This month a six-year tradition ends as Dallas Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” for the last time in the Music Hall. As the Ballet presents its last 10 “Nutcracker” performances at Fair Park, local fans of the work will have their last chance to see Tchaikovsky’s classic in the version by the man who brought it to Dallas, the Ballet’s late artistic director, George Skibine.
Next year the company will unveil an entirely new production in the Majestic Theatre, which should be completely renovated by then. Flemming Flindt, Dallas Ballet’s new artistic director, will choreograph the new “Nutcracker” for the Majestic. Negotiations are in progress to have noted designer (and fellow Dane) Bjorn Wiinblad create scenery and costumes.
With enormous sets scaled to the Music Hall’s wide stage and seating capacity, Skibine’s “Nutcracker” is grandly equal to Tchaikovsky’s familiar score. Peter Hall designed a magically growing Christmas tree for Act I that rises awesomely for two stories while the music builds. The Act II scenery may have shown some wear and tear in recent years, but the mammoth delicacies in the Land of Sweets still inspire childhood fantasies. Skibine’s choreography is a direct link to the earliest version of the work by the 19th-century Russian master, Marius Petipa. Familiar company soloists such as Christine Dunham, Kirt Hathaway, Cyndi Jones, Michael Job and Karen Travis can be expected to bring grace and panache to the various pas de deux; a newly arrived couple, Laura Flagg and Bryan Pitts, also create winsome rapport with their partners. To judge by the Ballet’s fall repertory programs, this year’s corps has more snap and cohesiveness. This season’s performances run somewhat later than usual, Dec 29-Jan 3. Tickets $19.50-$4. 744-4430.
Back in the Sixties when pop art was the cresting wave, the paintings of Roy Lichtenstein were among the most recognizable icons in art. Everybody knew who Andy Warhol was, but it was Lichtenstein’s paintings that stuck in the memory. A big, vivid mouth straight out of the pages of True Romance comics, murmuring breathlessly: “I know how you must feel, Brad …” Or a pair of fighter planes snarling across yards of canvas, spewing flame: “I pressed the fire control …. Whaam!”
Time passes. “Roy Lichten-stein 1970-1980,” surveys Lichtenstein post-pop and shows that he has left behind such comic-book matter, but not the manner. Growing out of earlier comic book treatments of Monet and art deco, his later work has blossomed into a kind of Classic Comics survey of art history, recycling the entire modern movement through his pop idiom. Picasso, Matisse and Mir6 rendered in hard-edged outlines, primary colors and stenciled Ben Day dots. The Lichten-steins are abstract expressionist, cubist and surrealist; there are even post-modern architectural Lichtensteins.
In these works Lichtenstein seems to be more like an Alexander Pope than one of the mainstays of pop, recording in paint the foibles and excesses of modernist art. Dali’s melting flesh pods never looked so silly, the slosh-buckling brushstrokes of the New York painters never so absurdly overwrought as in Lichtenstein’s transformations.
And yet the more he changes, the more he remains the same. Always elegant and intelligent, Lichtenstein is at his very best in the beautiful paintings of the “Mirror” series. Oval, circular and rectangular canvases with suggestions of beveled edges and splashes of light crossing their surface, they raise all the Lichtenstein mannerisms to the level of formal devices of breathtaking skill and inventiveness. They are, perhaps, the perfect metaphor for the artist himself: bland, self-effacing, icily witty, reflecting back whatever appears before them – which turns out to be nothing at all.
“Roy Lichtenstein: 1970-1980” runs from Dec 16-Feb 7 at the Fort Worth Art Museum, 1309 Montgomery St. Tue 10 am-9 pm, Wed-Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 1-5 pm. Closed Mon. Free. (817) 738-9215.
University of Texas at Dallas rounds out its fall film series with six films that range from the popular to the obscure. Dec 2: “Practice Makes Perfect. ” a French farce about a philandering concert pianist directed by Philippe (“King of Hearts”) de Broca. Dec 4: “Lion in Winter,” in which Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole chew up the scenery as Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II. Dec 9: Fellini’s “Juliet of the Spirits,” the story of a very ordinary housewife with an amazingly rich fantasy life. Dec 11: “The Fantastic Animation Festival,” 14 cartoons as varied as vintage Max Fleischer and the very contemporary, abstract work of Jordan Belson. Dec 16: “Alexander,” featuring Philippe Noiret as a widower who outrages his peasant co-workers when he becomes the laziest but happiest man in town. Dec 18: “Days of Heaven,” Terence Malick’s poetic drama of migrant laborers in early 20th-century America. Films are in the Founders North Auditorium on the UTD campus in Richardson. Tickets $2, $1 for under 18 or over 65, 50c for UTD students with ID. For feature times call 690-2945.
C’est la vie. To coincide with its showing of Impressionist and modern masterpieces from the Phillips Collection, the Dallas Museum ol Fine Arts will present a series of films centered on the cultural milieu of 19th-century Europe. This month there are two films by Vincente Minnelli. “Lust for Life,” Dec 3, features Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh “Madame Bovary,” Dec 10, is a lavish and generally spectacular rendering of the Flaubert classic starring Jennifer Jones, James Mason and Van Heflin. Features are at 7 pm in the museum auditorium. Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Fair Park. Admission is free with membership card. 421-4187.
The Big Screen. “Dersu Uzala” is Akira Kurosawa’s stunningly beautiful film about the friendship between a Russian explorer and his Asian guide, “Black Orpheus” is the Orpheus and Eury-dice legend transferred to carnival time in Rio. Both of these perennially popular films get their Dallas premieres in 70 mm and six-track stereo sound this month at the Inwood Theater. “Dersu Uzala,” Dec 6-10; Black Orpheus. Dec 11-13. Inwood Theater, 5458 Lovers Lane. For ticket information and feature times call 352-6040.
