Things To Do

21 Best Things to Do in Dallas This Week: December 20-26

Tue 12/20
It’s five days before Christmas, and if you’re still not feeling appropriate levels of holiday cheer even after slogging through the gift-buying and the tree-trimming and the egg-nogging, we have a last minute pick-me-up to suggest. On Tuesday, Dec. 20, the Dallas Winds present “Christmas at the Meyerson,” a merry woodwind, brass and percussion concert that injects rhythm and joy into traditional, classical seasonal tunes. The melodic family event features pieces by Tchaikovsky, Alfred Reed and movie maestro John Williams. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora, 7:30 p.m., $21 to $53, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Book of Mormon is the musical you should see if you think you don't like musicals. But don't go with your grandmother, or your boss, unless you want to do a lot of squirming in your seat. We wouldn't expect anything less from crude comedy geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In 2003, the creators of South Park began working with Bobby Lopez, composer of Frozen and Avenue Q, to develop the uproarious hit musical about two young Mormon missionaries who believe they're being sent to Orlando, Florida, on a two-year mission but are instead sent to Uganda where their teachings are a low priority in the face of AIDS and famine. If you've had trouble getting one of these hot tickets until now, you'll have another chance when the musical's third national tour arrives at the Winspear Opera House on Tuesday and runs through Saturday, Dec. 31. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $55 to $215, — Caroline North

Most folks don't look twice at the numerous empty beer cans, Coke cans and other aluminum waste scattered throughout the city's sidewalks and neighborhoods. But two artists have made it their focus in an exhibit, tangible/transparent/transport/trace, at Bath House Cultural Center. Marilyn Waligore, one of the two Dallas-based artists, has renewed and repurposed the seemingly useless waste she's found on streets and in streams in her collection of photographs titled "Utopian Dilemma." Emily Loving's work moves the viewer through landscapes, embracing fragmentation through her construction of sculptural forms. Both artists' work shows our everyday impact on the environment. The exhibit is on display through Jan. 28. Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive, noon, free, — Diamond Victoria

Wed 12/21
You might have forgotten that the Eddie Murphy-Dan Aykroyd comedy Trading Places is a Christmas comedy movie and not just because its takes place at Christmas time. This classic comedy tells the story of a snooty stockbroker and a poor con man who switch places thanks to the conniving efforts of two rich guys who seek to prove a scientific experiment on the psychological nature of the human environment in order to win a Nobel Prize. In the end, Aykroyd and Murphy team up to scheme the guys who switched them. How’s that a worthy holiday message? It’s all about getting things for free. What could be more Christmas-y than that? You can see this classic holiday comedy for free at the Oak Highlands Brewery  during their monthly movie night Wednesday, Dec. 21. Oak Highlands Brewery, 10484 Brockwood Road, 7 p.m., free, — Danny Gallagher

It’s fairly common to have cookies and milk and quite a lot of Mattel come Christmas. But these circumstances are a little different. You’re probably imagining a tall glass to drink, but the MILK you’ll get Wednesday is more of a tall drink of mighty fashionable drag. There may also be a lot of play, but the Mattel that House of Blues is serving up is more of the Trixie Mattel variety. A Drag Queen Christmas also features Bob the Drag Queen, Naomi Smalls, Kim Chi, and others, many of whom are recognizable from lighting up the runway on RuPaul’s Drag Race. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 7 p.m., $20to $150, (the Super Fan level gets you a reserved seat on the first or second row, priority in the meet-and-greet line, an autographed poster and more), — Merritt Martin

It’s easy to slip into resting Grinch face, considering the beating of an election we just went through and the onslaught of exhortations to switch into holiday mode. It might feel like a tough transition, but there’s still joy to be uncovered out there — and the Dallas Theater Center’s production of A Christmas Carol just might help you locate it. Their musical adaptation of the timeless Dickens tale speaks to the potential for rebirth and redemption in all of us, a message we could probably all use right about now, and it includes more than a few surprises in the reimagined classic. And luckily, it’ll be a happy constant at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre for the rest of the month. Turn that Grinchy grimace upside down. The show runs Tuesdays through Sundays until Wednesday, Dec. 28. Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St., 7:30 p.m., $20 to $104, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts prides itself on using puppets to tell stories when actors can't do them justice. When it comes to introducing young children to the classic ballet, The Nutcracker, it doesn't get any more charming. Plus it's the troupe's 20th anniversary of presenting this title at DCT. If one Christmas classic isn’t enough, try two. DCT is also presenting A Charlie Brown Christmas, bringing Charles Schulz's classic animated television special to life. Dallas Children’s Theater, 5938 Skillman St., 10 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. for The Nutcracker, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for A Charlie Brown Christmas, $23 to $30, — Katy Lemieux

