16 Awesome Things to Do This Weekend, Feb. 5 - 8

Carlos Martiel will perform at CentralTrak Saturday night.
Carlos Martiel will perform at CentralTrak Saturday night.
Central Trak

It's hardly fair that weekdays outnumber weekends. If only life could be a string of weekends! But "the man" has planned otherwise for you, which is why you need to make the most of the Saturdays you get. We're here to help you spend your weekend doing awesome. From world-excusive museum exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art to movies to performance art, we'll fill your schedule.

Thursday, Feb. 5 Creative Domain Richardson's Alamo Drafthouse is racking up another hit by becoming the home of the regional premiere of Creative Domain, a documentary exploring American choreographer Paul Taylor's creative process as he produced Three Dubious Memories--which had its world premiere at the Eisemann Center in 2010. This film is important because it documents a dance that premiered in our city, and it gives us an intimate look at one of the world's most elusive and respective choreographers. Before this, Taylor only gave glimpses into his process, but now, we have a front row seat. After the screening, stay for a panel discussion with director Kate Geis, dancers James Samson and Parisa Khobdeh, and rehearsal director Andy LeBeau. All ticket sales will go to AIR, the Arts Incubator of Richardson, to support future programming. Tickets are $10. The Alamo Drafthouse is located at 501 W. Belt Line Road, More at drafthouse.com/dfw. - Danielle Georgiou

Color Gamut Have you ever wondered what color your aura might be? This mystical description of the way a person's energy affects the room they inhabit might seem silly, but we use color to categorize things all the time. Red light means stop. Green, go. White for the wedding dress; pink for breast cancer. Sometimes the use of color is subtle, other times it can be outlandish. And no one knows how to manipulate color like artists Matthew Plummer Fernandez and Anne Katrine Sensta. For their exhibition at Zhulong Gallery, the artists will "Sculpt color to the point of bewitchment." There will be 3-d sculptures, works on paper, and video projections. See the work at an artist reception from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, where you can get your aura read through photography. Or swing through the gallery through March 7. Admission to the gallery is free. More at zhulonggallery.com. - Lauren Smart

Uncle Vanya It's been said by many a drama critic that the plays of Russian writer Anton Chekhov are more about what's being said between the lines than the dialogue itself--that they revolve around subtext. And if that's the case, then it's not sacrilegious that the Dallas Actor's Guild has brought modern colloquialisms to the Chekov masterpiece Uncle Vanya. The play was hailed as a commentary on turn-of-the-century Russian society when it premiered in 1899, but has managed to remain a theatrical mainstay as a result of its timeless subtext, which speaks to universal issues like unrequited love and unrealized dreams, plus themes of class-related frustrations. In other words, not much has changed. Writer Annie Baker has taken Chekhov's work and made it into a modern and intimate experience for theater-goers--who will be seated in couches arranged around a 10 by 30 foot stage in the Wyly Studio Theatre, 2400 Flora Street. This linguistic renovation of a classic will open on Thursday, February 5 with a performance at 8 p.m. and continue through Sunday, February 22. Shows are Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 at ticketdfw.com. - Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Friday, Feb. 6 Franzia & Roadside Couch Dallas has a long way to go to achieving the kind of improv comedy scene that Chicago has become thanks in part to visionaries like The Second City and comedy buddha Del Close. We may reach that plateau one day in the distant future presumably sometime after the Goat Flu scourge has wiped out a decent cross section of humanity and President The Cable Guy declares war on the company that bought Budweiser and technically turned it into an imported beer. Even if those events don't happen, we're off to a good start with local comedy improv favorites like Franzia and Roadside Couch, two of the crown jewels in the cap of the local long form improv powerhouse that is the Dallas Comedy House (2645 Commerce St.). Both groups will take to the theater's tiny black stage at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6th. Advanced tickets are $8 each and general admission tickets are $10 at the door. -- Danny Gallagher

