11 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, January 17 to 20

Cro--oo-o-oo-w! Yay! Our favorite intergalactic, film-riffing janitor, MST3K's creator and main mocker, Joel Hodgson, will be at Texas Theatre on Saturday night! There's also a massive celebration of low rider culture at the Dallas Contemporary, a riotous relaunch of

Rite of Spring

by the Joffrey Ballet, and a visit by Robert Ballard -- the discoverer of a little luxury liner called the Titanic -- at the Winspear.

Liven your inner spirit party animal and pounce on the weekend using this handy guide. Share it with your nearest and drunkest, and click on the event titles for more information. I'll see you out there. (I'll be the one rioting to Stravinsky.) Thursday 1.17 Robert Ballard at the Winspear -- In addition to being Earth's biggest cheerleader, Robert Ballard has the coolest job title ever: National Geographic Explorer in Residence. (I'm changing my business cards immediately.) He'll discuss life at the ocean's base, the Titanic, his philosophy about science education with today's youth and why we should invest in Earth. He's fascinating, and a steal at $25 a seat.

Artful Musings at the DMA -- We're all hungry to see Red, Dallas Theatre Center's upcoming show about the life of artist Mark Rothko. Since it won't open for a while longer, consider tonight's "Artful Musings" your painterly amuse-bouche. Moderated by poppa bear Maxwell Anderson is this discussion between art conservator and expert Carol Mancusi-Ungaro and Red's director, Joel Ferrell. There will also be a few scenes performed, so get excited, egg heads.

An Evening with NFL Star Everson Walls -- Know this: NFL legend Everson Walls is one stand-up dude. He's in town tonight talking about "Friendship and Sacrifice on and off the Gridiron," a topic he knows first hand. When his former teammate and longtime friend Ron Springs needed a kidney, Walls gave up his own. Now he's the MVP of life, not bad Walls. Not bad at all.

Friday 1.18 100 Year Anniversary Tribute to Rite of Spring -- Whether it was Stravinsky's cacophonous stew of chords and tones or the choreography, crazy outfits and ritualistic human sacrifice that was to blame, is still a topic of debate for music historians. Most likely, it was the combined drenching of all of those factors that caused Rite of Spring's very first audience to break out and riot. Yeah, what's now considered "classical," could really be categorized as noise music's embryo. Wrap your brain around that. The Joffrey Ballet will be in town this weekend -- a treat in itself -- and it'll perform Rite of Spring with the original choreography in honor of its century old debut. See it Friday or Saturday.

Two New Exhibitions at the MAC -- Word, 2013: You're lookin' great for art -- especially if we're using the MAC's new shows as an indicator. Here you'll see work by A&M Commerce School prof Michael Miller along with selections by former students Trenton Doyle Hancock, Daniel Kurt, Lawrence Lee, Robyn O'Neil and Jeff Parrott. Don't miss Jasmyne Graybill's Flourish filling up the side space.

Pablo Francisco at Addison Improv -- His mind is like a Kinder Egg, you never know what weird little puzzle is waiting to be assembled inside this popular comic. Francisco's in town folks! All weekend! And he's brought an army of alternative personalities to keep him company. Don't worry: they saved you a seat.

Late Nights in the Arts District -- These are the good times to live in Dallas. Our arts scene is EXPLODING, our cultural hub got a complete revamp and our local institutions have gotten hip to new technology and its ability to reach a younger crowd. This Late Nights is a reflection of all of that: Pop by the Nasher for a beautiful party in the garden or check out the Tiny Thumbs video art arcade happening at the DMA. Also: there's booze.

Saturday 1.19 Four Absolute Must-Attend Art Openings -- While last week we cheered on the Dragon Street galleries as they aired out their newest 2013 shows, this Saturday's openings border more on the experimental side of things. That's our favorite side, FYI. I've written a special guide so that you can make it to all four -- beginning with the incredible Charles Mayton at the Power Station, traveling to bicycle adoration at The Public Trust, exploring the best of Cuba at CentralTrak and closing with a tribute to low rider culture at the Dallas Contemporary, by Chicago artist DZINE. You'll need to see all of it. The Gypsy Wagon's Sixth Annual Rummage Sale-- Southern shoppers consider yourselves warned: This is the big annual bargain throwdown at Gypsy Wagon. It spans two days, but die hards will want to get there at Saturday's 10 a.m. opening. I mean, what if you can finally afford those pink boots?! You NEED those! Bring cash for this indoor, wings-out, shopping free-for-all. Joel Hodgson of MST3K at Texas Theatre -- He used to write comedy for folks like Jerry Seinfeld, then Joel's little cable access program and passion project, MST3K, was picked up by Comedy Central. We're all weirder, better humans because of that. He's in town for one-night-only, and he's presenting the classic MST3K episode of The Pod People, followed by a VIP meet-and-great, and finishing with an awesomely multi-media rich program called "Riffing Myself." In that last bit, Joel unlatches the compression chamber to reveal more than 300 slides from the early days of MST3K along with video and anecdotal blurt-outs. The show's gotten rave reviews at its previous 8 reveals, so don't sleep through your chance to see it in Dallas. By tickets for part, or all, of the evening.

Sunday 1.20 West Side Story at Bass Hall -- Snaps! Dance Fights! Hair comb switchblades! There's a reason why this show is still a very favorite of everyone everywhere -- it's timeless. This is the final day to catch it at Bass Hall so do that or regret it.

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