This weekend’s takeaways: Life+Style

If you weren’t at the Meyerson last night, you missed the historic appearance by former First Lady Laura Bush, appearing with her home town’s gay men’s chorus, the Turtle Creek Chorale, for a program that also featured the Army chorus. It marked the final concert of the TCC’s season, and the first since interim conductor Trey Jacobs was officially named the new permanent artistic director.

Dallas Theater Center’s production of God of Carnage at the Kalita provides a juicy bit of social commentary amid 75 minutes of serious belly laughs. And there’s still time to catch Memphis at Fair Park, an entertaining and occasionally moving musical about the history of rock ‘n’ roll on the radio with some radiant singing. (It was written by Tony winner Joe DiPietro.) The Dallas Children’s Theater wraps up its production of Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly soon with this family-friendly hip-hop musical about embracing differences in one another. And different it is — B.J. Cleveland does drag as a lady fly and Adam Garst cleverly James-Deans his way through the role of an angsty spider.

Mansome is still playing at the Angelika, and you’s be better off catching that — or even The Avengers again — rather than Men in Black 3, although it’s better than the last two. Or kick off summer’s first three-day weekend with some beach reading, especially In One Person, the new one by John Irving with a bisexual hero at its center. The is also Ye Fynall Week-End to enjoy Scarborough Faire, pictured.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Men in Dreck 3

Poor Barry Sonnenfeld. In another life, he was a respected cinematographer, who shot the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, in addition to Misery. He was versatile and quirky. Then he became a director, and that sense of humor became compromised by Hollywood middle-brow aesthetics. The two Addams Family movies had moments, and Get Shorty was actually good, but mostly he’s stuck adding a shiny inconsequentiality to bad action comedies. (His last film as a director, RV in 2006 was a serious flop; he has directed some good TV shows though, notably the short-lived Pushing Daisies.)

I’m sure he cries all the way to the bank, though, as he has directed all of the Men in Black films, including 3, which comes out Friday. These are hugely popular, although frankly, I’ve always been at a loss for why. They are action-comedies that have predictable action and aren’t very funny; special effects spectaculars that undercut their special effects with dumb humor. They have stretched them out over 15 years, so at least we only get bored once in a while, not on a semi-annual basis.

Men in Black 3 is clearly the best in the series, though that is akin to saying the third bout of cholera was the mildest. What started out as a vehicle for Tommy Lee Jones (he got top billing in the first one, remember?) has now marginalized him to the extent he disappears after 25 minutes, not to return again until the last scene. (It’s just as well: He’s begun to look like a saddle with eyebrows.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones