Night & Day

may 27
People tend to romanticize writers. They're introspective geniuses living in decadence while waiting for that divine inspiration. Anyone who writes for a living will say that there's nothing romantic about staring down a deadline, and that it's really desperation, not divine inspiration. But, hey, if anyone still wants to try it, here's the chance. Hollywood's Famous Poets Society and The Dallas Poets Community are sponsoring poetry contests. So take the night off and channel that sensitive urge. Writing poetry can't be that hard, can it? Or, write a 10-minute script for The Ground Zero Theater Company with one to five characters and a plot or theme relevant to the December holiday season. The winning scripts will be produced in December at the Deep Ellum Center for the Arts. Hollywood's Famous Poets Society entries are due May 31. For information, call (213) 962-8870, or send one poem of 21 lines or less to Free Poetry Contest, 1626 N. Wilcox Ave., Suite 126, Hollywood, CA 90028. The Dallas Poets Community entries are due August 10. For requirements, call (214) 941-0891 or (214) 941-6617. The Ground Zero Theater Company entries are due August 31. Call (214) 827-5746, or mail scripts to P.O. Box 600213, Dallas, TX 75360-0213.

may 28
Improv comedy is hot right now. It's even made it to prime-time television with Drew Carey's Whose Line is it Anyway?. Of course, we still think the BBC version of the show is much better than the American version. Both feature practically the same people playing the exact same games. The real difference (problem, really) is the audience. The Americans suggest ideas that are funny and easy to work with. The Brits were sadistic, suggesting the performers make unimaginable things funny. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't. Part of the fun of improv is watching funny people get stuck on stage like a deer in headlights. The metroplex has more than plenty opportunities to try to "stump the comedian." Monk's Night Out performs 11:15 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E Mockingbird, Suite 119. $8. (214) 821-1860. Rubber Chicken performs at 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. May 28 at The Ozona Westex Grill, 4615 Greenville Ave. $10. (214) 221-LAFF. Irreconcilable Nutz perform every week at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight on Saturday at Borders Book Store, 5500 Greenville Ave. $5.75, free with book purchase. (214) 826-5494. Brave New Comedy performs 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at 6516 Precinct Line Road, Hurst. $10. (817) 485-9615.

may 29
Though technically Memorial Day isn't until Monday, Mayor Ron Kirk has designated ARTFEST as the "Official Memorial Day Celebration of Dallas." The festival has the same elements as those other festivals that have been held during the past two months: booths of artwork, fair food, local theater and dance groups. 10,000 Maniacs, The Chi-Lites, Brave Combo, Dallas Wind Symphony, and many others will provide the music. There is also a Run for the Arts and The 14th Annual Texas Invitational Black Rodeo. A kids' area will offer arts and crafts. Children also get to build a city out of decorated boxes to show how it has to be properly planned. Of course, they can always learn the effects of poor city street planning the way we did--by getting lost for 30 minutes during our first lunch hour on our new job. One more time: Are 75 and North Central Expressway the same thing, and will either one get us to Lemmon Avenue? ARTFEST is open 6 p.m.-10 p.m. May 28, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. May 29, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. May 30. $5 advance tickets are available at Tom Thumb and Simon David locations. Tickets are $6 at the gate. ARTFEST is held on the Esplanade at Fair Park. Call (214) 361-2011.

may 30
Swing was dead as soon as The Man started using it in commercials to sell full-figured bras and Braum's Ice Cream sundaes. Disco was dead as soon as everyone got a good look at themselves sporting polyester bellbottoms. The Dallas Dance Council hopes to make tap dancing the next big nostalgic craze with its celebration of National Tap Dance Day, called "Let Your Feet Do the Talkin'!". It's offering lessons for dancers at every level, including passionate novices who can take the "I've Always Wanted to Tap" course. The master courses will be taught by tap pros such as Fred "Brother of Gene" Kelly, Patsy "Mother of Patrick" Swayze and Robert "Riverdance" Reed. "Let Your Feet Do the Talkin'!" celebrity showcase and banquet will be held 7:30 p.m. May 28 at Le Meridien Hotel Ballroom, 650 N. Pearl. $50. Master classes 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May 29 at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, 2501 Flora. $35-$60. National Tap Dance Day Tap Festival noon-6 p.m. May 30 at Annette Strauss Artist Square, Meyerson Plaza, Dallas. Free. Call (972) 713-2795.

may 31
It's Memorial Day, so follow everyone else who has the day off to Six Flags Over Texas. Stand in line to get into the park. Stand in line for the rides. Stand in line for overpriced food. Stand in line for the restrooms. Stand in line for shoddy souvenirs. Then, for a bit of a change, stand around in the streets of the USA section to see one of the new attractions and shows. The new dance party band show features songs by 'N Sync, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Vengaboys, Cher, Will Smith, Savage Garden, Spice Girls, and 98 Degrees. It sounds just like staying at home and watching MTV's Total Request Live. Well, except you'll miss seeing the bands. And Six Flags is hotter, more crowded, and more expensive than a month of basic cable. And you won't get to stand around for hours. Six Flags Over Texas. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 27. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. May 29-August 8. $18.86-$37.70. Six Flags Drive exit from Interstate 30 at Highway 360, Arlington. (817) 530-6000.

june 1
Stars Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace might be the special-effects king now, but we remember when the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were the coolest and scariest things we'd ever seen. Jar Jar Binks may be more human than the T Rex, but our money is still on T Rex to win in a fight. He's just plain nasty even if he's not packing heat. In fact, dinosaurs still scare us just a little, even when we know they're robotic and only 12 feet tall (which still makes them almost 7 feet taller than us). Dinosaur Families at The Science Place is perfect for us (and kids too) because there's only one giant, roaring beast. The other robotic dinosaurs are nice mommy dinosaurs caring for their dino babies. There is also an exhibit about a real dinosaur nesting colony called "Egg Mountain," which was discovered by Dr. Jack Horner, who was the inspiration for the hero in Jurassic Park. Dinosaur Families is open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily from May 29 to September 6. $6 for adults, $3 for children. The Science Place is located in Fair Park at 1318 Second Ave. Call (214) 428-5555.

june 2
The McKinney Avenue Contemporary wants members of Dallas' "eclectic community" to clean out their closets to find donations for its Cool Blue Junk Sale 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 5. They're looking for cool stuff like vintage clothing, furniture from the '50s and '60s, cameras and 8mm equipment, transistor radios, video-game machines, vintage vending machines, and comic books. Donate this stuff? Do you know how much we could make off it on Ebay? Oh, yeah, there's the question of altruism or something. The MAC is also accepting standard yard-sale fare such as Halloween costumes, CDs, computers, musical instruments, working lamps, dishes, toys, books, picture frames, sporting goods, and anything else someone could use. The drop-off hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 28 and May 29, 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m. May 30, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. June 1, and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. June 2. Volunteers are needed for two and three shifts during all the drop-off times plus June 3-5. The MAC's Cool Blue Junk Sale drop-off is at 3120 McKinney Ave., Suite 100. Call (214) 953-1212.

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Shannon Sutlief