The 20 Best Things To Do in Dallas This Week, Jan. 13 – 19

Neda Khalilian (left) and Wendy Long (right) take a mind-dismantling walk through the Vortex Tunnel at the Museum of Illusions.
Neda Khalilian (left) and Wendy Long (right) take a mind-dismantling walk through the Vortex Tunnel at the Museum of Illusions. Danny Gallagher

Monday, January 13

Paul Slavens & Friends
Like on most Mondays, the spontaneous song generator, DJ and Ten Hands frontman Paul Slavens will take the stage at Dan’s Silverleaf. Slavens writes and performs songs on the spot, improvising about whatever comes to mind. Song title suggestions get thrown at him from the crowd and he just runs with them. Attendees might hear songs about escaping the spiraling vortex of Ikea, robot children or whatever else they can think of. If this isn’t part of your Monday music routine by now, it should be. The free show starts at 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13, at Dan's Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., Denton. Jacob Vaughn

Get Seasoned Dallas! – John Tesar
El Centro College is starting the new year with a series of celebrity chef experiences in January, and kicking it off is no one else but chef John Tesar of Knife. Guests get a three-hour cooking class followed by a four-course, sit-down dinner with the chef. Tickets are $129 plus tax; only 20 seats are available. The event with Tesar will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at El Centro College North, 11830 Webb Chapel Road, Suite 1200. Visit for tickets and more information. Taylor Adams

Tuesday, January 14

Erin Morgenstern
Ask any bookshop keeper: Classic fantasy isn’t just for (or purchased for) kids. Children who read fantasy grow up to be adults who read fantasy. Many authors who wrote fantasy — think Carroll or Tolkien — included more mature themes as their characters aged or faced more difficult challenges. They opened the door for authors like Erin Morgenstern, who wrote highly praised romantic fantasy The Night Circus and her latest, The Starless Sea. The Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., welcomes Morgenstern at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for a discussion about the new release, which centers on a magical subterranean world uncovered after a grad student’s trip to the library. Lillie Burrow will lead an art tour featuring themes present in the book at 6:30 p.m., so arrive early. Event tickets are $20-$40. Purchase at Merritt Martin

Wednesday, January 15

Blue Man Group
Name a more iconic blue, bald man than the members of Blue Man Group ... other than Aladdin’s Genie (who, OK, had a ponytail) and Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen and most of the Smurfs, who were all bald under the hats, save for two. Regardless of the fact that bald, blue men are severely over-represented in pop culture, in over three decades since their Manhattan debut, the Blue Man Group has become an icon. The showmen, who have concurrent live shows in six cities, including Berlin and Las Vegas, will perform at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., Jan. 15-19. The family-friendly show is recommended for ages 3 and up. Tickets are $25-$150 at Eva Raggio

Thursday, January 16

An Evening with C.S. Lewis
Fans of The Chronicles of Narnia will step back in time to 1963 as they enjoy An Evening with C.S. Lewis starring British actor David Payne at the Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St. Performances of the one-man show, written by Payne, will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. The setting is the living room of Lewis' home near Oxford where he is hosting a group of American writers who are about to experience conversation and humor with one of the great writers and raconteurs of the 20th century. Lewis describes people and events that shaped his life — his friendship with fellow writer J. R. R. Tolkien, the impact that Christianity had on him and the influence of the American woman who turned his life upside down. For tickets ($65), call 214-880-0202, and for more information, visit Reba Liner

Big Freedia
Big Freedia is a big name in the bounce hip-hop scene that originated in New Orleans. Back in the early 1990s, this underground micro-genre of rap was in its early days, but by the end of the decade, Big Freedia was beginning to popularize it. She rose to the mainstream after performing in the 2009 music festival, then-named the Voodoo Music Experience. The next year, Big Freedia released Big Freedia Hitz Vol. 1 — a collection of previously released singles from '99 to 2010. Dubbed the Queen of Bounce, she puts on one of the most infectiously energizing shows, and if you've never seen her live, get ready for a lot of booty in your face with her incredibly vivacious dancers. It starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Tickets are $25 at Diamond Rodrigue
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Jade Nickol went from "Best Friends" country to Billie Eilish-ish "Marijuana and Gin."
Josue Briseno

Jade Nickol
Last year, local singer-songwriter Jade Nickol released her debut EP Murphy’s Law after putting out her second single "Marijuana and Gin." The single and the EP starkly contrast with Nickol's first release, “Best Friends,” in which she tried her hand at country music. In May, Nickol told the Observer that she tried to wipe the internet clean of "Best Friends," frustrated with the initial direction she tried to take her music. "Marijuana and Gin" marked a new beginning for Nickol's music career, in which she wants to write songs that are more true to herself. The free show starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Ave., Plano. Jacob Vaughn

