Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West follows an inspired affair between a man and a woman escaping violent dangers to find a new, safe place to call home. Shanthi Sekaran’s Lucky Boy examines what it means to be a mother, and what maternal rights really are when a mother is detained and another woman takes responsibility of her son. Arts & Letters Live, with the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, presents Hamid and Sekaran speaking on their fictional mirrors of current events in the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art. Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., 7:30 p.m., $14-$25, dma.ticketleap.com. — Merritt Martin
When you think of going to the symphony, you probably imagine renting a tuxedo and driving up to the symphony hall in a car that isn’t a hunk of scrap metal on wheels. Your brain couldn’t be more wrong. Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Dallas Chamber Symphony and the city of Dallas hold a regular outdoor symphony performance for the public to enjoy free of charge. “Taking It to the Streets” takes the beauty of a live symphony concert and brings to the public’s ears regardless of their ability to afford a tuxedo and an evening in a rented luxury limo. The Dallas Chamber Symphony’s next live performance will take place Tuesday at Pegasus Plaza. Pegasus Plaza, 1500 Main St. 4:30 p.m. free, dcsymphony.org. — Danny Gallagher
Here’s a question for all you local live-show-goers out there: When’s the last time you went to the Winspear Opera House to see an opera? Chances are that you usually go to this beautiful venue to see the latest comedian or a live music act. Now's your chance to go to a live opera performed on the storied stage. The Winspear Opera House will host several performances of Puccini’s iconic stage production Madame Butterfly that tells the story of a Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval officer in this classic operatic tragedy. The opera runs through Sunday, March 26, and will be performed in Italian with English supertitles. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $19-$119, dallasopera.org.— Danny Gallagher
Whoever first said "the show must go on" surely meant "in most cases." One theater that has clearly earned a hall pass? Ochre House. A few weeks ago, just before the world premiere of Dr. Bobaganush was supposed to go up, its writer, director and lead actor was the victim of attempted murder. Matthew Posey was shot twice, once in the face, while leaving Cold Beer Co. in Deep Ellum. Amazingly he survived, and even more amazingly, the play’s wheels are once more in motion after a short but clearly necessary delay. Posey's passion for the story, about a traveling mystic who sticks his neck out to defend Jews, homosexuals and Romas during the rise of the Nazis, simply could not be derailed. See a play that demonstrates the strength of the human spirit in more ways than one. Dr. Bobaganush continues through March 25. Ochre House Theatre, 825 Exposition Ave., 8:15 p.m., $12-$17, ochrehousetheater.com. — Caroline North
Ever had that fantasy where you randomly come across a large sum of cash and then try to think through what you would do? Of course, you’d turn it in. Right? Or would you hang on to it for a few days just to see what happened? Or maybe you’d book an international flight before you even had time to think through the ethical implications of the situation? We’ve all run through each of those scenarios, and Pocket Sandwich Theatre gives us even more fuel for that particular daydream with Ray Cooney’s Funny Money, which explores what happens when everyman accountant Henry Perkins accidentally picks up a briefcase stuffed with $5 million. When Henry chooses Option C, things take a turn for the farce — culminating in some serious screwball comedy. See it at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays through March 25. Pocket Sandwich Theatre, 5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, 8 p.m., $18-$20, pocketsandwich.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm
Most dinner parties have centerpieces. Some have small delicate arrangements and some have outlandish ones that take up as much vertical space as they do width. But we think it’s safe to say that the inaugural Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 16, might just have the best floral decor for any culinary function. As attendees dine on food created by award-winning and sought-after chefs from around North Texas and sip on fine wine and craft beers, they get to take in the natural beauty of more than 500,000 lush and vibrant spring bulbs courtesy of the arboretum’s annual Dallas Blooms floral festival. Oh, and then there’s the sun setting over White Rock Lake during a concert and delicious dessert — tasty, beautiful and entertaining to boot. VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission is available for $140 (or $125 for arboretum members). No refunds; this fest is rain or shine. Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, 6-9 p.m., $125-$140, dallasarboretum.org. — Merritt Martin
Everyone’s a fan of something. Don’t hide your fandom for Firefly, Back to the Future or eating toast in a hot tub. Embrace it. Let it out. Share it with the world from Thursday, March 16, to Sunday, March 19, at All-Con 2017, a fan convention that celebrates everything you think is cool. This four-day gathering at the Crowne Plaza (14314 Midway Road, Addison) stuffs two floors of hotel space with a ton of live shows, activities, celebrity meet-and-greets and all sorts of cool things to do, so you’re bound to find something you like. Meet familiar faces such as Walter E. Jones from the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and David Ankrum, who played Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy. Enjoy live comedy shows or hear thought-provoking discussions about your favorite movies, shows, books and comics. Play games with friends or make new ones at one of the late-night parties. Tickets are $55 per person for all four days, $35 for adults and $20 for children on Friday and Saturday and $20 for adults and $10 for children on Sunday. Everyone gets in free on Thursday. Visit all-con.org for more info. Crowne Plaza, 14314 Midway Road, Addison, Thursday-Sunday, free-$55, all-con.org. — Danny Gallagher
Based on Henry James’ eerie novella of the same name, The Turn of the Screw is an off-putting yet clever opera, poignant on account of its drama, surreal on account of its playful vision of death and dying. Haunting is not quite strong enough a word to describe The Turn of the Screw — its implications are large and reaching, its morals universal, its narrative heart-wrenching and severely human. Benjamin Britten’s subtly disorienting, often atonal music is right on cue, setting the atmosphere for a story concerned with ghosts, mortality and the complexity of familial relations. Its left-turn conclusion will leave you shaken for days. Lyrics are sung in English with English supertitles. Nicole Paiement conducts. Performances take place at the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, March 22 and 25. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $19, dallasopera.org. — Jonathan Patrick
Comedians who spend an hour on stage commenting on the United States' political landscape come a dime a dozen these days. But a comedian who has spent his 20-year career shining a light on issues of race, police brutality and everyday urban issues stands out among the rest. Katt Williams has, in his own words, seen some shit. The comedian, rapper, actor and multiple criminal offender has spent his fair share of time behind bars or in courtrooms and uses his personal experiences to sell out arenas across the country. He's had roles in several television shows and movies, and lent his voice as A Pimp Named Slickback in Adult Swim's The Boondocks. Catch the bad-mouthed, flamboyant Williams tonight at Verizon Theatre.Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, 8 p.m., $45-$125, verizontheatre.com. — Diamond Victoria
It would be too easy to make a joke about taking drugs with an event like this. Pink Floyd laser shows are a key part of the stereotype of acid droppers. It’s right up there with hemp jackets and drooling on yourself. Regardless of how you choose to influence your body’s natural processes, everyone is welcome at the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular on Saturday, March 18. The evening will feature hits from the legendary rock band’s storied discography of music including tracks from albums such as The Wall, Wish You Were Here, The Division Bell and (of course) The Dark Side of the Moon, accompanied by cool, dancing laser lights that move and groove to the sounds of the songs. The show starts at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at the Bomb Factory. Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 8 p.m., $22.50-$32.50, ticketfly.com. — Danny Gallagher
In an age when Drake, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole dominate hip-hop and are heralded as the stars of the genre, artists like Big Sean have been forced to play in the shadows and carve out successful rap careers on their own terms and at a slower pace. But that’s what made it so sweet when Big Sean stole the limelight on tracks with those would-be contemporaries as he did on “All Me,” “Control” and “Mercy,” to name a few. Since those tracks, Big Sean has become a mainstay in the mainstream and his last two albums, 2015’s Dark Sky Paradise and 2017’s I Decided have charted at No. 1 on Billboard. Since his fifth album release, Big Sean’s career is only continuing to grow. This headlining tour hitting the South Side Ballroom is the biggest of the Detroit rapper’s career and shows he’s on an upward trajectory, with no ceiling in sight. South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St., 8 p.m., $10, southsideballroomdallas.com. — Mikel Galicia