Bruno Bozzetto is an Italian animator who delights in interpreting classical music through fanciful, slightly satirical drawings. A one-hour program of his films will include his versions of “Bolero,” “Afternoon of a Faun” and the “Firebird,” along with a burlesque of both opera patrons and stars. Dec 7-10 at 11 am and 6 pm in room T328 at Brookhaven College, 3939 Valley View Lane. Free. 746-5165.
Diamond Studs: The Life and Times of Jesse James. Jim Wann’s c/w musical has been turning up at lots of regional theaters around the country lately. The 12 performers play a variety of roles, including the James. Cole, and Younger brothers, and Belle Starr. Dec 11-Jan 23 at the New Arts Theatre Company, 702 Ross Ave at Market. Tue-Thur at 8 pm, Fri & Sat at 8:30 pm, Sun at 2:30 pm. Tickets $9.50 Fri & Sat. $7.50 Tue-Thur & Sun. 761-9064.
Hijinks! Stage No 1 doesn’t do musicals the way other theaters do In keeping with the group’s emphasis on American theater, musicals are recent adaptations of unusual plays from America’s past. “The Contrast.” performed in the 1979-80 season, was based on one of America’s first native-produced comedies; “Hijinks!” is based on a turn-of-the-century play by Clyde Fitch. “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” (the play made Ethel Barrymore a star). The score contains lots of period songs like “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie,” Through Dec 19 at the Greenville Avenue Theatre. 2914 Greenville, Wed-Sat at 8:15 pm. Tickets $7.50, $6 students & over 65. 369-5345.
The Kitchen. The playwright is Arnold Wesker, one of the leading practitioners in postwar England of socially oriented drama. The play explores some of the conditions of working-class life through the microcosm of a kitchen in a large restaurant. And the director is SMU faculty member Mesrop Kesde-kian, one of the best in town. Dec 3-5 at the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center, SMU campus. Thur-Sat at 8 pm. Tickets $1. 692-2573.
The Man Who Came to Dinner. The Dallas Repertory Theatre is now in its 13th season. While plans proceed for its expansion into a larger facility, the DRT continues to present, in its cozy auditorium with a postage-stamp stage, what it has always done best: musicals and classic American plays. The success of the shows seems to depend on the quality of the material; second-rate musicals don’t usually rise above their station here, but a good comedy like this one, by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, will probably bring out the DRT’s best side. The play’s premise is that an irascible fellow (Sheridan White-side) imposes on his dinner hosts a little longer than expected. Through Dec 20 at the Dallas Repertory Theatre. NorthPark Auditorium, NorthPark. Thur-Sat at 8:15 pm, Sun at 3 pm. Tickets $7.50, $6 students & over 65 Fri & Sat; $7, $5.50 students & over 65 Thur & Sun. 369-8966.
The Philadelphia Story. Like Noel Coward’s “Private Lives,” this Philip Barry comedy has to do with the conflicting attractions of first- and second-marriage partners. Theatre Arlington will be performing the show in its new home, ironically smaller in terms of seats than its old location, a slightly cavernous community center. In its previous incarnation as the Arlington Community Theatre, this group did some surprising work, including a strong rendering of “Virginia Woolf” a few years ago. Through Dec 12 at Theatre Arlington, 1130 W Division, Arlington. Fri & Sat at 8:15 pm. Tickets $6, $4 students & over 65. (817) 275-7661.
The Physician in Spite of Himself. Since its first performance in 1666, this comedy by Moliere has become one of his two or three most popular plays. Its plot is about a rascally woodcutter who is mistaken for a doctor, and seems to have the barest collection of gags. But the gags are so fundamentally comic, and the opportunities for further slapstick are so many, that the play is almost a sure-fire success. And Moliere comedies are a house specialty here. Through Dec 19 at Theatre Three, The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. Tue-Thur at 8 pm, Fri & Sat at 8:30 pm, Sun at 2:30 & 7 pm. Tickets $9.75 Fri & Sat; $7.75 Wed, Thur & Sun matinee; $6.75 Tue & Sun. 748-5191.
Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. In 1962 this Leslie Bricusse-Anthony Newley show made its splash on Broadway. Sort of a musical allegory-the central character is named Littlechap-it may seem a bit dated now. But it’s got a great closing number-“What Kind of Fool Am I?’’ Dec 3-Jan 9 at Stage West. 821 W Vickery, Fort Worth. Thur-Sat at 8:30 pm, with dinner available from 7 pm. Tickets $6.50 Sat, $6 Fri, $5 Thur (dinner is extra). (817) 332-6238.
Tintypes. The American past as we’d like to think it really was-such is the material of this musical. Its creators. Mary Kyte, Mel Marvin and Gary Pearle, assembled a number of songs (familiar and otherwise) from the late 19th century and the early 20th- “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Bill Bailey” are among them; between the songs are placed a series of vignettes involving characters of the period, some of them historical (Teddy Roosevelt, for instance) and some fictional. For the most part it’s a cheerful show. Dec 8-Jan 23 in the Kalita Humphreys Theater, Dallas Theater Center, 3636 Turtle Creek. Dec 7 (preview) at 8 pm, Tue-Thur at 8 pm, Wed Dec 23 & 30 at 1:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8:30 pm, Sat at 5 pm. Tickets $18 & $16 Tue opening; $12 & $10.50 Fri & Sat; $11 & $9.50 Sat matinee; $10 & $8.50 Tue-Thur; $8 & $7 Wed matinee; $7 Mon preview. 526-8857.
Dallas Opera. Three performances of Wagner’s “Die Walkuere” kick off the Dallas Opera’s multi-year commitment to the Ring der Nibelungen. Performances feature Spas Wenkoff and Roberta Knie. with Scottish soprano Linda Esther Gray and German baritone Wolfgang Probst making their American debuts. Wagner specialist Berislav Klobucar conducts the performances. Dec 3 & 9 at 7 pm; Dec 6 at 1 pm. The Dallas Opera’s 25th season closes with Verdi’s rarely performed early work, “Ernani,” a tableau of baroque passion and glorious arias. The performances feature Bulgarian soprano Ghena Dimitrova, who is making her American debut in a cast that also includes Carlo Bini, Paul Plishka and Matteo Manuguerra. Nicola Rescigno conducts. Dec 18 & 22 at 8 pm; Dec 20 at 2 pm. Fair Park Music Hall. Tickets $20-$6. 528-3200.
Dallas Public Library. Mary Drayer, contralto, will perform the song suite “Childhood Fables for Grownups,” by Irving Fine, Dec 1 at 12:10 pm; she’ll be accompanied by Linda E. Erwin. The Greiner Academy Orchestra presents a holiday musical program Dec 8 at 12:10 pm. Peggy Davis and Ernest Taft, accompanied by Russ Alvey, will present “Give the Fiddler a Dram,” a folk fiddling concert featuring music from Ireland and America Dec. 15 at 12:10 pm. The Singing Grandmothers of the Jefferson Senior Center lead a traditional Christmas sing-along session Dec 22 at 12:10 pm. Robin Sullivan demonstrates the history of blues music and illustrates its variety with a number of different instruments on Dec 29 at 12:10 pm. Central Public Library, 1954 Commerce. 748-9071, ext. 249. All events free. 255-7321.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The DSO presents two holiday programs, one before, the other after Christmas. On Dec 19 & 20, the Orchestra and Chorus present two performances of Handel’s “Messiah” in SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium at 8 pm. Tickets $13-$7. The program scheduled for Dec 27 is “A Country Christmas” with c/w star Mel Tillis plus the Dallas Pops Orchestra. 2:30 pm & 8 pm. Fair Park Music Hall. Tickets $15-$6. 692-0203.
Garland Symphony Orchestra. The Garland Symphony performs Handel’s “Messiah” on Dec 7 at 7 pm. Orchard Hills Baptist Church, 3033 Saturn Rd. Free. 271-5103.
Highland Park Chamber Orchestra. The HPCO continues its ambitious series of Brahms’ complete works for piano and strings with a concert Dec 13. The program includes The Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108; the Viola Sonota No. 2 in E Flat Major, Op. 120; and the Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 101. Ronald Neal plays violin; Nancy Woehr, viola; and Jo Boatright, piano at 7 pm in Caruth Auditorium. Tickets $6-$3. 526-7380.
Meadows School of the Arts. On Dec 6, Dr. Lloyd Pfautsch directs the Christmas Choral concert in Caruth Auditorium at 4 pm. Free. On Dec 7, the Division of Music presents a concert by the Dallas Civic Symphony conducted by Donald Portnoy of West Virginia University. The program includes Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra (DSO concertmaster Eliot Chapo and violist Ellen Rose are soloists). Dello Joio’s “Variations. Chaconne, Finale”; and Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.” 8:15 pm in Caruth Auditorium, SMU campus. Tickets $3.50; $2 students. 692-2628.
North Texas State University. On Dec 1, the men’s and women’s choruses perform in concert in the Recital Hall at 8 pm. The Grand Chorus, under the direction of Henry Gibbons, performs a concert on Dec 2 at 8:15 pm in the Concert Hall. Dec 3, the Chamber Orchestra performs a program that ineludes Respighi’s The Birds,” the late NTSU composer Merrill Ellis’ “Centrifusion,” and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Major, with Tony Han, pianist. Anshel Brusilow conducts. 8:15 pm. NTSU Concert Hall, Denton. Free. (817) 788-2791.
Richardson Symphony Orchestra. Chris Xeros conducts the RSO, now in its 20th season, in the rarely performed choral portion of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”; the orchestra is joined by the Grand Choir of North Texas State University, under the direction of Henry Gibbons. Dec 12 at 8 pm. Richardson High School Auditorium, Belt Line near Coit. Subscriptions $48-$10. 234-0481.
Schola Cantorum of Texas. This renowned Fort Worth-based choral group performs “A Gift of Music at Christmas.’’ The program includes works by Francis Poulenc, Healey Willan, Joaquin Des Prez, Robert Young, plus Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” and Gerald Finzi’s “Magnificat for Chorus and Organ.” Dec 7 at 8 pm. St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth. Tickets $5; $3 senior citizens and students. (817)924-1481.
University of Texas at Dallas. The UTD Opera Workshop presents Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and “Serva Padrona” directed by Mary Ella Collins-Antahades and Robert Xavier Rodriquez in the Jonsson Center Performance Hall. Dec 6 at 7 pm; Dec 8 at 8:15 pm. Tickets $2 adults; $1 students. Steward Clark directs the Fifth-Annual Messiah Sing Dec 12 in the University Theatre at 8:15 pm, UTD campus. Free. 690-2293.
A Dance Improvisation by Jane Van Sickle will be held in concert with B.L. Lacerta, the Atlantic-Richfield Chamber Orchestra on Dec 5 at 8 pm in the Grand Studio of The Tiferet (formerly a synagogue). 2312 Grand Avenue at Good Latimer. Tickets $3. 421-7071.
