Arts & Culture News

21 Best Things to Do in Dallas This Week: April 11-17

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco plays Majestic Theatre Thursday.
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco plays Majestic Theatre Thursday. Scott Kowalchyk/CBS
Tue 4/11
Man, zombies are getting faster and faster every year. Did the undead take a Zumba class and start watching their carbs? Here’s some quick horror film history for the uninformed: The answer lies director Dan O’Bannon’s classic splatterpunk comedy horror action epic The Return of the Living Dead. Screenwriter John Russo’s first foray into zombie movies was the classic George Romero black and white thriller Night of the Living Dead. The movie’s legendary success spawned talk of a sequel and Russo and Romero didn’t see eye to eye on where to take the shuffling story of the undead next. So they split up and split the rights to their next respective films. Romero got the rights to use “of the Dead” for the titles of his legendary series that included allegorical tales of humanity’s true horrors such as Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead. Russo wrote a direct sequel to Night of the Living Dead but O’Bannon convinced him to make it sillier, gorier and faster. The result is The Return of the Living Dead, a horrific world where zombies can sprint like Olympic runners and cry out of brains like hordes of hoarse sports fans. The horror movie website Dread Central and the Alamo Drafthouse will screen the horror comedy classic Tuesday. Alamo Drafthouse, 100 S. Central Expressway, Richardson, 9 p.m., $7.58, — Danny Gallagher

While Glass Animals frontman, Dave Bayley, was studying neuroscience at King’s College London, he had no idea his band would catch the eye of Adele producer Paul Epworth. The band all finished their schooling before going on to become trip-hop stars across the pond, being the first band signed to Epworth’s label Wolf Tone in 2012. Now fresh off the release of their sophomore album How to Be a Human Being, the quartet hailing from Oxford has popped up on critic’s radars and infected the hearts of Europe’s club goers and college kids with their psychedelic pop. Their latest album features songs inspired by oddball stories and millennial pop culture touchstones like Adventure Time. “Season 2 Episode 3” tells the tale of a boy in love with a couch potato, while “Mama’s Gun” takes its cue from a taxi driver’s meth fueled bender. Glass Animals will be joined by Australian psychedelic dance trio Jagwar Ma, for a night full of bright poppy music with a subdued electronic edge. South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St., Suite 101, 8 p.m., $31, — Nicholas Bostick

We’ve come to expect that anything under the banner of the Soluna Festival will be pretty extraordinary. The annual fest anchored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra aims to interject an edgy diversity and international flair into the Dallas arts legacy. Though it doesn’t officially kick off until May, we’re starting to see affiliated events pop up in anticipation of the summer program, and Dallas Theater Center’s production of Electra really gets the Soluna party started. This ain’t your momma’s Sophoclean tragedy. The Dallas Theater Center presents an explosive adaptation in the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Annette Strauss Square (2403 Flora St.), which puts its audience members in a mobile theatrical experience outdoors and sets a pair of headphones atop their noggins for special insight into the interplay between lust, betrayal and vengeance. The production, which is meant for audiences aged 11 and up, will run through Sunday, May 21, with performances at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, as well as 2 p.m. matinees on some weekends. Annette Strauss Square, 2403 Flora St., 8:30 p.m., $20-$90, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Wed 4/12
Broadway is on a quest to turn every movie you love and hold dear in your heart into a musical whether it deserves to become a musical or not. It’s going to happen. The quicker you learn to accept it, the quicker you can get on with your life. So brace yourself because Freddy vs. Jason is going to become Versus!: A Freddy and Jason Musical. Airplane! is going to be turned into a musical called Airplane!! with one extra exclamation point because that’s what Broadway does. The Wild Detectives bookstore is starting its own memo to the Great White Way by staging its own series of musical treatments called “Movies That Should Be Musicals.” The series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, at Fearing’s Restaurant (2121 McKinney Ave.) with a musical rendition of director Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own, the 1992 dramatic comedy based on the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball Association that starred Geena Davis and Tom Hanks. Fearing's Restaurant, 2121 McKinney Ave., 7:30 p.m., $15, — Danny Gallagher

