5 Things to Do: September 26-30

The State Fair of Texas opens Friday.EXPAND
The State Fair of Texas opens Friday.
Kathy Tran

This week is big for those who kick major ass. First presidential debate aside, Dallas (and surrounding cities) gets to host NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, the United States’ gymnastic champions (Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas, OMG!), the great human of New York, Brandon Stanton, and the one, the only, Big Tex. Don’t try to decide between our suggestions; do them all:

Presidential Debate Watch Party
8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26
Angelika Film Center
5321 E. Mockingbird Lane
$20; $10 for members
Whether you lean toward the orange — er, um, pardon, the red — or you favor the blue, we can all agree that one of the most entertaining parts of election season is debate. Everyone loves a good debate. You get the semantics, the defensive tones, the verbal finger pointing, and hopefully the discussion of actual policy, all in one perfectly produced place, and with a moderator who can add impact, or create controversy we can dish about the next day. But are you ready for the first real debate of this presidential race? Is anyone? The World Affairs Council is and it’s hosting a watch party for the broadcast from New York’s Hofstra University 8 p.m. Monday at the Angelika Film Center. Pull out $20 (or $10 for members) and score a comfy seat for the big showdown. We know council members will offer excellent discussion after the debate, but will Clinton and Trump offer us the answers we, as the voting public, deserve and give us good television to boot? Because let’s face it, being a TV-obsessed society is what got us here, and we’ve got the reality show star behind a podium to prove it. Visit dfwworld.org.

NPR’s Ask Me Another
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27
The Majestic Theatre
1925 Elm St.
$35 to $45
Can you differentiate a quote uttered by Gandhi from one by Angelina Jolie? Can you name games played by fictional characters in television and movies? Do you know Modern Library’s Top 100 English Language Novels of All Time? If you can and do, and know a bunch of other things — maybe you’ve boned up on some presidential shit — you should try really, really hard to be a contestant on NPR’s Ask Me Another (and by “try really, really hard” we just mean fill out the form on nprpresents.org) before it comes to The Majestic, 1925 Elm St., at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It’s trivia in its finest form, which is to say, it’s poppy, random and sometimes put to the tune of familiar songs. And fans, don’t even doubt, host Ophira Eisenberg and musician Jonathan Coulton will provide the voices you know and love — but in person! — and Dallas will get a special VIP, soon to be announced. Tickets are $35 to $45. Visit amatickets.org to purchase, but keep an eye on Facebook for that VIP tip.

Humans of New York: An Evening with Brandon Stanton
7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28
UNT Coliseum
600 Avenue D, Denton
Most of the time Facebook, and social media of many sorts, seems like a trap: It sucks time, it shames, it distracts. Sometimes aggressive posts or the simple lack of nuance can leave friendships in fragments and people in tears. But there’s one account that renews faith in our ability to be good, and it all started with the dream of an out-of-work bond trader-turned-photographer: Brandon Stanton’s brilliantly touching Humans of New York. In late 2010, Facebook gained the HONY page and a great deal more humanity. Stories of love, loss, aspiration, wonder, and every other emotion began to reach us along with beautifully simple portraits of those behind the words. Since, Stanton has traveled to the Middle East and Pakistan to photograph people, and he’s also raised millions of dollars through crowd-funding for things like pediatric cancer research and efforts to end bonded labor in Pakistan. His various series have built awareness around topics like abuse and PTSD. It would do most humans some good to spend an Evening with Brandon Stanton. Maybe goodwill and love for humankind is catching. For $30 and a trek up to the UNT Coliseum in Denton 7 p.m. Wednesday, we can all be Humans of New York. Visit untuniontickets.com to purchase tickets and parking permits (required for parking on campus).

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastic Champions
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29
American Airlines Center
2500 Victory Ave.
$31 to $85
We’re not sure what Zac Efron has going on 7:30 p.m. Thursday, but if he’s the real fan he says he is, he should be here in Dallas when Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions springs off the vault and into the American Airlines Center. This year’s most visible Olympic champions, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, Chris Brooks, Jake Dalton, Daniel Leyva and Alex Naddour, will be live, showing off their skills without a broadcast delay from Rio. All-time greats Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, as well as a number of other incredible gymnasts will perform feats worthy of ooohs and ahhhs. And for a moment, we can feel like we’re in the stands at the big games. No pausing the TV for these events; grab tickets on ticketmaster.com now. Visit kelloggstour.com for more info.

State Fair of Texas
10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30
Fair Park
$12 to $18
Sun’s out; Tums out. Starting this Friday, it’s time for Big Tex and his arsenal of fried foods to take over Fair Park through Oct. 23. Corn dogs are just the tip of the dough-berg: Fried Jell-O, chicken pot pie pockets and cookie fries are calling. Along with creative arts competition and the usual livestock shows and auction, the State Fair offers a peek at new car technology, innovations in gardening, shopping on top of shopping, a total of 75 live concerts and a Midway full of snack-filled-stomach-churning rides and games. Crazy Mouse and the weird Magnum P.I. ride are unofficial city treasures at this point, but the Texas Star is number one. Parents: Word is the Hall of State’s exhibition, The Taylor Swift Experience, is the place to send brooding tweens for a reboot. General admission is $12 to $18, and coupons are $10 for a sheet of 20. Pro-tip: Single tickets are a couple bucks cheaper at bigtex.com.

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