Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, July 4th Edition
Thursday, July 2
Every year we round up you cool cats for a comedy crawl through Deep Ellum. We stop at three bars: Three Links, Twilite, DADA; we listen to three comics: Paul Varghese, Aaron Aryanpur, and Dave Little. The laughs are free and the drinks are cheap.
Joe R. Lansdale @ Wild Detectives
Writers such as East Texas native Joe R. Lansdale give comics, graphic Paul Varghese, Aaron Aryanpur & Dave Little. and the oft-overlooked Splatterpunk sub-genre a (relatively) good name in the literary realm. Lansdale is a man of colorful arts and even more vibrant letters, having produced everything from highly praised graphic novel series such as Jonah Hex, to the literary inspiration for the cult-classic film Bubba Ho-Tep to episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. His awards shelf has likely been replaced many times over due to stress from weight. Oh, and he’s a certified martial-arts badass, too. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the multi-faceted author will present his latest novel, Paradise Sky (which a certain local daily has already called “a remarkable achievement, an instant classic of Western lit”), at the only bookstore where a wild-ass guy such as Lansdale could belong, The Wild Detectives, 314 W. 8th St. Admission is free. More at thewildetectives.com. -Kelly Dearmore
Aries Spears was the second-longest-serving cast member of sketch comedy show MADtv, appearing on nearly 200 episodes. You might recognize him for characters including comedienne Belma Buttons, Dollar Bill Montgomery, James Brown Jr. and rapper Emcee Escher. But now he’s taking his comedy routine to the streets on a national tour. Opening night for Spears at the Addison Improv begins 8 p.m. Thursday, and if you’ve got anything resembling a sense of humor, you can expect to laugh. His celebrity im-pressions include Missy Elliott, R. Kelly, O.J. Simpson, Al Roker and Magic Johnson, and his bits straddle the line between offensive and hilarious. His stay at the Improv (4980 Belt Line Road, Addison) continues through Sunday. Tickets start at $25. For more information, call 972-404-8501. -Paige Skinner
Don't Think I've Forgotten— Dallas Premiere
The Texas Theatre gives the Dallas premiere to a documentary about the lost rock 'n' roll of Cambodia. See it at 8:45 p.m. Thursday for $10.
Friday, July 3
Like any other city, Dallas has artists on the fringe. Which is to say, artists who aren’t producing colorful abstractions to sell in a Design District gallery. It’s hard not to be completely entranced by our outsider artists, who explore off-beat topics in their work. Of late, their work seems to have a post-apocalyptic bent. You’ll see this firsthand in the group show . The exhibition’s large roster of artists includes heavy-hitters like Mike Morris, Carlos Donjuan, Colette Copeland, Thor Johnson and several handfuls more. The elusive artist statement describes a post-apocalyptic cultural landscape, in which “identities and alliances are constructed, torn down and transformed.” Sounds like board game night in my house. Opening night at the Bath House Cultural Center (521 E. Lawther Drive) includes musical performances. Swing through from 7-9 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. More at irrational.city.
