17 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas this Weekend, Nov. 20-22

See a play this weekend.
See a play this weekend.
Katherine Owens

Friday, Nov. 20
Art Film at the Dallas Contemporary

Dallas-based fashion designer Charles Smith II never seems to be without a new vessel to pour his creative talent into. In the last couple of years, he has put out his first line of couture as well as a ready-to-wear line, and now he’s bringing his vision to a new medium: film. The subject of Attention, a short film he wrote and directed, is the way we often look to others, and specifically romantic partners, to meet a toxic, unending need for attention and validation. It’s based on his own experiences, he says, and also inspired by Travis Scott’s song “Pray 4 Love.” You can catch the debut of this art film, produced in collaboration with Dallas Rising Media, at the Dallas Contemporary (161 Glass St.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with Dallas Rising Media’s founder, Marty Olivo. Drinks and light bites will be served. Tickets are $10-$29 at smiththesecond.com - Caroline North

The Night Alive at Undermain Theatre
They say that the human spirit reveals itself in the darkest moments. OK, maybe I’m the first person to say it, but it sounds good, right? It’s also one of the underlying morals of The Night Alive, a play by Conor McPherson staged by Undermain Theatre (3200 Main St.) this month. It’s about five very different people who end up uniting to create a better future. The production stars some of Undermain’s staples, including artistic director Katherine Owens, along with Bruce DuBose, Katherine Bourne, Marcus Stimac and Scott Latham. The show previews at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, with the official opening at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $15. More at undermain.org. 

Spoken Word Poetry by Teenagers at DaVerse Lounge
It seems a little ironic that one of the world’s oldest art forms speaks so well to the teenage experience. Spoken word performance — part poetry, part music — gives a lyrical ebb and flow to the thoughts of the adolescent mind, adding form to angst, bliss, creativity, hope, yearning, love and fear. The medium is malleable enough to accommodate diverse cultures and artistic muses that range from classical theater to hip-hop. Big Thought and Journeyman Ink celebrate the wide range of emotions and styles that make spoken word a safe haven for young creatives during DaVerse Lounge at Life in Deep Ellum, 2802 Taylor St., from 7 until 10 p.m. Friday. Hosted by spoken word auteur Will Richey, the night will include open mic performances of original poetry by the 21 and under set, live music from Melody Memory and interactive visual arts stations. Admission is free. Visit Facebook for more info. - Jennifer Davis-Lamm

The Totalitarians at Kitchen Dog Theater
If this were Pyramid with Dick Clark and the category were “Things Associated with Nebraska,” we’d shout out clues like “corn shucking contests,” “crop circles” and “hootenannies.” We would not shout “lust for power” or “politics.” Too bad for us, and you if you’re our partner in the Winner’s Circle, because that’s what Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s play The Totalitarians is all about. It’s a tale of big hair, backstabbing, scheming and dreaming, with a power-suited Penelope Easter in the middle of it all. As Penny is headed toward state official, she enlists the help of Francine, a real smooth-talking type. Francine’s husband is a doctor who lies to his patients, but one of those wily old so-and-sos tips him off about P-Town’s “nefarious plans for the Cornhusker State.” The plot thickens! The show runs from 8 p.m. Friday to Saturday, December 19. Tickets start at $15 at kitchendogtheater.org.
 -Nikki Lott

Jackson Pollock at the Dallas Museum of Art
You’re going to need multiple trips to the Dallas Museum of Art (1717 N. Harwood St.) to fully see the stunning new exhibition, Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots. In collaboration with the Tate Liverpool, this is the ONLY time all of these works will share a room, and for many of them, the only time they will be seen by the public. EVER. The exhibition is focused on his black enamel paintings from 1951-’53, but provides context from other phases in Pollock’s career. The work is aggressive and feverish, offering a new look at one of the 20th century’s best-known artists. Day one of the exhibit begins at 11 a.m. Friday, but you’ll likely return again and again through March 20, 2016. Admission is $16. More at dma.org.

