An A-to-Z Guide to Alive for 35: Dallas Contemporary's Free, Two-Day Party

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The Dallas Contemporary turns officially old this weekend. It celebrates with Alive for 35, an immersive event that invites you into the space -- and beyond its walls -- for a 35-hour party. They've promised to keep the doors unlocked and the lights up from 1 p.m. on Friday until midnight on Saturday. That time is being used to celebrate those people making work, right now, in Dallas.

The thing's jam-packed. Group show Acceleration boils over with local talent and stretches into thematic small-group discussions. The rest of the timeline is filled out with less conventional activities. Naked girls read things aloud. Bicyclers hunt down street art. There are hands-on workshops, Q&A's, panels, history lessons, bands, family activities, live wrestling and even a midnight screening of Animal House.

Oh, and it's all free. Or, almost all of it. There's a closing party that'll cost some bucks: It runs from 8 to midnight on Saturday. (Those events are noted with asterixis.)

Let's take a look at some of what's available, from A-to-Z.

Acceleration Pulsating at this event's core is a group show consisting of -- you guessed it -- 35 artists who have either shown at the Contemporary before or who will make their mark on Friday. That murderer's row includes: Morehshin Allahyari, Jesse Morgan Barnett, Dru Bias, Andrew Blanton, Bradly Brown, Will Card, Sally Glass, Cassandra Emswiler, Vernon Fisher, James Gilbert, Nathan Green, Timothy Harding, Judy Hearst, Nevada Hill, Quin Mathews, Margaret Meehan, Francisco Moreno, Michael A. Morris, Lisa Nersesova, Arthur Peña, Morton Rachofsky, Brittany Ransom, Michelle Rawlings, S.C.A.B. Collective, Trent Straughn, George Tobolowsky, Jason Willaford, Chesley Williams and Trey Wright.

* Ballet Folklorico Azteca BFA propels Mexican and Latin cultural vibrancy through courses in dance and music. They perform in the final special ticket programming block, between 8 p.m. and midnight Saturday.

Collage Workshops Dallas-born and Denton-grad artist/photographer Trey Wright has work in Acceleration, and lends his chopped graphic talents in two collage workshops and one community collage project (Friday, at 3 p.m.). One workshop is catered toward youths ages 7 to 13 and happens at noon on Saturday. The next is for the older kids (read: you), at 1 p.m. Saturday.

D'Art to dc This combo film screening and panel discussion takes a historical look at an institution's evolution. You'll hear words by Doroshenko, early D'Art director Patricia Meadows and early D'Art organizer/fundraiser Judy Hearst. (4 p.m. Saturday)

Explore On Two Wheels Roll up to an adventure on Saturday at 11 a.m. It's a group ride, guiding your peddles to Dallas' best street art.

Friends of the Community Have you seen the list of board members for Alive for 35? The gang's all there: Maxwell Anderson, Jeremy Strick, Morton Rachofsky, Veletta Lill, Kenny Goss and a dozen more. That's a lot of strong hands working together. The figureheads are collaborating.

Gender Illusionists The Rose Room lends its most exquisite talents for Saturday night's big closer. Do your hair, then get served up a heavy hand of glam.

* Hensley Ensemble Prepare to testify. This smooth gospel group is rich in vocals and minimal in accompaniment, helmed by founder and pianist Elbert Hensley. You might have dined with them in the past: The Hensley Ensemble is a frequent House of Blues Gospel Brunch contributing act. They play as part of the closing affairs, in the 8 p.m. to midnight block on Saturday.

Improv The Alternative Comedy Theater has kept actors on their toes since 2008 and its pocket troupes have spotlighted future big names in the local stage community, like Fun House Theater's Jeff Swearingen.

