These suggested events don’t have a speck to do with one another, but dammit if they’re not all affordable things to do that will make you reflect on really different topics after you leave each of them. We love a week with range. How about you?
Baron Vaughn Comedy Residence
8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29
120 S. Main St., Fort Worth
$12 to $32
Jokes aren’t just written in a few moments, even with divine comedic intervention. Ask any stand-up (qualification: any stand-up who writes their own jokes) and they’ll describe a discipline. Go out, go up, try them out, gauge a reaction, rewrite or retime and do it all over again more times than an audience could ever suspect until it works. Until it gets the laugh. A true, sincere laugh. Anything less is motivation for a crumpled notepad and another go. Amphibian Stage Productions isn’t widely known for being a comic’s workshop, but starting 8 p.m. Monday, Baron Vaughn (“Bud” from Netflix’s fabulous Grace and Frankie) is turning it into one. During his one-week residency (through Saturday), Vaughn is using Amphibian audiences to workshop and hone a fresh mix of zany and intellectual material for a new set. See one show for $12 to $32, or get a “festival pass” for $32 and witness the progression of the set through the week (even provide feedback), before seeing the end result Friday or Saturday night. Comedy nerds, suit up. Visit amphibianstage.com.
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20th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas presents Labyrinth of Lies
7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30
Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, UTD
800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson
$12 to $100
There’s nothing wrong with a good action blockbuster or animated family film, but film festivals provide the opportunity for focus. Sometimes focus is on a genre — a festival of documentaries you can dive into when you normally watch dramas and comedies — and sometimes the festival is about the filmmakers and subject matter. Think Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Women Texas Film Festival or the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center’s 20th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas, which kicks off 7 p.m. Tuesday with a free screening of Labyrinth of Lies in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building of UTD. While Labyrinth of Lies examines the life of a public prosecutor investigating former Nazi war criminals, the monthlong festival of 13 films also features celluloid fare reaching the hilarious, motivating and sensitive as often as the stunning and dramatic. Don’t-miss films — well, all are well curated, so it’s a tough call — include Jonathan Pryce in the rambunctious Dough, basketball doc On the Map, and layered drama AKA Nadia. Individual screenings are $12, or purchase a full series pass for $100. Visit jccdallas.org.
Intersections 2.0: A Deeper Dive on Reproductive Justice
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Dallas Convention Center Theater Complex
1309 Canton St.
Reproductive justice isn't a topic that should be brought up over coffee and then forgotten after a single passionate conversation. In fact, it’s not really a topic. It’s an issue, a complex one that requires ongoing attention in the way that people think about the very related issue of social justice. In fact, if the word “intersectionality” isn’t familiar, Intersections 2.0, presented by Nan Little Kirkpatrick of the TEA Fund and Marsha Jones of The Afiya Center, should be Wednesday’s destination. The free event begins with a presentation dealing largely with abortion access for various communities, but will also feature “workshop activities” so those attending can get face to face with one another, discussing reproductive justice matters that reach well into rights, healthcare disparities, power inequalities, the aforementioned intersectionality and self-help/care. Refreshments are provided, so RSVPs are appreciated. Visit teafund.org or Facebook for more. Spanish translation available.
Uptown Players presents The Toxic Avenger
8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1
Kalita Humphreys Theater
3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
$10 to $50
In the plot of every superhero production, it’s a general rule that along with the superhero comes at least a touch of socially awkward and often another of genetically altered. Look at any of the students of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, or conversely, the acid-bathed Two-Face. But what the Uptown Players are bringing to the Kalita Humphreys Theater at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, is a little more … green. Melvin Ferd the Third just wants to save his New Jersey town from a toxic waste deal the corrupt mayor has unleashed. But the mayor’s henchmen turn the tables and dump Melvin into the waste to shut him up. In doing so, they create The Toxic Avenger, who may look like a monster but is ready to fight pollution and crime in general with freakish strength. With songs like “Thank God She’s Blind,” “Hot Toxic Love” and “Everybody Dies!” The Toxic Avenger clearly offers a one-two punch of humor in with its love story and fairly basic environmental message. Don’t “waste” this opportunity to see the musical based on the 1984 film cult classic by Troma Entertainment. Tickets are $10 to $50. Visit uptownplayers.org.
Westfest Czech & Polka Festival Friday Night Preview Party
6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2
West Fair and Rodeo Grounds
S. Main Street at 10th Street, West
While West, Texas, has been in the news recently for explosive tragedy and arson, the little town and required Interstate 35 stop for foodies is and always will be celebrating something much more joyful and further reaching in its history: Czech culture and heritage. Sure, in West you can honor the Czech every day, but on Labor Day weekend every year, Westfest expands the party to a nonstop, three-day Czech-centric throwdown at the West Fair and Rodeo grounds on South Main Street. Kicking off Friday with a Miss Westfest contest and closing with a Gary P. Nunn concert Sunday, Westfest has more live music, a parade, kolache eating contest, carnival and midway, polka Catholic mass, the Kolache 5000 (a 5K run/walk), and even more filling up the hours in between. Daily admissions range from $8 to $15 for adults. Visit westfest.com for a complete schedule and event details.