things to do in dallas

Doing Dallas: Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. This past week, I found out about free Zumba classes in Klyde Warren Park. While the prospect of working-out (oi vey,) dropping it low, and sweating with strangers made me nervous, I knew this was too Dallas-y of an opportunity to pass up. Here is a glimpse into what happened:

A Retroactive Live Blog of My First Zumba Experience:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

11:15 AM – It’s been a while since I’ve worked out. Will I have enough energy? Should I carbo-load? Am I supposed to carbo-load the day-of or the night before? Does Zumba even warrant carbo-loading?

Zumba

11:25 AM – Finally come to a decision. Going with tortellini for lunch. YAY CARBS!

11:30 AM – Watching Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” music video while eating to get into the Zumba spirit. Praying my hips tell the truth this evening.

12 – 4 PM – In English class. Cannot concentrate; thinking only of Zumba. What should I wear? Will I know anyone there? What if I’m the only one to show up and I’m so bad the teacher just leaves? I CANNOT BE THE ONLY ONE THERE. I retweet Klyde Warren Park’s tweet about the free class, hoping one of my Twitter followers will be really into the Zumba scene and decide to join.

4:50 PM – Zumba is in t-minus 1 hour, 10 minutes. Feeling low on energy. Decide another bowl of tortellini is the solution.

5:15 PM – Wearing spandex shorts and a Lululemon top. I totally look like a Zumba pro – no one will even be able to tell this is my first time. To Klyde Warren Park I go!

Zumba

5:25 PM – Sitting at a stoplight I check the temperature. 100 degrees! In this heat, I’ll sweat so much it will be like I worked out for six hours instead of just one! Or I’ll pass out. Does fainting burn calories?

6:00 PM – I’m not the only one! There are 30 women and one man here. One woman has a striking resemblance to Meryl Streep, and I find this strangely comforting. I’m already sweating.

6:02 PM – I’ve positioned myself in the second row on the far right end. While I at first think this is a prime spot, once we begin getting down to a song with the chorus “I’m gonna get it tonight,” I realize that I’m right next to the glass windows of the Lark on the Park restaurant. It’s dinnertime, and the restaurant patrons are gawking at us. Oh, sweet Lord.

6:05 PM – The immunization I got on Monday is still very painful and I am having trouble lifting my left arm. I decide to substitute any move involving this extremity with a Rockette kick of my left leg. #NailedIt

6:07 PM – Actively confirming I have no rhythm and two left feet. I start to think about how I am always one step behind and going left when I’m supposed to go right. Struck by the fact that this sounds like a song lyric, I start composing the song in my head as I awkwardly shuffle along to the music.

6:14 PM – Why can I not do a body-roll?!? I am painfully aware that my feeble attempts resemble Phoebe dancing for Chandler on Friends.

6:20 PM – Actual words from the instructor: “I want to see bigger pelvic thrusts, people!” Wait…WHAT? Is this Zumba or Fifty Shades of Grey!?

6:25 PM – Really regretting that second bowl of tortellini. I’m cramping up hard and quickly losing the desire to go on living. I look over to Meryl Streep – she’s still going strong. This gives me inspiration to power through.

6:36 PM – “Sexy and I Know It” comes on. THIS IS MY JAM. All thoughts of cramps vanish as I drop it lower than I did in the discotecas of Spain.

6:40 PM – So much sweat in my burning eyes that I can no longer see the instructor. Clearly I put too much of my soul into that last song. “Womanizer” comes on. Though empowering, I decide to make this song my last.

6:44 PM – I came, I saw, I conquered (or so I tell myself). I act like I’m going to get a drink of water but really pick up my stuff and scram.

Zumba

6:46 PM – A safe distance away from the action, I stop behind a pillar to take a picture of my fellow Zumba-mates continuing the workout. I realize how extremely creepy this looks. I look around to see if anyone notices me. I realize that looking around makes me appear even more creepy. I make a dash for the car.

6:55 PM – Sweet, sweet air-conditioning!

7:00 PM – I stop and get a cookie on my way home to reward my efforts. I have enjoyed my Zumba experience and plan on returning next week.

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

 

Con Fair

By Mike Corbett Look, we all could use a break after the last week, right? We lost a comedy genius in Robin Williams, under incredibly disheartening circumstances, parts of Missouri look like a warzone every night thanks to overly militarized police, and now, unfortunately, top it all off, we’ve lost the voice of Saturday Night Live, with the passing of Don Pardo.   Really just a rough week all around, and certainly not one that is generating easily mocked news stories.

