Things To Do

Best Things To Do in Dallas This Weekend

Robert Earl Keen plays the House of Blues on Friday.
Robert Earl Keen plays the House of Blues on Friday. Kerry Langford


Take your worried mind off those looming Christmas credit card bills with a little help from the Mesquite Championship Rodeo Winter Classic. After all, how bad could those bills be compared with the challenge faced by bull riders, barrel racers, bronc-busters and bareback riders competing at Mesquite Arena, 1818 Rodeo Drive. You say "bareback" describes your post-holiday credit situation perfectly? Well, Santa, then you'll feel right at home at the two-day rodeo. It kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with more cowboy action on Saturday. Tickets start at $20. Find them on Patrick Williams

Kirtan is an Indian meditation practice, a sort of group enlightenment that involves yoga practitioners and facilitators chanting the names of the divinities in a musical call-and-response. Wrap up 2018 by taking a few steps on the path of enlightenment, without the help of Champagne, as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 5430 Gurley Ave., hosts its annual Kirtan50 festival, led by spiritual leaders of the Hare Krishna movement from around the world. The festival opens at 7 p.m. Friday and continues until New Year's Day. It includes seminars, a 24-hour kirtan session on New Year's Eve and Pushpa Abhisheka (Flower Festival) on New Year's Day. Day passes start at $39.99 and include a meal. Multi-day passes including hotel stays are also available at Patrick Williams

B is for Big Bird. C is for Cookie Monster. E is for Elmo. F is for the fun you're going to have, because seeing a smile on a child's face is priceless. Sesame Street Live! is coming to Allen Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Road, and it's the perfect opportunity to do your aunt or uncle duty for the year and take the little one in your life to see their favorite character in person. If you want to go above and beyond, buy a preshow experience ticket, which means you can take a tour of the onstage neighborhood, meet the characters and participate in other activities. The show is 5 p.m. Friday. Tickets start at $35 at Paige Skinner

In less than a decade since releasing his first tracks as Washed Out, Ernest Greene Jr. went from recording music in his bedroom at his parent’s house to playing festival stages in front of crowds upwards of 20,000 – and Washed Out had 5 million fans on Spotify streaming songs in 65 countries nearly 50 million times in 2018. Forever tied to the “chillwave” genre of lo-fi bedroom electropop that leap from Myspace pages onto trendy MP3 blogs in 2009 and 2010, Washed Out remains perhaps best known for recording "Feel it All Around," which has served as the theme track during opening credits for all eight seasons of Portlandia and a gateway-drug track of sorts for many of Washed Out’s fans. In 2017, Stones Throw Records released Washed Out’s Mister Mellow as a “visual album” with videos accompanying each track on the record. With Mister Mellow, Greene moved toward pairing his music with visualizations, and tour stops in 2017 and 2018 saw Washed Out touring with a live band and a visually heavy production, with projections choreographed to the music. MACK and Luna Luna open. 7 p.m. Friday at Canton Hall, 2727 Canton St., $24 and up at Daniel Rodrigue

If you've seen Ethan Hawke's recent film Blaze, you witnessed a whole lot of Charlie Sexton. There, with uncanny resemblance, he portrayed Townes Van Zandt, the iconic folk-blues singer known just as much by his trail of decadence and destruction as he is for his brilliant songwriting. The near-universal praise Sexton has received for his acting chops mirrors the praise he's been receiving for 30-plus years for his musical prowess. A guitar gunslinger since junior high school, Sexton has worked alongside rock music's biggest names — from touring with David Bowie to recording with Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Lucinda Williams. Since the late '90s, he's been the primary guitarist on Bob Dylan's Neverending Tour. Not too shabby a resume, and it doesn't end there. He's got quite the catalog of his own songs and a master's attention to detail with music history that has made him the undeniable go-to musician for big celebratory events, inventive collaborations and star-studded jam sessions. See the mastery on display at 8 p.m. Friday in the comfortable confines of The Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., $25 at Jeff Strowe

Probably best known for his work with artists like George Strait, Lyle Lovett and The Highwaymen, Texas icon Robert Earl Keen Jr. has spent nearly half of his life as one of the Lone Star State’s best musical ambassadors. But when the holiday season rears its head, sometime in mid-October, he turns his focus to spreading yuletide cheer. As he does every year, the Hall of Fame songwriter will bring his annual country Christmas revue to North Texas. This year dubbed Robert Earl Keen’s Cosmic Cowboy Christmas, the man himself has promised the show will overload your pleasure centers with sugarplum endorphins. An homage to the holiday will, of course, be capped by a rendition of Keen’s cult Christmas anthem “Merry Christmas from the Family.” A true holiday tradition with one of Texas’ most distinguished artists, this show will prove to be out of this world. 7 p.m. Friday at House of Blues Dallas, 2200 N. Lamar St., $68 and up at Nicholas Bostick

