuries encompassed by the Edo, Meji, Taisho, and Showa periods in Japanese history (they began in the late 18th century and ended mid-20th century). This is elaborate art created for everyday use by everyday people--kimonos, robes, samurai uniforms, children's clothing, and patriotic flags, as well as festival banners. Beyond the Tanabata Bridge: A Textile Journey in Japan opens March 12 and runs through May 28 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. Tickets are $1-$5. Call 922-1200.
Sex Blood & Mutilation: While the destruction of the National Endowment for the Arts would discourage many talented individuals from making art (these days, who can survive following one's muse?), it would also provide, in a perverse way, a symbolic validation of everything the artist stands for in relationship to the larger culture--gadfly, cynic, promoter of the fringes, a reminder that human nature doesn't fit quite so neatly into political or religious compartments. Picture Joe Christ, former Dallas musician and performance artist turned New York filmmaker, submitting to the NEA his latest project, a documentary about body piercers, fetishists, and professional masochists called Sex Blood & Mutilation. Can you imagine one of the bureaucratic gatekeepers looking further than the title? While most of us can dismiss these folks as exhibitionists or genuine psychotics and comfortably go on with our lives, their pursuits have a solid foundation in numerous religious disciplines--a belief that only through the extremes of physical sensation can the heights of the soul be scaled. Joe Christ brings his not-quite-feature-length documentary Sex Blood & Mutilation to Tunnel Werks, 115 N Oakland in Deep Ellum, as part of a nationwide tour. In addition, two of his early shorts are screened, and Christ is on hand to discuss and answer questions. Tickets are $3. The evening starts at 10 pm. For info call (212) 674-8905.
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