21 Best Things to Do in Dallas This Week, December 28-January 3

Michael Rooker stars in the first season of Dallas-produced TV series, Unlocked, which investigates how video games are made. Catch the first few episodes for free at the Texas Theatre this week.EXPAND
Michael Rooker stars in the first season of Dallas-produced TV series, Unlocked, which investigates how video games are made. Catch the first few episodes for free at the Texas Theatre this week.
courtesy Jeremy Snead

Wed 12/28
New year resolutions are so passé.
Or at least, calling them resolutions is. See, folks, we can’t sugarcoat it anymore: They’re goals. Not achieving a goal seems like a much bigger tragedy than laying off a resolution two weeks into February, if you catch our drift. Cicely Rue is organizing a New Year, Better Me Challenge. Find all the prompts on cicelyrue.com (#nybm) for 14 days of prep. They’re questions to get your head in the game for 2017. Then head to The Crown and Harp Wednesday, Dec. 28, for the NYBM Vision Board Party. Rue provides all the materials for your inspiring collage; you just provide the mindset and $15 (which includes two drinks). The Crown and Harp, 1914 Greenville Ave., 6 p.m., $15, RSVP and reserve your space at eventbrite.com. — Merritt Martin

Photographs: Do Not Bend Gallery is now featuring two artists new to the gallery. Moonlight Serenade is a show of photographs by Japanese artist Kazz Morishita. The works use the moon as a philosophical reference, depicting the message that the moon is a steady, fixed point reflecting light on lives that are constantly in flux. Morandi is a show of works by Brazil-native Fabio Del Re. For this collection, Del Re used mostly analogue methods to meticulously create still-lifes that pay homage to Italian artist Giorgio Morandi’s skillful and transcendent paintings. Photographs: Do Not Bend Gallery;  154 Glass St., No. 104; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free; pdnbgallery.com. — Rachel Williams

Thu 12/29
Jamie Kennedy has one of the more unlikely ascents to stardom in Hollywood; the former Red Lobster host struggled through hundreds of auditions without booking a single one — and in desperation, he created the character of a screen agent who would talk Kennedy up and get him in the door. Amazingly, it worked — and Kennedy went from slinging cheese biscuits (which is admirable, come on) to appearing in the Scream franchise and creating his Jamie Kennedy Experience prank show. Kennedy has also spent some time on the stand-up circuit, which is how you can see the persistent star up close and personal at the Addison Improv (4980 Beltline Road) from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29. Kennedy will trot out his observational humor, punctuated with personal stories, during Jamie Kennedy at the Addison Improv. The show is 21 and up. Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road, 8 p.m., $22 to $32, improvaddison.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

You know you remember the Contra code and the way to beat Ms. Pac-Man. You’ve already downloaded Mario Run onto your phone and gotten past the free levels. Now, you need to see Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed. Or at least the first two episodes as Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) hosts a special screening complete with Q&A with character actor Michael Rooker, one of the many stars of Unlocked, and director Jeremy Snead. The show follows the likes of Sean Astin, Penn Gillette, Alison Haislip, Zelda Williams, Matt Walsh and more as they dive into the world of gaming, from development to launch to journalistic coverage. Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., 7:30 p.m., free, reserve your ticket here. — Merritt Martin

Fri 12/30
In an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “Most People Dressed As Comic Book Characters,” Stan "The Man" Lee of Marvel Comics fame will be participating in an event to help assemble all of North Texas nerdom. (The current record stands at 1,784 costumed fans.) The record-setting attempt is a part of Marvelous Nerd Year's Eve at Sheraton Dallas (400 N Olive St.), which is a four-day celebration of all things pop culture that fans obsess over, from comic books and cosplay to film, television and music. And this weekend’s event is being billed as Lee’s “final traveling convention appearance.” In addition to a commemorative T-shirt, costumed heroes who participate in the attempt will be included in the official Guinesss Record photograph with Lee and will receive an 8-by-10 print of the photo. Participants must have paid admission for Friday (single-day or four-day ticket) at Marvelous Nerd Year's Eve, and purchase the $25 record attempt ticket add-on through the event website. (Check for specials and sales, because a pre-Christmas sale reduced the add-on to $5.) The attempt runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sheraton Dallas, 400 N. Olive St., 6:30 p.m., $25, marvelousnye.com. — Daniel Rodrigue