Wordspace Presents Mitchell S. Jackson Much has been made of the fact that author Mitchell S. Jackson, a black man, grew up in what has to be one of the whitest cities in this country--Portland, Oregon. And Jackson himself has admitted that it's not the most likely place for the story he told in his debut novel "The Residue Years", which recounts the story of a mom struggling with addiction and her son, who tries to grapple with the limited options his mother's choices have left him. In a city that's celebrated for its super-hip upward mobility and breathtaking landscapes, the image imparted in Jackson's book is an incongruous one. Jackson himself knows a thing or two about incongruity: the award winning writer and college professor is also an ex-con whose novel is largely based on his own life. Jackson will discuss these incongruities as part of a larger context related to cultural history and personal responsibility during a presentation sponsored by WordSpace on Friday, February 6 at 7:30. The event serves to kick off Black History Month at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 South Fitzhugh, and is open to the public for a suggested $10 donation. Visit wordspacedallas.com for further information.. - JDL

Katt Williams In late 2012, comedian Katt Williams announced his retirement from stand-up comedy after an incident that landed him in a Seattle jail. Just three days later, however, he announced his retirement was over and he was back again. And that's lucky for us because the comedian, rapper, actor, and everything else extraordinaire is headed to Dallas on his Born Again... Again tour. You've seen him in music videos (Outkast's "Roses"), movies ("First Sunday") and TV shows (Nick Cannon's "Wild N' Out"), as well as his own comedy specials. Armed with jokes and plenty of profanity, Williams is headed here to ensure a night of laughs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. Tickets available starting at $89 at theateratgrandprairie.com -Paige Skinner   Records Collecting Dust As the relevance of vinyl records continues to grow, so do the number of documentaries about records and record collecting culture. The most recent example is Records Collecting Dust: a documentary film about the music and records that changed our lives. Written and directed by San Diego musician and filmmaker Jason Blackmore, the film centers on the relationships, community and passion of record collecting by looking at the collections and origins of over thirty underground musicians, including Keith Morris (Black Flag, OFF!), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag). The event concludes with a performance by Dallas' own underground music mainstay, The Black Dotz. The screening starts at 8:00 pm at Oak Cliff's Kessler Theater; tickets are $10. More information at thekessler.org..

Stagger Lee The legend of Stagger Lee goes like this: A man got so pissed off at his "business partner" for taking his cowboy hat that he shot and killed him. In this day and age, it seems a little tame, but in late 19th century Missouri, Stagger Lee was a hat-retrieving badass. The story first appeared as a folk song in the Deep South, and later became fodder for hits by Lloyd Price, Ike and Tina Turner, the Clash, Johnny Otis, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the Black Keys. Dallas Theater Center provides their own take on the man, myth and legend in the world premiere of the Will Power's musical Stagger Lee. The show takes the story back to its roots, but it's much more than a one-dimensional tale of a murderer and a hat. It's an examination of the American dream, racism and social history, set to a score of ragtime, R&B and hip-hop compositions. Watch Stagger Lee come to life at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater (2400 Flora St.) at 8 p.m. Friday; additional performances are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through February 15. Tickets are $17.50 to $60 at dallastheatercenter.org. -JDL

The Merry Widow Everybody loves a tale of a hopefully-lucky suitor courting a rich widow, right? The Texas Ballet Theater is teaming up with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra to bring you The Merry Widow, which is adapted from the operetta of the same name. It's basically just like "Millionaire Matchmaker," with the money and the yearning for love except we have a feeling it's actually nothing like it at all. Instead, this show is probably a bit classier with ballerinas telling a story of a wealthy widow, a potential suitor, added with a lot of romantic confusion. See it 8 p.m. Friday or Saturday or 2 p.m. Saturday or Sunday at the Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Tickets start at $15 at texasballettheater.org. -Paige Skinner

Saturday, Feb. 7 For the Love of Kettle It's generally agreed upon that art, if it truly speaks to you, is priceless. And owning a piece that inspires you on the daily--that still resonates years after its purchase--is worth a pretty good sum. But the reality is that it's an expensive endeavor to buy art, and a luxury that many of us art-appreciating working folks can't afford to partake of. That's the genius of the annual For The Love of Kettle celebration--it truly celebrates accessibility of art on every level. It swings open the doors of one of the city's most loved little art spots, Frank Campagna's Kettle Art Gallery, 2650-B Main Street, a place known for bolstering both the local arts community and the revitalization of Deep Ellum. And secondly, it boasts affordable art from more than 120 local artists at a price point even us scrimpers and savers can part with: $50 will get you a new conversation piece and will add to the pot that keeps Kettle Art Gallery in the black for the rest of the year. Get there early for the best selection; doors open at 7 p.m. sharp on Saturday, February 7. Check out kettleart.com for more information. -JDL

