Join 200,000 other people from all over Texas at the 36th Denton Arts & Jazz Festival this weekend, where seven stages of music from acts such as UNT One O'Clock Lab Band, the Flatlanders and Brave Combo, tons of local art exhibits and a juried art show are just the beginning of the entertainment options. There are plenty of games for little ones and arts and crafts for purchase, and your stomach's capacity is the limit as far as fair food goes. To check out this totally free festival, visit Quakertown Park between 5-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.
Why wait until October to have the crap scared out of you? Texas Frightmare Weekend, the only horror-themed convention in Texas, is back for its 11th year. Friday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency DFW (2334 International Parkway), you can attend horror film screenings, workshops on filmmaking, and panels featuring big names like Rose McGowan and David Arquette. Convention hours are 6-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Day passes are $30; weekend passes are $75. If you're looking for a new and exciting way to traumatize your children, you should know that kids under 12 get in free.
For an art fix, head to Oak Cliff gallery Mighty Fine Arts (409A North Tyler St.) for a reception at 6 p.m. Saturday celebrating Clay Stinnet’s new show of satirical illustrations. Texican Spaghetti Wrestling is inspired by wrestling entertainment, advertisements, comic books and lots more fun stuff, and makes use of unconventional materials such as brown paper sacks and logs. Pop-rock/folk/country-disco act the Sutcliffes will perform. If you have no idea what that means, that's all the more incentive to check this event out.
Taco Libre is the festival that combines Dallas' favorite thing, tacos, with its second-favorite thing, more tacos. (Oh, plus music and lucha libre wrestling.) Last year tickets sold out, so get yours before you head to Main Street Garden Park Saturday (1902 Main St.). They'll set you back $16 in advance and $22 at the gates, which open at 3 p.m. At that point you can begin sampling tacos from 21 restaurants hand-picked by taco connoisseur Jose Ralat of The Taco Trail. We once described Resident Taqueria as serving the "sort of tortillas that will draw crowds" and that will never be truer than when they open their stand at this downtown festival.
If you've been dying to try Uchi but you and your wallet are a bit intimidated, visit its more casual sister restaurant, Top Knot (2817 Maple Ave.), instead. When you're making your selections from their menu of American-Asian fusion fare, don't forget to order the show-stopping whole fried fish with crispy skin, which is stuffed with a fresh and tangy papaya salad ($28).
Strawberries are back in season! Not only does that mean we can afford them at the grocery store again, but it also means finding all kinds of strawberry-kissed menu items at Dallas restaurants. The first noteworthy refreshment is the Corralejo Strawberry Splash ($13) from Paul Martin’s American Grill (3848 Oak Lawn Ave, No. 210). The latest addition to their drink menu is made with 100 percent blue agave tequila and fresh, muddled strawberries. Try it at their bar, or nab the recipe for this bright and fruity cocktail here and mix one up yourself.
La Marzocco espresso machines are the gold standard at fancy coffee shops around Dallas, but Corrado Palmieri claims he's working with one that's even better at his new Italian coffee shop and bakery in the Dallas Farmers Market: La Cimbali. Like everything else at Palmieri Cafe (920 S. Harwood St., No. 100), which opened at the end of March, the machine is straight from Italy. This weekend, order a cortado and put his "Ferrari" of coffee makers to the test.
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For two years Vice Palace has put on some of Dallas' most stimulating DIY shows, and this weekend founder Art Peña celebrates its toddlerhood with a two-day festival at RBC in Deep Ellum (2617 Commerce St.). The stacked lineup of local acts includes Sam Lao, Dezi 5, Party Static, Sealion, -topic, George Quartz and more. Things get started at 7 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Consider showing up promptly to ensure you're one of the lucky hundred who snags a limited release tape from Vice Palace Tapes, which will debut at the anniversary party. Single-day passes are $12, or it's $20 for both nights.
Brian Wilson needs no introduction, but we'll give him one anyway. The creative genius behind The Beach Boys will perform their best album, Pet Sounds, in its entirety at Verizon Theatre (1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie) at 7 p.m. Sunday. Wilson was meant to be the headliner for Levitation Fest in Austin this weekend. If you're broken-hearted like we are about the festival being canceled, catching Wilson in Dallas is the next best thing. Tickets are $35-$89.75.
Ochre House Theatre (825 Exposition Ave.) is resurrecting an old favorite from 2011, Morphing, beginning at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. The play, written and directed by Ochre House's Matthew Posey, centers on a dysfunctional family and its morphine-addicted matriarch over the course of a summer vacation in Maine. Like most tales of messed up families, all kinds of secrets and lies rise to the surface; however, what you might not expect is that it's billed as a comedy with live music, dance, video performance and a man-eating puppet. Ochre House is never a bore, so get your tickets, $17, here.
The JFK assassination has been picked apart, reenacted and explored in just about every way possible — or so we thought. The Fort Worth Opera had a fresh idea when it commissioned David T. Little to write an opera on the subject for its 10th anniversary. Catch JFK the opera, which focuses on Kennedy’s final 12 hours, at Bass Performance Hall (525 Commerce St., Fort Worth) at 2 p.m. Sunday. (If you didn't get enough morphine-related subject matter at Ochre House, there's also a long drug-induced hallucination sequence in this production.) Our reviewer Wayne Lee Gaye described JFK as "a musical and visual spectacle well worth the attention of any opera lover." Tickets are $17-$195. Buy them here.