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Events for the week

december 18
Holiday on Vice: We've all heard the hilarious and haunting statistic that suicide crisis hot lines receive more calls this month than during any other time of the year. We've also heard that depression is anger turned inward, so, marrying the former fact with the latter hypothesis, we offer a public service announcement: Attend the Angry Girl Sextet's Holiday on Vice performance and get it off your chest. No, you're not a paranoid freak: There's indeed something annoying about being pressured to stuff your negative feelings in during a "season of goodwill" that should take place year-round. Spoken-word artist C.J. Critt and her band of pissed-off chicks deliver Holiday on Vice, a hard-candy-coated throwdown of poetic yuletide hostilities that gives new meaning to the phrase "bitchfest." Critt and the girls don't conduct a "reading" so much as they orchestrate their words into various arrangements and let their wall of sound come crashing down on you. The performance happens at 8 p.m. in the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $7. Call (214) 828-1715.

december 19
Double Fisted: We can't think of a more "lesbacious" way to celebrate the yuletide season than with Miriam Kronenberg, the last artist in the McKinney Avenue Contemporary's "Conscious Chronicles: New Left Coast Performance" series. In much the same way that celebrated lesbian author Dorothy Allison collapsed two myths (lesbians don't like sex, and women authors who love sex don't produce great literature), so Kronenberg, a veteran teacher and performer around the San Francisco area, wants to marry art, lust, and female homosexuality in one holy menage a trois. Double Fisted is the title of her series of poetic monologues about sex and gender that explores the whole kaleidoscope of identity fragments that go into the creation of an urban gay woman. Along the way, she expands the discussion to include her gay male friends, many of whom have died, and the "crazy little thing called love" that seems to transcend gender, race, and class. Performances happen at 8 p.m. December 19 and 20 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $7-$10. Call (214) 953-1212.

Jammin' at the Center: "Calendar" was getting ready to ask if the South Dallas Cultural Center, one of two city-funded neighborhood cultural centers, had been mysteriously swallowed up by the Mayan burial ground nobody knew was underneath it all this time, so long had it been since a press release crossed this desk. But recently appointed director Vicki Meek has kick-started the South Dallas Cultural Center's programming by kicking out the jams, so to speak. "Jammin' at the Center" is a brand-new, late-Friday-night jazz session that Meek and associates hope will spawn something similar to the legendary cutting contests of Chicago and Kansas City. Although jazz is the inspiration for the show, people of all genres, from hip to hop to rock, are invited to bring their instruments and make a joyful noise in a laid-back atmosphere. They also want people who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, but dig a mellow groove. The show happens midnight-3 a.m. every Friday at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. It's free. Call (214) 939-ARTS.

december 20
An Evening of Pieces: Half a Nutcracker is better than none, and in some cases, better than a whole one, depending on how often you've seen this holiday confection. Pieces is the 6-year-old local modern dance troupe founded by J. Davis Hobdy, who has taught and performed everywhere from the Dallas Theater Center to Ballet Austin and Ballet Dallas. He and his troupe offer quite a holiday mix of old and new dances, with the aforementioned second half of Tchaikovsky's suite coupled with In My Life, a new piece that purports to portray abusive relationships. Add to that the baroque Danse de l'Opera, performed to the music of Broschi and Hasse, and you've got one of the least "holiday correct" dance programs in the area. Performances happen at 8 p.m. December 19, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. December 20 in the Decherd Center Theater of St. Mark's School, 10600 Preston Road. Tickets are $10. Call (972) 601-9832.

