"The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy"

Explores the international relationships that George W. Bush crafted during his presidency.
April 13-June 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 2014

“Martial” Is the Kind of Art We Like

Kimbell Art Museum
The code of the Samurai says that “there is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment.” Dallas is taking a moment to celebrate the history and culture of the ancient warrior-poet class of feudal Japan with Matsuri! A Samurai Celebration. The event is being held June, 21 at the Kimbell Art Museum and will feature a traditional processional of the mikoshi shrine graciously donated from Nagaoka, Japan. Bring the whole family for a night of culture and fun with musical guests Sarah Jaffe, Air Review and a traditional drum, flute, dance performances straight from the land of the rising sun. During the event guests can check out the Kimball's current exhibition Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, as well as martial arts demonstrations and much more. For a complete list of events and details check outkimbellart.org. The event goes from 1 to 10 p.m. and is free to the public. Bring the family and a blanket and enjoy the present while celebrating the past.
Sat., June 21, 1-10 p.m., 2014
Kenneth Goldsmith was the poet laureate at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. What does that mean? I imagine him wandering through halls, writing poems about Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. If anyone deserved the title, it’s Goldsmith. He’s the founding editor of an online archive UbuWeb, a poet, a librettist, an essayist and the author of several books, including his latest, Seven American Deaths and Disasters, which is what he’ll read from Monday at The Reading Room, 3715 Parry Ave. The free event starts at 7 p.m. and seats will be available on a first come, first served basis beginning at 6 p.m.
Mon., March 24, 7 p.m., 2014

Vanessa Hudgens was 17 when High School Musical made her famous, the tail end of a generation of Mouseketeers that included her contemporaries Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, and her elders Justin Timberlake, Hilary Duff, Britney Spears, Keri Russell, Christina Aguilera, Shia LaBeouf and Ryan Gosling.

If you're keeping score, her class' graduation rate to a grown-up career is more than 70 percent, just above its post-Mouse nudity percentile. (Thanks for that recent boost, LaBeouf!) Timberlake has worked with David Fincher and the Coen brothers. Gosling's glowered in every art-house movie that can afford his day rate. Efron is poised to do great work, and, well, LaBeouf seems determined to try (or retire). But Gimme Shelter, a hard-to-love heartwarmer about a pregnant runaway teen, argues that Hudgens will be anointed valedictorian.

Hudgens convincingly chops nine years — nine! — off her age to play 16-year-old Agnes, aka Apple, a kid whose drug addict mom (Rosario Dawson with a gnarly set of yellow teeth) pitched her into 10 foster homes before seventh grade. Writer-director Ronald Krauss keeps his camera in Hudgens' face like he's looking for a fight, but she's still unrecognizable: hair brutally hacked to her ears, face pocked with piercings, body thickened with an extra 15 pounds, neck marred with a too-shiny tribal tattoo, and a feral anger in her eyes like a dog that's been beaten since birth.

Apple has tipped over from victim to urchin, that doomed distinction in which everyone — cab drivers, store clerks, social workers — can tell she's in trouble, but no one thinks she's worth their help. And Hudgens shuns sympathy, hunching herself into a ball, eating like an animal and refusing to speak until her rage comes out in a howl. She's hard to like and harder to trust, but Hudgens makes us feel the desperation of having zero impulse control — she's a kid who's so unused to options, she can't think more than five minutes into the future.

After a fistfight with her mother, Apple flees to find her father (Brendan Fraser), a Wall Street tycoon and father of two (surprise: three!) who hasn't thought of her since his own unprotected teenage fling. Will Apple's stained gray sweatshirt fit in with his pressed khakis? Pshaw. She can't knock on the back door of his New Jersey McMansion without being arrested. And even when he gets her out of handcuffs, she's too resentful to smile and play nice.

Reluctantly, Dad and his prim wife (Stephanie Szostak) agree to take her in. Even more reluctantly, we steel ourselves for a fish-out-of-water dramedy where Apple sets off smoke detectors and suffers his "real" kids whining that she smells. That all happens. But Krauss mercifully (for us) makes Apple's life even worse. These nice, clean, rich saviors demand she get an abortion. Apple votes no. Coos Szostak, "It's not about what you want, honey."

Give Krauss credit for saying the word "abortion," something Judd Apatow didn't dare in Knocked Up. But when Apple and her fetus flee the clinic, Krauss can't possibly ask us to agree that Hudgens' violent Dumpster-diver would make a fit parent. But he does. And here's where we're asked to exhale, unclench and drop the politics to see Gimme Shelter as the story of one girl and not a prescription for a nation.

Or really, it's the story of the real-life woman behind the girl: Kathy DiFiore, a former abused wife and homeless mom who turned her house into a shelter for pregnant teenage girls. DiFiore, played with empathy and steel by Anne Dowd (Compliance), gave Krauss her name and her blessing to make the film, and padded the cast with her residents and their adorable babies. She even let Krauss move in for a year to research his script. She's the hero of Gimme Shelter, and Hudgens' Apple is just the star — make that the clay that DiFiore shapes with empathy and patience.

