Looking for things to do this weekend? Mixmaster knows good times that will fill your culture quotient and keep you entertained. Sit back and let our knowledgeable team of culturati fill your calendar.
Thursday, Feb. 26 Poetry Night at Kettle Art Gallery Poets live among us. That man slurping coffee in the corner of Mudsmith, scribbling into his notebook? Poet. That woman drumming her fingers on the bar, mouthing words and staring into space? Poet. And they're finding inspiration for poetry everywhere. By all accounts, it's a beautiful way to see the world. Two locals mining language from everyday life are Greg Alan Brownderville and Chelsea Wagenaar. Hear them read as part of the Pegasus Reading Series presented by Wordspace. Stop by Kettle Art Gallery (2650-B Main St.) at 7 p.m. Thursday to hear their words. Admission is free. More at wordspacedallas.com. -Lauren Smart
The Aliens If you're looking for some off-the-beaten path theater, a group of young actors are doing a production of The Aliens at a Dallas residence. We're a big fan of pop-up theater events, so we'll recommend this wholeheartedly. Plus for just $10, you only have to give up a latte or two to afford a ticket. See this Annie Baker play about growing up and feeling stuck. Performances at 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday. More info.
Guerrilla Girls As feminism was on the upswingthe Guerrilla Girls were there, stirring up controversy, shaking up paradigms and exposing flaws and discrimination in the mainstream narrative. This mostly anonymous group used facts, humor and striking visuals to call attention to unfairness in politics, art, film and anywhere else it existed. It's safe to say that the 55 women who have been members over the years have made a difference in the way we discuss art and culture, although there's still more work to be done. Don't miss a chance to see one of these cultural superheroes when Kathe Kollwitz swings through Denton for a public lecture at Texas Woman's University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. The lecture takes place in the music building at 1100 Oakland St., Denton. More information at twu.edu.
2Cellos Being a cellist requires a special kind of commitment. Not only are there arduous hours of practice, of learning theory and of playing scales, but there's the added burden of lugging the damn instrument around. It weighs roughly the same as a bass guitar, but the case ... it's the case that's the killer. A quality one will run 15 to 18 pounds when empty, and cellists spend their lives navigating those beasts in and out of cars, negotiating them through airports and generally looking like they want to die. So you have to assume that dynamic Croatian duo 2Cellos have paid their instrument-toting dues -- they've lugged their big ol' cellos all over the world in support of their genre-bending performances at places like the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.), where they'll play at 8 p.m. Thursday. But Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser probably get other people to carry their cellos around now -- they've appeared on "Glee," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and are supporting a new album that mashes up the rich sounds of Vivaldi and Bach with the music of Nirvana, AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Tickets are $39 to $49 at attpac.org. - Jennifer Davis-Lamm
Bull Perhaps the consistently strongest company in the AT&T Performing Arts Center's "Elevator Project," which brings small theater companies into the arts district, is Second Thought Theatre. They shuttle upstairs in the Wyly Theatre for Bull, Mike Bartlett's office drama. It's a tense 55-minute show. See it at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Wyly Studio Theatre (2400 Flora St.); the show continues through March 14 with performances nightly Thursdays through Mondays. Tickets are $20 at ticketdfw.com. -LS
Kinky Boots Kinky Boots is a Tony-winning Broadway musical with book by Harvey Fierstein, that raspy-voiced effer whose writing in all gold, baby, gold, and score by Cyndi Lauper, which is like double gold. Top it off with the story of the unlikely friendship between Charlie Price, a struggling shoe factory owner, and Lola, a cabaret darling, and this musical pretty much can't lose. Charlie and Lola team up to create one super-charged stiletto that takes the fashion world -- and stage -- by storm. Along the way lessons are learned and inspiration is found and we all learn if we open our minds even a little, we just might learn something. Kinky Boots opens Tuesday, February 24th at Music Hall in Fair Park (909 1st Ave.) and runs through Sunday, March 8th. Tickets start at $25 and are available at etix.com - Nikki Lott
Winter Dreams Distinctively Russian, uniquely Tchaikovsky, the composer's first symphony, Winter Daydreams, remains one of the most fascinating and influential symphonic outings in history. It would forever change Russian musical culture. Its ambition would ruffle feathers and ignite spirits. It nearly drove the upstart Tchaikovsky to madness, almost to his grave. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Lawrence Foster, presents Winter Daydreams in all its balanced grace, from melancholic birth to spidery, clangorous coda. Violinist Alexander Kerr features in a program that includes Enesco's Rumanian Rhapsody No. 2 and Barber's Violin Concerto. Performances take place at the Meyerson (2301 Flora St.) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Tickets start as low as $28. More information at mydso.com. -- Jonathan Patrick
