We like to think of ourselves as a beer ambassador, spreading good will as we introduce various European beers to our American gastrointestinal system. But Mark Monfrey is really a bier ambassador, teaching people about Belgium and its 10 types of beers, from Saison, beers produced at breweries with farmhouse status, to Witbier, spicy pale golden beers. There are more than 450 varieties in Belgium, which, according to the Union of Belgian Brewers, is a "beer paradise." Monfrey will be the tour guide when he and Whole Foods Market's beer specialist Donald Jones host the class called Belgian Beer Tasting. Several types of Belgian beers will be served, accompanied by mussels, sausage and other traditional Belgian dishes. The class is 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, and admission is $8. Register at the customer service desk at the store, 2218 Greenville Ave. at Belmont Avenue. Call 214-824-1744.
Friday, September 3
Watercolor painting is the medium of choice for artistic grandmothers and people who spend too much time admiring gardens. You just never see a really good abstract or expressionistic piece in the light, muted, non-threatening palate of watercolors. Watercolor painting, however, takes skill. You can't paint over a mistake with the transparent colors as you can with thick oils. Check out Texas' best watercolorists during the Southwestern Watercolor Society's 41st Membership Show, which runs Friday through September 18 by Neiman Marcus in NorthPark Center. The 82 paintings included were chosen by juror Don Andrews, a past president of the American Watercolor Society, from submissions sent in from Texas and surrounding states. In addition to the exhibit itself, the SWS will host watercolor demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. A final reception and awards presentation is 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. September 12.
Saturday, September 4
Julia Child may have been a fancy chef with cookbooks, TV shows, shelves of awards and an encyclopedic knowledge of French food, but she also liked the simple stuff. She wasn't a snob. She didn't overprepare. She enjoyed Caesar salads and croque madame sandwiches. Sure, she could soufflé and vichyssoise with the best of them, but it was because she loved food, not to prove her worth. I don't know what will be on the menu for Julia's Day, Sur La Table's homage to Julia Child through back-to-back demonstrations--with tastings!--of her favorite recipes. But we're crossing our fingers for the Queen of Sheba cake with chocolate, rum and pulverized almonds. The event is free and takes place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the store, 4527 Travis St. Raffle tickets will be on sale for $20 benefiting The Culinary Trust, and prizes include 12 one-year packages of cooking classes in Sur La Table's culinary program. Reservations are recommended, so call 214-219-4404.
Sunday, September 5
Dallas: The Home of Natural, Understated Beauty. Arlington: Culture Capital, U.S.A. Irving: No Strip Malls Here. Fort Worth: We're Not That Far Away. Any city slogan is possible when Bedford gets to call itself the home of the blues each September during The City of Bedford's 2004 Labor Day Blues and Music Festival. C'mon, Bedford? The blues are dirty, grungy, sexy, sad, hopeless and mournful. Bedford is...well, we don't even know where Bedford is. West, right? But Bedford scores a coup with Los Lonely Boys and Cross Canadian Ragweed headlining this year's two-day festival. In addition to the many performers, there will be Kids Alley with face painting and rock climbing, Arts Alley with arts-and-crafts vendors and Culinary Alley with festival foods. The festival is 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1613 Hospital Parkway, near the intersection of Highway 121 and Airport Freeway. Admission is $5. Call 817-571-9665.
Monday, September 6
We bet some students had to write essays about the history of Labor Day last week, and we also bet they already forgot the facts they found. Because, to kids, Labor Day is just the first school holiday. For adults, it's a much more serious day--they don't have to go to work. How the patriotic music became part of the tradition, we don't know. But if you enjoy skipping work and/or school and listening to free patriotic music, WRR-FM 101.1 has a deal for you. Its 10th annual free Picnic in the Park features a two-hour concert by the Dallas Wind Symphony, featuring "The Star-Spangled Banner," "Armed Forces Salute" and "America the Beautiful." Picnic baskets, coolers and blankets are welcome as the event takes place on the lawn at the Dallas Arboretum in front of the Martin Rutchnik Concert Stage. The concert starts at 7 p.m., but entry starts at 5:30 p.m. There will be parking at the arboretum, 8525 Garland Road. In addition, free, air-conditioned shuttles begin running at 5 p.m. from the YMCA, 7305 Gaston Ave., and Lakeside Baptist Church, 9150 Garland Road. Call 214-515-6500 or 214-670-8888 or visit www.wrr101.com.
Tuesday, September 7
Someone really smart said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration, and that pretty much describes Stomp. The dance and musical show that's been running for nine seasons on Broadway and has spawned several touring companies is the epitome of inspiration and perspiration. The dancers grab what appear to be random props scattered across the stage and in the wings and make music. With bristle brooms and Zippo lighters, trash cans and plungers, the performers make rhythms into a symphony of percussion. The show opens Tuesday and runs through September 12 with shows at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 7 p.m. Sunday at Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Tickets are $23 to $68 by calling 817-212-4280.