Events for the week

september 20
Wallace & Gromit: The Best of Aardman Animation: Packaged together into one feature-length program are nine award-winning shorts from the British-based Aardman Animations studio, recognized throughout the world for cartoons and commercials that mix the surreal and the slapstick. Every studio has had its classic duos, and the stars of this program, an entrepreneurial master and his well-meaning trouble magnet of a pooch, get top billing in Wallace & Gromit: The Best of Aardman Animation. Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit adventure "A Close Shave" won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short this year; also included in the show is Parks' previous Oscar winner, 1991's "Creature Comforts." The film opens today in an exclusive run at the AMC Glen Lakes Theatre, 9450 North Central Expressway. Call 855-6286.

Tito Puente and His Latin Jazz Ensemble: To find a real American peer of Latin musical king Tito Puente, you'd really have to shoot straight up to Duke Ellington who, like Puente, accomplished amazing hybrid feats with the traditional music of his ethnic heritage. Like Ellington, Puente has used jazz almost as more of an attitude, an inspirational spirit, than a strict form to be respected. Puente combines salsa, Cuban, cha-cha, and mambo with a big-band flair that rediscovers the grand showmanship instincts of pop music. Unlike Ellington, Puente the 50-year veteran is still alive and performing his stuff. TITAS presents an evening with Puente and His Latin Jazz Ensemble, beginning at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. Call 528-5576.

Dallas Public Library Annual Book Sale: There is one drive that unites avid readers with folks who rarely pick up a book--who sense that there's so much stuff out there they haven't read and probably never will. Get a jump on those Mount Fuji-sized piles of fiction and nonfiction classics:Bring a couple of boxes and load up on really cheap brain food at the Dallas Public Library's Annual Book Sale. More than 40,000 titles--true crime, mystery, travel, cooking, and more--are available at rock-bottom discount prices. The sale happens September 20 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the plaza of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street. Call 670-1400.

september 21
Digital Photography Now: Just like every other mass-produced art form, photography has met the digital age--although in this case it may not be another matter of technological advancement for its own sake. The dearth of silver haloid materials and chemical processing has presented a problem to photographers for a while now. Many photographic artists find that the computer is their best production source. The Friends of Photography of the Dallas Museum of Art has assembled a panel of Dallas artists and educators to discuss the impact of digital technology and the World Wide Web on imagemaking. The show happens from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. Tickets are $3-$5. Call 922-1334.

Deception With Statistics: In what is one of the greatest public services it has ever performed, the North Texas Skeptics put exposes of roadside psychics and conspiracy theorists on the back burner in order to focus on a major destructive force in American public discourse--the confusion of statistics and poll numbers with hard evidence in arguing a particular point. Statistics in the form of polls has replaced the exercise of political character in our national government. Wonder why Bob Dole and Jack Kemp did about-faces on their previous stands on tax cuts and affirmative action, respectively? Curious as to why Bill Clinton has metamorphosed into a Republican during the past three years? Statistical numbers in the form of polls are the reason. The North Texas Skeptics reveal just how deceptive and downright inaccurate statistical data can be. The afternoon kicks off at 2 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak Street. It's free, and everyone is invited. Call (972) 247-7886.

Voices of Change: University of Texas composition professor Dan Welcher has had a busy adult life--notching 60 compositions on his belt and earning the raves of his contemporaries, not only for his prolificness, but also for the startling range of media he has mastered, including opera, piano solos, chamber music, and symphonies. Voices of Change, Dallas' nationally celebrated contemporary classical ensemble, pays to tribute to Welcher with a free concert featuring his 1979 arrangement for voice, horn, and piano called "Abeja Blanca." Welcher is on hand to discuss the work. Music by Donald Erb and Michael Colgrass also is featured. The concert is free and happens at 3 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood. Call (972) 881-2914.

Dog Day Afternoon: The nonprofit, no-kill Carrollton shelter, Operation Kindness, raises a hind leg to all those snotty purebred dog shows with "Dog Day Afternoon," its celebration of mutts and other domestic pets that includes competitions like "Fastest Tail in Texas" and "Ears to Die For." $10 gets your pet into any of the events, although you do need to keep Fido leashed and present proof of rabies vaccination. The show happens from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Kids' Korral Park on Kelly Boulevard at Keller Springs in Carrollton. Call (972) 418-PAWS.

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Jimmy Fowler