Before it was even completed, Grapevine Mills was being touted as the mall to end all malls, the shopping center that would make all others in the metroplex obsolete. Why would anyone want or need to go elsewhere? The Mills has been up and running for almost a year now, and, well, it's just another mall. The fact is, Grapevine Mills is a glorified outlet center, bigger but not necessarily better than the outlet malls in Denton and Hillsboro. But the Mills does have some extras that make the trip to Grapevine worth it, such as the Virgin Megastore and its 30-screen movie theater. Perhaps the best of these extras is Sega GameWorks, a 32,000-square-foot arcade that has almost every type of game you could imagine, and a few that you probably couldn't. The arcade, refined under the supervision of Steven Spielberg, features more than 230 games, including newer virtual reality games as well as older favorites like Pac-Man and Galaga. The games are played using "smart cards," rechargeable debit cards that allow you to walk around without carrying 10 bucks in quarters in your pockets. Grapevine Mills Mall is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, just off Highway 121. Call (972) 539-6757.
Eventually, everything in the world will be controlled by one money-hungry conglomerate led by Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and Starbucks. In fact, Starbucks probably already has done the most damage. There's a Starbucks on practically every city block (except in Oak Cliff, that is), a large-scale invasion that has led people to believe that it's perfectly normal to pay almost $5 for an iced mocha. It's tough to figure out Starbucks' newest venture, Java Jam Fridays. Is it a blind stab at appearing hip, or an attempt by the coffee behemoth to squeeze the last bit of latte out of local coffeehouses? Java Jam Fridays is probably a mixture of both, providing a showcase for local musicians while stealing a little more business away from places like Insomnia and Coffee Haus. Every Friday, different musicians and bands--including TOO Much TV, Bryan Wakeland, Elizabeth Wills, and The Killdares--will take to the stage at various Starbucks locations, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Call the Starbucks nearest you for more details.
Before he died earlier this year, Chris Farley was preparing for one of his pet projects, a film based on the life of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, one of the most popular and creative comic actors of the silent-film era. It wasn't hard to see the connection between the two men; both were brilliant comic actors whose size often overshadowed their talent. But Arbuckle's story is even more tragic than Farley's sudden death. Arbuckle was one of the top stars of his day, with a $1 million contract at Paramount Studios that gave him complete artistic control over all his films. His career was destroyed when a young actress died mysteriously in Arbuckle's hotel room in 1921. He was charged with murder, and though he was later acquitted, the press and the film industry never forgave him. Hip Pocket Theatre tells the story that Farley couldn't in its latest production, Fatty in Babylon, a play that attempts to uncover exactly what happened at that party, and why an innocent Arbuckle was exiled from the film industry. Fatty in Babylon continues through August 30 at the Oak Acres Amphitheater, located at 1620 Las Vegas Trail North in Fort Worth. Performances happen Friday through Sunday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10-$12. Call (817) 246-9775.
As an anchor at CNN Headline News, Bob Losure was at the center of some of the biggest events of the past decade, including the Persian Gulf War and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. His name might not seem familiar, but his face probably is. For the 11 years he worked at CNN, Losure kept many of us informed when the news broke and unfolded. In his new book, Five Seconds to Air: Broadcast Journalism Behind the Scenes, Losure gives an insider's look at how CNN went from an upstart cable network run by an eccentric billionaire to a standard-setter in news reporting. The book also relates some of Losure's best and worst moments as a broadcaster, as well as his theory on how to succeed in the business. The highlight of the book, though, is his account of Ted Turner wandering through CNN headquarters in his pajamas. Losure will sign and discuss Five Seconds to Air at Barnes & Noble, located at 8525 Airport Freeway in North Richland Hills, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call (817) 281-7042.
Some Southern citizens' unbridled devotion to stock-car racing has given the entire region below the Mason-Dixon line a bad name. It's true that the sport has gained more mainstream respect in the past few years, but as long as NASCAR--and Mississippi and Alabama--exist, Southerners will always be thought of as illiterate, gap-toothed rednecks whose greatest passion in life is getting smashed on cheap beer and watching cars go in circles. Apparently, the Galleria has taken an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude. On Monday, the mall hosts the grand opening of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, a new, speedway-themed entertainment center that features personal race training and race-car simulators. Joining in the fun will be NASCAR drivers Dale Jarrett and Jeremy Mayfield. That's exactly what we need: a place that trains people to drive faster on the Tollway. The NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway is located in the Galleria, on the third floor near Nordstrom. The grand-opening festivities start at 7:30 p.m. Call (972) 490-7223
The Ice House Gallery has worked hard over the past year to bring quality Mexican-American art exhibits to the area, and its latest, "Los De Aqui, Los De Alla/Those From Here, Those From There" is no exception. The multimedia exhibit compares the lives of Mexican-Americans and native Mexicans immigrating to the Dallas area. "Los De Aqui, Los De Alla/Those From Here, Those From There" was coordinated by Dallas artist Enrique Fernandez Cervantes and continues through August 29 at the Ice House Gallery, located at 1000 W. Page St. in Oak Cliff. Call (214) 670-3688.
Dallas has lumbered into the retro swing craze with all the grace of a tap-dancing polar bear, joining in on the fun about a year too late. The revival may be about over, but if you still want to hang with the hepcats, you can learn the latest steps at Sand Castle Swing Lounge and Casino. The club offers free swing dance lessons every Wednesday at 8 p.m., and the lessons are open to everyone, including those who aren't entirely sure what swing dancing is. If you're good enough, you can enter the Sand Castle's Sunday-night swing dance contest and pick up an extra $100 to invest in the next fad. The Sand Castle is located at 2829 W. Northwest Highway, one mile east of Harry Hines Boulevard. Call (214) 956-8282.