Things To Do

21 Best Things to Do in Dallas This Week, January 10-16

Build robots and pit them against each other in a battle to the death at Hebocon Saturday.
Build robots and pit them against each other in a battle to the death at Hebocon Saturday. via Hebocon on Facebook
Tue 1/10
Church isn't somewhere we often think to go when we want to broaden our horizons. It's a place to discipline your mind, sure, but expand it? Highland Park Methodist Church (3300 Mockingbird Lane) is challenging our preconceived notions with their Authors Live series, which invites acclaimed authors of both nonfiction and fiction into their sacred space for a free discussion and book signing that's open to the public. Next up from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, is a presentation by four of the brightest feathers in Texas' literary cap: H.W. Brands, Pulitzer Prize finalist and historian; Stephen Harrington, New York Times best-selling author of both fiction and nonfiction; S.C. Gwynne, former executive editor at Texas Monthly and Pulitzer finalist; and Lawrence Wright, New Yorker staffer and author of the Pulitzer winner The Looming Tower. For more info, visit Highland Park Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, 7 p.m., free, — Caroline North

Wed 1/11
Singer and trumpet player Chet Baker left his mark on jazz in the 1950s with his somber, reflective hits like “My Funny Valentine,” “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and “Let’s Get Lost.” He also lived as hard as an acclaimed jazz musician could live thanks to a debilitating addiction to heroin that spanned several continents while he toured, got him expelled from West Germany and the United Kingdom and may have robbed the world of his impressive musical genius. You can learn more about the life and times of Chet Baker at a special screening of director Bruce Weber’s documentary Let’s Get Lost at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the Angelika Film Center (5321 E. Mockingbird Lane). The showing includes a Q&A session with the film’s art director Nathaniel Kilcer and cinematographer Jeff Preiss. Tickets are free but guests must register by email at [email protected] Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, 7 p.m., free. — Danny Gallagher

In a world polluted by poaching, wars and wildlife habitat destruction, it's important that folks come together to try and prevent needless endangerment among the other creatures living in this world. One of these beautiful animals rapidly declining in population, thanks in much part to human activity, is the gorilla. So, what can we do to prevent the extinction of the most genetically identical animal to a human? Well, there's a lot to be done. But you can start by heading to "A Night of Saving Gorillas" at Angelika Film Center (5321 E. Mockingbird Lane) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11. Guest speaker Tara Stoinski, president and CEO of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, will talk about the 50 years of work the fund has accomplished in efforts to protect gorillas. Stoinski, who currently resides in Atlanta, researches primate cognition, their social behavior and reproductive strategies. She will discuss the current steps being taken to protect the species and offer advice on how you can join the awareness. The event is hosted by the Dallas Zoo with tickets starting at $25 for zoo members, $30 for nonmembers. VIP tickets, which include a cocktail reception, go for $65. Tickets are available at Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, 6 p.m., $25 to $65, — Diamond Victoria

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., 7:30 p.m., $40-$99, — Danny Gallagher

Thu 1/12
Dennis Miller
is a man of many talents, and of many opinions. The man who now spends much of his time as a libertarian/conservative pundit came to fame as the host of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update,” and then moved on to talk shows, sports commentary and radio. But he’s still a stand-up guy at heart, constructing monologues out of hot political opinions that run entirely counter to the general Hollywood ethos. He’ll bring his right-leaning brand of comedy and rants — which does occasionally stray out of the realm of the political — to Bass Performance Hall (525 Commerce St.) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Tickets are $55 to $132 at Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth, 7:30 p.m., $55-$132, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Who doesn’t love dogs? I mean besides “cat people.” Shouldn’t we return to dogs the same love they show us? You’ll wish we did when you see a new documentary called Dog by Dog. The film aims to bring awareness to the puppy mill industry that breeds and treats dogs in despicable conditions all for a profit. They are kept in cages for days on end without any proper care all so pet stores can have puppies to sell to their customers. If you care at all about animals, you’ll make some time to learn about this unregulated and unjust system by watching a screening of this documentary at the Magnolia Theatre (3699 McKinney Ave.) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. All proceeds go to Cole’s Rescue Tails, a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from puppy mills. Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave., 7 p.m., $15, — Danny Gallagher