Bryan Ferry is an art pop and glam giant. His voice is a velvety, fluttery thing, at once androgynous and also classical-croon — a syrupy mix of David Bowie, David Sylvian and Scott Walker. Ferry’s greatest feat, though, has been his singular grasp of some unique space that echoes early 20th century songwriting while it simultaneously reaches for something distinctly, cleverly modern. An acute attention to style, subtle theatricality and loyalty to traditional forms have made Ferry an enduring force in both rock and pop for going on 45 years now. The former frontman of seminal art rock act Roxy Music, Ferry has twisted and turned over the last four decades, etching out a solo legacy that’s as restless and curious as his memorable vocals. Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, 8 p.m., $46.75-$105.75, verizontheatre.com. — Jonathan Patrick
If you’ve ever asked yourself “How many rashers of crispy bacon and samples of beer could I devour in two and a half hours?” then your question can be answered at Dallas’ first Bacon and Beer Classic. The bacon-and-beer event features samples of 50-plus craft beers from regional breweries, and attendees can eat their fill of unlimited bacon strips. And, for bacon aficionados who really want to test their bacon eating chops, the Bacon and Beer Classic will also feature a bacon-eating contest. The Foundry hosts the pop-up event, and general admission tickets can be purchased online for three times: afternoon, 12:30 to 3 p.m.; evening, 4:30 to 7 p.m.; and night, 8:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets cost $45 and include beer, bacon and bacon-infused dishes, as well as music, games and a souvenir tasting glass. Attendees who buy the $55 VIP admission gain a half-hour early admission and access to an exclusive cocktail bar. The Foundry, 2303 Pittman St., $45-55, baconandbeerclassic.com.
There is no more powerful pause in the history of music than the infinite space between the words "brick" and "house" in the Commodores' classic funk song. Walter Orange winds up, saying "She's a brick..." and then the universe pauses. A water droplet of time falls from the faucet of space-time. You wonder, "What does this mean? She's a brick? That's rude," and begin to doubt the merits of the song. But then you're pulled back from the void with "HOWSSEEEE" and you realize that everything will be all right. You realize that the Commodores might know a thing or two about funk, and might even be goddamn geniuses. WinStar Casino, 777 Casino Ave., 8 p.m., $25-$55, winstarworldcasino.com. — Matt Wood
Clear skies, lakeside views and green grass are enough to draw in legions of family-filled SUVs to Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Road), but the annual Dallas Blooms festival really ups the ante. Half a million blooming bulbs line the sidewalks and fill the gardens, and this year’s festival theme “Flower Power” gives visitors even more to love. Find groovy floral installations throughout, and let the color wash over you as the annual celebration of spring runs daily from Saturday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, April 9. Arboretum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for children, and free for kids ages two and younger. See dallasarboretum.org for more info. Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., $10-$15, dallasarboretum.org. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm
There’s a statement one hears in galleries, spoken by those who find an instant connection with a piece, something akin to, “There’s something almost spiritual about it.” Dutch sculptor Hans Van de Bovenkamp says, in an artist statement, he is working toward a spiritual dimension in his art, but also becoming more aware of it as a dialogue between matter and the spirit. He works in the world of the large sculpture. Some might say his are monumental. They are inspired by myth and nature — some of that specifically from his time living in the Hamptons. Perhaps those viewing his work in Hans Van de Bovenkamp: Through Time, on exhibit through March 25 at Samuel Lynne Galleries (1105 Dragon St.), will be heard finding spirit in sculpture. Admission is free and the galleries are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Visit samuellynne.com. Samuel Lynne Galleries, 1105 Dragon St., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free, samuellynne.com. — Merritt Martin