The Edna Jean and Pitiful Show: We don't mean to brag, but we knew Pitiful when she was a Bitch...literally. Pitiful Bitch was the original name for Ms. Pitiful when she began her career as a voluptuous, volatile nightclub chanteuse along with her spicy tomato of an identical cousin, Edna Jean. We're afraid it wasn't just her surname that Pitiful sold to the glamorous world of cable access--it was a piece of her soul. Fans who wouldn't miss Edna Jean and Pitiful during their evening performances at the late, lamented gay hotspot John L.'s, as well as those who never saw them but want a little taste of the lounge heaven that will be forever denied them, are advised to tune into the premiere episode of "The Edna Jean and Pitiful Show." The ladies inform us that it was only after a long and grueling audition process that they were selected to host their own show. The first episode runs at midnight December 19 and 10:30 p.m. December 20 on Dallas Community Television Channel 25-B.

december 21
Joy, Compassion, and Emptiness: Doesn't it often seem that trying to wrap our Western minds around certain Eastern concepts is like trying to wrap caramel around a greased apple; the sucker invariably shoots out before we can close the caramel coating, leaving the candy sheet to collapse in on itself. This overripe candied-fruit metaphor does explain one of the central conflicts between East and West: the fact that, in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, the state of "emptiness" is a rarefied state of bliss. Westerners can't abide by the notion that to shed oneself of all desire--and therefore, the need for acquisition--is to have attained the highest spiritual state. Lama Dudjom Dorjee, a Tibetan lama handpicked by his holiness the 16th Gyalway Karmapa to work in California, presents a talk entitled "Joy, Compassion, and Emptiness" that attempts to explain why the glass shouldn't aspire to be just half empty. The talk happens 2:30 p.m. December 21 at Karma Thegsum Choling, 312 S. Winnetka. Suggested donation is $10. Call (214) 948-3348.

december 22
Kwanzaa Celebration: Speaking of foreign ways to think about good will, the African holiday of Kwanzaa has gotten a lot of play over the last decade, culminating in the egregiously overquoted Hillary Rodham Clinton book It Takes a Village that indirectly reminded us of the African concepts of community that Kwanzaa champions. Right-wingers who bitch about multiculturalism are turning their noses up at one of the most family-centered, community-strengthening philosophies you can possibly imagine; left-wingers who tend to romanticize other cultures seem to forget that Kwanzaa couldn't stop Rwanda. We direct your attention to the Junior Players and Rhoads Terrace Rec Center's Kwanzaa Celebration because we're bored with Santa Claus, Southern Baptists, and other collisions of commercialism and Christianity. Celebrated professional storyteller Melody AFI Bell spins tales along with Afro Clowns, African drummers, a drill team, and a dance performance. The event happens 4-6 p.m. December 22 at the Rhoads Terrace Rec Center, 5712 Pilgrim St. It's free. Call (214) 526-4076.

december 23
Lilies: Anyone who caught Canadian filmmaker John Greyson's smashing AIDS musical Zero Patience, which combined HIV with other pandemic infections in world history and served them up with a hilarious, disturbing "Gotta sing! Gotta dance!" vibe should be thrilled with the reception his latest film, Lilies, has received. It won this year's Canadian Oscar for Best Picture, the culmination of a long and acclaimed journey through the major film festivals of the world. Combining satire of Catholicism, theatrical ritualism, and a skewed sense of time, Lilies is a lush but bitter little movie about a Catholic bishop who's held hostage by a group of prisoners while some of them act out an event from the bishop's adolescence: the love affair he jealously thwarted between two young men, one of whom has orchestrated this whole scenario as an act of revenge. Lilies offers a somber take on the connection between revenge and sexual desire. The producers are aggressively seeking a place among the nominees for best foreign film at next year's Oscar ceremony, and if Lilies doesn't get lost in the shuffle, they just might get it. The film runs with matinee and evening performances at the UA Cine, Yale at Central. Call (972) 444-UAUA.

december 24
Tre Arenz: Generally speaking, the medium of ceramics has been ghettoized in the condescending "crafts" half of "arts and crafts." Given the monstrosities that make their way to Texas fairs, the cultural elite have probably nailed this one. But Texas-based artist Tre Arenz has thrust her private obsessions into the kiln rather than letting the medium take the fore. The result is work that's earned her a Rockefeller Foundation residency in Italy and grants from Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her preoccupation with classical mythology is present in this one-woman show called Arenz, which documents the personal and the archetypal using ceramics, photography, and illustration. The show runs through January 3 at William Campbell Contemporary Art, 4935 Byers Ave., Fort Worth. Call (817) 737-9566.

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Jimmy Fowler

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