Spring is time for festivals: arts festivals, beer festivals, music festivals. But very few of those are entertaining for everybody. You wouldn't want your kids tagging along to a place where people are tasting beers from around the state. Celebrating its 28th year, ARTFEST is one of the few festivals that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. For the kids, there is a large interactive area that features arts and crafts activities and various stage presentations, and the adults can enjoy performances by bluesman Jimmie Vaughan, the Calways, and Cafe Noir. Art by more than 300 artists from across the country also will be on display. ARTFEST begins Friday and continues through Sunday in Fair Park. Tickets are $6. Call (214) 369-0500.
Not too long ago, trading cards came with bubble gum--if you could call it that--and the professional athletes that adorned the cards signed them for free. Now, the bubble gum is gone, and so are the free signings. Athletes today won't even sign a card that comes from a company with which they don't have an endorsement contract. It used to be so simple: Kids would crowd around the field before a game, and the athletes would gladly stop by and sign; ask your old man one day about the signatures of Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath, and Joe DiMaggio he's got stashed in the attic. Now, to get a player's autograph, you have to either give them a check to endorse or go to a sports collectible show. This weekend, Johnny Unitas, Jerry Rice, and Marcus Allen will headline the Tri-Star Collectors Show. Appearing along with them will be New York Giants Hall of Fame slugger Willie McCovey (a former Dallas Eagle, no less, featured in this week's story "A bush league of their own" on Page 13), wrestlers Steve "Mongo" McMichael and Booker T., and the man with the glass jaw, boxer Gerry Cooney, billed as a "legendary heavyweight boxer." Sure. The Tri-Star Collectors Show happens May 23-25 at Dallas Market Hall. Autograph prices vary. Call (972) 682-9060 for more information.
Medeski, Martin and Wood sounds like the name of a really bad '70s rock supergroup (Bachman Turner Overdrive; Emerson, Lake, and Palmer). The band started out as a minor hit with jazz fans, and they might have gone unnoticed by jam-rock fans if Phish hadn't recommended them so highly in their fan newsletter. It makes sense that Phish would align themselves with Medeski, Martin and Wood, because the two bands share the same sort of mentality, if not the same exact style of music. (Organist John)Medeski, (drummer Billy) Martin and (bassist Chris) Wood's funky brand of free jazz might be more reminiscent of Miles Davis' fusion projects in the '70s, but they play it so loud and energetically that rock fans would have probably found them eventually. Medeski, Martin and Wood play Trees on Sunday, May 24. Call 748-5009.
We don't want to jinx anything. We don't want to talk about how good the Texas Rangers are playing this year, or how great pitcher Rick Helling has been. So we won't. We know that it is only May, and the Rangers have broken our hearts all too frequently. We'd rather talk about how bad the Minnesota Twins are. It's hard to imagine that a team this bad used to be so good--they even went to a World Series in the early '90s. Now, the only reason they haven't lost more games is because there are two expansion teams, and the world champion Florida Marlins gutted their entire team (look, Piazza won't even have to pay a month's rent). Somewhere, Kirby Puckett is crying. The Rangers play the Twins on Monday at 7:35 p.m. at The Ballpark at Arlington, located at 1000 Ballpark Way. (817) 273-5100.
Did the we need another wave of Osmond entertainers? It's debatable, but the smart money says that if another Osmond never set foot on a stage, we would learn to deal with it. It doesn't look like we'll get the chance to find out though, because David Osmond--Donny's nephew--is in town starring in the title role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical based on the classic Bible story. The role of Joseph is beginning to be somewhat of an Osmond trademark; Donny had a bit of a resurgence with the role for several years, before killing his career (again) with an ill-timed jab at Rosie O'Donnell. We're not trying to bring David Osmond's young career crashing down before it even begins, but with the Hanson brothers already making the young girls scream, there's only room enough for one squeaky-clean family act. Actually, maybe one's too many. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through May 31; matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday. $7-$50. Music Hall at Fair Park. (214) 373-8000.
The Undermain Theatre's latest production, Babbler, has one of the most intriguing premises in quite some time. Two bizarre individuals--one dressed as a clown, the other as a duck--are shooting a snuff film. The play is a twisted mess of sex, violence, video, and murder that investigates the masks people wear to protect themselves from others. The workshop production ends the Undermain's superb 14th season. Babbler opens Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at The Basement Space, 3200 Main, and continues through June 6. All shows are "pay-what-you-can." Call (214) 747-5515.