Happy (almost) Chinese New Year, everyone. And welcome to the year of the snake.
If you attempt street parking around the Arts District this afternoon, you may have a bit of difficulty. The F.I.G. Finale sale has opened its doors to the rampaging, sale-starved public. Still worth a try, though. Sneak off during lunch to score designer brands for up to 75% off, or drop by after work.Â You’ll find selections from local shops, such as Elements, Forty Five Ten, and Melanie Gayle, plus all the brand names you know. There’s a nominal admission fee, but a portion of the proceeds benefit the Genesis Women’s Shelter.
If you missed last night’s Big Bang at Beauty Bar, you missed Waajeed, a Brooklyn resident and Detroit native heavily influenced by the late hip-hop producer J Dilla, who would have celebrated a birthday yesterday. Waajeed’s also making a special appearance at the big Dilla tribute going on tonight at Strangeways, one of my favorite haunts just about any night of the week. It’s called “Detroit’s In the House,” and also features locals JT Donaldson, DJ A1, DJ Sober, and quite a few more. The cover is $15, but again, the proceeds from this go to a good cause. This one is the J Dilla Foundation, a nonprofit that funds music programs and scholarships for inner-city kids.
For some reason, the ever-growing Design District has decided to dedicate its second-ever open air market to all you lovers out there. “Piazza Valentina,” as they’re calling it, has a Euro twist, presumably for added sweetness in case the omnipresent food trucks don’t just scream romance to you. In addition to a cappuccino from Ascension, you can snag vintage clothing, jewelry, adorable paper goods you may or may not actually use to write mash notes, and more. Dogs are welcome, and the day is complete with strolling musicians, a puppeteer, a pop-up cafe, and more.
Stick around the area of the evening for the Dallas Contemporary’s annual fun-time fundraiser, Phenomenon. The previous Phenomenon guest was Shepard Fairey. Now it’s a Chicago guy who goes by DZINE, whose artistic medium happens to be custom cars and the whole “kustom kulture” lifestyle. This highbrow low-rider art party puts three vehicles, or sculptures, if you will, on display. Special guest Derrick Carter, also hailing from Chicago, DJs. Various lowrider clubs of Dallas are expected to show up so you can get a local feel for what it’s all about.
Over in Oak Cliff, it’s Mardi Gras time. Start with the Dash For the Beads 5K, where you can put on your tacky jester hat and dash around Bishop Arts. The run once again benefits FIDO Oak Cliff, an organization dedicated to funding a permanent doggie park. Stop by Emporium Pies for a slice of the “Drunken Nut” pie and some coffee post-race before you get gussied up for the masquerade later in the evening at the Kessler Theater. You pretty much have to arrive in costume, and you pretty much have to get up and dance, but I hear the bar is mixing up an anti-embarrassment potion commonly referred to as a Hurricane. There’s live swing music from the Matt Tolentino Band, Club Wood, and the Inner City All Stars, plus a traditional meal from Jonathan’s Oak Cliff. Think mini muffalettas and Bananas Foster. Personally, of the flaming desserts, I prefer cherries jubilee. But I can deal.
Drat. The double-bill acoustic set with Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen is all sold out. Sadly, unless you were an eager beaver, you will not be able to see these two Texas legends plan to treat the Bass Hall stage like their front porch.
There is, however, still more Mardi Gras fun to be had. Can I just take a minute and congratulate the organizers of the Oak Cliff Mardi Gras parade for their thoughtfulness in scheduling this year’s march down Davis? Because it doesn’t start until 4 pm, which allows me to sleep in, scare up a breakfast taco or two, and then revel. You do want to get there a bit earlier, though, since the route will be fenced off for safety reasons and the good spots will go fast. The parade starts at the corner of Windomere and Davis right by Nova, and ends in the Bishop Arts Districts (where, presumably, you can continue the party at any of the establishments nearby).
For more to do with your weekend, go here.