First United Methodist Church. The church presents “A Day for Dancing” by Lloyd Pfautsch, SMU’s noted choral director, the program features the Creative Dance Choir, the Children’s Dance Choir, and the Chancel Choir. Dec 13 at 10 and 11 am. 534 W. Belt Line, Richardson, 238-8105.
Highland Hills Library. Jiles Canady will present a modern dance program, “Full of Life a Dancin’ ” at the library on Dec 5 at 3 pm. 3624 Simpson Stuart Road. 225-7321.
North Texas State University. The annual Dance Faculty Choreography Concert, featuring the work of Sandra Combest, resident artist and director of the Dance Division, takes place Dec 3-5 in the University Theater of the Speech and Drama Building at 8:15 pm. On Dec 12. the Dance Theatre of the Southwest, of which Ms. Combest is artistic director, presents a program with the Denton Citywide Dance Concert in the University Theater at 8:15 pm. NTSU campus, Denton. (817) 788-2167.
Texas Woman’s University. Dance department seniors present a performance of their choreographic projects Dec 4 & 5 in the ballroom of the Dance Building at 8 pm. TWU campus, Denton. Free. (817)383-1573.
Late Entries to the Chicago Tribune Tower Competition. Some modern, late-modern and postmodern architects demonstrate, with large-scale drawings, what they would have designed for the Tribune if only they had been around in 1922 when this celebrated architectural contest signaled the last hurrah for high-rise Gothic. An intriguing and amusing show, on exhibit through Dec 16 at the Fort Worth Art Museum, 1309 Montgomery. Tue 10 am-9 pm, Wed-Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 1-5 pm. (817) 738-9215.
Epilogue of Luis’ Bend is a three-part audio-visual experience, an evocation of the vanishing life and times of a small community of black cowboys in Southern Texas. Film-maker Nancy O’Connor spent months filming and recording these men. Her moving documentary is presented in a replica of the country church where they gather to worship and make music. The show continues through Jan 3 at the Tyler Museum of Art. 1300 S. Mahon St., Tyler. Tue-Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 1-5 pm. (214) 595-1001.
Sol Lewitt. This New York minimalist has managed to get more and more out of less and less. All his works are based on a simple grid of horizontal and vertical lines and this suite of 75 silk screen prints makes 10 with only four colors-black, white, yellow and red-to produce an astonishing and beautiful range of effects. Dec 12-Jan 7 at the Mattingly/ Baker Gallery, 3000 McKinney Tue-Fri 10 am-6 pm, Sat 11 am-5 pm. 526-0031.
The Disasters of War. Francisco Goya’s famous series of etchings was produced as a result of Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808, but the series is really a howl of outrage in the face of the brutality ana carnage of all wars everywhere. I his collection, on loan from Sarah Campbell Blatter Foundation in Houston, remains on exhibit through Dec 13 at the University Art Gallery, Fine Arts Building, University of Texas at Arlington, 501 Cooper St. Mon-Fri 9 am-4 pm, Sun 1-4 pm. 273-2891. David Burt. Creator of hammered and braised sheet metal sculptures that, fastened to a gallery wall or high atop a weather vane, suggest angels in flight, strands of seaweed and wind-blown wisps of cloth. Through Dec. 31 at Paige Gallery, 1519 Hi Line Drive. Mon-Fri 10 am-5 pm. By appointment, weekends. 742-8483.
Myths, 1981. Superman, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, the Shadow, Garbo, Mammy, Dracula, Uncle Sam, Howdy Doody and the Wicked Witch of the West, as interpreted in silk screen by Andy Warhol, who is himself as much myth as artist. The exhibit also includes 10 prints of Warhol’s legendary Campbell Soup cans. Through Dec 31 in the NorthPark National Bank lobby, corner of Boedeker and Park Lane. Mon-Thur 8:30 am-3 pm, Fri 8:30 am-5 pm, Sat 8:30 am-1 pm. 363-9191.
Panther City Romance. Supported by a grant from Miller Brewing Company, photographer Cirrus Bon-neau and his 8 x10 view camera haunted the back alleys and store fronts of Rock Island, Southside, Northside and downtown Fort Worth for two years, transforming the commonplace and the ugly into crisp, handsome prints. Through Jan 15 at the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History 1501 Montgomery. Mon-Sat 9 am-5 pm, Sun 2-5 pm. (817) 732-1631.
Committed to Paint. A gathering of five flat-out painters-no multimedia here-all working in a loosely metaphorical style. The artists include Bill Jensen, Michael Tetherow, Stephen Mueller, Robin Bruch and Terry Winters; the show was curated by New York art critic Klaus Kertess. Delahunty Gallery, 2611 Cedar Springs. Dec 12-Feb 2. Tue-Sat 11 am-5 pm. 744-1346.
Audubon Sanctuary, Mountain Creek Lake. A favorite of local herpetologists, fossil hunters, bird watchers, and botanists. On the south end of Mountain Creek Lake. 827-6410.
Bachman Lake Park. Woodland and grassland area with many bird species. Bounded by Lemmon, Cochran Chapel and Northwest Highway.
Dallas City Hall. Completed in 1977, this civic masterpiece features an open design by I. M. Pei. Glass flanks the outer corridor, and a 100-foot atrium rises in its center. Henry Moore’s distinctive sculpture sets off the large plaza out front.
Walk-in tours available Mon-Fri at 10:30 am & 3 pm. Special tours available by calling the Special Events Office Mon-Fri from 8:15-5:15. 1500 Marilla St. 670-5396 or 670-5397.
Farmer’s Market. The municipal market, selling Texas-grown and some out-of-state produce. On Sunday mornings, everybody in town seems to be here. Just ignore the carbon monoxide fumes from the cars and concentrate on the plentiful pickings, usually available at considerable savings. Daily dawn to dusk. 1010 S Pearl. 748-2082 or 670-5879.
