Tonight marks the opening of the Dallas International Film Festival. In its eighth year, it is physically impossible to see all of the films at this year's fest, which boasts more than 170 films over the course of 11 days all over the city. However unlikely their success, there will surely be noble souls who attempt to catch 'em all. We salute you. For the rest of you, we've got a hand-selected list of suggestions. This year's lineup looks like a healthy mixture of local filmmakers and Hollywood celebrities. The movie marathon starts 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Dallas City Performance Hall with the opening-night gala screening of Words and Pictures, a story about a struggling prep school English teacher played by Clive Owen. But we've only just begun. Plan your fest at diff2014.dallasfilm.org. Passes start at $100.
Yo-Yo Ma At this point, we're only telling you about this to remind you that the world's most famous cellist is still touring and is in Fort Worth tonight. The Fort Worth Symphony's concert has been sold out for quite some time, but if you're desperate to hear him play perhaps they'll let you stand in the lobby of the Bass Hall where the echoes of his virtuosity may be audible. If not, better luck next time. Gidion's Knot Any parent understands the overwhelming dread a mandatory parent-teacher conference can bring. Children know no bounds in embarrassing their parents, from eating glue to pulling the cute girl's hair or talking back to the teacher. But even your family's black sheep will look little more than high-spirited compared to the child at the center of Johanna Adam's new play, Gidion's Knot. Kitchen Dog Theater, 3120 McKinney Ave., presents this heart-wrenching play about a conversation between a mother and her son's teacher that unravels in unexpected, shocking ways. Opens 8 p.m. Thursday with performances through April 26. Tickets start at $15. More info at kitchendogtheater.org.
Zhulong Gallery Opening The newest gallery on Dragon Street, Zhulong Gallery opens its doors to the public at 6 p.m. Thursday for a reception featuring the work of its technologically-driven artists. Its first exhibit, Satellite, displays work in film, painting and photography media. As the title's name implies, some of the art explores themes of outer space. The gallery is located at 1302 Dragon Street.
Nocturne Second Thought Theatre's newest show, Nocturne, officially opens Friday, but if you catch the show at 8 p.m. Thursday, it's a pay-what-you-can performance, which is exactly what it sounds like. Toss 'em a few bones and see Adam Rapp's devastating one-man play about the American dream brought to life. Drew Wall plays a 32-year-old former piano prodigy haunted by a series of events in his past. Music by Shawn Magill and direction by Miranda Parham. Nocturne will be performed in Bryant Hall behind the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Conan's Cone Zone If you've driven by Main Street Garden this week, you've seen the bizarre orange airstream trailer. This crazy contraption is a mechanical bull riding, Conan fan art displaying, selfie taking, Coke Zero dispensing, surprise celebrity appearance making, music playing experience. You probably won't want miss it. There are a few more chances to visit it as it will be parked from 3-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Reunion Park.
Deep Ellum Arts Fest If you've been before, you know why the Deep Ellum Arts Fest has lasted 20 years. This weekend long celebration in the streets of Dallas' quirkiest neighborhood features music from a host of local bands, paintings from hundreds of local artists, and feels like a fun block party. At 11 a.m. Sunday, the pet parade heads down Main Street. The fest happens between Good Latimer Expressway and Hall Street, opening at 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday. More information, including a full roster of artists and music, is at deepellumartsfestival.com.
Jillian Michaels' Maximize Your Life Tour We're recommending this because we're a bunch of lazy assholes, who sit around writing blog posts all day. Personally, when I feel like working out I watch Jillian Michaels yell at people on The Biggest Loser and no longer feel the urge. Thanks, Jill. Hopefully, I can sneak in my bag of Cheetos to her talk at 7 p.m. Friday at McFarlin Auditorium. If she tells me not to drink margaritas, I may throw a few puffs at her.
Nasher Soundings Music. Outdoors. Art. Wine. Four things I love. The Nasher Sculpture Center combines all three in its Soundings series. For this edition of Soundings: New Music at the Nasher, the focus is on stories of freedom. A performance of Leo Janácek's The Diary of One Who Disappeared, starts the night, followed by For Music of the Book -- The Sarajevo Haggadah, composed by Merima Kljuco combining accordion, piano and the video art of Bart Woodstrup . Soundings begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St. Tickets are $25 for non-members, $20 for members or $10 for students and educators. A complimentary wine reception for guests begins at 7 p.m. Visit nashersculpturecenter.org.
Les Ballets Trockodero de Monte Carlo Theater and dance aren't so far removed. The physicality in comedy and clowning spills over into performances by Les Ballets Trockadero (fondly referred to as the Trocks), which has earned them a following throughout the world. This all-male company dons tutus and buns, dancing their way through stories of swans, princesses and Victorian ladies. The Trocks perform at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at City Performance Hall with tickets starting at $55 and are available at attpac.org.
Gallery Hopping It's a big night for art galleries across the city. Here are the ones we recommend stopping by: 6 p.m. Michelle Mackey's luminous paintings in Afterglow at Holly Johnson Gallery, 1411 Dragon St. 6 p.m. Open Archive explores intersection of performance art and painting at Red Arrow Contemporary, 1130 Dragon St. 6 p.m. Alexander DiJulio's Constellation Logic at Circuit 12 Contemporary, 1130 Dragon St. Ste 150 6 p.m. Leah Rosenberg pairings and Shawn Hall's MURmers of SUMmer at Galleri Urbane, 2277 Monitor St. 7 p.m. 5 Guys features the work of five Houston artists at Ware:Wolf:Haus, 625 Bedford St. 7 p.m. Central Trak presents: "The Paintings of *George W Bush" * Facsimiles presented in this exhibition are an homage to the benign art of George W Bush. 800 Exposition Ave.
The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy at the Center It's time to indulge your curiosity and see Dubya's paintings in person. I will say no more about the art. Opens at 9 a.m. Saturday. Adult tickets are $16 and must be reserved in advance at georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu.
The Great Bull Run What if I told you that at 11 a.m. Saturday a selection of your fellow citizens plan to show up at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis to run with a herd of very alive bulls? They will place their bodies on the quarter-mile track to run in front of, behind, alongside and most likely underneath the hooves of large, cranky animals. Afterward the few who survive without broken legs, crushed ribs or worse plan to throw tomatoes at each other to celebrate the fact they will not spend the rest of their lives as vegetables. Oh, did I mention participation costs money? Tickets to run for your life start at $35. If you just want to throw tomatoes, it'll cost you $25. More information is available at thegreatbullrun.com.
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ARTsPARK Put down your shopping bags and enjoy the arts. For the past five years, ARTsPARK takes a day to connect aspiring songwriters, novelists, sculptors with the arts throughout the city. This free event happens at various locations throughout Dallas' shopping mecca. Starts 12 p.m. Saturday.
Perot Museum's The World's Largest Dinosaurs Really big dinos have taken over the Perot Museum for its latest traveling exhibition. It explores the life and times of the big old creatures, focusing on the really big ones. We're talking up to 150 feet long. The biggest display is a model of a 60-foot-long Mamenchisaurus, known for its incredible 30-foot neck. Reserve your tickets in advance at perotmuseum.org.
Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School It costs 10 bucks to take this class, but you get a few pointers, access to the bar, and a sexy model to draw. Head over to Three Links, 2704 Elm St., in Deep Ellum for an art class you won't soon forget.