This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, January 20

After watching a particularly suspenseful film (or simply a really good one), we sometimes wish we'd never seen it so we could naívely watch it all over again. Abbreviated Enlightenment offers that fresh and new opportunity with its play /ochen chotto schpiel/: ¨very little play.¨ The troupe performs short, reality-based works that incorporate music, art, theater and improv for a show that's largely audience-driven and quite palatable for the short attention spans of modern viewers (plays are two minutes long). Maybe you've seen it once, but since several of the mini-plays are replaced weekly, you'll probably never see the same show. Abbreviated Enlightenment offers its fast-paced entertainment at 8 p.m. Thursdays through January at the West End Comedy Theatre, 603 Munger Ave. Tickets are $10 ($9 in advance). Call 1-877-590-4400.

Friday, January 21

Just because we're literate adults doesn't mean we should be refused the occasional pleasure of having someone tell us a story. Better yet, why not combine the indulgence with a night of reading by young talents working to get their voices out there? At Literary Café, a part of the Arts & Letters Live season and this month's Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art at 9 p.m. Friday, creative writing students Brentney Hamilton (Southern Methodist University), Michael Levan (University of North Texas) and Desiree Ward (University of Texas at Dallas) will read their works of short fiction for audiences in the Orientation Theater of the museum. The DMA is located at 1717 N. Harwood St. For more information on Literary Café or other Arts & Letters Live programs, call 214-922-1219.

Saturday, January 22

Ever since he said, "I just thought she was good-lookin' wool!" in The Money Pit, we've had a soft spot for Joe Mantegna. He's been in movies ranging from those that deserve to be referred to as "film" (Searching for Bobby Fischer, Liberty Heights) to those that really don't deserve any reference (Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal, Baby's Day Out). The man has a helluva résumé and has worked with scads of respectable co-stars. But in Uncle Nino, making its regional premiere at KidFilm on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Mantegna stars opposite a brand-new star--his daughter Gina. Gina, in her feature film debut, and Joe play daughter and father in the coming-of-age film about a visit from an uncle that cures all sorts of family ailments. Tickets are $3, and sales begin at 11:30 a.m. for that day's shows only. The Mantegnas will be in attendance for the screening. The Angelika Film Center is located at 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. For the complete KidFilm schedule, call 214-821-FILM.

Sunday, January 23

There was a time when every strip mall had an ice cream shop. These were the reward destinations for kids who didn't kick Mom in the hip from their position in the shopping basket, for kids who didn't turn your TJ Maxx shopping experience into a sweat-inducing nightmare. We can't have all the ice cream and soda fountains back, but Ben and Jerry's gives us a new scoop central at 1501 Preston Road in Plano. And the company celebrates with small-town fervor. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, the grand opening festivities include prizes and giveaways, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals and (we double-checked on this one) a live cow--for photo ops, of course. The store will even offer tastings of brand-new flavors following the ceremonial ribbon-cutting at 2:30 p.m. Sure, we remember that eating-right resolution, but one bite wouldn't hurt, would it? Call 972-380-2697.

Monday, January 24

Some folks would find it irritating that the Chieftains have 40-odd albums, that they've been around "forever." But we find it refreshing that a band has dutifully earned recognition while still spending time honing its musicianship. Each member has played in his share of other projects, and throughout the years, many have multitasked when it came to playing instruments. Hell, founder (and only remaining original member) Paddy Moloney even did his time in a skiffle band before his amazingly successful development of the Chieftains. Since 1962, the Celtic musicians have been winning over audiences with melodies played on the uilleann pipes, tin whistle, flute, harp and bodhrán. It's not so much that we don't hear traditional Celtic sounds much these days, even though we don't. What makes the Chieftains deserving of praise and a strong fan base is that, for more than 40 years, they have put out skilled recordings and performed technically awesome concerts and not once did anyone doubt that they loved what they were doing. The Chieftains show their love at Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St. in Fort Worth, at 8 p.m. Monday. Tickets are $37.50 to $60. Call 1-877-212-4280.

Tuesday, January 25

Yeah, you got your weekly games rife with cigars and pretzels, but how many Texas hold 'em players get an opportunity to play in a tourney that would land them at the 2005 World Series of Poker Championship Tournament in Vegas? KDGE FM's Morning Edge Texas Hold 'Em Tournament on Tuesday (and every Tuesday through the February 4 final showdown) will fill 150 seats with players who've won spots through on-air contests or online. But there's always someone who doesn't show, so the public may begin lining up at 4 p.m. for chances to fill spots in the 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. games at the Lizard Lounge, 2424 Swiss Ave. The tournament winner will receive a trip and accommodations for two in Las Vegas, and the Edge will cover the $10,000 buy-in to the championship. So far we've made fun of the poker fanatics cropping up everywhere, but then we have to wonder...if the buy-in alone for the Vegas championship is $10,000, just how much is in the winning kitty? So, yeah, we're real sorry for poking all that fun at ya. Remember us if you win, 'kay? Check out for details and entry forms.

Wednesday, January 26

They should really call this dining event Flaming Nose Fizz. Sure, it's a champagne and sushi dinner, but our name sounds so much...OK, it doesn't sound better, but it is honest. Look at it this way: With sushi comes wasabi, that delectable sinus-invading green mustard. Champagne has those teeny bubbles that tickle your nose when you sip it. The flaming, the fizz--it's all there in the nose at Naan's special dinner at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The restaurant serves four courses complemented by Moet et Chandon sparkling wines and champagnes for $65 per person, not including tax and gratuity. We figure the venue didn't want to piss off anyone at Moet et Chandon with an event featuring their high-class libations called Flaming Nose Fizz. But whatever you call it, reservations are required as seating is limited. Naan is located at 7161 Bishop Road in the Shops at Legacy in Plano. Call 972-943-9288.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin