Those toys that once occupied every square inch of your childhood bedroom weren’t just mindless playthings designed to keep you occupied. They were brilliant works of art. Don’t kick yourself that you gave away an art gallery to Goodwill when you moved out of the house. There is still a place where toys are considered priceless works of art. The Quixotic World gallery, 2824 Main St. in Deep Ellum, will host the seventh Vinyl Thoughts Art Show from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 7. Seventeen artists are tasked with designing vinyl toys around a single theme. Admission is free. Visit vinylthoughtsartshow.com for more information. Quixotic World, 2824 Main St., 7-11 p.m., free, vinylthoughtsartshow.com. — Danny Gallagher
Literary jack-of-all-trades Neil Gaiman has something for everyone: comic books, nonfiction essays, novels, children’s lit, plays, radio performance, film, television and a blog. He manages to bridge fantasy with serious, allusive writing, appealing to academics and pop-culture enthusiasts alike. Gaiman spends quite a bit of time on the road, reading to audiences and lecturing about the importance of reading, imagination, creativity and the storytelling process. Gaiman’s fascinating insight and almost limitless ability to envision other worlds and fantastic situations make for an engrossing discussion, and he’ll give Dallas audiences the opportunity to engage in his process at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 7, at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Tickets for “#hearhere: An Evening with Neil Gaiman” are $30 to $75 at attpac.org. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $30-$75, attpac.org. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm
It's almost inconceivable to stay up until close to midnight and drive to a theater to see a 30-year-old movie. But the 1987 romantic fantasy adventure comedy The Princess Bride is worth it. Most of us have seen this cult classic directed by Rob Reiner, but if you haven't, here's a brief synopsis: Girl meets boy and falls in love; girl is forced to marry a king; boy becomes a dreaded pirate to save the girl, all while picking up a few quirky friends, delivering perfect one-liners and trudging through rotting sludge along the way. The film stars Cary Elwes, Andre the Giant, Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin and Robin Wright. You can see all the fun at 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 7, at Landmark's Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane. Tickets range from $8.25 to $10.50 and can be purchased at landmarktheatres.com. Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane, 11:59 p.m., $8.25-$10.50, landmarktheatres.com. — Diamond Victoria
Before Arrival, Stranger Things, Twin Peaks or any other modern, alien-centric movie or TV show, there was Steven Spielberg's 1982 science fiction fantasy classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. This story of a young boy named Elliot who stumbles upon a pretty adorable, albeit strange, little alien is funny, a tiny bit spooky and totally heartwarming. Based on an imaginary friend of Spielberg’s when he was a child, E.T. is one of the most recognizable science fiction characters in cinema, and the film earned the rank of greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey. When it released, it knocked Star Wars out if its top spot by becoming the highest-grossing film of all time — until another of Spielberg’s big blockbusters, Jurassic Park, took the title. The Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., offers a chance to experience the story of a lonely boy and his alien friend at 8 p.m. Friday, July 7. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at prekindle.com. Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 8 p.m., $10, prekindle.com. — Diamond Victoria
Lightning will strike yet again when one of Dallas’ greatest musical commodities takes the stage for a third time in as many months. The reunited band will headline an extensive showcase of local acts, including Mind Spiders, the O's, Loafers and Sailor's Horse. Whether you were one of the lucky few fans who packed out Club Dada for Tripping Daisy’s warm-up show before it headlined the Homegrown Festival in May or you haven’t heard the band since its radio-bait single “I Got a Girl,” this is not a show to be missed. Tripping Daisy disbanded in 1999 after the death of founding member and lead guitarist Wes Berggren, with frontman Tim DeLaughter going on to form the Polyphonic Spree. DeLaughter has hinted at more Tripping Daisy dates, but as information on the future of the band comes out in a trickle, there’s no telling when the next chance to catch this iconic local band will be. Nytex Sports Centre, 8851 Ice House Drive, North Richland Hills, 7 p.m., $35, nytexsports.com. — Nicholas Bostick
As a photographer with a passion for capturing images of urban wildlife, Chris Jackson makes it clear he’s not a biologist, a zoologist, an ornithologist “or any other kind of ologist, for that matter,” he jokes on his website. Jackson chronicles the diversity of various wildlife found in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area on the website he launched in 2005, DFWUrbanWildlife.com. Jackson also co-authored the book In Your Backyard: Discovering Urban Wildlife. For folks wanting to improve their photography skills with any type of camera, join Jackson for a free Urban Wildlife Photography Class at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Road. Photographers should meet up under the shady canopy found in Pecan Grove. Workshops run from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9, and both sessions are open so guests can come and go. The photo class is free with paid general admission, which costs $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children (free for ages 2 and younger). For more info, visit dallasarboretum.org. Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, 9 a.m.-noon, $15, dallasarboretum.org. — Daniel Rodrigue
