Night & Day

march 25
It's a stretch to call stock-car racing--or any type of car racing, for that matter--a sport. If sitting on your butt for hours at a time is a sport, then we should have racked up millions of dollars in prize money in the past year or so. (You try staring at a computer screen for 10 hours a day.) And if driving around in circles surrounded by idiots in tricked-out cars is a sport, anyone who's ever attempted to find a decent parking space in Deep Ellum on a Saturday night would qualify. We would love to prove our point against a real NASCAR driver, and on Thursday, 24 local residents will get that chance when they take on one of the top drivers on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, Bobby Labonte, at the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway in the Galleria. Labonte and his civilian counterparts will get behind the wheels of fully equipped interactive stock cars and drive in realistic racing conditions in the cozy confines of the Silicon Motor Speedway to see how hard it is to be a race-car diver. (Sort of. The cars don't really go anywhere.) The competitors are made up of the 12 qualifiers who posted the fastest lap times and 12 Speedway Driver's Club members who logged the most mileage during the March 8-23 qualifying period. We didn't make it in time to qualify, but we do plan to challenge the victor the following Saturday: We're setting up matching desk chairs right now. The racing action happens from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway in the Galleria, LBJ Freeway and the tollway. Free. Call (877) 633-3773.

march 26
We've never much cared for comic hypnotist Flip Orley's shtick. Using the power of suggestion to make people do funny things is not our idea of comic genius. More like Bob Saget with real people instead of videos. But our distaste for Orley has grown since his last visit to the area a few months ago. Some misguided fans took it upon themselves to question our intestinal fortitude, saying we slammed Orley because we didn't have the guts (not exactly those words, but in that general body region) to have him hypnotize us. So Flip--and by the way, unless you plan on ending up behind the counter at a 7-Eleven, change your name--pick a time and place, and we're all yours. C'mon, if we had a problem with people laughing at us, we never would have made it through high school. Or college. Orley performs at the Improv, 4980 Belt Line in Addison, through Sunday. Shows happen at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday; 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday; and 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $13-$15. Call (972) 404-8501.

march 27
The Gypsy Tea Room is arguably the finest live venue in Dallas at the moment, its old-school take on getting the job done outshining the Curtain Club's good intentions or Trees' recent rebound. Attending a concert at the Gypsy Tea Room is like going to Sons of Hermann Hall two decades ago, if it were located at the corner of Nashville's Music Row and Sixth Street in Austin. The club not only brings in some of the best acts in the country (last Sunday's appearance by Built to Spill, for example), but it does so with a sense of class and style that is sorely lacking everywhere else in Dallas. The Gypsy Tea Room celebrates its one-year anniversary on Saturday, with a free performance by The Cartwrights and Cowboys & Indians. Here's to a dozen more years just like it. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 9 p.m. The club is located at 2548 Elm. Call (214) 74-GYPSY.

march 28
Spending your entire life trying to explain the unexplained only promises to solve the mystery of your missing life. And who cares about the real explanation anyway, when a Sunday-night episode of The X-Files offers a much sexier version? (We'll believe anything Special Agent Dana Scully wants us to.) Author and researcher Lloyd Pye would beg to differ with us; he has devoted his adult life to answering questions that no one else has been able to. For example, why do human skeletons look nothing like those of the creatures we supposedly evolved from? Unfortunately, the theories Pye has come up with--humans are the result of genetic breeding experiments conducted by aliens more than 200,000 years ago, for instance--are almost so absurd, even Fox Mulder would have to snicker. Pye will expound his theories Sunday in a lecture, Everything You Know Is Wrong, presented by The Eclectic Viewpoint. The lecture happens at 2:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Dallas North Hotel, located at I-635 and Midway Road. Admission is $20. Call (972) 422-9840.

march 29
The idea behind Texas Bound, a spin-off of the Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live series, seems a bit flimsy at times. "Stories written by Texas-connected writers read by actors with ties to the Lone Star State," say the series' press releases, the wording of which could be construed to include anyone who ever watched at least one episode of Dallas. But if you think about it, Texas is the only state that could get away with such a premise and make it work. No matter if you lived here for two months or two decades, Texas leaves its mark, as we're reminded every time we say "prolly" instead of "probably." Texas Bound's lineup of authors and actors--this week including writers Sam Shepard, Jan Messner, Jewel Morgan, and Janet Peery, as well as actors Peri Gilpin, Katherine Owens, Bruce Dubose, and Raphael Parry--is much more reasonable than, say, Sandra Bullock appearing on the cover of Texas Monthly. Of course, if Bullock pops up on next season's roster, all bets are off. Texas Bound continues at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday at the DMA's Horchow Auditorium, 1717 N. Harwood. Both shows are sold-out, but released tickets may be available 45 minutes before each performance for $13-$15. Call (214) 922-1220 or (214) 922-1219.

march 30
If Vincent Van Gogh were alive today, he'd be 146 years old--and crazier than clog-dancing on thin ice. Most likely he'd like to spend his birthday taking in the excellent exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Matisse & Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry. The Kimbell seems to specialize in showcasing masters of the modern movements, from its astonishing display of works by Cezanne, Degas, Matisse, and others culled from the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia several years ago, to the Renoir retrospective the museum staged last year. A Gentle Rivalry is no exception. The exhibit continues through May 2. The Kimbell is located at 3333 Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. Call (817) 332-8451.

march 31
Until we read the press release for Voyagers' latest lecture, we had no idea Turkey was still a country. With all the civil wars and strife throughout Europe--that's where Turkey is, right?--we just assumed it had been swallowed whole by another nation, or broken up into several dozen tiny provinces. Or something like that. And even when we knew Turkey existed, somewhere around the sixth grade, we couldn't get within a few inches of it on a globe. On Wednesday, Paul Hunter will clear up that and other mysteries about Turkey with a presentation that explores the country's history and its future. As for us, Turkey is more likely to end up on a sandwich than in any future travel plans. Maybe Hunter can convince us otherwise. Hunter's lecture happens on Wednesday at Voyagers, 5550 W. Lovers lane. Call (214) 654-0700.