Dear John Grisham: We had you all wrong. We thought you were a writer whose only gimmick was suspense/action stories featuring lawyers and/or government agencies. Your role in writing and producing Mickey, the tale of a widower whose son shows great talent in Little League Baseball, really caught us off-guard. Bravo! We...uh, wait, the father and son are in hiding because of an IRS investigation, and the kid's press-attracting winning streak threatens their fugitive lifestyle? Well, scratch that. We take it all back. And we might even tell you so when you appear as part of the Cornerstone Speakers Initiative presented by the Highland Park United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. in Wesley Hall on the campus of Southern Methodist University at 5500 Mockingbird Lane. Admission is free and open to the public. Call 214-523-2270.
Friday, April 30
We got our friend's cool older brother in trouble after bragging to our parents about how we watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High at a third-grade slumber party. It obviously didn't pervert our young, impressionable mind because years later we watched it and were shocked--much like our parents probably were--that it had been our post-Easy-Bake Oven viewing. Truthfully, all we remembered from that first time were Hawaiian shirts, surfing and high school. It could have been Mark Harmon's Summer School for all we knew. But whether you need the kind of tips that the experienced Phoebe Cates offers to the naíve Jennifer Jason Leigh or if you just want to catch Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Eric Stoltz and Forest Whitaker with traces of baby fat, check out this 1980s teen sex comedy that's the antithesis of all those John Hughes movies. It will be shown Friday and Saturday at midnight during the Inwood Theatre's Midnights at the Inwood at 5458 W. Lovers Lane. Admission is $7.50. Call 214-674-9106.
Saturday, May 1
It seemed like one of nature's common-sense things: There is no such thing as an ugly cat, just as there are no beautiful possums. So, when we decided to check out the top 25 cats of the 2002-2003 cat show season, we expected lots of little balls of fur we could dream about torturing with our crushing hugs and falsetto baby talk. Instead, we found several indictments against inbreeding and plenty of reasons to advocate seeking the family's next Snowball from a shelter. Seriously, people pay hundreds of dollars for cats that look like cartoon space aliens or shag pillows with beady little eyes. See what we mean when the Cat Fanciers' Association Inc. presents its Allbreed Cat Show this weekend. The competition honors the breed of Maine coon cats, which look nothing like monsters or housewares, during the show, which runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Resistol Rodeo Arena, 1818 Rodeo Drive, Mesquite. In addition to the competition, there will be cats from the Humane Society of North Texas for adoption and a shopping mall with gifts for felines and humans alike. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and kids 5 to 12 and free for kids under 5. Proceeds benefit the Humane Society and the Sheltie Rescue Group. Call 817-233-0281 or visit www.cfainc.org.
Sunday, May 2
We used to daydream that the gang from School House Rock reunited to teach kids about the birds and bees so that our sex ed teacher, moonlighting from his position as baseball coach, wouldn't have to blush and stutter his way through a chapter on feminine hygiene products. Now, the lesson-singing funsters are back. (Still no word on preference between tampons and pads with wings, though.) Casa Mañana Theatre presents School House Rock in play form, April 30 through May 16, with many of the Saturday-morning favorites such as "Just a Bill," "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly" and "Conjunction Junction" coming to life when Tom, a teacher, needs inspiration and gets it care of the gang who emerge from his TV set. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Casa Mañana Theatre, 3101 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth. Tickets are $11.50 to $15. Call the box office at 817-332-2272.
Monday, May 3
Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall is almost as un-bluesy as you can get (except for maybe The House of Blues chain). The hall is gilded and molded and acoustically magnificent. It just can't compare to a busy street corner or a semi-circle audience crowded at a train stop--the kind of blues shows we always see in movies. Keep this in mind for Monday's concert by Susan Tedeschi and Taj Mahal, modern blues performers who, respectively, mix gospel and folksy roots sounds with their traditional blues. Bass Hall also doesn't like it when you toss spare change at the stage, especially from the balcony. The show is at 8 p.m. at 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Tickets are $29.50 to $42.50. Call 1-877-212-4280.
Tuesday, May 4
We prefer to think of The Triumph of French Painting as the results of a smackdown tag-team fight pitting French Painting and German Expressionism against the old-school favorites of Grecian Urns and Byzantine Frescoes in a winner-take-all ring match. The Meadows Museum would disagree, citing its new exhibition The Triumph of French Painting: 17th Century Masterpieces From the Museums of FRAME (French Regional and American Museum Exchange), as a real source of entertainment and education. Sure, if you like looking at rare French art by masters such as Nicolas Poussin and Louis Le Nain on loan from international collections for a limited time. The exhibit opens Friday and runs through July 25 at 5900 Bishop Blvd. on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Admission is free. Call 214-768-2516.
Wednesday, May 5
With the proliferation of The Swan, Extreme Makeover and other plastic surgery-based reality shows, almost anyone can have the perfect-looking mate now. And, really, who doesn't need several thousand dollars of liposuction, cosmetic dentistry and a personal trainer to feel accepted? Those who want an enviable life partner, but prefer a more "do it yourself" approach, can take lessons from Neil LaBute's play The Shape of Things. Evelyn, an art student, makes her boyfriend Adam her latest sculpture, turning him from flabby to fabulous in just a few short acts. Collin County Community College's Quad C Theatre will perform the play in its Black Box Theatre, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, through May 9 with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Wednesday and 2:15 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $6 to $8 or free with the donation of a large, brand-new, tags-on stuffed toy for Adam's Animals. Call the box office at 972-881-5100.