Be transported to a different world when Lights All Night takes over Dallas Market Hall with its two-day electronic rager.EXPAND
Be transported to a different world when Lights All Night takes over Dallas Market Hall with its two-day electronic rager.
Roderick Pullum

Upcoming Events

It’s time to get sweaty, y’all. Dance 2016 the heck on outta here during Dallas’ most epic party: Lights All Night starts dropping beats at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at Dallas Market Hall (2200 Stemmons Freeway) and doesn’t stop until the wee hours of the new year. And the lineup to this massive electronic dance music gathering is killer, including Above & Beyond, Zedd, Tchami and A$AP Ferg on Friday night, plus a New Year’s celebration with deadmau5, Nero and RL Grime on Saturday, Dec. 31. Tickets range from $99 to $169, including two-day passes and VIP experiences. Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway, 6 p.m., $99 to $269, lightsallnight.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

The Lebron Jameses and Michael Jordans of tomorrow won’t be throwing basketballs into hoops. They’ll be throwing Pokéballs into arenas where twisted creations of nature fight each other for our amusement. Witness the sport of tomorrow at the Pokémon regional championship finals on Saturday, Dec. 31, and Sunday, Jan. 1, at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport hotel (2334 N. International Parkway) where all of DFW’s mightiest Pokémon warriors will do battle in a number of different tournaments. If you’re not familiar with the Pokémon phenomenon, you can also enjoy the thrill of the competition as a spectator or stop fighting your natural inclination to join fads and learn how to play the trading card game. Registration is $30 per person if purchased before Sunday, Dec. 25, and $40 from Monday, Dec. 26, to the start of the championship. Hyatt Regency DFW Airport Hotel, 2334 N. International Parkway, 4 p.m, $30 to $40, ceruleancitygaming.com. — Danny Gallagher

Benji Brown may not be a household name, but he’s working  hard to be one. Called “an actor doing comedy” by Mike Epps, Brown has shared the stage with names as big as Chris Rock, Steve Harvey and Monique. He’s also on air with the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, so you know he can throw some quick wit around in the wee hours. Bonus: Brown is a Florida native, and we all know crazy-entertaining and funny shit comes from Florida, so we have no question about his comedy. Brown takes the Arlington Improv (309 Curtis Mathes Way) at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, and 7 and 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve. His show is 21 and up. Arlington Improv, 309 Curtis Mathes Way, 8 and 10:30 p.m., $20 to $60, improvarlington.com. — Merritt Martin

Sat 12/31
If we did anything well in 2016, it was drinking. Our craft beer game was strong this year, and thank goodness — we needed it to be. Without it, we’d have been staring at the top of a generic domestic on election night, and seriously — things were bad enough. So let’s send this year out by celebrating those delicious local beverages at Brew Year’s Eve, hosted by Noble Rey Brewing Company (2636 Farrington St.) from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. For $75, you’ll get beers and ciders from Peticolas Brewing Company, Community Beer Company, Texas Ale Project and Noble Rey, plus bites from PieTap, Luck and The Proper Baking Company and live music from Rise and Shine, Vodeo and The Voice’s Matt Tedder. Get tickets at eventbrite.com or see the event Facebook page for more information. Noble Rey Brewing Company, 2636 Farrington St., 7 p.m., $75, eventbrite.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

If Samsung had made time travel possible instead of mobile phones that explode, they’d be the most profitable company of the year. The South Side Ballroom (1135 S. Lamar St.) will let you do the next best thing on New Year’s Eve with a special musical tribute to the 1980s. The South Side Ballroom’s ’80s NYE Bash starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and will feature live performances by tribute artists such as the Depeche Mode tribute band Strangelove, the Cure tribute group Cured, Panic: A Tribute to the Smiths & Morissey and Electric Duke: A Tribute to David Bowie as well as ’80s tunes spun by DJ PFM. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party will last until well after midnight when the never-ending crap storm that is 2016 will finally be put in the past where it belongs. South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St., 8 p.m., $19.99, livenation.com.— Danny Gallagher

