Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is hosting a contest called I Want the Blues! The 12 winners will get their pictures on boxes of Kraft Macaroni, in addition to a $10,000 college scholarship and a family vacation in Orlando, Florida. Personally, we wish they'd hold a contest to replace those kids who sing the "I Want the Blues!" theme on the television commercials with almost anything. We'd even accept the giggly and obnoxious Cheesasaurus Rex, Kraft's big cheese-colored polka-dotted dinosaur. This weekend, he and his "cheeseleaders" are making a few stops at local grocery stores to give away some prizes, collect donated canned goods, and convince kids to enter the contest. Entries will be accepted as a 100-word story, an 8 1/2-by-11-inch drawing, or a 10-word rhyme or slogan, all of which can also be mailed to P.O. Box 35966-OR, Los Angeles, CA 90035-0966. Include name, date of birth, address, day and evening phone numbers, and type of entry. Winners will be chosen from three age groups (4-6, 7-9, 10-12). Contest ends July 10. "I Want the Blues!" parties will be held: June 3, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Tom Thumb, 14999 Preston Road; 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Tom Thumb, 4000 William D. Tate Ave, Grapevine. June 4, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Nelson IGA Food Center, 5401 Park Springs, Arlington; 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Nelson IGA, 9920 White Settlement, Fort Worth. June 5, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Kroger, 752 Wynnewood Village S.C.; 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Kroger, 2524 W. Ledbetter. June 6, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Minyard Food Store, 8200 N. Preston Road; 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Minyard, 4906 N. Jupiter, Garland.
Oh, the "hot sax" jokes we could make about the Dallas Festival of Arts & Jazz, but why should we when John Tesh has already done it so well? Thus far, he has given us Sax All Night, Sax By the Fire, and Sax on the Beach. Tesh won't perform at the festival, but others who play that "smooth jazz with saxophones" will. There's Dallasite Keith Anderson and his band, which has played with local Godsta Kirk Franklin and his Nu Nation, and Gerald Albright, who has performed with Anita Baker and Whitney Houston. Dallas Festival of Arts & Jazz begins June 4 at 6 p.m., when Keith Anderson performs; he will be followed by Fingerprints at 8 p.m. and Gerald Albright at 10 p.m. On June 5 at 6 p.m., David Carr Jr. performs, followed by Joe Vincelli and Warren Hill. Doors open both nights at 5 p.m. $5. VIP seating for $10. Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed; pets and coolers are not. Grassy area adjacent to the Crescent Building at Pearl and McKinney. (214) 855-1881.
Our seventh-grade class went on a historical tour of Fort Worth, which included visiting some cemetery with historical value; it was either the oldest cemetery in Fort Worth or the one with the oldest intact tombstones...or something. The tour guide led our group over to one grave with a metal lid and a marker. Some joker kicked--or as he said, "put his foot on"--the metal lid, and it slid off. Everyone shrieked and squealed, eventually peering over the edge to see, well, nothing. It was empty. It hadn't been vandalized, looted, or anything else exciting. The lid just fell off a lot, but it was a lid with historical value so they kept it. The Dallas Historical Society hopes to teach some avid trekkers about the history of Dallas through tombstones, markers, and mausoleums with its Cemetery Tour. Frances James, the self-proclaimed "Cemetery Lady," will take the tour to Pioneer Cemetery, Emanu-El Cemetery, Freedman's Cemetery, and Oakland Cemetery. The Cemetery Tour departs from Hall of State in Fair Park at 9 a.m. and returns by 2 p.m. They advise the group members to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. $35, including lunch. Call (214)421-4500 ext. 105 to reserve seating.
We've always been intrigued by those late-night television commercials for psychic hotlines. They usually feature some poor schmuck at a shopping mall proclaiming how his or her life was forever changed by the call because it was "so real--they knew all about me." We suspect those psychic lines are using computer profiles of American citizens from the IRS, FBI, and all the major credit-card companies. In return, the credit-card companies get lots of clients charging expensive calls to psychic hotlines. We're interested to find out how the psychics are going to "do readings" at Dallas' own Psychic Fair. Maybe there'll be a hidden teleprompter or something like, "Write down your birth date, your zip code, and your Social Security number, and come back in an hour." Of course, with $7 admission and $10 a reading, we're not that interested to find out. The Psychic Fair offers readings in 15 categories, including Tarot cards, astrology, palmistry, and past life. There will also be on-site massage and booths selling natural health items, tapes, crystals, jewelry, and candles. Funny, they didn't mention anything about lucky charms or snake oil. Psychic Fair is open noon to 6 p.m. Holiday Inn Select, LBJ Freeway and Jupiter Road. Call (972) 241-4876.
First Monday Classics presents The Hidden Fortress, Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film about a general, a princess, and two squabbling farmers looking for a hidden fortress. It inspired George Lucas to create a movie about a Jedi knight, a princess, and two squabbling droids looking for The Death Star. The Dallas Public Library is milking the mania with a lecture about the literary aspects of Star Wars. The event is free and features dramatic readings, contests, and activities. The library is probably hoping to get more kids to read during the summer. Doesn't it realize that nerdy Star Wars fans don't need to stay inside more? It should try to get them outdoors. The Hidden Fortress. 7:30 p.m. $6-$7. USA Film Festival, 6116 N. Central Expressway, Suite 105. (214) 821-FILM. Star Wars at Dallas Public Library. 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. June 7, "Secret Messages of Star Wars," presented by Martha Satz of SMU. 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. June 8, "Beyond Special Effects & Storyboards: The Enduring Literary Elements of Star Wars," presented by Ona Berry of SMU. Lecture series continues June 10 and June 12. Dallas Public Library, Audelia Road Branch, 10045 Audelia Road. (214)670-1350.
On February 3, 1959, Tommy Allsup lost a coin toss to Ritchie Valens. Valens won a seat on a plane that crashed, killing him, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper. Allsup lost the seat and kept his life. Today he (along with Leon Rausch) leads the latest incarnation of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. Wills popularized Western swing music in the '30s, '40s, and '50s with his band's non-country instruments and jazz-like improvisations. Since Wills' death in 1975, some of the band members have continued to play together. Here, we'll make it simple for the kids: Bob Wills' Texas Playboys influenced Merle Haggard, who influenced The Old 97's. See, they're cool. Irving Arts Center presents the Texas Roadhouse Concert featuring Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. 7 p.m. $8. North parking lot of Irving Arts Center, 3333 N MacArthur Blvd., Suite 300, Irving. (972) 252-ARTS.
In Feng Shui, the Chinese art of placement, the goal is to create happiness through a balance of one's chi (life force) and the environment's chi. We've never tried this, but we're doing OK--even though our environmental chi is probably lost somewhere in our bedroom, beneath a pile of clothes or misplaced in a stack of CDs. Didn't someone say that chaos is a sign of genius? If so, Sparky Litman in Stanley Rutherford's The Chinese Art of Placement is a true genius. Hoping to restore some balance to his life, he burns his poetry and proclaims himself an ex-poet. While trying to spruce up his low-rent apartment with Feng Shui, he ends up stressing over where to put one chair. The Chinese Art of Placement is a staged reading and part of Kitchen Dog Theater's New Works Festival. Readings happen Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. through June 13 and are pay-what-you-can. McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave., Suite 100. Call (214) 953-1055.