Things To Do

21 Things To Do in Dallas This Week

Joe Bob Briggs is coming to town.
Joe Bob Briggs is coming to town. MGMarshall Photography


We wonder. If one were to poll a random group of American twentysomethings, how many could give a knowledgeable account of the birth of Jesus, the flight into Egypt and other details of the Nativity? And how many, do you think, could tell the entire plot of A Christmas Story, with Ralphie, the leg lamp and Ralphie's campaign for a Red Ryder BB gun in 1940s Indiana? Which would be a bigger number? We figure a lot more people have basic cable than attend church, so we're going with Ralphie. What? You say you've heard of Jesus but not Ralphie? Then prepare for a treat as A Christmas Story, The Musical comes to the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., from Broadway on Dec. 12-16. Nominated for three Tony Awards in 2013, the musical adds tunes and brings the 1983 classic holiday movie to the stage. Tickets start at $25 at Wednesday's kid-friendly performance begins at 7:30 p.m. It's Neiman Marcus Kids Night, so children get in free with accompanying adult admission. Patrick Williams

Local rap fans take notice because one of the best Southern hip hop acts of all time is swinging through our fair city. Borne out of the same seminal Atlantan weird rap energy that gave rise to Outkast, Goodie Mob — CeeLo Green, Big Gipp, Khujo Goodie, T-mo Goodie — muddled sinister and sorrowful street tales with woke lyricism and the uplifting power of community. Set in dense, often bleak but always beautiful productions, their tracks captured the crunk, midnight stylings of the Dirty South while at once elevating the regional aesthetic to the post-geographical, high-art space so much contemporary hip hop now occupies. CeeLo’s thrilling, oddball timbres alone are worth the price of admission. With Cure for Paranoia, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Canton Hall, 2727 Canton St., tickets start at $30 at Jonathan Patrick

It will be a two-night stand for singer/songwriter/heartthrob Jason Mraz just a few weeks shy of Christmas. Joined by longtime percussionist Toca Rivera for these acoustic-centric sets, the pair will have the opener Gregory Page with them. Mraz, a multi-Grammy winner, might be best known for his tune "I'm Yours" in 2009, but he's released a number of records since then. His latest, Know, came out this year. He might never be cool with the hipster crowd who can't stand his gentle voice and acoustic-driven songs, but he's still enough of a draw with the pop and folk crowds for him to headline the mighty Majestic. With Gregory Page, Wednesday at Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., $39.75-$99.50 at Eric Grubbs


Need a little Christmas? Right this very minute? Treat yourself and your auntie (Mame or otherwise) to Have Yourself A Broadway Little Christmas at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday on the main stage at the Dupree Theater, Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Local cabaret favorite Amy Stevenson hosts, assisted by Sherry Etzel. Piano accompanist is Pam McLain. Hum along to holiday-themed songs from movie musicals and Broadway shows, including Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Mame and Elf. Auctions and raffles are part of the fun. Go to for info and tickets ($50). Spend $75 and get priority seating and cocktail reception with the cast after the Friday performance. Reba Liner

Most of our beloved Christmas movies happen in familiar settings: warmly bedecked homes, ice skating rinks tucked around massive Christmas trees or crystalline snowscapes. The familiarity is what draws us in year after year. The movies start to feel like home. In Tim Burton’s world, of course, home looks a little different. His The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween/Christmas mashup that deconstructs our notions of sanitized holiday imagery in favor of a whole new world, inhabited by misfits and a stunning visual lushness you won’t see in any other holiday movie. Director Henry Selick’s stop-action animation and the clever songs by Danny Elfman give the tale of self-discovery and redemption a subversive but sweet edge that make the film annual viewing despite the lack of catchphrases and traditional scenery. See it again at the beautiful Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., as part of a collaboration with the venerable Texas Theatre. It’ll screen at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13; tickets are available at for $10. Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Joe Bob Briggs was our cover boy a few weeks ago, and now he's coming back to the city that once proclaimed him dead to give America the history of rednecks. Briggs, who has made his name as a drive-in movie critic and TV personality, will use more than 200 media clips to teach his audience at Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, 100 S. Central Expressway, the "most sacred redneck cinematic moments." Most important, it's your chance to see the man behind the screen in flesh. It all goes down 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. Tickets are $25 at Paige Skinner

Often referred to by their shorthanded initials, MATAS, the Denton-based psychedelic folk act has now been making music for close to 20 years. Their trademark lies in taking dark and sometimes sinister lyrical compositions and turning them into something majestic and glowing. Like kindred spirits The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy or Spiritualized, the band makes trippy soundscapes that are easy to get lost in. It's perfect music for late-night contemplation or deep explorations of the soul. For this show on the home turf, the band are promising something particularly special. Horns and strings will be up on stage to add some technicolor character to the songs, and perhaps there will even be a little collaboration with some of Denton's other finest local musicians. 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Dan's Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., Denton, $50 and up at Jeff Strowe


