Remember when Johnny Depp stole our hearts and creeped us out a little with his unique performance of a pale freak with scissors for hands? We wondered how a few cuts here and there to shrubbery made him a god in a little suburban town, which must have been starving for larger-than-life sculptures of greenery to be so impressed with his works of art. It's a bittersweet tale but a must-see for Halloween. Likewise a visit to the Dallas Arboretum for Dallas Blooms Autumn 2004 is an absolute must-see for getting into the fall spirit. Starting September 18, you can get your own Edward experience with Dave Rogers' Big Bugs, featuring 10 dinosaur-like insects made from trees, green saplings, dried branches, tree roots, vines and bark. Dallas Blooms Autumn exhibits more than 30,000 chrysanthemums and thousands of fall-blooming annuals and perennials, a pumpkin patch and hay bale maze. The arboretum is located at 8617 Garland Road. Call 214-515-6500. --Jenice Johnson
It's been 221 years since the Montgolfier brothers launched a sheep, a duck and a chicken into the air in the first hot air balloon flight. Their names have been lost to history, though records state they survived the flight. (Though not, one suspects, the après flight celebration. This was in France, after all, so their fates probably involved a delightful beurre blanc sauce and a charming bottle of wine.) If you have at least as much guts as a duck and $250 to spare, you can honor these brave pioneers at the Plano Balloon Festival in Oak Point Park, at Spring Creek Parkway and Jupiter Road. Balloon rides, music, dance and scores of colorful towering balloons--as well as the aforementioned balloon rides, weather permitting--are on the schedule for the three-day event, which begins at 4 p.m. September 17 and continues through the weekend. Visit www.planoballoonfest.org. --Patrick Williams
One activity we've never participated in at an art show: bowling. Two entirely underrated forms of art: custom car painting and tattoo. Both skills require the steadiest of hands and the highest of confidence, and both produce something unique. Bubba Turner noted the lack of recognition and in 2001 founded the Chupacabras. With a no-nonsense, no-rules mentality, the club welcomes not only car enthusiasts (hot rods, customs and classics), but musicians and artists. The 1950s vibe is strong as evidenced by members such as local rockabilly artist Robert Hamilton and pin-striping/car-customizing brothers Scott, Ryan and Kenneth Reierson. Midcentury-style flames and tats are on display indoors and out at the Chupacabras Third Annual Pistons & Paint Kustom Car & Art Show at 10 a.m. Saturday at Blazer Bowling Center, 3207 Forest Lane. Raffles abound, and if we're lucky, the strikes will, too. Check out www.monstercityusa.com for details and entry forms. --Merritt Martin
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