Things To Do In Dallas When You’re Dead: Spring 2013

Deep Ellum mural

The days get longer, the polar vortex slows in its attempts to freeze Galveston, and the Czarina can read weather reports from Michigan and Wisconsin and not try to set her bath water afire in order to get a little warmer. We’re not quite to spring yet, but we’re getting there, so it’s time to get back outside and do something. Do what, you ask? Well, time for some ideas.

Firstly, we’re now three weeks away from All-Con 2014, one of the biggest costuming and general weirdness conventions in the Southwest. This year, in addition to the now-expected Triffid Ranch display in the vendor’s room, come out for two different discussions on carnivorous plants, including one demonstrating the fluorescence of certain species under ultraviolet light. This is in addition to all of the other great panels and demonstrations, so buy your tickets before the Addison fire marshall steps in and yells “Okay, no more.”

Along that line, as mentioned a couple of months back, after two shows this season, the Triffid Ranch goes on hiatus until May 2015 in order to rebuild stock and cultivate new species of carnivore previously unavailable at events. That means that if you can’t make All-Con, come out to Texas Frightmare Weekend at DFW Airport for the blowout final show of 2014. Among many other events, TFW is hosting a 60th anniversary celebration of the premiere of Creature From The Black Lagoon, which has special significance to me. Many of the underwater scenes in that film were shot in Wakulla Springs in the Florida Panhandle, and my strange and sordid trip through the world of carnivorous plants started with one weekend in September 2002 spent exploring the springs. Between this and a screening of the movie at the springs held as a fundraiser, coinciding with the Czarina visiting me in Tallahassee just before we married, I have lots of fond memories involving that movie, and it’s only fair to return the favor to Loyd Cryer and the rest of the crew at TFW and give them a plant presentation that will never be forgot.

Black orchid

In between that, though, is an event unrelated to the Triffid Ranch, other than the fact that I finally get to attend. For years, Gunter’s Greenhouse, one of the best orchid nurseries in the country, held an open house to show off its collections to the general public. For years, it always coincided with All-Con, and All-Con management frowned on my leaving my booth to drool on orchids. As of late last year, Gunter’s was purchased by the Dallas orchid dealer Dr. Delphinium, and one of the new changes involves moving the open house to the weekend of March 28 this year. Sadly, the great display of Tahitian vanilla orchids won’t be available, due to a pest infesting and killing off the vines, but speaking from experience, the trip will be worth that very minor disappointment.

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