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Essay: Christopher Kelly's to-do list for 2011

Posted 11:40am on Wednesday, Jan. 05, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, while showing out-of-town friends around, I had something of an epiphany: There's an embarrassing wealth of things to do in the Metroplex that I've never actually done. I speak of those sights that I've yet to visit; cultural events I'm always saying I'll get around to next time; restaurants that I haven't been willing to splurge upon.

This year, then, I've dispensed with my usual New Year's resolutions. (I mean, we all know I'm not going to eat less red meat.) Instead, I've come up with a to-do list -- resolutions that don't feel like homework at all. Some of these you'll see mentioned in our Year Window calendar (beginning on page 10) in this week's DFW.com Ink. Jot down a few of these suggestions or make up a list entirely your own. The point being: We live in a part of the country with something for everyone. So get out there and enjoy it.

1. Attend a Super Bowl party

I'm not much of a sports fan, and my first instinct was to burrow away and hide during what's sure to be a crowded week in the Metroplex. But, come on, the Super Bowl doesn't come to town very often, so I'm determined to hit one of the many parties that will be unfolding across town in late January.

2. Check out the Crow Collection of Asian Art

I'm embarrassed to say that, after a decade in North Texas, I still haven't seen this much-lauded collection, just across from the Dallas Museum of Art. That changes this year. 2010 Flora St., Dallas, 214-979-6430

3. See a writer at Arts & Letters Live

This terrific series brings well-known authors for readings and discussions at the Dallas Museum of Art. Highest on my list is legendary author Joyce Carol Oates, who will read from her new memoir A Widow's Story on Feb. 26. For the schedule, visit dallasmuseumofart.org/Events/ArtsLettersLive/index.htm.

4. Go to the Fort Worth Opera Festival

I used to think opera was stuffy and impenetrable. Then I saw Fort Worth Opera's dazzling 2008 production of Dead Man Walking, and I've been a convert ever since. I'll likely opt for one of the classics like Verdi's Il Travatore, but more modern-minded operagoers should consider the Philip Glass/Allen Ginsberg collaboration Hydrogen Jukebox. May 14-June 5.

5. See 'Billy Elliot: The Musical'

I saw and fell in love with this show in London in 2006, and I'm psyched to take another look when the touring production pulls into Dallas at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. June 8-July 3.

6. Make a reservation at Bonnell's

Fort Worth has an increasingly vibrant dining scene, and Jon Bonnell's game-focused restaurant might be our shiniest star, with a recent feature on the Food Network and the highest-rated food in North Texas, according to last year's Zagat Survey. Shamefully, I've only been once, and that was for a cocktail party where I didn't get to try any of the main courses. 4259 Bryant Irvin Road. 817-738-5489

7. See how the dough gets made at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Did you know that much of the paper money in circulation in the United States is printed in Fort Worth? I'm finally going to take a tour of the facility where it all happens. (Alas, there are no free samples.) 9000 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth, 817-231-4000

8. Become a regular at the dog parks

This one is for Tucker, my Jack Russell terrier: Tarrant County has two great dog parks -- Fort Woof (Gateway Park in Fort Worth) and Villages of Bear Creek Dog Park (1951 Bear Creek Parkway, Euless). This year, I will paws, er, pause to visit.

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