Krauss isn't subtle. Gimme Shelter is literally Bible-thumping, thanks mainly to James Earl Jones' turn as a kindly priest who's forever pressing Apple to pick up the Good Book and discover her role in God's plan. At least when DiFiore drags her and the girls to church, Krauss allows them to wonder uncomfortably if they're being paraded for dollars.

At best, he treats religion as correlation, not causation: Apple's hard-fought personal growth has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments and everything to do with her seven teen-mom roommates who feel like the only people on earth who understand her struggles.

We could do without Apple's style upgrade from sweats to pretty dresses, and the baby montage over the credits feels like a pro-life ad campaign. But though the arc of the film is as saccharine as a Precious Moments figurine — and it'll play that way for audiences who can't be bothered to look closer — Hudgens is too honest to believe in simple, happy endings. Squint closer at this broken doll and she's still furtively flipping the world the finger.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Math is making a comeback at the Perot Museum this fall. 2theXtreme: Math Alive! is a new interactive exhibit that strives to make math interesting, tangible, and fun for children. Spanning 5,000 square feet, this exhibit brings math to life with hands-on activities relating to sports, video games, fashion and more! Visitors can make their way through six themed areas that span from “Kickin It” to “Robotics and Space”. Three math loving virtual guides, the BotZ, accompany visitors through the exhibit to make everything more accessible. Located in the Perot Museum (2201 N. Field St, Dallas), 2theXtreme: Math Alive! runs during regular museum hours from September 27 through January 4, 2015. Admission is free for museum members, $15-21 (including museum admission) for non-members. Visit perotmuseum.org for more information.
Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 28, 12-5 p.m. Starts: Sept. 27. Continues through Jan. 4, 2014
Twenty minutes can be magical, but 20 years can be quite the haul. In this case, that haul’s a fantastic one: TeCo Theatrical Productions is celebrating 20 years of staging multicultural theater by emerging artists. And this anniversary season is no different, with the 12th Annual New Play Competition. Running Thursday through March 2, each performance night features six one-act plays by local artists, each play 20 minutes or less. And while winning over an audience in 20 minutes (or years, for that matter) isn’t easy, it’s rewarding: Audiences vote for their favorites, and in the end one lucky playwright wins $1,000. Performances (7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 3:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; there is no performance February 27) are at the Bishop Arts Theatre Center, 215 S. Tyler St. Tickets are $15 online or, you guessed it, $20 at the door. Call 214-948-0716 or visit tecotheater.org.
Thursdays, Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 3:30 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 20. Continues through March 2, 2014
Choctaw Casino Resort
For 18 years, 3 Doors Down has been packing out venues with their blend of faux-Nirvana alt-rock that burst into the mainstream in 1999. You can’t begrudge an act for making a career for itself, so instead of slagging away at the band or making them the butt of some joke, pop culture has accepted 3 Doors Down as a band who avoided disappearing like some of their contemporaries. (Looking at you Marcy Playground.) Yeah, they doubled down on the military support to keep their careers going, but there’s a lot to be said about a band from the south who decided to dedicate themselves to providing support for the children of the Gulf Coast region, something the band has done since 2003. So don’t scoff at the notion of driving to Oklahoma; just let out, have a good time, gamble a bit, and pretend like “Kryptonite” is still the number 1 song in the country, cause 3 Doors Down does it for the children.
Sat., Aug. 23, 8 p.m., 2014
The Kessler Theater
Mike Brooks
What started as two friends fooling around in a series of clever Youtube videos eventually grew into the hit Comedy Central show, Broad City. After years of the frat pack and stoner slacker comedy about 20-something dudes, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are currently lighting up the television with a New York City through the eyes of two young women who love each other and their bong rips. Their outlandish situational comedy straddles a sitcom and a sketch show and is snort laugh funny. The girls bring their jokes to The Kessler (1230 W. Davis St.) at 8 p.m. Wednesday to a standing room only house. Tickets (if there are any left) are available at prekindle.com.
Wed., Nov. 19, 8 p.m., 2014

6th Annual Georgian Picnic

So, technically speaking, we should probably file this under Period Costume Events, but that file doesn't exist. But hey, there's a picnic involved and it sounds like an awesome time, so Food Event it is then. This event is sponsored by the DFW Costumers Guild (which are said to be a pretty rowdy crowd.) While any style of historical or creative Georgian attire is encouraged, costumes are optional. Bring blankets, chairs, food, mead, games, wenches, knickers, bockers and of course, yourself. The picnic is free and open to the public.
Sat., Nov. 15, 1 p.m., 2014

Cock, Directed By An Organ

Kalita Humphreys Theater
Dallas’ Second Thought Theatre launches its 10th anniversary season with the award-winning Cock, a play about sexuality, identity, the comedy of human relations — and really complicated love triangles. Love dodecahedrons? Directed by Dallas favorite Alex Organ, Cock follows everyman John (played by Justin Locklear) as he emerges from a failing long-term romance with his boyfriend and falls in love with, to his surprise, a woman. A battle for, and within, John’s heart follows, spurring him on to decrypt his own sexuality and identity. Cock runs Thursdays through Sundays until February 22, at the Kalita Humphreys Theater (3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.). Bring your smartphone, as STT playbills are digital. Tickets cost $25. Visit secondthoughttheatre.com.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 1. Continues through Feb. 23, 2014

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