John Belushi in John Landis' Animal House Relive "double secret probation" and the D-day it spawned as Belushi, Matheson, Sutherland and the rest of the crew show college's full bell-curve. (Animal House is also 35, in case you were wondering.) It screens at 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Kids Stuff There's no shortage of ways to entertain your shortie. Local artists Sally Glass, Michelle Rawlings and Jesse Morgan Baronett lead children's story hour, which coincides with the dc's Kids Party on Saturday at 10 a.m. Stick around for collages with Trey Wright at noon and screen printing with Nevada Hill at 1 p.m. * Live Tattooing What's a party without fast-moving needles? Nothing, that's what. Saints and Sinners inkers Dru Bias and Will Card work live from 8 p.m. to midnight during Saturday's closing bash. (Correct that unfortunate, mid-'90s tramp stamp.)

Michael A. Morris, Two Times New media artist Michael A. Morris digs beyond the definitions, presenting a collection of technology hybrid situations designed to challenge and explore perception in "The Hermeneutics." (8 p.m. Friday) It's the first public screening of the series' latest, third installment. See Morris again in the curated show Acceleration: He's part of S.C.A.B. collective.

Next up: Naked Girls Reading

Naked Girls Reading This justly-named group gathers collections of literature, based on themes. Then, they present in the buff. But it's more than that: These broads know their material -- which could involve anything from a Dolly Parton biography or work by Keats -- and tell it charmingly, with a wink and smile. It's at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. (Sorry, no photography.)

Official Kick-Off Party The anniversary celebration kicks off on Friday at 1 p.m. with an official opening party. Start the experiment off right with a picnic lunch and special, yet-to-be-revealed performance.

P's and Q's Mind 'em at Calligraphy Class. It's being led by local artist Andrea Guidry who understands that email will never replace a beautifully penned letter.

Relax with Yoga Assuming you made the most of this 35-hour experience, you'll awake early Saturday morning in a well-lit corner of the Contemporary, riddled with surprising new neck pains. Do not panic: That's why 6 a.m. sunrise yoga exists.

Superman DC shows DC early Saturday morning (around 2 a.m.), with a screening of the original Superman. Like Animal House, this film is 35 years young. And if nobody else stays up to watch it, all the better: You'll have a fortress of solitude.

Thirty-Five Hour Energy Drinks Do they exist? We don't know. If you find some, pass 'em over.

Unveiling The Contemporary honors its legacy during Alive with a sculpture reveal at its early Swiss Avenue location. Heavy-hitters and Dallas mainstays Morton Rachofsky, George Tobolowsky and Judy Hearst will feature work.

Vigor Lilia Kudelia leads a conversation with Acceleration artists Bradly Brown, Morehshin Allahyari, Cassandra Emswiler and Trent Straughn at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. It should be an interesting discussion, focusing on new media and its impact on collective behavior -- so get up early and hit this one.

Wrestling James Gilbert isn't a stranger to this space. The California-based artist's 2010 show, Warnings and Instructions, converted the Glass Street location into crash pad -- converting its interior into a media-saturated airplane wreck-site. He's back for Alive, both as an Acceleration talent and as a performance artist. He'll do some live wrestling for his additional contribution. It's interactive and runs from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday for free, and pops up again during Saturday's big closing affair, from 8 to midnight.

Xperiment with Technology Acceleration artists Andrew Blanton and Brittany Ransom lead you through technology's limits in two Saturday workshops. Blanton's (4 p.m. Saturday), titled "StandAlonev1 & StandAlonev2", looks at sound's feedback qualities through his self-designed app. Bring your iPhone or iPad and use the sucker to engage sonically with the visual world. Ransom's (5 p.m. Saturday) course takes you into an unexplored realm of the Twitterverse, in "Making Use of Hashtags". You don't have to have a working knowledge of processing methods to attend, but you should bring a computer.

Yelizaveta Nersesova You'll get physical with Yelizaveta twice during Alive for 35. She's leading the Saturday morning 6 a.m. yoga class and a 2 p.m. workshop in movement and sound. You'll follow the Acceleration artist through a series of postures, exploring the scope of your own breath and voice. Wear comfy clothes and bring a mat.

Zeppos File this under: Adorable. School of Rock go-getters Zeppos play an 11 a.m. slot Saturday at the Dallas Contemporary, during the dc Kid's Birthday bash. Their tagline? "We are Marlhy, Wrigley and Gabe. We play Zeppelin."

See the entire schedule for Alive for 35 here.

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