Choo Choo


King Kong has nothing on you, as you exercise your Napoleon complex over the iconic sites of America. The Trains of NorthPark, the miniature work of tedious craftsmanship, is here again to fill us with childlike wonder and excitement with tiny trains and tinier replica landscapes. More than 35 "O" gauge (we don't know what that means either) model trains will be arriving on schedule daily from November 20 through January 2 (except on Thanksgiving and Christmas) for their annual exhibit benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Since 1987, the trains have helped raise more than half of the annual budget for the charity, which--regardless of whether you've been blindsided by the agenda-driven documentary Super Size Me--is a more than worthwhile cause. Ronald McDonald House has been in existence for three decades and has been providing a home for children and their families as they come to Dallas seeking the help of the city's pediatric hospitals and medical centers. The Trains at NorthPark is the largest and most elaborate exhibit of its kind in Texas with more than 2,500 feet of track, carrying the model trains past American monuments such as Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Washington Monument and through each monument's respective city. There's even a mini Dallas skyline. The scaled tour of the good ol' U.S. of A. will operate 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday with early closing on days before holidays. NorthPark Center is located near the intersection of North Central Expressway and Northwest Highway. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for children and seniors and free for children 2 and under. Visit or call the mall at 214-361-6345. --Jonathan Freeman

Are You Experienced?

Rather than standing out in the freezing cold/rain/nuclear winter that many fame-sick Americans endure to get their faces onto national television via gratuitous background shots on the country's morning "news" shows, a few members of the huddled masses will have a chance to be on the other side of the glass. The cast and crew of Good Day Live are offering "Lights, Camera, Action!...The Good Day Live Experience," a touring replica of the program's set that will be hitting Grapevine Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, on November 20, so talking-head hopefuls 18 and up can get a chance to screen-test. The winner of the Dallas market will receive a prize pack and become one of 16 finalists competing to be the next Debbie Matenopoulos. Who doesn't want a last name that needs its own set of Scrabble tiles? Visit or call the mall at 972-724-4900. --Mary Monigold

Chocolate Factory

Origins, the cosmetics company, says that the proper way to use its new Cocoa Therapy Body-Buffing Scrub is to "swirl" it over "clean, wet body skin" (you must implement "a more energetic motion on tougher spots like elbows, knees and feet"). Then you should "sweep" Origins' Cocoa Therapy Body Butter "on damp skin." These dramatic techniques of self-care raise an intriguing question: When Jacques Torres--perhaps the world's best-known chocolate chef who partnered with Origins to create the Cocoa Therapy line--shows up at NorthPark Center on Monday at 11:30 a.m. and then later that day at 1:30 p.m., will he be required to demonstrate the correct application of the products he helped design? Call 214-265-7116. --Claiborne Smith

Just Deserts

Book clubs remind us of Oprah and her chosen novels of love and loss. But a book club on a crime spree? That's a new one, and it's the idea behind Camika Spencer's new novel, He Had It Coming. In it, the Second Pew Book Club in Dallas (Spencer is from here) catches word that Marcus Brooks, an author with an increasingly misogynistic attitude, will call his new novel Bitches. You can hear the "Ah, no, he didn't." When his book tour stops in Dallas, the ladies of Second Pew kidnap Brooks, strip him to his underwear, tie him to some pipes under a kitchen sink and teach that boy some manners. USA Today, not surprisingly, calls Spencer "a fresh voice" with a "spot-on sense of humor." Her previous novels, Cubicles and When All Hell Breaks Loose, landed Spencer on various best-seller lists as surely as this one will. Spencer will sign copies of He Had It Coming from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. November 20 at Jokae's African American Books in Dallas, 3917 W. Camp Wisdom Road. Visit or call the store at 972-283-0558. --Paul Kix

Screen Dream

Keith Black wanted his own Hollywood Ending, not just success in the film industry but the actual Woody Allen film. A few years ago, Black, a Brooklyn math teacher, was inspired to spend his nights turning a dream script into "reel-ality" with Get the Script to Woody Allen. You might call it his "Everything You Want to Know About Getting Hollywood's Attention." And he did. His $3,000 film has since been shown on Northwest and Continental Airlines, debuted on Showtime, played on Australian and Polish TV and was chosen to launch Movieola, the world's first 24-hour movie channel. Now it's our turn. See what critics (and Brooklyn math students) are raving about when Dallas Film Series lets us check out the "Interiors" of Black's production Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Studio Movie Grill located at 5405 Belt Line Road at Prestonwood. Call 972-991-6684 or visit --Danna Berger

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