As February gives way to March, it's time for people to officially start doing things outdoors again. This weekend, there is outdoor fun to be had all over Dallas, from Fair Park to West Dallas to Oak Cliff, celebrating everything from Mardi Gras to the majesty of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
Below are your best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, February 27
When Dallas Rocked screening
When Dallas Rocked is a documentary that takes a look back at the rock scene in Dallas in the 1970s, when Dallas was home to a massive vinyl distribution center and influential rock station KZEW. If you missed it when it played at The Kessler back in December or at Texas Theatre, you get another chance when it screens at Lakewood Theater.
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings in concert with Valerie June
Sharon Jones has such a great voice that you'd swear she's been a professional singer all her life. But she and her band the Dap Kings have only really come about in the last 10 years or so, reviving the soul/funk sound of the late '60s and early '70s. They play at the Granada Theater alongside opening act Valerie June.
Friday, February 28
2014 North Texas Irish Festival
It might make more sense for organizers of the North Texas Irish Festival to wait a few weeks and put on the event the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, but who says things have to make sense? The fest, taking place at Fair Park through Sunday, has the special theme of Erin Go Bark!, inviting attendees to bring their dogs along. Also expect a ton of Irish-related activities, from food to archery to arts and crafts.
Pixies in concert with Best Coast
Musical comebacks are a dime a dozen, but few bands have gone as long between periods of relevance as the Pixies. With their last album coming out in 1991, they're suddenly back in the spotlight thanks to two new EPs and a noteworthy split with former bassist Kim Deal. The new look Pixies play at South Side Ballroom with Best Coast as opening act.
Dropkick Murphys in concert with Lucero and Skinny Lister
Apparently Friday is Irish Day in Dallas, as Celtic punk rockers Dropkick Murphys pay us a visit. The band, which is arguably best known for contributing their song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" to the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's The Departed, play at the House of Blues Dallas alongside opening acts Lucero and Skinny Lister.
Saturday, March 1
Trinity River fun
The place to be on Saturday is on, around and under Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, as it serves as the de facto host for both the Trinity River Levee Run and All Out Trinity. The run, which includes a 5K and 10K, among others, crosses the bridge twice, while All Out Trinity is a day-long event full of exercise-related activities all around the bridge.
2014 OCarnivale Masquerade Ball
The Mardi Gras celebration in Oak Cliff, which kicks off with Saturday morning's Dash for the Beads, continues with this celebration at The Kessler. There is entertainment from Club Wood and Zydeco Blanco, Creole food, New Orleans-style hurricanes, and more holiday-themed fun. Make sure to wear your best Mardi Gras clothes or the evening just won't be complete.
Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group
Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood are best known for their time on Whose Line is It Anyway?, which has found new life on CW after airing for years on ABC. This show at Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts in Richardson is heavy on improv, with the duo taking contributions from the audience to create hilarious scenarios.
Sunday, March 2
2014 Mardi Gras Oak Cliff Parade
The main event for Mardi Gras weekend in Oak Cliff is unquestionably the annual parade, which treks down Davis Street before winding up in the heart of the Bishop Arts District. The parade features the expected array of floats, musicians and other revelers, and if you don't come away with multiple strands of beads, you just aren't trying hard enough.
Arts & Letters Live: Tim Federle
It's always great when someone can turn one passion into another, which is what Tim Federle has done. A former dancer on Broadway, he's used his experience there to write two acclaimed children's books, Better Nate than Never and Five, Six, Seven, Nate!. Federle talks about the books and his transition from performer to author in this appearance at the Dallas Musuem of Art.