January wraps up with a calendar-tipping bang this week — a quick glimpse at the goings-on in Dallas gives a full range of options for gallery shows, performing arts and other cultural nuggets. But this round-up of events pretty well encapsulates what made this past month so culturally significant for Big D: an outpouring of tributes to a lost legend; performing arts that are accessible to everyone; a spotlight on international perspectives in literature; and conversations about inclusivity and diversity in the arts.
Music Monday: The Hunger
9:45 p.m. Monday
Alamo Drafthouse Richardson
Labyrinth has been something of the go-to film during remembrances of David Bowie since his death earlier this month — and while his gleefully over-the-top performance as the Goblin King is a classic in every way, there’s a more adult film that symbolizes his celluloid contributions for others among us. And since nobody’s talking about The Linguini Incident (which had its moments, y’all), that leaves us with 1983’s The Hunger, a stylish, violent and sex-obsessed vampire flick with a Bauhaus soundtrack and a disturbing meditation on our quest to cling to youth. Bowie’s John Blaylock is a mesmerizing presence — if not an entirely sympathetic one — and the film leaves a lasting visual impression. Tickets available online at drafthouse.com.
Open Classical Open Mic
8 p.m. Tuesday
We’re always proponents of Open Classical’s Open Mic night on Tuesdays, but this week’s installment has something extra special for its audience: Russian pianist Yury Favorin will play short sets at 8:30 and 9:20 p.m. This means that a) you get to see a world-class pianist for free and b) if you want to dust off your violin and play some Bach at the open mic, you can tell everyone that you opened for Favorin. Sign up to play at openclassical.org/events/Classical-Open-Mic-Dallas.
Maz Jobrani “I’m Not a Terrorist, but I’ve Played One on TV”
7 p.m. Wednesday
Dallas City Performance Hall
One of Maz Jobrani’s most topical riffs focuses on his frequent encounters with American stereotypes of Middle Eastern men — and how that has shaped his career as an actor. The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth hosts the stand-up comedian, actor and author as he talks about cultural divides, ambition and ethnicity in what’s sure to be an eye-opening night full of belly laughs. Tickets are available at dfwworld.org.
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African Diaspora: New Dialogues with Chris Abani
7 p.m. Thursday
South Dallas Cultural Center
WordSpace hosts the remarkable Nigerian-born author, who was imprisoned at age 16 when his first novel (!) was deemed a little too revolutionary for his government’s tastes. After another stint in prison for daring to pen a second work, Abani immigrated to the United States, where the consequences for his work have been quite different: His novels and short stories have been roundly acclaimed. Abani will read his own works, including pieces from his latest novel The Secret History of Las Vegas, followed by a discussion led by local artist and South Dallas Cultural Center director Vicki Meek.
Denton Black Film Festival
1:30 p.m. Friday, January 29
one-day passes $29-$49
Maybe the Oscars can’t recognize films and performers that create dialogue about the complexities of race relations in this country; or that explore the rich cultural heritage of African Americans; or that highlight the resilience and determination of civil rights advocates in the U.S. — but Denton sure can. Starting Friday, the Denton Black Film Festival kicks off 29 film screenings interspersed with live music, art exhibits, acting classes, spoken word performances, panel discussions and much more. Friday’s film presentations include a block of student films at 1:30, plus screenings of “Across the Tracks” at 3:15 and “Tap Shoes and Violins” at 5:15 p.m. For the full schedule, see dentonbff.com