It really has been a hard day’s night. After the absolute pisser of a year that 2016 was, it would seem appropriate to ring it in with the iconic rock 'n' roll that got generations through tumultuous times the first time around. The Dallas Observer is hosting a festive to close out the year and welcome better times with the closest anyone can get to Paul, George, John and Ringo: Hard Night’s Day. The banner Beatles tribute band will take audiences through the finest of the Fab Four’s catalog during the New Year’s Eve celebration at Sundown at Granada, 3520 Greenville Ave. The show starts at 10:30 p.m. (doors at 10) and carries on until 2 a.m. Granada Theater, 3520 Greenville Ave., 10:30 p.m., $35, granadatheater.com. — Merritt Martin

What were you doing last New Year’s Eve? Pajamas, takeout, a $5 bottle of bubbly? Don’t let that be you — not again. Instead, plan to ring in the new year with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson, an architectural wonder and arguably the most stunning building our city has to offer. Great location — check! Free Champagne — check! That ritzy, sparkling James-Bond-esque cocktail party atmosphere — check! And, of course, there’s world-class music performed by world-class musicians to flesh out the mood. The music of Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and even Shostakovich all appear in a festive program conducted by Andrew Grams; the internationally celebrated and Texas-born soprano Lauren Snouffer is also set to perform. It all happens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Tickets start at $42 at mydso.com. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $42, mydso.com. — Jonathan Patrick

With no shortage of parties to help you ring in the new year, it may be difficult to narrow the scope of which ones to attend. But don’t flip your wig just yet. Texas Theatre (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) is easing the tough decision with a 1960s-style party that would make Anna Karina proud. The theater’s Who Are You NYE 2017? event plays host to the burlesque beauties of Texas Peep Show, go-go dancing by The Pistolettes, famous Dallas aerialist Olive Avira and music to dance holes in your soles, from Chain and the Gang, DJ Wild In The Streets and many others. The party kicks off at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Tickets range from $25 for general admission to $45 for VIP — which includes a half bottle of champagne per ticket holder at midnight, the best seats in the house and access to an exclusive VIP bar in the upstairs Safe Room. Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., 9 p.m., $45, thetexastheatre.com. — Diamond Victoria

Sun 1/1
Few things scream unforgettable New Year’s Day tradition more than an annual hangover-curing chili cook-off at one of the coolest biker bars in Dallas. And, this year, the 6th Annual Strokers Ice House Chili Cook Off is expected to draw dozens of chili cooks from around North Texas to compete at Strokers, 9324 Harry Hines Blvd. The cook-off is free to enter, and chefs must bring a prepared chili in a slow cooker, along with any “fixin’s” each cook hopes will complement their chili — from cheddar cheese and onions to pinto beans or black-eyed peas. Chili chefs must bring their own extension cord, but the bar supplies everything else. The cook-off runs from noon to 4 p.m. with set-up starting at noon, and chili sampling beginning at 1 p.m. Strokers awards custom trophies for first, second and third place, as well as a judges’ favorite prize awarded by Strokers owner Rick Fairless. For $5 Stokers provides chili enthusiasts with a tasting cup and a ballot ticket for voting for their favorite chili. Taste and vote until 3:30 p.m. when judging officially starts. To sign up, email rick@strokersdallas.com. Strokers, 9324 Harry Hines Blvd., noon, $5, see Facebook. — Daniel Rodrigue

The office world created by playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Pultizer Prize-nominated play Gloria is the kind of office space that will make you run back to your workplace with your arms outstretched and a huge smile on your face. The office of a famous Manhattan magazine turns into a cutthroat killing floor as a group of aspiring writers and storytellers show just what they are willing to do to make it to the top of the office totem pole. See the carnage for yourself at the Studio Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center at one of several performances at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St., 2 p.m., $40 to $99, attpac.org. — Danny Gallagher

Usually around this time of year, tree decorations, yard installations and cheesy adornments are about the only few things to come to mind when thinking of holiday lights. But there’s a whole different approach illuminating the world of dance. Lightwire Theater visits the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.) to showcase its holiday spectacle A Very Electric Christmas. This seven-member dance team, whom you might remember from America’s Got Talent and TRU TV’s Fake Off, performs in complete darkness aside from brightly colored neon lights attached to various costumes. The costumes are shaped into different creatures, objects and people, allowing a broad range of magical, whimsical and highly entertaining storylines and characters to play out. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 4 p.m., $20 and up, attpac.org. — Diamond Victoria

