Things To Do

20 Things To Do in Dallas This Week

The Dallas Holiday Parade is this week.
The Dallas Holiday Parade is this week. Brian Maschino


Grammy Award winner Michael W. Smith and Season 6 American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle are coming to the Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., to perform a night of Christmas songs. According to YouTube, the pair have been singing Christmas songs together since around 2008, and this year, they'll continue the tradition. On Smith's 2014 Christmas album, he sings classics like "Silent Night," "White Christmas," "What Child Is This" and more, so expect to hear those. Be there at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. Tickets start at $29.75 at Paige Skinner

Manchester Orchestra and the Front Bottoms embark on a co-headlining tour later in the year than most national touring bands do. Only a few years ago, the Front Bottoms played Club Dada. Now they're this big with their quirky folk rock. Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra is the bigger draw, as the band's blend of rock, indie and folk continue to bring new fans to the band. This is their second time through the Dallas area promoting 2017's A Black Mile to the Surface. Frontman Andy Hull says most of 2019 will be devoted to working on a new Manchester album while his side project Bad Books puts out another LP. So you're not going to see them for a while. Consider this show an early Christmas present, fans. With Brother Bird, Wednesday at The Bomb Factory, $30-$65. Eric Grubbs


The holiday play at WaterTower Theatre, 15650 Addison Road in Addison: The Great Distance Home. The cast and five-person writing team consist of Tatiana Lucia Gantt, Christopher Llewyn Ramirez, Garret Storms, Kelsey Milbourn and Mitchell Stephens, whose role is Boy, searching for a life to call his own. Kelsey Leigh Ervi directs. Shows are at 7:30 Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16. There’s general seating for the 75-minute production and no intermission. For tickets, $32-$42, call 972-450-6232. For more info, Reba Liner

Longtime Cat Power fans have watched the singer-songwriter’s lyrics mature even as Chan Marshall’s syrupy, warm and raspy vocals have matured like a fine wine in a whiskey barrel. The appeal for many of us has always been Marshall's smart-sometimes-hallucinatory lyrics paired with her smoky, soulful delivery. And with her latest release, Wanderer, her first time writing songs as a mother (a photograph featuring her son graces the cover of the record sleeve), Chan’s delivered one of her strongest albums in the past two decades. Her lyrics have always seemed penned by an old, wise-beyond-her-years soul, after all Matador Records released Cat Power’s breakthrough fourth album, Moon Pix, 20 years ago. Cat Power’s last full-length album, 2012’s Sun, landed Chan her first Billboard Top 10, peaking at No. 10. For many critics and listeners, Sun eclipsed Moon Pix and You Are Free as a favorite release. After a split with longtime label, Matador, Domino released her 10th studio album, Wanderer, last month, and Cat Power is on tour supporting the release. 8 p.m. Thursday at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $42 at Daniel Rodrigue

Mac DeMarco is a prolific writer and performer. In just a few short years, he's released a slew of full-lengths and EPs, appeared on a variety of compilations and has even managed to put out a few live collections. Charmingly weird and often goofy, the singer-songwriter doesn't hide his personality onstage. He peppers the set with funny anecdotes, indulges overzealous fans with their requests and gives the audience his full and proper attention. For the most part, during the 90-minute or so performances, DeMarco gives the impression that there is nowhere else he'd rather be. As an attendee, that's what you want out of a performer, as it's always nice to see the person onstage caring as much as you do in the crowd. For this stop, DeMarco will be performing solo as part of his Purple Bobcat Next to the River Tour. With just a microphone and guitar, expect the stage banter to be extra sharp and arcane. 9 p.m. Thursday at Texas Theater, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., sold out. Jeff Strowe


If there’s a work of music that better expresses the wistful and melancholy nostalgia that the holidays can bring than the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack for the 1965 CBS television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, I haven’t heard it. It perfectly captures the way you feel about poor Charlie Brown as he mopes about the holiday being too commercialized, fails to assert himself and control his actors as director of the neighborhood Nativity play, and disappoints his troupe of friends by picking out the smallest, sickliest fir on the lot. Hearing it performed by a live trio should be just part of the treat at A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage at 7 p.m. Friday at Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., in which a touring production of non-costumed actors plays the Peanuts gang and leads a holiday singalong afterward. Tickets are $41 to $83. Visit Jesse Hughey

