Impresario Kay Cattarulla's brilliant series at the Dallas Museum of Art puts famous writers on stage to talk to you about their work. The theater at the Dallas Museum of Art is just intimate enough that some of these productions turn into private confabs between the authors and the audience. It's a great chance to stick writers with all of those questions you carry around after reading a good book, like, "What in the world did you mean by...?" Tickets for the writers programs are $15-$17 a pop. The next season's lineup will be announced in January.

For a decade now, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has conducted a series of free outdoor concerts in the city's parks. The season traditionally gets under way with the annual Easter program in Lee Park--that one's been going on for 20 years--and doesn't wrap up until June after stops at Kiest Park, Campbell Green Park, Mountain View College and Flagpole Hill. Family picnics are welcome, so bring your own blanket or lawn chairs. Additionally, two free "festival concerts" are held each year at the Meyerson Symphony Center--one celebrating the contributions of Hispanic composers and another highlighting African-American conductors and composers.

Jubilee Theatre
Being distinctly carnivorous ourselves, we have no problem with other members of the animal kingdom getting their meat fix--especially if they're lions and big African birds in captivity at the Dallas Zoo. The only reason we became a little apprehensive was the apparent discomfort of zoo officials, who sent out an internal memo that stresses sensitivity on the topic of what happens to the baby chicks at the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo. Just as these cute little spring chickens begin to turn big and autumn, they're snatched from their super-tactile petting environment and gassed in an apparently painless microwave-sized cell. They're then fed to hungry animals or tossed in the bin. Warning to employees: When referring to the "CO2 Unit," NEVER use words like "gas chamber" and "execution."

Individuals destined to become victims of natural selection managed to stay in the lines when they painted a very professional sign over Farm-to-Market Road 455 and FM 2164 in Sanger. It read "James Earl Ray Day." It was put up just in time for January 15, the holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated by Ray. The sheriff's department quickly ordered the sign removed, and The Dallas Morning News declined to mention it, fearing readers--very possibly the same ones who fill their rabid Sunday "Letters" page--might be encouraged to do something similar.

Disagree with City Councilwoman Laura Miller if you want--there's no shortage of people in Dallas who do--but try to find a better way of expressing it than carrying signs that say "Bitch" and "Whore" while Miller's small children are at home. These were brandished by John Wiley Price-supported protesters, who pulled a strange punch with placards that referred to two Morning News writers as "homosexuals." Did they not have the courage to express their bigotry openly, or did they just not know how to spell "faggot"?

People think of lawyers as professionals who are paid to parse the English language until the alphabet bleeds. But James Best of Best & Associates, a four-lawyer firm whose specialty is suing for damages after car accidents, is uncommonly unslippery about the kind of services he offers. To wit: He placed a fiberglass cast of a great white shark atop his offices on Central Expressway. When reached for comment about his courtroom style, Dallas' own Clarence Darrow replied: "If people want to hire a nice lawyer, they [can] ask their grandma. People want a mean, aggressive lawyer, not some pussy." Huh. You don't say.

With only a few months in office, Mitchell Rasansky has taken up the mantle of the Dallas City Council's new scold and all-around grumpy old fart. Already, he has donned environmentalist garb to oppose construction in his district of a new soccer field for a championship-winning team at a Catholic girls' school. He also opposes soccer leagues in public parks, which evidently he feels were intended for blue-nosed old biddies to walk their schnauzers. Somehow we'll have to endure two years of Rasansky's kowtowing to the NIMBY crowd.

Hey, we know what you're thinking: the elections department? If they're so great, how come we have so much election fraud? Look, the county elections department, under the able leadership of Bruce Sherbet, serves us in Dallas the way a good umbrella might in Seattle. So it can't keep off every drop. Would you rather not have it? The county elections department runs city and school board elections under contract. When it goes, give up on local democracy.
There are no trendy sushi spots. No "fete set." No designer dogs. If that's what you want, you don't move to Lakewood. The best local eateries are a pizza joint (Scalini's), a coffee shop (Legal Grounds) and a Tex-Mex joint (Matt's). But don't mistake this lack of ostentation for want of dinero. Nice traps on the boulevard run $800,000 and up, and starter prices in the back sections top $300,000. For that you get the big hardwood trees, the historic architecture, the tight neighborhood association and some of the smoothest streets in town.

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