30 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, April 9-12

Cruise through some films at the Dallas International Film Festival.
Cruise through some films at the Dallas International Film Festival.

Climb aboard the weekend cruise liner. First stop? A busy, fun-filled weekend complete with a film festival, an art festival, an art fair, numerous art exhibitions and events, poetry, music, and many more adventures, weather permitting. You won't be able to see it all, so pick from our handy dandy recommended events and see how much energy you can muster. See you on the Dallas seas.

Thursday, April 9 Empire Records 20th Anniversary Screening Not that long ago, Ethan Embry was a thing and Liv Tyler was another thing. Oh, and Renee Zellewegger was a thing that wasn't even Bridget Jones. Anyway, they all worked in a record store called Empire Records that was about to be bought out by Music Town, basically the living breathing incarnation of the establishment. You have to remember this was the height of the grunge movement, and if there was anything to rage against, it was the establishment. That and hygiene. One of the employees catches wind of the buyout and hatches a plan to save the store then fails miserably. The next day, the other store kids hatch an actual plan that just ... might ... work. See Empire Records at the Granada Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to find out if flannel really can save the day. Then shop the CD World pop up shop in the Granada lobby and head over to Sundown after the movie for a double-double '90s set featuring hip hop and R&B. Tickets are available at ticketf.ly. -Nikki Lott

Literary Death Match Many of us bookworms missed out on the whole competitive sports thing. Reading and writing are pretty solitary endeavors. It's not like you can arrange a fight to the death over character development. All of that stuff is subjective. Right? The folks at Literary Death Match don't think so. During their shows, now in 57 cities worldwide, four authors read from their works for about seven minutes, then three judges offer hilarious commentary and two finalists duke it out in a "vaguely literary game to decide the ultimate winner." Literary Death Match is teaming up with local publishing house Deep Vellum to bring their literary high jinks to Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Up for the title are local authors Merritt Tierce, Joaquin Zihuatanejo, J. Suzanne Frank and Will Clarke. They'll be judged on literary merit, performance and "intangibles" by author Ben Fountain, D Magazine Editor Tim Rogers and the Observer's very own Alice Laussade. Literary Death Match also promises that "a bunch of really attractive lit-nerds" will be in the audience, so that's another good reason to pre-order your ticket for $8 at texastheatre.com; tickets will be $10 at the door. - Caroline North

Dallas International Film Festival : I'll See You in My Dreams There's an all-too-brief little window between April and mid-May when the weather is largely our friend (barring occasional thunderstorms), encouraging us to emerge from behind closed doors and rejoice before it tries to kill us again in a few weeks. That's why you've gotta have something pretty special going on to keep our butts numbing in seats, away from the great outdoors this time of year. We make an exception every spring for the Dallas International Film Festival -- we'll gladly park it in a windowless theater for hours at a stretch for this annual festival, expertly curated by creative director James Faust. This year, the 10-day cinematic campout kicks off with a screening of I'll See You In My Dreams, writer-director Brett Haley's sweet dramedy starring Blythe Danner. The Sundance hit, which upends the conventional wisdom that there are no good roles for women over a certain age, will be preceded by a star-studded red carpet at the Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., and is followed by a gala presentation featuring Danner herself. The film screens at 7 p.m. Thursday; tickets are $50 for the screening and $95 for the screening and gala. Visit dallasfilm.org. - Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Colossal The country's favorite form of drama takes place every year from September to February, and it appears in living rooms, bars and giant stadiums across this great land. It features a cast of rich team owners, apoplectic coaches and players who we root for as long as they're useful to our cause. And our cause is football: a sport where fresh-faced college kids and hardened domestic-abusers alike are chewed up and spit out amidst a frenzy of jersey sales and talk-radio callers -- cast aside when pass-completion rates dip or catastrophic injuries occur. It's the latter that's the dominant theme in Colossal, a play performed in four quarters, complete with a rousing halftime show. Director Kevin Moriarty will turn the Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.) into a realistic football field for an immersive experience that will explore the fate of a former UT football player left quadriplegic by an on-field injury. The Dallas Theater Center is sure to score a touchdown with their presentation of the epic and groundbreaking play; see it at 7:30 p.m. Thursday or through Sunday, May 3. Tickets are $18-$55; to purchase tickets and see show times, visit dallastheatercenter.org. -JDL

Lydia Octavio Solis' Lydia is most frequently described as "intense." The play explores the American dream in the context of a brain-damaged teenage girl, whose potential was cruelly wiped out during an accident in the 1970s Texas border town in which she resides. Lydia is the maid her family hires to tend to her, as she lies in a near vegetative state, and Solis plays the two women off each other throughout the play -- exploring their interactions, their effects on the family around them and all the things that could have been. The piece focuses on the way voices from all walks of life struggle to be heard, and yes, it gets a little intense. Sexual themes abound, including an act that questions the thin line between love and sin. Cara Mia Theatre Company produces the complex work at the Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.); catch it at 8:15 p.m. Saturday or through Sunday, April 19. Tickets are $11 to $18 at caramiatheatre.org. -JDL