Mike Daisey's The Great Tragedies The point in our lives when we get the most exposure to great works of literature is the point in our lives when we least give a shit. In the high school and early college years, lit is something that stands between you and your social life -- you get through the assignments and participate to the extent that gets you the grade you want. As a result, the richness and beauty of works by John Steinbeck, Homer and William Shakespeare are largely lost on teenagers; as adults, we often find ourselves wishing we could get a do-over and actually pay attention this time. Well, wistful lit scholars -- this is your chance to do Shakespeare right: Renowned monologist Mike Daisey will tackle four of Shakespeare's greatest works over a three-day engagement in The Great Tragedies, dissecting each play's roots and their lasting cultural impact. Through colorful examinations of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth, Daisey gives us a chance to reconsider these classics, weaving fresh insights into the nature of tragedy and comedy through personal anecdotes and literary revelations. Performances are at Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.) beginning 8 p.m. Thursday with Romeo and Juliet; continuing at 8 p.m. Friday with Hamlet; 2 p.m. Saturday with Macbeth; and concluding at 8 p.m. Saturday with King Lear. Tickets to the individual shows are $39 at tickets.attpac.org. --JDL
Friday, Feb. 27
Festival of Ideas What keeps Dallas alive and vital is not the giant retail centers, the towering glass office-buildings perched on freeway frontage, or the teeming roadways that connect them. Those things create revenue, and revenue pays for more concrete and glass and roadway. But the true lifeblood of the city -- the thing that gives Dallas its soul -- is the creative talent that lies within it. The painters, the playwrights, the musicians, the humanitarians, the educators, even urban planners ... all play a part in how the city innovates and grows. For the City: The Dallas Festival of Ideas brings creators and community members together with journalists and city leaders for a two-day event that seeks to elicit visions of Dallas' future. The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. with five keynote speeches that will explore the elements of the ideal city: the physical city, the cultural city, the innovative city, the political city and the educated city. Programming resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday, when panelists and audience members will drill down into ideas and innovations with the help of special moderators. Dancers, poets, singers and musicians will also contribute family-friendly performances throughout the day. The event will be held in venues throughout the Dallas Arts District and features both free and ticketed events and entertainment; tickets range from $30 for a half-day pass to $190 for a two-day VIP pass. Visit thedallasfestival.com to purchase tickets or peruse the full list of events. -JDL
Jim Breuer Comedian Jim Breuer must have one weird existence thanks to the foothold he's gained in popular culture. He had a short but memorable run on "Saturday Night Live," where he left his mark with characters such as the chemically engineered MTV show host Goat Boy and a completely over the top Joe Pesci; he gave us a spot-on portrayal of a pothead in Dave Chappelle's cult-comedy Half Baked; and in his stand-up routine, he has the funniest story about accidentally phoning in a bomb threat to a Sears department store. He must have fans constantly coming up to him braying like idiots, asking if he'd like some Funyuns and proclaiming "Long live paint!" in a Middle Eastern accent. He's sure to bring plenty of interesting stories and voices with him when he steps out onstage at the House of Blues (2200 N. Lamar St.) at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $30 to $37.25 per person at livenation.com. -Danny Gallagher South Asian Film Festival Brahmin Bulls will make its Texas premiere during the South Asian Film Festival. The film centers around a father who makes a surprise trip to Los Angeles, where he visits his estranged son. But as the two begin to build their relationship, Sid discovers his father was actually there to see an old girlfriend. The movie stars Oscar winner Mary Steen-burgen, Oscar-nominated Michael Lerner, as well as Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth and Justin Bartha. It's everything from heartfelt to powerful as the father-and-son relationship evolves and new characters are introduced. See it at 7 p.m. Friday when it opens the festival, or catch another of the festival's offerings over the weekend. Screenings will take place at the Angelika Film Center in Plano (7205 Bishop Road, Suite E6); tickets are $13. More information at asianfilmdallas.com. -Paige Skinner
Men are from Mars, Women are Venus The sky is blue. Grass is green. Dogs are boys. Cats are girls. And men are from Mars and women are from Venus. These are all stone-cold facts. From John Gray's New York Times best-selling book comes a one-man stand-up show about dating and relationships and marriage and everything else your significant other wants to talk about. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus Live! is funny and sexy and so much more than just a play adapted from a book. So avoid the inevitable conversation with your significant other about your relationship and head to see the show instead. This way there will be more laughs than awkward silences. See it at 8 p.m. Friday or through Sunday at the Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.). Tickets are $60 at attpac.org. - PS
