Events for the week

december 22
TubaChristmas Concerts and the Dallas Bach Society: The tuba has as long and esteemed a history as most of the other brass instruments--but somehow, all that goes down the tubes when you hear one in its natural habitat. Not to say that the tuba is an unworthy or ridiculous instrument, but it makes ridiculous sounds. It's the Fatty Arbuckle of the brass section--which is not to say it's been implicated in a damaging arrest on morals charges, but it's a willful and even enthusiastic object of aural comedy, honking and bleating and bellowing until the rest of the brass section becomes second bananas. The annual TubaChristmas concerts in Dallas and Fort Worth are bound to make you hear some of the most well-trod holiday chestnuts in a new way, put a smile on your mall-weary face, and surprise you with the range and sounds possible from a family of instruments--Sousaphones, baritones, and euphoniums--generally lumped together because of their particular suitedness to orchestral clowning. More than a hundred instruments are expected to converge at each site, and if the proceedings sound a bit spontaneous, that's because practice takes place shortly before. The Fort Worth TubaChristmas Concert happens December 22 at noon in the General Worth Square of downtown Fort Worth. For information call (817) 464-3196. The Dallas TubaChristmas Concert takes place at December 23 noon in Thanks-Giving Square in downtown Dallas. Both are free. If you're interested in participating, call (817) 464-3196. For a somewhat more somber, traditional--not to mention expensive--holiday musical experience, the Dallas Bach Society presents its full orchestra and choir performing Handel's spine-tingling Messiah. The concert kicks off at 8 pm in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora in the Arts District. Tickets are $15-$35. Call 520-2787.

It Ain't Grease, It's Dixie Peach: Nostalgia is a big sell, even nostalgia recycled to the point where it's past kitsch, through camp, and into a tinsel-heavy time warp of its own--witness the bucks that the new Broadway reinterpretation ("revamp" is probably a better word, with emphasis added to the last syllable) of Grease has managed to wring once again from the pockets of folks who want to be dragged to a kinder, gentler time, even if that time never existed. Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre weighs in with its own entry for the genre, an original and perennial favorite entitled It Ain't Grease, It's Dixie Peach by artistic director Rudy Eastman and music director Joe Rogers. Although this rock 'n' roll revue, set at the Sammy Davis Jr. Senior High School and featuring the Suthuhn sounds of the fictitious Dixie Peach Radio Hour, is designed for everybody, it might help if you had some familiarity with the 1950s other than through sitcoms and old movies. It might also help to be African-American, since the joys and frustrations peculiar to that community in that period of history form the background of this piece. On second thought, throw all those considerations out the window and just come to enjoy. It Ain't Grease, It's Dixie Peach runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:15 pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3:15 pm through January 17. There are no performances on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Tickets are $8-$14. The Jubilee Theatre is located at 506 Main in Fort Worth. For information call (817) 338-4411.

Oshkosh Novena: While most of us who view the Christmas holiday from some vaguely Christian perspective often wind up paying more attention to the frills than the message, a huge, involved history--really more like a universe--of rituals and traditions is often ignored. Even if you're defiantly agnostic or atheistic, the insight into human nature that Christian doctrine provides is fascinating. If you want to witness something really unusual but still thoroughly grounded in the pantheon of Christ, his disciples, and his Catholic emissaries on Earth--the saints--attend "Oshkosh Novena," a performance art piece by former Dallas musician-artist Bob Price (he was a long-time member of the improvisational jazz troupe BL Lacerta). He and fellow artist Nancy Coscione come to Dallas from their Nebraska homes to perform one piece of their nine-part series that reimagines the Catholic practice of honoring saints with nine-day festivals. The fourth day is honored here, combining ecological knowledge with video, slides, photos, journal writing, movement, and improvisational talk. It should be interesting, to say the least, and nonbelievers shouldn't be alienated by the Christian aspects. Price describes the work as "a very P.C., postmodern ritual celebrating our junk in lieu of nature." The performance happens at 8 pm at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Tickets are $2-$5. 953-1MAC.

december 23
Kumar's Birthday Bash: He's a slightly mysterious figure even to those many who've made the Cosmic Cup, the Oak Lawn Indian cafe-performance space-philosophical mecca, their hang-out of choice. If you've never checked out the Cup, you must do so, but you'll probably be wondering who is that handsome young Indian gentleman juggling and balancing in all those black-and-white performance photos that adorn the walls. He is Kumar the Magnificent, father of Cosmic Cup owner-operator Deepak Pallana, and his particular brand of timeless energy has insinuated itself through the place since the doors first opened. Kumar is a trained yoga master with distinctly vaudevillian instincts he hasn't been able to shed, although he officially retired from the stage many, many years ago. A world traveler in circus-like revues, an occasional Ed Sullivan guest, and a darned good cook (when he pads among the tables with a saucer full of some spicy new concoction, it's best not to refuse his offer of a free taste test), he still teaches yoga and occasionally takes the Cup's stage, most memorably when Little Jack Melody ambles through. And he's just wrapped the local shoot of Bottle Rocket, a Columbia Pictures release starring James Caan, in which what began as a bit part for Kumar turned into a meaty supporting turn as a safecracker. The Cosmic Cup celebrates Kumar the Magnificent's 76th birthday with a night of live music, poetry readings, and a few surprises. The festivities kick off at 9 pm at the Cosmic Cup, 2912 Oak Lawn. Admission is free. For more information call 521-6157.