The "block parties" we remember from childhood involved myriad containers of green bean casserole, a teetering portable basketball hoop with no net and oft-shirtless men milling around Dad's deer feeder inspecting the welded joints. Generally, the moms would discuss the infidelities of some PTA member while pushing around weird little rolled hors d'oeuvres on the Chinet and chain-smoking. Ah, the memories. Thankfully, the Dallas Theater Center ups the class at its annual Neighborhood Nights community party, and the trip back to late-'70s Garland is no longer threatening our psyche. The free event features live music (blues band Big Cookie and the Crumbs), backstage tours of the theater and sneak peeks at the DTC's upcoming season beginning September 8 with Anna in the Tropics. The public is invited to indulge in free vittles from Bread Winners, Cupcake Kitchen, Chipotle and others and encouraged to subscribe to the DTC (each subscription comes with a dinner package donated by restaurants such as Al Biernat's, Campisi's, York Street and others). Join in on the long-lost neighborly vibe and maybe win some door prizes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Call 214-522-8499 or check out www.dctinfo.org. --Merritt Martin
A cinematic excuse to drink more wine
The twice-made film The Days of Wine and Roses profiled a family slowly wrecked by alcoholism. The Nicholson/Dorff flick Blood and Wine gave you a black comedy of angry folks...and again an alcoholic in the shape of Judy Davis. And then there's Jugular Wine, a sloppy horror about an anthropologist who encounters vampires--creatures who have a drinking problem with blood not alcohol. OK, the connections might be a stretch, but I bet you didn't know that even this many movies in American cinema had "wine" in the title. And if you want to pair up wine with your grown-up film experience, Whole Foods Market in Highland Park will give you a lesson on combining the right wines with your favorite movie snack foods such as popcorn, pizza and chocolate during its class Movie Whites. Leave the boring sodas in the fridge. The class begins at 6:30 p.m. August 24 and costs $15 a person. Reservations are required. Whole Foods is located at 4100 Lomo Alto at Lemmon Avenue. Call Greg Turner at 214-520-7993 to reserve a space. --Jenice Johnson
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To get your cultural karma back in the plus column after sneaking out for a Garfield/White Chicks double feature, be sure to attend the opening receptions for IR Exposition Gallery, 803 Exposition Ave. The gallery will feature live music and work from artists Sarah Jane Semrad and Daniel Miller. The receptions, which are free and open to the public, will take place August 20 and August 21 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Call 469-951-7323 or visit www.irgallery.net. --Mary Monigold
El Centro's new gallery isn't afraid to be silly
Last time we cracked a smile at an art gallery, we were tossed out, then pelted with champagne bottles by socialites angry that we had disturbed the funereal atmosphere. Then they gouged out our eyeballs and ate them on melba toast, as rich people enjoy doing. OK, so that didn't happen, but we did get some mean glares for daring to be un-stuffy. Good thing El Centro's new art gallery isn't so uptight. The new 1,062-square-foot space opens with the exhibit An Invitation to Laugh, the witty works of 10 artists whose invitation we'll gladly accept. Attend this inaugural show's reception on August 22 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 801 Main St. The show is open through September 17. Call 214-860-2115. --Michelle Martinez