Thursday, May 27
We see the homeless every day, but we don't really see them. We avoid eye contact, walking to lunch downtown, trying to find our cars in Deep Ellum, pumping our tanks full with $24 of gas. We play a game of keep away. It's time to take a closer look. Hal Samples has seen all sides, from being a hot-shot car salesman, then homeless and now photographing the homeless to help them, to help the charities that provide support and to help himself. To raise money for these organizations, LoudthÖt hosts a reception and cocktail party featuring Samples' art from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a photographer commentary at 7:30 p.m. and live music by a band from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. LoudthÖt, Suite 300 of 6200 N. Central Expressway at Yale. Call 214-827-2600 for reservations.
Friday, May 28
Keep those Baby Gap-style, contemporary Strawberry Shortcake dolls and the pumped-up, neck-less He-Man action figures away from us. They're just wrong. If they're going to bring back all of our childhood toys, they should just let them be. They were good enough for us; they're good enough for kids today. Don't even get us started on how all the seesaws were removed from playgrounds because they're too "dangerous." Kids today are soft. They need to toughen up. Take, for example, Clifford the Big Red Dog. He used to be the focus of goofy, funny stories of what happens when a dog grows to house-size and drinks out of the swimming pool. Now Clifford and his pals--humans Emily, Jetta and Charley and dogs T-Bone and Cleo--teach wholesome lessons called "big ideas" such as believing in yourself and playing fair. See for yourself when a scaled-down version of the Clifford the Big Red Dog character visits the PajamaRama story time at Barnes & Noble, 2201 Preston Road at Park in Plano, at 7 p.m. There will also be hugs, photos, stories and more for pajama-clad kids and their seesaw-surviving parents. Admission is free. Call 972-612-0999.
Saturday, May 29
"Heaven on a biscuit" sounds like a claim those wacky Chick-Fil-A cows would make about the fast-food joint's breakfast sandwiches. But the truth is neither otherworldly nor buttery and flaky. Instead it sounds, well, a bit boring: an art exhibit featuring photographs of a troupe of actors performing somebody else's plays. But it's not. Those familiar with the subject matter of Loli Kantor's Heaven on a Biscuit: Extended Portrait of Hip Pocket Theatre know that the plays here--shown in rehearsal, backstage and in progress--are art beyond plain drama. Hip Pocket Theatre specializes in vibrant, visual theatrics with zany costumes, puppets, masks, makeup, music and more all taking place on a stage outdoors in Fort Worth. Kantor spent five summers documenting the troupe, but this isn't a just-the-facts-ma'am deal. The photographer, who is a member of the group f.8, became part of the action, showing intimate and small moments even audience members and the actors might not remember. Heaven on a Biscuit opens Saturday and continues through July 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at the Arlington Museum of Art, 301 W. Main St., Arlington. Call 817-275-4600.
Sunday, May 30
Old McFair Park had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm, it had some hands-on, kid-friendly, educational activities, E-I-E-I-O. With a click-click here and a read-read there, the Science Place's Little Urban Farm opens this weekend as part of the museum's permanent exhibit, Kid's Place. Featuring displays, projects and other things, Little Urban Farm teaches where food comes from before it reaches the grocery store and the importance of natural resources through activities such as planting seeds, feeding chickens, milking cows and riding a tractor. Grand opening events start at 10 a.m. Saturday with a ribbon cutting, live music and dancing, a petting zoo and stick pony races. Regular exhibit hours this week are 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Entry to Little Urban Farm is included in regular exhibit admission ($4 to $7.50). The Science Place, 1318 Second Ave., Fair Park. Call 214-428-5555.
Monday, May 31
History tours snake around New Orleans every few hours every day, and in Chicago, tour guides trek tourists around the Windy City several times a week. Sure, those tours usually involve fake blood, bad magic tricks or plastic toy guns, but they're there, ready to skim the surface of history...or just get it wrong. That probably explains why the Dallas Historical Society hosts fewer than a dozen tours each year. Research, fact-checking, finding experts and chartering buses take time. And that's why people travel to Dallas just for the tours, including the twice-annual The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde tour. Historian John Neal Phillips, author of Running With Bonnie & Clyde, packs groups onto buses for the driving and walking tour, which features stops at the grave sites of both outlaws, plus their "safe house," places of employment and scenes of their crimes. The tour is $45 for non-members, which includes lunch. It departs from Fair Park's Hall of State at 9 a.m. and returns at 2 p.m. Call the DHS at 214-421-4500.
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Tuesday, June 1
We'd need an extra shelf in our pantry for all the specialty food-making kits available at Target: crème brlée, sushi, snow cones, s'mores, pasta. For $20, anyone can be a gourmet. But, we're sorry, Ming Tsai, you just don't mess around with sushi. It needs to be fresh. It needs to be perfect. It needs to not poison anyone. All of which we're sure Sur La Table's Steve Pilat will cover in Sushi for Beginners at 6:30 p.m. at 4527 Travis St. For $70, Pilat will instruct newbies how to make sushi rolls and sushi rice, crafting delicacies including rolls with names such as California, spicy tuna and vegetarian and nigiri sushi, the unrolled kind that uses rice like a tiny, edible platter. Call Sur La Table at 214-219-4404 to register.
Wednesday, June 2
Kitchen Dog Theater Company's New Works Festival will take audience members to a simpler time in American history, before the invasion of Iraq, with two plays about other issues in our nation: high school shootings and still-strained white-black relations. This real downer of a festival, featuring a fully staged play, several staged readings and PUP Fest, a young playwright festival with Junior Players, starts Saturday with Permanent Collection, the premiere of Thomas Gibbons' play about how race pits the new African-American museum executive director against his Caucasian director of education when the placement of African and European art comes under scrutiny. Clarence Gilyard of Walker, Texas Ranger stars in the play, which continues through June 27. The staged reading series starts with In the Canopy of the Forest, about "crime, retribution and the bonds of friendship," at 7:30 p.m. Sunday and A Line in the Sand, based on the Columbine shootings, at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave. Call 214-953-1055.