Events for the week
Women's Voices: Kitchen Dog Theatre delivers a calmer though no less cerebral follow-up to its physically draining Zastrossi. Women's Voices is an evening of one-acts described by the company as "feminist"--not a very popular adjective these days. Still, both pieces strive to present a dramatic situation in which a fictional pair of women express thoughts and feelings that are, to this day, considered objectionable for women to harbor. The first piece is the Dog's world premiere adaptation of turn-of-the-century feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman's harrowing short story "Yellow Wallpaper." The tale was Gilman's scorching condemnation of the cruel Victorian practice of confining anxious or moody women to rigorous, round-the-clock bed rest. Kitchen Dog co-founder and Dallas stage talent Sally Nystuen stars as the wretched protagonist who begins to see an alarming array of images in her bedroom wallpaper. The second piece is the American premiere of Canadian playwright Charles Tidler's Straight Ahead. Tidler explores the tangled relationships of a shy but emotionally tumultuous 24-year-old who seizes a moment alone to fantasize about soon-to-be-over World War II and the future of an unborn baby. Women's Voices runs Wednesday-Saturday at 8 pm through February 11 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave at Bowen. For time and ticket information call 520-ARTS.
DecaDance IV: Even while anguished social critics keep announcing that post-modernism is dead (more wishful thinking than reality), people keep plundering the past to comment on the present, cross-pollinating references, spontaneously mixing different media in a drive to initiate art, to itemize and quantify and repeat until everything is equal and equally manipulated. This is the spirit behind the works submitted to "DecaDance IV," the annual experimental performance art forum hosted by Moving Collaborations. Various combinations of music, dance, sculpture, video, poetry, and dramatic readings are presented for your edification (unfortunately, if you should feel a case of heartburn bubbling up, you can't charge its remedy to the hosts). There is, however, one requirement--no piece can last longer than 10 minutes. Does that make the whole event sound more inviting? Moving Collaborations, with special guests from many different artistic fields, perform "DecaDance IV" January 20 & 21 and 27 & 28 at 8 pm in the Teatro Dallas theater space, 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $5. Call 298-6866.
A Dallas Dance Gathering: Speaking of free-lance dancers and choreographers presenting original works, The Dallas Dance Council co-sponsors its ninth annual "A Dallas Dance Gathering." Here, though, the program isn't strictly modern--it encompasses classical, ballet, jazz, and ethnic styles. Included in the presentation is Heywood "Woody" McGriff's "Mosaic Tales," performed by Ohio State University dance instructor Michael Kelly Bruce and partner Lily Cabatu Weiss; "El Manto de la Luna," choreographed by Spanish artist Luis Montero; a Chinese classical solo piece choreographed by Mei Hsiu Chan, a Denton native and current director of her own company in Arizona; and a contemporary work from Darryl Sneed, assistant artistic director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. "A Dallas Dance Gathering" takes place in the Dance Studio Theatre of the Booker T. Washington High School For the Performing Arts, 2501 Flora. Tickets are $5-$8. Call 720-7313.
The 11th Annual Kidfilm Festival: Depend on commercial television to shape your child's mind, and you can bet they'll be poisoned by that paleolithic sedative Barney (sorry, Mr. Purple, Newt is right: you should let the toy sales determine your extinction); the hip, hollow, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; or any of a number of Saturday morning 'toons modeled on popular home video games. There are a small but important group of animators, filmmakers, and video artists out there who recognize that children's entertainment represents not a fast buck, but a rich and rewarding opportunity to create elaborate works of the imagination. The USA Film Festival kicks off its 11th Annual Kidfilm Festival, a two-day program of tributes and screenings of short and feature-length animated and live action films. Highlights include a nod to master animator Henry Selick, the director behind the Tim Burton-conceived 1993 puppetoon extravaganza The Nightmare Before Christmas, with a discussion by Selick, a presentation of his terrific short Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions, and a program of favorite works selected by him; the Dallas premiere of Tall Tales, starring local actor Nick Stahl as a restless farm son who encounters mythical figures of the American West portrayed by the likes of Scott Glenn, Patrick Swayze, and Catherine O'Hara; and a repertory program entitled "KidFilm Noir," featuring three stylized (and sometimes surrealistic) flicks--Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and a pair of Roald Dahl adaptations, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. Kidfilm happens January 21 and 22, 1 pm-the early evening, at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N Central Expressway. Tickets are $3 per program for kids and adults. Call 821-6300.
