19 Awesome Things to Do this Weekend, May 15 - 18

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Usually when you see a celebrity, I'm going to tell you to "be cool." Act like it's whatever. Pretend your life is filled with celebrities. But this weekend, things are different. In fact, total geeking out is mandatory. It's Dallas Comic Con weekend and it's bigger than ever. For the first time in its existence, it's happening at the downtown Dallas convention center, bringing with it Stan Lee and William freaking Shatner. When you meet Captain James Tiberius Kirk, you would do well to dress like a crew member of the USS Enterprise. Might we suggest Christine Chapel?

Spend Sunday afternoon with Shatner when he moderates a Star Trek: Next Generation panel. Or swing by the convention anytime Friday - Sunday. Day passes start at $25. More info at fanexpodallas.com.

Thursday, May 15

Dallas Solo Fest There are actually eight one-man shows to be seen during this 10-day festival. The variety is endless, from the vaudevillian absurdist comedy Beast of Festive Skin by New York performer Alexandra Tatarsky toIInnocent When You Dream, Zeb L. West's story about being trapped in the belly of a whale with only two books to read. The fest also includes Dallas Observer's own Elaine Liner in her Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit, Sweater Curse. Catch the shows from May 15-25 at the Margo Jones Theatre (1121 1st Ave.). Individual tickets are $12; festival passes are $55. More information at dallassolofest.com.

Soundings Pay tribute to the great Van Cliburn with the next installment of the Nasher Sculpture Center's music series, Soundings. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, six pianists (all former competitors in the Van Cliburn) will play a game of musical chairs performing Olivier Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen for Two Pianos. Tickets for this concert, which are $25 for non-members, are sold out, but you can put your name on a waiting list by calling Jim Parks at 214-242-5100. Visit nashersculpturecenter.org.

The State of Dance Occasionally, CentralTrak offers panels that seek answer questions about the local arts scene, from the state of criticism to the topic tonight: The State of Dance. As part of the gallery/residency program's Next Topic series, local authorities on the dance scene get together at 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss areas of growth and struggle locally. The panel includes Mark Lowry (TheaterJones.com), Danielle Georgiou (dancer/choreographer/writer for Dallas Observer), Joshua L. Peugh (Dark Circles Contemporary Dance), and Jamie Thompson (Dallas Black Dance Theatre). More info at centraltrak.com.

Friday, May 16

'Til Midnight at the Nasher It's time to mentally prepare yourself for the brutal summer ahead. It could start at any moment. But it looks like we have one more weekend of beautiful weather (knock on wood), so why not spend it in the beautiful garden of the Nasher Sculpture Center, listening to local crooner Madison King and watching every kid's favorite movie, Frozen. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Friday, with the film screening at 9 p.m. Admission is free. More information at nashersculpturecenter.org.

Michelle Brandley's Upright and Do Right Make Alright Brandley's latest artwork tackles the tricky issues of female body image, combining depictions of perfect legs or torsos with some of nature's beasts. Think a pair of toned, tanned legs next to the trunk of an elephant. See her work at Artspace 111 (111 Hampton St., Fort Worth) during the opening reception 5-8:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. Visit artspace111.com for more information.

Converge Big Rig Dance Collective's evening of new dance explores "loops, disruption, endurance and construction." We're told there will be dancers on walls. We don't know what that means, so sounds like we'll be heading out to Denton's Black Box Theatre (318 East Hickory Street) to check it out at 8 p.m. Friday or Saturday. Tickets at bigrigdance.org.

Shear Madness For nearly three decades, Shear Madness has shaved off the expectations of highbrow theatergoers at Washington, D.C.'s, Kennedy Center. This lighthearted whodunit about bumbling hairdressers, suspicious clients and clumsy cops cuts straight to the funny bone. It moves into the basement space at Theatre Three (2800 Routh St.) for a two-month run employing some of Dallas' comedy elite. See it in previews at 8 p.m. Friday or Saturday, or through July 20. Tickets start at $35, which is cheaper than most haircuts in this city. More information is at theatre3dallas.com.

Art Deco Society Screens King Kong Let's start at the beginning of this story: We have an Art Deco Society in Dallas. If you remember our story about neighborhood hep cats Matt and Danielle, you've probably already guessed that they're behind this. At 11:30 p.m. Friday, head to the vintage meet up at the Angelika Film Center (5321 Mockingbird Ln.) and watch the original King Kong.

