A comedian once remarked that we live in culturally strange times. It's an era when the best-known golfer is black, one of the most famous rappers is white and the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese. We may live in strange times, but the shake-up of cultural stereotypes should be something to celebrate. Dallas has always been a hot burner for the cultural melting pot--from the early days of Deep Ellum blues performers and the traditional Mexican folk dances to the present when one can enjoy a trip around the world within the same four-block radius. The Dallas Arts Gala Benefit aspires to, among other things, showcase Dallas' diverse cultural arts programs. With an agenda that's endorsed by Laura Bush and includes a neo-soul recording diva, an African-American country and western singing legend and Mexican and West African folk dancers, it's an evening that would blow that comedian's mind. In the best possible way, of course. First Lady Laura Bush is the honorary chair for the event. Vocal performers include Erykah Badu, Charley Pride, Tevin Campbell and Beverly Crawford. Performing arts groups are New Arts Six, Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Shakespeare Midnight Echoes and the Children's Chorus of Greater Dallas. Saturday's Dallas Arts Gala Benefit begins at 5 p.m. with a celebrity red carpet walk and continues through 10 p.m. at the Dallas Convention Center, Canton and Akard streets. Admission is $25 for balcony seating, $35 for priority seating and $50 to $100 for VIP seating. Call 214-743-2448 or visit www.DallasArtsGala.org. --Stephanie Durham
Walk, Don't Run
Fort Worth's museum-laden cultural district has its fair share of pedestrians most weekends. But Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., the museums take a back seat to the art galleries and artists' studios as the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association sponsors its annual fall Gallery Night. Look for the hip, hip array of art lovers to walk along West Seventh Street this year, from Monticello Art Gallery, to Carol Henderson Gallery, to the rockin' Wreck Room and Greg Bahr and Jesse Hernandez's Studio Four. It's too far to walk to William Campbell Contemporary Art off Camp Bowie Boulevard, so drive to see master painter J.T. Grant's wondrous oils. Then drive back to Gallery 414's heavy solo sculpture show by Chris Powell and the promise of an after-party invitation. For all venues and artists, visit www.fwada.com. --Annabelle Massey Helber
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The most adventurous some of us get during our shopping trips is when we attempt to squeeze into the pair of pants that had been left in the dressing room by the last customer. Break the rut of insecurity and dare to be progressive. The Spree Designer Showcase features 16 local independent designers who are helping set the latest trends in fashion. Shop and swirl cocktails Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Trio, 2404 McKinney Ave. Allow yourself the opportunity to get distinctive designer handbags, accessories and apparel that will have everyone looking to you for fashion consulting. The event is free with RSVP. Contact Katy Messersmith at 214-352-0670 or email email@example.com. --Danna Berger
Rows and rows of fermented grape beverages at the liquor store just give us the shakes--and not from the remembrance of wine hangovers. It's because we don't know the difference between a peignoir and a pinot noir. Fortunately, Morton's Maximus bottle asks not that you appreciate its vintage, only the enormousness of its container. The Maximus, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest wine bottle, holds 130 liters--the equal of 173 normal-sized bottles of wine. Many grapes gave their lives so that you may view this four-and-a-half-foot-tall oddity at a reception at Morton's Steakhouse, 501 Elm St., September 21 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cost is $40. Call 214-741-2277. --Michelle Martinez