Wendy Warner: What's a great way to make Mom feel not only special, but, well, sort of aristocratic, patrician, maybe even Marie Antoinette-ish? Pile her hair up in an imperious stack, dress her to the nines, and take her to a classical music concert, where she can play "I'm the matriarch of a prominent Texas oil family" by surveying the stage and audience with that look of privilege matriarchs of prominent Texas oil families do so well. And what better concert to take her to than one in the Cliburn Concert Series, the state's claim to international classical fluency? On Mother's Day, 23-year-old Wendy Warner makes her Cliburn Series debut. Warner is a cellist who has studied the instrument since she was four, and began to accumulate internationally significant kudos in adolescence. Of course, it helps that for the last seven years she's studied under string master Mstislav Rostropovich. Five years ago she finished first in the international competition that bears her teacher's name, and ever since then, she's performed as a featured soloist with symphonies in Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Milan, and Tokyo, among others. Warner is accompanied by pianist Meng-Chieh Liu for her performance. Wendy Warner performs at 3 pm in the Ed Landreth Auditorium of Fort Worth's Texas Christian University. To honor Mother's Day, every ticket-holder may bring his or her mother for free. For ticket information call (817) 335-9000.
Nancy A. Collins: A critic recently observed that vampires are like cars--there's a new model every year. Indeed, it seems the vampire myth is one of the more elastic popular concepts, and it's not hard to understand why, when you stop and think about it. No other creature from our nightmares so perfectly encapsulates that most beautiful and destructive aspect of human nature--need. For just as vampires are consumed by their bloodlust and ultimately must center their entire lives around it, all of us are walking a perpetual tightrope in our relationships with family, friends, and lovers. At any point we can topple over and let our physical and emotional needs drive us straight to disaster. A vampire's thirst makes him or her forever alone, and isn't that, at the bottom, our greatest fear? Author Nancy A. Collins has been charting that fear with bloody, sexually explicit flights of the imagination that are more honestly pulpy than Ann Rice, and therefore more satisfying. Collins, who lives in New York with husband and former Dallasite turned chronicler of the extreme Joe Christ, wrote the storyline for DC Comics' Swamp Thing series from 1991 to 1993, founded the International Horror Critics Guild, and has published many short stories and edited several anthologies. For the record, Collins doesn't concern herself just with vampires--she writes feverishly about all manner of specters--but she comes to Dallas and Arlington to greet her fans and sign copies of her new omnibus collection Midnight Blue, which includes the first U.S. publication of her final book in the "Sonja Blue" series. Nancy A. Collins appears to sign copies of her vampire trilogy May 15, 6-8 pm at Lone Star Comics, 11661 Preston, 373-0934; and May 16, 6-8 pm at Lone Star Comics, 504 Abram St in Arlington, (817) 265-0491.
Marion Winik: In the pantheon of nationally prominent women essayists that includes Ellen Goodman and Anna Quindlen, Marion Winik has contributed a gutsy, sometimes even exhibitionistic honesty to her work that elevates it from the ghetto of "women's issues." To put it simply, Winik doesn't write about men and women, she writes about people--the people she has loved, hated, had sex and taken drugs with, given birth to, and helped ease out of a painful end. The New Jersey native turned Austin resident started publishing her essays in the Austin Chronicle in the '80s, and has slowly risen to national prominence via National Public Radio and the publication last year of her collected essays, Telling: Confessions, Concessions, and Other Flashes of Light. She first started to raise eyebrows with her very frank confessions of living her teenage and young adult years in the counterculture teeming with drugs, experimental sex, and intellectual restlessness. What seemed to anger people most about Winik's stories wasn't so much their content, but that she was neither ashamed nor remorseful about her youthful excesses--she has learned from all of her decisions, and apparently regrets none of them. Winik came to the national spotlight last year when she admitted on National Public Radio that she attended and helped soothe her husband of 10 years while he committed suicide with pills--he was lingering in the final stages of AIDS. Marion Winik reads from and signs the new paperback edition of Telling at Borders Books & Music, Preston & Royal. For information call 363-1977.