Prism So many art shows purport to be "immersive," but they're really just "engaging." The art is all around you -- you see it, you feel it, you hear it even, but largely the art doesn't really involve you beyond your viewing of it. PrismCo's PRISM, on the other hand, is serious truth in advertising. They say it's immersive, and is it ever. Billed as "movement theatre," the event features an exploration of the creation of civilization interpreted through three stages: darkness, light and color. Choreographer and visual maestro Jeffrey Colangelo has resurrected the production that launched PrismCo, which culminates in an audience participation event that the dearly departed Jackson Pollack would be proud of. The dress code for the event is "paint war chic" -- and the ultimate product goes beyond what you hear and see: the 20-by-20-foot painting that results from the audience participation piece will be displayed in a gallery curated by John Marcucci. Immerse yourself beginning with a preview at 8 p.m. Thursday at The Green Warehouse in Trinity Groves, 2900 Bataan St.; shows run through April 26. Tickets are $15 to $20 at artful.ly/store/events/5183. -JDL

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 The Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents a varied program sure to please a wide array of listeners: beginning with the DSO premier of renowned American composer Christopher Rouse's tone poem Iscariot, on to Beethoven's essential Piano Concerto No. 4, and closing with Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony (No. 3). Suggestive, at varying degrees, of jealousy, anger and melancholy, Rouse's Iscariot serves as a hearty first course to the evening's centerpiece, Beethoven's heady fourth piano concerto, the final piece of music for which the master served as soloist. Esteemed pianist Garrick Ohlsson takes the solo slot on this occasion, with Joshua Weilerstein making his DSO conducting debut. Performances take place at 7:30 pm on April 9 & 10, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday April 12. Tickets start at just $19. More information at mydso.com. - Jonathan Patrick

Grit The beautiful thing about Charles Portis' True Grit is how it represents so many different things to different people. If you want to think of it as a Bible-inspired tale of revenge and redemption, you can do that. If it's a celebration of a spunky, feminist heroine, then yup. It can be that. If it's a classic piece about American frontier spirit -- sure. It is. That's why Kettle Art's GRIT is such a perfect tribute to the book. It showcases diverse works from nearly 20 North Texas artists inspired by the great American novel. Opening at 7 p.m. Thursday at 2650-B Main St., you can expect to see folk art interpretations, character portraits, traditional American archetypes and abstract ruminations about this beloved tale of determination and vigilantism. The show is in conjunction with D Magazine's Big D Reads program, which has selected True Grit as its centerpiece for the month of April. Admission to GRIT is free. -JDL

The Illusionists Watching magic is a wondrous experience, so it would be wrong to spoil the The Illusionists by saying too much. What we will tell you is that the show is put on by Dallas Summer Musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park (909 First Ave.), and it features crazy, reality-upsetting magic tricks and illusions performed by seven professional -- like really, this-is-what-they-DO -- illusionists and their 20 "sidekicks" (maybe the traditional "assistant" is no longer PC). There's even a water escape that lasts so long it will make you squirm in your chair. When the feats defy physics, just trust in Dan Sperry (yes, the goth guy), Jeff Hobson, Andrew Basso, Kevin James (no, not that one), Mark Kalin, Jinger Leigh and Joaquin Kotkin. You'll wonder how they do it ... but don't be that audience member. Wait until you're safely in the car to discuss your theories. After all, children (young and old) paid $13-$88 to feel some mind-tweaking awe. See the performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, or at the same time Tuesday-Saturday until April 19; there are also 1:30 p.m. matinees on weekends. Visit dallassummermusicals.org for more. -Merritt Martin

Retrospect Hey, in addition to Dallas art month, it's also Architecture Month. The Dallas Center for Architecture hosts regular tours of the Skyline in Klyde Warren Park, and exhibitions in their office space off of Woodall Rodgers Freeway but this month they host even more events. This year, the center celebrates its 25th anniversary of the annual NorthPark Center exhibition, Retrospect, with a big party at Pirch -- the coolest store in the mall. Tickets are $35 for food, dancing, and drinks. -LS

Mountain View College sails into City Hall.
Mountain View College sails into City Hall.

