Funny Face

While most people think of her television series and its groundbreaking "coming out" episode when they hear the name Ellen Degeneres, few realize that the all-ages content of her small-screen show isn't just a sanitized version of Ellen's humor.
Instead, it's a taste of what can be expected at one of her stand-up appearances. Her ability to find humor in everyday occurrences, coupled with her dry wit and delivery, makes her live shows feel more like a conversation than a performance. And it's that natural comedic ability that enabled her to carry the Emmy Awards when she hosted in 2001, an event marred by the terrorist troubles that were still fresh on everyone's minds. She made her audience laugh without feeling guilty for it. While seeking to rid the world of gay and lesbian stereotypes, Degeneres is also active in her support of many charities and rights organizations. Although not in the news much these days, Degeneres has been preparing for a busy 2003. She has a talk show that will debut in September, and her second book, a follow-up to her best-selling My Point--And I Do Have One, is due out this fall. Not only that, but she also voiced one of the characters in the animated feature Finding Nemo, due out in May, and kicked off a major national tour earlier this month. The tour includes two shows in New York that will be filmed for an HBO special set to air in June. Degeneres performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Majestic Theater, 1825 Elm St. Tickets are $29 to $45. Call Ticketmaster at 214-373-8000. --David Wilson

Spring Into Action

Seven dances, two days and the lingering aura of last week's vernal equinox...magic's literally afoot in the cultural district as Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth wriggles its collective toes in Spring Fever. Company members are performing with guest artists, notably Caryn Heilman of LiquidBody in New York City. Heilman dances "Alchemy" inside the frame of a projected video she created, accompanied by music by Nana Simopoulos and by the dreaded audience participation. CD/FW along with Frisco's 5 Degreez of Danze and Fort Worth-based JAADE Dance Theatre are performing Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster Ave. Tickets are $15 for general admission or $8 for students and seniors with cash only accepted. Call 817-922-0944. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Texans Abound

If you find the written word too isolating or unnerving or confined to the printed page, you can ease your angst by hearing those same words read out loud during Arts and Letters Live (even its name speaks volumes) now in its 12th season at the Dallas Museum of Art. And if it's regional authenticity you want to hear, you will find it during the Texas Bound portion, which appropriately pairs Texas authors with Texas actors. Of particular note will be author Robert Flynn's work "Miracles of Chillicothe" read by director Raphael Perry and M*A*S*H's G.W. Bailey reading stories by Larry L. King and Joe Bob Briggs. Although the program is a sellout, tickets may be released 45 minutes before shows, which begin at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday at the DMA, 1700 N. Harwood St. Call 214-922-1220. --Mark Donald

Shake That Thing

My first exposure to live African dance was in church--in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. There, the women of the Igbo tribe did this move in which they'd wiggle one hemisphere of their rumps, something I hadn't thought physically possible. We don't know if you'll get any rump-shaking at the University of North Texas' evening of African Dance and Percussion, but we're told it'll include the hot rhythms and traditional dancing of Ghana's Afrikinia Cultural Troupe. The performance, part of UNT's African Cultural Festival, takes place at 8 p.m. in Winspear Hall of the Murchison Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Call 940-369-7802. --Julie Lyons

Upcoming Events

World Market
TITAS presents a Command Performance

Dubya could learn some new French words--pas de deux, for starters--and a thing or two about international politics from Tom Adams, the executive director of TITAS, Dallas' favorite importer of all kinds of dance. You won't find Adams all up in arms over Shrub-snubbing France or even Russia. He's got a show to do; its very flava is international and its essence is ballet. For the ninth year, TITAS is presenting Command Performance of International Ballet, bringing some gosh-darn Russians to Fair Park and using actual French words in the printed program. Principal dancers from New York's American Ballet Theater and one Tony-nominated Fosse veteran will take the stage at 7 p.m. at Fair Park Music Hall. Desmond Richardson will dance "Solo" and "Ave Maria" with ABT soloist Sandra Brown. ABT's husband-and-wife team Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky will perform excerpts from Carmen. Dancing Balanchine's "Chaccone Pas de Deux" are Pacific Northwest Ballet's Patricia Barker and Jeffrey Stanton. For tickets from $15 to $150, call TITAS at 214-528-5576. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Magic Bullet
Audacity's shot heard 'round the world

Dallas, of all places, can nod knowingly about a president with a bullet in his brain. Audacity Productions is banking on the hope that we can laugh about it, too. Their production of Goner, a "screwball satire on the medical profession, conspiracy theory and independent film," presents a quirky ensemble cast of characters including an ex-alcoholic surgeon, a sociopolitical lab tech and a couple of FBI conspiracy theorists. The dark comedy, running Friday through April 19, is characteristic of Audacity Productions and Goner sounds promising enough that it won't require you to put a bullet in your brain. Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Tickets are $8 to $10. Call 214-731-8650. --Michelle Martinez

All You Need

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will perform the works of Jack Wagner, former hunk, soap-opera star and singer of the 1985 hit "All I Need." Classical musicians are finally recognizing '80s music and...what's that? Oh. Sorry. Seems the DSO is performing Wagner's symphonic highlights from his opera, The Ring. My bad. The DSO performs Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Tickets are $15 to $100. Call 214-692-0203. --Eric Celeste

Stern Lesson
Gluzman honors a maestro

When celebrities waltz the red carpet, it's pretty common for them to wear precious stones on loan from the finest dealers. This isn't the case for most concert musicians, unless you're Vadim Gluzman. His 1690 ex-Leopold Auer Stradivarius isn't just some old fiddle. It's like the Hope Diamond of violins, and Gluzman sure knows how to wear his jewels. As a tender teen, he wooed Isaac Stern, one of the greatest violinists ever, within the first five minutes of his playing. Now, at 29, he's one of the hottest violinists on the international concert stage and his leading lady Angela Yoffe accompanies him on piano. They play Saturday at 8 p.m. in the University of Texas at Dallas Conference Center, 2601 N. Floyd Road, Richardson, during a tribute to the late Isaac Stern. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 972-883-2787. --Desiree Henry

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