Awesome Things to Do in Dallas this Weekend, September 3 - 7: Dance Festival, Garden Party, Free Yoga

Thursday, September 3
North Texas Masters of Light
The American Society of Media Photographers is home to some pretty talented storytellers. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Especially if the media outlet is paying pennies per word. This weekend the wide array of talent in the ASMP’s Dallas branch alone takes over the walls of beloved Deep Ellum gallery Kettle Art (2650-B Main St.) with some spectacular photography in an exhibition titled North Texas Masters of Light. See the work from 7-10 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. More at kettleart.com.

Bar Politics
Satire is the great equalizer — add a touch to a political discussion and suddenly even people who don’t claim to care about politics are all in. That’s the gift of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver — and locally, it’s what SMU theater grad Josh Kumler is bringing to the table. Or more specifically, to the bar. His Bar Politics is a veritable buzzfest, in more ways than one — it’s enjoyed huge word-of-mouth popularity since its inception last spring, and it also benefits greatly from the free-flowing alcohol at its venues. The audience, actors and panelists get comfortable during skits and legit political discussions that are chock full of both hilarity and some serious “get real” moments with local politicians. At 10 p.m. Thursday at The Wild Detectives, 314 W. 8th St., the show will take on the Dallas political topic du jour: the Bishop Arts Gateway development project. There’ll be laughter, tears and plenty of input from political rock stars Angela Hunt and City Council member Scott Griggs — plus a set from folk duo Hophead Talk. Admission is free; see facebook.com for details. -Jennifer Davis-Lamm
Moonshine:That Hee Haw Musical
It’s kind of a shame that moonshine has become prevalent in liquor stores around the U.S. In the 1980s, moonshine conjured images of zany characters, fast cars and the messed-up South. These days, we can hit a local bar and pair a flavored, watered-down form of moonshine with an artisan cheese. But thanks to Moonshine: The Hee Haw Musical, beginning 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with a Pay What You Can performance at the Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.), we can fondly recall the time when even we Southerners could pick-and-grin and laugh at ourselves, whether we owned a cornfield or not. With a score written by country music’s most promising performer, Brandy Clark, this modern-day story of Misty Mae set in Kornfield Kounty is sure to be a hoot. This very production is headed to the Great White Way, but not before the front-porch witticisms of Hee Haw make us scream “Yee Haw!” here first. -Kelly Dearmore

Friday, September 4
Dallas DanceFest
Dallas DanceFest is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you are interested in dance or not, this festival will transform the way you view the art form. This year’s Dallas DanceFest will feature dance companies from Houston, Austin, Oklahoma, Alabama and Dallas-Fort Worth and represent dance styles ranging from ballet to classical Indian dance. The festival begins 8 p.m. Friday at Dallas City Performance Hall (2520 Flora St.) and continues through the end of the weekend. Dallas DanceFest will conclude with the 2015 Dance Council Honors, which will celebrate the accomplished individuals who have positively affected the dance world in North Texas. Tickets for DDF start at $25. For more information, visit dallasdancefest.org. -Paige Skinner

Dracula: Dangerous New Terrain
Dracula: Dangerous New Terrain is choreographed by veteran Ben Stevenson, who has been working in productions all over the world since the 1960s. Dracula dances to the music of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt and the ballet makes spectacular use of ethereal stage lighting reminiscent of Romantic-era ballets from the late 19th century. This stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel leaves out Dracula’s stop in London and focuses on his castle and a village in Transylvania. Presented by Texas Ballet Theater, Dracula runs Friday through September 13 at the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.) With accompaniment from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dracula is an intensely atmospheric production with opulent costumes, undead brides and an elaborate set design. The Count is portrayed not only as a force of otherworldly terror, but also as a character of sensuality and pain, adding depth to the eye candy. Tickets are $15-$110. To purchase, visit texastheaterballet.org. -Jeremy Hallock

