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Dallas International Film Fest gears up

Written by | Published March 25, 2013

The Dallas Film Society is busy preparing for this year’s Dallas International Film Festival, which kicks off next week.

The event runs April 4-14 and features 175 films at venues across the city. I had a chance to interview Lee Papert, festival executive director, by email recently, and here’s what he had to say about the event.

In Houston this Saturday, March 23, from 11-2, the always zany and creative Orange Show Foundation hosts its annual Easter Orange Hunt, when kids of all ages can tour the Orange Show site—a veritable playground of whirligigs, moats, and brightly tiled and painted structures—and collect eggs, candy, and (of course) oranges. Also on March 23, the Orange Show will also host its first annual PEEPS Art Contest. Using Peeps marshmallow treats, contestants will make sculptures, costumes, and other works of art, following the lead of similar contests in Washington, D.C., Denver, and Westminster, Maryland. If you’d like to submit an entry, bring it to the Orange Show for judging by noon on Saturday. Winners will receive Peeps prizes, gift cards, and recognition on the Orange Show website, www.orangeshow.org.

a Peeps creation from the Westminster competition

Go outdoors!

Written by | Published March 15, 2013

The Vernal Equinox and the first official day of spring—March 20—is so close we can taste it. Well, FEEL it (in the sun's warm rays on our skin), SEE it (in the leaves budding out on even the pecans, which somehow know when the chance of frost has passed), and SMELL it (in the fragrance of all those flowers). It's tough to be inside in weather this glorious. So get on out there. We just received word that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's "Texas Outdoor Family" program, which kicked off a few years ago to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors, has expanded this year to include themed weekends organized around such topics as learning to mountain bike. On March 23-24, at Stephen F. Austin State Park, groups of up to six participants ($65 for all!) can learn basic camping skills (such as how to pitch a tent, build a campfire, and go geocaching) along with mountain biking safety, etiquette, and rules of the (off)road. Amazingly, most equipment—including tents, handheld GPS untis, cookware, lanterns, and bikes—are provided. You're on your own for food, clothing, and sleeping bag. Sign up for this program or others by calling 512/389-8903; www.tpwd.state.txus/calendar/texas-outdoor-family-stephen-f.-austin-state-park-houston-1.

Photo courtesy of Best Maid

What goes great with a green shirt and green beer on St. Patrick's Day? If you're in Mansfield, the answer is simple: pickles.

Here's another example of the enduring appeal of "retro." There's a new drive-in movie theater scheduled to open adjacent to downtown Fort Worth this spring.

The Coyote Drive-In is building a 20-acre complex in the Trinity Uptown neighborhood, across the river from downtown. Two of the three screens will be six stories tall (that's relatively big), and the complex will accommodate up to 1,300 cars. Audio will be broadcast on an FM radio signal.

Celebrating Texas' Independence Day

Written by | Published February 28, 2013

Growing up in Texas and learning about how this state became a nation for a time, I always wondered why people didn't make a bigger deal out of Texas Independence Day. It seems like a great time to celebrate what's great about Texas, doesn't it?

This year is an excellent chance to do just that, since the March 2 anniversary of the adoption of a declaration of independence falls on Saturday. Celebrations in Granbury, Gruene and Washington-on-the-Brazos offer a fun way to mark this historic occasion and show your Texas pride.

Love is in the air, even for historic courthouses

Written by | Published February 13, 2013

In an era of social media crushes and online dating, preservation groups are seizing on the romantic month of February to spread the love for a completely different kind of treasure: historic county courthouses.

Exploring new territory by canoe or kayak is different than other modes of travel. There’s a serenity to gliding quietly through the water, less likely to startle wildlife. And the perspective is unique, lower than hiking trails or roads.

Laissez les bons temps rouler, Texas style

Written by | Published February 1, 2013

Fat Tuesday isn't until Feb. 12, but why wait until then to let the good times roll? Mardi Gras events are popping up across Texas this weekend, complete with parades, costumes, and Cajun-style food and music. Festivities include:

With the recent reopening of the Hotel Settles in Big Spring, I couldn’t help but wonder about the viability of such a hotel in the remote West Texas town.

If you’ve driven through Big Spring in the past few weeks, you probably noticed the red neon Hotel Settles sign, shining like a beacon over the city and the surrounding West Texas plains.

The renovation of the Briscoe-Garner Museum in Uvalde hit a rough patch recently when a fire broke out in the historic home.

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