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Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 best bar patios to hit in May. Patios are a hot topic in town, especially this month, when the weather (mostly) cooperates to create a comfortable outdoor experience. But sometimes our patio desires don’t involve a desire to order a meal. Here are five of Fort Worth’s best bar patios to check out before the scorching summer arrives in June.

2. Shocking sudden closure leads this round of Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has much good news: ice cream in Southlake, ramen in Keller, salads in Denton, and pizza in the Near Southside. Sadly, there's a big closure and the clock is ticking. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

3. Bakery-cafe with sourdough bread and cookies soon to break in Fort Worth. A new sourdough bakery and café will soon rise in southwest Fort Worth: The Sour Boule – named for the round loaf of French-style crusty bread – is set to take over the former Busy B’s Bakery space at 3701 Southwest Blvd. The bakery is from Alexis Misner, who has been selling sourdough bread and cookies under the name "Misner Family Farms" at local farmers markets for the past year.

4. Toys R Us to open its first airport store at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Global toy store chain Toys R Us is opening its very first location in an airport, and guess which airport that is: our own Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)! Yay. According to a release, the store will open in Terminal A, and is slated to open in time for holiday season 2023.

5. Biggest winners and fieriest moments from the 58th ACM Awards in Dallas-Fort Worth. Dolly Parton sang rock 'n' roll, wheeled a goat on stage, and Facetime'd with Willie Nelson. The 58th annual Academy of Country Music Awards - held Thursday, May 11 at the Star in Frisco - were a wild and sometimes wacky celebration of country music in 2023.

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Biggest winners and fieriest moments from the 58th ACM Awards in Dallas-Fort Worth

ACM Awards recap

Dolly Parton sang rock 'n' roll, wheeled a goat on stage, and Facetime'd with Willie Nelson. The 58th annual Academy of Country Music Awards - held Thursday, May 11 at the Star in Frisco - were a wild and sometimes wacky celebration of country music in 2023.

There were tributes to Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth throughout the night, including Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott and Emmitt Smith presenting awards and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders waving their silver and blue pom-poms on the red (well, black) carpet. The Star in Frisco is, after all, the Cowboys' home turf.

Keith Urban opened the show with an rousing performance of “Texas Time,” which ended with him being raised into the air on a platform while shredding on his guitar. (Wife Nicole Kidman joined him at the event, in town for her own special gig as keynote speaker for Genesis Women's Shelter's fundraising luncheon in Dallas on Friday.)

Country music icon Dolly Parton teamed up with Garth Brooksas hosts of the two-hour show, which was streamed live and nearly commercial-free on Prime Video. Things got off to a bit of a weird start when he introduced her as the "G.O.A.T." and she then wheeled a real goat onstage (poor thing!) and cracked a joke about a threesome.

“I think I speak for everybody, not just in Texas but around the world, when I say we will always love you,” a blushing Brooks replied.

The show was as much concert as it is awards presentation. The star-studded lineup of performers and special collaborations included Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina on their (award-winning) hit "She Had Me At Heads Carolina - REMIX.” Karaoke lyrics displayed throughout the arena urged the audience to join in, whether they knew the song from back in Messina's day or Swindell's updated version.

In another "coming together" of generations, 2022 ACM Female Artist of the Year winner Carly Pearce and Trisha Yearwood (who won the award 25 years ago) performed a special medley of Yearwood’s hits, including “Wrong Side Of Memphis,” “XXX’s And OOO’s,” and “She’s In Love With The Boy."

English pop superstar Ed Sheeranperformed “Life Goes On” from his newly-released album “-” (Subtract) and surprised the crowd when he brought Luke Combs to the stage to join him.

Texas' own Miranda Lambert performed "Carousel,” a song she described as one of her favorite songs she has ever written. (A live version will be released on Amazon Music on May 16.)

New Female Artist of the Year winner Hailey Whitters made her ACM Awards stage debut with a performance of her fan-favorite song, “Everything She Ain’t.”

The War And Treaty mesmerized the crowd with a stripped-back performance of their song “Blank Page.”

Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson performed “Save Me” in a moment that highlighted Academy philanthropic partner ACM Lifting Lives. Also, Wilson electrified the stage a performance of “Grease,” making its TV debut.

Ashley McBryde, along with Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack, Pillbox Patti,and John Osborne, delivered an empowering performance of “Bonfire at Tina's” from McBryde's ACM Award-nominated album Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville.

It wasn't the only fiery performance.