Fort Worth Japanese Gardens. Traditional Japanese water gardens include waterfall, cascade, teahouse, a moon-viewing deck, arched bridge and meditation garden. $1 adults, children under 12 free if accompanied by adult. Tue-Sat 9-7, Sun 1-6. East gate on Botanic Garden Dr, Fort Worth. (817) 870-7685.
International Wildlife Park. This drive through wildlife preserve features exotic animals from around the world, reptile shows, special animal exhibits and children’s rides. $6.95, children under 3 free, group discounts available. Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 9-6. 601 Wildlife Pkwy, Grand Prairie. 263-2201.
Kiest Park. Area abounding with fossils and a wide variety 01 wildlife. Kiest and South Hampton.
L. B. Houston Park and Nature Area. Inhabited by beavers, opossums, gray foxes and other wildlife. On Tom Braniff off Route 144 near Texas Stadium.
Reunion Tower. This landmark provides a spectacular view of the city from the revolving observation deck that stands 50 stories high. Open daily 9:30 am-midnight (for observation deck). The ride up is free to club-goers. 300 Reunion Blvd. 741-3663.
The Austin College A Cappella Choir will perform music from Handel’s “Messiah” during Christmas Vespers at 7:30 pm on Dec 6. Wynne Chapel on the Austin College campus, Sherman. Free. (214) 892-9101, ext 251.
Enchanted Christmas Forest. An animated fairyland is on display at the Preston branch of Texas Federal Savings. The public is encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys to any of the 18 Texas Federal Savings branches for the Toys for Tots program, sponsored in conjunction with the U.S. Marines. The Enchanted Christmas Forest will be on display at Texas Federal Savings, 8300 Preston, Nov 30-Dec 24,Mon-Thur 9 am-4 pm, Fri 9 am-6 pm & Dec 5 & 12 10 am-2 pm. Free. Group tours may be arranged by calling 739-8300.
Dallas Public Library. Several community choirs will sing at the annual Oak Lawn community Christmas tree lighting scheduled at the Oak Lawn Library, 4100 Cedar Springs, Dec 12 at 7:30 pm. 528-6269. A Christmas tree lighting ceremony complete with Christmas caroles sung by the Mt. Tabor Baptist Church Choir is planned at the Highland Hills Library, 3624 Simpson-Stuart Road, Dec 12 at 3 pm. Children are asked to bring ornaments for the library tree. 225-7321. The Kiest Park Players will present a Christmas play Dec 15 at 4:30 pm in the Hampton-Illinois Library, 2210 W. Illinois. 337-4796. Dallas Power & Light will present three Christmas programs about cooking for the holiday season. “Energy Efficient Microwave Cooking for the Holidays” will be presented at the Park Forest Library, 3421 Forest Lane, Dec 3 at 7 pm. To make a reservation for the free event call 698-7329. General programs about holiday cooking will be presented at the Pleasant Grove Library, 1125 S. Buckner, Dec 7 at 7 pm and at the Fretz Park Library, 6990 Belt Line, Dec 15 at 10 am. 241-1434, 398-6625 and 233-8262. “The Muppet Movie” will be shown at all Dallas Public Library locations during the holiday season. For a complete schedule, contact your nearest Dallas Public Library or call 748-9071, ext 249. Children are invited to make bread dough ornaments at the Fretz Park Library, 6990 Belt Line, Dec 5 at 3 pm. 233-8262. Children can learn how to make gingerbread and construct a gingerbread house at the Audelia Road Library, 10045 Audelia, Dec 12 at 3 pm and at the Skyline Library, 6006 Everglade Dec 19 at 3 pm. 348-6160 or 381-1149. The young ones can make old-fashioned ornaments and trim the library Christmas tree at the Walnut Hill Library, 9495 Marsh, Dec 12 at 3 pm. 357-8434.
The Northaven Arts Series will be sponsoring its annual “Advent Vespers: a Festival of Carols and Dance” on Dec 13 at 7 pm at Northaven United Methodist Church. Joan Amick is choreographer; Kathryn Johnson is director/organist. 11212 Preston. Free. 363-2479.
Santa Calls. The American Cancer Society will provide your child with a direct line to Santa Claus through the society’s Christmas donation drive. The child writes a letter detailing his age, Christmas present preference and an account of his behavior during the past year, which is mailed to The American Cancer Society, 8900 Carpenter Freeway, Dallas, TX 75247. A minimum $5 donation must accompany each request. Or parents may arrange for a Santa call by contacting the society, 631-3850. Letters must be received by Dec 17; telephone requests by Dec 21.
Texas Wesleyan College. Puppeteer Shari Lewis is guest artist for “Prelude to Christmas,” which will be performed with the Texas Wesleyan Chorale and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at Tarrant County Convention Centre Theatre on Dec 4 at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $12.50-$3. 429-1181. On Dec 8 the Wesleyan Singers perform a Christmas concert of songs through the ages at 8 pm. Fine Arts Auditorium. Free. The Wesleyan Oratorio Chorus presents Handel’s “Messiah” on Dec 13, with soloists Gretha Boston, David Pelton and John Strickland: and Stephen Simons conducting at 7 pm. Polytechnic United Methodist Church. Free. 534-0251.
Abernathy’s. Good basic fern bar, polished brass and green plants place with good nachos, sandwiches and drinks. Big with the TCU and young professional crowds. (2859 W Berry, Fort Worth. (817) 923-0941. MonThur 11 am-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. MC, V.)
