This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Carlos Mencia says America Rules or whatever.

April 3

Just because comedian Carlos Mencia changed his motto from Take a Joke America to America Rules doesn't mean he's lost his edge. He's still spewing his Archie Bunker-like stereotypes designed to make everyone in his audience uncomfortable in their political correctness. But, according to Mencia, he is an "equal opportunity offender," criticizing every ethnicity with the same rancor, be it the Hispanics from his old East L.A. neighborhood or the white suburb dwellers. Mencia's an observational comedian, not a joke-based one, and his act includes every racial stereotype you know and some you've never heard before. At his shows, everyone is the same color: red with embarrassment. Mencia performs through April 6 at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road. Show times are 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20. Call 972-404-8501.

April 4

Two Bond girls and a Jedi knight: We bet the latest Dallas Comic Con will be the inspiration for many a page of fanfic. We don't want to think what else it will inspire. During the pop culture convention, Hot Fish Studios will host appearances by Tanya Roberts (View to a Kill), Maud Adams (Octopussy and Man With the Golden Gun) and Zachariah Jensen (Kit Fisto from Star Wars), plus Anne Ramsay from Planet of the Apes, Chase Masterson from Star Trek Deep Space 9 and lots of less comely comic-book illustrators and authors. The Dallas Comic Con also features vendors of comics, toys and memorabilia, plus Yu-Gi Oh! gaming and cards. It takes place 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road at N. Central Expressway, Richardson. Admission is $5 to $10, but free for visitors under 6. A weekend pass is $15. Call 972-866-8264.

Upcoming Events

April 5

Irving is turning 100, and we have a special birthday wish: May the city in its next 100 years get props from sportscasters as being the home of Texas Stadium instead of Dallas. We know the idea of the Dallas Cowboys playing someplace other than Dallas is crazy and all. Irving's party called Festival of the Century takes place in the stadium with carnival rides, a dancing water and fire show, extreme sports, visual arts, vending booths and a fireworks finale. There's also live music by Martina McBride, Three Dog Night, Diamond Rio, The Spinners and locals Holland K. Smith, Pete Barbeck and 7th Son and Hash Brown and the Brownstones, plus performances by the Dallas Desperados and Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squads. The festivities start at 10 a.m. with the North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Dreams, and ends at midnight after the last firecracker fizzles out. Admission is free, but tickets are required and may be retrieved at Kroger locations. Texas Stadium, 2401 E. Airport Freeway W., Irving. Call 1-866-239-1425.

April 6

April showers may bring May flowers, but April sunshine brings out seemingly every nonprofit in the region onto the streets with a festival of some sort. The next is the Ballet Folklórico 2003 at Artist Square. The annual program hosted by Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company includes four days of music, dance and classes, including two afternoons and evenings of free music and dance in the Arts District. Groups from all across the Americas and Shaolin Kung Fu performers will take the stage from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and there will also be a kids' area and food and beverage vendors. Artist Square, 1800 Leonard St. Call 972-788-0604.

April 7

We have a friend who spends part of his disposable income on paying other people to kill cockroaches for him. (Editor's note: She's talking about sports columnist John Gonzalez.) We've found a way to cure him Clockwork Orange-style. It's just too bad we'll lose that potential cash. The solution is Bugs!, the new large-format 3-D film from IMAX that shows images of bugs magnified 250,000 times. Shot in Borneo (with close-ups filmed on a sound stage in the United Kingdom), Bugs! features the life cycles of the praying mantis and the butterfly, plus their fellow rain forest inhabitants such as tarantulas, scorpions and vipers. But, lucky for our friend, viewers get to watch these monstrous, enlarged insects become bat chow as the forest's flying bug eaters make their nightly dinner rounds. Bugs! opens Friday and runs daily through May at Cinemark 17, 11819 Webb Chapel Road. Call 972-888-2629.

April 8

Visitors to The Sensuous and Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India exhibit may feel like Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But steal one of the religious and ornamental statues from India to return to the villagers, and you'll have the goons from the Dallas Museum of Art in pursuit. And that's even scarier than the murderous, painted cult members in the movie. The Sensuous and Sacred features 59 statues from the Chola dynasty, which is known for being a dominant force in shaping the culture and history of southern India. Designed to show the patrons' wealth (and religious piety), the statues were kept in temples most of the year, and then carried through the streets decorated in flowers and beads during ceremonies. The exhibit opens Sunday and runs Tuesday through Sunday through June 15. The museum is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $4 to $6, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays for free. Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Call 214-922-1200.

April 9

The main thing we know about Nora Roberts' Birthright is that it's the only book by the author our mom hasn't read yet. And that's only because it hasn't been out long enough to have reached the used store yet. She would know; she has spies on the lookout. But she's not alone in Roberts fandom. There are 145 million copies of Roberts' books in circulation. Every single one of her books has reached The New York Times' best-selling list, and in 2001 she had a book on the charts every week save one. Roberts was also the first person to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. But this is no bodice-ripping, Fabio-look-alike smut. Birthright is about an archeologist. All right, an archeologist who has to work with her sexy ex-husband, may be the stolen baby of a local woman and has to battle construction crews, land developers and mysterious disappearances. So it's not A Tale of Two Cities. Roberts is still the highest-selling contemporary novelist behind J.K. Rowling, and she'll sign copies of Birthright at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 1612 S. University Drive, Fort Worth. Call 817-335-2791.

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