Saturday, Feb. 28 Nasher Soundings Betrayal, madness and suicide are the themes of this concert. For the second installment of the Nasher's Soundings series, it will offer up two string quartets, each an exploration in human darkness. First, composer/violist Brett Dean's String Quartet No. 2 ("And Once I Played Ophelia"), a five-movement character study in the complex, subtle and ever-misunderstood personality of Shakespeare's Ophelia. Second, Schoenberg's own snaking, careening dirge: the 2nd String Quartet. Seductively -- even elegantly -- tortuous, and fierce to the point of being surreal, Schoenberg's 2nd String Quartet was not only a glimpse at future musics, but the first manifested roar of modernism; with it, atonality was born. Inspired by the poetry of Stefan George, the source of the quartet's text, Schoenberg propelled himself to new heights. In conjunction with the final move-ment's first line, which reads, "I feel air from another planet," the composer unlocked radical new worlds for music to explore. The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St.). Tickets are $25 for non-members, $20 for members and $10 for students/educators. More information at nashersculpture-center.org -JP
Dallas Medianale It's almost time for Porky Pig, but not quite: There's one last Dallas Medianale event for your viewing pleasure. Carolyn Sortor has put together a closing program of seated screenings called "Existential Virtuality" for the experimental film festival and it starts at 5:45 p.m. Saturday at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (3120 McKinney Ave.). The evening will begin with a compilation screening, "Death, Desire + Commerce in 5-D," with a longer, 30-minute screening of My Barbarian following at 7:15 p.m. The compilation will repeat at 8:15 p.m., so you're set if you can't make it there early. There's also an after party to look forward to, the location of which will be disclosed at the event. Show up to say goodbye -- for now -- to one of the coolest things to happen in Dallas in recent memory. And don't be shy if this is your first Medianale event; at the very least it will give you a taste of what to expect from the Video Association of Dallas when they bring back Medianale and offer other awesome programming in the future. Admission is free, but make sure to RSVP to guarantee your spot. More info at videofest.org. - Caroline North
George Lopez George Lopez has done just about everything that a comedian could hope to cross off of his bucket list. He's been the star of two primetime sitcoms -- the long running "George Lopez" on ABC and "Saint George" on FX. He's had several stand-up specials on HBO and Showtime, and he received a Grammy nomination for his album Tall, Dark & Chicano in 2010. He's performed and provided voices for characters in major motion pictures such as Balls of Fury, the critically acclaimed Bread and Roses and both Smurfs movies. He's even hosted his own late-night talk show. So what's next for the guy? Politics. Seriously. He said on "The Today Show" last month that he's actually considering a run for Mayor of Los Angeles, California. Before he becomes the next Arnold Schwarzenegger (although we imagine that's not a very high bar to meet), you can catch the local stop of his "Listen to My Face" tour at the Verizon Theatre (1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are between $39.50 and $59.50 at verizontheatre.com. -DG
The Consortium Some of the region's talented graduate art students collaborate under the name, The Consortium. A project that features talent studying at Southern Methodist University, University of Arlington and University of Texas at Dallas, this weekend you'll get a chance to see their installations and hear from the artists. Based on some of the graduates of these programs, we're banishing expectations, as they constantly surpass them. Stop by the Trinity Groves warehouse, 500 Singleton Blvd. from 12-5 p.m. Saturday. More here. -LS
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Sunday, March 1
Dallas Blooms What the Dallas Arboretum does best is transport us. While we're under no illusion that any expanse of land in the Lone Star State could naturally produce half a million blooming spring bulbs that burst with supernatural color, we can still dream. And to indulge those floral fantasies, the Arboretum (8525 Garland Road) offers up a horticultural paradise right on the banks of White Rock Lake. On Sunday, Dallas Blooms: Deep in the Heart of Texans kicks off a visual feast that perfectly complements daydreams, photo ops and barefoot babies -- it may not be nature at its most pristine, but it is a stunning sight produced by a team of dedicated green thumbs. The event runs through April 12 and highlights include infinite flowers, Texas-themed topiaries, an ongoing concert series and family-friendly activities on the daily. The Dallas Arboretum is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day; general admission is $15 for non-member adults, $10 for children ages 3 to 12 and seniors, and free for littles 2 and under. Visit dallasarboretum.org for a full schedule of springtime events. -JDL
Francisco Moreno: Open Studio Yesterday we reported on the super cool project that artist Francisco Moreno is working on, for which he is reconstructing a 1975 Datsun Z and building into it an American muscle car engine. This weekend, he invites you into his studio to check out his WCD Project from 12-5 p.m. Sunday. Check out the car, and the painting in front of which it will perform donuts. Maybe he'll even let you fire up the engine. -LS
The Collection Of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass at the Kimbell Art Museum Some people have an eye for beauty and the money to collect it. Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass are two such people. Their incredible collection of Impressionist to post-World War II art will be on display at the Kimbell beginning Sunday. Revel in a bit of Van Gogh, Picasso, Chagall, Rothko, among many others. More info at kimbellart.org. -LS