The National Polka Festival has been around for 50 freakin' years and this year it's expected to attract 50,000 people to downtown Ennis for its parade, 5K and 10K Polka Runs, musical performances and kolache-eating contest. Recent polka hall of fame inductees Brave Combo are among musical guests, along with Saturday night headliner Lonestar. The latter performance costs extra, but otherwise admission to the festivities running Friday-Sunday is $8-$15. There are also lots of free activities outside of the main event halls. For more, visit nationalpolkafestival.com.
Kirk Hopper Fine Art (3008 Commerce St.) in Deep Ellum has a new show opening this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. For the group exhibition Slipstream, curator Susie Kalil selected artists whose work with charcoal, ink and pen on paper is surreal and draws from literary fiction to emphasize the strangeness of life in the 21st century. In addition to drawings by Jorge Alegria, Lois Dodd, Bill Haveron, Mary Jenewein, Angelbert Metoyer, Lynn Randolph, Noriko Shinohara, James Surls, Emmi Whitehorse and Roger Winter, the show will include two important works by the realist Alexandre Hogue. For more info, visit kirkhopperfineart.com.
Take a dip in the pool and eat a hot dog on Memorial Day, sure, but also make time to recognize the true intent of the holiday by joining Carry the Load Sunday-Monday. The organization honors those who've served in the armed forces or as first responders by asking participants to “carry” the memory of someone who died in service of their country during hikes, relays and rallies across the country. The Dallas portion of the march begins at Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave., at 12 p.m. Sunday and continues through 12:30 p.m. Monday. Live music and other activities will keep patriotic spirits high throughout the event. Participation is free. To register and learn more, visit carrytheload.org.
If you find yourself coming down with a typical Saturday hankering for pad thai, the Thai Culture and Food Fest is as good a place as any to sate it, but perhaps you should consider trying one of the more adventurous options that will be available for the buying. More than a dozen local restaurants will converge at the Buddhist Center of Dallas, 8484 Stults Road, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29. There will also be temple tours, Thai boxing demonstrations and a Thai market selling trinkets and clothing. Admission is free, with most food items costing $1-$7. For more, visit thaifestdallas.com.
In the mood to be healthy but not that healthy? Spiral Diner is beloved for its vegan renditions of classic diner foods, and now the restaurant with locations in Fort Worth (1314 W. Magnolia Ave.) and Oak Cliff (1101 N. Beckley Ave.) has gone a bit Canadian with a take on poutine. The dish — typically made with french fries, cheese curds and gravy — has become increasingly popular in Dallas, and Spiral's version assembled from potatoes, Daiya dairy-free cheese and a soy-based "country gravy" made with onion and flour is damn satisfying even if it deviates from tradition.
Knuckle Sandwich (3619 Greenville Ave.) just started their lunch service, and given the restaurant will be specializing in sandwiches and cocktails, you'd expect their burger to be good. Nick Rallo stopped by to find out if it makes the grade, and he says the Knuckle Burger ($13) — with prime beef, smoked Gouda, bibb lettuce, heirloom tomato, onion ring and chipotle ketchup on an Empire Bakery bun — was so good that he almost took one to-go.
The bacon craze lives on at Nickel & Rye (2523 McKinney Ave.), where one of their most interesting cocktails combines two things you love but perhaps don't often enjoy together: bourbon and bacon. You're welcome to use the recipe we've provided to make a Maple Bacon Manhattan yourself. It only calls for three ingredients — amaro, maple syrup and bacon-infused bourbon — but that infusion process will take you a full 24 hours. Better head to the McKinney Avenue bar this weekend and order one up from a pro.
Combine a little shopping with your drinking by joining in the Deep Ellum Mimosa Walk from noon-3 p.m. Saturday. Begin at Kettle Art Gallery (2650-B Main Street) where for $10 you can pick up a glass, then spend the afternoon meandering from shop to shop and getting refills at each destination. For a list of participating venues — including Elluments, Leather Masters, Life Of Riley, The Mozzarella Company, Pies & Things, Rocket Fizz, Vertical Life Farms and more — see Facebook.
A margarita meltdown? Yeah, we've had one of those! Where you have one too many margaritas and throw a temper tantrum, right? No? Ah. Apparently Margarita Meltdown in the West End (1701 N. Market St.) is intended to work a bit differently. For $35-$90, you can purchase a sample card that will allow you to taste margaritas crafted by a number of Dallas restaurants and bars from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Dallas is home to the frozen margarita, so the competition should be stiff. Click here to purchase tickets, only $15 if you're the designated driver.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra music director Jaap van Zweden will be leaving us to direct the New York Philharmonic next year, so don't miss opportunities like the one to see him conduct Mahler's fairy tale of chivalry and ambition, Das kladenge Lied, at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Zweden has been lauded for his handling of Mahler's deep, serious and emotional symphonies in the past, so this event — part of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Soluna festival — is more or less guaranteed to be a success. Tickets are $70-$416.
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You probably know and love Sam Beam already. He's the force behind indie-folk project Iron & Wine, and he's played Texas a bunch throughout his career. He's worth the $30 ticket to The Kessler Theater (1230 W. Davis St.) on his own. But that ticket will also give you the opportunity to check out lesser known Jesca Hoop, who collaborated with Beam on the duet album Love Letter For Fire. Interestingly, she was discovered by the legendary Tom Waits when she was nannying for his children. See what Waits saw in her for yourself when you go to the Kessler at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Nada Surf could have jinxed themselves with their ubiquitous '90s hit "Popular," but the power-pop band is still making music that's well received, like their March release, You Know Who You Are. Catch them when their tour in support of that album stops at the Granada Theater (3524 Greenville Ave.) at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $24-$45.
So nice, they're doing it twice: For one of the final events of Women Galore, the feminist arts festival The Wild Detectives (314 W. 8th St.) has put on all month, the bookstore is bringing back Undermain Theatre company member Katherine Bourne to perform an encore reading of Kate Tempest's epic poem Brand New Ancients. If this moving performance wasn't on your radar the first go-around, make sure to put it on your calendar for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Spring Awakening won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical, and now you can see a production of the rocking musical about adolescence, morality and sexuality in 19th century Germany — and how it's not so different from adolescence today — at Grapevine's Runway Theatre (215 N. Dooley St.). Performance are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 for adults; $22 for students and seniors.
Pardon our pun and engage in a little escapism by attending a throwback screening of John Carpenter's action flick Escape From New York at the Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) at 9 p.m. Friday. The 1981 classic stars Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a convicted bank robber who's on a mission to save the President of the United States after he crashes into Manhattan, which has become a maximum security prison. Tickets are $10.