As far as exotic nightlife is concerned, Dallas will never be mistaken for New York or London. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although we’re still best-known, generally speaking, for nightclubs and restaurants making it exceedingly easy for the local fratboys to get violently drunk, we have enough little surprises that the rest of us don’t vacate the area for more esoteric climes. We save those for ourselves, and tell the fratboys and hipsters that Neenah, Wisconsin is the new big thing. If we don’t, they’re overrun in cargo pants and Cory Doctorow birth control glasses before you know it.
Another way to avoid the horseface-and-fedora set is to add a good dollop of science to the mix. Dallas has a surprisingly strong set of museums, considering how much neglect they received through the Eighties and Nineties, and the Museum of Nature & Science in Fair Park is one of those little surprises. The main exhibition areas in Fair Park will be replaced with a brand new museum in Victory Park in 2013, but the existing facilities will be used and loved until then.
Hence, the new Beer & Bones nights, the most recent of which was last Thursday. Originally done as an experiment, based on the continued success of Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art, Beer & Bones opens up the museum to a new crowd that usually has to work during normal museum hours. This last Thursday, the theme involved tie-ins to the Museum’s Chinasaurs exhibition, including demonstrations on the chemistry behind fireworks and Michael Cook’s always-fascinating discussions on silkworm raising and silk production. This includes a cash bar and complimentary snacks (including some of the best peanut butter cookies I’ve had in years), and a very enthusiastic and friendly crew of provosts to assist with questions about the exhibits.
Just to give advance word, the next Beer & Bones night is September 16. Please do not ask if this will include a Triffid Ranch demonstration and rodeo, because that’s up to them. What I will say is that no matter what, I’m grabbing as many friends as I can for the September 16 show. I didn’t realize how badly I needed an event like this until it was over, and I suspect a lot of people within the Metroplex are going to feel the same way. Now cue the Consortium of Genius soundtrack.