Classical Music

The 20 Best Things to Do in Dallas This Week, Dec. 3 – 8

Catch a retrospective of  Ernie Kovacs on Tuesday.
Wikimedia Commons
Catch a retrospective of Ernie Kovacs on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 3

Ernie Kovacs Retrospective
Dallas VideoFest annually presents The Ernie Kovacs Award to television’s comedy visionaries. In doing so, the organization normally presents a smattering of clips featuring the man who inspired so many laughs, as well as the talent honored — this year’s recipient is John Cleese. However, this year calls for a bigger show and a separate night from the ceremony just to focus on Ernie himself. To celebrate Kovacs’ centennial (he would hit 100 this year, had it not been for an untimely demise in 1962), VideoFest is dedicating an entire night to Kovacs highlights, ranging from gags, jokes and segments of The Ernie Kovacs Show. The retrospective takes place 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, 100 N. Central Expressway, and is hosted by Dallas VideoFest director Bart Weiss, Ernie Kovacs archivist Ben Model and son of Edie Adams, Josh Mills. To reserve a seat, purchase a $5 voucher (redeemable for food) at Merritt Martin

Billy Law
Dallas native singer-songwriter Will Latham has been around music most of his life. His dad was a club manager for some time and his mother was an accomplished jazz vocalist. When he was in college, he started running sound for bands at local shows. After graduating and working in construction for a couple of years, he decided to embark on his own musical journey. This Tuesday, Billy Law, Latham's solo project comprised of David Forsyth on lead guitar, Richie Owen on bass and Marshall Pruitt on drums, will take the stage at Sundown at Granada. The group is currently working on its debut album Alone Somewhere, based around Latham's experience growing up in Texas. The free show starts at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Sundown at Granada, 3520 Greenville Ave. Jacob Vaughn

The Free Loaders
If a movie was made about The Free Man, a Deep Ellum Cajun restaurant and live music venue, the soundtrack would consist of songs by one band: The Free Loaders. Luckily, a three-piece variation of the band plays at the venue every Tuesday, so there, you don’t have to wait for the movie to come out to hear its killer soundtrack. Just hop over to The Free Man on a Tuesday evening, order a po' boy and listen to frontman and venue owner John Jay Myers slam on his drums and bark into the microphone with keys and stand-up bass behind him. The free show starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge, 2626-2630 Commerce St. Jacob Vaughn

Wednesday, December 4

Ernie Kovacs Award: John Cleese
Comedy fans should take note: The Ernie Kovacs Award celebrations are expanded this year to two nights — one featuring a Centennial Retrospective honoring Kovacs and another to present the recipient with the award. A complete night to reflect on the legend, and another to honor a current visionary from the small screen. The 2019 recipient of the Ernie Kovacs Award is none other than John Cleese, the man who breathed life into bumbling Basil Fawlty and silly-walked his way into Dallas hearts on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Attend the awards and listen to Cleese talk of inspiration and a long, thriving career spent making audiences laugh, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. Admission is $35, and a very limited reception is $100. Tickets and more information available at Merritt Martin

Key LeBlanc
Just under two years ago, singer-songwriter Key LeBlanc began teaching herself to play the guitar. LeBlanc would pull up tutorials on YouTube to help her learn cover songs. In March, LeBlanc had her first performance at House of Blues. She has since taken her acoustic soul-pop sound to venues across Dallas, in Los Angeles and New York. This Wednesday, LeBlanc will play Opening Bell Coffee, which is home to a thriving community of musicians across North Texas. Also this year, LeBlanc released four singles: "Atmosphere," "Boyfriend," "Foolish Boy" and "Happy." Her show is free, but the venue recommends a $10 donation for the artists. It starts at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Opening Bell Coffee, 1409 S. Lamar St. Jacob Vaughn

Thursday, December 5

Believe – The VM Polar Express
Need a Christmas pick-me-up to put your holiday spirit on the right track? Vocal Majority, officially known as the Dallas Metropolitan Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, raises their voices in an inspirational and spirited tribute to the Christmas season for “Believe: A Polar Express Christmas.” At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5; Friday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 8; with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, 120 voices will fill the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson, with sounds that evoke the spirit of this time of year. Act One conjures the magic of the beloved “Polar Express” tale, transporting you to a place where wishes come true, while Act Two runs through all your holiday favorites. Tickets are $18 to $58 at Eva Raggio

Dallas Filmmakers Alliance 4th Annual Premiere
The film landscape this time of year may seem a little barren unless the Hallmark movie channel is your scene. If it’s not, there is one thing that will tide you over until festival season: the Dallas Filmmakers Alliance Fourth Annual Premiere Night at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. The gala event, which also serves as a fundraiser for the DFA’s education and outreach efforts, premieres eight short films made in the Dallas area and honors their filmmakers. This years’ entries include “The Sacrifice,” “Mrs. Bradford’s House,” “Adnan Far From Home,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” “Red Dots,” “Sweetie,” “The Surprise!” and “The Granny Shack.” Grab yourself a spot on the red carpet for $25 general admission or $30 VIP at Jennifer Davis-Lamm

A$AP Ferg
This year, A$AP Ferg released his latest EP, Floor Seats, and his tour supporting the EP is bringing him to Dallas this Thursday. Ferg has come a long way since his beginnings with A$AP Mob. The artist told Entertainment Weekly he hopes Floor Seats will show his fans how he has grown. His 2013 solo debut album Trap Lord had him up for two BET Hip Hop Awards. He was named Rookie of the Year and nominated for Video Director of the Year. The album also debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2016. After putting out his first mixtape Ferg Forever, the rapper released his second album Always Strive and Prosper with A$AP Worldwide, Polo Grounds Music and RCA Records. But, Ferg's sound has changed since the release of his second album. On Floor Seats, the rapper is more experimental. You won't want to miss A$AP Ferg's Dallas set when he will share the stage with rappers Murda Beatz and MadeinTYO. It starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St. Tickets are $35-$125 at Jacob Vaughn
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Rhett Miller will play a solo acoustic set in addition to a show with his band Old 97's at the group's holiday show.
Mike Brooks

Friday, December 6

Denton Holiday Lighting Festival
Part of Little D’s Wassail Weekend, the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival includes music and dance, horse-drawn carriage rides, kids crafts and other activities, visits with Santa Claus, food and gift vendors, ice skating and more to get you into the Christmas spirit. One thing setting this celebration apart from similar festivals is the city’s lack of open-container laws, so you can walk around and enjoy your beverage instead of pregaming — and you can spike your samples of various merchants’ holiday hot ciders with no need to check for disapproving authority types first. Wassail your senses from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday (with tastings served until 8 p.m.) on the downtown Denton Square. Admission is free, with donations to First Baptist Denton’s Elves Shelves toy drive requested. Visit for more information. Jesse Hughey

Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops
The thought of listening to children sing make your skin crawl? We're with you, pal, unless, of course, those little voices are singing Christmas songs. No creature, human or fictional, could ever sound threatening while singing glorious hymns about Christmas. You could have a Voldemort/Night King/ Darth Vader hybrid, but as long as it was singing Christmas tunes, it would be seen as adorable. The Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Symphony Chorus join their vocal gifts to perform singalong holiday favorites at the Meyerson. The event also promises an appearance by Santa and snow — two things rarely seen in Texas. The shows run Dec. 6-15 at 2301 Flora St. Tickets are $29-139 at Eva Raggio

Tyler Henry: The Hollywood Medium
On the one hand, most scientists agree that mediums — people who claim to have the ability to communicate with the dead — are, in fact, fraudsters whose real ability is reading body language and other cues and a shameless willingness to take advantage of the grief of vulnerable people. On the other hand, Tyler Henry’s list of satisfied celebrity customers is a veritable brain trust that includes the Kardashians, Bobby Brown, Carmen Electra, Matt Lauer and Nancy Grace. Surely that many brilliant minds couldn’t have been suckered. If seeing this guy live sounds like a wise use of your time and money, Tyler Henry: The Hollywood Medium performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St. Tickets range from $20 to $45 at Jesse Hughey

Old 97's Holiday Hoopla
The legendary alt-country Dallas band Old 97's is beginning to feel festive as we begin to roll into the holiday season. Last December, they came through with the first Old 97's Holiday Hoopla at The Statler Ballroom following the release of their holiday-themed album Love the Holidays. The event is back for its second run, this time at Gas Monkey Live! The band will share the stage with the DIY punk-rock act Casey Magic. Rhett Miller will play a solo acoustic set at the event as well. The show starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at Gas Monkey Live!, 10110 Technology Blvd. E. Tickets are $29.50-$750 at Jacob Vaughn

Poppy Xander
For the third year in a row, local pop-rock artist Poppy Xander has been nominated for Best Pianist/Keyboardist in the Dallas Observer Music Awards. Xander took home the award last year, but you'll have to wait till next week to see if the artist will take it home again. To date, Xander has released two albums, 2014's Snake in the Grass and Little Ghosts in 2015, and played extensively throughout North Texas, Chicago, California, Virginia and Mexico. Besides her many collaborations and projects across DFW, Xander hopes to re-release her Horror Suite this year. Her show on Friday, hosted by Artstillery with special guest Sammy Rat Rios, is in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the release of her first album. Xander will perform the whole album, tell attendees about her writing process and hold a Q&A session about her music. The free show starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at 723 Fort Worth Ave. Jacob Vaughn

Saturday, December 7

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The unmissable Frankie Leonie will be playing the DOMA showcase on Dec. 7, so you have to be there.
Mike Brooks

Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase
It's that time of year again. The long-running musical tradition in Dallas, the Dallas Observer Music Awards, is just around the corner for the 31st time since its creation. The Observer will basically take over Deep Ellum for the night to showcase some of the best artists in the city up for awards. 40-plus artists nominated for DOMAs will play at seven different area venues. For only $15 a ticket, it's not a bad deal, if you're trying to see some of the best acts in the city, including a wide range of genres, all in one night. Next week you can go right back out to Deep Ellum and see who the winners are at our ceremony. It starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, in Deep Ellum. Advance tickets are $15 at Jacob Vaughn
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Jay Leno brings his stand-up, but no special guests, to Grand Prairie.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Jay Leno
When you've hosted The Tonight Show for more than 30 years, you've earned a retirement. Yet longtime host Jay Leno is still on the road, doing stand-up. Catch him on his latest tour at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place. Leno started his career as a road comic before moving to Los Angeles where he wrote episodes of the Norman Lear sitcom Good Times and worked as a warm-up act for Johnny Mathis and Tom Jones. He made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1977 and became one of the show's two regular rotating guest hosts before taking over from Johnny Carson in 1987. Tickets to Leno's show are $39.75-$129.75 at Danny Gallagher

Latino Cultural Center Tamal Festival
Man, that Julian Castro, or his brother Joaquin, whatever, will certainly make a fine president. Yes indeedy, a Castro gets this gringo's vote. Yep ... oh, screw it. Mexican Americans no doubt hear tons of vague praise from Anglo Texans during Christmastime, or as we prefer to call it, tamale season. Sadly, the Latino families we know who gather together during the holidays to make fresh, delicious, heavenly, homemade tamales have caught onto the ruse. The corn-husk-wrapped tubes of masa and filling are labor intensive to make and have a brutal tendency to stay within the families partaking in the Best Christmas Tradition Ever. Luckily, the Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St., is holding its first Tamal Festival from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday. Sample the season's best food from five top-flight tamaleros or take home a few dozen for the holidays. Admission to the festival is free, though we suspect the six dozen tamales we'll want won't be. Find more info at the center's Facebook page. Patrick Williams

Son Little
Son Little is the musical nom de plume of Los Angeles-based musician Aaron Earl Livingston. A true virtuoso, he's a multi-instrumentalist whose vintage, indie R&B tunes have been recently praised by major outlets like NPR Music and The New York Times, to name just a few. He's also collaborated with The Roots and RJD2, and won a Grammy for his work on Mavis Staples' 2016 release, "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." Little's out on tour now in support of a recently released EP and will be releasing a full-length on ANTI- Records in late January. Catch him at the cozy confines of The Blue Light for the chance to say that you knew him before he played stadiums. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Blue Light, 2811 Main St. Tickets are $20 at Jeff Strowe

Jason Bucklin Trio
When Jason Bucklin isn’t teaching guitar and bass lessons, like he’s done for most of his life, he’s usually onstage with his jazz trio at places like The Balcony Club. In teaching guitar and bass, including master classes at the University of North Texas, Bucklin has grown an appreciation and passion for all kinds of music. But jazz was his first love. Bucklin used to play with Café Noir, the Dallas-based sextet. On Saturday, his trio will be at The Free Man Cajun Cafe and Lounge. And, it’s free. It starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Free Man Cajun Cafe and Lounge, 2626-2630 Commerce St. Jacob Vaughn

Sunday, December 8

Revelers Hall is an old-timey haven for vagabonds and jazz cats. Every weekend, the house band plays an electrifying, yet acoustic set.
Jason Roberts
Little Women: The Musical
Little Women is having a moment again. Louisa May Alcott’s timeless tale upended popular literary conventions of the time, inspiring women in the 1800s to dream of life outside domesticity, and raising the bar for generations of women to come. The tale has endured countless adaptations and a new film about the author, set to open in wide release at Christmas, has reinserted it into popular culture for a new audience. Dallas Children’s Theater and its Teen Scene Players give you the perfect opportunity to introduce the classic to the kiddos in your life with their production of Little Women: The Musical at the Rosewood Center, 5938 Skillman St., from Saturday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 22. Performances are at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $16 at Jennifer Davis-Lamm

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. The free show starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Revelers Hall, 412 N. Bishop Ave. Jacob Vaughn