15 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas this Labor Day Weekend, August 29 to September 2

There's a magicians conference this weekend. More importantly, there's this video about the magicians conference. Watching it feels like eating drugs.

You're lookin' at a long weekend, so grab your HOV lane manikin, prop 'em up in your office chair, Ferris Bueller the guy... then slowly press back to the exit. We're going to start this thing early.

Take a road trip to Oklahoma City to meet the beautiful brain behind Pee Wee's Playhouse; slurp Cheerios while watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids at Texas Theatre; and go see neighbors pummel each other at Fight Night. That's not all: there's burlesque, magic, more puppets, parties, art, karaoke, Broadway shows, competitive chess and movies about competitive chess.

I hope you ate an exceptional breakfast. You're going to need it.

Share this list with your friends and click on the event titles for more information. I'll see you out there. (I'll be the one getting sawed in half.)

Thursday 8.29 The Ticket's Fight Night -- It may be the year's best free party. It's certainly an excuse to see your neighbors pummel each other while knocking back cold beers. Join your fellow P1s ringside tonight.

Wayne White, at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art -- Join me and some other art-loving misfits tonight in OKC. The trip's worth the drive since Wayne White, the twisted brain behind Pee Wee's Playhouse, is giving a talk called "Yer Supposed to Act All Impressed." Tickets are sold out, but a simulcast is being held in the lobby. While there you'll see his current exhibition of giant puppets, HALO AMOK, which is on view through October 6. It's a cubist cowboy rodeo that's truly worth a gander. (Skip out of work early for this one...)

Honey I Shrunk the Kids with Free Cheerios! -- Jeez, Texas Theatre. We get it: You make amazing things happen, constantly. That fact is proven again this weekend as the one-screen movie house shows THE classic film of your childhood, Honey I Shrunk the Kids in 35-mm. Plus, they're giving away free Cheerios before each screening. Plus, plus, they're showing Roger Rabbit short "Tummy Trouble" prior to the feature.

Art Talk with Stephen Lapthisophon -- He's a mentor to many and an inspiration to all who see his gorgeous, messy, beautiful art. Listen to Lapthisophon discuss his current show tonight at Richland College, and consider it a primer -- he's got a solo exhibition arriving at the DMA very soon.

Friday, 8.30 The 79th Annual Southwest Open Chess Tournament -- It's the geekliest of geekly pursuits and there's $9,000 in prize money at stake, so yes: the nerds may get frothy while aligning their knights. You'll probably need to see that.

Book of Mormon -- Here's the deal with Book of Mormon: It's infuriatingly perfect. You don't have much longer to assume your missionary position (It closes September 1), so try for tickets now. Remember they have that pre-show lottery for $25 cheap seats.

The Altercation Punk Comedy Tour -- Held at Arlington's ultimate joke self-generating venue, Someplace Else, this comedy showcase is full of punk rockers and folks who run with punk rockers. Members of the Krum Bums and the Unbookables support JT Habersaat, who released the violently-titled album Hostile Corporate Takeover just last year. Go. Drink. Wear extra safety pins.

Saturday, 8.31 Best Seat in Town -- Ochre House's newest yarn unravels like this: Human Scotty Mankin's a down-and-out used car salesman. Worse still, he's crossed the puppet mafia and now they want to cut his strings... permanently. The musical comedy only gets weirder and more wonderful from there.

Labor of Love II, Deep Ellum Brewery's Homebrew Competition -- This is a biggie, especially if you're hoping to find Dallas' next big backyard brewer. About 40 locals are competing for bragging rights and you get to vote for your favorite. Get tickets early: This party will likely reach capacity.

The Ruby Revue Burlesque and Variety Show -- Gams! Glitz! Glamor! Those hard-working, hard-flirting ladies of Ruby Revue wanna shake it for you at the House of Blues. So go, have a fancy drink and party like it's 1932.

Texas Theatre Speed Chess Tournament: Man vs. Machine -- In addition to showing Computer Chess, one of the year's most charmingly odd releases, the Texas gets aggressive in the lobby with a chess tournament. The human victor of the blitz rounds will then face off against "HAL," an Apple IIGS that Aviation Films' Barak Epstein has treasured for 25 years.

Sunday 9.1

Texas Association of Magicians -- It's more than just a four-day conference in Addison: it's a COMEDY MAGIC CONFERENCE IN ADDISON. (I'm sorry to yell. I just get so excited.) Possibly the most alluring thing about it is that Harry Anderson -- yes, from Night Court -- will be there! Plus, this simply perfect promotional magician video. Master Pancake vs. Breaking Dawn -- Get pumped, Dallas! THE John Erler, Andrew Rosas and David Jara are trekking up from Austin to perform at the Alamo in Richardson on Sunday night! (For those of you who are from here, rather than there, let me assure you: that's a don't-miss Master Pancake line-up.) See this film parody show on Sunday, or be sad forever.

Long Weekend Sunday Night Karaoke at The Goat -- Dallas people know a thing or two about partying through a long weekend, namely that it's your joyful duty to pay homage to Carmen, the goddess of karaoke. Her legendary Sunday night parties at The Goat are always off several chains, but on a long weekend they're at-capacity ragers. You don't want to miss out, so go early and stake out a spot.

Monday 9.2 Anime Fest -- Running all weekend long at the Sheraton Dallas, Anime Fest is a chance to air out the geek flag in good company. Bust out that hot glue gun, pound a half dozen energy drinks then dance weirdly to soundtracks from your favorite films and video games.

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