Get to the roots
Why celebrate your roots only one month out of a year? And by roots, I mean everyone's roots. Yes, even that guy behind you who always honks the second a light turns green. (You know who you are. I am never amused.) If you haven't been to the African American Museum, a Smithsonian Institute affiliate, its 13th Annual Anniversary Gala and Juneteenth Blues and Jazz Festival held at historic Fair Park is a splendid time to go. The gala is a family-friendly event and an opportunity to learn something useful--especially for those who, I am ashamed to admit, slept through 8 a.m. AfAm 101 at university, despite the purest of intentions and the setting of more than one alarm. Did blues begin in Memphis? Or was it Chicago? And if you don't know what Juneteenth is, not to worry. The museum, the only one in the Southwest devoted to African-American art, culture and history, has everything you ever wanted to know, plus the feats of African-Americans who are making history happen today. And this year's music blowout promises to be the grooviest ever with headlining jazz legends David "Fathead" Newman and "Mr. Blues" R.L. Griffin. The entertainment will get cracking with bands Lazaar and Change of Pace at 1 p.m. followed by a picnic, and at 3 p.m. Audrey McClure will tell traditional folktales accompanied by drums and hand instruments. Tickets for the picnic and festival are $50. VIP tickets, which include seats in The Big Tent, an invitation to the pre-barbecue reception, photo opportunities with guest artists and VIP parking, are $100. Admission to the museum is free. The event is part of the A Day at Fair Park celebration. For tickets, call 214-565-9026, ext. 301, or visit www.aamdallas.org. --Emily Jacobs
Finola Hughes knows a thing or three about soap operas. She paid her dues for seven years on General Hospital before her character Anna Devane jumped over to All My Children for another four years. She won the Outstanding Lead Actress award in the Daytime Emmys in 1991. She even played an unnamed soap actress in the genre spoof Soapdish. So she didn't have to do much research for her debut novel, Soapsuds, as she lived through all the backstabbing and bed-hopping on and off screen before landing her current gig as host of the Style Network's How Do I Look? She discusses and signs Soapsuds on Monday at 7 p.m. at Borders, 10720 Preston Road. Admission is free. Call 214-363-1977. --Jay Webb
Now Grill This
Women have been cooking and slaving away in the kitchen for years. Men decide to boil an egg, and suddenly it's "an event." I'm just sayin'. Gals, this is your chance to take one for the team. Come down for some beefcake, cheesecake and, oh, some great food, too, when Real Men Cook takes place at Eddie Deen's Ranch near South Side on Lamar on Saturday. The annual event honors outstanding fathers and men by, uh, making them stand at a hot grill all day in June. You'll also find plenty of activities to keep the kids busy such as face painting and crafts. Eddie Deen's Ranch is at 944 S. Lamar St. The event is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit www.realmencook.com. --Christopher Wynn
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Technology changes with time, but some things are as evolved and understood as they ever will be. Case in point: Spy Kids 3-D, the third (and supposedly last) installment of the confoundingly successful franchise. It incorporates some of the finest stereoscopic effects ever projected onscreen, thanks to technological advances that director Alfred Hitchcock and Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhies couldn't have dreamed of. Simultaneously, the Robert Rodriguez project uses Sylvester Stallone as the plucky kids' arch nemesis, just as he's been the arch nemesis to quality entertainment for the last 25 years. Technology marches, but it's still all about art imitating life. Take the youngsters to the North Richland Hills Family Water Park/NRH2O on Friday at dusk when the Dive-In Movies series kicks off with Spy Kids 3-D. It runs every Friday night through July 29 with family-friendly movies projected for viewing from the beach or wave pool. NRH2O, 9001 Grapevine Highway. Visit www.nrh20.com. --Matt Hursh
What ever happened to The Get-Along Gang? Back when cartoons made sense, these six little do-gooders (a moose, a beaver, a porcupine, a lamb, a cat and a dog) hung out in an old abandoned red caboose. At the end, they always had a sundae at the local ice cream parlor. Back then, fun couldn't get much simpler than that. No pumped-up video game superstars, no amoeba-shaped whatchamacallits running about. Simple. Bring the kiddies out to Fair Park on June 18 and June 19 and let them experience a television-free weekend at the Kids Train Festival, part of the A Day at Fair Park event. At the Age of Steam Railroad Museum, children will get a tour of trains from long ago, including a steam whistle demonstration. And they'll get to visit a classic red Santa Fe caboose. Hey, maybe they can take turns on who will play Montgomery Moose. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children and free for members. Call 214-428-0101. --Jenice Johnson