The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me: Critics of the gay and lesbian community often act as if there's a monthly conference call among all North American homosexuals to update "the gay agenda." Many community leaders probably wish political organization were that simple; one of the biggest complaints to come from lavender elites is that the community often eats its own spokespeople in a schizophrenic fit of conflicting goals. Take Larry Kramer, who was immortalized in David Drake's The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me despite the fact that this Obie Award-winning extended monologue has little to do with the contentious founder of ACT-UP. It concerns Drake's bittersweet emotional evolution as a gay man, capped off with the prideful moment he witnessed Kramer's The Normal Heart. Many in the gay community would sooner drink Drano than allow Kramer's oft-critical lips to graze their cheek. Seattle-based actor Kevin Fabian steps in to do the honors for this latest production of Drake's show. Proceeds from the 8 p.m. January 2 show benefit the Walt Whitman School. Performances happen 8 p.m. January 29; 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. January 30 and 31; and 2 p.m. February 1 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $10-$15. Call (214) 953-1212.
Turandot: Puccini may be the one to thank (or blame, depending on your perspective) for the late Jonathan Larson's wildly praised musical Rent, but it was an opera first produced in 1926, two years after Puccini's death, that proved the oft-heralded Italian composer had a much more cynical view of love and death than the starving artists of La Boheme suggest. The anti-heroine of Turandot is a princess so spoiled in her power, she makes her suitors solve three riddles--if they fail, they die. The dashing Prince Calaf is smart in the ways of life and love, and turns Turandot's little game against her. Do we detect some unresolved relationship issues on the part of Puccini? If so, the world was the beneficiary of his bitterness. Performances by the Dallas Opera happen at 7:30 p.m. January 30 and February 4 and 7; with a matinee at 2 p.m. February 1 at the Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets are $29-$150. Call (214) 443-1000.
Garland Symphony Orchestra: In a town that often seems more concerned with importing talent who have made their names in other cities than honoring the up-and-comers here, it's nice to see a local performance outfit give a featured spot to someone whose talents were cultivated right here (but most assuredly won't be confined). Before she reached her current age of 20, violinist Madeline Adkins was named the concertmaster of both the Chamber and Symphony Orchestras of the University of North Texas and did the same at the National Orchestra Institute at the University of Maryland. She's earned the triple-threat of student musician citations--National Merit Scholar, Winspear Scholar, and Presser Scholar. When not busy making the rest of us feel like losers, Adkins performs at music festivals all over the country. She is solo violinist for the Garland Symphony Orchestra's third concert of the season. The performance starts at 8 p.m. at the Garland Performing Arts Center, Fifth and Austin, downtown Garland. Tickets are $9-$24. Call (214) 553-1223.
CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographer's Showcase: Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth continues its commitment to an endangered species--the independent choreographer--by hosting yet another "Choreographer's Showcase." As usual, the program is a grab-bag of styles and moods, from a funereal contemporary set to classical music, to a comic exploration of women on a desperate manhunt. The former, "Triptych for Darryl," is a tribute to the late dancer-choreographer Darryl Sneed by Nova Dance Company; the latter is a romp created by Cecelia Heimbach and Collette Stewart and based on their own reading of women's magazines. Both are premieres, as are works by Doug Hopkins, Alex Spitzer and Shannon Schmieding, and Andrea Beckham. The event happens at 7:30 p.m. January 29, and 8 p.m. January 30 and 31 at Orchestra Hall, 4401 Trail Lake, Fort Worth. Tickets are $8-$15. Call (214) 871-ARTS.
Texas Art & Rubber Stamp Festival: Reading the press materials from Rosedale, California, for the Texas Art & Rubber Stamp Festival in Grapevine is like stepping into one of SCTV's better alternative universes; the phrase "eagerly anticipated" for this most mundane of hobbies is invoked constantly. But how mundane is rubber-stamp collecting? Not at all for hundreds of thousands of people across North America, many of them kids with the attention spans of a housefly; get an enthusiastic youngster to show you his or her stampers and stamp books, and you'll be struck by the mysterious pull the phenomenon has on its acolytes. The show happens 10 a.m.-5 p.m. January 31 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. February 1 at the Grapevine Convention Center. Tickets are $4-$5. Call (916) 782-8823.