Thu 12/22
If you’ve managed to avoid attracting too many Christmas tune earworms, then you might be interested in checking out a live performance by the classic festive sounds of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at one of two shows Thursday, Dec. 22, at the American Airlines Center. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra are currently touring their annual winter “Ghosts of Christmas Eve” show, a live revival of the 1999 made-for-TV movie that used their iconic renditions of holiday classic to weave a story of hope and humanity just in time for the holidays. American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 3:30 and 8 p.m., $48.50 to $77.50, — Danny Gallagher

She may not have David Caruso’s sunglasses, but she’s going to find out what happened to the Magi’s gold. She’s Sister (played by Nonie Newton Riley) and this is the yuletide offering from the author of Late Night Catechism. Maripat Donovan along with Marc Silvia and Jane Morris via WaterTower Theatre offer up Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold. It won’t take Lenny Briscoe to find the laughs in this holiday show, but you only have two more nights to see it, so hurry. WaterTower Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison), 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday; $40, — Merritt Martin

Delivering toys to children all over the world on Christmas Eve isn’t easy, especially when you’ve been doing it for over a thousand years. When Santa announces that this will be his last Christmas, the search is on for someone to fill some very big boots. But not everyone in the North Pole is feeling too giddy about Santa’s first choice for a replacement. Now it’s up to Father Christmas and his workshop of elves to get the new Santa Claus ready in time for Christmas! Santa Claus: A New Musical has new original songs and lots of holiday cheer. Casa Mañana, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave.,  3 and 7 p.m., $20 to $29, — Katy Lemieux

The final couple of weeks of the year usually means a dry spell for shows. National touring acts take some off, but bands in the Lone Star state never really take time off. Lantic is a four-piece from San Marcos, specializing in hippie psychedelic rock. With their 2016 release, Days on End, the band has a decent document of their sound. It's a sound you don't have to be under the influence to understand. They're a tuneful band, and they've paired up bands in their wheelhouse for this show. Since it's at the Prophet Bar, it's not a surprise there are four other bands on the bill. Austin's Onearth is a good fit, as their free-flowing vibe works with Lantic's sound. Locally-based the White Rhinos has a bit of psych vibe but also a heavy R&B sound, too. Elmont, also from around this neck of the woods, will have a go. And there's Apollo Bay from Sherman, which is a bit of a stretch to call local, but they're a promising four-piece with a more traditional rock sound. The Prophet Bar, 2548 Elm St., 7:30 p.m., $10, — Eric Grubbs

Fri 12/23
In our next life, we want to be Francine Thirteen. She’s mystically, hypnotically, unapologetically female. She throws down with ritual and ceremony during her live performances. And the beats carry that voice like incense. Friday at Deep Vellum Books, Francine Thirteen offers up what’s been called a “Winter Solstice Ceremony” with fellow artist Mattie Michelle. Another gem indicative of her magnanimous energy: “Forge your own path. Then, you don't have to beg for opportunities. And just when they think they have dimmed your light, glow on their asses.” Deep Vellum Books, 3000 Commerce St. 8 p.m., $10, — Merritt Martin

I don’t mean to hate on Hamilton, but it's impossible to get a ticket. Wouldn’t it be better for our collective sanity if we just moved on to the next hip-hop infused stage musical? Here’s an alternative. The Eisemann Center will stage a one-night-only performance of the Hip Hop Nutcracker Friday, Dec. 23. This version features Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince as a mysterious stranger named Drosselmeyer transports them back in time to witness the moment when their parents first met in the backdrop of 1980s Brooklyn. This main stage show features live dancers, a DJ and a violinist as well as a digital backdrop that magically transforms the stage from scene to scene. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson, 7:30 p.m., $39 to $56, — Danny Gallagher

