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The young and the shirtless: The Deep Ellum Ensemble is a washup in Doctor Tedrow's Last Breath.
The young and the shirtless: The Deep Ellum Ensemble is a washup in Doctor Tedrow's Last Breath.

This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, October 30
To us, Halloween's scare factor has nothing on El Da de los Muertos celebrations. While All Hallow's Eve offers the chance to scream and run from fake ghosts in haunted houses, the Day of the Dead is asking real ghosts--the souls of departed loved ones--to return home for a feast. There are many ways to celebrate, from making skull candy to decorating altars to the fine arts. And that's where Cara Ma Theatre Company comes in. The group brings back its hit El Presidente y la Máscara de Oro, which was performed earlier this year during the Out of the Loop Festival and last year's Festival of Independent Theatres, in honor of the Day of the Dead because that event inspires a dead Mexican president to reflect on "a life of political struggle" and his "magical" childhood. The play is performed nightly through November 1 in conjunction with a Day of the Dead art exhibit at the Avenue Arts Venue, 825 Exposition Ave. Tickets are $5 to $8, but Thursday is two-for-one. Visit

Friday, October 31
We haven't seen the legal documents, but we're sure Halloween is the official holiday of goths worldwide. (Though we would like to see a black-clad kid wearing bunny ears at an Easter party and clutching a dyed egg in his black-nailed hands.) Proclamations or no, DEFMAN celebrates with The Goth Ball and also raises money for its cancer relief fund. This year's ball features a live show, a "goth model" emcee, a light show, a magician, a tarot card reader and a pyrotechnics show. The costume contest is also one of the best-funded in town with $1,000 for first place and $300 for second. Yup, these goth kids don't mess around on Fright Night. Doors open at 8 p.m., the show starts at 10 p.m. and costume judging is at 11 p.m. at the old Copper Tank, 2600 Main St. in Deep Ellum. Admission is $15. Visit

Saturday, November 1
Maybe after a night of drinkin' your share of Halloween treats, you'll jump the cemetery fence in your Pirates of the Caribbean costume and frolic among the headstones on a double dog dare. But if you're smart, you'll avoid the twisted ankle and spend All Saints' Day at the graveyard instead...with permission, of course. Frances James, a.k.a. The Cemetery Lady, is leading another Dallas Historical Society Cemetery Tour, and her timing is better than ever. Plus, since each of her tours features different historic cemeteries, there are surprises in store. The tour departs from The Hall of State in Fair Park at 9 a.m. and returns at 2 p.m. after a bus tour of the county's quiet treasures and lunch, which is included in the $45 ticket price ($35 for DHS members). Or use the day to sober up and join a later tour. Between now and December 13, the society will be hosting tours of Deep Ellum, the final steps of Lee Harvey Oswald, downtown Dallas, Bonnie and Clyde landmarks and East and South Dallas. Call 214-421-4500 for reservations and schedules.

Sunday, November 2
Eric Bogosian reworking a Shakespearean sonnet is like Rocco DiSpirito attempting Julia Child's vichyssoise. Sure, they can do it. It just seems a little off. Mr. Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll and Maestro "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?" might have been good drinking buddies given the chance. Bogosian is just one of five modern playwrights commissioned by John Houseman and The Acting Company in 1997 to write a one-act play based on one of The Bard's 14-line poems in a project called Love's Fire. Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles), Tony Kushner (Angels in America), John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation) and William Finn (Falsettos) also contribute. But Love's Fire is only one of two plays being performed through November 2 by Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts. The other, It's All True, also concerns writers tackling big projects. This time it's Orson Welles and Houseman trying to premiere their opera The Cradle Will Rock during the Great Depression in New York City. The two works play during alternating slots 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in the Margo Jones Theatre of the Owens Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. Tickets are $6 to $12. Call 214-768-2787.

Monday, November 3
We think Nathan Oliveira is just about the only artist we ever would have let paint a nude portrait of us. His people are more shapes than portraits, with soft watercolor curves on plain paper, which pretty much explains the title of the new retrospective of his work, Solitary Shape: Nathan Oliveira, 1958-2001. Each person is blurry and indistinguishable, as though they were photographed through cheesecloth, just a bunch of curves and sharp elbows and cheekbones. The figures--kneeling, perched or in motion--are reminiscent of Matisse's nudes...minus the pencil lines and bright colors. The exhibit, which includes works on loan from the artist's estate, features watercolors and copper plates. Solitary Shape is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through December 6 in the Pollock Gallery on the Southern Methodist University campus in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. Call 214-768-4439.

Tuesday, November 4
Everything we know about cigars we've learned from late-night talk-show monologues and the Ken Starr transcripts. For a primer on the proper usage, check out the Macanudo American Passion Tour. The 45-foot bus is designed in the style of Club Macanudo, a swank smoking club in New York City, and includes a bar, a VIP lounge and a humidor. Visitors to the bus' local stops can tour the bus, hang out in the various lounges, learn how to select and roll a cigar and find out the etiquette of smoking. The tour makes five stops during the next week. The first is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Up in Smoke, 7707 N. MacArthur, and the next is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at The Cigar Shop, 2113 Harwood in Bedford. The bus returns to Dallas then makes stops in Fort Worth and McKinney. For a complete schedule, visit the Web site at

Wednesday, November 5
The death toll from the Titanic was small potatoes compared with the 8,000 people who died in Galveston when a hurricane hit in 1900. In fact, the leveling of the Texas town is still considered the worst national disaster in American history. So it only makes sense that after Titanic became a musical the Galveston hurricane should take center stage, too. But somehow the result, Dr. Tedrow's Last Breath, seems much less distasteful than Titanic: The Musical, despite more than five times as many people dying. We'll give the credit to the Deep Ellum Ensemble--a bunch of Texans living, writing and performing together in New York City--for sincerity and originality. The play, which combines acting, music and choreography, is a neo-Greek tragedy with five principal actors and another five in the chorus built around historical documents and the cast's own experience during September 2001. Dr. Tedrow's Last Breath previews Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Performances are at 8 p.m. at the Trinity River Arts Center, 2600 Stemmons Freeway. Tickets are $25. Call 972-378-6482.


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