14 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas this Weekend, Jan. 1 - 4

I had the startling realization yesterday that the past two new year's eves have been complete letdowns. One year a group of friends went to a warehouse party where we drank cheap liquor, shared the flu with mouth kisses, and left just after midnight a little bored and completely disappointed. Last year, I fabricated a romantic encounter with an old flame only t to find myself drunk and in tears crawling into my bed at my parent's house around 1 a.m. Don't feel sorry for me; that was the beginning of a pretty wonderful year. But if you find your New Year's plans haven't been mind-blowing and you're looking for things to do this weekend, we've got you covered. (If you're looking for NYE plans, click here.)

Thursday, Jan. 1 Blue Man Group It's time to inject a bit of blue into the bright lights and sparkling colors that characterize the merrymaking this holiday season. Red and green has had its time to shine -- it's decked all the halls and festooned the trees for over a month now -- and our eyes could use a refresher from the warm tones of Christmas. Enter the Blue Man Group -- those coolly-colored performers known for their inventive and experimental shows that blend comedy, music and choreography. The azure artists bring their tonal presentation to the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.) with performances daily through Sunday, January 4. A new LED curtain and high-res screen will add an extra, bright pop to their onstage presence -- and an additional element of fun to their special New Year's Eve show at 10 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $25 to $150 at attpac.org. - Jennifer Davis-Lamm

The Book Club Play I've been to one book club meeting. It was a diverse group of ladies, some professionals, some artists, some stay-at-home moms. There was wine, there were introductions, there was a tacit understanding that it was supposed to be fun. And when it was time to discuss the book at hand -- a thought-provoking best-seller, but not exactly an intellectual tour de force -- one of the women gulped her merlot and offered, "I found it, like, really existential." It could have been a scene in The Book Club Play, a comedy by Karen Zacarias that opens at the Kalita Humphreys Theater (3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The book club in question is being filmed by a legendary Dutch filmmaker (think Lars von Trier), and the play raises questions about intellectual snobbery and the line between literature and pop culture. Differing personalities in the club clash and play off one another, portrayed by a talented cast from Dallas Theater Center. Buy your tickets for a chance to read between the lines at dallastheatercenter.org; they range from $15 to $55. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. - JDL

Oh La La! Now that the visions of sugarplums are long gone, replace them with aerial silks and acrobatic tricks at Oh La La!, presented by Lone Star Circus at Dallas Children's Theater this week. Don't let the word circus fool you. There won't be any clowns or prancing horses -- just human feats that will reaffirm your child's belief in magic. It's become a holiday tradition for some Dallas families. See it at 7:30 p.m. Thursday or through January 4 at Dallas Children's Theater (5938 Skillman St.). Tickets available starting at $25 at lonestarcircus.com.

Another Murder, Another Show Harry Hunsacker is one of those people who leaves a body trail in his wake. Like dear old Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote fame or Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. Hunsacker is something of a buzzkill. Think you're going for an ordinary night at the theater? Nope -- you're in for an evening of mayhem, murder and amateur sleuthing at its best. Follow the exploits of this bumbling murder-magnet in Pegasus Theatre's Another Murder, Another Show, as he unravels a whodunit at a theater awards show with the help of his trusty sidekick, Nigel Grouse. They'll show off their comedic, investigative magic in a classic black and white color scheme during the play's run at the Eisemann Center (2351 Performance Drive, Richardson), beginning with a performance at 8 p.m. New Year's Eve and at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through January 25, with additional performances at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $22 at eisemanncenter.com. -JDL

Sparkle! There are still a few more days left to ice skate at the Anatole. The rink stays up through January 5. Admission is $19.95 for ages 13 and up and $15.95 for seniors and children ages 3 to 12. Toddlers get in for free. Visit hiltonanatolehotel.com/christmas-experience for more information on daily events and to order tickets.

Friday, January 2 Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s There are just a few days left to see one of my favorite exhibitions of 2014. Urban Theater is a time capsule from some of art's most rebellious years. See work from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Julian Schnabel, and so many others. See it at The Modern (3200 Darnell St.) through January 4, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesdays - Sundays. General admission is $10. More information at themodern.org

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change Christmas has officially vacated store shelves, and that means the trappings of Valentine's Day have flown in and claimed their place in the bright and shiny halls of holiday consumerism. That's right -- it's time to bid adieu to the Christmas spirit and start welcoming looooove (and dinner reservations at Lucia, fingers crossed) with open arms. Get yourself in the mood with Theatre Three's annual production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change this Friday or through Sunday, February 15 at Theatre Three (2800 Routh St.). The series of vignettes about love, dating and marriage include rousing musical numbers that will put a little spark back in your heart and get you primed for the giant romance bomb headed your way this February. Tickets to the lovefest are $35 to $50 at theatre3dallas.com. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. -JDL

DC vs. Marvel Burlesque Sexy comic characters battle it out onstage in sexy burlesque routines. It will be Viva Dallas Burlesque's last show at the historic Lakewood Theater, so you can't miss it. Tickets are $20-150 and available at lakewoodtheater.com.

Killer Mutant Leeches! It'll be campy, it'll be funny, and it'll be interactive. The Pocket Sandwich Theatre (5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, #119) takes you back to the good old days in cinema with a '50s horro parody that tells the story of a small town with a big problem. The play opens at 8 p.m. Friday, January 2 and continues at 7 or 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until Saturday, February 14. Tickets at pocketsandwich.com.

Saturday, January 3 Mother Earth Is a Dirty Whore My introduction to the work of Joachim West was in a group exhibition at CentralTrak called Draftsmen of the Apocalypse.The Goya drawings at the Meadows Museum were fresh in my mind and seemed an apt comparison to West's work. His intricate graphite drawings and interest in the shadows, in the abject is gripping and much of his work is directly inspired by personal devastating experiences. RO2 Art gives us a chance to see his work in a solo exhibition that will be on view through February 1 at Ro2. See it from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. The opening reception will be from 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Visit ro2art.com for more.

Chamber Music Society's Legends of Their Time A new local classical music piano trio Dicterow- deMaine- Biegel will perform a concert at the Kimbell Art Museum at 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $7-35.

Ben Folds with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra There's a lot more to do in Fort Worth on Saturday then there is in Dallas, it seems. So if you want to make a day of it, grab a burger at Rodeo Goat and a drink at The Usual between shows and museums. End your night with Ben Folds and the FWSO at the Bass Performance Hall. Tickets are $50-110 at fwsymphony.org.

Sunday, January 4 3rd Annual Hypnotic Donuts Polar Plunge According to the weather app on my phone it will be 41 and sunny on Sunday, which isn't warm, but I wouldn't call it "polar." Nevertheless daring people to jump in a cold pool and serving donuts is a great way to raise money for the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. This annual event will take place at the Fraternal Order of Eagles #3108 (8500 Arturo Drive) at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10. More information at hypnoticdonuts.com..

Family Movie Night presents Sabbatical After a full season of big, flashy films large on hype but small on substance, the folks at pop-up film series Family Movie Night have a refreshing antidote to your holiday, cinematic hangover. Their presentation of Sabbatical brings a mighty little indie sleeper to The Texas Theatre (231 West Jefferson Blvd.) at 7 p.m. Sunday. The Brandon Colvin-directed film is one of the most-praised undistributed films of 2014, earning lots of love for its tale of a pessimistic professor on an academic sabbatical to care for his sick mother and finish his book on Soren Kierkegaard. The professor's return to his rural hometown stirs up lots of unresolved feelings with old friends and family. The sparse cinematography, muted color palette, and careful use of sound set the tone for this contemplative little gem, starring the simmering Robert Longstreet in the central role. To purchase tickets for $10, visit indiegogo.com.

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