As promised, Dolly Parton closed the show with one of her biggest performances to date with the world premiere of “World On Fire,” the lead single from her highly anticipated forthcoming rock album Rockstar. The over-the-top production included backup dancers, confetti, and lots of pyrotechnics.

But oh yes, there were awards given out, too. Chris Stapleton, Lainey Wilson, and Cole Swindell were among the night's biggest winners.

Below, a list of the big winners at the 58th ACM Awards. Scroll through the photos above to see some of the most memorable moments from the Texas-sized show.



MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Morgan Wallen (who was absent due to illness)

DUO OF THE YEAR: Brothers Osborne




ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Bell Bottom Country - Lainey Wilson, Jay Joyce, Broken Bow Records

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: She Had Me At Heads Carolina - Cole Swindell, Zach Crowell, Warner Music Nashville

SONG OF THE YEAR: She Had Me At Heads Carolina - Cole Swindell, Ashley Gorley, Cole Swindell, Jesse Frasure, Mark D. Sanders, Thomas Rhett, Tim Nichols

VISUAL MEDIA OF THE YEAR: wait in the truck - HARDY feat. Lainey Wilson



MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR: wait in the truck - HARDY feat. Lainey Wilson

ACM Awards Frisco

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Host and performer Dolly Parton brought more than a little fire all by herself.

Photo courtesy of ACM Awards

Ultimate Dallas-Fort Worth viewers' guide to the ACM Awards in Frisco

Country music party of the year

After months of anticipation, the "country music party of the year" is finally here - the 58th Academy of Country Music Awardsare happening tonight, Thursday, May 11, at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco.

All the stars have arrived, rehearsed, and some even started celebrating early with fans. Having a little FOMO already? There are actually tickets left, starting around $400 via SeatGeek.

Whether you're heading to Frisco to attend the big show in person or cracking a beer and watching from your own couch, here's a complete guide to the event. Cheers, y'all!

Where and when: The ACM Awards will take place at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, the practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys (address: 9 Cowboys Way, Frisco). The 2023 edition will mark a return to Texas for the first time since the landmark 50th ACM Awards, which took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2015.

Official festivities (those being broadcast on air) start at 6 pm with a Red Carpet. The Awards Show itself gets started at 7 pm.

Don't miss the chance to shop at the Dolly Parton pop-up store, which disappears after this week.

Getting there: No matter where you're coming from, allow plenty of time to get there. WFAA published this handy guide to traffic, rideshares, drop-off spots, and parking. One big tip, they report: "The City of Frisco is already warning about traffic. Officials said to avoid the area around The Star and Hall Park because of road closures in the area all day." Here are some preferred routes to take to The Star.

Watching live and watching later: The ACM Awards will be free to stream live exclusively on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch (it'll also stream for free the next day on Amazon Freevee). Amazon explains how to find and watch the show here. More tips on tuning in via Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and more streaming services here.)

For those more inclined to join via social media, you can follow the Academy of Country Music on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, join the conversation with #ACMawards.

Who's hosting the show: Country music icon Dolly Parton will grace the stage for the third time as host of the American Country Music Awards, and she's bringing along a newcomer: Garth Brooks. It's his first time to host and awards show. Although Parton will be closing the show with a performance of a song from her new rock album, Brooks is not expected to perform.

Who is performing: The show is as much concert as it is awards presentation. The star-studded lineup of performers includes: Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Cody Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Jo Dee Messina, Ashley McBryde, Dolly Parton, Jelly Roll, Cole Swindell, Keith Urban, The War And Treaty, Lainey Wilson, and Bailey Zimmerman.

Special collaborations include Carly Pearce and Trisha Yearwood; Ashley McBryde featuring Brandy Clark, Caylee Hammack, Pillbox Patti, and John Osborne; Cole Swindell and Jo Dee Messina; and solo performances by this year’s top nominee HARDY and ACM Male Artist of the Year nominee Jordan Davis.

English pop superstar Ed Sheeran also will make his ACMs debut onstage.

Who's not performing: Country music "bad boy" and reigning ACM Album of the Year winner Morgan Wallen had to cancel his appearances at the last minute due to illness. On Tuesday, May 9, Wallen posted to social media a video explaining that doctors had put him on vocal rest and he'd be canceling shows for six weeks - including his ACM-related appearances. Wallen had gotten top billing on "ACM Lifting Lives LIVE: Morgan Wallen & Friends," a fundraiser at Topgolf in The Colony on May 10. He had to cancel that performance, and Jason Aldean stepped in. He also will not be performing on the awards show.

