A very tall statue of Sam Houston. The Mavs dancers. More than one American president. Ridiculously oversized food portions in restaurants. What do all of these have in common? Like it or not, they are all part of a civilization produced by the state of Texas. There is one cultural renaissance, however, that we as Texans can certainly be proud of: Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival, running Friday through Sunday. The event draws more than 50,000 music lovers and their progeny, brings together the best musicians and artists in Texas and touts national headliners--Julie Roberts (no, not People Magazine's Most Beautiful, but the bluesy native Texan up for Top New Artist at the 2005 Country Music Awards), Ryan Cabrera and The Neville Brothers, to name a few. Other attractions include a Singer/Songwriter Contest, Kidz Korner and petting zoo, strolling entertainers, buskers and acrobats, the Broadway production of Grease in the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts, the RISD Guitar Art Auction and, naturally, an oversized amount of regional food. Go--and feel free to have a lot of good old-fashioned outdoor fun with the family. (Teens against having family fun should probably wear all black and have a used paperback copy of On the Road visibly sticking from a pocket, but we digress.) All concerts are included with the price of admission. Tickets to The Theater League's production of Grease inside the Eisemann Center are available through the Eisemann Center ticket office. Three-day passes can be purchased in advance for $20 at any metroplex Tom Thumb grocery store. Kids passes, available at the gate, are $3 for ages 5 to 12, and little ones under 5 are admitted for free. Call 1-888-512-7469 or visit www.wildflowerfestival.com. --Emily Jacobs
The M...ean Streets
Home tours in Dallas? Not nearly as fun as big estate sales, we say. Cruise down Swiss Avenue or Beverly Drive on a given weekend in search of the latest dead moneybags and you'll get the best of both worlds--open rein to wander through a classic, gorgeous house and a strip-mall experience. Of course, if you've already bought a few oversized gold chandeliers, you'll only want the home tour part, and this Saturday and Sunday's M Streets Home Tour opens six homes near the 5400 Monticello block to public view. To clarify: These are the classic, preserved Tudor-style homes of the early 20th century, not the Section 8 apartments in classified ads. Tickets are $10 for both noon to 5 p.m. tours. Visit www.mstreets.org for details. --Sam Machkovech
Do You Mind Yours?
Since the mother-in-law moved in with my wife and me, I've been trying to brush up on my manners. Some new rules of etiquette in my house: 1) One must dress for dinner; pants and shirt are not optional. 2) Meals are actually eaten at the dinner table, not the kitchen sink; the table is not to be used as a laundry hamper. Seems like a lot of rules, but apparently there's even more (God help us). In fact, there are so many that Judith "Miss Manners" Martin, famed newspaper etiquette columnist, has freshly updated her best-selling Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. She'll be at Barnes & Noble, 7700 W. Northwest Highway, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to sign copies. Take my advice: Wear pants. --Patrick Williams
Q Up the Reels
There's still a lavender glow about Cowtown from its recent brush with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Fab Five. Now comes Q Cinema to keep things fabulous with this year's Fort Worth Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival. Of special note are two films' bragging Dallas ties. First is festival opener Adam & Steve, a comedy about a dysfunctional thirtysomething gay man trying to find a stable relationship in New York City. Writer-director-star--and Dallas native--Craig Chester (Swoon, Frisk) will be in attendance. Next is Dallasite, UT film school alum and writer-director Tommy Stovall's dramatic Hate Crime, shot entirely on location in Dallas. Hate Crime is the controversial story of one man's attempt to find justice for his murdered lover and stars Seth Peterson (Providence) and Bruce Davidson (X-Men). Bring your hanky and let's carpool. Log onto www.qcinema.org for a complete list of films, venues and show times. Tickets are $7 to $10 for individual shows or $65 for an all-access pass at www.boxofficetickets.com. Call 817-462-3368. --Christopher Wynn
There are three reasons a straight man should make his own handbag. One: You've pissed off the wife. Nothing says "I love you" like a handbag you made, says Julie Kim, the owner of Make, 2632 Thomas Ave., the hands-on crafts and culinary boutique hosting the Make Your Own Handbag in One Night open house Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Give Kim two hours, and you'll bring home to the missus a tote bag with maybe a cute little floral print that'll take you from the dog house to the bedroom a helluva lot faster than you can say "Diane von Furstenberg." Two: You're a trendsetter. Nothing screams "fashionisto" like the half-messenger bag, half-fanny pack you made to hang off your waist. "A man bag...Gucci calls it a belt accessory," Kim says encouragingly, as if Gucci giving it a name makes it less ridiculous. Three: You're single. Really, how many other single guys will show at the Make Your Own (Freakin') Handbag night? Options are wide open. Visit themakesite.com for more details. --Paul Kix