Steven Michael Quezada Gomey from Breaking Bad is also a stand-up comic? You had us at Breaking Bad. He's got shows at Hyena's Comedy Nightclub (5231 Mockingbird Ln) in Dallas at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Fork & Cork Food, glorious food. It's what unites us, because everyone eats. If you enjoy eating as much as we do, then this is the event for you. A two-day epicure dream come true, the inaugural Fork & Cork promises to be like Taste of Addison, but better. Plus the price of admission ($65 for Friday's kickoff, $35 for Saturday admission, $100 Saturday VIP) supports the lovely organization, Cafe Momentum. Tickets and more information at addisonforkandcork.com. Eating takes place at Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive.

Dallas Black Dance Theatre Spring Celebration If you want to read about the influence DBDT's founder Ann Williams had on Dallas, we encourage you to read Danielle Georgiou's article from this week. Then, once you fully understand the impact she's had on the city, grab tickets to the final dance performance during her tenure as artistic director. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets and more information at dbdt.com.

Multiple Exposures Photography's going through an identity crisis. In a world of Photoshop, capturing the perfect image isn't the first priority, editing often creates the image. But in the case of artists Kathy Tran and Steve and Erin Reeves, playing with exposures and editing creates some stunning layered works of art. The trio works collaboratively as MakeShift Photography and opens an exhibition of their work at 7 p.m. Friday at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 223 W Jefferson. See if this weekend, or through June 13.

Saturday, May 17

Gun Fights at the Village Tumbleweed sweeps past and Jimbob steps out of the saloon. You can almost hear the whistle from the main theme of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. You've stepped out of the cosmopolitan 21st century Dallas and back into a time when men solved their quarrels with bullets. Witness good ol' fashioned law and order when two men square off during Gun Fights at the Village. The first and third Saturdays of every month, the Trinity River Desperados infiltrate Dallas Heritage Village to demonstrate the gun fights of settler days. Fights take place at noon and 1 p.m., weather permitting. Admission to the museum is $9 for adults, $5 for children. More information at dallasheritagevillage.org.

Visual Speedbump Art Tour Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in an artist's home or studio? Here's your chance. Tour the studios of Oak Cliff artists from noon - 6 p.m. Saturday. Read more here.

Gallery Hopping There are so many new art exhibitions this weekend, so we'll recommend these seven.

Sunday, May 18

Free to Breathe Run A young girl walks up to purchase a pack of cigarettes and quietly rips off a chunk of her skin as payment. In the past decade, the anti-smoking public service announcements have grown increasingly alarmist, in an attempt to stave off teenage addiction to tobacco and make the act of smoking less badass. The days of James Dean blowing smoke out of his sexy mouth are over, because of the not-so-sexy disease known as Lung Cancer. This weekend, work on your lungs and your legs during the Free to Breathe Run, a 5K and 10K race through Plano's Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve (2801 E. Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano). The proceeds from the run benefit Free to Breath, a non-profit lung cancer research and advocacy organization dedicated to increasing the survival rate of the crippling disease. Registration starts at $15 and will be open the day of the run at 6:15 a.m. Sunday. The opening rally takes place at 7:40 a.m. with the race beginning promptly at 8:15 a.m. Visit freetobreathe.org for more information.

ArtHouseFW: Wings No one won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1917 - the award's first year of existence - signaling the prestige of future winners. For nearly a century, the award would be given to deserving novels by the world's best writers. Since the creation of the Academy Awards in 1927, there has always been a winner. But only one film will be the first winner and that honor goes to Wings, a silent film set during the First World War, which stars a young Gary Cooper, among other cinema greats. As part of its screening series, ArthouseFW, at the Kimbell Art Museum, the Lone Star Film Society presents the film in all its monochrome glory at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Renzo Piano Pavilion. As a special treat, there will be musical accompaniment by Curtis Heath, a local musician and composer who recently scored the film, Ain't Them Bodies Saints. Tickets start at $4 and are available at lonestarfilmsociety.com.

Stripped If your childhood was anything like mine, you remember stealing the comic pages of the newspapers from your dad, as he held his furrowed brow while reading the latest news about his beloved Dallas Cowboys. As I grew older and shed my love of comics, so did the newspaper industry. Comic strips are quickly disappearing, but one little documentary shows you the good old days and the bleak future. See Stripped at 5 p.m. Sunday at The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.

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