Al’s Bamboo. This is the new Bamboo, and while the old menu claimed the spot was “much like the islands in the off season,” the new management has apparently let the service blow out with the monsoons. The new menu boasts Bamboo as “Oak Lawn’s only heterosexual dance hall,” but besides the cheap drinks, that’s its only forte. Do we really have to request “extras” like knives and napkins with chicken-fried steak? The blunders can be temporarily written off to inexperience until Al gets his act together. Quicker service and tastier foods would bring us back for the cheap drinks and relaxing atmosphere. (3718 N Hall at Oak Lawn. 526-9391. Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am, Sat 8 pm-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 3-8. MC, V.)
Andrew’s. Folksingers and specialty drinks in an exposed brick/wood ambiance-for those who like this sort of place, as Miss Jean Brodie would say. this is the sort of place they like. As for the food, stick to basic burgers and salads. Anything fancier, including the once fabled crab sandwich, is a mistake. (3301 McKinney. 521-6535. Daily 11:15 am-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri until 7. AE, DC, MC, V.)
Bagatelle. One of the best places for jazz listening, this dimly lit club has comfortable seating and music that doesn’t interfere with conversation. Thursday through Saturday nights, 9-1:30 feature the Paul Guerrero Jazz Quartet and Debra Smith. (4925 Greenville. 692-8224. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-1 am, Fri & Sat till 2 am, Sun Brunch: 10:30-2:30 & 6 pm-10 pm. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4:30-7. All credit cards.)
Bar Tejas. Yet another entry in the emergence of the lower Greenville Avenue phenomenon, with a Moroccan tile exterior and a classic interior reminiscent of Havana in the Thirties. The menu, however, has an Italian accent, featuring fried ravioli and the best lentil soup around. The personality of Tom Garrison’s enterprise is especially effective on an overcast afternoon. Classical music is featured on Sundays. (2100 Greenville. 828-2131. Daily 11:30 am-2 am. Happy hour daily 4-7. AE.)
Belle Starr. Using the 19th-century lady outlaw as its motif, this c/w dance hall (formerly the Bovarian Steakhouse) has become a popular hangout for cowboys and cowgirls with its spacious dance floor and comfortable furnishings. The Roy Clayton Band entertains Tuesday through Saturday. $1.50 dance lessons Sunday 4-8 pm. Cover on weekends. (7724 N Central near Southwestern. 750-4787. Tue-Sat 7 pm-2 am, Sun 4 pm-2 am. Closed Mon. All credit cards.)
Biff’s. Biff’s belongs in the middle of an 8-foot snowbank with a fire blazing in its fireplace, icicles clinging to the windowsills and red-faced people bustling about in fur-lined parkas and aprés-ski boots. But even if you aren’t at home on the slopes, you’ll love Biff’s. Ignore the mingling singles at the bar and concentrate on Biff’s burgers, nachos and good, stiff drinks. (7402 Greenville. 696-1952. Daily 11 am-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. AE, MC, V.)
Café Dallas. The decor of the interior is rather stylish and the sound system is possibly one of the best in town, but that’s not why the line weaves out the door and around the corner. Someone somewhere declared this place the singles bar of Dallas. Bouncers resembling Dallas Cowboys hopefuls guard the doors, filtering out those undesirables who don’t satisfy the fluctuating dress code. Once inside, you can either lose yourself amid the uncatego-rizable crowd or escape to the elevated backgam-mon/pente area. (5500 Greenville. 987-0066. Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am, Sat & Sun 7 pm-2 am. AE, MC, V.)
Cardinal Puff’s. The atmosphere here can be as calming as a 15-minute sauna. The wooden deck outside is perfect for sipping margaritas and basking in the sunshine, and the cozy fireplace nestled among the plants inside is just as soothing. (4615 Greenville. 369-1969. Daily 4 pm-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. MC, AE, V.)
Chelsea Corner. A low-key, collegiate version of Andrew’s, with woodsy decor, folk singers and specialty drinks. Quiet corners provide a great escape. (4830 McKinney. 522-3501. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 am, Sat & Sun noon-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 11:30-7. AE, MC, V.)
Cowboy. This is no place for the closet claustrophobic – hundreds of rhinestone cowboys lookin’ for love swarm here like bees to honey. Consequently, breathing room (much less dancing room) is almost impossible to find, and mingling-desired or otherwise-is inevitable. Expect long lines outside, too. (5208 Greenville. 369-6969. Mon-Fri 5 pm-2 am, Supper buffet: 5-9 pm. Sat & Sun 8 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE, DC.)
The Den. Located in the Stoneleigh Hotel, this is the essence of what a bar is expected to be: very small, very dark and very red, with very strong drinks. (2927 Maple Ave. 742-7111. Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight. Happy hour all day Mon-Fri. All credit cards.)
Eight-O. Prime grazing land for semi-sophisticates and would-be Bohemians. The clientele ranges from chic to occasionally rowdy, and regulars insist the all-purpose jukebox is the best in Dallas. Menu items include chick-on-a-stick and highly rated hamburgers. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh, suite 145. 741-0817. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-2 am, Sun noon-2 am. Happy hour daily 4-8. MC, AE, V.)
elan. Still the classiest of the Dallas discos-where chic sophisticates boogie and play backgammon with members of their own set. Two dance floors are set in a posh, modern decor and are backed up with a top-notch sound system, elan has surprisingly good food and a tasty Sunday brunch. Happy hour buffet 4-7 pm features a lavish spread. Daily lunch buffet open to the public, but membership required at night. (5111 Greenville. 692-9855. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 am, Sal 7 pm-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. Sun brunch 11-2. All credit cards.)
