Wanna Shag?

Tom Key

Just reading the rules of this weekend's Swing Dance Championships gives us endless enjoyment. From Rule Four: "All swing styles are allowed, including Push, Whip, Shag." Maybe we've watched the latest Austin Powers movie a few times too many. Americas' Classic Swing Dance Championships Convention offers the opportunity to watch professional dancers lindy hop their way through the Easter weekend. Some of the professionals are on hand for dance workshops on Saturday morning. There are novice and non-professional divisions as well. The weekend wraps up on Sunday with the finals. For those not content with the after-hours dancing, the Dallas Swing Dance Society will co-host the Lindy Ballroom, offering yet another floor for dancing. Through April 20 at Westin Galleria Hotel & Mall, 13340 Dallas Parkway. Call 972-934-9494. --David Wilson

Jerk-in' Off

Shed the pomposity and political correctness, you movie buffs and armchair film critics. Stop citing Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers or The Bicycle Thief for "indelible impressions," and admit that the best, most eminently quotable and most enduring movie classic ever made is Steve Martin's The Jerk. Sing the thermos song out loud, you opprobrious cinema-philes. Say you were "born a poor black child." Then, jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton. Sing it! That's the spirit! And it's apparently contagious! Why else would the often-pompous and consummately politically correct Dallas Theater Center get down and spiritual with Cotton Patch Gospel, featuring Dallas gospel singer Liz Mikel and the music of Harry Chapin? The stage play, a retelling of Bible stories in Matthew and John, was co-written by Russell Treyz and Tom Key, who also stars. Don't wait another cotton-pickin' minute to see it at the Arts District Theater, 2401 Flora St. Opening night is April 22, with Tuesday through Sunday performances through May 18. Get tickets, from $15.50 to $30.50, by calling 214-522-8499. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Busting Their Bunions

We've had our eye on Dallas' Ewert & Company dancers since August 2002. You didn't have to be a psychic or a balletomane to notice the company's smart, sparkling "I Am Jack's Inflamed Sense of Rejection," which debuted at the Dallas Dance Council's festival last summer. Bet the University of Dallas will claim they discovered Ewert & Company, since they're headlining The M Project & Friends at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the University Theater on campus. The M Project stems from the limbs of choreographers/dancers/faculty members Michele Hanlon and Micki Saba, with Larry White, SMU dance faculty and former Martha Graham dancer, and highlights artistic excellence as inspiration for future dance divas. Get tickets ($10 for adults, $5 for students) at the door or call 972-883-2982. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Combo Deal
Brave Combo rocks the Bach

Leave it to Denton's Brave Combo to bring Bach and Mozart into the 21st century. Find out what the heck that's supposed to mean Saturday when the eclectic, Grammy award-winning band debuts songs from its upcoming release Box of Ghosts. The new disc features the Brave Combo version of well-known classical pieces such as "Swan Lake," "The William Tell Overture" and "Dance of the Hours." Salsa and tango are mixed in, among other genres. Attempting to classify Brave Combo's music is no easy task. Spawned from an affinity for the polka sounds of Europe and America, the group's recording experiments have included everything from Latin American dance tunes to Japanese pop. They won a Grammy in 1999 for their polka release Polkasonic, yet showing up in a lederhosen at one of their concerts turned out to be a decidedly dorky move. Some people are so confusing! Brave Combo's CD release party is Saturday at Deep Ellum's Sons of Hermann Hall. Doors open at 9 p.m. with show time at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door. Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St. Call 214-747-4422. --Cheryl Smith

Dysfunction Junction

It's a wonder that Steven Jay Crabtree gets any sleep at all with the voices in his head. But the stand-up actor works out his inner demons--make that divas--in the personality-packed Dysfunctional Divas. From the Hollywood Hills to the Vegas lounge to the Texas trailer park, each of Crabtree's creations is a star, or at least they think they're famous. The aging Martini Glass dishes her Hollywood memoirs with bitter cynicism and drunken flair. The once-swinging Sammy-Frank Minnelli now only swigs from the bottle in her washed-up lounge act. (Though accompanying pianist Buddy Shananhan still has that magic touch when it comes to tickling the ivories.) The most charitable of the bunch is Trayla Park, whose enthusiasm to introduce drag queens to the poor white trash community is matched only by her determination to market her Draggercise workout video. Throw in a bitter Jewish comedian, a Texas granny and a not-too-insightful psychic (all with cigarettes in hand) and the Pocket Sandwich Theatre stage will be packed even if there's only one man in the spotlight. Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 Mockingbird Lane, Suite 119. Tickets are $10. Call 214-821-1860. --Jay Webb

Absolute Pleasure

Remember the good ol' days of going to the playhouse and getting humped by strangers in drag? Of course, not. That's because even in the golden years we knew this was a real good way of getting your wallet stolen. Luckily, the people at Los Bastardos, the troupe that performs along with Rocky Horror Picture Show, never learned that lesson. Come and give yourself over to glitter, show tunes and fantastic androgyny at 10 p.m. April 17 at The Rock in Deep Ellum. Admission is $3 for 18 and over. Call 214-698-9222. --Leah Gerchario

Swing It, Porky

Naturally, when one says the words "jazz" and "barbecue" an image of Grapevine comes to mind. Or not. Nevertheless, The Blues & Barbecue show will be held at Grapevine's Palace Arts Center at 7 p.m. Friday as the second annual Jazz Appreciation Month is celebrated with the Al Dupree Trio. What could be better than a night filled with the sound of interpretive upright bass, the aroma of shredded meat and the security that there's a huge mall next door? Nothing. Tickets are $20 for the dinner and concert, or $15 for the concert alone. --Leah Gerchario

4/19 Exchange Program
Fry Street Fair transplants to Deep Ellum

What the hell is happening in Denton? The city's music scene had enough trouble with Dan's Bar closing down, and then we heard about the red tape the city wrapped around Rubber Gloves, its current king of rock clubs. Now, the annual Fry Street Fair, the city's biggest local music festival, relocates to Deep Ellum this Friday. So why is Denton skipping out on celebrating its music scene? FSF officially points out space and money issues, but we found another story while digging through the grapevine (read: completely unbiased Internet bulletin boards). Apparently, Denton and its police department pushed for the fest to split town over concerns that it might attract noise and debauchery, thereby disrupting the innocence of the UNT campus.Story aside, FSF may have moved a good 40 miles away from its namesake, but it still looks promising, thanks to a surplus of great local music and an expansion to eight stages. Highlights include the art-rock reunion of The Dooms U.K. at Curtain Club, featuring former Denton luminary Corn Mo, along with the superb LCC in a Denton sandwich between Centro-matic and Little Grizzly at Clearview. Red Animal War and Doosu will hand out hard-rock ass-kickings at Trees, while Carter Albrecht's pop-rock tag team of Sorta and the Sparrows headlines the Liquid Lounge. Make sure to show early for sleepers like Panda, Budapest One and the death-metal of Mugzu. Best of all, the selection of 50 bands is on the cheap with tickets only $15 at Star Tickets, though minors owe a surcharge and music fans under 17 can't even get in. Head to www.frystreetfair.com for complete band listings. --Sam Machkovech

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