Swing By


There is a myth, propagated by critics and other lost souls, that dancing is difficult. In fact, dancing is as easy as walking, skipping and landing your own reality television show. (Dancing well? Now, that's another story.) It's a matter of discarding the stiff mantle of self-consciousness, which many of us have cowered behind since a particularly scarring moment in seventh grade involving, say, spitwads and our hair. But dancing is fun, liberating even, as the members of the Dallas Swing Dance Society would surely tell you. It is the stuff of life. Which is why it's fitting that dancers of that organization are gathering on Friday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a benefit dance whose proceeds will go to UNICEF in their battle to help victims of the Southeast Asian tsunami. It doesn't matter what level you're at, how good you are; this isn't an exhibition so much as a celebration. In the wake of such an epic tragedy, it's proper to honor what was lost by honoring what we still have. Admission is $10. The event is BYOB and will be held at The Ballroom on 13465 Inwood Road. Visit www.dsds.org. --Sarah Hepola

Deep Impact

For four minutes, everything about Aliens of the Deep is perfect. An IMAX screen and a pair of 3-D glasses turn Titanic director James Cameron's latest movie into the most realistic underwater experience ever captured on film, and midway through, the cameras freeze on a super-huge jellyfish at the bottom of the ocean floor. The camera stops moving and lights shine upon the dancing, floating creature as it wavers through a 3-D plane, and, afterward, a massive squid and thousands of deep-sea shrimp offer similarly pleasing sights. Unfortunately, the other 45 minutes range from boring to painful, as Cameron wastes most of Deep pointing his high-res cameras at crew members and the insides of deep-sea vessels, rather than the amazing creatures. Much of the film suffers from generic, stilted commentary and silly, annoying 3-D tricks that aren't whimsical enough to be worth the headache--literally. Fortunately, Deep offers educational value for kids by explaining the similarities between deep-sea diving and space exploration, and, if only for the amazing four-minute scene, this movie is worth seeing for all ages. Deep opens Friday at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery St., and the Cinemark 17, 11819 Webb Chapel Road. Call 817-255-9540 or 972-888-2629, respectively. --Sam Machkovech

All Wet

I just don't get boat people--the recreational kind, not the Cuban refugees. Fishing? That just seems like an excuse to drink beer but with the added distractions of mosquito bites and sunburn. Recreational boating? Again, why ruin a day of beer drinking with a sunburn and a soak in a fetid lake? Perhaps you're one of the kabillion or so Texans who disagree. Then check out the 50th Annual Dallas Boat Show, featuring tips from pro fishermen and 900 varieties of water craft at Dallas Market Hall, January 28 through February 6. Visit www.DallasBoatShow.net or call 469-549-0673. --Patrick Williams

Psych Test

According to myriad criteria used by Steve Rubenzer and Thomas R. Faschingbauer, whose new book Personality, Character and Leadership in the White House sizes up the qualities of our presidents, I would make a pretty lousy president. Then again, Dubya and John Kerry don't fare well, either. Go to www.personalityinhistory.com to see how you'd fare--or just bug Faschingbauer on Saturday at 2 p.m., when he's at the Barnes & Noble at 3634 Irving Mall, to find out how presidential you are...or aren't. Call 972-257-8320. --Robert Wilonsky

Frozen Dreams

If you're one of those Dallasites who complain about North Texas never having a real winter, then the Dallas Museum of Natural History has a story that will chill you to the bone. And if you griped about last week's little cold spell, then thank your lucky stars that you weren't aboard Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship The Endurance when it sank in the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica in 1914. The harrowing man-vs.-nature adventure is documented in the new exhibit The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition. Though the scientific journey was a complete failure, the story of Shackleton and his 27 scientists and crew members is a testament of the human will to survive. The exhibit features photographs, diary entries and archival film footage that show how, though they were lost for two years, the crew members somehow managed to keep their spirits up in the face of almost certain death. The highlight of the show is a replica of the lifeboat that carried Shackleton and five members of his crew when they left the others behind during a 17-day journey at sea looking for civilization. We won't tell you how many members of Shackleton's crew were still alive when he went back to rescue them--you'll just have to brave the comfortably air-conditioned confines of the museum to find out for yourself. The exhibit opens Saturday and runs through May 10 at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, 3535 Grand Ave. in Fair Park. The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $7, $6.50 for seniors, $5 for students, $4 for children 3 to 12 and free for children under 3. Call 214-421-DINO or visit www.dallasdino.org. --Jay Webb

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