Ten years ago, finding an organic farmer or rancher in this area was about as easy as finding a liberal in Far East Texas. But today, there’s a huge market of health and environmentally conscious folks willing to fork over extra cash for food and plants without large amounts of synthetic chemicals or industrial solvents. These things, along with genetic engineering and irradiation, have been linked to ecological and health concerns, and though the science isn’t completely clear on the impact of nonorganic practices, many consumers aren’t taking any chances. Today, organic farming, ranching and gardening offer a lot of diverse and rewarding opportunities. If you’ve been thinking about jumping into the market, you can learn a lot at the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Association conference at the Hampton Inn and Suites Dallas-Mesquite, 1700 Rodeo Drive, from Thursday, Jan. 12, through Saturday, Jan. 14. Attendees at the Farmers and Gardeners Organic Conference can learn pest control practices, business and marketing tips, livestock management, and water conservation techniques, plus discuss food justice and food regulation issues. Cornucopia Institute co-founder Mark Kastel will deliver the keynote address during a banquet dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday; for more scheduling information visit Registration is available online for $150 to $325; individual workshop and banquet tickets are also available. Hampton Inn and Suites Dallas-Mesquite, 1700 Rodeo Drive, $150-$325, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

The Devil Makes Three hails from Santa Cruz, California, but they sound like they are from the Deep South. With primarily acoustic guitars, a banjo and a stand-up bass, the trio sings a lot about drinking and death. There's a spiritual element to their songs, whether it's singing to the devil or God, so it makes sense there's a gospel vibe to their traditional folk and country sound. There's also a Tom Waits vibe to what they do, and it was fitting they covered "Come On Up to the House" on their 2016 record, Redemption & Ruin. With support acts the Lost Dog Street Band and DiTrani Brothers, this will not necessarily be a loud show, but it will be a tribute to how great music can sound when reduced to the basics. Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $24, 9 p.m., — Eric Grubbs

Fri 1/13
Dallas’ DIY community could learn a thing or two from this screening of Goodnight Brooklyn  The Story of Death By Audio. The documentary presents viewers with an inside look at the last underground venue for music and art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When news of the space’s closure broke, headlines in New York read: “Death By Audio Closing: An Existential Crisis for a NY DIY.” The Williamsburg neighborhood — once defined by its artistic and cultural contributions to the city of New York — has served as a breeding ground of sorts for up-and-coming artists and musicians. But the iconic north Brooklyn neighborhood saw a 78.7 percent jump in average rents between 1990 and 2014, according to a 2016 report by NYU’s Furman Center on gentrification within the context of New York City's neighborhoods. And, needless to say, artists tend to suffer most as rent prices soar. The feature-length film documents the beginning, community-building, impact and ultimately the closure of one of Brooklyn's most important DIY venues. Texas Theatre (231 W Jefferson Blvd.) hosts a Q-and-A session (and DJ set) by Death By Audio’s Edan Wilber at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13. Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., 9:30 p.m., $10, — Daniel Rodrigue

Twenty years after their debuts Dru Hill and Jagged Edge, two of the most iconic R&B groups of the '90s boast the staying power to perform for large audiences across the country thanks to the fickle nature of the record industry. These days record labels aren’t willing to invest in three, four or even five collective artists for one group so active acts such as Dru Hill and Jagged Edge are the last of an extinct breed, the all-male R&B group. So they may not dominate radio waves anymore but they still churn out new music and performances for their loyal fanbases who yearn for the silky ballads and party anthems the groups have delivered for decades now. How many did it better than the platinum-haired Sisqo-led Dru Hill and crooning Jagged Edge? Solo R&B artist Avant rounds out this upcoming affair of grown and sexy R&B. Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., 8 p.m., $59.40,— Mikel Galicia

The Art, Beats & Lyrics traveling art show combines various mediums into one event to help you explore your inner drives to seek out and create new forms of art. You’ll get to experience new works from some of the most exciting emerging artists and enjoy a live concert from a surprise performer announced a week before the show. Past shows have featured live performances by Kendrick Lamar, Scarface and Flatbush Zombies. Gilley's Dallas, 1135 S. Lamar St., 7 p.m., free, RSVP at— Danny Gallagher

