15 Awesome Things To Do in Dallas this Weekend, August 15 to 18

Shake out your matching cowboy outfits: The Nasher shows The Three Amigos for free in it's beautiful courtyard on Friday.

But that's not all. No way. There's a bodybuilding expo, complete with MMA bouts and a massive arm wrestling competition -- an event perfectly counterbalanced by Thursday's thumb wrestling battle royale at the DMA; a hot air balloon festival; parties at breweries; art openings; a Vampire Diaries convention; and a comic book bash for those of you who missed the annual event of choice for Nerds of Earth, San Diego Comic-Con.

Yep, it's all happening.

Call up your party gang, click on the event titles for more information and make a plan, man. I'll see you out there. (I'll be the one ranting about "a plethora.")

Thursday 8.15 Sports and Persona in Performance Art -- After four weeks of workshops and lectures, the performance art finale of DallasSites: Available Space is tonight. Now, this ain't no sissypants art dancin', designed to cause whisker stroking. Nope. It's a thumbwrestling royale, brought hard by Joel Kiser and Luke Sides. They'll take your metacarpals to the (tiny) mat and declare a thumb war from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Dallas Love Project Kick-Off Party at Deep Ellum Brewery -- The Dallas Love Project will commission 50,000 individual works of art from Dallasites dedicated to the theme of unconditional love; 20,000 of those will hang along JFK's fated motorcade route and throughout the city as a monument to both the memory of JFK and the redemptive power of l-o-v-e. At tonight's fundraiser, a $10 donation gets you a brewery tour, live music and a commemorative pint glass. Gotta love that. Cocktail Evening at the Modern -- Drink your way to cubism tonight at the Modern during this pinkies up evening of cocktail guzzling. All of your favorite liquors will be there! Plus, you can drunk stare at art, which is always fun.

Ben Fountain Book Signing -- Tonight's discussion of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk comes with an added bonus: a signing with Sir Ben Fountain! (Fine, we threw the "Sir" part in. Fountain isn't knighted ... yet.)

Friday 8.16 26th Annual Lions Club Hot Air Balloon Fair and Festival -- Scream "Suck it, gravity!" and "Who you calling a 'sandbag'?" on Friday and Saturday as torches are lit on dozens of hot air balloons. What can you say? You're a goddam romantic.

Going Postal at RE Gallery -- Seal the envelope and lick a forever stamp, then mail yourself over to RE Gallery for Going Postal, a group show by Michael Corris, Gary Farrelly, John Pomara and Sam Schonzeit. This show uses all postal materials to examine everything from damage done during transport, scrutiny of handling, and mail-order art. Signed, sealed, delivered: it's yours.

In a Forest Dark and Deep by Second Thought Theater -- In Neil LaBute's psychological mystery, two siblings co-habitate in an isolated forest cabin. You develop nervous tics after an hour trapped with your kin, so imagine the rivalry that builds with an entire life hinged on detachment.

The Three Amigos at the Nasher -- On Friday, for free, you can see the greatest film about three silent film actors who mistakenly travel to Mexico to accidentally battle a brutal villain due to an underfunded telegraph message through song and dance that's ever been made. Plus it's in the Nasher's beautiful courtyard, so maybe you'll get lucky and score a kiss on the veranda -- even though the lips would be just fine.

Show Me How You Burlesque -- The problem with most ladies nights is that they aren't about the ladies at all. But this one is different. At SMHYB, you and the rest of the night's ladygang take a burlesque class, then eat a solid food dinner, go to a burlesque show and party bus it up to Blue Martini for cocktails. It's about lady bonding, gussying-up and werkin' your inner glow. Sorry dudes!

Saturday 8.17 Bark-N-Beer -- Support daydrinking and animal rescue in one tidy event as Bark-N-Beer takes over McFaddens in Addison. There'll be a hot dog bar (get it?), snacks, drinks, a silent auction and a bunch of other ways to kick cash to Operation Rescue, who currently has some extremely adorable -- and adoptable -- dogs. Just look at this guy! He's available. ===>

I Missed Comic-Con, at Zeus -- BigFanBoy.com provides a day of healing for those who missed San Diego Comic-Con. (Hey, that's you!) They're bringing local comic book designers and illustrators to Zeus on Saturday for a free day of intensified geeking out. There'll be giveaways too, so pop in and get a taste of Comic-Con without going deeply into debt.

Texas Art Now -- This show takes place in Fort Worth and is organized by RO2's Susan Roth Romans. She's put together a helluva lineup, with 30, count 'em, 30 Texas artists whom you know and adore. It'll be a great celebration of local talent, and it's up until August 31. Europa Games and Get Fit Expo -- You've always suspected that competitive arm wrestling was "your jam," but alas, you've never wound up in a tournament setting. That changes this weekend at the Europa Games, a weekend-long body building, MMA, wrestling, juicehead fest that also features an amateur arm wrestling competition. There's a $500 cash prize and it's just $25 to enter. Flip your hat backwards and become the truck.

Sunday 8.18 "Pizzicato Porno" -- A performative venture tackled by Danielle Georgiou and Justin Locklear, "Pizzicato Porno" follows the act of coupling and uncoupling. It's an abstract representation of love's demise, told through projections onto weather balloons, modern dance and a climaxing rubber chicken. It's lovely and pay-what-you-can, so check out this special presentation on Sunday. Vampire Diaries Official Convention -- CW Vamp fans get something to sink their teeth into this weekend when the official (Yeah, step off, unlicensed Vampire Diaries conventions.) rager cracks Dallas' coffin open. The show's stars will be there, in all their undead glory.

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