A quick jaunt up the Tollway yields a massive party in Addison Circle Park, 4950 Addison Circle Drive on Friday, July 3 from 5 p.m. until midnight. This fireworks show is the bomb—30 minutes of ground-launched sparkly, glittery and loud explosives fill the sky just north of Dallas. The show is legendary, and the work-up to it isn’t half bad, either: fly-bys from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum’s Warbirds prime eyes for all the entertainment aloft, while live music, games, and food aplenty keep you grounded. Admission is free; see addisontexas.net for further info. -JDL
Farmer’s Branch Independence Day Celebration
Maybe you’re looking to save your cerebral vertebrae a little wear and tear this holiday weekend? Farmer’s Branch has you covered…your neck can avoid the strain of sustained skyward viewing with one of the few low-level fireworks shows in North Texas. The horizon will fill with bursts of light at the Farmer’s Branch Historical Park, 2540 Farmer’s Branch Lane, Friday, July 3. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and you can fill your evening with concessions, historical tours, live tunes from Inside Out Band, and plenty of old fashioned American fun times in the Kidzone area. Admission is free; learn more at farmersbranchtx.gov. -JDL
Saturday, July 4
Fair Park Fourth
The gold standard of Dallas Fourth of July events will light up Big D via a deafening volley of fireworks during the Fair Park Fourth Celebration on Saturday, July 4. This all-day tribute to the American way is loaded with games and carnival rides on the State Fair Midway (which will open at noon), not to mention paddle boat excursions on the historic Leonhardt Lagoon and musical fountain fun on the Esplanade. Live tunes from Beatle’s tribute Hard Night’s Day, the Razzmajazz Dixieland Band, and the Dallas Wind Symphony strike the perfect festive tone, and a musical tribute to the red, white and blue will commence inside the Cotton Bowl at 9 p.m., culminating with that iconic fireworks display at around 9:45 p.m. Admission to the event is free, though Midway admission is $5 and ride and concession costs will vary. Parking on Fair Park grounds is $5, and the DART green line will run to the event as well. For a detailed schedule of events and all the other tidbits you need to know, visit fairpark.org. -JDL
Fort Worth Fourth
It’s like a pyrotechnic Manifest Destiny at this westward Independence Day fete starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. Blaze a trail toward Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey Street, for a jam-packed party that lays claim to the designation of largest fireworks show in North Texas. Activities include tubing down the Trinity (with free life jackets and tubes on a first-come, first-served basis), live music from Jimmy Buffet cover band The Land Sharks, a kids’ zone open from 2 until 8 p.m. and an awe-inspiring fireworks display at dark. General admission is free, parking is $5 to $10, and VIP passes are $10 to $40. Peruse the FAQs and other pertinent info at fortworthsfourth.com.
Singapore Slingers July 4th
Fireworks, mosquitoes, crowded swimming pools, humidity, day drunkenness and family arguments are standard elements of most Independence Day celebrations across the country. And don’t get us wrong, baseball and apple pie are plenty American, but come on, ragtime, jazz, Sousa marches and swinging good times at the Kessler Theater (1230 W. Davis St.)? That’s as American as a stoned Willie Nelson. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the classic, brassy blasts will come from our very own local jazz orchestra, the Singapore Slingers. You’ll be unable to squash the national pride swelling in your loins as you jitterbug and smooch like it’s V-J Day all over again. Who needs roman candles, farmer tans and inflatable kiddie pools when you have tubas of freedom and saxophones of liberty guiding your every gliding dance step? Tickets are $20-$280 at thekessler.org. -Kelly Dearmore
Poetry 'n' Fireworks at Ash Studios
If you're looking for something a little bit more poetic this July 4th, head to Ash Studios. Any and all poets are invited to bring their work. There will be music from Rat Rios and Trái B?. Entrance is $5 and it's BYOB.
Sunday, July 5
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Believe it or not, once upon a time Woody Allen made cinema classics, not just vehicles for famous movie and TV stars to expand their dramatic ranges beyond scripts with screen directions that read, “[CHARACTER FARTS].” But discussion of great film comedies isn’t complete without mentions of Allen films such as Annie Hall, Manhattan and Sleeper. One that doesn’t come up as often as it should is 1985’s The Purple Rose of Cairo starring Mia Farrow and Jeff Bridges — probably because when the names Mia Farrow and Woody Allen are put together, it’s hard not to reflect on their sordid marital history. This enchanting story of a movie character who literally walks off the screen and into the life of a Depression-era waitress bears all of Allen’s trademark style and wit, even with a plot line that sounds more like a Twilight Zone episode. At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) will give this overshadowed Allen classic a 35mm screening as part of the “Class of ’85” film series presented by the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. This screening will be free and open to the public. More at thetexastheatre.com. -Danny Gallagher
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Dallas and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.