This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

 Thursday, July 10
Bela Lugosi will always be Count Dracula. He was even buried in the cape he wore in the movie. But some critics say there is a better vampire film than the one Lugosi starred in, and the story behind it is worthy of a movie itself. While Lugosi snarled and swirled his cape during the day in Tod Browning's version, a different cast and crew shot their own Dracula on the same set at night. Filmed in Spanish with a Spanish and Mexican crew, the film known as Spanish Dracula is considered more erotic and truer to Bram Stoker's book because of the less strict standards of Spanish censors. The only thing missing is Lugosi, of course. Vistas Film Festival will screen this version in Spanish with English subtitles in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., at 8 p.m. Tickets are $3 to $6. Call Vistas at 214-826-9560.

Friday, July 11
Actor and comedian Paul J. Williams is already experienced in coming out; now he's learning about coming home. The writer and star of the plays Best Little Homo in Texas and Just As I Am: Confessions of a Creative Child moved from Dallas to New York City in 1997 and honed his cabaret skills. He recently returned to Dallas, and he's performing an encore of Dishing It Out, his one-man, six-character play about lunchtime in a Southern diner. But he's no "Just Jack" like on Will & Grace. Instead his work has been likened to a single-handed version of Greater Tuna. Williams will portray everyone from a chain-smoking real estate agent to a narrow-minded preacher in Dishing It Out, which runs one weekend only at the Trinity River Arts Center, 2600 Stemmons Freeway. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $17. Call 214-630-5491.

Saturday, July 12
Our childhood free summer fun usually involved just swaying on a rickety tire swing or playing in the neighbors' water sprinkler--basically, a lawsuit waiting to happen and criminal trespass. So in these litigation-happy times, we'd suggest instead attending Free Admission Day at the Dallas Children's Museum. In addition to the ongoing exhibits such as Discover! The Rain Forest, the hands-on play museum features special activities, including crafts with artists Vet and Junanne Peck, a demonstration by the Southwest Dairy Farmers, shopping in the mini Kroger Grocery Store and visits from the Chick-Fil-A cow and the fire department's Freddie the Fire Engine. Admission is free from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the activities taking place during varying hours all day. The Dallas Children's Museum is inside Valley View Center next to JC Penney. Call 972-386-6555.

Ready for takeoff: Outside the Lines with "Dual Motives" by Sheila Cunningham
Ready for takeoff: Outside the Lines with "Dual Motives" by Sheila Cunningham

Sunday, July 13
The Latino Film Series isn't the kind of movie marathon that will have you laughing so hard you choke on your malted milk balls. The first installment of this festival produced by the Fort Worth Community Theatre and the Latin Arts Association features three films in Spanish and English that tread difficult ground. There's Boom, the story of a young soldier who must re-evaluate his life and his relationships after a land mine accident; Going Back to Where We Came From, a documentary about Mexican and Central American connections; and El Chiclero, a short film about a 12-year-old boy crossing the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez while selling gum to help support his family. The films start at 2 p.m. Admission is free. The series is offered in conjunction with the Hispanic Playwrights Festival, which runs Thursday through July 26 also at the Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N. Main St., Fort Worth. Play tickets are $7 to $12, or $15 for a festival pass. For info on both events, call 817-624-8333.

Monday, July 14
We've never been able to eat frog's legs thanks to The Muppet Movie and its plot involving Kermit the Frog being pursued by a restaurateur. But those who haven't seen the film--or have and can still eat frog's legs, the heartless bastards--can chomp on amphibian limbs during Jeroboam's Frog's Leap Dinner. The evening features wines from Napa's Frog's Leap vineyard, four courses, including tempura-battered skewered frog's legs and, since it is the French holiday Bastille Day, French jokes (the teller of the best will receive a magnum of wine). The event starts with cocktails at 7 p.m., and dinner begins 30 minutes later. In addition to celebrating the storming of the Bastille and the Dallas stop of Frog's Leap, the dinner also features the unveiling of Jeroboam's new "globally oriented" wine list with 100 selections from 20 countries. Reservations for dinner are $65 per person. Jeroboam, 1501 Main St. Call 214-748-7226.

Tuesday, July 15
We must admit we've always had a crush on Food Network chef David Rosengarten, despite that during his show Taste he appeared pudgy, bearded, stuttering and frequently covered in flour. But he would spend an entire episode just making french fries or Philadelphia cheese steak. It's true: The way to our heart is through our stomach. But equally endearing is the fact that Rosengarten was the anti-Emeril. He never needed to bam his way through six dishes in an hour with a live band and comic relief. Taste was filmed in a space with blank white walls and floors with simple metal chef racks and countertops. And the setting was like the food: simple, timeless and never boring. But underneath the simplicity was true expertise. He's written for Gourmet, The New York Times, Food & Wine and more, plus he's written several cookbooks. His latest has the tentative title of It's All American Food, which he's promoting with a tour of Central Market Cooking Schools. The five dishes he'll be teaching are some of his favorites from the book, which is like a road map of American foods. Rosengarten will be at Central Market Dallas on Monday, and on Tuesday he'll visit locations in Fort Worth and Plano. Visit www.centralmarket.com for his schedule.

Wednesday, July 16
We were an expert at coloring outside the lines. Not content to be confined to the pages of the coloring books, we went even farther outside, making wallpaper, picture books, even our baby dolls into canvases to showcase our talent. But even we--unrestrained by formal training or parental guidance--weren't cutting-edge enough for the Bath House Cultural Center's Outside the Lines series of exhibits. The annual juried show celebrates the "transcendent, innovative and experimental" creations by local and regional artists working in paint, sculpture, photography, etching and mixed media. This year's exhibit (judged by Paul Rogers Harris, Maria Teresa Garcia Pedroche and Kathleen Dello Stritto) features 30 artists, including Maria Benitez, J.R. Compton, Leticia Huerta and Giselda-Heidi Strunck, and runs through August 2. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but during the Festival of Independent Theatres it will be open until 10 p.m. Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Call 214-670-8749.

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