Most of the time, reading a humor book is about as entertaining as running through a crowded mall wearing nothing but a few strategically placed pats of butter and a smile. (Well, that's actually pretty amusing, so long as you're not the one doing it.) The reason: Half of the humor books published every year originate as some standup comedian's not-as-funny-in-print routine (e.g., Seinlanguage), and the other half are written by Dave Barry, who is blander than a Tom Hanks film festival. Either way, you'd be better off reading some of the collected works of Shirley MacLaine; at least Shirley's good for a few unintentional laughs. Apart from Daily Show host Jon Stewart's Naked Pictures of Famous People--which proves Stewart could be funny using smoke signals--the lone exception is author David Sedaris. Sedaris' books, including Barrel Fever and dryly hysterical Naked, are funny without really trying, finding humor in everyday situations and some that aren't so everyday, such as his experiences working as an elf for a department store Santa Claus at Macy's. But Sedaris is no Jerry Seinfeld; he's better. Sedaris will appear at the Dallas Museum of Art on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. as part of the DMA's Arts & Letters Live series. The show, Comedy: An Evening With David Sedaris, is sold out, but released tickets may be available 45 minutes before the show. Tickets are $13-$15. The show happens in the DMA's Horchow Auditorium, 1717 N. Harwood. Call (214) 922-1200.
A year ago, the tomorrowpeople were signed to Geffen Records and were recording their major-label debut, strangepowers. Now, Geffen no longer exists, and no one--including the band--knows when or even if the album the band recorded will ever come out. We wouldn't bet on the band being free agents for very long; it's just too damn good to sit on the sidelines. The band's debut, 1997's Golden Energy, was better than almost any album released that year, here or anywhere, and strangepowers is reportedly even better, with the price tag to match. For now, though, the band is stuck playing the waiting game. Pass the time with the tomorrowpeople on Friday when they headline at Trees, 2709 Elm, as part of Deep Ellum's First Friday. Pleasant Grove, Centro-matic, Y3K, and Budapest One open. $5. Call (214) 748-5009. Doors open at 9 p.m.
When we played in several Hoop-It-Up tournaments a few years back, we learned the most important skill you can possess when it comes to being competitive: lying. When it comes time to fill out the application for the tournament, lie about everything, cause you better believe everyone else does. It's the way the game's played, brutha. If you are even remotely truthful about your team's ability and size, there's a good chance you'll find yourself on the court with a former college star and his nearly 7-foot-tall "little" brother, who would have followed him to college if he had brought his SATs up. Seriously. Before my team was aware of the unspoken rules of the 3-on-3 tourney, we faced a team that was good enough to attract college scouts and smart enough to knock about a foot off of each of their respective heights on the entry form. It took us longer to find a parking space than it did to get our asses handed to us by a few guys who would go on to star at the University of Arkansas and UCLA. Don't say you weren't warned. The tournament happens in the parking lots at Fair Park 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Free for spectators, $104 per team to play. Call (972) 392-5750. Deadline for entries is March 4.
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We've seen the family tree and heard our parents recount the family's lineage a thousand times, but we can't help but question just how much Irish blood we have pumping through our clogged veins. We hate drinking Guinness, would rather eat a tire than Irish cuisine (both meals being roughly equal in taste and smell), and think clog dancing should be punishable by death. The last Irish cultural activity we participated in was scarfing down a few bowls of Lucky Charms. Or maybe it was watching Patriot Games. Either way, we are probably not worthy to recommend the North Texas Irish Festival, but we might as well anyway. Celebrating its 17th year, the festival is billed as "the largest Celtic entertainment gathering in the Southwest," featuring more than three dozen Celtic bands, cultural displays, food, arts and crafts, and--oh, Christ--a nationally sanctioned Irish stepdance competition. We'll go anyway, but if we see anyone there who looks like Michael Flatley, we can't promise what will happen. The North Texas Irish Festival takes place 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday at Fair Park. Tickets are $9-$11. Two-day passes are $15-$17. Call (214) 821-4173.
EarthQuest: The Challenge Begins, the latest exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, is worth it for one reason alone: The exhibit is led by J.D., a robotic junkyard dog. That's right. A robotic junkyard dog. We have absolutely no idea what this entails, but we have to say that being led by a robotic junkyard dog, in addition to the fact that the exhibit is a game where the participants try to outsmart a red-eyed mound of waste named Toxicus, has us more excited about this event than almost any other we've ever recommended, save for the time that that crazy chick who escaped from a CIA mind-control program was speaking at the Hiltop Inn a few weeks back. The life-sized video game adventures have a point (give a hoot, don't pollute or something like that), but we couldn't really care less as long as the games end with J.D. taking on Toxicus in a Texas death match. EarthQuest: The Challenge Begins opens on March 6 at the Dallas Museum of Natural History in Fair Park, and continues through May 16. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $5. Call (214) 421-DINO.
Within a few weeks or so, all the arrangements will be made, so we don't want to go into too much detail here, but we will give you the basic gist of the plan: Trading the Dallas Mavericks. Not just Shawn Bradley, whose only function in the NBA seems to be starring in referee training videos about flagrant use of the elbows. Or Dirk Nowitski, the last in a long line of tall, white, crappy foreigners who are like catnip to the Mavs come draft time. Or basically everyone else on the team except for poor Michael Finley, who could probably win as many games as the Mavericks have this year if he were the only man on the team. No, we're going to trade the whole team to whatever city wants 'em. It will be the new franchise fee for any prospective expansion team, a ready-made batch of losers guaranteed to keep you in the cellar for the next decade or so. But we're not going to trade Don Nelson with the team. We've got something special planned for Nellie. We don't want to tip our hand, but we will say this much: Watch Reservoir Dogs very closely. See the Mavs lose another one on Tuesday when this week's lucky bastards, the Phoenix Suns, come to Reunion Arena. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. Call (214) 373-8000 for tickets. Final score: Phoenix 102, Dallas 90. Place your bets accordingly.
The MAC continues to hype this year's forthcoming Dallas Video Festival with a screening, as part of its Wednesday Night Film and Video Series, of one of the films from last year's festival. You can help decide which one by logging on to the festival Web site, www.videofest.org, and voting. The screenings happen every Wednesday this month and run in conjunction with The MAC's latest exhibit, Wired for Living, a preview of selections from this year's festival combined with donations from various galleries and museums around the area. The screening happens at 8 p.m. at The MAC, 3120 McKinney. $3-$5. Call (214) 953-1