I can't deny it. I love board games. Nothing gets my heart pumping like a hotly contested game of Trivial Pursuit, especially when fatigue sets in and saying something as innocuous as "We'll take Science and Nature for the piece" leaves you sweating like a sailor on the Red October, hoping you'll luck out and get a question about one of the animals you saw at the zoo. Brothers Jack and Andrew Lawson hail from Melbourne, Australia, and apparently share my passion. As game designers, they've won numerous awards for their hit games Imaginiff and Faces--including honors from MENSA and the Chicago Tribune. This Thursday they'll be at Denton's Golden Triangle Mall, pimping their wares at Barnes & Noble, where they'll also answer questions about their career in board games and "play games with you!" And by "games" I sure hope they don't mean Global Thermonuclear War, 'cause we all know how much grief that brought Matthew Broderick. The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. and runs through 1:30 p.m. The Golden Triangle Mall is located at 2201 S. Interstate 35 E. Call 940-383-9261.
Friday, November 18
If you keep up with the news, then by now you know that France is having one big "street festival" right now. The cops may have shown up in force, but that's no reason to let the party die. French law decrees that every year on the third Thursday of November, the wineries of the Beaujolais region release the ever-popular Beaujolais Nouveau to the people, and luckily for us, that includes Texans. This Friday, the first barrels of Nouveau will arrive for the 22nd Annual Beaujolais Wine Festival, organized by the French-American Chamber of Commerce Dallas/Fort Worth. Weather rock star (and wine aficionado) Troy Dungan will be on hand to uncork the first bottle of fruity splendor, and guests can sample food from a wide selection of tasty local restaurants such as Chez Gérard and Dakota's Steakhouse. The party starts at 7 p.m. and rages until the ungodly hour of 9:30 p.m. at the World Trade Center, 2050 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas. The silent auction begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $49. Call 972-241-0111 or visit www.faccdallas.com.
Saturday, November 19
I never got into chess as a kid. There was too much strategy involved, and I didn't want the CIA showing up at my house looking for a code-breaking prodigy. Unfortunately for me, there weren't a lot of high-stakes children's checker tournaments to win, but youngsters who are down with the rooks and bishops would be wise to check out the 9th Annual Texas Grade and Collegiate Chess Championships this Saturday and Sunday at the Marriott Plano, 7120 N. Dallas Parkway. The event features 14 separate tournaments for kindergarten through 12th grade and college players, and the winner of the 12th grade contest wins a four-year scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas. Registration starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. The entry fee is $36. Call 1-800-228-9290.
Sunday, November 20
This Tuesday marks the 42nd anniversary of the assassination of JFK, the moment when a nation lost its president and Dallas lost its innocence, forever branded as the location of the most notorious (and public) murder in American history. For those of you who would like a history lesson to mark the remembrance, Highland Park Middle School, 3555 Granada Ave., hosts JFK--The Assassination Remembered this Sunday at 3 p.m. The program features Philip E. Williams Jr., MD (a Dallas neurosurgeon on duty at Parkland that fateful day), Jim Leavall (the man who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Jack Ruby shot him) and Mike Howard (a former Secret Service agent who protected Oswald's family in the days after the assassination). Hosted by CBS 11's Robert Riggs, all proceeds from the event benefit the students of HPISD. Tickets are $25, $15 for students and seniors. Call 214-526-8010.
Monday, November 21
German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder lived the fast life, dying of an overdose just after his 37th birthday, but not before cramming in 10 lives' worth of sex, drugs and avant-garde German cinema--a fate not entirely surprising given the fact he was born in a town called Bad WÖrishofen. Veronika Voss, one of his last films, tells the story of a fallen Nazi film starlet living in post-war Germany, simultaneously struggling with her tortured past and her morphine addiction. In other words, it's a feel-good picture. Filmed in artful black and white, Voss won the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival upon its release in 1982. See this dark and stylish film Monday in Room 184 of the RTVF Building, located on the University of North Texas campus in Denton. The free screening starts at 7 p.m. Call 940-565-2537 or visit www.rtvf.unt.edu.
Tuesday, November 22
People always seem to gravitate toward the car chase as their favorite scene in Blues Brothers, but for me it's always been the scene where the boys play the theme from Rawhide to appease the rowdy rednecks pelting them with beer bottles in Bob's Country Bunker. There's something about hearing that song with a horn section that gets me every time, and my favorite member of said horn section is undeniably "Blue" Lou Marini. With that mustache and those funky sax solos, what's not to love? This Tuesday, his Blueness will perform with the world famous One O'Clock Lab Band, and while it might be frowned upon, it's hard not to consider lobbing a couple of beer bottles on the stage in the hopes of getting things "Rollin', Rollin', Rollin.'" The show starts at 8 p.m. in Winspear Hall at the Murchison Performing Arts Center, located on the north side of S. Interstate 35 E. at North Texas Boulevard in Denton. Tickets are $10. Call 940-369-7802 or visit www.music.unt.edu.