Things To Do

5 Free & Cheap Culture Events This Week

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we’re officially counting down to the end of the year. The cultural calendar starts to look a little bit bland throughout the holiday season, what with all the symphony Christmas carol performances and theater performances of, well, A Christmas Carol. This week, though, is one of those rare exceptions — there is an incredible variety of experiences to be had this week, most of which won’t cost you more than a couple of bucks.

This week, you can dig into feminist poetry or learn about the behind-the-scenes workings of your own city. Or maybe you’re more into drinking beer and checking out “skart” in Fort Worth. Either way, you won’t need much more than $10 and your imagination to have a killer cultural experience in Dallas-Fort Worth this week.

Katie Cortese & Kathleen Winter
Tuesday, December 1
The Wild Detectives

For the last year, Oak Cliff coffee-and-book shop The Wild Detectives has been seriously killing it in the live-reading department, and this week is no exception. Kick off your week with readings from Katie Cortese, a short-story writer whose latest work explores the meaning of “girl power,” and poet Kathleen Winter, who will read from her “dazzling debut” Nostalgia For The Criminal Past. If you need a big dose of girl power and plenty of excellently written words, you’re probably not going to find anything that even comes close to matching what Cortese and Winter will bring tonight.

Insiders With Carol Zou
Wednesday, December 2
Ash Studios
Donation suggested

As part of the Insiders series at Ash Studios, Trans.lation artist-in-residence Carol Zou will “reveal inside information and knowledge to the audience, and shift who in the city is allowed to have this information” as part of a performative conversation. No hard-and-fast topics have been defined, but Zou’s recent posts to the Facebook event indicate that police brutality, power dynamics and community organizing will be up for discussion, topics that flow directly with Zou’s work as an artist. The admission fee is “one digital material sunflower,” which is an obscure digital currency that can be obtained through something called Spacebank. If you don’t have that sunflower, though, you can bring a cash donation and — most exciting — your own booze.

First Thursdays at The Joule
Thursday, December 3

The Joule (1530 Main St.) always feels like a swanky, miniature art gallery. If you’re like us, usually you just wander the Taschen library and buy a coffee at Weekend (the only thing you can afford), but now you can enjoy a kick-ass cultural experience in this gorgeous setting. At The Joule’s First Thursdays, you can browse the knick-knacks and aesthetically pleasing, well-curated selection of goods (some at great markdowns) while listening to JT Donaldson spin tunes and enjoying a killer happy hour. Ms. Patty Cake will also be on hand doing nail art, so even if you don’t buy anything else, you can get tiny little masterpieces on your hands, a gift that gives every time you look down. More at

5th Annual Holiday Mercantile
Friday, December 4
Oil And Cotton

If you’re socially conscious and into giving locally made gifts, hit up Oil and Cotton’s Holiday Mercantile, a shopping tradition five years in the making. Local artisans will have their wares on offer, ranging from one-of-a-kind art to cozy quilts that are equally artistic. Throughout the weekend, Oil and Cotton will also have a variety of workshops and activities, ranging from screen-printing to a class on DIY wrapping paper, some of which are free or donation-only. You may also be able to drop the kids off in the kids-only area and enjoy some creative time that doesn’t involve fighting your 3-year-old for crayons.

Rhino Fist Bump: A Skart Show
Saturday, December 5
Bobby On Drums (Fort Worth)

Too frequently, we think of art as this classically made monolith that only belongs in museums. Fortunately, plenty of creators are happy to think outside the box. In Fort Worth on Saturday, you can check out the world of “skart,” or art created specifically for skateboards. It might seem less culturally relevant than a day at the Kimbell, but all forms of art have value, even if they’re plastered onto the back of skateboards. This exhibit will be unlike most other art shows you’ve been to, especially when you consider the “skate jam” that will take place throughout the event. 
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Amy McCarthy