This weekend there are plenty of reasons to leave the house and no, 50 Shades of Grey is not one of them. From masquerade balls, to an '80s prom at Doublewide, to video art screenings, performance art, theater and more. We've compiled a list of what we recommend you spend the next few days doing in Dallas.
Thursday, Feb. 12 The Wartime Escape Curious George is a frequent bedtime player in my house, where the little ones love his tales of marginally acceptable monkey behavior. But behind the hijinks is an even more fascinating backstory, which begins in a place without many happy endings. His creators, Margaret and H.A. Rey, were German Jews visiting France when the Nazis invaded in 1940. Their harrowing escape to America -- during which they carried the original manuscripts for the beloved children's series -- took five months. It's a history more extraordinary than any of the mischievous little monkey's adventures with bikes, dump trucks or kites. The Wartime Escape at the Dallas Holocaust Museum (211 North Record St.) chronicles the Reys' ordeal through illustrated prints by Allan Drummond plus archival material. It opened Wednesday and will be on view through June 20 during normal museum hours, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. An opening reception, featuring author Louise Borden, who penned The Journey That Saved Curious George, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. General admission is $10; visit dallasholocaustmuseum.org for more info. - Jennifer Davis-Lamm
Brahms Piano Concerto Dallas Symphony Orchestra, in something of a reverse sequel to last year's performance of his Piano Concerto No. 2, presents Brahms' grand Piano Concerto No. 1. Undoubtedly, the composition deserves a mighty player, and in the robust Yefim Bronfman the work finds a fitting suitor. Beautiful and subtle one moment, fierce and thundering the next, Brahms first large-scale orchestral composition is an elegant, variegated goliath from volcanic start to sweeping finish. Intermission's silence is broken by Richard Strauss' oft-sneering Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life), a glowing exhibition which celebrates Strauss' own genius as much as the glory--and tribulation--of archetypal heroism. Performances take place February 12-14 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday February 15 at 2:30 pm. Jaap van Zweden conducts. Tickets start as low as $19. More information at mydso.com. - Jonathan Patrick
David Cross' Hits It's often said that art is subjective. We've all heard a friend rant and rave about something and wondered, "Is it actually worth paying X-amount of dollars to experience it? Will I agree that it's good?" Well, David Cross is tackling that issue head on. Following in Radiohead's footsteps, Cross is allowing viewers to pay what they want to see his new film Hits, which satirically explores the residents of a small town in America and their hunger for fame. If you're ... uh ... buy-curious, show up to Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) at 7 p.m. Thursday and decide the value of Cross' work for yourself. Find more info about this one-time screening at thetexastheatre.com - Lucas Buckels
For the Love of Artists Last Saturday night, Kettle Art hosted its annual "For the Love of Kettle" exhibition, in which all the proceeds from the show go to support the gallery right around tax season. The line stretched around the block, with people lining up more than an hour before the space opened. This week, they flip things up with "For the Love of Artists," during which all the proceeds go to support the artists. Get there well before 7 p.m. and prepare to fight your way to your favorite piece. More at kettleart.com.
Friday, Feb. 13 Dallas Medianale Screenings Those of you who are late to the Dallas Medianale party aren't out of opportunities to join in on the fun. The experimental film festival that took over the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (3120 McKinney Ave.) at the beginning of January still has a few tricks up its sleeve before it ends in March. Up next is a series of seated screenings in the MAC's black box theater, curated by video artist and educator Michael A. Morris. At 7:30 p.m Friday you'll be treated to a compilation of videos with the theme "The Lost Worlds." Following at 8:45 p.m. is Experimental Response Cinema, a collection that will focus on films from Austin. Morris has done a great job curating Medianale events thus far; the evening is sure to be entertaining, educational and to draw an interesting crowd. While you're there, also make it a point to check out the video art installation in the adjacent galleries, Call and Response. Francis Alys' work in the exhibit has recently been replaced with a piece by Micah Stansell, so there's something new to see, even if you've already passed through. Admission to the event is free, but RSVP through Eventbrite to guarantee your spot, as seating is limited. More info at videofest.org. - Caroline North
Who's Afraid of Chuck and George? Think of Who's Afraid of Chuck and George as a roast on canvas, where -- rather than having insults hurled at them -- two artists will be lovingly caricatured by friends and fellow artists. In fact, nearly a hundred contributions will line the walls of CentralTrak, the UT Dallas Artists Residency (800 Exposition Ave.), demonstrating the immense respect and affection that Brian Jones and Brian Scott have generated in their 25 years in the Dallas arts community. The pair -- who are partners in life and frequent collaborators in art -- go by "Chuck and George," and even if you don't know them, you know their work. Jones did an iconic series of Big Tex in flames that you surely saw after the fiery incident in 2013; Scott's grotesque imagery includes studies of carnies and male genitalia. Given their fondness for private parts and general campiness, it'll be interesting to see what kind of tributes their friends come up with. View Chuck and George through the adoring eyes of dozens of their peers during the opening reception from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday. The exhibit continues through April 4. Admission is free; see centraltrak.org for more. - JDL Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet If we're honest, no one wants their love affair to play out like Romeo and Juliet's. I mean, they both end up with eyelids closed, arms crossed, six feet underground. But the ill-fated, star-crossed romance is certainly a thing of legend. It's performed everywhere, but almost always acted by people far too old for the characters. They were teenagers, after all. Thank goodness for Fun House Theatre and Film -- the wonderful theater group out in Plano that does quite the opposite, casting teenagers and children in any and every role. Their choice to mount Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet might be the most age-approriate one they've ever made. Spend your Valentine's Day with the Bard, and a compressed, musically accompanied version of his world-famous tragedy. Performances take place at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Plano Children's Theatre (1301 Custer Road, Plano). Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. More information at funhousetheatreandfilm.com.
