I am all about the Oscar party--the cooking, the heavy drinking, the laughing at insincere acceptance speeches, the heavy drinking, the shrieking when the unworthy are awarded, the unchallenged claims that So-and-So Famous Person mentioned in an insincere acceptance speech "is a good, good friend of mine," the heavy drinking. I am particularly adept at picking winners just before they are announced; if you'll notice, the night seems to create its own vibe and build its own momentum, till by night's end the winners aren't just inevitable but, like, d'uh, so freaking obvious. The Oscar party is a tradition at my house, and I'd invite you, swear, but the guest list is full up; since Miramax canceled its bash this year, Harvey and Bob Weinstein are coming over, and we're going to barbecue the cast of Cold Mountain on the patio. If you wanna bring some beer and pork rinds, maybe we'll make an exception. Then, you may want to instead go to Hector Garcia's annual Academy Awards party at the Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway, which has been taking place some 25 years and serves as a fund-raiser for the TCC AIDS Fund, Youth First Texas and the Texas Human Rights Foundation. Getting into the event isn't cheap--tickets, or contributions, range from $100 to $2,500 for "studio moguls"--but the event is said to be quite the blast; and the winner goes to Hector Garcia, henh. The ceremony's piped in via satellite onto the theater's screen, and word has it the food and booze help during the cinematography and sound design awards, during which I am always "shining the statue." The party starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts till the show is over, around 3:21 a.m. Monday. --Robert Wilonsky
So you've taken stock of four long months of holiday parties and decided that you were surrounded by dullards from Thanksgiving through Valentine's Day. Does it take one to know one? Swallow the denial and head to the Institute for Interesting People for some mental floss and influential intellect. They're hosting a luncheon with Hallie Ephron, who will talk about her novel Obsessed, which features hoarding, stalking and sexual obsession. Plus her family is all Hollywood and stuff. The luncheon is noon Friday at Hotel ZaZa, 2332 Leonard St. Tickets are $50. A Mystery Writer Workshop and dinner with Ephron is from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 to $120. Call 214-828-1715. --Stephanie Durham
Picking a photo for your online personals ad can be tough. You get only one chance to reveal your inner beauty and hide your outer ugly. We suggest posing next to a sexy, unattainable piece of equipment. Luckily, the Dallas Auto Show has more than 700 potential photo partners on display at the Dallas Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin, from March 3 through March 7. You might snag a photo that looks like you own the Porsches and Ferraris on display. Car fans are welcome, too. The show is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 to $10. Check www.dallasautoshow.org. --Sam Machkovech
Raise your hand if you're gun-shy. Be proud that you've never handled or owned a gun since that long-ago deer season when your father propped you up on the hood of the pickup with his precious "30-ought-six" rifle, which slammed into your shoulder every time you shot at the cans on the fence posts. Instead, pack your camera gear for some sane shooting this Saturday in the wildlife sanctuary at the Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney. Noted wildlife and nature photographer Wyman Meinzer will conduct a 9 a.m.-to-4:30 p.m. workshop, including his photo exhibit, lecture and nature trek. Tickets are $75; register and prepay by calling 972-562-5566. --Annabelle Massey Helber
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