Dallas Symphony POPS: Frank Sinatra
At its best, Frank Sinatra’s was a voice as slathered with emotion as pop or jazz has ever seen, evocative of a twinkling, velvety, aloof charm that was somehow both cooly detached and warmly intimate. Romantic longing and dysphoria were never so poignant as when nestled in his grasp, and few shadows before or since have stretched so far on both popular and critical levels. In celebration of Sinatra’s centennial birthday, The Dallas Symphony Pops invites you to share in an evening of the legend’s most memorable music — “Come Fly With Me,” “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” and “You Make Me Feel So Young” only scratch the surface of this exciting program. Jeff Tyzik conducts, with Curtis Stigers slotted as the event’s featured vocalist/saxophonist. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St.). Tickets start at $23. More information at mydso.com. -Jonathan Patrick

Saturday, September 5
Last year, in a period of crisis, Dallas-based artist Lucia Simek took her three kids to Wyoming to visit her family. She refers to this time as “self-exile.” There, she found herself surrounded by nature on the verge of catastrophe. At the base of Yellowstone, one of the country’s volcanic hot spots, she embraced her latent fear of everyday life and the instability inherent in being alive. She found herself compelled to capture every moment that bore significance on film. She returns to the symbolism of these images with a fresh eye for Occiput, a solo exhibition of her videos and photographs opening at The Reading Room (3715 Parry Ave.) from 6-9 p.m. Saturday. It’s likely you’ll experience the very personal expand into the general, only to become specific to you, the viewer. Admission is free. More at thereadingroom-dallas.blogspot.com. - LS

Free Day of Yoga Kick-off Festival
Labor Day has become the free day of yoga in America. On Monday, nearly every studio in the country will offer one free class or a whole day of free classes. This year the Trinity River Audubon Center is kicking things off early with a free yoga from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. 

The Smaller Exotics of Texas
The Texas landscape is full of artistic inspiration: From rolling hills to pancake plains to the bright lights of the big city, there’s something for every artistic temperament. Whether you fancy stereotypical photos of livestock, outsize paintings, sculptures that convey big ideas or mixed media pieces as broad as the state itself, you can find something you identify with at The Smaller Exotics of Texas. The exhibit at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive, will present a veritable cornucopia of art about, inspired by or made in the Lone Star State, including works from Kenneth Craft, Dornith Doherty, Glenn Downing, Chance Dunlap, Devyn Gaudet, Clayton Hurt, Sara Macel, Emily Peacock and Bryan Schutmaat, plus a collaboration by Diane Durant and Adam Neese. The eclectic assemblage will explore mythologies, revel in both natural and man-made wonders and even poke fun at our beloved — but sometimes prickly — state. Take it all in during an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, or during gallery hours from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through September 26. Admission is free. -JDL

Martin Delabano & Robert Birmelin
Dallas-based artist Martin Delabano is probably best known for his use of bold color in fragment. He uses a variety of media to create vignettes, or small anecdotes. He breaks out of this and ventures into a more abstract realm for his newest work, which will be on display this weekend at Kirk Hopper Fine Art. See his work in opening reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, in conjunction with an exhibit of New York-based artist Robert Birmelin, who makes his Dallas debut. His drawings and paintings capture life in the bustling metropolis of New York City, including scenes of life-sized rodents.  -LS

Emergency Measures
Have you noticed that “awareness” is often discussed as something to be aspired to? As if we as humans have lost our natural capacity to be aware of our surroundings or, more vital, the impending threat of danger? We install alarm systems to awaken us, as though the crash of a glass window breaking won’t be enough, or fire alarms to alert us to a room filled with smoke. It’s as though our lives have grown so comfortable we won’t recognize danger even when we’re looking directly at it. The art on display at The Power Station (3816 Commerce St.) in Emergency Measures this weekend is meant to shake us out of this nascent fog and explore what it means to “trigger” awareness. Artists on display include Rodney Graham, Jill Magid, Mark Manders and others. See it in opening reception from 7-9 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. More at powerstationdallas.com. -LS

