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Toxic Filmmaking

Lloyd Kaufman will take no offense when you refer to his films, among them The Toxic Avenger and Terror Firmer and Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, as "low-rent"; the self-appointed renegade director and producer, who launched Troma Entertainment some three decades ago, prides himself on making movies for pennies on the quarter, since most barely make a dime. Kaufman, who looks like Mel Brooks with lowbrow anxiety, flirted once with Hollywood in the early '70s, but the former Yalie found it easier to sink to the bottom than climb to the top. So he got his girls nekkid, put his men in latex outfits and conjured a franchise of cheapo horror and sexploitation films to rival anything Roger Corman ever conceived in his dampest dreams. He might not make blockbusters, might not even get on the shelf at a Blockbuster (claims he's been blackballed, unlikely), but has somehow managed to accrue the respect due a man who got famous making movies for a cult. Kaufman's even penned two books, the most recent of which is Make Your Own Damn Movie!, and has gotten into the documentary business; Apocalypse Soon is a making-of-Toxic Avenger sideshow, while All the Love You Cannes, due in June, is an exercise in guerilla marketing--or gorilla, depending on your view of the monkey suit. Kaufman isn't just coming to town for the USA Film Festival, which screens Apocalypse on April 26 at 10 p.m. at the Angelika, but for a veritable invasion: a signing of the Citizen Toxie double-DVD set April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Virgin Megastore, 5323 E. Mockingbird Lane; a signing of the book April 26 at 2 p.m. at Borders Books and Music, 5500 Greenville Ave.; and a Troma Party on April 28 at 9 p.m. at the Red Blood Club, 2617 Commerce St. --Robert Wilonsky

Growing Oldies
Rock dinosaurs attack Euless Arbor Daze festival

To get your classic rock fix this summer you can shovel out $75 to see the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac at the American Airlines Center (where it costs $12 to park) or you can check out one of the free (or close to it) festivals out in the 'burbs like Arbor Daze in Euless, which stars Starship and the Beach Boys. Granted the only Beach Boy in this lineup you've probably heard of is Mike Love and Grace Slick jumped off the Starship a couple of decades ago, but keep in mind you get what you pay for, and this concert is free (but it costs $5 to park). Also featuring Rick Springfield, Martha and the Vandellas, the Little River Band, Joyce Cooling and Boney James. Friday, noon to midnight; Saturday, 9 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bear Creek Parkway and Fuller-Wiser Road, Euless. Call 817-685-1660. --Jay Webb

Petal Pushers
Score herb in east Dallas

It's amazing to think that they've been saying "no" to weed for 15 years now. Personally, we tried, way back in junior high, to avoid it, but the more persistent we were, the more pervasive the weed. Finally, tired of resisting, we gave in and let the weed overwhelm us. Since then, no amount of pulling or herbicide has kept our flowerbeds free and clear. The tireless workers at East Dallas Community Garden have fared better for the last decade and a half, filling their half-acre plot with Asian plants and vegetables plus other flowers and herbs. Brown thumbs like us can reap their harvest at the Annual Community Garden Plant Sale, a fund-raiser to support organic gardening programs, community food security and other neighborhood initiatives. Visit the garden at 1416 N. Fitzhugh St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 972-231-3565. --Michelle Martinez

Prime Time Scoop

Second Sight Scooping is a little-known phenomenon that takes place when one rarely desires ice cream until one sees another savoring the frozen treat. One can loathe ice cream, never opting to place it in the shopping cart, but all it takes is that one time at a friend's house, friend emerging with bowl in hand, and even ice cream from that generic foldy-box thing seems enticing. Satiate that infrequent urge on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Baskin-Robbins' Free Scoop Night. The cup or cone debacle is entirely up to you. Plus, for every free scoop, Baskin-Robbins makes a donation to First Book, an organization that provides new books to low-income families. To splurge and support simultaneously, check out to find a participating neighborhood store. --Merritt Martin

Fruit Truths

Billie Holiday was a heroine behind the microphone, but, unfortunately, heroin was her vice as well. It's a tale as old as jazz itself: musicians being as flawed as they are talented. But when Holiday did voice her chords, she became otherworldly, magical and magnificent. With her sultry singing, she told a tale that most Americans would rather forget when she brought to life a Jewish schoolteacher's radical protest poem about the horrific terror of lynching in a beautiful song called "Strange Fruit." Later, the title was used for a documentary exploring the legacy behind that protest song. Now Strange Fruit, the film, will be screened 8 p.m. Friday during Black Cinematheque Dallas' celebration of Holiday's birthday. Come celebrate those pipes and her legacy for $5 at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh St. Call 214-426-1683. --Desirée Henry


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