West End's Taste of Dallas: This is a warning to people who think they have iron stomachs--the wide variety of foods available at the West End's three-day Taste of Dallas doesn't necessarily mix well. If you choose to sample Frito pie and ostrich stew in the same hour, please remember that up-chucking might trigger a domino effect in this very public event. The flavors available--Indian, Cajun, Australian, German, Mexican, and plain ol' white trash cuisine--are provided by 36 Dallas restaurants, all of which are eager to tickle your taste buds so you'll want to return to their establishments. To aid digestion, there's a long roster of live bands scheduled to perform, as well as special shows for kids, strolling entertainers, a mist maze, and lots of diversions set up by TV and radio stations. Times are Friday, 5-11 pm; Saturday, 11 am-11 pm; and Sunday, noon-9 pm in the West End. Admission is free, BUT...you must purchase coupons to trade for munchies. For info call 720-7117.
CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographers Showcase: Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth finds its most popular concerts are those served buffet-style--in this case, its semi-annual Choreographers Showcase, which features a sampling of six dances by seven Texas and national choreographers who function independently of large companies. Not everything here is to everyone's tastes, but you should definitely have a lot to talk about on the ride back home. Works include Keisha Breaker-Haliburton's Blue Monday, a solo piece dedicated to the mystery of the blues; Alyson Jones' Sigh not so, an all-female piece set to music by Phillip Glass and Foday Musa Suso that examines how men haven't always had it easy in the field of dance; and Andrea Ariel's Stuck/Unstuck (and otherwise falling), which features three very athletic dancers recreating the tension between spirit and machine. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm in Orchestra Hall, 4401 Trail Lake Drive in Fort Worth. Tickets are $6-$20. Call (817) 335-9000.
Ritual: Whenever you hear the phrase "multimedia," a warning siren should go off in your head. Ask yourself one simple question: "Do the different elements actually interact in an interesting way with each other?" If the answer is no, then the artists involved have gotten carried away with their own intentions and forgot you. Actually, the press release for Ritual, a dance concert that combines the talents of choreographers, filmmakers, composers, and photographers, never mentions the "M" word, although its combination of diverse media suggests a juggling act that just might work. The music of Michael Briola and the choeography of Martha Hess and Jennifer Roberts are the featured attractions. Performances of Ritual happen Friday and Saturday at 8 pm in the Theatre on Elm Street, 3202 Elm. Tickets are $8-$10. Call 651-1904.
1995 Texas Hydrofest: With an expected attendance of 60,000, the 1995 Texas Hydrofest is clearly not a happening for hydroplane aficionados alone--you know, those people who drive what look like jet-powered space fighters across the surface of big lakes--in this case Lake Lewisville in Lewisville. The event is subtitled "unlimited hydroplane racing," although there are, in fact, very specific requirements each racer must meet in order to be approved for competition. Across a two-mile oval, men and women who specialize in getting real wet at high speeds will be making 1,200-foot turns. There's also NASBOAT races, watercraft demonstrations, a hot air balloon exhibit, a let's-squeeze-some-flesh-in-here state finals for female tanners, and more. Friday is exhibition day, in which the teams set up, test, and qualify; Saturday continues the time-trials preliminary events; and Sunday is the final big race. Tickets are $5 for Friday, and $8-$10 on Saturday and Sunday (kids under 12 get in free). For information call 221-8800.
The Second Annual Dog Days of Summer: It's difficult to know which is more difficult to control in an outdoor setting--dogs or kids. Since leashes for the latter have almost become as ubiquitous as for the former, things probably won't get too out of hand at the Second Annual Dog Days of Summer in downtown Denton. This is an opportunity for ankle-biters--four-footed and not--to get out in the Texas sun for a variety of activities designed to honor Fido. Expect the unexpected at this excuse to show off your pooch--doggie makeovers, booths set up for glamour shots, a psychic who conducts paw-readings, a singing contest, games, prizes, and plenty of chances to socialize. While the leash for your kid is optional, the leash for the dog isn't--please keep him or her properly restrained, lest the fun get out of hand. 9 am-2 pm. It's free. Denton County Courthouse Lawn, 115 W. Hickory in Denton. (817) 566-8529.
Cluefest '95: Meeting your favorite mystery writer is a strange experience, since you're paying tribute to an individual who has hooked you forever on that most notorious device--the chapter cliffhanger. You know what we're talking about--the mysterious, unexpected event; the unanswered question; the bizarre action without obvious motivation; all of these skillfully positioned like a falling net to drag you into the next chapter. Cluefest '95 is one of the top mystery readers' book fairs in the state, with author panels, book signings, a live radio play, a book dealer's room, and, of course, the chance to meet your literary torturer. Events are scheduled days and evenings July 14-16 at the Harvey Hotel, 14315 Midway in Addison. Guests of honor are national scribes Judith Van Gieson and A.W. Gray, but the list of authors is long. Tickets are $30-$55. For information call 437-4337.