Lera Lynn
In just a brief decade, Lera Lynn has assembled quite a career's worth of highlights. She's written songs with T-Bone Burnett and Rosanne Cash, performed music featured on HBO's True Detective, and released three high-quality albums worth of sweetly stylized Americana and indie rock. Her latest, Plays Well With Others, is a duet affair that blends Lynn's soulful vocals alongside kindred spirits like JD McPherson, Nicole Atkins and Shovels & Rope. With a prolific touring career also part of her ever-expanding résumé, it's a safe bet that some of these new songs will resonate strongly and get people moving as they pack into The Blue Light near the end of another work week. It starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at The Blue Light, 2811 Main St. Tickets are $17-$20 at Jeff Strowe

The Scandals
If your new year is still waiting for a kick-start, get on over to Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill on Thursday night for a local punk showcase that is sure to get your motor running. Dallas UK 82 mainstays The Scandals will be headlining the night with support from local favorites The Ellen Degenerates, Calculated Chaos and Captain Calavera — all for just five bucks. Taken from the title of a song by The Exploited, UK 82 is a blend of British street punk and American hardcore punk that is both pessimistic and apocalyptic in its lyrical focus and unabashedly aggressive in its music. Since forming in the summer of 2003, The Scandals have kept the sound of UK 82 alive, spreading heavy drumbeats and distorted guitars around packed house shows and sticker-coated venues with only 17 tracks of recorded material to their name (only four of which you can find streaming). If you're looking to explore the darker side of the Dallas punk scene, start at 8 p.m. Thursday, on Jan. 16, at Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill, 10261 Technology Blvd. E. Tickets are $5 at David Fletcher

Friday, January 17

Museum of Illusions
If you regularly hang out in the West End until the wee hours of the morning, you're probably drinking and partying so much that you're used to seeing things that aren't there. How would you like to do that and not wake up with a massive hangover for once? The new Museum of Illusions will host a special late-night tour of its trippy exhibits 6-11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. This special opening of the optical illusion museum will have a performance from a mind-bending illusionist, food from Ruthie's Food Trucks and a cash bar in addition to its exhibits of eye trickery. If you can't make it this week, the museum will host an After Hours event every third Friday of the month. The Museum of Illusions is located at 701 Ross Ave. Tickets are $19 for adults, $15 for children ages 5-12, and children under 4 get in for free. Student and military discounts are available for $17 with a valid ID. Visit the museum's website to purchase tickets and learn more. Danny Gallagher

Mandy Patinkin
Renaissance man Mandy Patinkin has range, y’all: From actor to Broadway showstopper to concert dynamo, the man is hard to pin down. If you’re only familiar with him via his roles on television procedurals or Showtime’s spy drama Homeland, buckle up and see what else he’s capable of during Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Diaries at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. During this eclectic performance, Patinkin covers everything from Sondheim to Randy Newman to Queen to The Magnetic Fields — bridging Broadway and indie pop with his signature tenor-to-baritone voice. Tickets to this dynamic and rousing musical journey are $57-$77 at Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
Fred Curchack, a renowned Renaissance theater artist and drama professor at UTD, will once again perform his one-man interpretation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Stuff as Dreams Are Made On, which he pulls off with a variety of masks and visual effects. Curchack created the show in 1983, toured internationally with it to critical acclaim and has been asked to perform it at a conference of Shakespeare theater directors from around the, ahem, globe. Hometown fans and curiosity seekers can check it out when it opens at 8 p.m. Friday and is followed by 8 p.m. performances Saturday and next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24 and 25, at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Suite 168. Tickets to all shows are $20 for general admission or $17 for those 65 and older, with discounts also available to students with valid ID. Jesse Hughey

Saturday, January 18

Krewe of Orleans Year of Royalty 2020 Mardi Gras Ball
After the holidays, it feels as though we could call any regular Tuesday “Fat Tuesday” (and every other weekday, tbh), as we’ve been stuffing ourselves with gusto. And don’t we feel so much more justified in our overeating when it’s a community affair? If you’re aching for a gumbo-scented whiff of Mardi Gras but don’t feel like driving or finding a hotel (a myth less credible than voodoo; there are none) in the Big Easy, the closest you will get to the real deal is by attending the Louisiana-bred Krewe Of Orleans’ Mardi Gras Ball, which comes complete with a brass band and royal court and promises to be hotter than a crawfish boil in June. It runs from 6 p.m. through midnight at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St. Tickets are $53.44 and up. Eva Raggio

Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Celebration
2019 was not reflective of the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind, and shame on us. Dr. King was one of the nation’s true founding fathers, and we could all stand to relearn his message. Mesquite and the Mesquite NAACP are off to a good start with a program of events honoring the civil rights activist’s legacy, with a parade downtown starting at 10 a.m. (businesses and other organizations can still participate for $45 an entry). At 2 p.m., the event continues with a series of speeches, choir and dance demonstrations at the Mesquite Arts Center, 1527 N. Galloway Ave. Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown will give the keynote speech. Here’s to hoping for unity in 2020. Eva Raggio