Thanks to a lonely toy’s wish being granted by a genie, his fellow playthings are coming to life and wreaking vengeance upon their oppressors. The monstrous Krampus is leading an evil army of elves against the rogue toys. And, should you choose to visit a haunted attraction rather than, say, go caroling or look at Christmas lights, you’ll be caught in the crossfire. Man, and I thought the idea of an omniscient millennia-old fat man deciding whether my behavior merits toys or coals was a dark concept for the holidays. Dark Hour Haunted House Presents: Wreck the Halls runs 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Dec. 28 and 29 at Dark Hour Haunted House, 701 Taylor Drive in Plano. Tickets start at $29 for general admission with group discounts, behind-the-scenes tours and combo tickets to a second attraction — the creepy children’s pizza parlor-themed Carl’s Last Stand — available. Visit Jesse Hughey

It calls itself the best neighborhood light show in Texas, and we guess we'll take the word of Interlochen Lights' organizers on that. Our money would be on the lighted refineries surrounding Corpus Christi, but they don't exactly scream holiday cheer. If you're looking for something more festive that's likely to contribute slightly less climate-changing CO2 to the atmosphere, hop in your car and cruise this Arlington 'hood between 7 and 11 p.m. through Christmas Day for the usual twinkling displays. It's free. Entrance to the neighborhood is on Westwood Drive at West Randol Mill Road. Patrick Williams

A white guy in his early 50s accused of sexual misconduct that includes masturbating in front of women who didn’t want to see it will perform at a local comedy club. Surprisingly, it’s not Louis C.K. Jeremy Piven, Ari Gold from HBO’s Entourage, Dr. Bob from the brilliant 1995 Michael Mann film Heat and Dean Pritchard from Todd Phillips’ 2003 comedy classic Old School, will not talk about the recent allegations, if recent show reviews and interviews with the performer are any indications. Rather, he just plans to come discharge jokes and spurt stories at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday at Hyena’s Comedy Nightclub, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. If you’ve got a wad to blow, tickets are $35 to $55 at Jesse Hughey

Fun, funny and moving, The Turtle Creek Chorale’s Shimmer & Shine event is yet another storied favorite in the legion of local annual holiday concerts. A firm respect for tradition and a jovial spirit drive the spectacular, which is consistently packed with holiday sweaters, laughter, classic seasonal tunes and good cheer. There’s almost always a few surprises thrown in, too. This program has four performances: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16. All take place at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Tickets start at $35. More info at Jonathan Patrick

Generation Axe is the heavy metal super group formed by legendary guitarist Steve Vai back in 2016. The band consists of other metal mainstays including former guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde; classically trained Yngwie Malmsteen, who incorporates several classical music techniques into his guitar playing; former Boston-based band EXTREME guitarist Nuno Bettencourt; and Nigerian Americian guitarist Tosin Abasi. 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., $35-$125. Diamond Victoria

Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour does a two-night stand at AAC just before the holidays kick in. The former Reginald Dwight claims this is his final tour, so you should consider going if you have the cash and really want to hear his classic tunes. On this tour, he usually plays 24 songs, and they're all the big hits and fan favorites. Whether it's "I'm Still Standing," "Bennie and the Jets" or "Levon," there will not be any stinkers that make you want to visit the bathroom or the concession stands. If this truly is a send-off for one of the biggest entertainers of our time, it should be a long and powerful goodbye. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 15 at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $285-$1,281 at Eric Grubbs

Over the past decade, electronic singer-songwriter and multimedia artist Ramona Gonzalez has refined the neo-nostalgic R&B-influenced electro sound of her solo project, Nite Jewel, from a lo-fi synth-pop experimentalist with hints of influence by Ariel Pink to a more direct ’90s Janet Jackson-influenced sound. After signing with Secretly Canadian in 2011, Gonzalez left the label following creative differences on 2012’s One Second of Love. She released 2016’s Liquid Cool and the 2017 album Real High on her own imprint Gloriette Records. Nite Jewel makes a rare Texas appearance thanks to Parade of Flesh, who booked a stacked bill worth showing up early for the local support by Nite, SRSQ and a DJ set by producer Yung Wave. Eighties-influenced, dream-pop duo Nite is signed to Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records, and in October, Dias Records released Unreality – the debut album by SRSQ, an ethereal solo project of vocalist/keyboardist Kennedy Ashlyn of Them Are Us Too, which conjured some dreamy early 4AD sounds. 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $12 and up at Daniel Rodrigue


