Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: May 9

My friend Pam really loves sharks, which of course means she loves Shark Week but also that the background on her laptop is usually a big, yawning jaw with a bunch of bloody teeth. We call him “Sharkey,” which is only cute because he’s on a computer screen and I wasn’t his chew toy.

If she lived in Dallas, she would attend tonight’s lecture of the Museum of Nature and Science. In conjunction with the museum’s Planet Shark exhibit, Dr. Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) senior scientist and whale shark researcher, will shed some light on what sea creatures do down there all day long. This is a pretty cool get–I had the pleasure of dealing with WHOI when I did some freelance research for an episode of NOVA Science Now and learned far, far too much about the neurological patterns of cephalopods. Their expertise is incredible. According to Dr. Thorrold’s bio, he uses ” techniques that span isotope geochemistry, DNA sequencing and satellite archival tags” to track what whale sharks get up to (along with many, many other things, such as studying the dispersal of reef fish larvae.) The lecture is free, you just have to register.

Elsewhere, the Dallas Center for Architecture hosts a screening of The Art of the Steal, a documentary that I’ve been meaning to see but never quite managed. FrontRow’s Peter Simek liked it, back when the doc was playing in theaters. It follows the posthumous struggle for control of art collector/misanthropic billionaire Albert Barnes’ collection.

Peter sums Barnes up better than I could: “Collecting in the early twentieth century, Barnes began to purchase works by emerging European artists who were thumbed at the time by the artistic establishment, people like Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir and Modigliani. Barnes was meticulous and thorough in his collecting, with an eye that zeroed in not only on works by seminal artists, but often their best pieces. As a result Barnes established one of the finest collections of art in the world. Appraisers laugh when asked how much it is worth. Billions of dollars doesn’t come close–it is beyond priceless.” During his life, Barnes scorned institutions and made provisions for his collection to remain in the building/art school that he’d built to house it after his death. Predictably, however, his death was quickly followed by a circling of vultures, using the financial straits of Barnes’ foundation to wrest control of his prized collection. As usual, there will be a short, casual conversation after the screening for those who’d like to stick around.

For more to do tonight, go here.