Roni Size’s imprint on the electronic music landscape is undeniable. The DJ born Ryan Williams played an integral role in the development of jungle music and is a pioneer of the drum and bass subgenre that began in his hometown of Bristol, England. Williams has also performed with an award-wining electronic group, Reprazent, and influenced trip-hop groups Massive Attack and Portishead. Williams is on the second leg of a North American tour, his first in 10 years. Lizard Lounge, 2424 Swiss Ave., 9 p.m., $10-$300, thelizardlounge.com. — Mikel Galicia
If you watch the Great British Baking Show with more understanding of Mary Berry’s sweet technical challenges than Paul Hollywood’s bready ones, you’re probably going to be keen on the Dallas Bake Off from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 8, in the Embarcadero Building 1229 Admiral Nimitz Circle in Fair Park. The inaugural event is for competitors and voyeurs alike; it welcomes bakers of all skill levels for a sugar-loaded battle in categories of cake, pie, chocolate, cupcake, macaron and cookie. Judges are Bronwen Weber of Frosted Art Bakery & Studio and Food Network Challenge fame, Kate Weiser of Kate Weiser Chocolate and Nicolas Blouin of the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. There’s no baking onsite, but contestants are required to bring their finished masterpieces (and 75 bites for judging). General tickets ($10) include samples from local vendors, and people’s choice tickets ($25) give the option to judge a category for popular vote. To register or purchase tickets, visit dallasbakeoff.com. Embarcadero Building, 1229 Admiral Nimitz Circle, Fair Park, noon-5 p.m., $10, dallasbakeoff.com. — Merritt Martin
It takes guts to stand on a stage and try to make someone laugh, but it’s even gutsier to go out on the killing floor and try to make a crowd laugh with (gasp!) no prepared material. The Alternative Comedy Theater has dedicated two days to the art of improvisational comedy with the ninth annual Big Weekend of Improv on Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8, at the Studio Theatre at the Addison Theatre and Conference Center, 15650 Addison Road. The two-day comedy festival will feature acts from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, such as the long-running Dallas comedy staple The Victims and The Motley Players, as well as acts from out of town, such as Folksongs Against Humanity from Austin and the Oklahoma comedy group Red Dirt. Tickets are $10 per show, except for the 5:30 p.m. Saturday show, which is $5 per person. Day passes are available for $25 per person and can be purchased online at improvact.org. Addison Theatre and Conference Center, 15650 Addison Road, Friday-Saturday, $5-$10, improvact.org. — Danny Gallagher
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There was a time when art was exclusive to the very wealthy. Japan was a pioneer in bringing art to the average commoner. During the Edo period between 1603 and 1868, developments in woodblock printmaking made visual art accessible to many in Japan. The woodblock printmaking process originated from packing materials for tea from China and Japan, and the finished product required a publisher, artist, woodcutter and printer. Average travelers could take home pieces to remember their trips. The Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St., opens Styled with Poise: Figures in Japanese Paintings and Prints at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 8, for a chance to see some of these groundbreaking paintings and prints. Admission is free. The exhibit runs through Sunday, Jan. 7. For more information, visit crowcollection.org. Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St., 10 a.m., free, crowcollection.org. — Diamond Victoria
Who doesn’t love grown men beating the snot out of each other for the public’s general amusement? That’s not the only reason why World Wrestling Entertainment attracts some of the largest spectator sports crowds in the country. They’re also there for the drama. It’s like a daytime soap opera with head trauma. See for yourself at WWE’s Great Balls of Fire event at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. The live pay-per-view event will offer high-profile matches, including Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, a “Raw” women’s championship match between Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks, and the first universal championship match between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe. Tickets are between $25 and $500 per person and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com. American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 6:30 p.m., $25-$500, ticketmaster.com. — Danny Gallagher
The Basically Beethoven Festival, presented by Fine Arts Chamber Players, exhibits some of the city's finest musicians while offering a glimpse at Dallas’ next generation of local talent. To the service of music by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Copland and more, musicians from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Opera will join forces for a monthlong concert series. Every concert will open with a “Rising Star Recital,” each of which introduces audiences to new, young musicians from the area. From providing elegantly polished, world-class feature performances to showcasing the burgeoning talents that will shape the city’s musical future, Basically Beethoven Fest 2017 looks to be one the most dynamic concert series of the classical season. Performances start at 2:30 p.m. each Sunday — July 9, 16, 23 and 30 — at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Tickets are free. For more information, visit fineartschamberplayers.org. Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St., 2:30 p.m., free, fineartschamberplayers.org. — Jonathan Patrick