Chinese New Year sounds like an intense holiday. On January 1, we eat some black-eyed peas, nurse a hangover and call it a day. Not so for the Chinese. First of all, because the Chinese calendar is based on a lunar cycle, New Year's falls on a different date each year. That in itself is hard enough to keep up with, but then there are the rules and superstitions: no cleaning, no crying, no foul language, no washing your hair and many more. Breaking these rules has severe repercussions, which can affect the rest of your year. For example, you shouldn't use knives or scissors on New Year's Day for fear that this may cut off fortune. Also, don't sweep dirt out over a threshold because this may also sweep away a member of your family. This one wouldn't be so bad if you got to choose the family member, but we mess up there, too, because negative thoughts and words are also considered bad luck. Traditions of any culture can seem odd (sometimes we don't even understand the roots of our own), but this week you can learn something about Chinese customs and the significance of the Year of the Monkey from the Crow Collection of Asian Art. On Thursday, celebrate Chinese New Year at noon at Trammell Crow Center Plaza, 2010 Flora St. Admission is free, and there will be a martial arts demonstration and a performance of the lion dance, a popular event at New Year's festivities. Then on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. there's more free fun at the museum. Activities this time include paper cutting, fortunetelling, shadow puppets, storytelling and more. Call 214-979-6438 or visit www.crowcollection.com. --Rhonda Reinhart
No Place Like Home
You've watched Changing Rooms. You've watched the far-inferior Trading Spaces (and, if you have kids, Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls). And from these home-help programs, you've realized your walls be ugly. They need color. Before you grab a paint bucket and start your rolling, you need to get to the Dallas Home Show this Friday through Sunday. There you can find home-improvement ideas and get tips from Brian Santos, "the wall wizard," on painting and wallpapering. For example, if you're having trouble stripping wallpaper, all you need is the "secret formula." What is it? If I tell you, the wizard will smite me. Get to the Dallas Convention Center, Hall D, 650 S. Griffin, and find out. For times and hours, go to texashomeandgarden.com. --Eric Celeste
Go for the Gold
Talk "Dirty" Harry Callahan all you want, but it's Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name who casts the most imposing and enduring cinematic shadow. In fact, the dusty, near-silent gunslinger of Sergio Leone's trilogy of spaghetti standards competes only with Reservoir Dogs' Mr. White and Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle for the top spot in the coveted "Image Most Likely to Appear on College Boy's Dorm Room Wall as Representation of Newfound Roguish Personality" contest. The epic Civil War-era treasure hunt, 1967's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, deserves the acclaim it commands, and The Magnolia at the Modern series strays out into the still-badlands this weekend with screenings Friday through Sunday. Times vary, and tickets run $5.50 to $7.50. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is at 3200 Darnell St. Call 817-738-9215. --Matt Hursh
It's story time and movie night at the DMA
We've always fantasized about hiding out in the local department store, grocer or museum as the gates close at the end of the day, granting the freedom to run amok after hours. And, no, we didn't steal that from The Royal Tenenbaums. Our opportunity has finally arrived. The Dallas Museum of Art presents All Night/Late Night featuring a dramatic read-aloud marathon of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Hobbit, the prelude to The Lord of the Rings, starring volunteers and various Dallas celebrities. During the two days, the DMA brings a new level of appreciation for the first two films in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which will be shown back to back along with the animated The Hobbit. Come dressed as your favorite Tolkien character from 7 p.m. January 23 to 5 p.m. January 24 in the Horchow Auditorium at the DMA. It's free with museum admission. Call 214-922-1200. --Danna Berger
Say "I do" to party supplies
You've got the rock. You've set the date. You've convinced your friends to support you and your mother to butt out. Here comes the bride; there go your nerves. If you thought the hard part was choosing the perfect-for-you life partner, you're in for a surprise. Try not blowing a gasket after your hastily chosen DJ plays "Stayin' Alive" for your first dance. The Winter 2004 Bridal Show is one-stop shopping for wedding professionals who will ensure that on your big day your only concern is your partner and the good time that you'll have...till death do you part. Exhibitors include party planners, florists, disc jockeys, videographers, photographers and cake decorators. The show is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. The cost is $5 to $10. Call 972-713-9920 or visit www.bridalshowsinc.com. --Stephanie Durham
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