Thu 4/13
Sam France and Jonathan Rado are the California-based duo Foxygen. They’ve been making waves since the mid-2000s with their unfailingly dynamic live performances. Their latest album, Hang — anchored by the jubilant single, "Follow the Leader" — is a rollicking affair that incorporates elements of classic rock, glam, jazz and even showtunes into its bombastic total package. As frenetic onstage as they can be in the recording studio, Foxygen shows are marked by glittering lights, trippy stage designs and a bevy of backing vocalists and musicians. But all this merely serves as a backdrop for Rado's stoic keyboard and guitar playing and France's theatricality as a lead vocalist. At times, Foxygen concerts can appear to be on the verge of slipping completely off the rails, but years of touring have taught them how to walk this high-wire. They're playing the new album in its entirety on this tour run, so expect to hear sharp versions of those tracks and a few older tunes slipped in among an evening full of audio and visual wonder. Trees, 2709 Elm St., 8:30 p.m., $20, — Jeff Strowe

Texas may not have left as big of a mark on the art of comedy as places like the Borscht Belt scene in the Catskills or Chicago’s storied Second City theater, but at least we’re trying. And for once we’re not referring to the fact that Rick Perry gave Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show some of its best material since Dick Cheney mistook lawyers for quail. What we’re talking about is our beloved Dallas Comedy House, which has come up with its own unique way to deliver comedy with its weekly Ewing Show, in which some of the club’s stellar performers create a fully improvised scene based on audience suggestions. See it at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday nights at the Dallas Comedy House. Dallas Comedy House, 2645 Commerce St., 9:30 p.m., $10, — Danny Gallagher

PrismCo is a literal mover and shaker in the Dallas arts scene. Their gift is the ability to convey complex storylines via kinetics — moving, pulsing, dancing. And their conceptual, physical art has drawn a fair amount of attention: 2015’s Persephone was a backlit, shadowy theatrical tour de force that left audiences as speechless as the production itself. PrismCo returns with another mythical motif, this time tackling the story of Medea. Founders Jeff Colangelo and Katy Tye have workshopped this exploration of the ruthless and tragic Greek figure as part of the residential Celebration Barn workshop — so audiences can expect a dark, frenetic and engaging interpretation of this complex mythology. Medea Myth: Love’s Beginning kicks off at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Wyly Theatre (2400 Flora St.), with performances through Sunday, April 23. Showtimes are Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m. Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St., 8 p.m., $20, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

When Rick Ross takes the stage at Gas Monkey Live! he’ll be a free man for the first time in a long time. Last week a video of Ross removing his court-ordered ankle monitor went viral and now the Bawse is in full celebratory mode. This show comes a few weeks after the release of his chart-topping album Rather You Than Me. With nine studio albums under his belt at the age of 41, the Teflon Don is hitting new strides in his career. He still boasts about his luxurious lifestyle in his raps, but on his new album he couples that with reflective storytelling and a mentor mentality. This is best heard on “Idols Become Rivals,” where Ross takes aim at hip-hop mogul Birdman, who’s holding Lil Wayne’s new album hostage. (Lil Wayne is one of Ross’ longtime collaborators and friends.) This show is poised to be one of Ross’ best Dallas appearances as he has a lot of new material to perform. Gas Monkey Live!, 10261 Technology Blvd. E., 7:30 p.m., $55-$150, — Mikel Galicia

Observational comedians usually just spend 45 minutes on stage telling you about the things they’ve seen like some kind enterprising journalist who specializes in microwave burritos and the models they find for paper towel brand labels. They barely move. They constantly stand in one place just clutching a microphone. You wouldn’t know they were alive if their mouths weren’t moving and they occasionally breathed into the microphone. Sebastian Maniscalco falls in the observational comedian category but he doesn’t waste the space he occupies when he performs comedy. He’s all over the place. He’s animated and active. He paints the scenes he presents with his whole being whether he’s talking about his family from Chicago or ranting about doorbells. Maniscalco’s current tour “Why Would You Do That?” makes a stop at the Majestic Theatre Thursday. Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 7 p.m., $39.75, — Danny Gallagher

The buzz surrounding legendary jam band Grateful Dead has reached a fever pitch after the Sundance premiere of Martian Scorsese’s Long Strange Trip and the announcement of a May tour for Dead & Company. But before Bob Weir sets out on the road with former Dead members Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, he’ll be cruising through the South to support his latest solo album, 2016’s Blue Mountain. Working with famed Americana singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and assorted members of The National, Weir’s album is a reboot for the 69-year-old guitarist. Sporting a more grizzled voice after decades of experience playing with the Grateful Dead, Weir seems to have toned down the psychedelic soundscapes of his past work, opting for a cavernous country vibe loaded with clever allusions and analogies to cowboy culture. The Campfire Band, comprised of the aforementioned members of The National as well as RatDog guitarist Steve Kimock, helped with the recording of Blue Mountain and will back Weir throughout his solo tour as well. Seeing as Dead & Company won’t be passing through Dallas during their tour, this is the best chance Dallas Deadheads will get to see Weir in action. Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., 7:30 p.m., $29-$286, — Nicholas Bostick

click to enlarge
See Dallas Theater Center's production of Electra outside at Annette Strauss Square through May 21.
Karen Almond
Fri 4/14
More than 25 years after the finale of Twin Peaks aired on broadcast television, a new season of the TV series with the cult-like following will debut on Showtime on May 21. The original series of Twin Peaks, co-created by Mark Frost and David Lynch, told the story of the investigation and fall-out surrounding the murder of Laura Palmer, and the finale left fans of Special Agent Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer and the Log Lady wanting more. A year after the Twin Peaks series finale aired on broadcast TV, in 1992, Lynch’s prequel-with-elements-of-a-sequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was released in theaters. The feature-length film chronicles the last week of Laura Palmer’s life while tying up a few loose ends from the original series. The film screens in 35mm film at 9 p.m. Friday at Texas Theatre. The theater’s website instructs ticket holders to “stick around for a very special event in the Red Room, aka The Safe Room” — a room with flooring that looks identical to the black-and-white chevron pattern in the Red Room. Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., 9 p.m., $10.75, — Daniel Rodrigue

In the beginning of Damon Wayans Jr.’s stand-up career, even his alias, Kyle Green, didn’t help his strikingly similarity to his namesake. Wayans told George Lopez people would shout, mid-punchline, “That’s Damon Wayans’ son!” We wonder if, after he began his stint on New Girl, people greeted him with a loud “COACH!” He would probably brush it off in a style as laid back and “everyman” as his stand-up. Wayans Jr. is headlining the Arlington Improv (309 Curtis Mathes Way) at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The laughter is intense, but the man is as insanely likable as he is intelligent, so his brand of stand-up is strong to say the least, also matching in skill his pedigree in comedy writing and acting. Let’s not forget that at 20, he became the youngest staff writer on TV, with his gig on My Wife and Kids, and who doesn’t watch Let’s Be Cops every time it’s on cable? Arlington Improv, 309 Curtis Mathes Way, 8 and 10:30 p.m., $25 and up, — Merritt Martin

Sat 4/15
Britain’s latest attempt to conquer the hearts and minds of America’s youth comes in the form of The 1975. The quartet’s power pop ’80s sound blends the look and lovelorn lyricism of New Wave pop-rock bands like the Cure or Tears for Fears, with bombastic instrumental compositions reminiscent of Michael Jackson and Huey Lewis & The News, all projected through the glazed-over eyes of a Jonas Brother. Their latest album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, adds a layer of angst to the sonic grab bag. Tracks like “Change of Heart,” sound like they’d feel right at home in a John Hughes flick, but are mixed in with more ambient electronic-themed tunes like the album’s title track. While it might be hard to find your way to your seats through the throng of screaming fans this band has garnered since their debut in 2012, The 1975 is talented enough to make their hodgepodge of competing sounds compelling to say the least. Allen Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Road, 7:30 p.m., $29.50-$45, — Nicholas Bostick

Following the Fort Worth Opera’s opening night dinner at City Club, the FWO Festival kicks off with a grand opening gala concert. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will be joined by a number of esteemed guests: Fort Worth’s own brilliantly expressive soprano Ava Pine and the dynamic, colorful baritone Michael Mayes, among other local talents. While the evening is something of a tease of greater events to come (Carmen, Voir Dire, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna), the Fort Worth Opera is promising their grandest opening yet. Joe Illick conducts. Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth, 7:30 p.m., $17 and up, — Jonathan Patrick

The 1980s were the heyday of prom culture — it was a time when “prom-posals” were just notes passed in class; when dancing didn’t require choreography; and when pre-prom activities meant an overcrowded table at the Sizzler. It was a simpler time, when hairspray and shoulder pads were deeply important accessories. It was easy, it was a crucial rite of passage, and most importantly, it was fun. And it can all be experienced at the 3rd Annual ’80s Prom at the Granada Theater (3524 Greenville Ave.) Saturday. Live 80 will play all the songs you’d expect to be the backdrop for a neon, New Wave night that’s rounded out with prizes, costume contests and a prom king and queen crowning at the end of the night. Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 8 p.m., $15-$49, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

The voice that launched a thousand jangly guitar bands, Morrissey has made sardonic posturing and self-involved sensitivity a hip look for over 30 years now. At 57 years old, the artist formerly known as “the only guy from the Smiths whose name you can remember” remains as angsty and golden-tongued as ever. He can still make a pop song feel like a dark secret whispered in a David Lynch wet dream. With a silvery lilt and a melodic turn, he can still make you feel 17 again — and that the world is an immensely beautiful thing just waiting to be conquered. Despite the years of controversy, angry veganism and scores of canceled shows, Morrissey is still just Morrissey: one of the very best and most influential figures pop has ever seen. Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 8 p.m., $77.75-$109.75. — Jonathan Patrick

If you can explain what’s going on in David Lynch’s mind, you need help but I still want in. No other film on Lynch’s resume perhaps with the exception of Eraserhead exhibits the insane mindset of its creator better than Lost Highway, a movie where using “surreal” to describe it seems like a cruel insult. On the surface, it looks like a noir story about a man convicted of murder who morphs into the bodies of younger people to escape his fate, but that’s just a report of the events. It feels like something that mere mortals aren’t meant to understand in order to protect them from bursting the cocoon of comfort they constantly keep around them. Oh, and it stars Bill Pullman in one of the most underrated performances of his career. The Texas Theatre has been celebrating Lynch’s films with a series of screenings that culminates with Lost Highway in its original 35 mm format Saturday night. The event also features live “behind the screen” musical performances by Flesh Narc, Thin Skin, Jesus Chris and the Beetles and Filth. Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., 8:30 p.m., $6-$14, — Danny Gallagher

Sun 4/16
Dallas’ most colorful springtime tradition returns for picnic lunches, Easter festivities and a pastel-colored pooch parade. Easter in Lee Park gets hopping from 1 to 4 p.m. on Easter Sunday. The green space at 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd. comes alive with Easter egg hunts, live music from the Gypsy Playboys and DJ Jen Miller, food trucks, photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny and that legendary pooch parade at 2 p.m. featuring bedazzled, bedecked and incredibly patient dogs prancing around in Easter finery. If the parade leaves you pining for a pet of your own, there will be animal rescue organizations on site with adoptable friends. Join the throngs at this colorful spring ritual. Admission is free; pet parade entry is $10 at Lee Park, 3333 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 1-4 p.m., $10, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

We may have the most advanced video gaming technology in the history of the medium, but the board game will never die. They're way more immersive than an Oculus Rift headset can ever hope to be, and the most inclusive form of friendly competition. A board game can be deceptively simple and become ridiculously complex in a matter of minutes. Alliances are tested and rivalries are formed. Of course, booze always makes the experience better. That’s why Glass Half Full bar and restaurant at the
Alamo Drafthouse hosts a free, regular board game night at 5 p.m. Sunday. Players can enjoy a game of Munchkin, Settlers of Catan, Say Anything! or Arkham Horror or play a game from their private collections. Alamo Drafthouse, 100 S. Central Expressway, Richardson, 5 p.m., free, — Danny Gallagher

Mon 4/17
If you’ve been meaning to pick up a good book, meet like-minded people and enjoy discounted booze in a cozy bookstore, now is your chance. The Wild Detectives is your haven for homey fun and literature and will host this month’s Book Club featuring a haunting novel, Universal Harvester, from singer-songwriter and author John Darnielle. Darnielle is a New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award nominee Wolf in White. The plot of Universal Harvester follows different characters and moves between three time periods; from a 1990s video store clerk, to a wife and mother turned cult follower in the ’70s, to present day with a retired couple and their children who find disturbing video footage in the basement of a newly purchased farmhouse. Find out why the genre of the gripping novel is a topic of debate at the Wild Detectives and enjoy 10 percent off anything at the bar and the purchase of the book. Wild Detectives, 314 W. 8th St., 7:30 p.m., free, — Diamond Victoria

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, — Caroline North
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Caroline Pritchard studied English at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and in 2012 returned to her hometown of Dallas, where she spends her free time seeking out new places to roller skate and play pinball.
Contact: Caroline North

Latest Stories