Blue Velvet at Texas Theatre
Blue Velvet is not a film you just passively watch; it’s an experience that will make your skin crawl. If you drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, it is probably because of this film. Dennis Hopper is completely unhinged in his performance and he makes it abundantly clear that PBR is his beer of choice. Hopper once said James Dean was the best actor he ever worked with and he brings that same type of unpredictable energy to this film. At 10:30 p.m. Friday, Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) will host the after-screening of the Dallas Film Society’s Art of Film with Isabella Rossellini, one of the film’s stars. This 35mm print of Blue Velvet has been cleaned up and restored, and the colors were also retouched to better match David Lynch’s original vision. There are some disturbing images in this film, but they are perfectly shot. Tickets are $10.50 at movietickets.com. - Jeremy Hallock

Blood Wedding from Cara Mia Theatre 
We often use the word dramatic when we mean “a little annoying.” For example: A bride might say her wedding was dramatic if the baker went out of business the week beforehand, or if her sister got hammered before she had fulfilled her bridesmaid duties. Those things are frustrating, not dramatic. Dramatic is the bride running away with her ex during the ceremony, hiding with him in the woods while her groom searches for the rogue pair, and then watching as her old lover and her intended kill each other in a fight for her hand. The brutality and its resulting fallout — now that’s real drama. Conceived by master Spanish playwright Frederico Garcia Lorca, Blood Wedding is one of the country’s seminal tragedies. Cara Mia Theatre Company brings this red wedding to life at the Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St., in a part-English/part-Spanish production opening at 8 p.m. Saturday. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through December 13. Tickets are $12-$25 at caramiatheatre.org. - JDL

Danielle Georgiou Dance Group's The Show About Men
Maybe you’re inclined to break out the world’s smallest violin when a man brings up the pressures of modern masculinity. That’s not wholly uncalled for, but it’s not a topic to be dismissed out of hand, either. Danielle Georgiou Dance Group tackles a tricky subject with aplomb — The Show About Men is a cerebral, witty and fun exploration of gender roles, gender norms and “the Catch-22 of masculinity” in modern society. It stays pretty true to its title, mixing choreography with song and dialogue as it provokes discussions about sexuality, physicality and expectations. Eastfield College Performance Hall, 3737 Motley Drive in Mesquite, hosts the catchy and quirky dance-theater production at 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and may be reserved online at eventbrite.com. -JDL

Addison Circle Tree Lighting
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Beckert Park (5040 Addison Circle), the town of Addison will host the Addison Circle Annual Tree Lighting, complete with plenty of fun activities for everyone. There's children's activities, like a face painter and a balloon artist, there's holiday shopping for your grandmother, there's door prizes for you, there's the WaterTower Theatre and a kids' choir to entertain, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus for everyone. What's not to enjoy? - Paige Skinner

Saturday, Nov. 21

Cedars Open Studios
Artists live among us. Not all of them give away their presence with paint-stained pants or offbeat attitudes. Many of them look just like you. Don’t be alarmed. They come in peace. And the ones who have landed in the South Dallas neighborhood The Cedars are inviting you to come visit and stay awhile. Transport yourselves to the new MAC location at 1601 Ervay St., grab a map and explore from noon-6 p.m. Saturday. There will be art to fill your brain, and beer to fill your bellies, plus an array of after-parties. More at facebook.com/cedarsopenstudios.

