No matter whether they'd admit it, many people have a secret jones for bad art, that is, paintings of dogs playing poker or portraits of Elvis Presley rendered on velvet or anything else you could find at a flea market or in the confines of a double-wide trailer home. It's the old "that dog is so ugly he's cute" syndrome, causing people to buy footstools with sneakers on them and miniature airplanes made out of beer cans. The Contemporary Art Center of Fort Worth has rounded up choice selections from area flea markets, thrift stores, and junk dealers for a special benefit show, Bad Art is a Terrible Thing to Waste. The exhibit will feature paint-by-number works, velvet paintings, and other forms of "art gone awry." Some of the items will be available for purchase--if you're so inclined--and others will be given away as door prizes. Bad Art is a Terrible Thing to Waste happens on Thursday from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Salon Nuvo, 4816 Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. Admission is $10. Call (817) 738-6886.
The last time we went out to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, we won. We actually bet on a horse that crossed the finish line first. In fact, the horse we picked was the winner by more than 10 lengths. Of course, you get paid the same whether your horse wins by a nose or a quarter-mile. And, winning one race didn't make up for the finish of the previous six, when the horses we picked were so far behind, it was hard to tell if they were even in the race at all. Still, we were so happy we picked a winner, we didn't care about the cash we dropped. We left that night a few dollars poorer, but with the determination that next time, we would win every race or go broke trying. This could very well be the beginning of a gambling problem. Lone Star Park kicks off its Fall Meeting of Champions on Friday, a 33-day season that will feature quarter horse racing Wednesday through Saturday until November 28. Post time for the first race is at 6:35 p.m. Admission is $2-$5. Call (972) 263-RACE.
Kids today don't want to go camping. They'd rather get fat and pasty off of junk food and hours of playing WCW vs. NWO on their Sony Playstation than rough it outdoors with a tent and a couple of packages of beef jerky. We don't want to get too high on the soapbox, though; we probably couldn't set up a tent if you gave us all day and did half of the work for us. But there are still a few people out there who can handle themselves outdoors, including mastery of old hunting techniques. They can sink a knife or tomahawk into a bull's-eye from 20 paces with the mere flick of their wrist. Our coonskin cap is off to these individuals, and you can take yours off to them as well at the Historic Mountain Man Tomahawk & Knife Competition at Traders Village in Grand Prairie. The competition--which remembers a time, the 1840s, when knowing how to use a knife or tomahawk wasn't just for fun--will begin each day at 10 a.m. for men, women, and juniors, and includes several tests of accuracy and skill. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each event. There will also be educational demonstrations of food preparation and cooking techniques, handmade crafts, period clothing, and much more. The Historic Mountain Man Tomahawk & Knife Competition happens on Saturday and Sunday at Traders Village, 2602 Mayfield Road in Grand Prairie. Admission is free; parking is $2. Call (972) 647-2331.
Probably one of the worst developments of the latter part of the 20th century is the increase in size in car-stereo speakers. We like driving with the radio cranked up more than anyone, but the size of some of these things is just ridiculous. There are speakers so big that all you can hear is throbbing bass and the pavement being shaken apart. We can't tell you how many times we've been sound asleep and been awakened by a noise that closely approximated the sound of King Kong jogging. Now, to make a bad situation worse, there is an actual contest sponsored by some organization called the International Auto Sound Challenge Association that awards people for these adventures into imbecility-- the 1998 IASCA World Invitational Finals. More than 300 vehicle owners will compete for cash and prizes and the unadulterated hatred of every resident who lives within a five-mile radius of the Dallas Convention Center. The vehicles will be judged in several categories, including installation and sound quality. The only thing that could be worse than this is a Loudest Car Alarm contest. But we're sure it's only a matter of time. The IASCA World Invitational Finals happen on Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the Dallas Convention Center. Call (214) 939-2700.
It still doesn't really feel like it, but fall is upon us. Pretty soon, the leaves will change colors and a cool, crisp breeze will make shorts irrelevant for a while. At least we hope. One of the best places to enjoy the changing of the seasons is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The Arboretum, located on the shores of White Rock Lake, is beautiful this time of year, as the colors turn from green to brown and the weather is good enough to enjoy the scenery. Plus, on every weekend until November, the Arboretum will present its annual Family Harvest Festival, an event that focuses on special fall crops. The festival kicks off on Saturday. The Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is $3-$6; parking is $3. Call (214) 327-8263.