What better way to satisfy your holiday music-listening yearnings than A John Williams Christmas with the Dallas Symphony? Make the trek to the Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St., for performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The kids will recognize selections from the Harry Potter and Home Alone movies, and there will be Christmas favorites and surprises. Lawrence Loh conducts and Cynthia Nott and Terrie Preskitt-Brown direct the added attraction, the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas. Buy tickets, $66-$174, at or for information, 1-214-670-3600. Reba Liner


Candy canes are just elongated peppermints, a sweet so lame that restaurants literally give them away. Fruit cake is a joke. Turkey is boooooring. I’ve never had goose, but it’s poultry, so it probably is too. Eggnog is good for about half a cup. Any more than that and you can feel yourself getting fatter. Gingerbread is wonderful, but not after it’s been manhandled by some grubby-fisted kid into the shape of a house and left out for days to get stale. Tamales, therefore, are the best Christmas food. Enjoy the traditional Mexican food with beer and warm seasonal beverages and shop for gifts or home décor at the fourth annual DFW Tamale Festival & Christmas Market, 11 a.m. Saturday at Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St. Visit for more information. Jesse Hughey

It’s long been said that Dallas does things up big, and our annual holiday parade is no exception. For years, jockeying to get a prime spot for the impressive procession of floats, marching bands and merriment has been a Christmas tradition for thousands of Dallas families (though this year you can buy tickets for premium views). Even if you didn’t get the sweetest spot, the music and crowd camaraderie gave off enough yuletide vibes to make it well worth the trip. This year promises no less, with a magical assortment of entertainment and an appearance by the man we’ve all been waiting for: Santa Claus. At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Dallas Holiday Parade will kick off by Reunion Tower (at Houston and Commerce) and plow a joyful path around downtown, eventually landing close to City Hall. You can check out the full route and buy those premium bleacher spots for $20 to $125 at Jennifer Davis-Lamm

It’s Deck the Paws at Fair Park! Where you and your doggie can celebrate Christmas together! Paws! Dogs! Christmas! It’s fun! Deck the Paws is a two-day event at Centennial Hall at Fair Park, 1001 Washington St., where you and your furry friend can holiday shop, meet Santa, see an art exhibit catering to dogs, partake in an ugly Christmas sweater contest and so much more. All of this benefits local animal shelters. Enjoy it all Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. Tickets start at $10 at Paige Skinner

Remember those TV Christmas specials in the ’60s? Ask your grandmother. Well, the Judy Garland one is back, thanks to Uptown Players’ B.J. Cleveland, who wrote and is directing A Very Judy Christmas starring Janelle Lutz as Judy. The show runs Saturday to Dec. 16. Times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tickets are $25-$45 and can be purchased at or by calling 214-219-2718. Ms. Garland’s special celebrity drop-ins are made up of many Uptown Players, including Cleveland (wanna bet it’s Liza?), Christopher Curtis, Dana Harper, Sarah E. (Smith) Price, Jeff Wells, Grace Neeley West and Trevor Wright. Isaac Leaverton directs and choreography is by Trevor Wright. Reba Liner

Want to see how far the North Texas music scene has come in only a year? You have a handful of venues and a few dozen acts playing at them to get a good idea. Three days before the DOMAs are handed out at Canton Hall, see what made these acts get nominated in the first place. Whether it's longtimers Sealion, Claire Morales, or Dead Mockingbirds or the emerging artists like Rosegarden Funeral Party or Sub-Sahara, you won't be able to see this much variety for a price this low. Deep Ellum venues include Club Dada, Three Links, Curtain Club, Off the Record, Reno's Chop Shop and Trees. Saturday, Dec. 1. Tickets are $15 online and $25 at the door. Eric Grubbs

Austin-based honky tonk band Mike and the Moonpies are on tour this year in support of their latest album, Steak Night at the Prairie Rose, released earlier this year. Singer and songwriter for the Moonpies, Mike Harmeier formed the band in 2007, and they plan to play a couple hundred shows this year. Catch them at Deep Ellum's latest country venue. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at The Blue Light, 2811 Main St., free. Diamond Victoria


Looking for something fun to do with your family for Hanukkah? Then head up north to Frisco for the Chabad of Frisco’s Fifth Annual Community Chanukah Celebration on Sunday. This annual celebration has things that every member of your family can enjoy, from traditional events to fun stuff for the kids. This public gathering on the Simpson Plaza outside of Frisco City Hall will include a giant menorah lighting and live music, including traditional Hanukkah songs and music played by a live DJ. The kids can make their own arts and crafts, take home dreidels and chocolate gelt and work off all that sugar in a bouncy house. The celebration will be 4:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday. The Simpson Plaza is located at 6101 Frisco Square Blvd. The event will be outdoors so dress accordingly for the weather. Danny Gallagher

Each year the Women’s Chorus of Dallas puts on three concerts, and to end 2018 they are hosting their Sleigh Ride Holiday Concert. The concert will feature the full orchestra of Texas Chamber Music Project and the high school choir, Singing Girls of Texas. The Women’s Chorus of Dallas is a group of diverse and empowered women who perform high-quality music year-round. The Sleigh Ride Holiday Concert is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Tickets start at $15 at Paige Skinner

Catching influential Grammy-nominated rapper Bun B at Trees promises to be a memorable evening pulsing with the energy of early UGK and solo Bun B shows. Bun B rose to fame in the influential rap duo UGK, short for Underground Kingz, formed in ’87 with the late Pimp C. Bun dropped his debut full-length solo album in 2005. On June 10, Bun B unveiled the cover art for his fifth solo record, Return of the Trill, on his Instagram account, saying the release is slated for Aug. 31. It’s his first full-length release since 2013’s Trill OG: The Epilogue. With AV the Great, Gas House Smitty, DJ JU$TRILL, Masa Lopez, SMiRK, Ismail Kawon, Weight and Liquor Leezy as openers, expect the show to sell out before doors open. 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122, $20-$80. Daniel Rodrigue


Roughly 97 minutes pass before the chorale reaches the part of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah oratorio most people recognize — the “hallelujah chorus.” (You know the part. It goes “something, something HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, something something.”) That might sound like an awfully long row to hoe for those who aren’t fans of having Scripture sung at them to a classical accompaniment. On the other hand, the piece has been performed since 1742; it’s a holiday favorite; and that chorus is stirring enough to be worth the wait. Hear the Fort Worth Symphony perform this celebration of Jesus, with vocals by the University of North Texas A Cappella Choir, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St. Tickets are $27.50-$82.50 at Patrick Williams


We’ll admit to a little political bias here: We really like former Vice President Joe Biden. Oh, sure, the ex-senator from Delaware is famously gaffe-prone to the point that “Bidenism” is a political neologism for verbal screw-ups. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man,” Biden once said about his future boss, President Barack Obama. But shoot, we misspeak all the time. So we forgive. Biden just seems like a kind of cool dad you’d want to chuck a baseball with or maybe wax a Trans-Am. So it’s odd to say this with a heavy heart: Joe Biden will be at The Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to speak as part of his American Promise Tour, aka the Is Joe Running in 2020? Tour. Joe, we love you, man, but Texas just got finished with the longest midterm election in the history of ever. We’ve had 10 months of staring at Beto’s sweaty pits. Could you have maybe put off this visit until after Christmas? We could use a break from politics. No? OK then, cruise on over to to find tickets for Biden. They’re $35-$51 or up to $150 for tickets that include seats up front and a copy of Biden’s book, Promise Me, Dad. Patrick Williams


If you're looking to smarten up your holiday music listening ears, try a night at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra when Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis plays. He'll do classic Christmas songs, like "O Christmas Tree," "Jingle Bells" and others. Sip some wine while taking it all in. The show is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at DSO, 2301 Flora St. Tickets start at $52 at Paige Skinner

It's not enough to simply pull a rabbit out of a hat anymore. Magicians need to fly. They need to break their bodies in half. They have to make the audience believe in something that is completely impossible. The public just sees too much odd stuff on the internet to be easily impressed. The Champions of Magic are coming to Dallas and with a name like that, we can only assume they'll perform miracles. See the advanced magic show Dec. 5-9 at Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave. Tickets are $25 and up at Paige Skinner
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner