Events for the week

november 16
Birthday Benefit Bash For The Word: If you have any doubt that Dallas has a spoken-word it can be proud of, just attend the Birthday Benefit Bash for The Word, the locally published monthly guide to performance venues in Dallas. To celebrate the first birthday of The Word and, at the same time, gather some funds to ease production costs, top local poets, visual artists, and video artists convene to celebrate the spoken word. The evening kicks off at 7:30 pm at Justine's Milam Art Gallery, 5224 Milam. Suggested donation is $5 at the door. For more info call 286-8491.

november 17
Festival Beaujolais: There is a huge international culture that surrounds wine appreciation, so much so that the French, the official-unofficial world experts on the subject, observe almost paganistic rituals. Take, for instance, the annual production of the tradition-bound red wine Beaujolais. By national law, French winemakers can only release their stuff when the clock strikes midnight on the third Thursday of November. The French are not above accommodating folks who want to enjoy this annual moment of bliss, so the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Dallas/Fort Worth has arranged for some of the first cases of Beaujolais to be shipped to our fair city for Festival Beaujolais. Expect more than 2,500 wine lovers reveling amidst 40,000 square feet of wine tasting, food displays, fashion, a silent auction, and little recreations of French culture. The Festival happens 7-9:30 pm at SouthFork Ranch. Tickets are $30 per person, and available in advance only through the French-American Chamber. For info call 991-4888.

Pascal Rioult Dance Theater: The International Theatrical Arts Society (TITAS) sometimes doesn't get the respect it deserves in Dallas artistic circles because it is a presentational organization--that is, not in the business of nurturing local artistic talent, but importing some of the world's best and most critically acclaimed performers for the enjoyment of Dallas audiences. If we ever hope to become an "international city," then TITAS is surely one of our best hopes for creating a hospitable local environment for international performers. Case in point is the Pascal Rioult Dance Theater, a relative newcomer to the American dance scene (they formed just four years ago) that has already earned raves for its understated, highly expressionistic choreography style. Performances happen November 17 and 18 at 8 pm in McFarlin Auditorium on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. Tickets are $7-$40. For more info call 528-5576.

The Dallas/Fort Worth Tell-Off: Two North Texas organizations who really like to hear themselves talk and who've enthralled not a few others nationwide with their storytelling skills join forces for a friendly yak-fest. The Dallas Storytelling Guild and the Tarrant County Guild of Storytellers each contributes five of its members to the first annual Dallas/Fort Worth Tell-Off, at which audience members will benefit from a spirit of convivial competition that will most surely make each new tale an effort in one-upmanship. Some of the top names invited to perform include Elizabeth Ellis, Jan Birks, and Jim Maroon. The event kicks off at 7:30 pm in the Historic Palace Theatre, 308 S Main in downtown Grapevine. Tickets are $7. For more info call (817) 543-0018.

november 18
Compania Avatar: Presenting the second in a series of performances known as the Third International Theater Festival, Teatro Dallas is the only Dallas-based troupe--with the possible exception of the Dallas Theater Center and its Festival of the Unexpected--to consistently offer international theater to a city that often turns its back even on local treasures. The Brazilian troupe Compania Avatar is the latest example, an eight-year-old company that actually started as a cultural research project. Its founders wanted to isolate the threads of African influence in Brazil and pull them to the foreground with original and commissioned works. It comes to Dallas as part of the Teatro festival to perform Kao, a work that combines texts from William Shakespeare and prominent Brazilian writers with dance to portray the evolving relationship between a man and a woman. Performances are November 18 and 19 at 8:15 pm at Teatro Dallas, 2204 Commerce. Tickets are $12. For information call 741-1135.

When Passion is the Country (El Pais Apasianado): The Dallas-based Writer's Garret has thrown a wide net throughout the city for public figures who are also fans of the great writers of Latino literature, and dragged them in for an unprecedented night of celebrating the Latin word. Among the classic and contemporary writers who will be showcased are Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Sandra Cisneros, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, and Rudy Anaya. Some of the readers include Teatro Dallas actresses Sonia Reyna and Adelina Anthony; KERA-TV's Yolette Garcia; and Eastfield College vice president Feliz Zamora. There's also live music and a reception. The show kicks off at 8 pm in the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E Lawther. It's free, but seating is limited. For more information call 670-8749.

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Jimmy Fowler