Joan Osborne: The 1995 Joan Osborne single, "What If God Was One of Us?" was definitely one of the more intelligent songs to find its way onto alternative playlists in recent years, although heavy rotation, as is its wont, transformed a good thing into that I-can't-stop-singing-it-to-myself phenomenon known as hook hell. It's a shame radio had no idea what to make of her smashing followup, the raucous R & B throw-down "Right Hand Man"; that one withered on the vine of an American music industry that punishes artists for not repeating themselves. Osborne, a reportedly smokin' live act, comes to Fort Worth as the last act in the 1996 Alive at Five Concert series. The evening kicks off at 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Chisholm Trail, bounded by Third and Fourth and Main and Houston streets in downtown Fort Worth. The show is free, but you must obtain a ticket by calling (817) 390-8711.
Opera on the Lake: If you're an opera lover who wants to mingle with other devotees of the stage, or want to become an opera, or you're just lonely and have $35 bucks to blow, the Dallas Opera Guild convenes with a socializing opportunity for you. Opera on the Lake is the name of its event at Winfrey Point, hosted by TV personality Quin Matthews and featuring performances by the Dallas Puppet Opera Theatre and young singers who won the Guild's Career Development Grant. There's also Dallas Opera merchandise and information about the Guild, its committee, and various programs. The evening kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at Winfrey Point on White Rock Lake. Tickets are $3 per person. Call 443-1040.
Personal Filmmaking and Class Consciousness: Even a diehard film lover may not have heard the name Tony Buba, but the work of this Pennsylvania-based independent filmmaker has been celebrated in some pretty impressive places: New York's Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Carnegie in Pittsburgh all have held retrospectives of the 22-year career of this National Endowment for the Arts and Rockefeller grant-winning documentary director. Buba has concentrated his career on the trials of the working class in his hometown of Braddock. He gives a talk to the University of North Texas film department entitled "Personal Filmmaking and Class Consciousness: The Evolution of a Filmmaker." His presentation happens at 1 p.m. in Room 265 of the Speech/Drama Building at the University of North Texas in Denton. It's free. For information call (817) 565-2537.
1996 Harvest Festival: Don't you have the urge at every celebration to unscrew the bottle of Kountry Kwencher, glide your nose across the cap, and declare: "Boone's Farm has done it again"? We thought so. And to get the education necessary to speak with epicurean authority, we suggest you visit the 1996 Harvest Festival of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. Wine consultants Lisa Arpey and Stewart Ball host a seminar entitled "Favorite Texas Wine and Food Pairings" that includes a Wine 101 course that covers all the basics of the tasting ritual. The event happens from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Harvey Hotel DFW. Admission is $30. Call (817) 424-0570.
The Texas Kickapoo: Keepers of Tradition: It has been a tough road to hoe, but the Kickapoo tribe of Texas has managed not only to preserve the religion and customs of its native forefathers, but actually has maintained them as practical aspects of daily living. Abilene-based photographer Bill Wright was fascinated by this achievement, and began to document the Kickapoo with his camera. The results are a book and a photo exhibition with the same name: The Texas Kickapoo: Keepers of Tradition. An opening reception happens October 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; there is a book-signing and gallery talk with the artist October 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and the show runs through November 23 at Photographic Archives Lab & Gallery at 5117 W. Lovers. Call 352-3167.
Phyllis Diller: Her name has long since passed into that pantheon of comic legends whose actual appearances are far less frequent than the mention of their names (paging Uncle Miltie), but if Phyllis Diller has slowed down her performance schedule in recent years, her influence is all over the American comedic map. Diller was the first female comic to make domestic discontent fodder for standup; it's highly possible there would be no Roseanne and no Brett Butler without Diller's pioneering diatribes about "Fang" and her own hopeless housekeeping skills. Diller comes to Dallas in a benefit performance for The Suicide and Crisis Center. Her performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $16-$61. Call 1-800-654-9545.
Vision Andina: Music of the High Andes in Concert: For an evening of the kind of music we guarantee you won't stumble onto surfing the radio dial, attend Vision Andina's concert at the Bath House Cultural Center. This 14 year-old cultural troupe, founded by Jacco Velarde, specializes in performing the South American folk music that is concentrated around the Andes Mountains. Ballads and dance tunes alike are on the program, which is performed using bamboo flutes, panpipes, and percussive bombos [***?-AM***] and chak-chas. The event happens at 8 p.m. at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. It's free. For ticket info call 670-8749.
Red Rover: Pegasus Theatre opens its 12th season with the world premiere production of a script by Dallas playwright John C. Davenport. Red Rover was first performed as a staged reading by Pegasus two years ago. The comedy concerns four thirtysomething buddies, former high-school classmates, who are reunited for one last spin in a 1975 Plymouth Fury convertible before it's sold. It seems that none of them remember the past--or their past relationships with each other--in quite the same way. Performances happen Thursday-Saturday at 8:15 p.m. through November 23 at 3916 Main. For ticket information, call 821-6005.
International Airshow '96: When not being used to kill innocent citizens trapped in a war of wills between insulated heads of state, flying military machines can make for cool weekend entertainment. That's the idea behind International Airshow '96, which features a performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Demonstration Squadron (including crazy stuff like wing-walking and solo acrobatics) as well as the Lockheed F-16, parachute teams, military helicopters, and more. The official show kicks off October 12 and 13 at 12:30 p.m. at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, I-35W at Alliance Boulevard and Eagle Parkway in Fort Worth. Tickets are $4-$8. Call 373-8000.