Who's nominated: Who isn't nominated? A complete list of nominees is here. The superstars up for the biggest award of the night, Entertainer of the Year, are: Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, and Morgan Wallen. Best of luck to all!

CultureMap will have a recap of all the winners on Friday.

Photo courtesy of Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen replaced as headliner for big ACM Awards concert in North Texas

ACMs news

Morgan Wallen is out. Jason Aldean is in. That's the word on the headliner situation for "ACM Lifting Lives: LIVE concert" in The Colony on Wednesday, May 10.

Wallen had gotten top billing on "ACM Lifting Lives LIVE: Morgan Wallen & Friends," a fundraiser at Topgolf in The Colony benefiting Lifting Lives, the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music.

But on Tuesday, Wallen posted to social media a video explaining that doctors had put him on vocal rest and he'd be canceling shows for six weeks - including his ACM-related appearances.

The 58th Academy of Country Music Awards are taking place at The Star in Frisco on Thursday, May 11; Wallen also was to perform on the show.

According to Country Now, Aldean - reigning ACM Entertainer of the Decade - was tapped as a last-minute replacement for Wallen at the sold-out benefit concert the night before the big awards show. Other performers include ACM Songwriter of the Year HARDY, reigning ACM New Female Artist and Song of the Year winner Lainey Wilson, ERNEST, Bailey Zimmerman, and DJ 13lackbeard.

The concert will follow the Topgolf Tee-Off and Rock On Fundraiser, presented by VGT by Aristocrat Gaming, taking place earlier that day; the concert is ticketed separately from the golf tournament.

Just what does Lifting Lives do? According to a release, "in addition to distributing more than $4 million to date through its Covid Relief Fund, ACM Lifting Lives provides critical support through the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund, significant annual commitments to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Music Health Alliance, and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, and individual grants to organizations that reach communities all across America."

The ACM Awards will be free to stream live for a global audience across more than 240 countries and territories exclusively on Prime Video and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch (it'll also stream for free the next day on Amazon Freevee).The show gets started 6 pm Thursday, May 11 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. There are still a limited number of tickets remaining (starting around $400) via SeatGeek, organizers say.

The Awards are being preceded by "ACM Awards Week," an entire slate of prelude parties, including:

  • ACM Country Kickoff at The Star, a two-day music and entertainment festival which is open to the public, free to all fans, and does not require tickets - May 9-10.
  • ACM Songs & Stories Powered by The Bluebird Cafe + NSAI, a private industry celebration of the top songwriters of the past year
  • A Dolly Parton-branded pop-up shop

The 2023 edition of the Academy of Country Music Awards will mark a return to Texas for the first time since the landmark 50th ACM Awards, which took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2015.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Vin

Dallas-Fort Worth hot spots rack up 14 Texas Travel Awards - with one glaring omission

Award-winning attractions

Some of the best attractions in the state are in Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding areas, according to the 2023 Texas Travel Awards, which "shine a spotlight on the most exciting, innovative, and inviting places around the state."

The Texas Travel Awards were created by Austin Monthly, San Antonio Magazine, and Texas Music publishers, and the winners are decided by a panel of industry professional judges, travel journalists, and a musician. The awards are bestowed in "by population" categories (small, mid, or big market), as well as in statewide and people's choice categories.

In all, the Dallas-Fort Worth region won 14 accolades this year, which highlights just how positively travelers perceive the Metroplex. The winners of these prestigious awards - including spots in Arlington, Mansfield, Grapevine, Granbury, and even Mineral Wells - offer some of the most unique experiences in Texas for travelers.

However, there is one big and inexplicable oversight - Fort Worth itself was shut out entirely. No awards for Stockyards, Cultural District, festivals or other events. Makes one think the judges have never heard of the place.

Despite that malarkey, here's who did win across North Texas ....

The only Dallas attraction to win a best "by-population" award was the 561-foot-tall iconic Reunion Tower, in the category for the most Instagrammable "Big Market" Spot. (The storied Dallas landmark will surely draw even more Instagram attention now that it's home to a new restaurant.)

The remaining awards all fell to the 'burbs and two outlying cities.

The town of Grapevine took home three" by population" awards in this year's rankings, which is one more than last year's awards. For the second year in a row, Third Rail and MagnumSpeakeasy won Best "Mid Market" Live Music Venue and Best "Mid Market" Bar. Magnum opened in 2021 at the height of the speakeasy trend that took over Dallas-Fort Worth, as did Third Rail, and have been popular additions to the city's nightlife scene.

