Pop artist Paul Frank was a lot cooler before he opened a boutique in Dallas. You used to have to go to New York City, Chicago or Tokyo to get one of those trendy T-shirts with the funky monkey emblazoned across the front. Since the store opened in the West Village a few years ago it seems that every preteen girl from Highland Park to Hurst is walking around with that damn monkey on their chests. Not so trendy anymore, is it? Turns out that monkey has a name--Julius--and is the lead character in a cast of cartoon images including Clancy (the giraffe), Sheree (the raccoon) and Skurvy (the skull and crossbones) that decorate all of Paul Frank's swimwear, underwear and pajamas. So even if you can't appreciate the pink baby doll T-shirts and their cutesy little slogans, you can still waste a lot of time at work playing around on the Paul Frank Web site watching numerous cartoons featuring Julius and company's wacky misadventures. (We're particularly fond of the "Peanut Butter & Jelly Fish" episode in which Sheree persuades Clancy to go find the giant purple jellyfish that makes grape jelly.) It's pretty elaborate marketing for a line of T-shirts. Frank doesn't design all the clothes, but the cartoon world is the product of his very vivid imagination. In an effort to let the man behind the madness meet his adoring fans, Frank is embarking on his Get to Know Me tour in his customized Paul Frank Winnebago. Meet Paul Frank on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Paul Frank Store in the West Village, 3699 McKinney Ave. Admission is free. Call 214-528-7676 or visit www.paulfrank.com. --Jay Webb
It's just as exciting for dedicated followers of local art to see old faces resurface to unveil new work as it is to "discover" brand-spankin'-new artists. Dallas Center for Contemporary Art director Joan Davidow curates a new sculpture show of established-if-not-older talents, Construction and Architecture, opening Friday with a reception from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 2801 Swiss Ave. "These works include a constructed room, plaster paintings and black tent drawings," Davidow says. Well-known names we like to see again include Kathy Webster, with molded fiberglass forms; John Frost, hiding in a fabricated bathroom; Tom Hollenback, making light magic in a dark chamber; and Steven Price, still hammering on concepts with wooden palettes. Call 214-821-2522 or see firstname.lastname@example.org. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Rene Cruz's severed gorilla hand is extreme, even by Plush's standards. Dallas' only truly alternative and dang experimental gallery moved downtown to digs big enough to hold two art shows. Cruz joins Julie Carter, showing embroidered abstracts, and Mark Nelson, who paints technique-obsessed pop icons, for the "front room" exhibit dubbed Monster at 1927 Commerce St. In the main gallery space, Maura Vazakas' Seven Layers of the Universe opens also with a reception Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Gallery owner Randall Garrett calls the San Diego-based artist's work "a lowbrow style that combines elements of comic art, illustration, formal abstraction, all with a childlike naïveté." Call 214-498-5423. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Ever seen the adorable picture of a fuzzy little feline bounding through lush green grass? You know, the one with the caption "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten." That's smart marketing. It hits us where it hurts. The DFW Humane Society has nothing to do with the picture. In fact, it's a no-kill shelter for all sorts of loving, lonely animals, so come human weakness or higher power, these folks live to see the happiness of all abandoned creatures. Thing is, the Humane Society survives solely on our donations. That's why we should all come out to the Black Collar Affair fund-raiser (with cuisine, a pet parade and auction) on Saturday evening at the Las Colinas Country Club in Irving. It's at 4400 N. O'Connor Road. Call 972-253-6200. --Matt Hursh
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