This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, January 13

Like cats and babies, we have a fascination with sparkly things. A healthy one, though; there's been no hiding in our closet hot gluing rhinestones to a vest or telling ourselves that we do need four types of cubic zirconia wrist cuffs (we have a strict limit of two). We are not an addict, we say, fondling our Snoop-worthy bling in the bathroom mirror. But artist Jesse Meraz? Totally an addict. Just read his description of his new exhibit Wonderland: "My works explore the phenomenon of the intangible sparkle and its trance-fantastical power to evoke a sense of 'magical reality.'" Intangible sparkle? Can you buy that at Sam Moon? Wonderland, a collection of "shaped glitter paintings," runs January 15 through February 19 with Jason Villegas' Growth Hormone Mutation Make-Over. Both open with a salon preview and open-mike night Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and an opening reception with music by Villegas' band Broke Legs and Crocodile Tears from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Plush Gallery, 1927 Commerce St. Call 214-498-5423.

Friday, January 14

Theater rarely astounds. It can be great with visually stunning sets and costumes and mesmerizing performances. But, unless you accidentally stumble into an all-nude production of Charlotte's Web, you're unlikely to be astonished. But the first time we attended one of Pegasus Theatre's annual black-and-white productions--in which the sets, the costumes, even the actors, are painted shades of gray to mimic the look of a black-and-white movie--we were taken aback. The effect was too good; the people onstage looked like they'd stepped out of a movie and into real life. Fortunately for theater fans, the black-and-white nights didn't die with the displacement of Pegasus Theatre. Dallas playwright Kurt Kleinmann, who developed the techniques at Pegasus for his series of tales about bumbling detective Harry Hunsacker, brings back the gang for Another Murder: Another Show!, running January 14 through January 29 in the Dupree Theater at Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus Thursday, January 27, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays on January 16 and January 23. Tickets are $12 to $17. Call 972-252-2787.

Saturday, January 15

The line is that there's a little bit of truth in every joke. For Christopher Titus, there's way more. More, in fact, than most people would be comfortable knowing. Titus--known for his three-season Fox sitcom Titus--likes to joke about the things most people keep to themselves: suicide, heart attacks, mental illness, custody battles and abuse. But then he makes them universal and funny enough that audiences laugh through the uneasy moments. Should you laugh at Titus' dysfunctional childhood and traumatic experiences? He does. Titus performs the family-based comedy from his sitcom and his one-man comedy show Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road, with shows at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 to $22. Call 972-404-8501.

Sunday, January 16

Some artists want to change the world--start a revolution with paintbrushes, be the toast of New York, pay rent without that temp job. Robert Smithson wanted to change the world physically. His most famous work, "Spiral Jetty," is a 1,500-foot-long and 15-foot-wide spiral that leads into Utah's Great Salt Lake. He also cut canals into lakes, turned small hills into spiral ramps and made new "dilapidated" structures. On smaller scales, he created tiny landscapes in galleries with mirrors and earth's resources, including shells, sand, dirt, dead trees, chalk and rocks. The Dallas Museum of Art's Robert Smithson Retrospective includes both types of earthworks with the small sculptures installed in the Barrel Vault gallery and the less mobile ones represented in drawings, film and photographs. The exhibit opens January 16 and runs through April 3 at the DMA, 1717 N. Harwood St. Call 214-922-1200.

Monday, January 17

Most people will celebrate their day off for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day by being nonviolent and accepting all people as one--on the couch, in front of the television. But the theme of the 19th Annual Elite News Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, the second-largest parade of its kind in the country, is that Monday is "a day on...not a day off." So take a stand, literally, when the parade takes place along MLK Jr. Boulevard from Lamar Street to Robert B. Cullum Boulevard at Fair Park with 20 high school marching bands, 15 floats and numerous public officials, including Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle. Admission is free. Call 214-372-6500.

Tuesday, January 18

The Hollywood version of Japan's geishas is a stunning woman with her face painted white, who giggled demurely as she helped businessmen remove their shoes and then poured them tea. Read Memoirs of a Geisha (it's a novel, actually, with tales from many women compiled by Arthur Golden into one) and the geisha life is revealed as more beautiful and more brutal than the stereotype, with young girls being shaped into women who can sing, dance, play music, discuss art, follow strict Japanese ceremonies, as well as entertain men and look gorgeous. The Crow Collection of Asian Art shows the life of the geisha, as well as the history of the culture, with From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru, an exhibit running January 12 through May 15 that features the kimonos, jewelry, instruments and other personal items of Ichimaru, a geisha who became known as a folk singer in the West during the 1930s to 1970s but still performed in her traditional outfits. Admission is free to 2010 Flora St. Call 214-979-6430.

Wednesday, January 19

Balsamic vinegar is the eighth wonder of the world. It's vinegar; it's salad dressing. But it's good on ice cream. Makes the mind boggle. But to real foodies it makes sense: Balsamic vinegar is a combination of white grape juice and vinegar that is aged like wine in a series of wooden barrels until this rich and aromatic ingredient is produced. Learn about the fascinating aging process of balsamic vinegar, plus how to choose a bottle at any price range and for any dish during Whole Foods Market's Know-It-All Series: Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil at the Richardson location at 60 Dal-Rich Village near Coit and Belt Line roads. The in-depth discussion hosted by food expert and Whole Foods' grocery team leader Richard Roden also tackles olive oil, which can be purchased in generic bottles at any grocery store, which you'll probably never do after Roden sets you on the right path. The class is at 7 p.m.; admission is free. Call 972-699-8075.

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Shannon Sutlief