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Your A-to-Z Guide to Aurora and the Arts District Fall Block Party

Mmm, Flavin-y.
Mmm, Flavin-y.
Joshua King, "Omage to Flavin"

We're a tech hub, an arts destination and a city willing to experiment. Tonight those qualities merge and surface at Aurora: Lights of Convergence, the multi-sensory spectacle set to illuminate the Arts District in a few, quick hours. 87 talents have created new media installations for the event. Some you'll find tucked inside the area's grand infrastructure, like the nooks and crannies of the Wyly, the Meyerson, Winspear, Dallas City Performance Hall, The Crow and more. Others will exist in the wild, projected onto buildings' exteriors or scattered around plots of greenspace and Klyde Warren Park.

There's a total 68 acres of glowing art to explore, which is exciting. But while Aurora is the evening's largest draw, tonight is also the Arts District's Fall Block Party, so all three museums stay open until midnight and offer special programming. Admission to all of this -- Aurora, the Crow, the DMA and the Nasher -- is entirely free, so take advantage of it.

We've sifted through the data -- from the glowing bike rides and hip hop headliner acts to who's sticking what, where -- then broke it down into this handy guide.

A.Dd+ Headlines Late Night at the DMA Whoever thought we'd see A.Dd+ perform at a local museum? I sure didn't, and I've got to say: That's pretty tight. Beats drop for free at 10 p.m. in the Atrium.

Booker T. Washington Fostering a new generation of talent is what Booker T. does, and they'll get to show off that new crop this evening. Students present "Real of Work" at the Dallas City Performance Hall. Their school will also serve as a canvas for other artists.

Crow Collection After Dark Hey Crow Collection, I like it when you go free. Check out the new sculpture garden and indulge in an entire night of free programming during Crow Collection After Dark. It runs from 6 p.m. to midnight and includes Aurora contributions from the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Dallas City Performance Hall Known for its brilliant acoustics, some of our favorite artists have installations inside, around and projected onto the thing. Dallas Observer Mastermind winner Carolyn Sortor and all-around favorite (and Aurora co-founder) Shane Pennington have work there, along with 13 other artists that you need to visit.  

Dallas' biggest canvas wakes up tonight
Dallas' biggest canvas wakes up tonight

Expanded Cinema The Dallas VideoFest's OMNI project gets another chance to shine during Aurora. It'll play on the hotel's walls throughout the night, so see it again or enjoy it for the first time if you missed the big show on October 4.

Fall Block Party In addition to free admission to all the museums and exploration-ready public art by Aurora, you also get the frills that come from the Block Party, like food trucks and extra folks performing or answering questions.

Green Search Lights Adding to Aurora's glow, the Nasher sparks bright green search lights in the sky in honor of its 10 year anniversary. They'll be charged up through October 25, a nod to Nasher Xchange, the museum's public art scavenger hunt. If you get a great photo of the beams, tag 'em with #nasherxchange. (Just a thought: Let's reflect them off of Museum Tower for maximum amplification.)

"Hermetically Sealed", by Willie Baronet and Robin Myrick A look at sound's ability to connect and an examination of how we pocket ourselves off into airtight moments, "Hermetically Sealed" explores the intersection of identity and technology, creating a merged space that considers our symbiotic relationship with art, science, media and landscape. See this Installation at Flora and N. Olive, from 7 to 11 p.m.

Illusionist Showcase at the DMA Those female illusionists from the Rose Room are stunning examples of performance art. The Dallas Museum of Art understands that and gives them the main stage at 8 p.m.

Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take The first comprehensive survey to be organized in the United States is currently giving Hodges his due in a show spanning several of the DMA's grander galleries. They're offering discussions and special tours of the thing during Late Night. The lecture is free, the tour requires a special ticket.

Klyde Warren Park This plot of urban playtime was still in development during the last full-sized Aurora. For this installment the park will be taken over by artists Hal Samples, RE Cox and Jeff Gibbons, performance duo Slik Stockings with guest Emily Loving and many others.  

Your A-to-Z Guide to Aurora and the Arts District Fall Block Party
James Clar's "Turbulence"

Lights, dude. All participating artists incorporate light for this nighttime showcase, so go prepared to be dazzled. Or go unprepared, and be extra dazzled. Whatever, just go. (Note: If you're on psychedelics, don't fall in the water feature facing the Winspear. We will all laugh at you.)

