21 Best Things to Do in Dallas This Week: November 29 to December 5

Tickets to the Jingle Ball at American Airlines Center — played this year by the Backstreet Boys, Meghan Trainor, The Chainsmokers and more — make a good early Christmas present for the teens in your life.
Tickets to the Jingle Ball at American Airlines Center — played this year by the Backstreet Boys, Meghan Trainor, The Chainsmokers and more — make a good early Christmas present for the teens in your life.
Rachel Parker

Tue 11/29
As we watch names of potential cabinet members get tossed around and fear budget cuts to the parks, arts and a number of other things, there are people still very committed to keeping what we hold dear thriving — people like Dr. Jane Chu, the chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chu has awarded more than $240 million grants during her time in the position, has provided research on arts participation and impact and recently announced a new leadership program to further show the importance of arts in our country. The Dallas Arts District welcomes Chu as keynote speaker for its community breakfast on Tuesday. Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave., 7:30 a.m., $20 to $55, ticketdfw.com. — Merritt Martin

Those bells are fully jinglin’ and ring ting tinglin’ at 106.1 Kiss FM’s Jingle Ball Dallas, a star-packed celebration of pop sounds and shaking booties. Starting on Tuesday, the American Airlines Center fills with the soulful vocals of artists Meghan Trainor; plus DJ duo the Chainsmokers; girl band Fifth Harmony; old favorites the Backstreet Boys; as well as Alessia Cara, Charlie Puth, Daya, Lukas Graham and Hailee Steinfeld. Get a head start on a season of celebrating with this festive lineup. American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 7:30 p.m., $51 to $116, ticketmaster.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

It’s easy to slip into resting Grinch face, considering the beating of an election we just went through and the onslaught of exhortations to switch into holiday mode. It might feel like a tough transition, but there’s still joy to be uncovered out there — and the Dallas Theater Center’s production of A Christmas Carol just might help you locate it. Their musical adaptation of the timeless Dickens tale speaks to the potential for rebirth and redemption in all of us, a message we could probably all use right about now, and it includes more than a few surprises in the re-imagined classic. And luckily, it’ll be a happy constant at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre for the next month. Turn that Grinchy grimace upside down starting with a pay-what-you-can performance on Wednesday. The show runs Tuesdays through Sundays until Wednesday, Dec. 28. Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $20 to $104, attpac.org.— Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Wed 11/30
The perfect way to get into the holiday spirit is to surround yourself in beautiful holiday décor. Music helps immensely. Holiday bites are instrumental. The Dallas Woman’s Forum is offering all of the above after decking the halls of the historic Alexander Mansion for the Holiday Elegance Candlelight Preview at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Enjoy a Champagne supper, live caroling, door prizes and more. Plus, enormous Christmas trees with decorations that combine the best of sparkly, jingly and merry. Reservations are required. Alexander Mansion, 4607 Ross Ave., 6 p.m., $75, 214-823-4533 or dallaswomansforum.org. — Merritt Martin

Anna Kendrick is more than just “aca-awesome” — she’s an Academy Award- and Tony Award-nominated actress who can pretty much do it all. Over the past few years, she’s become something of an “every woman,” a lovable and fiercely intelligent lady who is hilarious on Twitter and has written a seriously candid glimpse into the Hollywood experience in her new memoir Scrappy Little Nobody. She’ll be talking about the book in a simulcast that celebrates all things Anna at both Alamo Drafthouse locations on Wednesday. Her appearance at the Paramount Theater in Austin to celebrate her new book will be live and interactive, followed by a Movie Party singalong screening of Pitch Perfect. Tickets include themed props and a signed copy of Kendrick’s book. Alamo Drafthouse; 100 S. Central Expressway and 1005 S. Lamar St.; 8 p.m.; $34.50; drafthouse.com/dfw.— Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Upcoming Events

