If you're looking for a good weekend to stuff your face with delicious food, look no further. For fried food? Try the State Fair of Texas, obviously. For Greek food? The Greek Festival of Dallas, duh. To sample all the ritzy restaurants in town? Try Park & Palate, Klyde Warren Park's first food festival. And then you can take your fat self and head to a dark theater for The Droll at Undermain, Dry Land at Upstart Productions, The Mountaintop at Dallas Theater Center, or dig into the Apu Trilogy at the Texas Theatre.
Thursday, Sept. 24
Anyone who has fallen in love with theater will likely rhapsodize about the feeling of anticipation when the lights grow dark and the curtain rises. Or exactly what play or musical it was that first captured them. For people like us, the notion of a world without theater is absurd, and even devastating. But that’s where we find ourselves in Meg Miroshnik’s The Droll (Or, a Stage Play about the END of Theatre). Theater has been banned, but one young man finds himself so enchanted by the off-limits art form that he seeks out and joins an illegal theater troupe. Inspired by the closure of theaters in Puritan England, Miroshnik crafted a play with a number of recognizable characters from centuries gone by. It’s a dark, funny piece that asks, “What evil would you do in the name of laughter?” See it at Undermain Theatre (3200 Main St.) in previews at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 8:15 p.m. Friday; or in full production beginning Saturday. Tickets start at $15. More at undermaintheatre.org
Laura Wilson: That Day
Photographer Laura Wilson’s vision of the West is at once recognizable and entirely foreign to those in Texas or nearby. Filled with notions of the heroic cowboy and pioneers headed into the great unknown, she captures a world of juxtapositions and hypocrisies. In one image taken in Nebraska, an Oglala Sioux woman speaks with the tribal leader through the window of a car; she wears a windbreaker with the Dallas Cowboys logo on it. Yet in other photographs, a group of cowboys traverses an enormous plain, looking like something out of a John Wayne movie, or a pack of Marlboro men. In this new exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum (3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth), Wilson turns her keen eye to everything from the Mexican-American border to cockfighting in Webb County, Texas. The museum opens at 11 a.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, and Laura Wilson: That Day will be on display through February 14, 2016. Admission is free. More at cartermuseum.org.
Friday, Sept. 25
State Fair of Texas
Oh, Texas. It’s been a rough few weeks for you, PR-wise. Misunderstanding the fundamental differences between bombs and science projects got more than a few derisive “only in Texas” memes lobbed at you. Ted Cruz continues to lurk behind Donald Trump like a latter-day Grandpa Munster, and our state-level elected officials ... exist ... and we can’t make them stop talking. It’s bad news all around. But there is one thing that we can unapologetically love about our great state, even in this most irksome phase: the State Fair of Texas. And it’s here, thank the Lord, in all its butter sculpting, pig racing, deep-fried glory. When the clock strikes 10 Friday morning, Fair Park will become the unofficial state capital for a blissful 23 days of carnival rides, pork chops on sticks, powdered sugar and live music. This year features live performances from the Beach Boys, Craig Wayne Boyd, MercyMe and Trio Grande, plus fried creations like chicken-fried lobster and beer-battered buffalo. So, take this opportunity to guzzle a bacon margarita, hoist a corny dog high into the air and reclaim your state pride in the name of Big Tex. Check bigtex.com for schedules, discounts and more information. The State Fair is open daily until October 18. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. General admission is $18; $14 for seniors and kids under 48 inches; and free for the under-2 set. -Jennifer Davis-Lamm
If you were going to set a drama in a high school, you’d be hard pressed to find a more appropriate setting than the girls’ locker room. Those confines see a fair amount of calamity — in friendships, fights, sexuality, body-image issues and other outgrowths of adolescence — and prove to be the perfect setting for Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land. The play centers on a teenage girl’s quest for an abortion, but it’s about so much more than that. The main characters are stripped down to their bathing suits in much of the play, leaving them vulnerable and exposed in a physical and metaphorical sense. It makes for viewing that’s raw and often uncomfortable, and it’s on its way to becoming an essential piece of modern theater thanks to its realistic, stunning portrayal of the female adolescent experience. The powerful production is presented by Upstart Productions, 2336 N. Beckley Ave., at 8 p.m. Friday. Shows continue on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through October 10. Tickets are $20 at eventbrite.com. -JDL
Park & Palate
If we were to rank the things Dallasites love most, fine food and drink would be near the top, followed shortly by Klyde Warren Park. Dallas’ appreciation for all things culinary is widely known, embodied by the sheer amount of real estate, publishing ink and hard-earned cash devoted to our dining scene. And Klyde Warren Park, at 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, is the most popular destination for first dates, play dates and even dinner dates. The upcoming Park and Palate combines these two Big D delights during a two-day gastronomic marathon that benefits the beloved park and its programming, from 7:30-10 p.m. Friday. The kick-off event will feature 12 chefs and their versions of comfort food, judged by a celebrity panel. Then, from noon until 5 p.m. Saturday, guests can sample food from 30 chefs and taste a wide selection of wine, beer and spirits. Cooking demonstrations will fire up all afternoon, and DJ Lucy Wrubel will be on hand to keep things moving and grooving. Tickets start at $150 and can be purchased at parkandpalate.org. -JDL
In an intimate and moving performance at Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.), the Broadway hit Mountaintop explores Martin Luther King Jr.’s last thoughts and emotions before being assassinated. This raw production presents King as a mere man while also exploring his contributions to society and the legacy everyone leaves behind. It was the 2010 winner of Britain’s Olivier Award for Best New Play and you can see it at 7:30 p.m. Thursday or through November 15. Mountaintop contains mature themes and language. Tickets start at $18. For more information, call 214-954-9925. - Paige Skinner
Alicja Bielawska: Reference Points for Potential Constellations
If the work on display in Cydonia Gallery this week seems familiar but you just can't quite put your finger on it, you're engaging with what the artist considers the "limits of the past," or exactly how our perception is tied to to memory. Bielawska is interested in the uncannily familiar, the things you recognize but don't remember. She creates hard linear forms, softened with textiles and modeled clay. See the work, which has an air of mystery about it, in an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday or during normal gallery hours through October 31. More at cydoniagallery.com.
Saturday, Sept. 26
If you know about the Apu trilogy, you know that its restoration is kind of a big deal. If you don’t, and you are even a tiny bit of a film buff, take note: the Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., is showing the landmark cinematic series Saturday through Thursday. Long considered the pinnacle of Indian filmmaking, the trilogy is an adaptation of a classic Bengali coming-of-age story by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. Under the direction of Satyajit Ray, two books became three films that follow a young boy named Apu as he makes an alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming transition into adulthood. What’s breathtaking about the films is their simplicity: They were made on a shoestring budget by a largely inexperienced cast and crew, and yet the emotional punch (aided by Ravi Shankar’s soundtrack) is so much more layered and rich than most films with multi-million-dollar budgets achieve. Both the narrative and technical legacies of the movies are far-reaching, having influenced everyone from Scorcese to the Beatles. Immerse yourself in the whole series or see any one of them as stand-alone features: Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) will be screened at 2 p.m. Saturday and at 6:15 p.m. Sunday; the second film, Aparajito (The Unvanquished), can be seen at 4:20 p.m. Saturday and at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 1; and the third installment, Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), screens at 4 p.m. Sunday and 9:20 p.m. October 1. Tickets are $10. Visit thetexastheatre.com for more. -JDL
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Greek Festival of Dallas
We’ve all been hearing about the not-so-healthy economy and the democratic struggles of Greece. But here in Dallas, Greek culture is flourishing. The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road, continues its centennial celebration with the three-day 2015 Greek Food Festival of Dallas. Festivities begin at noon Friday and include full-on feasts, or à la carte options of Greek favorites like tiropita, dolma, gyro, pastitso and more. Learn to make some of those dishes, thanks to daily food demos. Many of the ingredients you’ll need will be available in the agora pantopolion, or marketplace’s grocery store. In the agora you can also shop Greek jewelry, clothing, pottery and more. Now, we may not be able to provide a direct translation for “Opa!,” but we can definitively say there will be music and dancing: All three days are packed with performances by the Holy Trinity Hellenic Dancers (who work to preserve traditional Greek dances) and Greek musical acts, such as Thymios and his Greek American Super Band. This feta fête will go on rain or shine: Umbrellas are a good idea, empty stomachs are even better. General admission tickets are $6; food and drink tickets are $1 each (most items range from $1-$12). Visit greekfestivalofdallas.com. -Merritt Martin
Red Bull Air Race
The reach-in refrigerators at 7-Eleven are increasingly packed with energy drinks, but Red Bull has managed to not only survive, but thrive, thanks in large part to its expert marketing strategy. Everything Red Bull does is extreme ... er ... we mean ... EXTREME, SON!! Red Bull is all over the most extreme sporting-type events: Flying a handmade, motorless hang-glider/boat hybrid off a ramp into a lake (the Flugtag)? Red Bull is there. Jumping a motocross bike over a football field covered with hungry, venomous vipers and angry Tea Partiers (whoops, same thing)? There. Red Bull has its iconic logo planted at all of the wildest, most thrilling events across the planet. The next Red Bull event at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday —at the (extremely) massive Texas Motor Speedway (3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth) — is easily translated. Instead of calling this global, free-to-attend, popular event the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championships, let’s just shorten it to Extreme Plane Flying, Brah! -Kelly Dearmore
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala
The DSO Gala concert is notorious for its glitz, glamour, after party, flowing spirits and, yes, its status as cultural currency. Perhaps it’s appropriate then, that this year’s event will celebrate what’s been called Beethoven’s “drunken” symphony, which the composer himself (rightly) believed to be one of his best compositions. Kinetically feverish and uniquely animated, Beethoven’s Seventh no doubt makes 2015’s Gala worth the trek, even for those unimpressed by glittery gowns and pigeon suits. The open bar doesn’t hurt either. Lauded violinist Pinchas Zukerman, guest soloist for the evening, will help open proceedings with Beethoven’s beloved Violin Concerto. Jaap van Zweden conducts. Proceeds benefit the DSO’s education and community programs. The concert and party begin at 8:45 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $49. More info at mydso.com. -Jonathan Patrick
Sunday, Sept. 27
For much of his 14-year career, artist Kehinde Wiley has explored issues of race, gender and class, smartly juxtaposing traditional portraiture, even referencing specific works by Titian and Van Dyck, but then placing a contemporary black man or woman at the forefront. His interest in both art history and depictions of African American men and women in modern times makes for endlessly fascinating conversation fodder. Beginning Sunday, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell St.) exhibits 60 works that span his career, from his early observations in the streets of Harlem to his newer interests in sculpture and stained glass “paintings.” See the work from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays through January 10, 2016. Admission is $10. More at themodern.org.