Four Seasons Ballroom. Big-band music for ballroom dancing. A strict dress code is enforced- dresses for the ladies, and coats and ties for the gentlemen. Only setups, beer and soft drinks are served, except on Fridays, when food is available. Cover varies. Free dance lessons are offered. (4930 Military Pkwy. 349-0390 or 381-9072. Wed 8:45 pm-12:15 am, Fri 9 pm-12:30 am & first Sat of each month 9 prn-1 am.)
Gordo’s. Dark, with jukebox selectors at the red leatherette booths. Gordo’s is at its best during football season, when it’s a comfortable low-key place to have pizza or burgers and watch the game. (4528 Cole. 521-3813. Sun noon-10 pm, Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-6. All credit cards.)
Greenville Avenue Country Club. The old Vagabond Club resurrected, with the backyard swimming pool still the main attraction. The GACC has the usual chicken-fried menu and good drinks for East Dallas loyalists. Minimum age of 21 required. (3619 Greenville. 826-5650. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun noon-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. AE, MC, V.)
Greenville Bar & Grill. “Dallas’ oldest bar” has a browsing rack adjacent to the bar, live music on special party nights, and silver-dollar-sized Formica tables. Hal Baker and the Gloomchasers deliver Dixieland jazz every Sunday and Thursday night. Flash: Management tells us booths are back. ($2 cover). (2821 Greenville. 823-6691. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-2 am. Sun noon-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. AE.)
The Hop. This small, friendly pub has the best munchies in Fort Worth-fried okra and eggplant, for example. The crowd is a happy amalgamation of college students and families. Live music most nights starting around 9. Willis Alan Ramsey and Steve Fromholz are among those who play here with some regularity. Cover after 9 when there is live music. (2905 W Berry, Fort Worth. (817) 923-7281. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun 4 pm-1 am. Happy hour daily 2-7, all day Wed. Daily drink specials. MC, V, AE, DC.)
Joe Miller’s. The media people bar, and a great gathering spot for regulars. The smallness and plainness of the bar are offset by Miller’s personality, as well as by his stiff drinks. (3531 McKinney. 521-2261. Mon-Fri noon-2 am. AE, MC, V.)
Knox Street Pub. An apparent favorite of young professionals, this nostalgic pub features excellent food and a terrific jukebox. (3230 Knox. 526-9476. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Happy hour 4-7. Closed Sun. No credit cards.)
Lakewood Yacht Club. In this neighborhood bar. scores of press photos decorate the walls from eye level all the way up to the incredibly high ceiling. Home-cooked potato chips, really comfortable chairs, a well-stocked jukebox and an interesting clientele. (2009 Abrams. 824-1390. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am. Sal & Sun noon-2 am. AE, MC, V.)
Les Saisons. A captivating cityscape of downtown Dallas makes this bar special. You can gather around the cozy fireplace, sip an icy drink and still have enough quiet to carry on a conversation. Cheery, classy decor-like a French garden room. (165 Turtle Creek Village. 528-1102. Daily 11:30 am-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. All credit cards.)
Lillie Langtry’s Saloon. Antlers on the wall, portraits of actress Langtry, and an informal clientele make up this small, rustic club. More important are the entertainers, who have included talented locals like John DeFoore and Tim Holiday (who call themselves Stumpbroke) and guitarist Delbert Pullen. Nachos and sandwiches served. No cover. (6932 Greenville. 368-6367. Daily noon-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7, Sat & Sun noon-7. AE, MC, V.)
Longhorn Ballroom. Built by Bob Wills in 1950 and later leased by Jack Ruby, the historic Longhorn is Dallas’ definitive c/w dance hall. Here, real and affected cowboys two-step on a roller rink-sized dance floor framed by cactus pillars. Owner Dewey Groom fronts the Longhorn Band nightly and on weekends warms up for big-name acts. Free c/w dance lessons Wednesday and Thursday nights. Cover varies. Setups available. (216 Corinth at Industrial. 428-3128. Wed & Thur 7 pm-12:30 am, Fri & Sat 7 pm-2 am. Sun 5 pm-midnight. All credit cards.)
The Mirage. The setting of this comfortable lobby piano bar is what makes it worth a trip: The Atrium II of Loews Anatole, with its 100-foot-long banners draping from 14 stories, is spectacular. Judy Moore plays pop tunes on the baby grand nightly from 6-11:30 pm. (Loews Anatole. 2201 Stemmons. 748-1200. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun noon-2 am. No music on Sun. All credit cards.)
NFL. One of the friendliest bars in town, the NFL (Nick Farrelley’s Lounge) is a hangout for the Irish. Come here in a rowdy mood-especially on Friday nights when Irish Texans tune up with old Irish folk songs. Dancing, darts and shuffleboard are available for the restless. $2 cover on Fridays. (3520 Oak Lawn. 559-4890. Mon-Fri 4 pm-2 am, Sat6pm-2am. Closed Sun. No credit cards.)
Nick’s Uptown. This is an enormous smoke-filled room dotted with tables, a raised stage in one corner and a bar running almost the length of the room on the opposite side. The club offers a good cross section of music; it is one of the few spots in Dallas to hear well-known Austin bands on a regular basis. Nick’s also books musicians such as Ray Wylie Hub-bard and Delbert McClinton. (3606 Greenville. 827-4802. Mon-Sun 8 pm-2 am. AE, MC, V.)
Papillon. Seating above the dance floor lets you ignore the Beautiful People if you wish. Papillon is usually quiet, with touch-dancing music late in the evening. (7940 N Central. 691-7455. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 am, Sat 6 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. All credit cards.)
Piaf’s. An atrium bar with high ceilings and huge plants. The menu offers basic salads, quiche and hamburgers. (4527 Travis at Knox. 526-3730. Daily 11:30 am-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. Happy hour daily 4-7 pm & 11 pm-closing. Kitchen open till 2 am Thur-Sat, Sun-Wed till midnight. All credit cards.)
