The decline of Atkins and the South Beach Diet has made the world safe for orange juice, grape jelly and pasta--heavy, loaded-with-carbs, need-a-nap-afterward pasta. The new catch phrase is "portion control." We'll start that...just as soon as Maggiano's Little Italy completes its month of dinners/cooking demonstrations called Culinary Journey Through Italy. The series starts Thursday with the Tuscany region and a three-course sampling meal of panzanella salad made with bread crumbs and vegetables, papparadelle pasta with veal and mushrooms and, for dessert, profiteroles (called "the smallest member of the cream puff family"). Now that's some portion control. The next three Thursdays highlight the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Campania regions. The programs at both the NorthPark and Willow Bend location are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and include chefs demonstrating how to prepare the dishes, samples of each dish and recipe cards for each item to take home. The same dishes are available at both restaurants through April 6, with dishes changing each Thursday when the new class takes place. Call 214-360-0707 (NorthPark) and 972-781-0776 (Willow Bend).
Friday, March 11
A typical animated blockbuster follows a certain schedule: Toys start appearing in stores; smaller, cheaper toys come with a burger and fries; the movie opens and makes a Bill Gates-worthy amount of money; more merchandising hits the stores and then, once everyone has seen it once, it opens at IMAX theaters just in time for everyone to see it again--the same, but bigger. But not Robots. It opens at the regular cinemas and the IMAX theater at the same time, as if 20th Century Fox is saying, "We're going to make so much money we don't have to wait." And they're right. And you'll see it, maybe once regular, once big and in every store and on every kid. And if critics are right, you just might like it, too. Robots: The IMAX Experience opens Friday at the Cinemark IMAX Theatre in Dallas, 11819 Webb Chapel Road. Call 972-888-2629 for show times.
Saturday, March 12
We wouldn't be surprised if someone unfamiliar with Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story's parody of gym culture would eventually offer a class like the movie's Cowboy Cardio where participants put on chaps and hats to do exercises such as roping cattle and riding a bronco. Gyms are out of control with these quirky workout programs. C'mon, people, Yogalates isn't just a joke on The O.C. It's a real exercise program with a trademarked name. But don't count Nia among the fads. It has way too many principles and ideals to be a flash in the pan. The Nia Technique, which combines dance and martial arts with body-aligning and resetting practices, is part fun, part Eastern and Western philosophies--and a real workout with elements of Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, several types of dance, yoga and practices to change body movement and sensation. Find out during NiaJam from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at MoveStudio, 17062 Preston Road. North Texas teachers will celebrate The Nia Technique: The High Powered Energizing Workout that Gives You a New Body and a New Life, the new book by Nia founders Carlos Rosas and Debbie Rosas. NiaJam is $10. Call 972-732-0206 for reservations.
Sunday, March 13
Why would Prince Harry think it acceptable to wear a Nazi soldier uniform to a costume party? One answer can be found in British comedian Eddie Izzard's joke about royals marrying royals: "It's a bad idea when cousins marry. Bottom of the gene pool. You're just scraping the barrel." But a more disturbing (and certainly less funny) explanation lies in CNN's online poll about the incident. About 33 percent--that's 74,677 votes--believe the act was not offensive. Maybe the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance will reach some of these people with its new home downtown at 211 N. Record St. near the Sixth Floor Museum and the Old Red Courthouse. Formerly located in the Jewish Community Center, the museum reopens with a public open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the celebration and the exhibits is free. Holocaust survivors living in Dallas will speak during presentations throughout the day. Call the museum at 214-741-7500.
Monday, March 14
"A column of sweat drained down the boy, and he entered puberty." Secretly, all women crave that kind of effect. But only the legendary ones have it. And they keep it, too, as Steve Martin shows in "Lolita at Fifty," a story that ponders what the infamous title character of Vladimir Nabokov's novel would be doing when she was no longer jail bait. Giving bag boys a rush of hormones, apparently. Arts & Letters Live's Texas Bound series features "Lolita at Fifty" read by Steven Walters during its Texas Stories: A Woman's Mind program at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. What else are women thinking? Find out when Sally Nystuen Vahle reads Laurie Lynn Drummond's "Under Control," about a police officer who nearly crosses the line during a domestic shooting, and John Feltch reads Dallas author Jane Roberts Wood's "My Mother Has a Maid." Call 214-922-1219.
Tuesday, March 15
Join the Red Stapler Revolution and stand up for your office job rights: There are a limited number of weeks we will work without pay and only so many days we will toil away in the basement's storage room B. And, if you take our stapler, we will set the building on fire. It's a really good stapler. We're not obsessed with office supplies (though we do enjoy a good mechanical pencil). It's all about Milton Waddams, the office psychopath and company punching bag in Office Space, a movie for anyone who's ever wanted to take down their cubicle walls, stomp a printer into bits and steal from their employer. It's a cathartic start to the workweek when Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway, presents Office Space, sure to cure that case of the Mondays. Tickets are $1, popcorn is 50 cents and well drinks are $2. Call 214-821-SHOW.
Wednesday, March 16
Those St. Patrick's Day party staples of green beer and pizza with green crusts aren't examples of true Irish cooking, but neither are boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes. Sure they're part of it (the veggies, not the dyed abominations), but Neiman Marcus' NM Bulthaup Culinary Studio goes more traditional and more gourmet with The Irish Really Can Cook cooking class from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The menu includes wild Irish salmon, braised lamb shanks and executive chef Kevin Garvin's favorite recipes for scones and soda bread. The class takes place at the downtown Neiman Marcus; enter on Commerce Street. Tuition is $35. Call 214-573-5374 for class reservations.