Don’t you love this very moment of the new year? That micro-sliver of time before university and public school classes resume and the phenomenon that is spring in Denton attacks your calendar?
We do, too. There aren’t too many patches of downtime in Denton to consider what we should put into our calendars. But we’re doing that now, and we’ve come up with some must-see, must-do events that you should ink in that planner in red — or enter into that latest calendar app on your smartphone.
We’ve included events for young and old — so there’s no use in shrugging off our best bets of spring as something for the “kids.”
— Lucinda Breeding
Thin Line Film Fest l Feb. 8-18
At the Campus Theatre, 214 W. Hickory St. Pass prices to be announced. www.thinlinefilmfest.com .
Texas’ only documentary film festival surged in attendance last year. It also got press from the film and entertainment press outside of the United States.
This festival could be deemed “the little festival that could.” Why? Because the event screens documentaries that make the short list for the Academy Awards each year. It’s broad in its offerings, usually serving up titles that deal with everything from gay and lesbian issues to questions of faith — and everything in between.
And the film festival is manageable. It doesn’t have the gridlock or paparazzi bait of Sundance or Cannes (neither of which limits its films to documentaries) but it does show off the city to newcomers and repeat customers.
You can splurge for an all-festival pass, which usually costs more than $100 (but less than $200). Or you can pick the titles that interest you and pay the same amount you’d shell out for, say, a James McMurtry show at Dan’s Silverleaf (between $10 and $15).
The film fest has grown bit by bit, even introducing the Thin Line Fall Series, which screened documentaries monthly from August through December.
35 Denton l March 7-10
In downtown Denton. $100 for a four-day fast track, $45 for a four-day wristband. http://35denton.com .
35 Denton announced a good chunk of the local music festival’s major lineup last year: Sleep, Chelsea Light Moving (Thurston Moore, y’all), Killer Mike, the Coathangers and more. Lots more.
This music festival always occupies the week before spring break (which is code for South by Southwest in Austin) and is good for three major things: celebrating music, discovering music you’ll swear you can’t believe you lived without, and being utterly chipper in spite of the three hours of sleep you’ll be getting over four days.
Like the Thin Line Film Fest, 35 Denton is manageable. The primary venues are small — very small — and the main stages are cleverly located for thousands who will stand, dance and bounce for entire shows.
Oh, and for those who continually find themselves yearning for the days of Fry Street Fair, listen up: Denton’s Brutal Juice is playing. And so is the local punk wunderband Mind Spiders. We have our bets on a lot more local music getting added to the festival calendar.
And in case you were wondering: Yes, the Denton-based Tejas Storytelling Festival will stage the Texas Storytelling Festival on the same four days that 35 Denton fills downtown with music — again. Even with the talent, narrative craftsmanship and charm to be found at the storytelling festival, we’re going to predict that the crowds will skip it for the music.
All That Jazz l March 23
6 p.m. at the Dallas-Fort Worth Marriott Hotel & Golf Club, 3300 Championship Parkway in Fort Worth. Ticket prices to be announced. www.dentonbenefitleague.org .
Denton Benefit League exists to serve three purposes: stimulating volunteerism in Denton County nonprofit agencies and groups, supporting local nonprofit organizations and grooming the women who will lead the community in the future. (The league is not strictly a women’s organization, and officers sing the praises of the men who show up to help the wives who are in the league, but it is overwhelmingly female.)
Each spring, the league stages Denton’s only charity ball. This year, “All That Jazz” will revisit the 1920s, putting on the fashions made famous by The Great Gatsby. The event will be dressed up in art deco finery and will flirt with the speakeasy danger of Prohibition.
Patrons are welcome to dress in flapper-style finery for the black-tie event. Music will be by Emerald City, Denton pianist Bob Rogers and additional performers. It includes dinner, a cash bar, a raffle and a silent auction.
Adkins String Ensemble l April 8
8 p.m. in Voertman Hall at the UNT Music Building, at Avenue C and Chestnut Street. www.music.unt.edu .
The Adkins String Ensemble, a group of family members born and bred in Denton and many of whom have plum seats in Dallas’ premiere ensembles, will perform a Distinguished Alumni Recital in the spring at the University of North Texas.
The ensemble brings even the most familiar string repertoire to life with sensitivity and articulation. Where other groups might fall into rote recitation, going on autopilot on their instruments, the Adkins clan explores its music as if with fresh eyes and fingers. Humor, wit, lyricism and beauty all arise from a concert with the Adkinses.
The ensemble is Elisabeth Adkins and Alexandra Adkins Wenig on violin, Christopher Adkins and Anthony Adkins on cello, and Clare Adkins Cason and Madeline Adkins on violin and viola. Pianist Edward Newman is the sole non-Adkins of the ensemble, but is essential as its accompanist.