Let’s face it. Last month’s mix of sleet and snow had us questioning if we still lived in Dallas. It’s not like we’re dying for the 100-degree weather that usually has us wanting Christmas in July, but a few days of sun would be great right about now. Fortunately, the vernal equinox is March 20, and spring does seem to be poking its head through the clouds. The Arboretum and Klyde Warren Park are always great choices for Dallas in spring, but if you’re looking to get creative, North Texas is offering quite a few options to celebrate the changing of seasons. Music, art, and food always go well together. Mix in costume contests and bounce houses and you’ve got eight events we think should help you say hello to spring in style.
The Dallas Arts District is ringing in spring with its annual block party, meaning you can hop from food truck to food truck as you drift from the DMA to the Nasher Sculpture Center to the Crowe Collection of Asian Art, all open until midnight. But what makes this one particularly “springy” is the DMA Late Night Jane Austen celebration. What says spring more than Regency era garb, marriage qualms, and the English countryside? Maybe some Emma Thompson and Laurence Olivier thrown into the mix? They have that too. There will be screenings of your favorite Austen films, but what we’re really excited about is the “Fashioning Jane Austen” talk. Costume designer and fashion historian David James Cole will explore the elegant dress of Austen’s time, to be followed by a costume contest judged by a Regency fashion specialist. Time to finally break out those petticoats and tailcoats you’ve been harboring in your closet since your last tea party at Pemberley. What’s more, even if you are a single man (or woman) in possession of a large fortune, this event is completely free.
Yes, we mentioned the spring block party, but we did not mention that the Nasher is also hosting a musical performance as part of the celebration. The King Carroll Band offers you some of the region’s most authentic and talented jazz artists in a performance inspired by the works of renowned sculptor and Texas native Melvin Edwards. The exhibition artist’s welded steel works lend themselves to musical inspiration and interpretation. The concert is followed by a screening of Twenty Feet from Stardom, a documentary about the unsung stories of backup singers (pun intended). With snacks catered by Wolfgang Puck, this night of music sounds like a relaxing way to bring in spring.
So maybe you’re not a diehard Austenite, but you still have a taste for things classical in the springtime. Apparently, the first performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor took place in December in Vienna. And in 1808 they didn’t really have adequate indoor heating. We’re thinking the Bass Performance Hall in March might be more conducive to thinking spring thoughts while listening to the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra brings you 2013 Cliburn Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko in a show ending with the famous symphony. The show will open with part of Richard Strauss’s Don Juan, followed by Russian composer Prokofiev’s final piano concerto. Even if one of its first performances was also in December (this time in Moscow), we think this fast-paced concerto, with its intense toccata movement, has a certain sound of spring to it.
There are some things that are just good all year round. Like sunshine, gourmet food, and wine. We can’t actually guarantee the first of those (you know, Dallas weather in March), but the second two rarely disappoint. Savor Dallas, the annual four day food and wine festival, is hosting events all weekend long, featuring cuisine from North Texas culinary masters as well as delicious wines. The photos for the Grand Tasting on Saturday are already making our mouths water. If you got tickets to the sold-out Arboretum garden party, lucky you. If not, there’s also a community brunch and an Arts District wine stroll – of all the synonyms for walking, ‘stroll’ might be the springiest. Especially when you have wine before it. You can get tickets here (http://www.savordallas.com/grand-tasting/) We’re telling you, this food looks amazing.
In embracing its not Austin-ness (the city, not the literary figure. See above), Dallas is celebrating spring with its eighth annual South by So What Festival. The music festival, catching many of the artists heading to or from the South by Southwest Festival, gives you just about every genre out there, from metal to indie, pop to folk. We recommend you make a list of the bands you absolutely want to see, because with over 100 artists performing over the course of the weekend, you might get a little exhausted running between the stages. Plus it’s kind of fun to read all of the band names – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and frnkiero and the cellabration sound pretty promising, to name a few.
Spring, of course, also means an end to your excuse that it’s too cold to go outside and exercise. The Wipeout Run can help you reconnect with your outdoorsy side, or at least with your crashy-smashy-messy side. Named after the popular TV show, the 5K takes you through a series of inflatable and watery obstacles. Think bounce houses with wrecking balls and pools. It’s a workout but it’s untimed, meaning the only real pressure is the big sweeper arm knocking you off your feet. If you get intense about 5Ks, this might be the event for you. Then again, if you just like to laugh at yourself and your friends, this sounds like a pretty good opportunity.
Jazz really does make us think of spring, especially when it accompanies 1920s-themed lawn parties. It’s like The Great Gatsby with a little less bling. Grab your bowler hat or your flapper dress for a costume contest and enjoy the live music at the Van Cleave Bandstand. Dallas Heritage Village also promises a display of Model A Fords (you know, the ones with the hub caps and the red and white tires). It also happens to be the perfect event for learning a few “vintage” dance moves from dance professional Elaine Hewlett. Picnic in the sun and brush up on your croquet skills. Basically, pretend like you’ve gone back in time for a Sunday afternoon as you celebrate Dallas history and culture.
We’re not just being ironic here – we think a live performance of the winter-themed story is a great way to say goodbye to the cold and hello to spring. Even if you might have heard quite a few renditions of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” during the recent series of snow days, you know your kids never get tired of it, and the special effects and skating promise to make this show particularly memorable. Despite the multiple puns we could make on “letting go” of the cold, we’ll just leave it at that.