This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Take Mike's New Car for a test drive during Oscar Shorts at the Magnolia Theater.

Thursday, March 20
ThursdayIt's hard to imagine a Neverland scarier than the one in which Michael Jackson lives (either the one in his head or the actual property that houses him and his menagerie).
But Damion Dietz's Neverland comes close. The film, presented as part of a series hosted by Q Cinema, Fort Worth's Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, is set in an "ultra-modern, hyper-realistic" time with punks, club kids, other performers and "self-styled fairies" inhabiting a scorched and dilapidated amusement park. This is where Peter Pan takes Wendy in this version instead of the happy place of impish boys with pointed ears and button noses in the Disney version. Wil Weaton appears as John Darling, and the film--though not officially rated--contains R-rated subject matter, violence, language, drug use and nudity. Q Cinema presents Neverland at 8 p.m. at the Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston in the former Caravan of Dreams in Fort Worth's Sundance Square. Tickets are $7. Call 817-462-3368.

Friday, March 21
FridayWhile little boys played at war, little girls may have been braiding dollies' hair or painting their dogs' fingernails. But, during A Piece of My Heart, women who served in the Vietnam War are center stage, literally. The play by Shirley Lauro follows six women sent across the world to the front lines, three as nurses, one for the Red Cross, another in intelligence units and the final as a performer in the USO. Rockwall Community Playhouse presents A Piece of My Heart at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through April 5, but the theater company isn't on a soap box here. The play neither condemns nor supports war; the focus is instead on the expectations, reality and the lasting effects on six women. Tickets are $10 to $12. Rockwall Community Playhouse, 609 E. Rusk, Rockwall. Call 972-722-3399.

Saturday, March 22
SaturdayEvery year on our fake Oscar ballot, we've always picked the winner for the Academy Awards categories for the Best Live-Action Short Film and the Best Animated Short Film based on the most interesting title or the director whose name has the most vowels. (It's just like voting in a real political election.) We never get the chance to see the nominated films, and, judging from the actual winners, we're not sure the Academy has either. But now Apollo Cinema, a distributor of short films, has packaged the nominees for both awards into one showcase, running through March 28 at the Magnolia Theater as Oscar Shorts. This year's nominees for live-action include films about traffic and a cell phone; single women and the subway; a boy, his puppy and the man between them; and This Charming Man, our choice because it's named after a song by The Smiths. The animated nominees are The Cathedral, Das Rad (Rocks), Mike's New Car, starring the blue furry guy and the round green guy from Monsters Inc., and The ChubbChubbs! (definitely a winner; it comes with an exclamation point). The Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave. in the West Village. Call 214-520-0025.

Sunday, March 23
SundayBased on his name, we like to imagine that Stonewall Jackson is actually a playmate of SpongeBob SquarePants. That definitely would have made Gods and Generals--the nearly four-hour movie about Jackson's wins for the Confederacy at Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville--much more exciting. Of course, James I. "Bud" Robertson Jr. would contend that Jackson is intriguing enough on his own. Robertson was the historical consultant for Gods and Generals and spent years finding new and untapped sources for info on the philosophy professor turned general for his biography Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend. Robertson will discuss his favorite subject during a talk for Southern Methodist University in the Umphrey Lee Ballroom, 3300 Dyer St., at 5 p.m. Admission is free. A reception for the author follows at Maggiano's Restaurant. Admission is $20. Call 972-889-2919.

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 24
MondayWe'd like to thank Plano for the following things: more SUVs per mile than any other city in Texas, enough sacks of Starbucks coffee to sandbag our house in case of flood, Bryce Avery and The Rocket Summer and actor John Benjamin Hickey. OK, so we're actually only thankful for one, and he'll be appearing during the third installment of Arts and Letters Live's Texas Bound series. During the "Deceptions" production, Hickey (star of Broadway's The Crucible, Cabaret and Love! Valour! Compassion!) will read "The Talented Professor X" as part of the tradition of Texas actors reading works by Texas writers. Also appearing are Grace Under Fire's Julie White and Kitchen Dog Theater's Shelley Tharp Payton. Texas Bound: Deceptions will be performed at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art. Tickets are $16 to $18. Call 214-922-1220.

Tuesday, March 25
TuesdayTexas may not have a monopoly on wacky women, but we've got more than our fair share: former Governor Ann Richards, journalist Molly Ivins, that crazy Dixie Chick Natalie Maines who thinks free speech is protected or something. Arlington author Melinda Rice has written a tribute to and tour guide about several of the state's more colorful figures. In Lone Star Ladies: A Travel Guide to Women's History in Texas, Rice profiles Mary Kay Ash, Lady Bird Johnson, Bonnie Parker and dozens more, plus gives maps and directions to sites, markers and landmarks from their lives. Rice will discuss and sign copies for her book at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble, 8525 Airport Freeway, in North Richland Hills. Call 817-281-7042.

Wednesday, March 26
WednesdayLooking back on writer, composer, singer and actor Nol Coward's repertoire, it's almost like the closeted gay man was writing in code. The play Private Lives and the song "Mad About a Boy" were two of his biggest hits. Selections and references from both will be included in Don Snell's tribute to the man known as "The Master." In A Private Spirit: Nol Coward and His Gal Pals, Snell plays an antiques dealer who puts on Coward's clothing and is transformed into the figure. Shano Palovish plays Coward's greatest muses, including the actresses Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich. The play runs Sunday through Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Too, 2800 Routh St., below Theatre Three in the Quadrangle. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 214-871-3300.

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