Meadows School SMU's Meadow's School brings a strong batch of talent to the Aurora roster. There's a nice write-up of who's doing what from the University on their news page. Current students mingle with professors, adjuncts and alumni for Aurora, so make sure you admire their additions.

Nasher Turns Ten On Saturday Nasher Xchange's ten pieces of public art open up. Leading into that, Nasher's got extra stuff planned for their 'til Midnight series, like two live bands and a preview look at Alfredo Jaar's baby scream pavilion. (You won't be allowed to enter it until Saturday, but it will be there on Friday.) Pro tip: Visit the Nasher again on Sunday for the space's big 10 year anniversary party. The whole day is filled with exceptional programming, activities and even free ice cream from Coohaus.

Open Bar There isn't one, officially. You can buy drinks at the museums. That said, the trunk of my Hyundai hatchback will house 18 bottles of cheap champagne, so come find me. We'll slur through the night together.

PRKD/Subject to Change -- At Henry C. Beck Jr. Park, just across from the F.I.G., you'll find a new public art program sponsored by the Dallas Art Fair and organized by project curator Brandon Kennedy called PRKD. It's a revolving presentation, launching on Friday with work by local trouble-makers: Jesse Morgan Barnett, Bradly Brown, Brandon Kennedy, Ludwig Schwarz, and Lucia Simek.

Questions About Mortality of Inanimate Objects, as Explained by Robots

That was a really long way for me to say

that this is happening

. It's Max Dean's "The Robotic Chair," and it'll break apart and reassemble itself inside the Winspear's Hamon Hall.

Rawlings Papa Bear Rawlings opens the Aurora Ceremony at 7 p.m. with a quick talk at the Wyly, followed by a bell ringing at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. 

Catch Somebody's Darling in the Nasher Courtyard with support act, Alpha Rev
Catch Somebody's Darling in the Nasher Courtyard with support act, Alpha Rev

Somebody's Darling -- Local roots-rock act Somebody's Darling lends their southern leaning talent to the night with a set in the Nasher courtyard. They've got company, with Alpha Rev.

Tiny Thumbs We love Tiny Thumbs, the local gaming collective hellbent on educating the public in indie and art games.

They're bringing "Boogie Woogie" and "Funnel Ball" to Aurora, and projecting the things on a wall near Flora Street by the Meyerson. That means you can play the biggest video game of your life. Oh my god, it'll be just like the finale Mario Bros scene from The Wizard. [Note: This portion was cancelled, but Tiny Thumbs has big plans for future events and we'll keep you looped in as they develop.]

Your A-to-Z Guide to Aurora and the Arts District Fall Block Party
Peter William Holden's "Autogene"

U-n-i-t-y Getting the schedules, agendas and organizing committees of this many arts groups together is nearly impossible, and yet it happened. Generators found locations. Buildings were divided in the name of public art. And every museum opened its doors for free. That collaborative effort increases the entire night's value, Diamond District style. Kudos, guys. Good work there.

Virgin of Guadalupe Aurora uses the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe throughout the night. It's where you'll see/hear a projection, light, installation project by Anne Katrine Senstad called "Color Synesthesia, Variation IV, Silent Version" from 8:30 p.m to midnight.

Who, What, When, Where Because there's about 90 artists participating, you'll want to make sure you find your favorites. Aurora built a map that helps you track 'em down. It also gives a summary of each work when you hover over its pin.

Xchange Nasher Xchange opens on Saturday, and here's an entire guide to the thing. On Friday night get a look ahead, thanks to photographer Allison V. Smith. The local Barry Whistler repped (and wed) artist captures life at its most beautiful, so it makes sense that she's been chosen to document Xchange. There's a display of her work up at the Nasher to help entice you for Saturday's adventure.

Y Not Just Bike There? Bike Friendly Cedars, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, and a few other groups are getting together for a glowing, two-wheel ride to Aurora. Light your bike up, join the group and compete for prizes.

Prepare the Kids for Their ZZZ's The DMA offers bedtime stories by storyteller Ann Marie Newman in the C3 Theater at 7:30 p.m. Yes, pajamas are encouraged.


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