Events for the week
Fred Curchack: Texas-based performance artist Fred Curchack has traveled the world collecting awards and stunning non-English-speaking audiences with his one-man "revisionings" of some of William Shakespeare's most elaborate multicharacter fantasies. Curchack accomplishes this through a carefully synchronized combination of masks, light, shadow, sound effect, and, of course, his own rubber face and infinitely elastic voice. Some spectators have likened the man to Robin Williams, but comparisons don't do justice to Curchack's accomplishments--getting audiences in touch with the muse of the author he's reading and reintroducing them to the epic power of their own imagination. Fred Curchack performs Stuff As Dreams Are Made On Thursday and Friday at 8 pm and What Fools These Mortals Be Saturday and Sunday at 8 pm at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney at Bowen. Tickets are $15. Call 953-1MAC.
Losing a Loved One to AIDS: Although you rarely see those little red ribbons that indicate AIDS solidarity on awards shows these days, this signals, sadly, less of a general consensus that AIDS phobia has been conquered than a bored American zeitgeist shifting to the next popular cause (two weeks ago, the Oscar ceremonies were bulging with what might be its replacement in the arts crowd--pleas to continue public funding of the arts). If TV, movies, and music celebrities are guilty of self-serving exploitation of HIV, then the general public should be condemned for the opposite sin--never quite managing to stop the segregation of "guilty" and "innocent" AIDS patients. There are still huge numbers of Americans who believe that AIDS is a Biblical plague, or a government lab-created nightmare, or an automatic sign that the infected must be an individual of decadent personal habits. Facing a long and potentially painful deterioration is hard enough, but the terminally ill receive relief from their social and physical torments--while those who must live a long time past their beloved's death endure the trauma of seeing their loved one die in infamy. Fort Worth's AIDS Outreach Center presents Losing A Loved One to AIDS, a two-hour seminar by Tarrant County's AIDS Outreach Center that features Ed Luke, Jr., D.O., a Fort Worth psychiatrist. It happens noon-2 pm at the AIDS Outreach Center, 1125 W Peter Smith in Fort Worth. Tickets are $10 for professionals, but admission is free for HIV-positive folks and their friends and families. Registration is necessary before April 6 at 5 pm, so call 335-9194.
Water: Although a public television special dedicated to the subject of water may not sound like an exciting way to spend your Friday night, KERA-TV's Water addresses a startling, fascinating, and extremely important range of issues. The show doesn't concentrate on the turbulent community of micro-organisms that inhabit our water supply, but the turbulent, corrupt, short-sighted community of humans who control it. It's considered the single most important element of life, and although three-quarters of the Earth is covered with it, only one lousy percent is suitable for human consumption. As you can imagine, that fraction has been the object of battle between business and political forces for as long as people have kept records. Water traces a myriad of ecological difficulties, from California's fertile Owens Valley--virtually destroyed by drought because of Los Angeles' extravagant needs for water--to an unregulated region in the Australian outback where pure, natural water sources have created a new swampland; to the exploding population in Mexico City that's caused the ground level to sink gradually, while everyone labors over an enormous lake that's only partially usable. KERA-TV Channel 13 screens Water at 9 pm. For more information call 871-1390.
Michael Fracasso: Although the word "tasteful," when used to describe a musician, can be either faint praise or damning description, in the case of Austin-based singer-songwriter Michael Fracasso, it denotes professionalism and an accessible but discerning ear for strum-along melodies that KERA 90.1 listeners crave like ice cream. On his latest release When I Lived in the Wild, Fracasso glides atop the modestly rough arrangements like a neophyte lounge lizard in love with the angelic, unearthly quality of his own voice. When this guy sings about heartache or tries to sound cynical and world-weary, the result is not quite convincing but still very charming, like a precociously talented little boy in dress-up. Fracasso performs with his band Horse Opera and Jimmy LaFave at 9 pm at the Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm. Tickets are $6. Call 828-9246.
Imagination Celebration: Americans have grown passive in their daily participation with the arts--we expect movie special-effects wizards to do our imagination's work for us, most of us haven't the patience to read anything longer than a newspaper article, and we'd rather sit silently around a TV than sit around and talk. This is the problem that all those proponents of federally subsidized arts programs have run into time and again--how do you make your case about the daily relevance of art to a general population for whom that word has become unreachable, perhaps even contemptible? Programs like the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration attempt to reinstill a sense of how much fun creativity can be. For many years this organization has sponsored nationwide events which focus on bringing teachers and artists together with people, especially kids. Their 10th annual Dallas arts festival, produced in association with Partnership for Arts, Culture, and Education, Inc., features performances, participatory workshops, and demonstrations by actors, writers, painters, dancers, singers--you name a creative profession, and it's represented here. The Imagination Celebration happens 11 am-5 pm on the grounds of the Dallas Museum of Art and throughout the downtown Dallas Arts District. It's free. Call 823-7601.
