Restaurant Reviews DFW

Weekend Happenings 5/4 – 5/6: DIFF, Cinco De Mayo, and more

Dallas International Film Festival

It is officially DIFF season. The eight-day long film showcase kicked off yesterday, but don’t worry! You still have plenty of time to see some old classics and get familiar with some very promising independent filmmakers. The Dallas International Film Festival will be taking place at the Magnolia Theater, with various other festivities throughout Dallas’s West Village. Tickets are still available for purchase here. Check out the trailer for “American Curious,” which will be screening at The Magnolia this Sunday.

Cinco De Mayo Block Party

For the second year, the Cinco de Mayo Block Party will be returning to Mexican Sugar in The Shops at Legacy in Plano. Make your way over to Lone Star Drive for $7 dollar margaritas, $4 beers, a live band, and a DJ!


Cinco in the Box Garden

The Box Garden in Legacy Hall is now open! All five of the Box Garden’s new bars will be serving $6 margaritas, plus there will be live performances by Russ Hewitt, Mariachi Rosa Divinas, and Havana NRG.

Cottonwood Art Festival

Looking to see some beautiful art for free? Cottonwood Art Festival will be taking place in Richardson this Saturday and Sunday. At Cottonwood, festival-goers can behold a variety of digital art, metalworks, and various other forms of art. Plus, free live performances by BJ Stricker & The Kings, Kirk Thurmond & The Millenials, and American Idol contestant Ron Bultognez. Check out Bultognez’s American Idol audition below!


The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary and performing arts festival kicks off this Sunday. In this year’s Soluna, the performers and artists will incorporate strong educational and science components into their work. For a full list of performers, events, and venues, click here. Check out the video below to see The Dallas Symphony Orchestra celebrate 40 years of singing!

Dallas International Guitar Festival

Into good old rock and roll? You’ve got to swing by Market Hall for the 41st annual Dallas International Guitar Festival. See some performances by a variety of rock stars from across the country. For tickets, click here.


Yesterday, Mayfest kicked off in Fort Worth’s Trinity Park. There are three days left to enjoy live music, festival food, carnival rides, performing arts, pet adoptions, and so much more. For tickets, click here.

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Johnathan Brownlee Prepares for Dallas International Film Festival

Days ahead of the Dallas International Film Festival, Johnathan Brownlee and I sit down in his Design District office. Everyone in the office sits at their cubicles, anxiously typing away, preparing their final game plans for the festival. Brownlee, who is serving as the Executive Director of this year’s festival, is excited to showcase a variety of works by creatives from various parts of the world.

Throughout the course of his decades working in entertainment, Brownlee has shot and produced in different parts of the world, however, he has grown a great affinity for Dallas.

“Dallas really has all the urban and rural environments one needs to create a film project,” Brownlee says. “Plus, there are a lot of people here who want opportunities to grow within the industry.”

In 2016, Brownlee produced a feature-length film called “Three Days in August,” in which a young woman who was given up for adoption embarks on a journey to find her birth parents.

“We shot the whole thing in and around Dallas,” Brownlee says of his directorial debut film. “I worked with this amazing woman, Shannon Kincaid, to develop the project and ultimately shoot here and have it release at Studio Movie Grill locations nationwide. Everyone who worked on the film stayed together around the same area, so we all got to know each other very well. The camaraderie on set was very special.”

Although many people wanting to break into the industry work part-time jobs in different industries, Brownlee has been lucky enough to work within the entertainment industry from the beginning of his career.

“I’ve never had to wait tables, or work retail, or anything like that,” Brownlee says. “While I was studying to be an actor, I worked in the university’s scenic shop. I built sets, rigged, gripped; those types of things. I also made money renovating flipping homes, which led to the development of my series, ‘Johnathan Brownlee’s, atHome,’ based in Canada.”

This is Brownlee’s first year serving as Executive Director of the Dallas International Film Festival, and it is evident that he has a great vision for this year’s film showcase.

“I’m the new guy, and the new guy, oftentimes, gets to ask for forgiveness rather than permission,” Brownlee says. “I love this film festival. I’ve had four films show in the festival, so I kind of feel a responsibility to take the festival to another level.”

Perhaps the biggest change Brownlee will be making to the festival is the location and time. The festival will be taking place across the span of eight days, and all of the major programming will be screening at Magnolia Theater in Dallas’s West Village with family programming at Studio Movie Grill (Spring Valley).

Another big change to the festival includes a music component.

“Our Artistic Director, James Faust has programmed some wonderful films about music this year,” Brownlee says. “And some of the actual groups will be here to perform following the screenings.”

While organizing an 8-day long festival can be rather strenuous, Brownlee is thankful that working in Dallas doesn’t require getting through as much red tape as it would in other major entertainment cities.

“It’s easy to get things done here [in Dallas,]” Brownlee says. “we have great support from the City and it probably costs about a third less to put on a film festival here than what it would cost to put on a film festival in L.A. or New York.”

The Dallas International Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, May 3, and goes until May 10. Festivities will take place throughout West Village in Uptown Dallas. Passes can be purchased here.