If the Van Cliburn Foundation really wanted people to care about the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, they'd steal some tips from American Idol. They'd start by showing the embarrassing auditions (people playing "Chopsticks" or "Heart and Soul"), the Daron Beck-like avant-garde audition (surely someone would "play" John Cage's 4'33", which involves sitting at the piano motionless for four minutes, 33 seconds) and, of course, the potential winners, who'd be made over for TV and will have had every skeleton pulled out of the closet. Actually, maybe it's better they keep it the way it is. The competition continues this week with semifinals on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with finals starting on Wednesday. There will also be classical music documentaries screened, seminars with experts presented and, like on Idol, farewell performances by the losers. Activities take place at Texas Christian University, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Bass Hall. Visit www.cliburn.org.
Friday, May 27
This weekend marks the beginning of swimsuit season, and we still haven't received that miracle cellulite-reducing cream we ordered from the e-mail. You know, the one that arrived between other messages for "Don't buy Viia-gra KJ" and "The Whore Lived Like a German." If yours arrived and you're now Olsen Twin smooth, grab a towel and some suntan lotion and head to the opening weekend of the local water parks. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor opens Friday for daily operation through August 28, Hawaiian Falls is open in North Garland through August 21 and in the Colony through August 14 (both open weekends through September 5), Bahama Beach is open in Southern Dallas through August 21 (weekends through September 5), Denton's Water Works Park opens Saturday for daily operations all summer and NRH2O is open through September 11.
Saturday, May 28
Whether you tune in to the Fox News version of the Iraq war or CNN's rendition (or maybe even the BBC's), you can check out a firsthand view from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Dallas' Corporal Joel A. Chaverri, a reserve Marine who spent seven months in Iraq as a combat correspondent with an aircraft wing in Al Asad, will display some of his front-line photos, plus there will be video presentations about them at noon and 3 p.m. and an appearance by Chaverri during the 3 p.m. demonstration. Also at 3 p.m., he will be presented with the Department of Defense's 2004 Thomas Jefferson Award for photojournalism, the latest in a series of awards Chaverri's photographs have received. Entry is free with admission to the museum, which is $5 to $8 (free for kids 2 and under). The museum is located at 6911 Lemmon Ave. at Love Field. Call 214-350-3600 or visit www.flightmuseum.com.
Sunday, May 29
The Dallas Museum of Art's A Farewell Fit for an Emperor event that sends off the exhibit Splendors of China's Forbidden City may not last as long as Pope John Paul II's final goodbyes, but then JP2's tributes didn't have DJs or a kung fu movie marathon. The 31-hour celebration runs from 10 a.m. Saturday to 5 p.m. Sunday with special events filling each hour, including DJ sets from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., "insomniac" tours at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., a treasure hunt at 1:30 a.m. and Chinese games from 9 p.m. to midnight, plus events during most people's regular waking hours, including drop-in art activities for kids, yoga in the Sculpture Garden, a Chinese lion dance parade down the concourse, two film festivals, live kung fu and more. Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. Call 214-922-1200 or visit www.dm-art.org.
Monday, May 30
It'll be easy to tell the charitable from the cheapskates during Monday night's A Little Night Run race and concert. The charitable will don running shoes to take part in the 5K race and one-mile fun run and walk with proceeds benefiting the Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth. The cheapskates will bring blankets, folding chairs and picnic dinners to enjoy the free music by the Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth. There will be a full pops concert before the race gun fires, small ensembles will play at the starting line and various points on the course, and then another performance by the full orchestra follows the awards ceremony. But the cheapskates shouldn't feel too bad. This 40-year-old orchestra has been funding its free community concerts for the last 20 years with money from A Little Night Run, which supports about 10 shows per year. The run takes place at Trinity Park in Fort Worth, near Interstate 30 and University Drive, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call 817-923-3121 or visit www.yofw.org.
Tuesday, May 31
Our small hometown's summer movie series was always a highlight of our vacation time, even if the popcorn was stale, the movies were old and the prints were worn and spotty. But there were safety lessons with McGruff the Crime Dog and someplace to be that wasn't home, the neighbor's house or the park. The memory would be perfect if they just hadn't shown Where the Red Fern Grows. We'd pick homework over that sad story any day (even 20 years later). Math problems? Bring 'em on--just don't make us watch the dying dogs again. Cinemark's Summer Movie Clubhouse promises no stale popcorn, no stale movies and absolutely no Where the Red Fern Grows. Instead, the series includes recent hit films such as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Ice Age, The Rugrats Movie, Anastasia, Garfield, Cheaper by the Dozen and Fat Albert for $1 per show or $5 for all 10 movies. The series starts on Tuesday or Wednesday (depending on the theater) and includes locations in Dallas, Plano, Arlington, Cedar Hill, Grand Prairie, McKinney and Lancaster. Check www.cinemark.com for participating theaters and their schedules.