This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

"McDonald's modern day care center keeps the boys out of my hair and lets me have a moment to myself." In this 1976 photo from Bill Owens' Leisure exhibition, Mom enjoys a little time on the playground.

Thursday, September 15

It's too bad Bill Owens wasn't in our family. Our photo albums would have been far more impressive. After looking at the photographer's book Leisure, it's clear that Owens has an unusual talent for making the mundane seem like the most interesting stuff in the world. A shot of a man barbecuing isn't a camping memory but a portrait of Americana. A mom and her kids at McDonald's is a study in motherhood. Perhaps Owens just knew when to click that button. A combination of film speed, lighting and the desire to capture the little things. Whatever he did, we want to know, because he made everything about leisure in the 1970s (sports, vacation, dancing, etc.) seem so very alive and important. Dammit, he would have made our family look so awesome. Owens gives an artist lecture at the University of North Texas in Denton in the Visual Arts Building, Room 223, at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. His Leisure exhibition opens at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, 3115 Routh St., on Saturday with a reception and book signing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show hangs through October 22. Call 214-969-1852.

Friday, September 16

It's Friday night, and after work you'll head to the bar for a couple of overpriced drinks, meet someone for some recommended but disappointing cuisine and end up at a show yelling over a band you really don't care for. You never plan it, but it always happens. Oh, and tomorrow, that spare $20? It won't be there. You bought shots. You were that bored. So why not mix it up with a little culture? Dinner, dancing and scads of new people who won't be having the same conversations can all be found this weekend at the 12th Annual Mediterranean Festival at Saints Constantine & Helen Orthodox Church. The festival offers live music by Fadi Sultan, Ukrainian Dancers and Lebanese Folk Dancers, carnival games and amazing Mediterranean dishes such as gyros, falafel, baba ghannouj and more. Admission is free, raffle tickets are $10 and there is also a silent auction. The festival is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The church is located at 3755 Walnut Hill Lane. Call 214-350-2104.

Saturday, September 17

Find something that girls can call pretty and boys think is slimy, and you've got common ground. Stacy Nyikos found just that in a cephalopod--squid--and it just might get kids away from the tube and into a book. After finding inspiration at an aquarium, Nyikos created and penned Squirt. The rhyming book tells the tale of an ink-spurting squid that becomes so wrapped up in his "holoclam" (the underwater version of television, presumably) that he changes from vivacious to introverted. Revelations, of course, ensue, as do facts about squids for those future members of the Cousteau Society. Nyikos reads and signs Squirt at 11 a.m. Saturday at Borders Books & Music, 10720 Preston Road. Call 214-363-1977.

Sunday, September 18

Self-proclaimed germophobes with a penchant for hypochondria, we scoff at others' five-second rules. We require a timeline on anything that's been sitting in a display case--you know, we got staph to worry about. Cloroxing the countertops to fend off E. coli is old hat. There is, however, one instance in which we will shed our paranoia. Only one perfect and delectable creation can have us accepting the risk of salmonella in seconds flat. The Caesar salad. The perky greens dressed in a coat of tart and kicky drizzle, accessorized with taut curls of parmesan. It's nothing short of heavenif it's made well, that is. And who makes the best one is all up to those attending the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food's XIV Annual Caesar Salad Competition. Jody Dean and Mattie Roberts host the salad showdown that features chefs from top area restaurants (Michael Abruzese of Il Mulino, Marc Morton of The Oceanaire and others) and starts off with a champagne reception before the eggs, anchovies and olive oil hit the bowls. Admission is $65 ($55 for AIWF members) at the Westin City Center at the Plaza of the Americas Atrium, 650 N. Pearl St. Visit www.aiwf.org.

Monday, September 19

As soon as Jon Bon Jovi raspily uttered, "Tommy used to work on the docks," every skirt-chaser in 1986 knew to trade in the Robert Palmer jacket for acid-wash denim. Hair metal had found a working-class rep that would never die. Almost two decades later, Bon Jovi, Sambora and the boys (c'mon, who really knows those other guys?) are still kicking out the rock as shown during Big Screen Concerts' nationwide live screening of Bon Jovi: Have a Nice Day, a documentary about the making of their latest album followed by a live satellite feed of the Bon Jovi concert from New York City's new Nokia Theatre Times Square. Dallas fans can feel like they're front row (minus sprays of Jon and Richie's sweat into the crowd, of course) at 8 p.m. Monday at the UA Galaxy Stadium 10 Theater, 11801 McCree Road. Tickets are $15 in advance on www.BigScreenConcerts.com or $18 at the box office.

Tuesday, September 20

Bret Easton Ellis is a twisted, egomaniacal freak. Or so his books would have us believe, anyway. Less Than Zero's jarring accounts of drug use were nearly grotesque. Let's be blunt. Seeing the movie will upset you just fine. The Rules of Attraction's gritty account of college life was gripping but nauseating. Rent it and watch Dawson Leary get creepy. It'll traumatize you less. Honestly, we couldn't even get past the Habitrail incident in 1991's American Psycho--if you read it, you know--and on to the other murders and tortures. At least Christian Bale was entertaining in the very necessarily altered movie. As for his other books, for which there are no film counterparts: good luck. Now, some authors--Chuck Palahniuk is one--shock and therefore entertain readers by showing through their characters just how far people will go in certain situations, but in our opinion, Ellis is a writer who aims to shock readers by seeing just how far he can go, how far he can push it over the line of general acceptance. It's a style that's indicative more of a wealth of ego than talent. But then, in all fairness, we haven't read his latest, a "novelized memoir." Wonder how much ego is in that one. Ellis reads from and discusses Lunar Park at The Writer's Garret and KERA 90.1's The Writers Studio Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Three in the Quadrangle. Tickets are $34. Call 214-871-3300, option 1.

Wednesday, September 21

Go ahead and TiVo your daily dose of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on USA if you need to spice up the middle of the week. We need salsa, but not the kind from that jar in the refrigerator; it comes directly from the "foremost dance representative of Hispanic culture in the United States," according to the Latino Cultural Center. Senior members of the internationally and nationally touring Ballet Hispanico of New York are offering a free salsa dance class at 6:30 p.m. in the center at 2600 Live Oak St. Learn to move it and shake it with the best and return for a performance by the company on Thursday. Tickets for Thursday's performance are $10 to $15. Call 214-670-3320 for info on both events.


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