A Woman Called Truth: Though her accomplishments are far more diverse than one speech, the spirit of Sojourner Truth's 19th-century crusades for the rights of women and African-Americans will always be symbolized by her heartbreaking speech, "Ain't I a Woman?" It was a blast of pure anger and sorrow from an individual who took it in the teeth as both a woman and a black American, detailing one woman's effort to understand how her gender and her skin intersected in a way that made so many treat her as less than human. The Dallas Children's Theater presents a staging of Sandra Fenichel Asher's A Woman Called Truth, which details the activist's life and philosophies. Let's hope a true original isn't reduced to a historical totem. Performances are Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. through February 18 at the Crescent Theater, 2215 Cedar Springs across from the Hotel Crescent Court. Tickets are $9-$11. For more information, call 978-0110.
Viklarbo: Violinist Maria Newman, a founding member and composer of the chamber music ensemble Viklarbo, was born with musical notes swimming among the corpuscles in her blood. Her father was the renowned film composer Alfred Newman, who won nine Academy Awards for his compositions (including The Robe and All About Eve). Maria identifies her father as a man crippled with self-doubt who dreamed of writing more than just film scores but lacked the courage to pursue it. Perhaps with this in mind, she formed Viklarbo (the name is a combo of "violin," "clarinet," and "oboe"), an ensemble that seeks to perform everything from their own and other 20th-century compositions to the classical European greats (with a few film scores thrown in). Their Dallas performance includes Brahms, Shostakovich, Bartok, and Maria Newman. The ensemble performs at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. It's free, but seating is limited. For more information, call 922-1200.
Pearlie Jones: Although Dallas renaissance-woman Pearlie Jones likes to describe herself as an "ordinary person," that bit of self-deprecation can't account for the enormous energy and drive it took for this mother and onetime office temp to become a video producer, stage actress, publisher, author, and historian. Jones is most proud of her book, Who Loves the Black Woman? It's Time to Come Out of Denial, a work she said began as an effort to understand her own enormous anger at being an invisible woman. Contemporary feminism has been fairly criticized as a white, middle-class preoccupation, but as Jones herself would admit, women in the African-American community haven't fared much better in the shadow of their male comrades. As part of North Lake College's "Black History Month," Jones addresses these and other issues in a presentation called "A History of Black Women." Her presentation kicks off at 11 a.m. in the Arena Theater of North Lake Community College. For more information, call 659-5230.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Before you catch the USA Film Festival's new print of Robert Aldrich's classic 1962 chiller Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, here's a reading assignment: Go to your nearest library and check out a copy of the nonfiction work, The Divine Feud, a deliciously dishy, hysterical history of the on- and off-screen rivalry between stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. An entire chapter is dedicated to the fractious Baby Jane shoot, which was one long endurance test for Aldrich and the rest of the crew. Special scenes to watch out for: Davis kicking the hell out of Crawford when Crawford tries to use the telephone (filming had to be stopped so the real-life bruises could be treated), and Davis a short time later hoisting an inert Crawford onto a bed (filming had to be stopped because Davis threw her back out--a vengeful Crawford had worn lead weights under her robe). The film is screened February 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 N. Central Expressway; and February 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Sundance 11, 304 Houston in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6.50.
Abortion Row: For the last decade, the religious right has been tossing around much rhetoric about how America's "rejection" of the Bible has led to violence and degeneracy, but it's important to remember that the sacred text can be, in a zealot's hands, a philosophical foundation for terrorism. The indispensable PBS documentary series "Frontline" examines the twisted mind of one young man whose staunch Catholicism fueled two murders in the name of "protecting innocent life." "Abortion Row" examines the life and crimes of 23-year-old John Salvi III, a former altar boy and occasional anti-abortion activist who took it upon himself to spray bullets across "Abortion Row"--a two-mile stretch of Boston clinics long targeted by pro-life activists. The death of two clinic workers ignited a nationwide firestorm of debate both inside and outside the pro-life movement and the Catholic Church about where to draw lines in the midst of a passionate crusade. The episode airs at 9 p.m. on KERA-TV Channel 13. For more information, call (617) 783-3500.