Carlos Martiel There's committing to your art...and then there's committing to your art. Artists give up pieces of themselves all the time to make a statement, but few go to the extremes that controversial performance artist Carlos Martiel does--the man certainly goes all in for his work. Consider the time he allowed an audience to beat him with police batons...or when he sewed a business suit to his skin. A simple Internet search will turn up a litany of disturbing excisions and other ghastly acts of self-harm, but Martiel doesn't come off as an artist who shocks for the sake of shock; his performances evoke injustices (particularly against segments of society in his homeland of Cuba) and drive home political statements with a visceral punch. Subtle, it's not. Affecting: definitely. Martiel is the main topic of conversation at the CentralTrak UT Dallas Artists Residency, 800 Exposition, during their "Next Topic" discussion on Thursday, February 5 at 8 p.m. Admission is free for the event, which precedes Martiel's live performance piece Ruin at Central Trak at 5 p.m. Saturday. See centraltrak.net for more. -JDL

Lauren Hensens Sometimes you'll find art in surprising locations. This weekend, for example, when you're out shoe shopping you might find yourself at an art exhibition opening. Painter Lauren Hensens is from Denton, that lovely little college town north of Dallas, where she developed into quite the artist. After exhibiting at various places around town, she'll have a solo exhibition titled Unbuild this weekend at Epocha (2540 Elm St.). See the work in an opening reception from 6-10 p.m. Saturday. Maybe you'll pick up a painting and some new footwear while you're there. More at epochadallas.com. -LS

In the Room We Discovered An-Other In the Corner This stands to be a memorable weekends in performance art in Dallas: not only can you see the provocative Carlos Martiel likely bleed out in Expo Park's CentralTrak, there's also an honest-to-goodness performance art festival just down the street at Beefhaus, 833 Exposition Avenue. In the Room We Discovered An-Other In the Corner is a weekly exploration of the dynamic nature of the artform, kicking off on Saturday, February 7 at 7 p.m. with Tesselated Fold. The event, organized by artist Alison Starr, is an interdisciplinary experience that meshes technology with dance, textiles, theater and music, creating a unique multi-sensory experience for the audience. Tesselated Fold brings together Sean Miller and Lily Taylor--who blend video and audio into dreamlike performances--with textile artist Chesley Antoinette, costume designer Whitney Bracey and dancer Jacqueka Lee of Brown Girls Do Ballet. The series, which runs on Saturdays throughout the month of February, is a sensory onslaught that celebrates an art form in a medium that moves, changes and provokes. See more about the series on Facebook or at artbeef.blogspot.com. -JDL

For Real Your eyeballs are working hard. As you read this they are processing and interpreting symbols to send to your brain. But how often do you consider your own observational power? It's something that artists of all varieties dwell upon and then render into their work. For the next exhibition, Ro2 presents the work of two painters who spend time with these human fixations, re-processing the human experience in their work. The dual exhibition features Sarah Atlee, whose still life paintings represent food and drink pairings, and James Zamora, who takes interest in everyday experiences and subconcious wanderings. See the work during the opening reception from 7-10 p.m. Saturday or through March 8 at Ro2 Art, 110 N. Akard St. Admission to the gallery is free. More at ro2art.com. -LS

La Wally/Everest There aren't many situations in which 2-for-1 is a bad thing, except, perhaps, if you're unprepared for twins. Lucky for you, the Dallas Opera isn't having twins. Instead, it's offering a powerful double feature of La Wally and the world premiere of Everest at the end of this month. The evening begins with an abridged version of the rarely presented La Wally, a fierce Alpine romance featuring a young heroine who realizes love delayed isn't the same as love denied. Following is the eagerly awaited world premiere of Everest, the story of an ill-fated climbing expedition and the tragic events surrounding it, which boasts a solid cast and stunning visuals. Head to the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to take advantage of the opening night of this steal of a deal. Tickets start at $25. Visit dallasopera.org for more info. -Lucas Buckels

Sunday, Feb. 8 Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga In an exhibit exclusive to the Dallas Museum of Art, the work of two postwar Japanese artists, Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga will be on display starting Sunday through July 18. These artists worked as part of the Gutai Art Association, creating paintings, drawings, photographs, films, and small-scale sculpture, all of which will be on display at the DMA. Plus, the museum will recreate some of their installations. Learn more about the work's place in history, while taking place in a bit of your own. Admission is free. More at dma.org.

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