What do you get when the best chefs in Dallas put their heads (and their hearts) together? Try a culinary occasion of gastronomic proportion and a perfect description of “April in Paris,” the annual benefit for FOCAS. This event continues to fund a decidedly worthy cause-representing abused and neglected children in the court/welfare system. Tickets are $85 per person, and even at that they go fast, so call 827-8961 now. April 8 at The Fairmont Hotel.
Sports The Branders Jeans Tour of Texas, one of the most prestigious cycling races in the world, hits the streets on March 30 with competing bicyclists from 15 countries racing through Texas cities, with a grand finale finish in Fort Worth on April 8. Only five women from Texas have been invited to compete in this international race, and only one is from Dallas, 29-year-old Andree Falls. Andree, who is chef and owner of Parigi’s, used to run marathons to keep in shape. Several years ago, after deciding to spend a vacation visiting the great restaurants of France, she took up cycling so she could ride from restaurant to restaurant. She rode 80 to 100 miles each day, never gaining an ounce between escargot and creme brulee. Andree considers herself one of the most inexperienced women competing in this race, but still thinks she has a good chance at finishing in the top half.
Down San Antone Way
GETAWAY Long before the ascendancy of Santa Fe as the mecca of things Southwestern, Texans understood the real meaning of the word by immersing themselves in the culture and history of San Antonio. Now the most mesmerizing of Texas cities gears up for its shamelessly spectacular Fiesta, April 20-29, honoring the heroes of the Alamo and the 1836 battle for Texas independence. Parties, crowds, exotic foods, music festivals, sporting events, art shows, and dazzling parades (the Battle of Flowers parade on Friday afternoon, April 27, is the biggie) take over the city. But don’t expect to find an available room in a choice hotel (even if you’re a direct descendant of Davy Crockett) unless you call immediately. For specifics on the Fiesta happenings call (512) 227-5191.
Other weekends offer a less hectic chance to see what’s new in Old San Antonio. At the top of the list: the Majestic Theatre, 212 E. Houston, (512) 226-3333, recently restored to its 1929 grandeur. Its rococo interior re-creates a Mediterranean/Moorish village in wonderfully gaudy, early Hollywood style, down to the fake palm trees and blinking stars.
Try to stay at one of the historic hotels downtown, including the St. Anthony, 300 E. Travis, (512) 227-4392, with its antique-laden Front lobby, or the small but illustrious Fairmount. 401 S. Alamo, 1-800-642-3363. And if you can’t hack the five-hour drive, call Southwest Airlines, 263-1717. -Derro Evans
Ethnic Markets Can’t find preserved duck eggs or prepared ghee? Here’s where you do-it-yourselfers can find specialty ingredients not stocked at your corner grocer or superstore.
Golden Pacific Supermarket. This remarkable store is the Simon David of Oriental cooking, and it’s not all Chinese; there are sections of Japanese, Korean, and Thai ingredients, too. 2108 E. Arapaho Rd., Richardson. 234-5666.
Taj Mahal. There are several Indian grocers in this area, but this is probably the best. 66 Richardson Heights (Central and Belt Line). 644-1329.
Kazy’s. This is the only Japanese market in Dallas; there’s a whole section here of sushi ingredients, and sashimiquality fish in the refrigerated case. You can also buy prepared sushi. 8989 Forest Lane (at Greenville), 235-4831.
Siam Grocery Seafood and Video. The name says it all-this is the best source for all things Thai, including movies. 2636 N. Fitzhugh. 823-8676.
Worldwide Food Inc. There are several good sources for Middle Eastern foodstuffs in Dallas, hut Worldwide is probably the most complete, stocking Italian, Greek, and Ethiopian foods as well as Middle Eastern. 1907 Greenville Ave. 824-8860. -Mary Brown Malouf
Choose from more than 50,000 books at the Dallas Public Library’s annual book sale, April 27-29. Prices range from 50 cents to $2. Rare and first-edition books are slightly higher. 670-1400.
David Lvnch’s Somber Palette
ART Evoking dark and often disturbing images, director David Lynch enjoys creating a mood. In his hit cult films Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, Lynch carefully tailors his movie sets, background music, and actors1 performances to develop a mood at once familiar and strangely uncomfortable. Creating what he calls “violent comedies,” Lynch uses odd visions to poke fun at the dark underside of life. This same attention to mood is reflected in his art. His watercolors, chalk drawings, and oil paintings share the same contrasts, alternating between floating, sometimes child-like images and dark, foreboding shapes. Lynch’s palette is almost devoid of color, preferring a range of gray and brown tones. “Colors just don’t sing the right song to me. I like kind of muddy stuff… It better reflects what I am feeling.”