What is it about the very best composers and their final symphonies? As death nears they seem to find their very best, if most intensely serious music. Like both Mahler 9 and Beethoven’s Ninth, these last grand statements from the greatest symphonic minds tend to be overwhelmingly pensive, labyrinthian and threnodic. Ornate and looming like a gothic cathedral — gilded in what sounds like flame, shadow and anxiety — Tchaikovsky’s Sixth is no different. The composer himself called his last symphony “the best thing I ever composed or shall compose” and it fittingly serves as arguably the most pained, yet most triumphant work in his catalog. Its austere last movement — which sounds like life itself wilting away, reaching for one last fleeting breath — still stands as one of the most unexpected conclusions in the symphonic repertory, closing out the great composer’s career not with an exclamation point but with a cavernous moan. David Danzmayr conducts what promises to be one of the finest moments of the classical season. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13 and 14, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan 15. Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth, 7:30 p.m., $23, Jonathan Patrick

Sat 1/14
We’re living in the future now. Rather than just sit around and wait for the robot uprising to overtake all of humanity, pit them against each other in a battle to the death at Hebocon. This traveling circus of crappy robots beating the circuitry out of each other will make a stop in Dallas at The Nines in Deep Ellum (2911 Main St.) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Robot builders from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area will converge on the battle arena where robots will battle it out for crappy robot supremacy. The Nines, 2911 Main St., 7 p.m, free, see Facebook. — Danny Gallagher

The homes we grew up in occupy a singular space in our hearts and mind — physical structures that manifest feelings of contentment and unrest, love and despair, nostalgia and indifference. It’s why we drive past our childhood homes when we return to our hometowns, or lament major structural changes if our parents still live in them. They are the foundations of our memories, good and or bad, and they remain “home” long after we’ve left. Artist Lynné Bowman Cravens expounds on this concept in her latest project, House, to open at 500X Gallery (500 Exposition Ave.), during a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Her juxtaposition of old family photos of her childhood home with ones taken more recently in what’s now a rental property highlight the physical transition of memory, both in sentiment and in space. The solo exhibition will be on view through Sunday, Feb. 5; gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 500X Gallery, 500 Expostion Ave., 7-10 p.m., free, see Facebook. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Need to refill your art cup after a season of commerce and glitz? The Dallas Contemporary (161 Glass St.) has got substance for you in spades, thanks to a trifecta of exhibits that wow. The ubiquitous Ross Bleckner’s Find a Peaceful Place Where You Can Make Plans for the Future brings together pieces from the New York artist’s body of abstract, ethereal paintings. John Houck’s perception-bending “aggregate photographs” are shown in The Anthologist, and a stunning array of Bruce Weber’s fashion photographs represents the largest exhibition of Weber’s work ever shown in the U.S. All three exhibitions will run through Sunday, March 12, but from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, the gallery will host a member’s only opening celebration of this fantastic trio. Not a member? You can get access to exhibition openings starting at $35 at Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass St., 7-10 p.m., free-$35, Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Few films in all of cinema history leave quite an impression like the first viewing of David Lynch’s surreal, black-and-white cult classic, Eraserhead. The film stands as one of the longest-running midnight movies, and for good reason, Lynch crafted one of the most remarkable, unforgettable debut feature-length films to come from any auteur filmmaker – from the Lady in the Radiator singing "In Heaven” to the chicken dinner scene to the sick, swaddled alien-like baby. And if the surrealist visuals aren't intriguing enough, the unsettling sounds and hypnotic hums that Lynch and sound editor Alan Splet recorded only add to the lingering creep factor of the film. See the Eraserhead in 35mm at Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. Screenings are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Stick around after the credits roll Saturday for a live behind-the-screen concert with equally dreamlike performers: Street Sects, Lily Taylor and Poly Starra, as well as a DJ set by Hampton Mills of Cold Cuts. Tickets are $10 for the movie, $6 for the show or $14 for both. Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., 8:30 p.m., $6-$14,— Daniel Rodrigue

click to enlarge Tanya Tucker plays Choctaw Saturday. - COURTESY ARTIST
Tanya Tucker plays Choctaw Saturday.
courtesy artist
Few artists make it out the other side of child stardom. Experiencing the pressures of fame at such a young age has a way of unraveling even the best of talents. Having burst onto the country music scene in 1972 with top-ten single “Delta Dawn,” Tanya Tucker found fame and fortune at just sixteen years of age. As with many before and since, Tucker’s early rise soon gave birth to those demons we typically associate with celebrity struggle: toxic relationships, youthful recklessness, chemical dependance. But unlike most, she persevered and is now at 58 a wiser, more emotive artist because of it. Glowing with spiritual aching and bittersweet empathy, Tucker’s pop-inflected tunes marry her larger than life legacy to intimate song writing. Loneliness and the toll of addiction are themes felt more than referenced in Tucker’s music, but the weight of such heavy past experiences has gifted her music an inspirational and painterly beauty. To catch a Tanya Tucker performance is to witness a classic section of country music’s varied history, and to see determination and artistic endurance personified. Choctaw Casino, 3735 Choctaw Road, Durant, Oklahoma, 8 p.m., $30-$50, — Jonathan Patrick

In a lot of arenas, self-taught professionals don’t get a ton of respect. Being self-taught means you don’t get a lot of outside perspective or knowledge in realms where that’s important: like, say, medicine, or cosmetology. But artists get a pass on the self-taught label: it actually gives them an insight, a rawness, and an untainted vision that can translate into a simple, spiritual intensity. Kirk Hopper Fine Art, 3008 Commerce Street, presents a fascinating exhibition of pieces from self-taught artists in Margins Beyond: Self-Taught, which opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 14. Featured artists include Forrest Bess, Bill Haveron, Bert Long, Richard Gordan Kendall, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Frank Jones, Ike Morgan, Alessandra Michelangelo, and Johnnie Swearingen — a diverse group with perspectives shaped by isolation, prion, mental illness, homelessness, detachment, and staunch individualism that render striking visual representations. The exhibit can be seen through Saturday, February 11; learn more at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, 3008 Commerce St., 6 p.m., free, —Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Deep Ellum's It'll Do continues its recent solid run of guest DJs this Saturday night with an appearance by John Digweed. The Englishman, perhaps best known as the mastermind behind Bedrock Records — their hit single "For What You Dream Of" was featured prominently in the film Trainspotting — has been at the DJ game since the early '90s and has grown into one of the most respected names in the house music community. He's also well-known for his longevity, mapping out playlists that can stretch for hours, thrilling audiences, but at the same time testing their endurance as the action rolls deep into the night. In that regard, it's best to plan ahead for what could be a long night out on the dance floor, but don't hesitate on attending. As a staple on the European and South American festival circuit, it's not often that Digweed visits these parts. So grab an Uber, head downtown, and capitalize on a rare opportunity to see one of the biggest names in the game perform right here in Dallas. It'll Do, 4322 Elm St., 10 p.m., $20-$25, see Facebook.

Sun 1/15
If only we all knew how valuable the toys we toted around with us as kids would be one day. From Polly Pocket to GI Joe, these now-collector items are harder to find than we ever thought they would be. But today, the “Awesome Toy Collector Show,” taking place at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites (6055 Lyndon B. Johnson Fwy.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., makes it easy for collectors and sellers alike to come together for some serious play time. The event will include vintage and modern toys, from Star Wars to Hot Wheels to The Walking Dead, to name a few. Admission to peruse the selections available is $5. And although the deadline to purchase a dealer table to sell your own goodies ended yesterday, you still have the opportunity to sign up, with a late fee added to the $50 fee, on the chance there is still room available. Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 6055 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, 10 a.m-4 p.m., $5, — Diamond Victoria

Mon 1/16

In the aughts, it was easy for many Americans to imagine that race relations in this country were the best they'd ever been. But then came Facebook, and with it, videos depicting instances of police brutality almost daily. Today, white supremacy is loud and proud once again, fomenting more violence. We need Martin Luther King's words of love, hope and wisdom — and his vision of a future when Americans will respect each other for their similarities rather than hate each other for their differences — more than ever. Celebrate King's memory at the 2017 MLK Day Parade, which begins 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and will continue to Fair Park. Youth groups and civic and community organizations will join in this free event, which is part of the 35th annual birthday celebration by the MLK community center. For more info on the parade and the center's other events, visit 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 10 a.m., free,  — Caroline North
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Caroline Pritchard studied English at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and in 2012 returned to her hometown of Dallas, where she spends her free time seeking out new places to roller skate and play pinball.
Contact: Caroline North