This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, May 19

White wines are great and all--perfect for spritzers, great with salads--but like spritzers and salads, white wines seem a little lacking in muscle. Now don't get us wrong. We like a good chardonnay, Riesling and pinot gris/grigio, but rarely do we take a sip of those varieties and think, "Mmm, now that's bold." We leave that to the reds. Lawry's the Prime Rib, 14655 Dallas Parkway, honors the deep rich liquids of stain-dom with the Annual Big, Bold Red Wine Dinner. Fans of the red can enjoy a special five-course meal (including herb-crusted wild game hen, prime beef fillet medallions and more) by Executive Chef Oscar Lopez paired with well, big, bold red wines. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with a cost of $79 per guest, plus tax and gratuity. Call 972-503-6688 for reservations.

Friday, May 20

It's only May, and we're already over festivals. We like our family-friendly fun as much as the next guy, but walking in crowds, sweating and people in shorts are at the bottom of our list. That is, until we happened upon Grapevine's Main Street Days Festival. With a theme of Main Street to the World, the weekend-long event touts live music by Calhoun, Lauren Gifford, Kelly Willis, Doyle Bramhall and others; wine pavilions featuring local and international wines; the Purina Cat Chow Way of Life Experience; the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame and Rock-n-Roll Roadshow; vendors of edible treats, clothing, jewelry, gifts and art and a midway of rides for all ages. That would have been enough to tempt us but not enough to get us out there. What will? The Sixth Annual Hummer Handcar Races on Sunday. That involves teams of five on flat cars pumping the levers to make the best time down 100 yards of train track. Now that's something bizarre enough for us to cheer for. Admission to the festival is $3 to $6 per day with weekend passes for $10 available at www.grapevinefestivals.com. Check out the Web site for schedules and event details.

Saturday, May 21

Psst. There's sand in your cell phone. And don't look now, but that window pane nearby is actually moving. No, this isn't a bad hangover; it's Strange Matter, a new exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, 3535 Grand Ave. in Fair Park. Presented by the Materials Research Society, this interactive exhibit shows how materials (including ceramics, metals, semiconductors, polymers, biomaterials and strange and exotic materials such as bucky balls, nanotubes and aerogels) can be transformed into items we use every day...like cell phones and that amorphous stuff known as glass. Hands-on displays and take-home experiments pepper the enthralling exhibits. (And we're serious when we say "enthralling." We spent an hour and a half thoroughly absorbed in the exhibit Web site alone.) Flashback to Mr. Wizard's World and hit the museum's Strange attraction between Saturday and September 4. An opening reception takes place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. RSVP for the reception is recommended but not required at 214-421-3466, ext. 364.

Sunday, May 22

He's a great guy, really he is. He hooks up electronics with lightning speed. He can flatter your mother in seconds. He just can't cook. Or at least he says he can't. Now, before you chalk it up to laziness or his not caring that you've had a long day and could really stand to have someone else make dinner instead of playing video games for a change (we, of course, are not speaking from experience or anything), try a little test. If he can prepare a Banquet Homestyle Bakes dinner, he can cook. You accept that this isn't his forte, but mixing three ingredients in one dish shouldn't be over his head. If the product is successful, send the budding sous chef to Viking Culinary Arts Center, 4531 McKinney Ave., on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for One-Day Culinary Basics. For $125, he can take a crash course for beginning cooks, learning basics like knife handling, sautéing and a little baking. Now we want to be fair, so we will say this: Ladies, if you eat a diet consisting entirely of frozen foods, you, too, could stand to expand your cooking horizons, so sign up. Call 214-526-3942 or register at www.vikinghomechef.com.

Monday, May 23

Sure, we've seen Top Gun and various other airborne flicks, but nothing like this. Fort Worth's Omni Theater brings the audience and the Air Force together with the latest IMAX feature Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag. The dizzying film follows a pilot (Air Force Captain John Stratton) through Operation Red Flag, "the 'doctorate' of Air Force combat training" for allied countries. Before Maverick and Goose could flip off a Russian MiG, they had to endure the complex trials and exercises of Red Flag. And Stratton does it all on a giant screen right before our eyes. The film shows daily through September 1 at the Omni Theater in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery St. Tickets are $6 to $7. For show times and ticket info, call 817-255-9300 or visit www.fortworthmuseum.org.

Tuesday, May 24

We're not huge fans of the High Five interchange for obvious traffic reasons, but we appreciate the grandeur of it all. And so does Montreal, Quebec-to-Dallas transplant Steve van Gelder. The painter has been using acrylics on found plywood to work through his adjustment to the startlingly different landscape he found here in Big D. In doing so, he pays homage to the architectural elements of typically over-the-top Texas road construction as well as smaller, intimate settings. Pigeon-Stone Project showcases van Gelder's New Work, Texas in the Bar Gallery of the Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave., from May 19 through June 30. (An opening reception is May 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Don't worry, though, the good art and the drinks stick around for great weeknight post-movie treats.) Call 214-764-9106.

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