The Texas Brewers Festival: Beer is the "comfort food" of alcoholic beverages, a stick-to-your-ribs drink that has become so associated with comradeship the two can't be separated--your choice of beer is as gut-level as your choice of company. It's not surprising, then, that a trend in microbreweries--independent beermakers who specialize in unique flavors and ancient recipes--would rise to seriously challenge the corporate behemoths and, miraculously, carve out their own niche in a very competitive market. Not usually behind the curve in matters of leisure, Texas didn't jump on the bandwagon until last year, when the state legislature permitted folks to make and sell their own beer from brewpubs (though still not on site at microbreweries). The Texas Brewers Festival is a response to this, a convergence of Texas independent brewers and the beerheads who keep them in business. Included are the products of Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston, San Antonio's Frio Brewing Company, several Austin-based companies, and our own Texas Brewing Company. The Texas Brewers Festival happens April 9, noon-8 pm and April 9, 1-7 pm outdoors in the West End. Entrance is free, although to drink beer you must have a valid I.D. and buy a festival mug for $3, at which time beer is exchanged for $2 wooden tokens (one token equals one beer). For info call (512) 708-1013.
Revelation: The Academy of Bangla Arts and Culture is a nonprofit organization that promotes Indian culture in the states, and its latest project is a staged production of a classic 20th century fable by Bengal's greatest poet--a fellow named Tagore who just happened to be the first recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Revelation, like all great world myths, starts with a series of recognizable human virtues and foibles and sets them up to collide like kamikaze train sets. A young princess who's been raised and trained as though she were a boy falls in love with another warrior and must then figure a way out of the mess. Revelation gets one performance only at 6:30 pm in the Carpenter Performance Hall of the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N MacArthur Blvd in Irving. Tickets are $2-$4. 373-8000.
Dinner With Julia Child: While it looks like Congress won't destroy outright the Corporation For Public Broadcasting in the near future, public television nationwide will reel from federal funds being slashed by almost a third. It's no surprise, then, that the big guns are being enlisted to scare up dollars--and there's no gun in the public television arsenal bigger or scarier than Julia Child, the woman primarily responsible for introducing European cuisines to Middle America. Easy to caricature, Child is nonetheless a one-woman cultural force responsible for wedding some very disparate national, ethnic, and socioeconomic sensibilities. She flies to Dallas for a dinner served in her honor by Chef Dean Fearing of The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a man who, not coincidentally, is profiled in Child's recently begun 39-part series "In Julia's Kitchen With Master Chefs" (a little log-rolling can be excused for a good cause). If you happen to have $150 in change under the couch, you can join Child and Fearing. This black-tie event kicks off at 7:30 pm and, of course, benefits KERA-TV Channel 13. Seating is limited. For info call 740-9279.
Arts & Letters Live Literary Cafe: Since the major names scheduled for the annual Dallas program Arts & Letters Live are often sold out before the general public gets a crack at them, the organizers have created a free spring program in which local and national actors and writers read from their works. This doesn't suggest the artists invited to Literary Cafe are in some way second-drawer choices--at the last Cafe, national poet laureate Rita Dove flew into town to read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning body of work. The last Literary Cafe for 1995 showcases three flamboyant female voices from Dallas: one specializing in original poetry, the second with a yen for live music and African folk tales, and the third a Yale graduate whose latest play screams out for a local premiere. Rosemary Meza is a visual artist who helped create the Dallas Latino collective ARTE, as well as a woman whose erotic poetry has been featured all over town. Cynthia Dorn Navarette is a professional actress whose love for the stage has resulted in her participation with New Arts Six, the area performance ensemble specializing in African-American mythology. Priscilla Sample is the prodigal daughter of the bunch, a woman raised in Texas who studied film, theater, and screenwriting at Yale and returns, along with the Playwright's Project, to read from her comic drama Love in a Suitcase. The Literary Cafe kicks off at 8:30 pm at Club Dada, 2720 Elm. It's free, and the April 12 event closes the 1995 season. For information call 922-1220.
Texas Sculpture Association: Although the Mandalay Las Colinas Festival of the Arts doesn't happen until the weekend of April 28-30, folks can catch an early glimpse of one of the media being represented at that celebration--sculpture. The Texas Sculpture Association opens its exhibit of large-scale works by TSA members. The show is actually a competition, juried this year by Hal Katzen, owner of Katzen Gallery in New York and a recognized international authority on sculpture. The pieces, made of wood, metal, stone, plastic, or some combination of all those, are on display in the grassy areas between Lake Carolyn and Williams Square in Las Colinas, where those infamous mustangs hang out. Most of the pieces are many times the size of the average human being. The show opens April 12 and runs past the Mandalay Las Colinas Festival of the Arts until May 10. For more information call 831-1881.
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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.