Night & Day
It never feels like Christmas in Texas. The closest we'll get to a winter wonderland is by turning on the air conditioner and spraying snow all over our windows; white Christmases just don't happen here. Since we're desperate, we'll settle for a wet Christmas, especially since driving through a flash flood on four bald tires really does feel like you're in a sleigh. With the arrival of the wet and cold weather, it's finally time to break out the Bing Crosby Christmas CD and partake in a little leisurely tour of the lights. The best place to start is the SMU campus, where its 25th annual Celebration of Lights is in full swing. The campus' decorations include a 25-foot blue spruce tree with all the trimmings, and more than 100,000 tiny white lights illuminating the columns of Dallas Hall. With liberal use of flour (or some other snow substitute), it almost feels like Christmas. Almost. The lights will be on display throughout December. Dallas Hall is located at 3225 University Blvd. Call (214) 768-3333 for directions.
In case you haven't noticed our disdain for It's a Wonderful Life in previous editions of Night & Day, let us make it crystal-clear. Outside of Tim Allen's recent schlockbuster, The Santa Clause, it's the most annoying Christmas movie ever. For a while, we thought our contempt for the film came from the fact that it was on television more than commercials during the holidays. But when its once-epic number of holiday appearances was scaled down a few years back, we realized it wasn't the quantity but the quality that annoyed us so. As ashamed as we are to say it, we were rooting for Jimmy Stewart to jump. However, we realize admitting our dislike for the film is like throwing a snowball in a blizzard. So, for those who think a Christmas without It's a Wonderful Life is like a birthday without candles, we offer a slight variation of the tale, a musical adaptation created by lyricist Keith Ferguson and composer Bruce Greer. All the Bedford Falls regulars will get their moment to step into the spotlight and sing, including Uncle Billy, Mr. Potter, and of course, George. We'd be lying if we said we've been waiting for this for a long time, but hey, we won't be a Grinch about it. The musical adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life happens December 18-20 at the Majestic Theatre. Call (972) 647-5700.
Since 1974, KERA 90.1 has broadcast Glenn Mitchell's Christmas Blockbuster, a set of Christmas tunes performed by artists ranging from the well-known (Louis Armstrong's rendition of "Christmas Night in Harlem") to the obscure (the who-in-the-hell? Wilder Brothers taking on "I Want a Goat for Christmas"). In between, Mitchell might spin anything from a medley of carols played on hand bells to a Freddie King blues jam. This year, for his 25th-anniversary show, Mitchell has pulled out all the stops, mounting a 24-hour marathon that will most likely beat the Christmas spirit right out of him. Actually, that might be the most entertaining part of Mitchell's shindig. Who will win: Mitchell or 24 hours of Christmas music? It should be close. The Christmas Blockbuster marathon begins Saturday at noon. Listen at your own discretion.
Throughout the month of December, Elscorcho has been performing a series of benefit concerts around town. Not only that, but the local band is also running a toy drive and selling a Christmas single, proceeds of which will go to the kids at Buckner Children and Family Services. The band's holiday activities culminate with two shows this week: Sunday at Muddy Waters, and Monday at Club Dada. The Monday-night show will be a special set, featuring all Christmas songs. Honestly, we've never been a huge fan of Elscorcho, but we'll do anything for a good cause, even sit through an hour of average alternarock. Monetary and toy donations can be brought to either show. Call Club Dada (2720 Elm), (214) 744-DADA; or Muddy Waters (1518 Greenville), (214) 823-1518, for more information.
To inject a bit of spirituality into the holiday season, First Unitarian Church of Dallas will host its annual Winter SolstiCelebration on Monday, a multicultural, inter-faith worship service honoring the darkness of winter with poetry and dance. Set on the first day of winter--and the longest night of the year, though the above description may have told you that--the event features music by North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Drums, harpist Geoffrey Ricketts, and jazz trumpeter Freddie Jones, as well as performances by comedian Mark Fickert and poets Lora Cain, Peggy Lamb, and Martha Murphy Hall. Have a very schizophrenic Christmas! The Winter SolstiCelebration happens on Monday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 4015 Normandy at Preston. Admission is free. Call (214) 320-3851.
There's possibly nothing more annoying than receiving weird coins--e.g., half-dollars--as change. That's one of the biggest drawbacks of The Red Jacket offshoot The Ruby Room, which passes out tons of the coins bearing John F. Kennedy's likeness. Fortunately, the club has a kitschy quality that makes up for its frequent use of the unwieldy piece of silver. As in, it is constructing a faux grassy knoll on top of the bathroom, a tribute to the Kennedy connections of its namesake, Jack Ruby. The club got off to a shaky start, but it's made a comeback as of late thanks to a switch in background music, courtesy of a host of younger DJs. Go ahead and check it out, but remember to bring exact change. The Ruby Room is located at 3606 Greenville. Call (214) 823-8333.
No one has gone further with one idea than Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, the creators of the fictional Tuna, Texas, and its theatrical offspring Greater Tuna and Red, White and Tuna. A Tuna Christmas is the third of the trio, Sears and Williams' take on a small-town Christmas. If you've seen the other two plays, you know how the story goes. If you don't, well, the plot never mattered much anyway. If you laugh uncontrollably when driving through one-pickup towns in Texas where going out to eat involves a Dairy Queen, you'll enjoy this. A Tuna Christmas happens December 22 through 27 at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Tickets are $18-$45. Call (972) 647-5700.
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