Way, way, way before Dallas became a mecca of coffee shops, department stores and highways, it was a lush landscape silhouetted by flying, jumping and crawling dinosaurs. North Texas played host to several of these ancient animals millions of years ago, and Dino Labs offers a unique glimpse into the world of these dinosaurs with artifacts, fossils and DNA used to reconstruct what they, and the earth, were like 200 millions years ago. Check out Dallas' former residents at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1600 Gendy St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $17 to $21, fwmuseum.org.— Diamond Victoria

Thu 12/1
Chicago rapper, producer and entrepreneur Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, otherwise known as Lupe Fiasco, rose to fame in 2006 after his debut album, Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor, earned him three Grammy nominations. Since then, the rapper has released a handful of other albums including the 2011 Lasers, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Lupe Fiasco has been credited as as a pioneer of the "conscious hip-hop movement," a type of hip-hop focusing on social issues, and has landed himself in a few feuds with fellow rappers Azealia Banks and Kid Cudi. It's this type of attention he pays to the world around him that has set Lupe Fiasco apart from some in the industry. Gas Monkey Live, 10110 Technology Blvd., 7 p.m., $27.50 to $50, gasmonkeybarngrill.com.– Diamond Victoria

Art is the holiday gift that keeps on giving, on so many levels. For the person receiving the gift, it’s a constant joy, durable eye-candy and a never-ending reminder of how awesome you — the gift giver — are. For the artist, it’s satisfaction, validation and, honestly, payment that makes more art possible. Tie your gift giving up in the nicest of ways with one trip to Holiday Presence at Kettle Art on Thursday. The annual art and gift show includes small works and one-of-a-kind pieces from local artists like Richard Ross, Erin Curry, Amber Campagna, Miguel Aguilar, Jeff Skely and more — all priced under $200 with most hovering around the $100 mark. And even if you’re not in it for Christmas commerce, the event doubles as an exhibit, which runs through Dec. 24 and will include updates and refreshes, onsite collaborations and pop-up events. Kettle Art, 2650 Main St., 7 to 10 p.m., free, see Facebook for more info. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Did you know the legendary British comedy group Monty Python (or at least the ones who aren’t dead yet) would not have become the global phenomenon they are if it wasn’t for a little city named Dallas? It’s true. Dallas’ KERA was the very first station in America to air Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the BBC sketch series that launched the careers of the comedy troupe and gave the world a reason to laugh at a dead parrot. Several PBS station presidents had seen the series in the early '70s following its four-season run but the surreal and subversive humor turned them off and made them think they’d be launched out of a cannon if they ever aired them on their stations. KERA’s program director Ron Devillier, however, loved the show and decided to give them their first American broadcast just four months before the theatrical release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Dallas viewers flocked to the series and not long after, the Pythons aired on every PBS station in the country. Two of the troupe’s founding members, John Cleese and Eric Idle, are returning to the town that gave them their first big break in America for an evening of stories, music and comedy to do two shows at the Majestic Theatre on Thursday and Friday. I hope they remember to say, “Thank you.” Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 8 p.m., sold out, dallasculture.org/majestictheatre. — Danny Gallagher

Fri 12/2
If you’re a child of the '90s, then you remember the first time you saw Home Alone. The story of a precocious, blond-haired, blue-eyed devil child who tapped into his sociopathic instincts to cause bodily harm to two bumbling burglars became the one of the most popular movies of the decade and a holiday classic. Parents might have gotten sick of seeing it, but kids couldn’t get enough of Macaulay Culkin’s unsupervised exploits. What kid wouldn’t want to have a big empty house all to themselves, where they can eat entire cheese pizzas, read their big brother’s naughty skin mags and cause blunt force trauma to villains? Well, now that you’re an adult, you can do at least two of those things and no one can tell you otherwise. That’s why the Alamo Drafthouse Richardson is ringing in the holiday season with a screening of director Chris Columbus’ holiday classic and throwing a pizza party to go along with it. The theater will hold a Home Alone Pizza Party featuring a screening of the movie and all of the cheese pizza that you can shove down your gullet. Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, 100 S. Central Expressway, 7 p.m., $19.49, drafthouse.com/dfw.— Danny Gallagher