The Rat Pack were a mid-century marvel — a paean to glamour, style and celebrity that exuded a devil-may-care attitude toward just about everything and everyone. The people lucky enough to be in the club were seriously smooth Hollywood specimens that left a stylistic legacy that’s still celebrated today. The legendary crew, in its most famous iteration, included luminaries Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., though others (including a few women such as Judy Garland and Lauren Bacall) were crucial members. The Sinatra-Martin-Davis trifecta is the most recognizable, though, and it’s that trio that’s represented in “A Toast to the Rat Pack” at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts. At 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19, Sebastian Anzaldo, Andy DiMino and Lambus Dean as Frank, Dean and Sammy will roll through all the greatest Rat Pack tunes, including “Come Fly with Me,” “Volare” and “Candy Man.” Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts, 2351 Performance Drive, 2 p.m., $29-$56, eisemanncenter.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm
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Comedy is more than just an art form. It’s a science. There’s chemistry and biology going on when people order their two-drink minimum and let the sweet, sultry feelings of the alcohol rush through their bloodstreams and enhance their ability to find something funny. All it takes is a basic understanding of comedy’s concepts and principals to figure out how to make a joke or make someone laugh. Dallas actor, director and playwright Jeff Swearingen will share these scientific secrets at a special workshop called “The Science of Comedy” starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, at the Margo Jones Theatre at Fair Park, 1121 First Ave. The three-hour workshop offers detailed instructions and insights on the inner-workings of the comedy mind and how audiences respond to jokes, gags and performances. The event also includes a live performance by the comedy improv troupe Unicorn Clearance. Margo Jones Theater, 1121 First Ave., 2 p.m., $160, brownpapertickets.com. — Danny Gallagher
After releasing her first new track in more than 10 years, Pat Benatar returned to the music world with Shine, a rallying cry penned for the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington. The trailblazing rock icon, along with her husband and longtime musical collaborator Neil Giraldo, is taking her show on the road under the banner: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo: An Intimate Acoustic Evening. After canceling her last Dallas show, originally scheduled during Benatar’s 2016 We Live for Love Tour, this acoustic concert will be a decent consolation prize for fans who missed out on seeing the four-time Grammy Award-winner last year. Giraldo has been working alongside Benatar since writing “We Live for Love” for her platinum-certified debut album In the Heat of the Night. The duo has shared stages and song writing credits on hundreds of songs and albums since their marriage in 1982. Now, more than 35 years later, Benatar and Giraldo will coat the Majestic in a warm wash of acoustic guitars and a defiant voice that still influences musicians across the globe. Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 7 p.m., $58-$128, dallasculture.org. — Nicholas Bostick
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about circuses in the past couple of years, it’s that it’s no longer enough to trot out some clowns or launch a human cannonball or two and expect the ticket sales to flood in. People don’t want to see mistreated animals and tired routines. Cirque du Soleil helped to move the dial on this quite a bit; they’ve been pushing the circus envelope since the mid-’80s, starting with elaborate productions and very bendable humans, then making their way up to narrative spectacles. Their latest, Kurios, is an exotic steampunk affair, complete with their usual mix of precision acrobatics and contortionists and topped off with an exhilaratingly macabre selection of novelty acts including an invisible circus and a surreal dinner party/balancing act. Take it all in at Lone Star Park through March 26. Lone Star Park, 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie, 8 p.m., $25-$250, cirquedusoleil.com. — Jennifer Davis-Lamm
We actually look forward to Mondays now, thanks to the work of Stefan Gonzalez. The lineup he curates on that day every week at RBC is one of the best places in the city to discover new music. Outward Bound Mixtape began a few years ago at Crown and Harp on Lower Greenville before it moved to Deep Ellum, but in its new home it offers the same opportunity for local and touring acts to try out something new in front of an enthusiastic and open-minded crowd of regulars, whether that means a first show, brand new songs or a sound that defies genre labels. If you ask the act du jour in Dallas noise, punk, goth or free jazz where they played some of their first shows, you'll likely be told Outward Bound, so attend Mondays and stay ahead of the curve. RBC, 2617 Commerce St., 10 p.m., free, rbcdeepellum.com. — Caroline North