The Seven Exhibition What is this? Actual art that's actually part of Dallas Arts Week? Quelle bonne idée! Wednesday the mayor unveiled The Seven, an exhibition that features work from the faculty and students of the seven community colleges throughout Dallas. It's a bit of a scavenger hunt to see it all, but the work in the main lobby will make you want to see more. It remains on display at Dallas City Hall through June 5 on your way to complain about the potholes in East Dallas. -LS

David Salle, Nate Lowman and Anila Quayyum Agha At this point, I've got a bit of a history with the Dallas Contemporary. It would be a lie if I told you that I didn't feel like the bigger person for showing up at their next show. But I would also have been a fool to miss this show. I'm still trying to comb through my thoughts about it, and all three exhibits are different and awesome in their own ways. And good god, David Salle is an important painter whose work you must see. Go, go, go. -LS

Friday, April 10 DIFF: This Isn't Funny Read more about this film produced by Dallas native Pierce Cravens here.

DIFF: Some Beasts Read more about this top DIFF pick here.

Concentrations 59: Mirror Stage--Visualizing the Self After the Internet In the upcoming exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, a group show of international artists reflect on who you are, or who you become when channelled through the Internet. How do you develop a sense of self beyond mirror image and human reaction? See the work starting April 10 through December 6 during museum hours. Admission is free. -LS

Hecho en Dallas If you're interested in seeing an array of work by Dallas-based artists, the Latino Cultural Center presents its 12th annual Hecho en Dallas this weekend. This juried exhibition features work from a strong variety of artists. Opening reception is at 6 p.m. Friday.

Spring Fiesta! It's been almost 40 years since Dallas Black Dance Theatre was founded. Since 1976, Ann Williams has grown a small, community-driven organization into a professional dance company recognized all over the country for its diversity -- cultural, artistic and audience. In fact, DBDT was in such high demand it needed a second company to better serve its community. This year marks the 15th anniversary of DBDT II, a volunteer, semi-pro company featuring students of Dallas Black Dance Academy, DBDT's training school. Make that promising, passionate students from around the country who want a life in dance. This weekend, DBDT II welcomes the new energy and the opportunities of the season, harnessing it into bold, modern choreography for Spring Fiesta! at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Performances will guest feature past DBDT II members and Dallas Black Dance Academy's Allegro Performing Ensemble, as well as the premiere of Nicholas Villeneuve's "The Art of Waiting." Tickets are $26.50. Call 214-880-0202 or visit attpac.org. For more information on Dallas Black Dance Theatre, visit dbdt.com. -MM

Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival It's one of the top art festivals in the nation. It includes more than $4.6 million worth of art, everything from ceramics to jewelry to sculptures to photography and more. It takes up 27 blocks, spanning from the Tarrant County Courthouse to the Fort Worth Convention Center. It's the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival and it's just around the corner. Beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday through the Sunday at Sundance Square, Blue Moon Brewing Co. will present this four-day arts festival. And it's not just art. There is music and food and beer and wine tastings, and did we mention beer and wine tastings? So really who are you to think you're too good for arts, music and some drinks? Oh, and admission is free. -Paige Skinner

The Burnin' As a metaphor for struggle, for searing tension, for societal discomfort and even for a revival, fire is a concept that frequently imbues imagery related to civil rights and race relations in the United States. The Burnin' is a perfect example of the metaphor played to an extreme: Two nightclubs in a fictional town named Antebellum experience devastating fires, 75 years apart. The symbolism here isn't subtle, but it's teased out through timelines that seemingly overlap -- and prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Progress Theatre's new play is a thought-provoking piece about cultural identity in the face of tragedy, and about our perceptions of how cultural progress is measured. It will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave.. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door; visit facebook.com/events/646600232140534/ for more. -JDL

Shoe Confessions Shoes. You have, like, a million of them in your closet right now. You have a different pair for every dress imaginable. You wear them every day, even when you don't want to. Shoes are super important. I mean, where would Cinderella be without her glass slipper? Probably still scrubbing floors like a scrub. Where would Dorothy be without her ruby slippers? Probably still in a scary land filled with munchkins and lions. And where would you be without your slippers? Probably stepping in water in socks and contemplating death right then and there. Shoes. They are important. That's why WingSpan Theatre Company is presenting a two-day staged reading of Shoe Confessions by Cynthia Salzman Mondell. It explores the intimate relationships women have with their shoes, including all of the journeys they took in them. The reading is at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Bath House Cultural Center. It's pay-what-you-can or $10 with credit card. Call 214-675-6573 for more information. -PS

Dallas Art Fair Who should care about the Dallas Art Fair? Well, collectors, obviously. But any Dallas resident probably should too. Sure, it's a four day event centered around selling contemporary art from both local and international gallery's booths. But it's also a good place to scope out great examples of what's going on in the contemporary art world without ever leaving Dallas. It's hardly the best fair in the country, but with more than 100 participating galleries and dealers it can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. For a window shopper the single day passes at $25 can seem expensive, but if you want to swing through the Fashion Industry Gallery (1807 Ross Ave) for free from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Friday, just enter the code DAFProfessional2015 at checkout and go for free. More information at dallasartfair.com. -LS