Maxwell not only has a knack for down-tempo, slow-burning tracks, he's also released them at a regular pace (five albums in the last two decades). And his tour-mate Mary J. Blige is no slouch either. She has released 13 chart-topping albums in the same 20-year period, along with numerous compilations and features, but she’s done so with an over-the-top flair that the understated Maxwell cannot compete with. These two veterans of the stage are guaranteed to deliver a powerful, balanced display of R&B greatness and to dig into the full spectrum of emotions that love and relationships inspire during their tour stop at American Airlines Center Friday. Blige’s legendary dance moves are not to be missed. American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 7 p.m., $49.50 to $179.50, ticketmaster.com. — Mikel Galicia

Sarah Jaffe needs little introduction around these parts. The DFW native has been a fixture on the scene since long before she first began piling up Dallas Observer Music Awards back in 2010. Part confessional singer-songwriter, part blues-pop purveyor, part indie electronica whiz, Jaffe brings a variety of tools and textures to her stage shows. Lately, she's been collaborating with hip-hop producer S1, and partnering alongside another local favorite, Sam Lao, for some of the tunes featured on her recent EP, Visions. This weekend will find her back home at the Kessler for a two-night stand after a month spent overseas touring around Europe. Co-headlining for the weekend are the Suffers, a tight-knit ensemble from Houston that takes elements of Southern hip-hop, Latin grooves and Stax muscle and turns it all into glorious, celebratory noise. Anchored by singer Kam Franklin's powerfully soulful vocals, the Suffers have seen their profile rise sharply in the past year, buoyed by appearances on NPR's All Songs Considered, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah. It's a solid two-night stand that features some of Texas' best talent sharing a stage. Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 8 p.m., $20 to $50, thekessler.org. — Jeff Strowe

Sat 12/3
Gingerbread is fantastic. Pumpkin pie is a delight. Dressing is consumable by the bowlful. But the real satisfier, the true Texas Christmas dish, is the tamale. The DFW Tamale Festival & Christmas Market celebrates the stuffed maize concoctions with stories, holiday gift and decor shopping, craft booths, carolers, and live music by Jaci Velasquez. But clearly, the best part of the festival Saturday at the Dallas Farmers Market, is the mass of tamales. Learn about the Texas tamale tradition and how they’re made, on top of eating your weight in them and taking even more home. Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., free, kluv.com/tamale. — Merritt Martin

LEGOs are perhaps the world’s most famous toy and not just by children and parents who wish the building blocks were classified as weapons after they step on one with their bare feet. They are also beloved by talented builders who can put together huge, breathtaking sculptures and buildings using nothing but time, patience and a drug lord-esque control of the world’s LEGO brick market. Enterprising LEGO architects have built things like a life-size replica of the Star Wars X-Wing, a turbofan jet engine and even a livable, two-story house in the English countryside. You’ll be able to see some of the art world’s most impressive (and way less sinister) LEGO builds when the Brick Universe LEGO Fan Convention brings its toys to town and sets up shop at Fair Park’s Automobile Building on Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4. Attendees can see massive LEGO builds from some of the world’s top LEGO artists, learn how to build from some of the LEGO masters in attendance and stock up on LEGOs for home builds. Fair Park's Automobile Building, 1121 1st Ave., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $18, brickuniverse.org. — Danny Gallagher

Yes, you’re going to drive through some neighborhoods with shockingly good lights and gorgeous decorations. But before you do that, kick it off with Reliant Lights Your Holidays Concert and Fireworks Spectacular on Saturday in Sammons Park. The family-friendly event lights up the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus and trees with scads of LED holiday lights and offers live performances by A.B. Quintanilla y Elektro Kumbia and RaeLynn. Kids of all ages can snap free photos with Santa Claus and enjoy a sky lit up with fireworks starting at 6:50 p.m. Sammons Park, 2403 Flora St., 5:30 p.m., free, attpac.org. — Merritt Martin

