The whining has officially begun. It's finally hot. The mild summer June introduced us to was stripped away by the rising temps of July and triple digits are on the way. This isn't your official weather report and to be perfectly honest, from this ice cube of an office I'm working in, 100 degrees sounds like the tropical vacation all my Facebook friends are on this week. If you, like me, won't be escaping Dallas anytime soon, that's probably OK, because the arts don't take a break around these parts. Sleepy summer, my hiney. Here's a few scoops of awesome to melt away your mean reds.
Thursday, July 10
Dallas Observer Comedy Crawl Paul Varghese, one of the funniest men in Dallas, has organized another Dallas Observer Comedy Crawl. After last fall's inaugural crawl was hilariously successful, we couldn't even wait a year to bring back more laughs.If you're sick of listening to your friend's jokes at a bar, but still want to spend your Thursday night drinking your way through Deep Ellum, all you have to do is show up at 8 p.m. July 10 at Three Links and follow the tour to Twilite Lounge and then Green Room. More info.
Over the Line If you frequent this Web site, you've heard plenty about Deep Ellum's Kettle Art Gallery. From the owner Frank Campagna to his diverse artist roster, including the recently profiled Dan Colcer, we're quite fond of this space. Speaking of Colcer, he's one of the four artists - also including Clint Scism, Larry Carey, and Raymond Butler - on display in Over the Line, which opens with a reception at 7 p.m. Thursday. More info at Kettleart.com.
Label Other End On the West side of town, Caldwell Arte Exposicion hosts the work of Dylan Hunt in Label Other End, for which he combines surrealism with collage and street art. Swing by the opening reception at Caldwell (103 Howell St.) at 7 p.m. Thursday. His show will run through August 7 if you can't make the opening. More info: caldwellarteexposicion.com.
The 6th Annual Dallas Big, Sexy Weekend of Improv Just how big and how sexy are the laughs? Well, you'll have to attend to find out. The Alternative Comedy Theater and Audacity TheatreLab present The Big Sexy Weekend of Improv in its sixth year running. There are family-friendly shows and musicals. Visit the Web site for times and details.
Friday, July 11
Festival of Independent Theatres Starting Friday and continuing for four weeks, this theater festival presents a variety of shows by eight companies that range from a new spin on Mark Twain's The Diaries of Adam and Eve to two movement-based pieces, one about sleepwalking and the other about a clown on a quest to save the world's happiness. Check out our handy guide here or festivalofindependenttheatres.org for ticket information and show schedules.
Ricardo Paniagua: Retrospective: 2004-2014 For Ricardo Paniagua, the canvas is sculpture and his sculpture is a canvas. He uses vivid colors to reconfigure recognizable shapes, suggesting interests in geometry and psychedelia, and to talk to Paniagua is to talk to someone inspired. His self-taught artistry and varied creative outputs are what he considers "assignments" from somewhere otherworldly, somewhere spiritual. If his art is transcendent, he can only take credit for the execution, not the idea. See the work of the self-described "ugly duckling" of Dallas when the Latino Cultural Center (2600 Live Oak St.) hosts Ricardo Paniagua-Retrospective: 2004- 2014. See it 10 a.m. -5p.m. Friday or through August 30. Read our profile here or visit dallasculture.org/latinoculturalcenter for more information.
Taste of Dallas Every year tens of thousands of people show up to learn what Dallas tastes like. At least, that's what the name of the event would seem to imply. In many ways, the Taste of Dallas encapsulates Dallas' true flavor. These aren't the trendy restaurants that have found 20 new takes on tuna tartare; these are 50 of the foods that fill you up. Sample the greasy goodness of Herrera's Tex-Mex or the smoky meats of Lockhart Smokehouse. Then, stop by Trailercakes, the adorable cupcake food truck, for a little something sweet. And if you've never made it to the State Fair of Texas -- shame on you -- grab a Fletcher's corny dog a few months early. This weekend-long eating event kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday and runs through 8 p.m. Sunday throughout Fair Park (1200 S. Second Ave). One-day admission is $12, but the Taste of the Town VIP Indoor Tasting Experience is $40 per person and includes beer, wine and spirits. More information at tasteofdallas.org.
Asian Film Festival of Dallas 13 years strong, this fest is one of the country's largest celebrations of Asian film, spanning a full week and screening more than 50 films, along with parties, and meet and greets with directors, actors and producers from all over the world. Friday is the first full day of the festival and starts with a screening of experimental shorts at 2:30 p.m. and concludes at 9:45 p.m. with the live action/anime mystery film Black Butler. Read our feature about the festival here and grab tickets and passes at asianfilmdallas.com.