Blues Cabaret: It's easy to glamorize the blues-club scene of the '20s and '30s, especially by us palefaces who can't even imagine the segregation, dirt-floor poverty, and all-around second-class status from which these clubs provided escape. (One thing that's a near-universal horror, to Southerners anyway: no A.C. back then!) Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre wants to capture the ecstasy and catharsis of The Old Days, which weren't exactly Good, and leave behind the social conditions that made those celebrations a dire necessity. Their "Blues Cabaret" is 75 minutes of classic blues, both of the juke-jumping variety and the slow, mournful laments. The show runs every Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m., through March 7 at Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main St. in downtown Fort Worth. For ticket info call (817) 338-4411.
The Sleep of Reason: Francisco Goya's Los Caprichos: If you have to have your career remembered for one quote, you could do worse than "The sleep of reason breeds monsters," the title of one of 18th-century mad genius painter Francisco Goya's works. The sentiment runs throughout his satirical paintings, often grotesquely rendered attacks on the Catholic Church's political meddlings in Spain and the hubris of businessmen and other self-appointed "civic leaders." These same themes are reflected in the Meadows Museum's showing of a series of 80 different etchings with aquatint. Los Caprichos is the name of this first major series in this medium. As with the most famous of Goya's works, his misanthropy creeps in to transform dishonesty into sheer monstrous deformity. The show runs through March 29 at the Meadows Museum on the grounds of Southern Methodist University. It's free. Call (214) 768-2516.
Joyful Wisdom Tour: North American tours of Tibetan Buddhist monks, already a hot commodity during the last five years, should redouble thanks to Brad "Oops, My Spiritually Enlightened Character Was a Nazi" Pitt's surfer-boy pout in Seven Years and Tibet and Martin Scorsese's appropriately ascetic take on the Dalai Lama in Kundun. But lest you think these masters of Zen enlightenment are above a little creature comfort, a recent story about the production of Kundun confirms that they could barely get the monks out of the hotel swimming pool in time for the shoot. The latest American jaunt by 10 Tibetan monks, called "Joyful Wisdom Tour," swings through Dallas to present the classical monastic movement and music that date back to the eighth century. We wonder if there's a Tibetan linguistic equivalent to: "Hello, Dallas! Are you ready to rock?" The evening starts at 7 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 4015 Normandy Ave. Tickets are $10. Call (972) 690-5802.
Mosaics: Arleen Polite: It's hard to think of a more down-home artistic medium than the woodcut print, perhaps because the elementary methods behind it have traditionally been employed to record events in the lives of people who can't afford to preserve their stories any other way. Austin artist Arleen Polite lives in a world where various artistic media are (relatively) cheaper than they used to be, but she chooses to record the lives of the African-American community in which she lives in a simpler, more historically rich way. Has the rustic method steered her toward domestic themes? Who can say, but the Dallas Visual Art Center's latest in the "Mosaics" series, a one-woman show of her work, is packed with her takes on family and individual identity. The show runs through February at the Dallas Visual Art Center, 2917 Swiss Ave. Call (214) 821-2522.
The Texas Experience: Is Texas, an American state with the size (and geographic variety) of several different European countries combined, able to claim a single "experience" as its own? Can a deep-pockets Dallas business-owner claim kinship with a family eking out an existence on the Panhandle plains? This tricky (and probably unanswerable) question will be tackled by a panel of Texas authors who all insist that living in this state has informed not only the stories they tell, but the way they tell them. Robert Flynn, James Hoggard, Robert Nelsen, Clay Reynolds, and Jan Seale have all been tapped by the The Friends of the Richardson Library to discuss their own writings and how they relate to "The Texas Experience," assuming they even believe one exists. The evening starts at 8 p.m. at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho. For ticket info call (972) 238-4000.