Dolly Parton is nothing short of legendary. With a career that spans well over four decades, her contributions to both country and pop music do not go unnoticed. Despite what we know now, success did not come easily for Parton. She battled the charts, her record label and good old fashioned sexism when trying to breakthrough to the mainstream. It was not until the now-quintessential country tune “Jolene” was released that she received her inaugural No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country charts. Following this, she released two more singles, “I Will Always Love You” and “Love Is Like A Butterfly,” that both made their way to the No. 1 slot. She later spent some time creating pop music, which saw moderate success, but nothing compared to what she composed in the country genre. She has since returned to her country roots, releasing several albums and touring to this day. She is currently touring for her 43rd studio album release. Verizon Theatre; 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie; 7:30 p.m.; $49.50 to $155.50; axs.com. — Taylor Frantum

Sun 12/4
Citrus, bubbles and shopping? We’re thinking there aren’t too many arms that need to be twisted to finish out the Jingle Bells on Bishop event with a few mimosa tastings in hand. Not at the same time, of course, but with the JBoB Mimosa Walk, you can stroll down the street into participating shops and restaurants and get a new tasting in every place. Plus, the Bishop Avenue walk crew is clearing out the stock of glasses so there are four limited designs to choose from. Purchase glasses in advance for $15 or on site for $20 at Tent 1 (corner of Bishop Ave. and 7th). Presale glasses and wristbands should be picked up at Tent 2 (Bishop Ave. and 8th). The walk begins at noon, but glass pickup begins at 11 a.m. Purchase tickets at prekindle.com. Bishop Arts District, Bishop Avenue at 7th Street, noon, $15 to $20, prekindle.com. — Merritt Martin

If you have little ones in your life, the holiday season becomes a time to make some really magical memories for them. There are holiday plays, Santa show-ups and shopping opportunities aplenty. But the Texas Ballet Theater has one of this year’s most special celebrations on Sunday at the Hotel Crescent Court. The Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Tea is a fairy-tale come alive, with characters from Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker flitting about while dazzled kids dig into decadent snacks and rub elbows with the Sugar Plum Fairy herself for a photo op. And if all that isn’t enough to make the memory a lasting one, there will be holiday nutcrackers for sale, giving attendees a souvenir of the glittering holiday experience that they’ll treasure forever. Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., $50 to $100, texasballettheater.org. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Mon 12/5
You can have your sweets and sip them too. Dallas by Chocolate offers a Christmas Lights, Chocolate and Sips Tour so you can sip hot chocolate in the comfort of a fancy motorcoach, while also getting dessert samples and a spectacular tour of Christmas decorations. Tour locations may include Park Cities, Vitruvian Lights in Addison, downtown Dallas or Lake Highlands. Eat dinner first, and bring cash to tip the tour guides, then relax and tuck into some serious holiday treats while you take in the lights. You’ll be notified of your starting location. 6:30 p.m., $43, dallasbychocolate.com. — Merritt Martin

Like partner yoga but wish it could be more death-defying? Like acrobatics but wish you could do them closer to the ground? The Yoga Movement offers up instructor Max Lowenstein as he teaches the basics of AcroYoga as a three-part series, on Mondays from Dec. 5 to 19. Try this alone, or bring a friend so you can compare notes later. Either way, you’ll learn more about flexibility, strength and trust. The Yoga Movement, 4931 Airline Road, 8:30 p.m., $100 per person or $180 per partnership. — Merritt Martin

Thanksgiving is over. And not every one of us came out of it with successfully baked goods. There’s a way to resolve it — and relearn it —while having fun and some wine (if you feel like bringing it out even when there’s no burned dough coming out of the oven). Rachel Gaffney’s Real Ireland is hosting a holiday baking class at 3015 at Trinity Groves. Bring your own apron and recipes/disaster stories you’d like to share, then pour your own wine, peruse the cheese and crackers and get to baking. Payment in advance is required, so reserve your spot online. 3015 at Trinity Groves, 3015 Gulden Lane, 6 p.m., $90, rachelgaffneys.com. — Merritt Martin


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