Steve McGrew Cartoonists should be funny. It only makes sense. Take Steve McGrew, for example, the Oklahoma native whose career began as a cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle before he took to the stage with the likes of Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison at the Houston Laff Stop's comedy workshop. This eventually led to starring in his own Comedy Central Presents special and on Showtime's Full Frontal Comedy and Comedy on the Road. He brings his comedy to Hyena's Comedy Nightclub (5321 Mockingbird Ln.) at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and 8 and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Summer Mockbusters: Con Air When it comes to making fun of movies, having Nicolas Cage in the cast is like soft-balling the set up to the joke. In almost every role, he turns an action film into a campy, over-acted flick that's more pantomime than drama. Perhaps that's why the good folks at The Granada Theater are screening the 90's classic Con Air at 8 p.m. Friday as the next movie in the Summer Mockbusters series - a concept in the vein of Master Pancake, during which local comedians from Dallas Comedy House live Tweet their snarky one-liners as the film plays on the theater screen. So to recap: see a movie, drink the drinks, Tweet your jokes, and put the bunny in the box. The event is free and 18+ only. More info at granadatheater.com. Saturday, July 12
Design District Market This event bears the description of our perfect summer day: live music, cold beer, sand volleyball, water guns, poolside palms, and an indoor marketplace. It may not sound like something that happens in Dallas, but it is and it's taking place from 12- 6 p.m. Saturday at Community Beer Co. Shop the assortment of local vendors and enjoy a relaxing day with good company. More info at designdistrictmarket.com.
Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth CD/FW presents Some Assembly Required, which uses social media and audience participation to build a dance piece. See it at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday inside the Grand Lobby at the Fort Worth Modern. Free.
Design District Gallery Day It's a long-standing tradition of starving artists to visit opening nights of gallery exhibitions for the free nosh and booze. The value of seeing artwork created by their peers is just a peripheral benefit. We won't call it mooching; it's artistic sustenance. Plus, they enliven the parties, giving pedestrian art lovers like you and me someone interesting to share a beer with. Keep an eye out for these rascals Saturday at Design District Gallery Day and strike up a conversation. You'll know them by the hungry look in their eyes as they approach the Ben E. Keith-sponsored bar. The afternoon of art kicks off at 12 p.m. with 15 participating galleries, primarily located on Dragon Street. Swing by Circuit 12 Contemporary (1130 Dragon St. Ste 150) to catch Lucas Martell's show, Lagoon, and then head down the street to Mary Tomas Gallery (1110 Dragon St.) for the group show Diverse Works. It's a full day of art, booze and walking (or more, realistically driving). More information at dallasgalleryday.com.
Flea Harvey's If flea markets weren't already eclectic happenings, throw one at Lee Harvey's and who knows what to expect. Artists and handmade artisans sell their work and their finds including art, jewelry, kitschy collectibles, vintage clothing, urban relics, books, junk, antiques, and everything else in-between. There is no charge to enter and browse, and there is plenty of easy & free parking in 3 adjacent lots. The event lasts from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Urban Nature If you want to see some art on the East side of town, head to Kirk Hopper Fine Art for Urban Nature, an exhibition of the work of Patricia Rodriquez and Soner. They fuse graffiti and fine art for a stunning display of color and symbolism. Opening reception takes place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. More information at kirkhopperfineart.com.
Singapore Slingers Cd Release Party Matt Tolentino has led his big band ensemble for seven years, leading he retro orchestra through all manner of tangos, waltzes and rumbas. At 8:30 p.m. Saturday head to the Kessler Theater (1230 West Davis) for the party celebrating the release of their new CD "The Frank Skinner Project" Tickets for the event, which includes opening band Three Quarters Fast Dixieland Band, are $17.50 to $25 at prekindle.com.
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Fantastic Planet You know you want some psychedelic animation in your life, which is why you'll love Fantastic Planet the surreal sci-fi masterpiece See it at the Texas Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday for just $10.50 or buy a $17 ticket for a combo movie/after party with music from True Widow, Mountains of Smoke, and Mannequins with Kill Appeal, while DeeJay George Quartz loiters near the restrooms all night. More information at thetexastheatre.com.
RO2 Art's CHAOS! At a glance, it looks like RO2 Art rounded up more than 100 of Dallas' finest artists in every medium to create small work and cram it into the downtown gallery for artistic bedlam. The opening reception for the show takes place from 7-10 p.m. Saturday with music from THROBBERT. More info at ro2art.com.
Sunday, July 13
2014 FIFA World Cup Watch Party If you've watched no other World Cup game, you will be watching the finals on Sunday. How else will you know what to talk about come Monday? If you're looking for a place to watch it Downtown Dallas' Main Street Garden is hosting a free viewing of the championship game on a 9-by-12-foot mobile LED screen. Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase from City Park Café. Even though you won't be cheering on the home team, you can still join the cacophony of futbol fans. Party starts around 2 p.m. More information is available at downtowndallas.org.