Do you hear what I hear? There's another holiday ballet out there, and it doesn't involve warring mice, living nutcrackers or sugarplum fairies. A Gift for Emma does, however, offer faeries, pixies, a guardian angel, mermaids and a snow princess. Look, it's a Christmas ballet about a young girl's wish to be given the gift of dance, so yeah, it's pretty twee. You were expecting Die Hard in a tutu? (For the record, that would be awesome.) Performances by the Denton City Contemporary Ballet and Denton Dance Conservatory are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16 in Texas Woman's University's Margo Jones Performance Hall, 1100 Oakland St in Denton. Find tickets, $15-$21, at Patrick Williams

The holidays can be a lot. It's all about giving and giving and giving and dammit, maybe you just want a sweater for yourself. Maybe the holidays wouldn't be so bad if it was socially acceptable to get shitfaced in public and forget about having to spend time with your family. Guess what! The third annual Naughty or Nice Greenville Ave. Bar Crawl is here and ready to save you from the holidays. From noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, you and hundreds of new friends will hop from bar to bar getting drunk. Bars include Single Wide, Gung Ho, HG Sply Co., Old Crow and more. Arrive at The Libertine Bar, 2101 Greenville Ave., for check-in. Tickets are $15 at Paige Skinner

Petty Theft is a staple in the Dallas cover-band scene. Hitting bars in and around Dallas on a regular basis, Petty Theft revives the catalog of, you guessed it, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. So grab a beer with your friends and don't be shy about belting out a few Petty lines of your own. 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Avenue, Plano, free. DV

Texas may not have joined the other handful of states to green-light pot in recent years, but you can still celebrate it tonight with the marijuana-themed death metal band Cannabis Corpse – not to be confused with the other like-named death metal band Cannibal Corpse. In fact, Cannabis Corpse's music, while totally original, parodies other bands' music within the genre. Cannabis Corpse features members of Municipal Waste and GWAR. 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at Dada, 2720 Elm St., $13-$15. DV

Christmas time is here. And as tradition dictates Dallas’ premier psychedelic choral rock band, The Polyphonic Spree, will spread holiday cheer and make allusions to sugarplums for the 16th year running. Tim DeLaughter and his Yuletide crew of singers, dancers and musicians will don their most festive motley to perform Christmas classics, a la the band’s 2013 album, Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays, Vol. 1. Those unfamiliar with the band’s annual present to Dallas are in for a spectacle. Between the practical legion of performers populating the band’s choral and orchestral sections, and DeLaughter’s personal artistic flair; The Polyphonic Spree’s Holiday Extravaganza ends up landing somewhere between Mannheim Steamroller and The Flaming Lips. Grab your ugliest sweater or your best George Bailey cosplay and bring the whole family. Also for those feeling especially gracious, Toys for Tots and the North Texas Food Bank will be on hand to accept donations of brand new toys and canned food, respectively of course. 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., $35 and up at Nicholas Bostick


With its original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker has become a holiday standard as both a ballet and a score. Even variations on the ballet, from humorous to creepy, are draws for those hungry for holiday entertainment. The Sugar Plum Fairy’s tutu, the Mouse King’s crown, Clara’s flowing nightgown — they’re all expected elements, even for tongue-in-cheek takes. But Rhythmic Souls Tap Company is adding some percussion to the Yuletide tale with a tap rendition called The Nutcracker Untapped. It takes the stage at 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday at Dupree Theater in the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., and between the shuffles, cramp rolls, pickups and fan kicks, Rhythmic Souls has packed in live music, audience interaction and a lot of merriment. Tickets are $11.50-$31.50, available at For more info on Rhythmic Souls, visit Merritt Martin

Soundtracking decades of stoner lore and stoned experiences, Sleep’s cult masterpiece Dopesmoker ranks among the finest modern rock records in the canon. A haze of stoner rock, psych and drone, the album is one single, hourlong track stretching into infinity. Its indulgent solos and repurposing of Steve Reich and Terry Riley-like minimalism leaves it drifting in the ether, achieving something altogether grand, numinous, meditative. After the ’98 album was shelved by label bosses without so much as an official release, Sleep fizzled, too, ultimately breaking up and splitting into various side projects. But 2018 has seen the rock masterminds regrouped and reborn. Only a masterpiece could satisfy the band’s die-hard cult following; thankfully, Sleep didn’t disappoint. Their return release, The Sciences, takes everything that made Dopesmoker otherworldly and cranks it up to 11. It’s louder, sharper and stoned-er. Revival tours are typically a mix of nostalgia and romance, a chance to see once great artists go through the motions. Not so with this year’s iteration of Sleep — expect pure, unruly fire. And lots and lots of smoke. With Weather Warlock and Pinkish Black, 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., tickets start at $24 at Jonathan Patrick
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.
Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner