14 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, December 18 - 21

If you missed the 2007 film that made Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová famous, you missed one of the most compelling soundtracks ever made. The songs in Once turned the quiet drama into a hit, which eventually found its way to Broadway, where it answered its showy neighbors with intimate numbers and a simple story: Guy meets girl, shows her his music, they fall in love. There's more to it than that, but it's romantic and thoroughly lovely. It's stopped in Dallas through December 28 at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets are available at attpac.org.

Thursday, December 18 Last weekend of Dreamarchitectronics To build their new media installation at the Dallas Contemporary, Frank and Lee Dufour spent copious amounts of time researching the most common dreams humans have when they travel into their own subconcious. They surveyed friends, scoured Web sites and interviewed experts. Then, they built a computer that can understand words and vocal pitch. They hooked that computer up to videos and soundscapes based on their dream research, and finally compiled of book of French poet Gaston Bachelard. The result? Dreamarchitectronics, for which you, the visitor, read a section of poetry aloud and based on your emotion when reading, the system creates a dream for you. It feels like the moment upon awaking when you attempt to reconstruct the dreams from the night before. You'll want to spend all afternoon there and it's your last weekend to do so. Admission to the Dallas Contemporary (161 Glass St.) is free and hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12-5 p.m. Sundays. The system remains live through December 21. More info at dallascontemporary.org.

Matt Lyle's House Party When playwright and funnyman Matt Lyle decided to move back to Dallas, we became richer in laughs. Earlier this year he gave us Barbecue Apocalypse, a side-spittingly funny tale of the end of the world as we know it. Now, he's teamed up with the folks at Fun House Theatre and Film for a holiday show. In a one weekend only run, the show is sure to be hilarious, because well Fun House + Lyle = comedy gold. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday - Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $5 at funhousetheatreandfilm.com.

Last weekend for Zoot Suit In 1942, 17 Mexican -American teenagers were put on trial for the murder of Jose Gallardo Diaz. They were held in prison, without bail for months and nine of them were convicted of second-degree murder. Two years later, the convictions were reversed on appeal, but not before they served to incite the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. It was that trial, and those riots that served as the inspiration for Zoot Suit, Luis Valdez's 1979 play. It's a fictionalized account of the story, with incidental music, and its production at Cara Mia Theatre marks the company's first musical. Directed by Rodney Garza and Ariana Cook, the play will be onstage at the Latino Cultural Center (2600 Live Oak) December 6 - 21. Tickets are $12 + up. More information at caramiatheatre.org.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Concert Everyone's christmas needs tunes, and all tunes are better when performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Performances at 7:30 p.m. nightly through Sunday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Pegasus Reading Series: Cure, Gabbert, George, Jacob One of the newest series from Wordspace, the Pegasus Reading Series gives poets and writers a forum to read their work to other writers or curious listeners. This month's writers include a selection of poets and authors, along with a short designated time for anyone who'd like to read. Starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at Two Bronze Doors.

Serial Listening Party, Last Episode If you've been keeping up with the hit podcast from This American Life creators, then you're probably waiting on pins and needles for Thursday's episode. Share the revelation or the disappointment with other fans at the Sundown at Granada listening party. Bring a blanket and grab a cereal themed drink and listen to whether or not Sarah Koenig actually knows anything more than you do about the case. Meanwhile, here's a hilarious Funny or Die parody.

Deep Ellum Wine Walk Sip while you shop through the stores and galleries of Deep Ellum. From 5-8p.m. you can pick up a $5 wine glass and wind your way through the 10s of stores in the neighborhood. Start at Kettle Art Gallery and head everywhere from Lulu B's to Life of Riley for refills.

Friday, December 19

Festivus for the Rest of Us That loveliest of holidays given to us by the Costanza family will be celebrated with fervor at Klyde Warren Park Friday night. There will be feats of strength, a Festivus pole, and, of course, airing of grievances. So bring your loved ones, and yell at them, "I've got a lot of problems with you people." Head to the Southwest Porch (the Relish Burger counter) at 5 p.m. Friday. More info at klydewarrenpark.org.

Saturday, December 20 The Nearly Naked Nutcracker Burlesque. Christmas. For all you naughty people. Tickets are $20-$25, so it's also a great gift opportunity for the good-bads in your life. Visit treesdallas.com for tickets.

Cedric the Entertainer What more is there to say? THE entertainer is in town this weekend. See him at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place. Tickets are $35-$85 each depending on available seating.

Better Block Christmas Market You're late to the game. We hear you. And making a last minute trip to NorthPark to buy your mother something overpriced and destined to be underused from Williams Sonoma will only take up more time than you have. Let's face it, you've been running a bit behind all year. You finally got around to paying your taxes last month and you still haven't updated to the iPhone 6. That "shop local" trend has been around years, but you just learned about it yesterday. Stop stressing and take a sip of this piping hot glass of mulled wine. Look around you, you're at Lucky Dog Books (633 W. Davis Street) at the Better Block Christmas Market. Take a deep breath and peruse either the shop's book colelction or the locally hand-crafted wares at the pop-up shop. Take your time, it's only 5 p.m. now, you have until 10 p.m. More information at betterblock.org.

Holiday Mockbuster Double Feature As a holiday rendition of the series we launched with the Granada Theater and Dallas Comedy House this summer, Mockbusters is back. This Saturday, Granada screens a double feature of Home Alone and Christmas Vacation, and if you've had your fill of gut-busting laughs from Chevy Chase, the comedians from DCH will be live Tweeting their jokes during the movie. Admission is free. Starts at 8 p.m.

Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance is something most adults understand, and relate to. That two things you believe or value could be in direct conflict with one another is a frustrating, anxiety-filled way to live in this gray-shaded world. The new series of work by Dallas-based artist Gaeb Cardinale shares a name with this psychological struggle. He juxtaposes vibrant blocks of color with stark, cold backgrounds to create pieces that pop. During the opening reception for his exhibition at Two Bronze Doors (5732 Richmond Ave.) from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, a dj will spin tunes and Braindead Brewpub will pour drinks. More information at twobronzedoors.com.

Sunday, December 21

Staged Reading: Advent In spite of Dallas' reputation for not being a particularly writer-friendly town, a few brave souls keep plucking away at a typewriter day after day, trying to find truth. They are novelists, journalists, and playwrights, like Montgomery Sutton -- an actor and writer who bounces back and forth between New York City and here, his hometown. At 7 p.m. Sunday, a cast of local actors will read his newest play, Advent at 500 X Gallery in Exposition Park. It's part of a reading series he put together called "Hatchlings" that meet around town and read scripts.

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