A Clockwork Orange at Texas Theatre
Nobody ever calls A Clockwork Orange a horror movie. You’ll hear people refer to it as surrealist, dystopian, even ultra-violent, but it’s rare to hear someone classify it as what it is. And that is a scary-as-shit, metaphor-packed nightmare, punctuated by rape scenes and horrifying brutality, and with a soundtrack so contrary to the onscreen action that you’ll swear off Beethoven for weeks. But the Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., knows exactly what it’s dealing with, and the film will be showcased in all its horrifying Kubrickian glory during a pristine 35mm presentation at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, which will be followed by a layered and atmospheric musical experience worthy of the scariest screamfest. The “behind the screen” performance from George Quartz, seres and Black Taffy will give viewers of the creepy rumination on free will and morality an added auditory trigger for their white jumpsuit-clad trauma. Tickets are $10 for the movie, $6 for the show and $14 for both. Visit texastheatre.com for more. -JDL

Michael Corris: Emblems
Look closely at what the subjects of Michael Corris' monotypes are reading or what they're doing, then read the titles. The artist is telling us something. His work on display in a solo exhibition at Liliana Bloch Gallery is clever, the text interplaying with the image, the color palette displayed at the bottom of what originated as grisaille paintings and eventually became monotypes. The building blocks are on display for the viewers, as if to build our trust as we follow along his thought path from paint to painting to meaning. We realize his subjects are a bunch of dolts. He has created emblems that highlight his intellectual concerns. It's kind of like when Bill Engvall says, "Here's your sign." Of course it's more complicated than that, with Corris' sharp interest in the relationship between image and text, and the creation of emblems. And yet, more simply, his works are visually captivating. See it in person from 6-9 p.m.

Roberto Munguia Exhibition at Conduit Gallery 
There’s a fluidity to artist Roberto Munguia’s new paintings. They feel otherwordly, like maps to uncharted, underwater territories or foreign parts of the galaxy. He creates space on the canvas in colorful, unpredictable ways. And though he’s the one setting the work into motion, he’s as fascinated by the end result as you likely will be. Working with techniques that allow the paint to run its own course, Munguia is at once the guide to this new world and the follower. Let the opening of his new exhibition of paintings, eternityest one, be your mysterious introduction to his work. The opening reception will take place from 6-8 p.m. Saturday at Conduit Gallery (1626 Hi Line Drive). More at conduitgallery.com.

Immersive art, performance and music in Beware of the Dandelions
Detroit-based collective Complex Movements comes to Dallas with its show, Beware of the Dandelions, brought here by SMU's Ignite Arts Dallas. You'll enter a 400-square-foot, polyhedron, dome-like pod structure for a piece that brings together design, hip-hop, electronic music, architecture and theater. We have no idea what to tell you to expect, but it's going to be something completely different. Tickets are free but reservations are required. More at the Eventbrite page.

Mysterious Muck 
Thanks to the Internet the brain consumes more images on a daily basis than previous generations ingested in a year, or maybe longer. Think about it. The Youtube, the Facebook, the Netflix, the Instagram, the Snapchat: all images. It's overwhelming. So, of course, it has changed the way our brain interacts with the world and processes information, forming connections between seemingly unrelated visual data. These are some of the preoccupations of the newest group exhibition at Circuit 12 Contemporary. In Mysterious Muck, some artists attempt to organize, while others embrace the chaos. See it all come together at the opening reception from 6-10 p.m. Saturday. More at Circuit12.com.  

Peggy Wauters: Tales from the Misty Fields
In each of Belgian artist Peggy Wauters' little paintings there seems to be a story just beneath the surface. Focused mostly on what she describes as "humanoid forms that bespeak extreme experience," Wauters' contemplative scenes range from frail human faces to ominous landscape details. This weekend, RO2 Art presents 170 of these paintings in the small space. The opening reception takes place from 7-10 p.m. Saturday. More at ro2art.com.

Sunday, Nov. 22

Fort Worth Parade of Lights
If you're into all-day events, then look no further because the Fort Worth Parade of Lights begins at 2 p.m. with the first round of buses leaving Farrington Field. Once you arrive in downtown Fort Worth, you can dine and shop before the parade begins at 6 p.m., featuring more than 100 illuminated floats. If you specifically want to see the tree lighting, however, that takes place at about 7:45 p.m. in Sundance Square Plaza. - Paige Skinner

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