Old Oak Cliff Conservation League Tour of Homes: The kind of homes you could never possibly afford to live in are also the kind you might not mind paying an admission price to check out. This is the hope of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, which has selected 10 homes in Kessler Park, Stevens Park, and Winnetka Heights for the pleasure of your eyeballs; each of the houses selected boasts an owner whose idea of period detail is more than just not throwing out the eight-track player. Tickets are $8-$12; for a list of locations where tickets can be acquired, call (972) 606-3693.
National Coming Out Day: The anti-gay mob may rule in Congress and other parts of the country, but not in Dallas: Mayor Ron Kirk has stood firm against hundreds of phone calls and letters from some of the more active wackos in the tristate area who have demanded that the city deny access to the Human Rights Campaign Fund for National Coming Out Day. It's a small act of political courage in an age when one letter from a right-wing Christian organization can get a Fort Worth Star-Telegram editor bounced from his position. It's also further evidence that the most important thing every gay man and lesbian woman can do is step out of the closet and put a face on that straw boogey man called "the gay agenda." National Coming Out Day swoops in with events and speeches to offer public support for a difficult but very important personal decision. Events happen from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hall of State in Fair Park. For information call 349-3330.
Eggheads: The North Texas theater company that has become synonymous with gorgeous, old-fashioned theatrical spectacle, Fort Worth's Hip Pocket Theatre continues its tradition with its mounting of Joseph Skibell's Eggheads. A cast of 19 actors portrays more than 70 characters in this comic fantasy about an idealistic New York City playwright who is lured to Hollywood. Culture clash and some surprise appearances by Golden Age comedy talents ensue. Performances happen Fridays through Sundays at 8:15 p.m. through November 2 on the outdoor Oak Acres Amphitheatre in Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$14. For information call (817) 927-2833.
Lemur Lookout: The scientific name for "lemur" is "prosimian," which means "pre-monkey," which means, if you believe those Godless evolutionists, these shifty-eyed little charmers are extremely distant cousins a few zillion times removed (if anyone ever bothered to apprehend him for scientific study, Ross Perot might prove to be the lemur-human link). The endangered Madagascar natives transported to their Dallas "Lemur Lookout" are the featured animals in the Dallas Zoo's new $4-million makeover, which is being celebrated. To get to the new zoo entrance, take the Marsalis exit off I-35E, go north on the service road, and turn right onto Zoo Boulevard. Parking is $3 per car, and admission is $2.50-$5 (children 3 and younger get in free). Call 670-5656.
The Terrortorium: The creators of Dr. Blood's Terrortorium are onto something with their theme of medical terror; a lot of people consider a doctor's waiting room to be just about the scariest place on the face of the earth. "The Physician of Fright" himself is host for this particular haunted house stroll, although the tours are self-guided. The story: Dr. Blood is conducting experiments on people to understand the origins of fear; his subjects are the various sites you'll see at the Terrortorium and, of course, you. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. to midnight; and Thursday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 2001 Irving Boulevard between Oak Lawn and Wycliff. For ticket information call (972) 263-7700.
Jewish Film Festival of Dallas: The Jewish Community Center of Dallas makes local cultural history by presenting the first Jewish Film Festival of Dallas. Included in the four-day festival (the last day doesn't happen until November 20) are four films and three special-guest programs that offer audiences the chance to interact with the filmmakers. Making its Dallas debut is Carpati: 50 Miles, 50 Years, the deeply personally journey of filmmaker Yale Strom into the dwindling Jewish population of the Carpathian Mountains in the former Yugoslavia. Also included are A Day in October, the story of a World War II resistance fighter rescued by a family, and Camp Stories, a period drama about an Orthodox Jewish camp in the Poconos of the 1950s. Screenings happen October 14 through October 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven. Tickets are $7.50-$15. Call 739-2737.
Tina McElroy Ansa: Author Tina McElroy Ansa has stirred some big waves in the literary community with her three books that focus on an isolated but thriving African-American culture on Saint Simon's Island off the coast of Georgia. Her just published third novel, The Hand I Fan With, details the smalltownish intrigues of the community that has come to rely on a big-hearted matriarch for advice and support. A sudden change in her life means a sudden change in everybody's. Tina McElroy Ansa comes to Dallas to read from The Hand I Fan With at 6 p.m. at Black Images Book Bazaar, 230 Wynnewood Village. It's free, but donations to the Writer's Garret are gratefully accepted. Call 943-0142.
Monk's Night Out: As if Dallas didn't have enough improvisational insanity floating around area clubs, the Austin-based comedy troupe Monk's Night Out heads north to join the fray. Like 4 Out of 5 Doctors, Rubber Chicken, and The (Unnamed) Comedy Troupe, Monk's Night Out alternates original sketches with audience-driven improvisation. The rapturous press clippings that precede its arrival confirm the troupe is a favorite with laid-back Austin audiences, and with one reported skit concerning Sam Spade making a midlife career switch to lingerie salesman, we think Dallas comedy audiences will respond. Monk's Night Out performs at 8 p.m. at Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird. For ticket information call 821-1860.