Gilligan's Fire Island Mining 1960s television for camp is in no way a difficult task. Think of the possibilities: a drag version of Bewitched, with the most splendid version of Endora ever; a Green Acres reboot where you take a fashionable, urban gay couple and move 'em out to the sticks; a Brady Bunch knockoff with seemingly endless permutations of hilarious gender-bending mishaps. It's a fertile field of slapstick possibilities. In this case, Uptown Players' Jamie Morris will harvest Gilligan's Island for a send-up performed in Station 4's Rose Room (3911 Cedar Springs Road), beginning 8 p.m. Friday and running through March 15. Gilligan's Fire Island recasts Gilligan as a twink hoping to have a gay old time on his upcoming island vacation -- only to be knocked overboard on the journey. He washes up on another island, inhabited by a zany assortment of over-the-top castaways, and gets way more than the three-hour tour he bargained for. Tickets are $22 at uptownplayers.org. -JDL
Villa Y Corte Spain beats all other European destinations in the romantic flair category. Great Britain is hospitable and lovely, to be sure; Italy has monuments that awe; and France has pastries to make a man weak in the knees. But Spain has a devil-may-care appeal that sets it apart from its neighbors. Plus the Spanish basically invented naps and late dinners. Enough said. Spanish music is especially adept at evoking the country's warm, lively culture -- the symphonic works of 18th century Spain are lush, optimistic and melodic. The Orchestra of New Spain will create an atmosphere of Madrid-inspired fantasy during their performances of Villa Y Corte at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Dallas City Performance Hall (2520 Flora St). With a program that includes vocal performances from Jendi Tarde, Patrick Gnage, Anna Frederika Popova, Eugenia Ramirez and tenor Sergio Cepeda, contrasted with orchestral works from Boccherini and Brunetti, this beautifully produced tribute to all things Spain is a ticket to global romance without the airfare. Seats range from $25 to $75; visit orchestraofnewspain.org to purchase. - JDL
Saturday, Feb. 14
Sherlock Holmes at the Perot Are you one of those a-holes who cracks the case before the detectives on the show and then ruins it for everyone else by shouting, "Oh, come on, it's clearly the shifty chimney sweep?" First of all, you're an a-hole. We covered that. But second of all, your time has come. A tweed-cloaked interactive exhibit opens at the Perot Museum on Valentine's Day. A nominal fee will grant you access to Sherlock Holmes' world, where you'll participate in an investigation, follow clues and hopefully nab the bad guys. Throughout your hunt you'll see "original manuscripts, period artifacts, and film and television props and costumes." Sherlock Holmes' observational skills changed the way investigations are conducted even today, and now you can put yours to the test. Use your eyes but don't forget your ears. Find your way to the Perot Museum (2201 N. Field St.) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The exhibit runs through May 10. Admission is $8 for museum members, $29 for non-members. More at perotmuseum.org. - Nikki Lott
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Carolyn Sortor's Necronetworking Performance Currently at the Reading Room, Carolyn Sortor's video art is a variegated exploration of the Internet. This weekend, from 2-5 p.m. the space hosts a performance by Sortor related to the installation. Stop by the Reading Room (3715 Parry Ave.).
Sunday, Feb. 15 John Waters When you're asked to name a great American storyteller in an opinion-based parlor game or meaningless survey, old fogies like Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor and Ernest Hemingway spring to mind. But director John Waters should be the first person you think of. The easily offended deem him and his artistic endeavors shocking, but if you delve into his work, you'll find evidence of an artist who genuinely cares about people and wants only to shake them out of their comfort zones. Waters goes out of his way to find the strangest and most colorful among us, even if that means hitchhiking across the country, which he did for his memoir Carsick. The director of Pink Flamingos, Hairspray and Serial Mom will share his stories, opinions and whatever else falls out of his head when he takes the stage at the Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 the day of the show. More at tacticsproductions.com. - Danny Gallagher
Wayne Brady If CNN reports tomorrow that Wayne Brady is actually a robot designed solely for entertainment -- and you know they would break into a Presidential address to report such a thing -- it shouldn't surprise anyone. The star of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and host of Let's Make a Deal can do everything that's required of a stage and screen presence: sing, act, hype up a crowd and make people laugh. Best of all, he makes it look easy. He could probably even run an expensive high definition camera, set up the lighting and edit the footage in the time it takes a show to finish, so guests could buy the DVD in the lobby by the time the curtain closes. Brady is back on tour on his "It's My Line" tour that that includes a stop at the Verizon Theatre (1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie) at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are between $35 and $55, depending on available seating. More at verizontheatre.com. -DG
Kodo One Earth: Mystery During a performance of Kodo One Earth, you're treated to an array of sights and sounds. The word kodo means two things in Japanese: "heartbeat" and "children of the drum." The heartbeat is the primary source of all rhythm, and the drums are played simply during the show, like the heart of a child. Kodo One Earth: Mystery is coming to Dallas, and its performers have sought inspiration all over the world. Ancient folk art is the basis for everything from the music to the costumes to the dancing.. See it at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Music Hall at Fair Park (909 1st Avenue). Tickets are $36-$70 at ticketmaster.com. - Paige Skinner