Sunday, September 6
Dallas Zine Party
Anyone can make a zine. Call it self-publishing or DIY, but zines are more about ideas than skills. That’s the beauty of it and it’s also why the Dallas Zine Party will likely play host to a wide variety of characters. If you’re curious who is writing, drawing or illustrating their ideas and then stapling them together, you’ll want to attend the inaugural event at The Wild Detectives (314 W. 8th St.) from 1-5 p.m. Sunday. The beer will be flowing, music from local bands moth face and Kitbashes will take over the microphone throughout the day, and there will be a plethora of zines. Admission is free. More information at dallaszineparty.com. -LS

Labor Day Blues & Jazz Fest
It doesn’t get the credit it deserves among holidays, but Labor Day means your kids are back in school, the weather won’t feel like fire for much longer and all your beverages are about to taste like pumpkin so very soon. Give the holiday its proper due with something way cooler than a sticky backyard barbecue: Spread out on the lawn of the African American Museum of Dallas, 3536 Grand Ave., open up that cooler and toast the arrival of fall with the 2015 Labor Day Blues and Jazz Festival from 5-10 p.m. Sunday. Let the smooth sounds of R.L. Griffin, Def to Radio, AHYONZ, Smoove-Funk and Legally Blynd lull you into a softer, gentler season; tickets are $10 at eventbrite.com or $15 at the door. Visit aamdallas.org for more. -JDL

Digi Fest
You are getting older and the kids are only getting younger. As if having tweens and teenagers walking the streets and driving on the roads wasn’t already bad enough, now they’re taking over the Internet. There are hundreds of kids becoming famous and social media is to blame. And guess what, there’s nothing you can do about it. They are “famous” because they sing songs, post makeup tutorials, tell jokes in six seconds and do other horrible teenager-y things. To celebrate the world’s biggest and best (uhh, we guess) social media stars, South Side Ballroom Outdoors (1135 S. Lamar St.) is hosting Digifest beginning 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The lineup of stars include Jack & Jack, Carter Reynolds, Aaron Carpenter and a bunch of other names you’ve never heard of. However, hometown hero and red-shirt cutie Alex From Target will be there and you know him because his picture went viral while he was bagging groceries, aka doing his job. Tickets are $35. For more information, call 972-343-2444. -PS

Labor of Love: Homebrew Competition
If Labor Day is about anything, it’s about accomplishment. We officially hoist one to the triumphs of the American workforce, but we also unofficially celebrate making it through a long, hot summer, getting the kids back to school and scoring a mattress at an unbeatable low price during the Labor Day sales.  Deep Ellum Brewing Company, 2823 St. Louis St., has something to celebrate, too: the tasty, frothy achievements of homebrewers — that legion of beer lovers who bring together hops and fermenters and patience in an epic labor of love, yielding fresh and inspiring concoctions. DEBC’s Labor of Love Four: Homebrew Competition and Festival from 6-10 p.m. Sunday is a 21-and-up love letter to the backyard brewer. Though TABC regulations require that participants be affiliated with homebrew teams to taste all the homebrewed (and hence unlicensed) beverages, the general public can still get their fill of licensed beers at the festival, enjoy live music from the Roomsounds and flit between food trucks all night. Registration is $35 at lolhomebrew.com. -JDL

Monday, September 7

If you’ve never sat in the back of Garden Café, 5310 Junius St., and enjoyed a plate of meatloaf while surrounded by herbs and okra plants and tomatoes, you aren’t doing Dallas right. Now that (in theory, anyway) it’s getting to be more tolerable outdoors, you should pay a visit to this little agrarian oasis in East Dallas known for its garden-to-table delights. Labor Day provides the perfect opportunity for an introduction to their grounds — or a much-needed return trip — with Gardenfest, from 3-9 p.m. Monday. The fine folks at Culture Nugget have put together a packed-out roster of workshops, live music, local artisan vendors and food trucks. Promise of Peace Garden will be there to talk about fall seed planting and Danielle Hargett will host a yoga workshop. Vendors will include the Texas Honeybee Guild, Hari Mari, Haus of Growlers and many more; plus live music and theatrical performances from local satirist Josh Kumler, and House Party Theatre. Tickets are $10 and include two beer tokens — purchase at eventbrite.com. -JDL

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