And what do they have in common? They're both conveniently located in the Best "Mid Market" Hotel: Hotel Vin, Autograph Collection. It is the only boutique hotel in Grapevine, mixing luxurious accommodations with classic Texan hospitality.

The city of Mansfield earned two accolades in this year's awards, after not gaining any in 2022. The "Love Your Vibe" mural won most Instagrammable "Mid Market" Spot, and Music Alley Music and Arts Festival won the title for Best "Mid Market" Music Festival or Event.

Arlington took home one award in the "by population" category for Best "Big Market" Food Festival or Event. The city's #SaveTheTacos Contest won the award, where several local restaurants add new, specially-made tacos to their menus and compete to become the city's favorite taco.

One up-and-coming city that earned one statewide award and two by population awards is Mineral Wells, located 50 miles west of Fort Worth. Mineral Wells' downtown area earned the statewide Best Revitalization award, while its visitor center won the Best "Small Market" Visitor Center. In the category for Best "Small Market" Under the Radar Activity, Mineral Wells Fossil Park was awarded that accolade.

For the second consecutive year, the Texas Travel Awards created People's Choice awards for the public to vote on the best destinations in four categories: arts and culture, families, foodies, and outdoor adventures. And Dallas-Fort Worth cities swept in the category, leaving other Texas cities in the dust.

Dallas was named the Best Destination for Arts and Culture, and Grapevine won the award for Best Destination for Families. The outlying southwestern city of Granbury, which is located less than 40 miles from Fort Worth, won Best Destination for Foodies, and Mineral Wells earned the title of Best Destination for Outdoor Adventures.

Elsewhere in Texas, the Hill Country city of New Braunfels just outside San Antonio took home 12 awards, the most out of any Texas city in this year's rankings.

The full list of winners in the 2023 Texas Travel Awards can be found on their website.
Photo courtesy of The Fitzgerald

Fort Worth's best chef, restaurant, burger, and more crowned at 2023 Tastemaker Awards

Meet the Tastemakers

The annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awardscame to Fort Worth for the second year, with a grand celebration to honor the city’s talented and hard-working culinary stars.

The winners were crowned at an awards ceremony and signature tasting event on Thursday, April 27 at the 4 Eleven venue on South Main, emceed by chef Jon Bonnell and benefiting Cuisine for Healing.

For weeks leading up to the event, we published a special editorial series that highlighted nominees in eight categories. A panel of expert judges helped select all of the winners, except for Best New Restaurant. That was determined by you, our readers, in a bracket-style tournament.

New this year: The Tastemaker Awards event featured a Burger Throwdown where attendees had the opportunity to taste and vote for their favorite slider. The Best Burger category was sponsored by Goodstock by Nolan Ryan, which also supplied the meat for the Burger Throwdown.

Now, without further delay, let's raise a glass to the 2023 Fort Worth Tastemaker Award winners:

Best New Restaurant: Calisience
The Calisience food truck was a smash hit when it debuted in 2020, gaining a following for its signature birria tacos, served with a side of beef broth consommé. Owner Jacqueline Anaya opened a brick-and-mortar location on Race Street in 2022. Hours are still limited as she awaits a liquor license, but the shop does steady business from folks hungry for her crispy grilled tacos and signature birria ramen.

Chef of the Year: Juan Ramón Cárdenas - Don Artemio
Juan Ramon Cárdenas is credited as the concept creator and founder of Don Artemio, which continues to hover in the national spotlight thanks to a nod by the James Beard Foundation Awards. The upscale Mexican restaurant on West Seventh Street is one of 10 finalists for Best New Restaurants in the country. A native of Coahuila, Cardenas has a business degree but grew up with restaurateur parents, which fueled his desire to become a chef. His culinary ventures have taken him around the world, from Chicago to Berlin. At Don Artemio, which opened last year, diners take a journey deep into Mexico through cuisine and atmosphere. Dishes like the crispy fried cactus and Chilean sea bass in black mole add to the adventure.

Photo by Nancy Farrar

Oysters from The Fitzgerald, Restaurant of the Year.

Restaurant of the Year: Fitzgerald
West Fort Worth was craving something fancy – both in cuisine and atmosphere – when Fitzgerald opened in 2022 on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Not since Café Aspen (once located in the same space) had a Ridglea-area restaurant generated such buzz from longtime locals. Chef Ben Merritt eventually closed his first endeavor, Fixture, in the Near Southside, to give full attention to Fitzgerald. The restaurant focuses on Gulf Coast-style seafood with influence from the Crescent City: New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp served with crusty French bread, seafood gumbo with oysters and crawfish tails, and more. But don’t sleep on the Mexican-style redfish or ribeye steak. Sunday brunch with crab cake Benedict, shrimp and grits, and crawfish omelets add to the French Quarter vibes.

Bar of the Year: Birdie's Social Club
Birdie’s debuted with a bang late last summer for its cheery open-air concept with pastel-painted patio furniture and Palms Springs vibes. It took over the former Lola’s space between 5th and 6th streets and draws mostly a young crowd for live music, game-watching, and picture-perfect cocktails served in pretty glassware. Try the Western Breeze made with TX Whiskey, strawberry puree, and pink lemonade. There’s also a recently updated food menu of tacos, nachos, quesadillas, queso, and kids’ items. Also new to Birdie’s is Bourbon & Shine, a Western-outfitted cocktail lounge hidden on site, which opened in March with darts, pool, and a back patio.

Best Burger: Dayne's Craft Barbecue
Dayne Weaver’s elusive OG Burger is available from his barbecue trailer as a special only on Thursdays and Fridays, and word is that they can sell out by lunchtime. Comprised of two juicy patties made from a mix of ground beef and brisket trimmings, the smoky smashburger draws legions of fans for its cheesy, heavenly goodness. Because of its limited supply, the burger has achieved legendary status. Look for it to be a daily menu offering once Dayne’s opens its brick-and-mortar location in the up-and-coming Westland area on Camp Bowie West.

Best Brewery: Martin House Brewing Company
The creative minds at this tenured Fort Worth brewery, which just celebrated a decade in business, go wild with imaginative (and sometimes really “out there”) limited edition beer flavors like ice cream with pistachios, barbecue sauce, and soon, mayonnaise beer, set to be launched with a party on Cinco de Mayo. But silly savors aside, Martin House is one of Fort Worth’s most esteemed breweries for its longstanding, easy-drinking favorites like The Salty Lady Gose and Toadies Texas Bock; its weekend, festival-style parties right on the Trinity River; and the friendly nature of its staff. Don’t miss House’s Best Maid Pickle Beer, now a staple in Fort Worth.

Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Cafe Bella
Open since 2000 in the hidden Westcliff Shopping Center, Café Bella is the Cheers of several nearby neighborhoods, from Bluebonnet Hills to Tanglewood. Except at this place “where everybody knows your name,” it’s up to you to BYOB. Perhaps that’s part of the draw, along with the unpretentious classic Italian dishes served at affordable prices, like chicken piccata, fettucine alfredo, and baked lasagna. The interior is also inviting, with faux floral hanging from the ceiling along with preset glassware and folded napkins. Also inviting is the owner, Eli Golemi, who’s gained a loyal following not only for her comforting dishes but for her gracious personality – like that of a best friend.

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Angel Fuentes - Guapo Taco
The Monterrey, Mexico native left his computer programming gig at an early age to embark on a restaurant career, eventually serving as managing partner and chef of Mariachi’s Dine-In in a Riverside gas station. Word spread via social media, and the taqueria quickly gained a loyal following for its discreet location and picture-perfect tacos. That was 2018, but by 2021 the restaurant moved to bigger digs on the west side of town. Fuentes stayed put in that space where he opened Guapo Taco, using his creativity to expand on the menu, which features birria tacos, burritos, tortas, beef cheek barbacoa, and the popular chile chicken posole soup that comes in red or green.

Winner of the onsite Burger Throwdown: Omni Fort Worth Hotel

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Standing ovation for the 11 can't-miss arts events of summer 2023 in Dallas-Fort Worth

Summer arts planner

Arts calendars usually have more blank spaces throughout the summer. Musicians play festivals in far-flung places (or take much-needed vacations), museums focus on family-friendly camps and programs to entertain kiddos, and most performing arts organizations gear up for their season debuts in the fall. But this summer, one of the most highly anticipated art events of the year kicks off mid-July. Also, a local museum hops on the biggest concert tour of the year; the best teenage pianists on the planet compete note-for-note; and pop-up concerts and dance festivals remind us that great performances can be staged anywhere.

Here are the 11 can't-miss arts events of summer 2023 in Dallas-Fort Worth. (Find even more arts events, including touring musicals and gallery offerings, in the calendar on our site).

Visual Arts
Note: Several DFW museums currently are showing big exhibitions that will remain open into the summer. Find out more about a few of them here.

Meow Wolf: The Real Unreal
Opening July 14 at Grapevine Mills

The buzziest art event of the summer is Meow Wolf, an immersive experience that's been a sensation since it opened in Santa Fe. The first Texas edition (or "portal," as they call it), dubbed "The Real Unreal," promises to take guests on a journey through a Technicolor wonderland that blends more than 30 rooms' worth of storytelling, technology, and immersive art - much of it created by local artists. (Read more about what to expect in this story.) In addition to the exhibition, The Real Unreal will also include a cafe featuring 15 food purveyors, retail store, and venue for live events. Meow Wolf will be open at 10 am daily beginning July 14. (Hours may vary.) Tickets are now available for pre-purchase starting at $50 for general admission ($45 for children). Pre-booking a time slot for entry is required.

"Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour Collection"
June 3-September 24 at Arlington Museum of Art
Fresh off her sold-out three-night "Eras Tour" stand at AT&T Stadium this spring, the nearby Arlington Museum of Art dedicates an entire summer exhibition to Taylor Swift. In collaboration with the HELP Center for LGBT Health & Wellness, "Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour Collection" will feature items from Swift’s private collection. Visitors will be able to experience her journey as an artist and view outfits, photographs, and concert videos from the “eras” of her life and career. Highlights of the collection are eight iconic costumes from four of Swift’s albums. Tickets run $5-$20.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the museum also will present "Girl in a Country Song: Women of Country Music," featuring intimate portraits of such female country music legends as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Tanya Tucker, LeAnn Rimes, and others. They'll also open "Hometown Harmonies," which includes personal memorabilia from three women whose musical careers began on the stages of Arlington: Mickey Guyton, Kirstin Maldonado, and Maren Morris.

Classical Music

Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition
June 8-17 at SMU's Caruth Auditorium and the Meyerson Symphony Center
The Cliburn will present the third Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, featuring 24 of the best 13- to 17-year-old pianists on the planet. Through four rounds of competition, including a final round with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the elite young artists will showcase their virtuosity and musicality. Preliminary, Quarterfinal, and Semifinal Round performances (solo recitals) will take place at Caruth Auditorium. The Final Round concert moves to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, where three finalists will play a full concerto with the DSO, conducted by Valentina Peleggi. Admission is free-$25 for preliminary rounds; $38-$98 for final round. The entire event will be webcast here.

Outdoor symphonic concerts (ongoing)
Summer symphonic concerts lighten up a bit, with more pop-style fare in fun outdoor settings. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's annual Concerts in the Garden series at Fort Worth Botanic Garden runs on weekends through June 11, and each performance ends with a new sparkly extra, a drone show. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents a series of Parks Concerts, which are family-friendly, free, and staged at parks across the city. Remaining performances are June 1 at Exall Park; June 6 at Campbell Green Park; June 8 at Kidd Springs Park; and June 13 at Paul Quinn College. The DSO's popular Concert Truck is also zipping around town, presenting free pop-up concerts in more than 30 locations through June 11.

Meow Wolf Grapevine lobby
Courtesy of Meow Wolf

Rendering of the Meow Wolf Grapevine lobby, coming July 14.

Mimir Chamber Music Festival
July 5-14
at TCU and Kimbell Art Museum
While the big chamber music presenters prep for their fall seasons, summer chamber music cravings are fulfilled by this renowned festival, now in its 26th year. Acclaimed professional musicians are joined by emerging artists for a series of concerts that span more than a week. Among the big names joining the roster this year are Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa, two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills, and the rare billing of both Canadian pianist Lucille Chung and her husband, DFW fan-favorite pianist Alessio Bax. More information is here, and tickets will go on sale in June.


Titas/Unbound presents Ballet BC
June 9 at Winspear Opera House
Bold, innovative and uniquely great, Ballet British Columbia is an internationally acclaimed Canadian contemporary dance company. It is rare to find a company where just everything works; vision, dancers, repertory, say press materials. The program includes Crystal Pite’s The Statement, as well as Garden by Medhi Walerski and Bedroom Folk by Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar. Tickets are $12-$135.

Ballet Concerto: Summer Dance Concert
June 22-25 at The Shops at Clearfork
Now, remarkably, in its 41st year, the annual summer showcase isn't slowing down. Three ballets are planned for each night of performances. Spanish dance king Luis Montero will return to restage his Andalusian Suite, which was world premiered at Ballet Concerto’s 1997 Summer Dance Concert. The programs will also Irish Suite with choreography by Dennis Spaight (restaged by Associate Artistic Director Webster Dean) and Dream On with choreography by Elise Lavallee. Performances begin at 8:30 pm and are free to attend on the lawn, or $75 and up for reserved table seating. Make a night of it by pre-ordering food from nearby Rise or B&B Butchers and pick it up at the event tent on the lawn. More information here.

Modern Dance Festival at The Modern
July 22-23, 29-30 at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Presented by Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the 17th edition of the festival will celebrate the exhibition Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting and CD/FW’s “Thirty-Something” anniversary. A series of live performances of dance and music will be inspired by the exhibition and dedicated to the memory of Jerry Bywaters Cochran, who founded the modern dance program at TCU and was a pioneer for modern dance in North Texas. Performances take place at 2 pm in the Grand Lobby and are free to watch.


Next to Normal
June 1-July 2 at Theatre Three
The Goodman family is just a “normal” family: Dad's an architect, mom packs lunches and makes birthday cakes, and their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens. Under the surface, their family is anything but. Next to Normal is an emotionally charged Tony-Award winning musical that explores a family’s raw and emotional journey with a mother struggling with chronic bipolar disorder as they navigate a world of therapists and medication. Tickets are $37-$40.

Miss Saigon with Lou Diamond Phillips
June 3-11 at Casa Manana
A tragedy of passion and beauty, Miss Saigon is one of the most stunning theatrical spectacles of all time. The musical takes audiences on emotional journey. In the turmoil of the Vietnam War, Chris, an American soldier, and Kim, a Vietnamese girl, fall in love and marry but are distressingly separated when Saigon falls. As years pass, Chris remarries and attempts to move on with his life. Kim, however, gives birth to Chris’ son and waits faithfully for Chris’ return. When circumstances bring Chris back to Vietnam, he learns the truth. (This show is suitable for mature audiences.) Legendary actor Lou Diamond Phillips returns to Texas to star as The Engineer. Tickets start at $59.

Uptown Players presents Chicken & Biscuits
July 28-Aug 13 at Kalita Humphreys Theater
Written by Douglas Lyons, Chicken & Biscuits follows rivaling sisters, Baneatta and Beverly, as they try to bury their father without killing each other. This proves difficult, when Beverly shows up to the chapel with all her “blessings” on display. Baneatta’s husband tries to mediate the family drama while preparing Bernard’s eulogy. Baneatta’s son intentionally brings his neurotic white Jewish boyfriend along, knowing Baneatta disapproves. All while Beverly’s nosy daughter keeps asking questions no one wants to answer. But when a family secret reveals itself at the altar, the two sisters are faced with a truth that could either heal, or break them. The show recently had a run on Broadway and now closes Uptown Players' season. Tickets are $35-$60.

These are the 14 best things to do in Fort Worth this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

This weekend in and around Fort Worth can almost be broken down into three categories. Theater leads the way, with three new local productions and a festival. Music comes next, with outdoor concerts, classical music, rock, country, and more. Last but not least are art openings, including two music-related ones and one dedicated to a mid-century master.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, June 1

Amphibian Stage presents SparkFest
Amphibian Stages' SparkFest features a variety of events, workshops, performances, staged readings, and parties over a two-week period. The first weekend kicks off on Thursday with Light Up the Runway, a fashion event, and will be followed by a book lecture, dance performance, storytelling event, and staged reading. Events will take place near daily through June 14 at Amphibian Stage and other locations.

Circle Theatre presents Tiny Beautiful Things
A celebration of the simple beauty of being human, Tiny Beautiful Things is a funny, deeply touching, and uplifting play that is an exploration of resilience, based on Cheryl Strayed’s journey as the beloved anonymous advice columnist for “Dear Sugar.” Over the years, thousands of people turned to “Sugar” for words of wisdom, compassion, and hope. Reluctant to claim that she has all the answers, Sugar looks to her own past and draws on her life experiences to bring light, laughter, and humanity to others. The production runs through June 17 at Circle Theatre.

Historic Downtown Isis Theatre presents Greater Tuna
Greater Tuna is a show about the fictional town of Tuna, the "third smallest" town in the state of Texas, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal, and Patsy Cline never dies. Written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard, the play is an affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life, and attitudes, but also a withering satire of same. There will be six performances through June 10 at Downtown Cowtown at the Isis.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents Concerts In The Garden
The second weekend of Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's Concerts in the Garden series will feature four concerts at Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Thursday's concert will be Preservation Hall Jazz Band, performing their brand New Orleans music, followed by Radio Highway Performs the Music of the Eagles on Friday. Saturday is Chicago Nights, featuring Jason Scheff, the long-time lead vocalist for Chicago. The weekend comes to a close with Classical Mystery Tour on Sunday, which features more than two dozen Beatles tunes transcribed note-for-note and performed exactly as they were originally recorded. All concerts will be followed by a drone show.

Friday, June 2

Magnolia at the Modern: The Lost King
In this inspiring true story, amateur historian Philippa Langley believes she has made the archeological find of the century: the lost burial site of King Richard III. She takes on Britain's most eminent historians, forcing them to rethink the legacy of one of the most controversial rulers in English history. The film will screen six times through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents An Evening of Kodály, Mozart, and Brahms
Principal Guest Conductor Kevin John Edusei will conduct this special one-night-only concert, the orchestra’s final performance in Bass Performance Hall for the 2022-2023 season, featuring bassoonist Joshua Elmore. Selections will include Kodály's Peacock Variations, Mozart's Bassoon Concerto, and Brahms' Symphony No. 4.

Improv Arlington presents D.L. Hughley
Known for being politically savvy in true comedian-style, D.L. Hughley dives head first into hot-button controversial topics with insightfully sharp observations and his signature rapid-fire jokes. He is known for his sitcom, The Hughleys, as host of his own late night talk show on CNN, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, and as one of the Original Kings of Comedy. He'll perform seven times through Sunday at Improv Arlington.

Rhett Miller in concert
Singer Rhett Miller has a lot of love around Dallas-Fort Worth, both from being the lead singer of Old 97's and from his solo work. Since 2002, he's essentially alternated between the two, releasing eight solo albums - most recently 2022's The Misfit - while still putting out a variety of albums with the Old 97's. He'll play solo at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Kody West in concert
Country singer Kody West is one of the latest in a long line of musicians to come out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Hailing originally from Denton, he gained a loyal following with his 2017 debut album, Green, which led to him serving as the supporting act for artists like Charlie Robison, Whiskey Myers, and Koe Wetzel. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of his 2022 album, Circles.

Saturday, June 3

Arlington Museum of Art openings
Even though it's an art museum, music will be the centerpiece of two new exhibitions at the Arlington Museum of Art. Piggybacking on the recent visit by superstar Taylor Swift, they'll host Taylor Swift: "The Eras Tour Collection," curated by the museum from Swift’s own private collection and featuring original costumes, photographs, and concert videos drawn from her creative periods, or "eras." Also opening is "Girl in a Country Song: Women of Country Music," featuring intimate portraits of female country music legends like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Tanya Tucker, LeAnn Rimes, and others. Both exhibitions will be on display through September 24.

Casa Mañana presents Miss Saigon
In the turmoil of the Vietnam War, Chris, an American soldier, and Kim, a Vietnamese girl, fall in love and marry but are distressingly separated when Saigon falls. As years pass, Chris, remarries and attempts to move on with his life. Kim, however, gives birth to Chris’ son and waits faithfully for Chris’ return. When circumstances bring Chris back to Vietnam, he learns the truth. Miss Saigon is an epic, daring musical that is universal in its emotional power. With legendary actor Lou Diamond Phillips starring as The Engineer, the production runs through June 11 at Casa Mañana Theatre.

Creed Fisher in concert
Country singer Creed Fisher fancies himself a bit of an antihero, with his latest album - 2022's Rebel of the South - featuring a dose of unapologetic poking at the hornet’s nest that he calls "the mainstream country music hypocrisy." The country rock record is Fisher's fifth of his career, one where he's finally saying all the things he wanted to say earlier in his career. He'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Shenandoah in concert
Fueled by Marty Raybon’s distinctive vocals and the band’s skilled musicianship, Shenandoah became well known for delivering such hits as “Two Dozen Roses,” “Church on Cumberland Road,” and “Next to You, Next to Me,” as well as such achingly beautiful classics as “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the Grammy-winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” duet with Alison Krauss. They'll play at Billy Bob's Texas.

Sunday, June 4

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents Robert Motherwell: "Pure Painting" opening day
Robert Motherwell: "Pure Painting" will be the first presentation in more than a quarter century to fully examine the mastery of Motherwell, a major figure who shaped postwar art. Organized by guest curator Susan Davidson, the exhibition will feature a selection of visually compelling works chosen from throughout the artist’s lengthy and influential career, highlighting the subsequent key series that defined his oeuvre, offering new insights into his evolution as an artist. The exhibition will be on display through September 17.

Lou Diamond Phillips in  Miss Saigon
Photo courtesy of Casa Mañana

Casa Mañana presents Miss Saigon, featuring Lou Diamond Phillips, June 3-11.