26th Annual Big D Charity Horse Show: There are those who bond with horses faster than Elizabeth Taylor could drop a violet tear in National Velvet. But you needn't have much interpersonal equestrian experience to enjoy the 26th Annual Big D Charity Horse Show, which features four days of competition, demonstrations, and discussion. These proud beauties are likely to snub most nonequestrians, anyway, but bring some kids and get an eyeful. Hours are May 2, 7 p.m.-?; May 3, 1-7 p.m.; May 4, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; May 5, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The show takes place at the Las Colinas Equestrian Center, 600 Royal Lane in Irving. 506-0480.
Automatic 7: The members of Los Angeles-based punk quartet Automatic 7, like most bands you know and many thousands you don't, wandered around their home city in various guises. Singer-guitarist John Hulett and bassist Nic Nifoussi, best buddies since high school, had shared a love for such Southern California noise-meisters as Social Distortion and Youth Brigade, but they couldn't find a cohesive, satisfying sound between them or with other bands--that is, until San Franciscan Phil Jaurigui lent his guitar and his (on-the-sly) access to studio-recording technique. Thus was born Automatic 7, a high-speed outfit that tightened its sound as much through rehearsal and studio experimentation as live performance, and boasts the ability to play an entire set in a half hour. The band performs at 8 p.m. at the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell Blvd. Call 821-3456.
Fort Worth Dallas Ballet: Fort Worth Dallas Ballet artistic director Paul Mejia has employed all 32 members of his FWD company--as well as more than a hundred children studying at the Dallas Dance Academy and Fort Worth Ballet--to present this timeless tale of a woman, her two embittered sisters, and a suitor with a shoe fetish. Cinderella, based on the centuries-old children's story rather than more recent distorted popular updatings, is choreographed by Mejia using Sergei Prokofiev's classical score. Performances happen May 3 and 4, 8 p.m., and May 4 and 5, 2 p.m. at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $8-$41.
Insect City: Tykes who're terrified of their tiny multilegged neighbors on our planet are likely to benefit from the Fort Worth Zoo's "Insect City," which draws an educational distinction between the merely gross and the truly poisonous. Kids who bug out with pleasure at the sight of 'em will obviously get a kick, but be forewarned that among the 25 live species represented in "Insect City" are some they'd do well not to pick up--scorpions and black-widow spiders, say. The tots will learn the difference touring the live displays, microscope exhibits, and interactive events. The Fort Worth Zoo is open daily at 1989 Colonial Parkway in Fort Worth. Tickets are $2.50-$5.50. Call (817) 871-7050.
Arts & Letters Live: Dallas' venerable literary organization continues its fifth series with a holiday-themed program titled "A Cinco de Mayo Celebration of Latino Literature and Film." In marking the defeat of the mammoth French armies by rag-tag Mexican militias, Arts & Letters Live has invited two nationally renowned Latino writers, playwright and novelist Denise Chavez and novelist Rudolf Anaya, to read from their latest works. There will also be a reading of The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, the true story of the Mexican-Texan bandit whose wily ways reinvigorated the Texas Rangers and whose capture exposed the brutal racism of Lone Star justice. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. Tickets are $10-$12. Call 922-1200.
Ruth Montgomery: Though Ruth Montgomery currently enjoys a reputation as one of America's best-selling nonfiction authors on the subject of spiritualism, she earned her internationally renown in a much more cynical line of work. Montgomery served under five presidents as one of the most outspoken members of the White House Press Corps. (Her book Hail to the Chiefs is a staple in political-journalism classes). At first an investigative reporter, then a syndicated columnist, she has often been linked with tele-journalist Barbara Walters as trailblazers for women in journalism. But since 1968, Montgomery has dedicated her resources to channeling the wisdom of the dead through the discipline of automatic writing. Her subsequent books have sold millions. She speaks at 7:30 p.m. at the Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane. Tickets are $15. Call 601-7687.
Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth: Three premieres and three recently created works highlight the Spring Concert of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, a modern-dance company that sacrifices self-conscious experimentalism for a more grounded fusion of composition, choreography, and theme. Included on the program are "Severini Dances," a collaborative piece inspired by the Futurist painter Gino Severini and commissioned for this year's Retrofest '96; a premiere by San Francisco composer Mercy Sidbury titled "The Evolution of Drama," which examines personalities using theme music from Hitchcock films; and two premieres by CD/FW member Kerry Kreiman, "Organized Dances" and "Waltz of the Hemispheres, Right and Left." Performances happen May 3, 8 p.m. and May 4, 2 and 8 p.m. in the Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6-$20. Call (817) 335-9000.