This New Year's Day is combining the good with the Good. Get your black-eyed pea fix and help celebrate a new, friendly neighbor during the Good Pagoda New Year's Day Grand Opening Party. The new East Dallas storefront and its siblings Super Yoga Palace (connected, upstairs) and Lounge Here (next door) will have their doors open (Lounge Here opens at 4 with $6 bloody marys) to celebrate new beginnings and welcome the new year and new guests. If complimentary food and drink isn't enough to draw you in, perhaps the shop's collection of vinyl (and you know they're good because the Pagoda falls under the same Good as Good Records), body care and gift items will do the trick. The Good Pagoda, 9026 Garland Road, noon, free, thegoodpagoda.com. — Merritt Martin

In this coming new year, we think it's safe to say that it would be ideal to connect with as much peace as possible, and to do whatever we can to ensure an auspicious year. Yogis often practice 108 Sun Salutations on New Year's Day to do just that. The Sun Salutation (or Surya Namaskara) gets its name from the belief that the sun is the source of life. During the flow of 108 salutes, one experiences a wide range of movements and as Uptown Yoga hopes, achieves a meditative and connected state. This practice welcomes any level, with no expectation — rest and modify as needed. Sign up online. A minimum $25 donation is requested, with all proceeds benefiting Uptown Yoga's partner projects benefiting women and girls locally, as well as in Kenya and India, who are the victims of injustice. Uptown Yoga Dallas, 2636 Thomas Ave., noon, $25, uptownyoga.com. — Merritt Martin

Mon 1/2
Unless Alfred Hitchcock has instilled an intense, lifelong fear of birds in you, you’ll want to check out a new special exhibit, Birds of Paradise at the Perot Museum, 2201 N Field St. The exhibit will teach you all about the evolution of birds and give you the opportunity to observe 39 rare species. We hear word there’s even an interactive dance portion of the exhibit. So put on your boogie shoes and leave the binoculars at home for the ultimate birdwatching experience. Birds of Paradise continues through Jan. 8. Perot Museum, 2201 N. Field St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $19 to $27, perotmuseum.org. — Caroline North

Tue 1/3
If getting lost in at least one good book is a resolution of yours this new year, it may be easier surrounded by some like-minded individuals in a cozy cafe. The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture's book club is hosting a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Deep Vellum Bookstore (3000 Commerce St.) to celebrate Kobo Abe's 1962 work Woman in the Dunes. The prize-winning Japanese novel tells the tale of Jumpei Niki, an entomologist who visits the seashore to collect insects. When he misses the last bus back home, nearby villagers offer him a house in the dunes to stay until morning, but things take an unexpected twist when Niki realizes their intentions aren't so innocent. He is expected to protect the home, and a woman in it, from the onslaught of sand threatening to overtake it. Without giving away too much of the plot, it's definitely set to keep you turning the pages. The novel was eventually turned into a film and was quickly translated into English two years after its original publishing. Deep Vellum Bookstore, 3000 Commerce St., 7 p.m., free, dallasinstitute.org. — Diamond Victoria

Every Tuesday night, the Lemmon Avenue location of Buzzbrews hosts a unique open mic experience with fewer predictably whiny singer/songwriters and more surprisingly talented opera singers, cellists and pianists. On Tuesday, you can join the good folks from Open Classical for an open mic night specifically catered to those who love to play (or love to hear) classical music. You’ll see an eclectic range of instruments, talent levels and musical styles — from a riveting string quartet playing Schubert to a tap dancer who improvises her movements to the accompaniment of a Mozart sonata. If you want to participate, you’ll need to sign up on the event’s Facebook page (just search for “classical open mic”), but sitting back and enjoying the show with some coffee or a beer requires no commitment and is always entertaining. The music starts at 8 p.m. and runs until around 11:30 p.m. Buzzbrews, 4334 Lemmon Ave., 8 p.m., free, openclassical.org. — Katie Womack


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