The video games, films and music of our current landscape take a lot of heat in terms of repercussions and cause-and-effect finger pointing. But one bullet consistently fired from the anti-censorship camp is that of our historic love affair with foul play. Murder, the abomination as fascination, is a consistent source of intrigue/entertainment, and Agatha Christie's locked-in "whodunit" style endures as something of a self-sufficient genre. Keith and Margo's Murder Mystery Weekend this Halloween brings the warm claustrophobia of a stormy night, shifty dinner guests and a cold stiff to simulated life at the Adolphus Hotel, with the plot known as "The Realm of the Reaper" unfolding around--and including--you. The familiarity of the premise doesn't lead to a campy production, however, so expect as much William Randolph Hearst as Colonel Mustard as you spend Friday through Sunday playing detective in the lap of luxury. Prices range from $825 to $2,750 depending on the number of guests and rooms occupied, but keep in mind that includes a weekend at the Adolphus, meals and one helluva memorable Halloween. The Adolphus Hotel is at 1321 Commerce St. Call 972-263-5178 for more clues. --Matt Hursh
If It Aint Baroque...
Obscure Dallas cultural factoid: The New York Baroque Dance Company has dancers who live here. Catherine Turocy lives in Dallas and directs and choreographs for NYBDC. Ditto for Marcea Daiter, except she lives in New York City. Somehow, they all get together and tour during the year, presenting strange and rare baroque dance performances with period costumes, period music and dance forms such as waltzes, minuets and contredanses. Fascinated? You can buy a ticket for the Tuesday performance at the Meyerson Symphony Center and rescue these weirdos from obscurity. Turocy says the company's "Soiree Baroque en Haiti" will dazzle the senses and illustrate a moment in history loaded with territorial occupation, rebellion and self-determination. "You can see two cultures, French and Haitian, side by side as they would have been in the 1790s and understand the tension," she says. Dancers will perform French period pieces, followed by their Haitian counterparts, including social and pantomime dances, with high-flying virtuoso male dancers intermingled. Dancers wear accurate costumes, with corsets, billowy skirts and powdered wigs. NYBDC is joined by Dallas Black Dance Theatre for this unique effort. Tickets are $40, $25 and $15 and are available at www.dallasbach.org or by calling 214-320-8700. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Chicken of the Stage
It's November, which means it's time for the Christmas decorations to go on sale at Kroger. Grocery stores have been getting a head start on the Christmas dollars for years, and now theater is jumping on the pre-Thanksgiving/jump-into-Christmas bandwagon. A Tuna Christmas--the long-running two-man show that's a favorite of hicks and bourgeoisie alike--will once again stop by the Majestic Theater, 1925 Elm St., from November 4 through November 9. Tickets are $10 to $53 and are available at the box office or any Ticketmaster outlet. Call 214-631-ARTS or visit www.ticketmaster.com. --Mary Monigold
A Lotta Latte
Coffee and karaoke. Two harmonious concepts blended together to create a divine symphony of caffeine and Barry Manilow. What could be better than these two scrumptious delights? Well, 56 hours' worth of scrumptiousness, of course. Standard and Pours Coffee and Stocks, located at 1409 S. Lamar #012, will host the 56-Hour Karaoke On Caffeine Marathon in an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for most continuous hours of karaoke from October 31 through November 2. Spots are open to anyone who wishes to participate. Call 214-565-0383. --Mary Monigold
Cards of Fate
How to deal with what is dealt?
Love, death, rivalry, misery, and through it all they sing. Opera is a passion for some and very much an acquired taste for others. What is interesting to us is that most often opera audiences know the complete story of what they are about to see. It's not as though the movie has been ruined if one knows the outcome, as the focus is not necessarily the plot but rather the expression of the story line. The Dallas Opera opens its season with a Russian's game of cards, Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades. The tagline on the Dallas Opera's Web site taunts, "In the bleak Russian winter, will true love prevail over the secret of a game?" Our first reaction is, well, this is an opera, so the answer must be "no," but we also yearn to know more. Russian soldier Gherman has two obsessions: Lisa, an officer's fiancee, and learning the "secret" to winning at cards, a knowledge possessed coincidentally by Lisa's grandmother. Having never actually gambled before, Gherman tries his hand at obtaining both the girl and her familial secret. To tell what follows is to quote a little Comedy is Not Pretty by Steve Martin: "Oh, death and grief and sorrow and murder." Sure, it's depressing, but isn't the vocal talent inspiring and awesome? Absolutely. With international stars like Ukrainian soprano Anna Shafajinskaia, Russian contralto Larissa Diadkova and Latvian-born tenor Sergej Larin, the performances are nothing less than mind-blowing. The high and low notes of love and risk resonate at the Music Hall at Fair Park at 7:30 p.m. Halloween night, November 5 and November 8 and at a 2 p.m. matinee on November 2. Tickets are $19 to $234. Call 214-443-1000. --Merritt Martin