Critics have been impressed with Lynch’s artwork. To date he has had two shows in the U.S., including one in the prestigious Leo Castelli gallery in New York. This month his work will be exhibited at the N. Noil Gallery here. Lynch said he picked the N. No.0 because it accurately reflects the atmosphere of his work. “I feel the people there really appreciated my work.” The show runs April 7 through May 12.
The Celebratory Beadwork of the Ndebele
CULTURE Africa offers few sights more striking than the painted houses of the Ndebele tribe of southern Africa.
Years ago, the South African government forcibly “relocated” the Ndebeles from their historic homeland to a small, barren reservation north of Pretoria. The Ndebele survived the move, and so did their art. While the men spend their days traveling to and from menial jobs in Pretoria and other large cities (a journey that consumes as many as ten hours), the women continue to cover the walls, gables, and gateways of their mud huts with a dazzling array of geometric designs, painted freehand without preliminary sketches or plans.
Next to bringing an actual Ndebele dwelling to town, the best thing would be a generous sample of the tribe’s equally dazzling bead work. And that is just what Shango Galleries has done for its April 7-May 5 benefit exhibit fur the opening of the Dallas Zoo’s “Wilds of Africa” display. (The zoo has adopted Ndebele motifs to decorate its new monorail.)
Like the houses, the beadwork aprons, wedding garments, shawls, skirts, and dance batons are also the work of the women, who use the same bold geometric patterns-zigzags, checkerboards, triangles, even motifs inspired by the numerals on license plates. Earlier works, on hide, are outlined in white and filled in with reds, greens, and yellows. More recent pieces, on canvas, make use of the dark blue, violet, and black beads that have been available to the Ndebeles only since the Fifties.
In KwaNdebele, the Ndebele’s new “home,” such finery is used to celebrate special occasions like initiation ceremonies, betrothals, and weddings. But its survival and its exhibit here are cause enough for celebration.
Shango Galleries, 2916 McKinney Ave., Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. or by appointment. 744-4891. -Ken Barrow
WORDS OF WISDOM
Susan Sontag, essayist and social documentarian, discusses her book, AIDS and Its Metaphors, April 19 at Brookhaven College. Call 620-4118 for details.
Connemara Conservancy is a calm haven of environmental sculpture, a 72-acre oasis only 30 minutes from the city. In April and May, venture out for a free “sunset concert.” Call 521-4896 for a schedule and directions.
Surroundsound at the Meyerson
MUSIC If you attended any of the opening concerts at the Meyerson Symphony Center, and you think you’ve heard the new hall in its fullest acoustic splendor-think again. On April 12-14, the Meyerson will be musically transformed as sound emanates from every unoccupied cubicle and corner. You might say the hall will become an instrument itself, in the hands of one of the most innovative American composers in recent years, Henry Brant.
Since 1950, the 76-year-old, California-based composer has composed “spatial music.” It’s music written for a particular performance space, with the strategic placement of musicians throughout the hall (in this case inside the reverberation chambers, the lofts, beneath the organ pipes) essential to the composition. Brant’s newest piece, “Prisons of the Mind-A Spatial Symphony” (named for the 18th-century drawings that inspired Meyerson architect I.M. Pei), was written especially for the Meyerson, with its unique acoustic design and antiphonal possibilities. “The work can’t be performed anywhere else with the same results,” says Dallas Symphony Orchestra resident conductor James Rives-Jones, who will be one of eight conductors working simultaneously.
All listeners are guaranteed to be surrounded by sound as Brant creates an atmosphere that is literally music-filled, with ensembles interacting across the vast spaces of the concert hall. In addition to the symphony, “Prisons of the Mind” will also feature the Lake Highlands and Richardson High School concert bands and steel drummers from the University of North Texas. If this isn’t the truest test of the Meyerson’s range and flexibility, it should be the most scintillating.
Earth Day: 1990
The Daily Planet Twenty years ago this month, a vast number of American citizens navigated the uncharted waters of a new national awareness. These prescient pioneers took aim at ecological reform in one massive effort, a 24-hour celebration that transcended typical demographic boundaries, touching every level of our society. That event was Earth Day.
Years have passed. Years that have seen the depletion of the world’s rain forests, the development of holes in the ozone layer, and massive oil-spill devastation. Not exactly reason to celebrate, but April 22, or Earth Day 1990, marks an anniversary of sorts, and a renewed attempt at shaking up our complacent attitudes about all things ecological. Organizers hope to use this event to launch a “decade of the environment,” promoting a deeper sense of responsibility for the protection of the planet by individuals, communities, and corporations.
On a local level, the celebratory efforts are being coordinated under the “Earth Fair Texas” umbrella and will take place at Fair Park, April 19-27. At press time, a variety of activities were being planned, geared toward educating and motivating local citizenry through music, seminars, lectures, and entertainment. Perhaps at the end of this nine-day event we’ll realize the necessity of living an environmentally sensitive life. Then maybe we won’t need an Earth Day 2010. For information call 522-9650. -Anne Warren