Poor David’s Pub. Small, dark, and informal, PD’s has a variety of entertainers like ex-Bees Knees guitarist Anson Funderburgh and his Rockets, a talented, no-nonsense blues band. Good sandwiches available. Cover varies. (2900 McKinney. 821-9891. Mon, Wed Fri 4 pm-2 am. Sat 7 pm-2 am. Happy hour 4-8 pm weekdays. Closed Sun and Tue. Kitchen open till 1 am. Mo credit cards)
Popsicle Toes. Taking its name from a Michael Franks tune, this club’s not long on atmosphere or comfort, but presents a diversity of local jazz. The house band is the funk/jazz unit Buster Brown (Tuesday through Saturday), and on Sunday there’s big-band jazz with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. Cover varies; no cover on Tuesdays. (5627 Dyer. 368-9706. Tue-Sun 8 prn-2 am. Closed Mon. TGIF Fri 4-7 pm. MC, V, AE.)
The Quiet Man. One of the few surviving Sixties quiet places, the small beer garden is a great place to talk-except during rush hour on Knox Street. (3120 Knox. 526-6180. Tue-Thur noon-midnight, Fri & Sat noon-2 am, Sun & Mon 4 pm-midnight. No credit cards.)
Railhead. It’s a shame this bar is so shoddy because the entertainment is often good: primarily comics and popular music copy artists. No cover means huge crowds. Stick to basic drinks or brews: The house wine is truly bad. and the bar can’t seem to handle anything tricky. (6919 Twin Hills. 369-8700. Sun & Mon 5 pm-1 am, Tue-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Happy hour Mon-Fri 5-7. All credit cards.)
San Francisco Rose. A bright, laid-back place, adorned with greenery, a few couches and wingback chairs. Salads, sandwiches and soups are pretty ordinary. (3024 Greenville. 826-2020. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun noon-2 am. AE, MC, V.)
6051 Club. 6051 Club is really just an oversized living room furnished with the kind of tables and chairs your grandmother called her “dinette set.” Some of Dallas’ foremost jazz musicians gather on the crowded stage to play their renditions of classics mixed with their own material. Only one drawback: If you arrive after the first set on weekends, it’s standing room only in the bar. (6051 Forest Ln. 661-3393. Thur-Sat 9 pm-2 am. MC. V.)
St. Martin’s. Small, candle-lit and soothing-as wine bars should be (and too many aren’t). St. Martin’s has made a conscious effort to put a ceiling on wine prices to encourage experimentation. If the result is a wine list composed of lesser vintages, the food alone is still worth a visit: The ham and Swiss sandwich is a perfect foil for a glass of red. (3020 Greenville. 826-0940. Sun & Mon 5-11 pm, Tue-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. All credit cards.)
Stoneleigh P. The long-awaited reopening of this Oak Lawn institution (it burned down in January 1980) took place in July. As one of the regulars describes the new place: “It was like you had this girlfriend you liked a lot and she died. About two years later, you meet a new girl who looks exactly like the old one and talks like her and acts like her, only she’s even better.” The new P has the same casual feel and clientele, but seems more spacious. The menu still has burgers, spinach salad, artichokes and chicken breast sandwiches. (2926 Maple. 741-0824. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. Happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7. No credit cards.)
Strictly Ta-Bu. The consistently decent jazz here ranges from fusion to Forties swing, the crowd is a mix of mature professionals and high school seniors and the decor is vintage art moderno. A separate eating area offers outstanding but small pizzas along with other Italian dishes. Cover on weekends. (4111 Lomo Alto. 522-8101. Food served Mon-Thur 11 am-2:30 pm & 5 pm-midnight, Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5 pm-1 am, Sat & Sun 6 pm-midnight. Bar open until 2 am Mon-Sat. MC, V.)
Texas Tea House. A get-down country place with dancing to the Will Barnes Band in the beer garden outside. Mixed drinks available. (3400 Kings Rd. 526-9171. Tue-Sat 8 pm-2 am. No credit cards.)
Top of the Dome. The only bar in town with several views of the Dallas skyline. Nightly entertainment. Annoying $1 50 charge for elevator ride has been dropped for club-goers. (Reunion Tower. 300 Reunion. 651-1234. Mon-Fri 2 pm-2 am, Sat noon-2 am. Sun noon-midnight. Happy hour Mon-Fri 5-7. All credit cards.)
Venetian Room. A fancy and expensive mock-up of the Doge’s Palace, this supper club attracts couples who appreciate the semiformal dress requirements and who like to fox-trot to an orchestra before the show. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard. 748-5454. Mon-Sat 7 pm-1 am. Shows Mon-Thur 8:30 & 11, Fri &Sat9& 11:30. All credit cards.)
Whiskey River. A rowdy honky-tonk of a place. Top-notch entertainment ranges from Sixties rock ’n’ roll to c/w. Cover varies. (5421 Greenville. 369-9221. Nightly 8 pm-2 am. AE, MC, V.)
The White Elephant. Located In the revived Stockyards District in Fort Worth, this place looks like what all non-Texans think real Texas bars should look like: lots of rough wood, a long bar and a clientele occasionally decked out in western attire. Entertainment varies. (106 E Exchange, Fort Worth. (817) 624-1887. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Closed Sun. MC, AE, V.)
The Wine Press. The Wine Press serves an array of both.California and imported wines. The blackboard offers daily by-the-glass selections, occasionally studded with gems. And unlike many wine bars, the Wine Press also serves a full range of cocktails. (4217 Oak Lawn. 522-8720. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun noon-2 am. No reservations. MC, V, AE.)