Twice nominated for Best Cover Band by the Observer, Raised Right Men are a Denton gem covering all your favorite old country songs. The five-piece who call themselves a honky tonk band invite you to crack open a beer and celebrate the legacy of Willie, Waylon and the boys. 10 p.m. Friday at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., free with RSVP. Diamond Victoria

Managed to make it through 2018 without getting heartily sick of metaphorical circuses? Congrats. Now check out the real thing as the Dallas Children's Theater brings the Lone Star Circus' show Forever to the stage. This "daring tribute to the birth of the modern circus" includes jugglers, acrobats, clowns and animals from around the world. Friday's performance is at 7 p.m. at the Baker Theater, 5938 Skillman St. The action continues with several performances daily through Jan. 1. Adult tickets are $48 plus fees; childrens' are $27 plus fees. Find them at Patrick Williams


There's a great game brewing under AT&T Stadium between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Saturday. This annual college football showdown will not only feature a thrilling game but also a "Huddle Up Fan Fest" for all the fans featuring interactive games, pep rallies and a chance to get a picture with your favorite players. The Cotton Bowl Classic, which is one College Football Playoff semifinal (opposite the Oklahoma-Alabama tilt in the Orange Bowl), kicks off at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $150 per person and can be purchased online at Danny Gallagher

If you prefer your movies black and white, you'll like your plays that way too after you catch Pegasus Theatre's Clowning Around With Murder at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. It's the latest light comedy by Kurt Kleinmann featuring would-be detective Harry Hunsacker matching wits with a devious clown killer, in the writer's trademark black and white style for actors' costumes and makeup, in which all color is eliminated except for eyes and tongue. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Saturday. Check for show times through Jan. 20 and tickets ($24-$44) at 972-744-4650 or Pay $67 on New Year's Eve, and enjoy bubbly and cake after the play. Reba Liner

The Old 97's released a holiday-themed album this year called Love The Holidays. So it makes sense they're throwing something like this a few days before 2019 kicks in. Expect plenty of songs from the album, which is mostly made up of original tunes written about Christmas, Santa and winter. Casey Magic, a "DIY punk rock magician," will also perform, in addition to a solo acoustic set by 97's lead singer and primary songwriter Rhett Miller. Save your shouts for Miller's "Iron Child" and "Song for Truman Capote" for another time. This is supposed to be about Christmas, not proof you found a CD-R copy of an album Miller made in 1989. 7 p.m. Saturday at The Statler Ballroom, 1914 Commerce St., $26.50 at Eric Grubbs

Woozy, abstract, drone-y, hallucinatory — these words get you somewhere in the realm where Austin neo-psych act The Black Angels’ music lives. Flitting between white-noise sheets of crunchy guitar, throwback garage-rock riffs, echoic percussion, and an endless stream of delays and dissolves, Black Angels are one of the few bands to successfully channel classic psych rock without slipping into full-on nostalgia. They might have slowed down some recently, but there’s no denying these Austin pathfinders’ place in Texas rock history. The illustrious torch for Lone Star psych and garage rock lives on. With Holy Wave and Pearl Earl, 8 p.m. Saturday at Trees, 2709 Elm St., tickets start at $22 at Jonathan Patrick

Once you've served yourself enough turkey and dressing for the week, give your soul something to fill up on. Catch the seven-piece local cover band Bastards of Soul for a night of some of the best soul from the '60s and '70s. DJ Gabe Mendoza spins some funk favorites at the main bar. with DJ Gabe Mendoza, 9 p.m. Saturday at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., $15. Diamond Victoria


The Cowboys travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants for the teams' final regular-season game. With their defeat of Tampa Bay last Sunday, the Cowboys wrapped up the NFC East, so all eyes have already turned to postseason play, but that doesn't mean the Giants game is one to skip. Given the Cowboys' playoff history in recent decades, chances are there will be only one more Cowboys game to watch before the team moves on to recriminations and hopes for next season. So, catch them while you can as Texas Live, 1650 E. Randol Mill Road, Arlington, hosts its weekly Cowboys game watch party. See the game on a 100-foot screen and knock back $30 buckets of Coors Light and Miller Lite when the party begins at 10 a.m. Kickoff is at noon. Patrick Williams
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner