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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 bars with reverse happy hours. A term that’s beginning to build momentum, “reverse happy hour” refers to a late-night version of the typical happy hour discounts on drinks and bar food. Here are five top Fort Worth go-to’s for the burgeoning reverse happy hour — because saving money will always bring happiness, no matter what time of day.

2. Academy of Country Music Awards return to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2023 show. The next Academy of Country Music Awards will take place at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco on May 11, 2023. 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.

3. Big BBQ switchup tops this roundup of Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of Fort Worth dining news has plenty of big news: big openings in the world of BBQ, desserts, and top chefs. There's also new menus and new lunch at an award-winning pizzeria. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

4. These are the 7 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week. There’ll have been multiple ways to escape (at least mentally) this week, and they continue into the weekend. Pretend to be on the beaches of Mexico at one of two National Tequila Day celebrations, for instance.

5. 5 postcard-worthy family getaways from Fort Worth on one tank of gas. High gas prices, expensive airfare, airport headaches, and pricey car rental fees make travel planning a little more difficult this summer. But a postcard-worthy family vacation is just one gas tank away thanks to picturesque resorts and parks located within a short road trip from Fort Worth.

Happy hour takes place Friday and Saturday nights at Thirsty Lion.

Facebook/Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Happy hour takes place Friday and Saturday nights at Thirsty Lion.
Facebook/Thirsty Lion Gastropub

Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 best bars with reverse happy hours

Where to drink

A term that’s beginning to build momentum, “reverse happy hour” refers to a late-night version of the typical happy hour discounts on drinks and bar food. As the workforce becomes more flexible and steers away from a typical 9-to-5 schedule, more restaurants and bars are adding after-dark deals. Most reverse happy hours happen during the week and typically begin around 9 pm. Others might land on a weekend or even carry over from the early afternoon specials. Here are five top Fort Worth go-to’s for the burgeoning reverse happy hour — because saving money will always bring happiness, no matter what time of day.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
The family-friendly chain stays busy after dark, especially Sunday through Thursday, from 9-11 pm, during reverse happy hour. Specials include $3 domestic bottled beer, $3 chips and dips, $5 BJ’s signature beers and select wines by the glass, and $6 margaritas, select spirits, and select appetizers. (Faves include deep-fried chicken pot stickers.) Mini deep-dish pizzas are also half-off. There are four BJ’s locations in Tarrant County, all situated in busy shopping districts near Hulen Mall, Northeast Mall, Alliance Town Center, and Arlington Highlands. Important note: the specials are only available in the bar and patio area. Also good to know ahead of fall sports watch parties, the specials are available during all pro football games.

Game Theory Restaurant + Bar
Fuel up for a little friendly competition at this hot spot for board games (more than 500 of them) and gastropub-style food and drink. Located on South Main Street, Game Theory offers late-night happy hour Monday through Thursday from 9-11 pm. Patrons can choose from several $5 craft cocktails, including favorites like the Brown Derby, shaken with bourbon, orange juice, and house-made honey syrup; and the tropical Blue Hawaiian, which combines vodka, coconut rum, and Blue Curacao. Highlights from the happy hour food menu include $6 rosemary truffle fries, $6.50 crispy Brussels sprouts with sweet Thai glaze, $8 barbecue chicken flatbread, and $8 Cajun lump crab dip. Eat, drink, and get your game on.

Lazy Dog
This late-night happy hour is for the dogs, literally. Canine friends are always welcome on the patio at Lazy Dog, which has locations in Euless and Arlington and features actual menu items for furry friends. The reverse happy hour here — offered Sunday through Thursday — runs later than most establishments, lasting from 9 pm until midnight. Among the many specials are select $3 domestic drafts, $4 well drinks and select wines, and $6 Orange Tang margaritas and Pink Lemon Drop martinis. Or, try the house beer tasting flight for only $6 or share a pitcher of house-made sangria for $15. Diners can stay well-fed with more than 21 happy hour dishes, too, including street corn fries, chicken lettuce wraps, and Buffalo chicken nuggets, each $6, and wok-fried calamari and chipotle chicken quesadillas for $7. Need a late-night pick-me-up? Stay perky with a $7 coffee martini.

The Lazy Moose
This lodge-like West Magnolia Avenue bar is not stingy with its weeknight happy hour, which lasts from 4 pm all the way until 11 pm, Tuesday through Thursday. Patrons can find deals like $2 off all draft beer, $5 premium wells and margaritas, and $6 house wine and house-made sangria. Nosh on Lazy Nachos piled with house-made tortilla chips for $7, loaded cheese fries for $7.50, and fried dill pickle spears for $6.50. With happy hour lasting much more than an hour here, pass the time with a game of pool or shuffleboard or grab a booth and get cozy.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Most happy hours, whether early or late, skip the weekend. But not at this American gastropub chain. Here, reverse happy hour is only on Friday and Saturday nights, available from 9:30-11:30 pm. Folks get $1 off all draft pints and can choose from classic cocktails ranging from $7.95 to $9.95. (Think Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned, and the Mojito.) Late-night bites range from garlic sesame edamame and Caesar salad for $6.95 to grilled salmon cakes and bacon-wrapped barbecue prawns for $8.95. Located in Euless’ Glade Parks development, the lively restaurant draws crowds for its big screens, big portions, and massive menu.

Happy hour takes place Friday and Saturday nights at Thirsty Lion.

Facebook/Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Happy hour takes place Friday and Saturday nights at Thirsty Lion.
Photo courtesy of Trinity College Irish Pub

Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 8 hottest happy hours for June

Where to drink

Like sweltering summer temperatures, prices for everything are on the rise. Thank goodness for happy hour deals, which make dining and imbibing a little more affordable, which means more fun, too. Cheers to these eight current Fort Worth deals on drinks and eats during happy hour — possibly the happiest (and cheapest) time of day.

Blue Mesa Grill
Fill up on $2 tacos and wash them down with $5 large blue margaritas during happy hour at this favorite for Southwestern and New Mexican cuisine. The covered patio is kept cool with misters and fans or find an air-conditioned spot in the spacious bar area. The happy hour taco menu includes ground beef-chorizo, grilled chicken, red hot chicken, and pulled barbecue pork. Drink specials also include $5 mojitos and house wines. Visit Tuesday through Friday from 3-6:30 pm.

Trinity College Irish Pub & Beer Garden
The specials go on and on at this Ireland native-owned pub and grill near West 7th Street, where a tented patio provides respite from the sun’s rays and there is plenty of table seating inside. Happy hour here is Monday through Friday from 3-7 pm and features Shiner Bock and Manhattan Project Irish Red pints for $4.50 and Irish Mule craft cocktails for $6. Also on the drink menu are $5 house wines and Irish car bombs. Don’t miss the drunken mussels ($6 for a half-pound), which are steamed in creamy beer broth and served with toasted garlic crostini. Other stand-out happy hour dishes (all only $6) include the corned beef and cabbage rolls, Irish nachos, and spicy cheese curds. Even more, fish & chips are buy-one-get-one with the purchase of two drinks on Mondays, and whiskeys over $12 are half-off on Wednesdays.

The Bearded Lady
The funky South Main restaurant is worth an afternoon hang for well-crafted cocktails at budget-friendly prices. The Bearded Rita, shaken with fresh lemon and lime juice and topped with a splash of club soda, is only $5. So is the popular Southside Mule and the Orange Highball made with whiskey and ginger beer. Local craft beer fans will appreciate the lengthy list of cans on special for $3.50. Also local are the ingredients in the Best Maid Martin House beer-infused dill queso with house-made kettle chips and the Best Maid Salty Lady fried pickles with homemade ranch, both on the happy hour bites menu for $6 each. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3-6 pm.

Buffalo Bros.
The frugal feast well at this TCU hangout that’s popular for pizza, wings, and beer. There’s also a sprawling location in Sundance Square, and both always broadcast every major live sporting event on multiple TVs. Domestic draft beers here are super cheap during happy hour — only $2.50 for Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite on weekdays from 3-6 pm. Even more, well liquors are only $3. Stay nourished with 75-cent boneless wings in any flavor (try the Cajun or garlic parmesan) and half-price pizza by the slice.

Grace
The sophisticated downtown fine dining establishment is where folks go to get fancy, but that doesn’t mean the bill has to be through the roof. Visit Grace’s chic bar area and patio during “bubble hour,” when all wines that sparkle and fizz are sold for half-price — both by the bottle and the glass. This means Italian prosecco can be as low as $3.50 a flute, and bottles are as inexpensive as $13.50. Bubble hour is from 4-6 pm every day of the week. Don’t miss chef Blaine Staniford’s chorizo-stuffed dates ($12) or the house-ground tenderloin burger with fries for only $16.

Cru Food & Wine Bar
Relax and “un-wine” at this modern but approachable Clearfork wine bar, where happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 pm. Get $3 off all wines by the glass or wine flights, and pair them with fancy happy hour dishes like ahi tuna tartare, margherita pizza, and steamed Prince Edward mussels, all only $8 each. Don’t miss Pizza Mondays when customers can get a free pizza with the purchase of any wine bottle, or Champagne Social on Thursdays when every bottle of champagne is half-off after 4 pm.

Branch & Bird
Take happy hour to new heights at this sky-high downtown bar and restaurant. Branch & Bird is located on the 12th floor of the Frost Tower, where skyline views are paired with good deals on cocktails and bites. Grab a table on the breezy terrace for High-Rise Happy Hour, held Tuesday-Friday from 4-6 pm. Margaritas and the day’s featured cocktail are only $5, domestic beers are $3, and all cocktails with house liquors are $6. Or get a glass of happy hour wine for $5. Happy hour bites range from savory spiced peanuts for $3 to Buffalo chicken flatbread for $10. On Wednesdays there’s live music from 5-8 pm, along with half-priced bottles of wine.

The Post at River East
Every day features a different, budget-friendly drink special at this Race Street bar, restaurant, and live music venue. Here’s the lineup: Lone Star beers are $2 on Tuesdays; house wines and house-made sangrias are $5 on Wednesdays; classic cocktails (think gin Fitzgerald, French 75, and old fashioned) are $5 on Thursdays; craft beer cans are $5 on Fridays; and brunch cocktails including mimosas, bloody Marys, and micheladas are only $3 on Saturdays and Sundays. Enjoy live music in the open-air courtyard with patio seating under umbrellas, or sit inside the Trinity Room where live shows are held. All drink specials run all day long.

Fish & chips are buy-one-get-one with the purchase of two drinks on Mondays at Trinity College Irish Pub.

Photo courtesy of Trinity College Irish Pub
Fish & chips are buy-one-get-one with the purchase of two drinks on Mondays at Trinity College Irish Pub.
Photo by recep-bg/Getty Images

Texas pops the cork on study of biggest virtual partiers during COVID-19 shutdown

Cheers, Y'all

If your social calendar suddenly swelled during the pandemic, you're not alone. Virtual happy hours have suddenly become the way to relax and connect with friends — especially in Texas.

A recent study from lifestyle website Improb.com has crowned us one of the nation's virtual party hot spots, with Texans attending an average of four online parties a week during lockdown.

Not only that, but the data reveals we knock back about four drinks per party. Nearly half (48 percent) said they're regularly cheers'ing with beer, while 31 percent prefer wine, 13 percent drink spirits, and 8 percent are mixing up cocktails. Overall, one in 10 of the participants admitted to experiencing more hangovers during lockdown than before it started.

People apparently miss their coworkers too, with one in 10 surveyed attending online drinks hosted by their employers.

The website surveyed 3,100 Americans who are sheltering in place across the country to get its results.

The least sociable states include Louisiana, Maine, and Oregon, who only party virtually two days per week. And the most sociable? Arkansas and Washington, whose residents are raising a glass six days a week. You've got to have at least one day to recover, after all.

Photo courtesy of RadioShack

RadioShack reboot powers this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This Week's Hot Headlines

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.

1. Fort Worth-based RadioShack powers back up with futuristic new store. Like a robotic phoenix rising from the ashes, RadioShack is back. The Fort Worth-based electronics store that was so popular in the ’70s and ’80s but faded in recent years has returned, opening a new store at 121 Rufe Snow Dr. in the Keller Town Center.

2. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 hottest happy hours for August. Discounted drinks and eats rarely put folks in a bad mood. That’s why happy hour is a win-win for both bars and patrons. Here are five hot places, both tenured and new, to belly up for not only great specials but a great scene.

3. Top fall social events every arts-loving young professional in Fort Worth should attend. The future of Fort Worth arts is in good hands, if the energy surrounding young professional groups is any indication. This fall is full of events tailored to up-and-coming young arts patrons whose passions range from '80s movie soundtracks to contemporary art. Save the date for these essential arts-focused YP parties.

4. New Asian restaurant in Grapevine hits trendiest Southeast cuisines. Grapevine lucks out with a cool new Asian restaurant that combines a variety of cuisines. Called Sabai Sabai Southeast Asian Kitchen, it's at 2350 Hall-Johnson Rd., where it opened in early August.

5. New Fort Worth theater co. has passion for tall drinks and taller tales. Raise a glass to the new kid in town: Taphouse Theatre is gearing up for its first production, a site-specific staging of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream that's set in a bar. Taphouse declares its mission to be "an immersive theatre company designed to empower local artists, promote local businesses, and build community through storytelling."

The Shack is back.

Photo courtesy of RadioShack
The Shack is back.
Photo courtesy of Heim

Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 hottest happy hours for August

Where to Drink

Discounted drinks and eats rarely put folks in a bad mood. That’s why happy hour is a win-win for both bars and patrons; customers are lured into establishments they might not normally visit during what would otherwise be slower service times. In return, imbibers get good deals, and might even sit and stay for a while. Here are five hot places, both tenured and new, to belly up for not only great specials but a great scene.

Heim Barbecue
Barbecue pairs well with more than just cold beer. At Heim Barbecue’s sprawling River District location on White Settlement Road, patrons can cool off with $6 happy hour cocktail specials Tuesday through Friday, 4-6 pm. On the menu is the iced Georgia peach mule shaken with peach vodka and served in a copper mug. There are also two frozen concoctions swirled by machine — the Frosé All Day frozen rose and vodka-spiked frozen lemonade. House Chardonnay and cab are $4, and so are select schooners of beer, including the normally pricey Shiner Bock and Modelo Especial. Toast even longer on Tuesdays, when wine bottles are half-off from 3 pm to close. There’s plenty of room here to spread out and stretch the legs, both inside amid the cool air conditioning or out on the shady patio, which is dotted with turquoise Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, and ceiling fans. Look for Heim’s outdoor beer garden to open soon.

The Post at River East
From the folks behind The Live Oak, the popular but short-lived live music venue on Magnolia Avenue, comes The Post at River East — just a few weeks old in a circa-1940s post office at 2925 Race St. With daily live music, from acoustic guitarists and jazz artists to big name acts like Josh Weathers and Luke Wade, the venue is quickly becoming a destination for drinks and, just this week, a full restaurant menu. Happy hour here runs every day, 4-7 pm. That’s when patrons can get $3 well drinks and $3 pints of Lone Star Beer, as well as Texas-made spirits with their favorite mixer for $1 off. Expect an open-air, pet-friendly courtyard — where there’s plenty of shade by late afternoon — along with a 2,000-square-foot indoor listening room for ticketed performances by regional and national singer-songwriters after dark.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
Through the end of this month, happy hour happens twice a day, every day, at this European-inspired gastropub, located in Euless’ bustling Glade Parks development (with another location at Toyota Music Factory in Irving). From 3-6 pm "social hour" and 9:30 pm to close, guests can partake in $5.95 well drinks, house wines, and margaritas, along with $1 off all pints of draft beer. But here’s when “happy hour” gets even hotter: anytime the mercury hits 95 degrees or above (a daily occurrence right now), house margaritas and Moscow mules are half-off. The fresh-squeezed margarita comes with grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime juices, and a splash of agave nectar. Ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka make up the classic Moscow mule. The loud and lively bar, with its high ceilings, dark wood furniture, brick walls, and mix of booths and tables, gets busy during any big sporting event thanks to dozens of TVs.

Punch Bowl Social
The lively “eatertainment” venue is brand new in the West 7th Street corridor, located at 1100 Foch St., where Times Ten Cellars once sat. Here patrons get to eat, drink, and play at the same time — activities range from foosball and ping pong to mini bowling and private karaoke. As the name implies, punch is big here. Think craft cocktails made in big batches, like the Will Conga Line for Rum, with two kinds of rum, pomegranate green tea, and fresh lime juice; or the Connoisseur’s Cup made with gin, mint tea, lavender syrup, vermouth, and lemon juice. During happy hour, which is Monday through Friday from 3-6 pm, the featured punch is only $6 for a hefty ladle. The classic whiskey sour, Tom Collins, and rum daiquiri are also only six bucks; well drinks are $5; and “old man cans,” like PBR and Lone Star Beer, are $3.

Pouring Glory
It’s been more than three years since this gastropub opened in the Near Southside, just as South Main Street was on the brink of blowing up with new developments. The craft beer bar, which operates out of a 1940s-era brick building, is still popular with South Side regulars for its long list of brews from around the world. Go during happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-7 pm, when draft selections from a pretty long list are only $4. Consistent offerings on special include Real Ale Brewing Company’s Han’s Pils and Devil’s Backbone, Firestone Walker Brewing Company Lager, Rahr’s Blonde, and Lakewood Brewing Company’s All Call. The happy hour deal goes on all day Sunday, too — well beyond an hour.

Heim makes a vodka-spiked frozen lemonade that's nothing but happy.

Photo courtesy of Heim
Heim makes a vodka-spiked frozen lemonade that's nothing but happy.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Giant sea creatures made of recycled beach trash wash onto Galveston Island in must-see new exhibit

inspiring sea change

A giant great white shark, massive bald eagle, oversized octopus, and more enormous sea life have invaded Galveston Island.

"Washed Ashore," a compelling traveling art exhibit of giant sea animal sculptures made of trash collected from beaches, is now on display across 19 locations in Galveston.

The clever showcase features more than 20 pieces — most more than six feet tall and as much as 17 feet wide — such as coral reefs, jellyfish, penguins, sunfish, and more.

Sculptures can be found at museums, hotels, parks, attractions, and popular outdoor spaces. Thanks to a partnership between Oregon-based non-profit Washed Ashore and the Galveston Park Board, the exhibit, which is open though March 5, is free.

This innovative, powerful exhibit is designed to educate the public about the hazards of plastic pollution in the world’s waterways and comes at a touchstone environmental moment. Some 35 million metric tons of plastic entered the global aquatic ecosystems in 2020, according to the Ocean Conservancy’s research partners.

Similar "Washed Ashore" exhibits have been displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, as well as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens across the nation. Notably, this Galveston debut marks the first time the exhibit will not be behind a paid gate, per press materials.

“The sculptures are impressive,” Visit Galveston Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody says. “But they’re even more impressive when you look at them closely. The artists at Washed Ashore placed recognizable objects – like buckets and shovels – at a child’s eye view. This way, hopefully, they will learn to take with them what they bring to the beach.”

For more information on the exhibit, visit the official site.

Photo courtesy of Visit Galveston

Meet Greta the great white shark.

These are the 5 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

It’s a frigid start to February this week, but tasty events bring opportunities to warm up once the coldest weather passes. Get cozy with hand-made pasta and wine, a dim sum cooking class, two new Sunday brunch launches, and a complimentary educational class to watch online from the warmth of your own home.

Thursday, February 2

An Evening with Batasiolo Wine Dinner
Only 11 lucky individuals get to partake in this four-course dinner set to take place in il Modo’s intimate pasta-making room. Wines from Beni Di Batasiolo Winery will be paired with each course. Reservations are $199, plus tax and gratuity, and include valet parking. Dinner begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, February 4

Who Eats Cornbread? Who Eats Biscuits? Baking and Texas Identity Webinar by the TCU Center for Texas Studies
Curl up at home with hot biscuits or cornbread while watching this tasty and educational webinar led by Rebecca Sharpless, professor of history at TCU. She’ll talk through the history of baking in Texas and the American South, speaking from research conducted for her latest book, Grain and Fire. Learn who used white cornmeal, who used yellow, who used sugar, who didn’t, flour to fat ratios, and why it all matters. The free webinar begins at 10:30 am.

Jazz Brunch Launch at The Fitzgerald
The Camp Bowie Boulevard restaurant will channel New Orleans vibes with the launch of its new jazz brunch. The live jazz pianist will provide tunes on Fitzgerald’s heated patio both Saturday and Sundays from 11 am-2 pm. Plan for brunch dishes like crab cake Benedict, shrimp and grits, crawfish omelets, and bananas Foster banana pudding.

Dim Sum Time at Indulge Cooking Studio
The downtown cooking studio located inside Third Street Market hosts an array of classes regularly. This one will feature dim sum, the traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates featuring various dumplings and snacks. The menu will include chicken shumai, Chinese greens, spring rolls, and an egg custard tart. The class is $89 and will begin at 11 am.

Sunday, February 5

New Sunday Brunch at Craft & Vine
The Roanoke restaurant, wine bar, and craft cocktail lounge will launch Sunday brunch with new buffet-style stations. Enjoy eggs Benedict, a carving station, waffle bar, and more, as well as champagne flights, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and even a bar cart for crafting Old Fashioneds. The price is $39 per person and $15 for kids 12 and under. Brunch service begins at 10 am and the live music starts at 11 am.

Luke Bryan trucks to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2 tour stops, including Dickies Arena

Country on

Luke Bryan fans, clear your calendars in late September 2023. The five-time Entertainer of the Year and American Idol judge is making not one but two stops in North Texas on his "Country On Tour."

He'll play Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on September 28, then scoot over to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena on September 29. The only other Texas stop on his 36-city tour will be in Lubbock, on July 27. (So sorry, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.)

Special guests throughout the tour will include up-and-coming country artists Chayce Beckham, Tyler Braden, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, Jon Langston, Conner Smith, Alana Springsteen, Hailey Whitters, and DJ Rock.

According to the tour site, Beckham, Dean, Whitters, and DJ Rock will play the Dallas-Fort Worth shows.

Bryan has a history of investing in new artists by inviting them to join him on tour, a press release reminds.

“Artists get into the business to make music and perform it for the fans,” Bryan says in the release. “Leaving it all out on that stage is what it’s all about for me. I’m excited to support and have so many talented new artists along for the ride this year. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.

The tour is named for Bryan's 30th No. 1 single, “Country On” - a celebration of farmers, truckers, military, first responders, and all of Americana that hit the top of the country singles charts around Christmas 2022. He has amassed a career tally of 56 total weeks at #1.

Bryan launches his 2023 headline dates at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas on February 1. He's also returning as a judge on ABC's American Idol this spring.

Bryan's "Country On Tour" kicks off June 15 in Syracuse, New York.

Tickets go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lukebryan.com.

Presale for Bryan's fan club members will run 8 am Tuesday, January 31 through 5 pm Thursday, February 2. For details, go HERE.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from 10 am Wednesday, February 1 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb 2 through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.