Saturday, April 11 Slideluck Dallas Slideluck Dallas is part potluck meal, part art exhibition. From 7-10 p.m. Saturday (weather permitting), this lawn party will take place at the Annette Strauss Square under the Winspear Opera House. The multimedia slideshow exhibit is curated by Leigh Arnold, who is the assistant curator at the Nasher Sculpture Center and a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas. She's included work from Jesse Morgan Barnett, Zeke Williams, Letetia Huckaby, Margaret Meehan, Nathan Green, and more. -LS

Uptown Farmers Market You thought that Uptown had it all. Sure, there have always been plenty of options if you're in the market for $12 margaritas, places to tan for your upcoming bro-cation and unlimited venues in which to sport your new yoga pants. But the truth is, there's been something missing--and no, I don't mean upscale mini-golf. Uptowners have for too long gone without their very own farmer's market. Even though getting to one has meant only driving a few minutes into downtown, there's still something to be said for popping down to West Village, 3699 McKinney Ave., and buying everything you need for super-food smoothies and patio lunches straight outta the hands of the growers. Uptown Farmers Market injects a little greenery into a landscape of condos, apartments, and townhomes, letting local residents breeze past the big box stores in favor of fresh goods from a selection of local vendors like Cita's Salsa, Promise of Peace Garden, Brazos Valley Cheese, Diana's Jams and Pickles, Paul Quinn Farm, Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie, and many more. The market is open from 8 a.m. until noon every Saturday through October. Visit facebook.com/events/1061567990525719/ for details. -JDL

Jonathan Hammer As part of its 360 Speaker Series, the Nasher brings in artist Jonathan Hammer, an artist who uses varied techniques including etching, Japanese screen-making, 16th-century marquetry and the ancient art of bookbinding. He creates a vocabulary of clowns, old toys and antiquated landscape to explore narrative, with an interest in roles of power. Hear him talk at 2 p.m. Saturday, RSVP to 360RSVP@nashersculpturecenter.org. -LS

https://www.facebook.com/events/743710149079839/" target="_blank">Meet Chivas Clem I have not yet seen the Chivas Clem show at Erin Cluley Gallery, so all I can tell you is that this is the kind of artist who vomits glitter and stacks VHS tapes into sculptures. You know, the kind of artist you'd want to meet and see if you can figure them out. Swing through Erin Cluley Gallery starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to see the art and the artist. -LS

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann Hear, ye, hear ye, stick out your pinkies for this convergence event tailor made to the high brow, tweed sports jacket wearing professor, at a college out in the northeast that sits dormant inside us all. Billy Collins is a poet laureate who teaches at City University of New York. Aimee Mann is a Grammy winning songstress. This is a night of poetry, acoustic music, and a conversation about The Arts. It's like a Portlandia sketch (Mann has appeared on the show) but very serious. - H. Drew Blackburn

Photokopy by Hatziel Flores One of my favorite pieces at the recent Kettle Art exhibition, Fractal Logic 2, was a Hatziel Flores piece. He plays with femininity in a real interesting, exacting way in his art. This show features sculpture, paintings, and a large scale mural which he is currently working on this week. Head to Atama in Mockingbird Station at 7 p.m. Saturday. -LS

Family Ties at 500 X If you're looking for a few places to hit up head to Expo Park and start with 500x Gallery's Family Ties. It's a show curated by Bonny Leibowitz and Julie Torres of both Dallas artists and Brooklyn artists. It features a bevy of artists and should be a fun collaborative show. Opening reception takes place from 7-10 p.m. Saturday. -LS

Devil Particle Head down to Beefhaus next to see a selection of new work from the collective, Art Beef, which runs the space. Reception from 7-10 p.m.

Sunday, April 12 Palestine, Texas Conversation II Over at Reading Room there's an exhibition by artist Noah Simblist in which he "tells the parafictional history of a small American town, unearthing the frontier culture of manifest destiny." It's probably something that is best seen in conjunction with an artist talk so head to the Reading Room at 4 p.m. Sunday. -LS

Welcome to Nightvale Somewhere out there in that unreachable plain of existence that Carl Sagan used to talk about on Cosmos when you were too baked to understand what he meant, lies a place where the abnormal is the norm. Three suns rise and fall over the desert landscape. The sheriff has a secret police force to do his bidding. Hooded figures occupy the school playground. Visitors and fans who are lucky enough to listen in on the town's only radio broadcasts know it as Night Vale and it's coming to Dallas. The weekly podcast Welcome to Night Vale shares the strange goings-on of the town through the community radio show host by Cecil Palmer, played by Cecil Baldwin. The host will record a special episode of the podcast as part of a national tour at The Majestic Theater with special musical guest Mary Epworth providing some much needed tunes during the harrowing weather report. The Majestic Theater is located at 1925 Elm St. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $30 each depending on available seating. Visit frontgatetickets.com for tickets. -Danny Gallagher

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