Fort Worth-based artist Christopher Blay thinks art prizes are meaningless, so naturally he has created his own. Friday at 7 p.m. Blay will adopt his character Frank Artsmarter for a satirical exhibition, auction and presentation at Cris Worley Fine Arts (1845 E. Levee St., No. 110), where 18 entrants will present videos, paintings and works in other mediums, created with the theme "What would you do for love?" in mind, and one will be awarded the "illustrious" ArtSmarter Prize. Bids for the auctioned pieces will begin at 50 cents. Afterward, a panel of jurors will determine the winner. See Facebook for more info.
If you're willing to drive two hours out to Possum Kingdom Lake this weekend, you'll be rewarded with a truly awesome sight: Twenty-two professional divers jumping off cliffs in Hell’s Gate Cove that are three times the height of Olympic diving boards. Qualifying rounds for Red Bull Cliff Diving start at 1 p.m. Friday, with championship rounds the same time on Saturday. The only way to watch is from the water, so if you don't have a boat, you'll need to rent a boat, kayak or some other watercraft from Bluff Creek Marina. For more, visit redbullcliffdiving.com.
If you're into cosplay, this is your weekend. Both Fan Expo (formerly known as Comic Con) and A-Kon, the anime convention, will take place. Each provides opportunities to meet and greets with actors, compete in costume contests, hear panel discussions and dance the night away. Some of the bigger names at Fan Expo, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Friday through Sunday (650 S. Griffin St.), include Stan Lee, John Cusack and William Shatner. Fan Expo passes are $25-$129. Passes to A-Kon at the Hilton Anatole, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway, are $20-$70.
The Herrera family has been filling Dallas diners' bellies with delicious Tex-Mex for decades now, but eating at their restaurants has become more complicated as of late, since the family has branched off into rival restaurants serving different food in different atmospheres. We pitted the original, more traditional Herrera's Café on Sylvan Avenue against its glitzy rival at the Omni Hotel, Café Herrera, and the latter was defeated handily, if only due to their blasphemous take on the beloved sour cream chicken enchiladas recipe. Grab yourself a plate at the OG Herrera's Cafe (3311 Sylvan Ave.) this weekend and rest assured that you're doing Herrera's right.
Dine outdoors for a cause when Plano's Night Out on 15th blocks off historic 15th Street for an event benefitting Café Momentum, which provides jobs, life skills training and counseling to non-violent juvenile offenders. The feast will be provided by restaurants including Lockhart Smokehouse, Dalat, The Fillmore Pub, Uni Sushi and Dude Sweet Chocolate, and there will be lots of wine and local beer to wash it down. Tickets are $125 to the event in Plano's Arts District, 998 E. 15th St.
It's that time: We're beginning the long slide to our September Best of Dallas issue, which means we're counting down the 100 most delicious things we've eaten this year. One of the first dishes Observer food editor Beth Rankin is heaping praise on is Gemma's (2323 N Henderson Ave., No. 109) mushroom bouchee, a buttery puff pastry slathered in a cognac demi-glace and sautéed mushrooms. It's delicate, indulgent and you should put it in your face hole ASAP.
Fort Worth's Woodshed Smokehouse (3201 Riverfront Drive) is serving up a whiskey cocktail that's a light, refreshing tribute to Cowtown. The restaurant has a lovely patio overlook the Trinity River, but since the weather's going to be crummy all weekend, it might be a good occasion to mix a Cowtown Cocktail up at home. The recipe calls for whiskey, blood orange purée, strawberry purée and a splash of lemonade — nothing too complicated if you've got a blender. Get the details here.
Big Bend Brewing was founded in Alpine Texas by Steve Anderson, who in 1993 also co-founded Waterloo Brewpub, the first new brewing operation in Texas since Prohibition. Anderson passed in 2015, but his former colleague Jan Matysiak is carrying on his work with Big Bend Brewing. Their canned beers should be showing up in local stores this month, but before they do, you can sip their Tejas Lager, Big Bend Hefeweizen, Number 22 Porter, La Frontera IPA or Balmorhea Berlinerweisse at restaurants around DFW such as Kool Keg in Arlington (207 S. East St.), Taps & Caps in Lewisville (v4740 TX-121, No. 500) and Reata in Fort Worth (310 Houston St.).
This weekend a spinoff of the Chefs for Farmers festival in September will determine the festival's signature drink by putting eight of Dallas' top bartenders in competition with each other at d.e.c. on Dragon (1414 Dragon St.) from 5-8 p.m. Sunday. Sample creations from the mixologists heading up Top Knot; Armoury, D.E.; Parliament; The Theodore; Filament Restaurant; Henry's Majestic; Midnight Rambler; and Rapscallion, and vote for your favorite. An equally impressive team of sous chefs will offer up bites to pad your stomach. Tickets to the Chefs for Farmers Mix Off are $75.
By now you've probably heard the sad news that longtime Denton music venue Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios (411 E Sycamore St.) is being forced to close. But it's not too late to catch a show. The final performance will be a reunion of post-rock trio Lift to Experience, who got their start in Denton in the mid-'90s, going on to achieve critical acclaim with their sole full-length album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, released under Bella Union in 2001. The show at 3 p.m. Sunday will be their first performance together in over 15 years. Tickets, $20, are sold out, but keep an eye on your Facebook feed and maybe you'll get lucky.
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Country music has been ravaged by the Luke Bryans of the word in the last decade, but it's starting to get its cool back thanks to first-rate songwriters such as Sturgill Simpson. Another artist who's leading the charge? Robert Ellis, who visits The Kessler Theater at 8 p.m. Sunday for a show celebrating the release of his eponymous fourth album, which conveys his affinity for Paul Simon and Randy Newman. Texas Monthly made a bold claim that Robert Ellis may be the next of the Texas greats, and we have to agree. See him before he's selling out The Bomb Factory like Simpson. Tickets are $18-$26.
Catch the beginning of the 2016 Dallas Solo Fest at Margo Jones Theatre at the Magnolia Lounge (1121 First Ave.). The festival will feature eight strong solo performers, who will bring to life stories about everything from dating to Gone With the Wind through June 12. Up this weekend are Bad Dates, or What Killed that Monkey in Indiana Jones Only Makes Me Stronger; Super Mortal; Scarlett O’Hara and the War on Tara; Beers About Songs; and Liberté, Egalité, Adoptée, with multiple performances each day. For tickets, $12, and a full schedule, go to dallassolofest.com.
Terrance McNally’s Tony-nominated Mothers and Sons tells the story of a Dallas woman who visits her deceased son's partner in New York City, and in doing so, the play unpacks the gay male experience over the last 30 years. See the emotional and relevant drama, which debuted on Broadway in 2014, at Kalita Humphreys Theater (3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.) this weekend. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25-$40.