Ruthless! With 11-year-old Macauley Culkin recently chosen a "Loser of the Week" by Time because of his "three flops in a row," we can only speculate how soon the cynical American media will create another criminal mastermind a la Todd Bridges or Dana Plato from the Diff'rent Strokes cast. At what point does a high salary and intense public scrutiny spoil childhood and redirect it toward the development of an egotistical monstrosity? This is the question posed by Ruthless!, a campy musical-horror story that's still attracting standing-room-only audiences in Off-Broadway theaters. The story combines elements of The Bad Seed with Gypsy, transforming the wannabe child star (Emily Parsons) into the ruthless shark poisoned by the luxurious ego-stroking of a female talent scout (played in drag by Paul Taylor). Here a saintly, devoted mother (Rose Mari Rountree) tries to dissuade her beloved from a career of vanity. Ruthless! runs Thursday and Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 5 & 9 pm; and Sunday at 2 pm through March 5 at Casa Manana's Theatre on the Square, 110 E Third in Fort Worth. Tickets are $15-$18. Call (817) 332-CASA.
Critical Mass: Dallas Artists Research and Exhibition, the visual arts planning arm of the recently established McKinney Avenue Contemporary, presents a show of 14 sculptures created by 14 different artists and curated by New York sculptor Charles Long. "Critical Mass" is the name of this collection of conceptual sculptures; they have the ability to make a cynic laugh and a believer nod in reverent agreement. The title is borrowed from the phrase that indicates the point at which a cell divides; applied to a sculpture exhibition, "critical mass" means the point at which shapeless raw material, through the coaxing of an artist, assumes identity. It is, of course, a different point for everyone. "Critical Mass" opens with a reception for the curator January 20, 6-8 pm. The show is free and continues through February 11 at the Mc-Kinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave at Bowen. For more information call 953-1212.
Power of Love: The idea of a symbolic ring that seals a sacred covenant can be traced a long way back to myths from many parts of the world. And ever since the 5th century, diamonds have been the rock of choice--much to the delight of miners and organizations like the Diamond Information Center, a New York-based organization of folks who represent the interests of diamond merchants hither and yon. They present a show at Bachendorf's in the Galleria entitled "The Power of Love"--really just an excuse for plain folk to browse in an ultra-monitored, blue velvet-couched diamond shop. So what are you waiting for? There are replicas and originals of wedding rings dating all the way back to the 15th century and originating from Germany, Russia, and England. For anyone who's ever imagined fingering the big fat diamonds you see in spy thrillers or medieval romances, this is a get-close-but-don't-touch thrill. "The Power of Love" is on display through January 26 at Bachendorf's Fine Jewelry in the Galleria. It's free, of course. For more information call 720-1910.
Angels of the Andes and Masterpieces of Bolivian Colonial Art From the 17th and 18th Century: Two different Dallas art institutions benefit from a recent cultural offering from Bolivia's National Secretary of Culture, Alberto Bailey Gutierrez. The first, The Meadows Museum of Southern Methodist University, hosts a traveling collection of 23 oil paintings created between the 16th and 18th centuries by European and South American artists. Masterpieces of Bolivian Colonial Art represents the efforts by Spanish colonial officials to convert natives of the Andes to the Christian faith. Once they discovered traditional Biblical images were too alien or upsetting to the locals, missionary officials began to enlist the efforts of sympathetic locals as well as European artists to incorporate pre-Columbian figures and events into the canvases. In conjunction with Masterpieces of Bolivian Colonial Art, the Biblical Arts Center presents Angels of the Andes, an exhibition of 14 17th- and 18th-century paintings from the collection of Bolivian admirer Mario Mercadeo Vaca Guzman. The subjects of these pictures are archangels (think of them as the generals of the celestial order), and they reflect the extremely personal images the subject of angels has always inspired. Masterpieces of Bolivian Colonial Art is open January 21-February 19 at the Meadows Museum in SMU. Angels of the Andes is open January 21-February 19 at the Biblical Arts Center, 7500 Park Lane at Boedeker. Both are free.
South Asian Art: Devoted Dallas Museum of Art patrons might find a few works they recognize in the Museum's new exhibition in the Concourse. South Asian Art includes many sculptural pieces on display from 1994's East Meets West: Sculpture from the David T. Owsley Collection. Mixed in with those are works from the Museum's permanent collection of Indic works. Owsley has arranged for many of the pieces to remain on long-term loan to the Museum (can a posthumous collection, housed in a new showroom designed to look like the benefactor's house, be far behind?). For a Dallasite to exhibit these works is downright heroic, considering how their ancient influences contradict the money-grubbing ethos of Dallas success--you can buy all the culture you'll ever need. In deliberate protest to such sentiments, you'll find a Gandharan Buddha head, relief etchings of the supreme Goddess Shiva and Uma, and metalworks, stone carvings, and various adornments. This is a rag-tag assemblage from various Western collectors of Eastern art--with that in mind, look for some of the prejudices that may have created a common theme linking their choices. South Asian Art is on display January 21-April 9 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. It's free. Call 922-1200.
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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.