Dolly Parton Tribute Show
Dolly Parton stands as the reigning queen of country music, and if you’ve never experienced one of her magical live sets, well, the sidesplitting, electric performances are worth crossing state lines to catch. The singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actress and entrepreneur is truly one of the greatest performers to ever grace a stage, and over her impressive 60-year-long career she’s landed a record-setting 25 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s country music charts. Ever the pioneer, late last year Dolly reached a whole new audience and earned new fans with her first-ever No. 1 on a dance/electronic chart for “Faith” — thanks to a collaboration with Swedish DJ-songwriter-producer duo Galantis. Expect to hear many of Dolly’s chart-toppers as the folks at Opening Bell are hosting what’s billed as “Dolly Parton Tribute Show!” on Saturday to commemorate Dolly’s birthday (actually born Jan. 19). The show’s slated to feature tribute performances by local singer-songwriters Remy Reilly, Emmeline, Molly Bush, Christine Hand, Annie Benjamin, Nicole Maridan, Manal, Gigi Gostas and Sam Moore. It starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Opening Bell Coffee, 1409 S. Lamar St. Tickets are $10 at the door. Daniel Rodrigue
Blixaboy, aka Wanz Dover, will be at Industry Alley Bar this Saturday.
Jason Janik

For years, Dallas has had one of the most underrated and underappreciated electro/techno scenes in the country. Local mainstays Cygnus, aka Phillip Washington, and Blixaboy, aka Wanz Dover, and others have been at the forefront of this scene for decades collectively, fueling hypnotic experiences that unfold in under-the-radar venues throughout DFW. At times, they’ve taken their talents out of state, too, repping our backyard and helping make a name for our city in the international dance scene. Most recently, Cygnus put out his 10-song album The Oasis, and Blixaboy is set to release his Databreak this Friday. Meditative beat programming and heady arrangements are to be expected, as are moments of outright bliss as the two artists share the stage with Ponyboy and DJ Cymatic. The free show starts at 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Industry Alley Bar, 1711 S. Lamar St. Jonathan Patrick

Sunday, January 19

Black Laughs Matter
We know what some of you are thinking, “But, but ... ALL laughs matter.” Of course, as the popular meme says, “Yes, ‘Black lives matter’ means ‘Screw everyone else,’ just like ‘Save the whales’ means ‘Fuck the dolphins.'”  The comedy show includes sketch show veterans Aries Spears, a Mad TV regular known for his impressions — particularly his dead-on Shaquille O’Neal; comedian Tommy Davidson from In Living Color; Arnex J.; and more. The show is all ages. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m., at The Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place. Tickets are $29.75-$99.75. Eva Raggio

Iann Dior
Corpus Christi native Iann Dior will be three days into his Industry Plant 2020 Tour by the time he hits the stage at Trees on Sunday night. The rapper has come a long way since he first started releasing music under the name Olmo, referring to his real name, Michael Ian Olmo. He changed his artist name after being discovered by music producers Nick Mira and Taz Taylor of the record label Internet Money. Dior's single "Emotions," which was produced by Mira, amassed nearly 4 million streams on SoundCloud and piqued the interest of Los Angeles indie record label 10K Projects. Dior has continued to gain notoriety since being signed. Last year, he put out two albums: Nothings Ever Good Enough and Industry Plant. Don't miss this young artist on a come-up this year at Trees. He'll share the stage with special guests Landom Cube and Poorstacy at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at Trees, 2709 Elm St. Tickets are $21 at Jacob Vaughn

Rodriquez Jacquees Broadnax, who releases music under the name Jacquees, has been making all the right moves since he first started putting out music in 2011. With the release of his first mixtape Round Of Applause (2011) and later Fan Affiliated (2012) and Quemix (2013), Jacquees secured himself a solid fan base. With his independent debut EP 19, Jacquees climbed the rankings of iTunes and Billboard's Top R&B albums charts. The Cash Money Records artist has continued to gain attention from the masses, especially since he started calling himself the "King of R&B." After he proclaimed on Instagram, “I just wanna let everybody know that I’m the king of R&B right now … Jacquees the king of R&B,” celebrity musicians like J. Holiday, John Legend and P. Diddy flocked to social media to tell him otherwise. Check out his latest album King of R&B and catch him at House of Blues on Sunday to see if you want to bend the knee. It starts at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. Tickets are $30-$59.50 at Jacob Vaughn

Revelers Hall Band
Every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., the Revelers Hall Band makes a not-so-subtle stop at their home venue. The six-piece brass band packs a punch that is near impossible to stand still against. The band embodies what Revelers Hall co-owner Jason Roberts and music director Kevin Butler want to get out of all the performers at the venue. It's acoustic, and they play real pianos and upright basses, instead of electric. Even if the power goes out, the Revelers Hall Band will keep the show going. The band can also be heard accompanying other acts booked at the venue throughout the week. It starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at Revelers Hall, 412 N. Bishop Ave. Tickets are $5 at the door. Jacob Vaughn
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