There are hundreds of ways to spend New Year's Eve. Trust us: We compiled the New Year's Eve Guide that appears later in this paper. But for our money, there is no better place to spend the last night of 1998 than at Bar of Soap. The reason: John Freeman will be performing there, under one of his many guises, The Meat Helmets. Other than his best friend and band mate Jon "Corn Mo" Cunningham, The Dooms U.K. frontman is the best entertainer in the area, no matter what the circumstances. He's forgotten more rock-and-roll moves than most bands ever knew, and he's funny enough to make a grieving widow laugh. Just a few weeks ago at a Dooms show at the Curtain Club, Freeman paraded around stage in a pair of pants that hugged his skin like a tattoo, with a pair of tube socks shoved down front. Just in case anyone missed the joke (didn't see any blind people in the audience), he kept his foot on the monitor throughout much of the performance, forcing people to stare. It's just one moment of the many that have made Freeman a farce to be reckoned with. The Meat Helmets and the Gospel Swingers perform on Thursday at the Bar of Soap, 3615 Parry Avenue. Must be 21 to attend. No cover. Call (214) 823-6617.
At the beginning of 1999, no one knows what the new year will bring--that is, except the various psychics, palm readers, and numerologists at the New Year's Day Psychic Fair. Instead of depending on the traditional black-eyed peas to bring you good fortune, you can find out for yourself at Dallas' oldest and largest psychic fair, where more than 40 professional psychics will be on hand to break the good or bad news to you. Of course, you may be disappointed. In fact, you probably will be. If you really think about it, why doesn't a psychic win the lottery every week? If they can "see" a new love in your life in the very near future, how come they can't use their insight to score some extra scratch? Oh yeah, because they're faking it. Of course, if you truly believe in the telepathic powers of a woman named Madge dressed in a shabby housecoat that smells like cat urine, who are we to tell you otherwise? Believe all you want. There's always a market for a good, gullible audience member to participate in infomercials. The New Year's Day Psychic Fair happens from noon to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel, LBJ Freeway and Jupiter Road. Admission is $7, plus $10 for every 15-minute reading. Call (972) 241-4876.
Over the course of the past week's cold snap, we've come to realize just how incompetent Texans are when it comes to cold weather. It's only a few days of below-freezing conditions, but people are at Kroger stocking up on canned goods like the apocalypse is coming. People up north are laughing at us. You'd think Channel 8's Troy Dungan had reported a swarm of locusts approaching from the southwest instead of snow and sleet. If you don't mind Jack Frost nipping at your nose, join the Dallas Nature Center's annual evening hayride. The event features hot chocolate, roasted marshmallows, and a nighttime nature tour through the 633-acre wilderness preserve, located in southern Dallas County. The hayride happens on Saturday at the Dallas Nature Center, two-and-a-half miles south of Interstate 20 on Mountain Creek Parkway. Admission is $3.50-$4.50. Tours run every 30 minutes between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Call (972) 296-1955.
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One of the first stops we'll be making after the holidays is CD World. Not to be rude about it, but every year we receive more bad CDs than a Top 40 station, piles of lumps of coal in shiny jewel cases that only serve to prove how little our immediate family knows about our musical tastes. We'd return them to the stores where they were purchased, but we don't have the heart--or the guts, if you want to get technical--to tell the folks we'd only play that album if we were trying to chase rats out of our apartment. Fortunately, CD World gives a good price (four or five bucks, sometimes) and a great selection to spend it on. So CD World, here we come. CD World is located at 5706 Mockingbird Lane. Call (214) 826-1885.
At first, the plot of John Davies' new play, BEEM!, seems pretty straightforward. A Kansas City restaurant manager named Bill Beem decides to create a one-man show that will make him a celebrity. He sees the show as a group of hilarious (to him, at least) stories about how he ended up managing a restaurant. The writer he's hired doesn't want comedy; he's more skilled in the way of drama. And the actor playing Beem has his own ideas. What makes the whole thing confusing is that all of these characters and several others are portrayed by the same person. By the end, it's hard to tell who's who. But then again, that's the point. Ground Zero Theater Company starts off the New Year with a one-night-only performance of Davies' work-in-progress on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the KD Studios Theatre, 2600 Stemmons Freeway. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Call (214) 827-5746.
Contrary to the embarrassing hoax propagated by Ralph Macchio's Daniel LaRussa in Karate Kid III, you can't use Tai Chi to kick anyone's ass. Not even remotely. True, it is a martial art, but it isn't designed for attack or defense. It's more like a combination of stretching and dancing, graceful, slow-motion maneuvers intended to increase flexibility and circulation, as well as mental well-being. While the New Year's resolutions are still fresh, come by instructor Wendy Love's Introduction to Tai Chi class at Barnes & Noble. The class begins on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 8525 Airport Freeway in North Richland Hills. Call (817) 281-6285.
Paul Averitt was in one of Deep Ellum's most successful bands in the early '90s, the late, great Trio of One. But after the band broke up, he disappeared from the music scene for awhile. Now, he's back with a new combo, Punch, and a newfound enthusiasm for music. Earlier this year, Averitt also appeared on The Volares' The Night We Taught Ourselves to Sing, the debut album from the band started by beloved eight-track merchant James "Big Bucks" Burnett. All of a sudden, Averitt is a player again. Good to see him back. Averitt and Punch perform Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Club Dada, 2720 Elm. No cover. Call (214) 744-3232.