In an entertainment world that serves up endless car chases, explosions and re-makes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is a shining beacon of class and quality. Like famed historian Stephen Ambrose says, "More Americans get their history lessons from Ken Burns than any other source." Since making his Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has directed and produced many of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. He'll be in Dallas on November 4 to speak at The Friends of the Richardson Library's IN PERSON Author/Lecture Series. Burns, who will talk of his films, ranging from well-crafted biographies of American legends like President Thomas Jefferson (1997), architect Frank Lloyd Wright ('98), explorers Lewis and Clark ('97) to stories of eras and traditions such as the Civil War ('90), baseball ('94) and jazz (2000), has won a mantel full of awards for his work from the Emmy to the Television Critics Award. Acclaim and Burns have been friends for two decades. His The Statue of Liberty was also nominated for an Oscar. "If better use has ever been made of television, I've not seen it and do not expect to until Ken Burns turns his prodigious talent to his new project," wrote columnist George Will of the Civil War series he and 40 million others viewed, making it the highest-rated series in the history of American public television. Burns' 18-hour series on the history of baseball, the New York Daily News wrote, "resonates like a Mozart symphony." The filmmaker's lecture will be at the Charles W. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson, and begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 972-744-4350. --Carlton Stowers
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Death is shrouded in a morbid beauty that we, as mere savage beings, have yet to figure out. Whether you believe the end leads to a diamond-studded pearly-white entrance or a boat ride down a fiery river toward Hades, we all have to face the fact that everyone (except Elvis) someday will die. But on El Dia de los Muertos, departed souls have a chance to return for decorative breads, masks and altars all made for them by loved ones. The Fort Worth Community Art Center along with Centro Cultural de las Americas will celebrate the installation of the annual offrenda Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition showcasing modern folk art will be free and open to the public throughout November at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Call 817-737-2422. --Desirée Henry
Cant Buy Me Love
The day John Lennon boarded that bus for the Magical Mystery Tour in the sky, any hopes of a Beatles reunion were quashed forever. Fortunately or Un, we have a slew of Beatles tribute bands to fall back on: bands with names like "The Beatalls," "The Fab Faux" and the incredibly creative "The Fake Beatles." Maybe the tribute band headlining the Leukemia Association of North Central Texas' Beatleukemia Ball benefit--The FabFour--has a little more cred. They've garnered praise from people like Mickey Dolenz, Eric Idle and Cynthia Lennon, so if you value the opinions of a Monkee, a Rutle and an ex-wife, fork over $250 for an individual ticket to the black-tie Beatleukemia Ball at The Fairmont Dallas, 1717 N. Akard St., on November 1. Call 214-265-7393. --Michelle Martinez
Texas Ballet gets to the pointe
Six years out of it and our feet and pocketbook still ache thanks to one ballet essential: the pointe shoe. No matter how much wool or tape is used to pad the toes, the blisters still come. And the pink satin clods don't last long after being ground into resin and spun into hard wood. With some dancers using a pair per show, the cost gets pretty hefty, and the Texas Ballet Theater shells out more than $50,000 a season to keep its dancers in some 1,000 pairs of pointes. Members of the Barre put on the second annual Red Carpet Fashion Show to support the Texas Ballet Theater Pointe Shoe Fund. Dancers from the theater (and Mattie Roberts of Texas Cable News) model the fashions of Betsey Johnson and the hair and makeup stylings of Salon Pompeo. Help dancers get the pointe Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Divan, 2026 Commerce St. Tickets range from $35 to $100. Call 214-369-5275. --Merritt Martin
Rattle dem bones
You know the drill by now: Halloween, costume, event of choice, house party, rinse, repeat. Yes, the tradition fits as well as the suggestive costume we wear every year that's veiled in revelry of the season but is actually just an excuse to dress like we really want to year-round. But somehow the anticipation remains. A party like The Blue Bones Bash being held at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary on Friday evening (doors open promptly at 8 p.m.) is an example of why the excitement's alive. Left-of-center items like The MAC's Triple X chili, local band Sacremento and piñatas filled with unannounced goodies (we're hoping for even more chili in there, which would be awesome on a number of levels) contribute to a night dedicated to outrageous tastes. Admission is $40 to $50 with proceeds benefiting art programs. The MAC is at 3120 McKinney Ave. Call 214-953-1MAC. --Matt Hursh