So, in lieu of my usual current events focused piece, I’d like to instead take this article in a completely ribald direction and examine one of the great mysteries I’ve come across in my life time. The year was 2012, I’d been living in Dallas for six months, and was attending the highly regarded Texas State Fair for the first time. I had heard many stories about the fair, and what a spectacle it was, so I had to see it for myself. Before I even set foot in Fair Park, its reputation for being a spectacle was confirmed with the sad passing of Big Tex. I was sure nothing could top a giant mechanical cowboy fire, but I went attended anyways, to see what other wonders the fair might hold. It didn’t take long for those wonders to be revealed, and just an hour into my trip, while walking through the Midway, I came across it…

Behold: THE MAJESTY!

That is, as far as I can tell, a carnival ride featuring a massive airbrushed picture of Cameron Powe, the character Nicolas Cage portrayed in 1997 blockbuster Con Air. Now, even as an avid Nicolas Cage fan, I could not believe that any carnival ride manufacturer would have made a Con Air themed ride, even at the height of that film’s popularity. Upon further inspection, you can tell that it is definitely not themed after Con Air, and in fact, the giant sized Cameron Powe is the only reference to the movie. Look closely and you can see that the rest of the ride seems to be themed in a Heavy Metal-esque sci-fi fashion, making the inclusion of a massive air brushed Nicolas Cage even stranger.

Years have passed since that visit to the fair, but questions regarding that ride still haunt me. Was Nicolas Cage just a random inclusion into the ride’s mural? Was the artist just given free reign, and happened to love his work? Or did someone give him very clear instructions to airbrush a ten foot tall Nicolas Cage on the side of a carnival ride? If that’s the case, are there others out there? Is there a Himalaya out in some parking lot carnival proudly displaying a torch wielding Benjamin Franklin Gates from National Treasure? Maybe there’s one of those lame motorcycle carousels featuring artwork from Cage’s star turns in Ghost Rider and Drive Angry! The possibilities are only constrained by Nic’s IMDB page.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m desperate to find out. I love Mr. Cage’s work the same way he himself loves pachinko, but I know when I’ve been bested. If there’s a Cage megafan out there that has devoted his life to airbrushing pictures of his idol into seemingly random places, then I would like to tip my hat to him. From a safe distance of course; Cage stalkers have already proven to be a particularly…eccentric lot, I really don’t want to get to close. If this Cage loving airbrush artiste does exist, I’d also love to see his van, which I’m sure is emblazoned with something like this:

The Greatest Film That Never Was

As a reminder, the Texas State Fair kicks off September 26th and runs through October 19th, just down the street from Dallas Comedy House at Fair Park.  You can see this ride and eat anything from a fried corn dog to a fried boot during these three amazing weeks.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student at the DCH Training Center. He's also an intern for the DCH Blog. You can find more of Mike's comedy stylings HERE. 

A Most Interesting Interview with the Ladies of Lady Town

By Ashley Bright This week I had the honor, privilege, and joy to interview Jaime Moyer, Kate Duffy, and Maribeth Monroe, the ladies of Ladytown. Do not miss them this week as they'll be performing on Saturday, August 2nd at 10:30pm. Jaime and Kate are also teaching workshops on both Friday and Saturday. Registration and tickets still available!

We drive past the "Welcome to Ladytown" sign, what's the tagline? How about on the "You're Now Leaving" sign?

MM: "Welcome to Ladytown! We're a sure thing!" "You're now leaving Ladytown! Was it good for you?"

JM: "Ladytown - Population: Six Boobs" "You're Now Leaving - So it wasn't a nightmare after all...You're welcome."

KD: "Welcome to Ladytown - We May Show Our Ankles" "You're Now Leaving - We warned you"

If Ladytown were made up of three historical/famous men instead of you three ladies, what men would they be?

MM: Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, and Rob Ford. Cause we're dirty, misogynistic, and love a hit off a good crack pipe.

JM: Tom Selleck, Paul Newman, FDR

KD: Sammy Davis Jr., Rodney Dangerfield, and Curly from the Stooges.

Katy Duffy's Alternative Lady Town

If the three of you were lost in the jungle, how would the duties be split up? Making shelter? Food collection? Defense from monkeys? Etc.

MM: Honestly, I think we would all just freak out and get eaten by the monkeys. Jaime would last the longest cause she's charming as fuck. But we definitely wouldn't go all "Lord of Flies" on each other. Mostly because only one of us read that book.

JM: Maribeth would figure out where to get the best fronds, I would cook the fish, Kate would make rope. I think we could make it work, from our keen observations of "Castaway" alone.

