The Texas Accordion Association is sponsoring the National Accordion Convention and Accordion Millennium Celebration this weekend, and we're still trying to figure out how it can welcome accordionists from 25 different states and England, including five-time Grammy winner Tim Alexander and Texas folk legend Ponty Bone, and not involve Jon "Corn Mo" Cunningham in the proceedings. Sure, it may have invited him to attend, but why not let him headline the damn thing? No matter how much you love accordion music, and God bless you if that's true, it's bound to get old after, oh, an hour or so. Seriously, we can't imagine anything more tedious than listening to nothing but accordions all day long. At least Cunningham makes it fun, his heavy metal covers and hilarious originals (Our favorite: "Gary Busey Boy") tricking you into forgetting what he's playing them on. It might be too late this time, but the Texas Accordion Association should really think about that next year. The National Accordion Convention is mainly open to, duh, accordionists, but the public can attend a vaudeville show from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, featuring 15 different performers, including the Dallas Banjo Band, and an accordion concert from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday featuring a 60-member accordion orchestra. Both events are $5, and children are admitted for free. The convention happens at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 700 E. Central in Plano. Call (972) 881-1881.
While we were in high school, we harbored dreams of one day playing in the NBA. Then we started smoking, and our new goal became walking up a flight of stairs without wheezing. Our time has regrettably passed, but if you still think you have what it takes to play professional basketball, the United States Basketball League is holding a free-agent tryout on Saturday at the Texas Club. Sure, it's not the NBA, but it's where pint-sized former slam-dunk contest champion Spud Webb and freak-of-nature center Manute Bol got their starts before heading off to the NBA. And we can guarantee you, any team in the USBL would beat the Dallas Mavericks like they stole something. Kevin Mackey, who has won back-to-back coach-of-the-year trophies in the USBL, will conduct the tryout. For $50, you get a tryout and a shoot-around jersey, and the knowledge that you at least gave it a shot. Not a bad deal. The Texas Club is located at 800 Main St. Call (214) 706-3651 for more information.
There's something about the 24th Annual Prairie Dog Chili Cook Off that we're not sure about. No, it's not the actual contest, which annually draws a crowd of around 80,000 people and 100 chili cooks from around the state to Traders Village in Grand Prairie. Hey, we like chili as much as the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be a 350-pound trucker with an iron stomach. It's the "pickled quail egg eating contest" that scares us, because a) we have no idea what a pickled quail egg looks or, more importantly, smells like, and b) we don't want to. Of course, we're probably in the minority, especially among the crowd at Traders Village this weekend, which will also line up to watch such homespun events as the Cuzin Homer Page Invitational Eat-and-Run Stewed Prune Pit Spitting Contest, the anvil toss, and the lemon roll. And imagine, some people around the country still think Texas is full of hicks and rednecks. We'll show them, right? The 24th Annual Prairie Dog Chili Cook Off happens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and is free. Parking is $2. Traders Village is located at 2602 Mayfield Road in Grand Prairie. Call (972) 647-2531.
The Texas Bound portion of the Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letters Live keeps chugging along this week with "Texas Bound from Broadway," featuring stories by Doris Lessing, John Updike, and T.C. Boyle read by Estelle Parsons, Joe Spano, and Isaiah Sheffer. We want to go solely for the fact that Parsons will be on hand. She won an Academy Award for her performance in Bonnie & Clyde, and anyone who can upstage Roseanne whatever-her-last-name-is-now--which she did as Bev, Roseanne's lesbian mother on Roseanne--is worth watching. Readings happen at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the DMA's Horchow Auditorium, 1717 N. Harwood. These shows are sold out, but released tickets may be available 45 minutes before the show. Call (214) 922-1220 or (214) 922-1219.