A little can do a lot. For example, our office is pooling cash to bribe a co-worker to perm his hair. And, in the same vein--only nicer, more mature and useful--there's 500 Inc., a nonprofit organization founded in 1965 when 500 individuals pledged $10 each to raise money for the Dallas Civic Opera. Since then the organization has donated more than $12 million to support the arts--visual, theatrical and musical. One of the biggest moneymakers is ARTFEST, which runs May 29 through May 31. The festival features more than 275 artists, plus performances by Brave Combo and jazz veteran Jeff Lorber. Concerts offer lawn seating, but leave the coolers and pets at home. Things will kick off with a special preview/concert presented by 107.5 The Oasis on May 28 featuring sax player Kim Waters. The preview begins at 6 p.m., and admission is free with an invitation ticket from The Oasis or with a $5 donation. On May 29, as part of fund-raising efforts, the annual Run for the Arts 5K race will begin at 8:30 a.m. May 29 near Addison Circle. Tickets to ARTFEST 2004 are $5 for adults, and children younger than 6 will be admitted free. Advance tickets are available at Tom Thumb for $4. ARTFEST 2004 is located at 4970 Addison Circle Drive in the Addison Arts and Events District. Call the 500 Inc. at 214-565-0100 or visit www.dallasartfest.com. --Jenice Johnson
Take a walk on the wild side
Thank God for natural disasters. If it weren't for killer tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and other episodes of Mother Nature behaving like a big, bad beeyatch, cable television programming would be left with little more than Nazis, makeovers and old murders. Besides, there's something reassuring in the knowledge that for all humankind's hubris, we still exist at the pleasure of forces beyond our control. Keeps us humble. The Dallas Museum of Natural History, 3535 Grand Ave. in Fair Park, is offering a lesson in humility in the face of nature with Wild, Wild Weather, an interactive exhibit about the science behind nature's nastiness. Museum-goers can build block structures and test them in a simulated "earthquake," as well as try their hand at creating a weather forecast. (Can you beat the pros? Bet you can.) Photos and footage from historic disasters in Texas and elsewhere will also be on display. So come and pay your respects to Ma Nature. It'll make her happy, and, truly, you don't want her cranky. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 214-421-DINO. --Patrick Williams
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English-major nerds might talk about stuff like archetypes and hero journeys when discussing the puppet-laden film The Dark Crystal, but we're just going to point, laugh and say, "Dude, look at all the big-ass bug things!" Whether you're smart or smart-ass, sober or not so much, check out the midnight showings of The Dark Crystal at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane, May 28 and May 29. Tickets are $7.50. Call 214-764-9106. --Mary Monigold
Plenty of Puente
Tito Jr. joins the orchestra
Wait till we down a six-pack of wine coolers and we'll tell you about the best time we ever had with a cello, a three-cornered hat and a guy named Tito. We, of course, are talking about the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Hispanic Festival, featuring compositions by Joaquin Turina ("La procession del rocio"), Astor Piazzolla ("Tangazo") and Manuel de Falla ("El sombrero de tres picos"), conducted by Germán Gutiérrez and showcasing guest artists cellist Jesus Castro-Balbi and Tito Puente Jr. Local groups will provide pre-concert and intermission entertainment. The festival will be held May 28 at 8 p.m. at the Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Tickets are free but must be reserved. Call 214-692-0203. --Michelle Martinez