KD: I'm pretty sure we would all die. I come from a long line of indoor people. I think we'd sit on a log laughing and eating the rest of our supplies until we died peacefully from exposure. We'd probably be embarrassingly close to shelter and help. People would say, If only they had just walked a few more feet....I also hope in that short period of time though we really bonded with those monkeys, Jane Goodall style.

Is there a scene with Ladytown that still incites giggles among the three of you no matter how long ago it happened?

MM: It's never easy to try explain scenes that have already been improvised, but here goes. I think we have the most fun when we are all playing versions of the same character. In improv it's referred to as "peas in a pod". We once played Dutch Hookers in the red light district of Amsterdam sexily attempting to sell our "puppies" to Johns. We would snap back and forth between disgusting chat with each other and then attempting to seduce men into buying us. It was a very weird and very funny scene.

JM: Hands down, a bridal shower scene with three two-faced friends, at one point I remember begrudgingly writing Kate a personal check for the gift.

KD: I love the bridal shower scene so much, but I also really loved the scene where Maribeth was our lisping drill sergeant. I could hardly keep it together. I love any scene where we play 3 of a kind.

For her birthday, I took a large magnet from the freezer section of a national grocer for my roommate; "Meals For One" now hangs across our fridge. What is the nicest thing you've done for a lady friend?

MM: So....you stole from a grocery store just to remind your friend of how lonely she is? Jesus. I guess I should start kidnapping babies and parade them around in front of my barren girlfriends. I've been doing this "bestie" thing all wrong!

JM: I hope the best thing I've ever done is be a good listener. And also recommending my lady friend watch the short-lived, four episode, 2-minute or so each series "Fancy Catz" on YouTube.

KD: I will hang with your kids while you go do you for a while.

Lady Town is performing this Saturday Night at 10:30PM. CLICK HERE for advance tickets!

Take workshops from Jaime Moyer and Kate Duffy this weekend, too! CLICK HERE for more workshop info! 

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH Improv Program and a level 2 student in the sketch writing program. She performs every weekend at DCH. And check out the feature on Ashley in the Advocate Magazine HERE. 

The Do's and Don'ts of Surviving a Dallas Summer

Hello, old friend. So glad you could join us for the next four months. Ahh, summer. The season of all seasons, when down jackets and pumpkin spice lattes are replaced with bikinis and grapefruit beers. It’s a time for fun in the sun (who had to put his shades on because 1. He is cool, and 2. It’s so bright out!), enjoying the great outdoors, and maybe BBQin’ up some wieners on the patio with your buds!

[cue sound of record scratching]

Unless you live in Dallas.

In Dallas, summer has a bit of a different meaning. Summer here means highs of 108° and nighttime lows of 109°. Summer means wearing flip flops on your way to work and changing when you get there because if you have to exert the energy necessary to walk on concrete in heels, you will have sweat through your blazer by the time you get to your car. It means not looking at another weather report until October because you both already know what it’s going to say, and really don’t wanna know.

Sure, it may get hotter in other parts of the world nearer the Equator, but with all the asphalt, droughts, and lack of trees to provide us with the fresh, breathable oxygen we so crave during these desperate times, Dallas in the summer requires a level of dedication and chutzpah unique to those of us who brave living here through it.

So, in the midst of our battle against North Texas Warming, here’s my list of Dos and Don’ts for surviving summer in the Big D.

DO wear clothes that are light and breathable so you can enjoy the (relative to Antarctica) nice weather without getting too hot.

DON’T:

Dreams do come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO put on plenty of sunscreen before heading outside. An SPF of 30 or higher will help fight those pesky UV rays. Get outta here, UV rays!

DON’T make the all too common mistake of over-coverage. Remember that, for the most part, if you keep your mouth closed, your tongue won’t get sunburned. Same goes for the underneath of your eyelids and both ear drums.

DO cool off with a swim at the beach or pool!

DON’T get in the water with any bleeding open wounds, raw steaks, cupcakes, or DVD copies of the 2011 film Soul Surfer. These days, you never know where a shark might show up or what he might be hungry for.

DO make sure to drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated!

DON’T forget that vodka is not water. I know, it’s hard.

DO use an insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET to prevent diseases that will really lower your value when it comes to attracting potential mates.

DON’T forget that insect repellent with the active ingredient DEET is not vodka.

DO send someone to fix the air conditioning unit in my apartment.

DON’T think that was a joke. Please come soon.

Sarah Mowery is a level 3 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She lives alone with her cat and in her free time enjoys applying dialogue from The Lord of the Rings to real life situations. You can check out more of her comedy stylings HERE.