Sure, procrastinators can grab a last-minute gift off a shelf at any department store or big-box retailer, but for gift buyers looking for a more one-of-a-kind, meaningful memento to give someone special, Ro2 Art and Art Tooth present Ro2ooth Gift Grab. The collaborative group exhibition showcases a diverse collection of “small works” projects by area artists, and the Gift Grab presents art lovers of all sorts a chance to affordably browse from an eclectic array of mediums, including painting, prints, photography and sculpture by some emerging and established artists from North Texas. The show features the work of notable locals such as Ray-Mel Cornelious, Ollie Gee, Brian K. Jones, Robin Ragin, Brian K. Scott, Erica Stephens, Clay Stinnett, Chip Tompkins, Diana Urbina and Fabiola Valenzuela, as well as nearly 50 additional artists. The opening reception will feature a DJ set by visual artist and musician Ronnie Heart from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. The reception is free and open to the public. Ro2ooth Gift Grab runs through Dec. 31. Ro2 Art Gallery, 1501 South Ervay St., free, — Daniel Rodrigue

TubaChristmas started back in 1974 at New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink when tuba musician Harvey Phillips wanted to honor the memory of his music teacher. So a group of renowned tuba players entertained the skating masses with renditions of Christmas carols entirely on this bulky, misunderstood instrument. Tuba players all across the country have carried on this tradition every year during the holidays is every major city in America and Dallas will continue this musical tradition at Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas. Tuba players will gather on the square at noon Friday, Dec. 23, to play some Christmas classics for the crowds who cross the square. This event is free to attend. Participants who wish to play at the event must provide a $10 registration fee while registering starting at 9 a.m. and attend a rehearsal at 10 a.m. on the same day. Thanksgiving Square, 1627 Pacific Ave., noon, free, — Danny Gallagher

John Holiday brings his Holiday Experience 2016 to The Kessler Theater in Dallas, Dec. 23. Holiday, who recently completed appearances in the role of “first male voice” in Paradise Interrupted at the Singapore International Arts Festival 2016 and the Lincoln Center Festival 2016, will celebrate the season with an electric mix of jazz, classical, R&B and gospel. Joining him on stage will be Neeki Bey, Kristin Yost, Nigel Rivers, David Marquis and the Texas String Quartet. The Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 7:30 p.m., $22.05 to $500, — Katy Lemieux

Sat 12/24
There’s no party like an arts party. That’s just a fact. Now when the party is the Arts Alumni Holiday Party 2016, there’s no question. Art kids know how to throw down, and it only gets better after graduation … and on Christmas Eve. Proof: This shindig is hosted by the one and only Kennedy Davenport (alumna of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and features DJ 2 Klean as well as a live showcase by The Art of Misdirection. We don’t mean to get too punny, but it sounds like there could be some magic there, especially with food by The Flaming Skillet. Peticolas Brewing Company, 2026 Farrington St., 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., $20 (21 and up) or $10 (18 and up), — Merritt Martin

The best part of Christmas sometimes comes from the most unlikely place: namely, over a domestic beer at a dive bar. The family get-togethers are wonderful in their own way, but after the hustle of getting gifts together, assembling pot luck creations and tolerating a houseful of screaming kids and passive-aggressive political discourse, the comfort and joy that The Goat can bring is no small thing. Meet up with friends, start a tab and enjoy Christmas Eve with Tutu Jones & His Twisted Soul Band. Tomorrow, it’s back to family, Santa Claus and green bean casseroles — but tonight, it’s all blues, a cold bottle, and warm hearts. No cover, free parking and Christmas cheer for miles. The Goat, 7248 Gaston Ave., 10 p.m., free, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

Sun 12/25
It's probably the case that you have too many plans this day rather than too few. But running around like a madman on Christmas Day trying to accommodate all the various branches of your family will make you crazy, and take away from the joyful spirit of the holiday. If you do one thing for yourself, we suggest it's that you set aside the evening for attending free XMAS XXtherapy at Three Links with your friends — aka your family by love. After a day of keeping your mouth shut around Uncle Larry when he starts spouting off about politics, a little loose, experimental, musical fun with They Say The Wind Made Them Crazy, Little Beards and Deflowered Electric Flesh Bride — plus a whole lot of whiskey — will be just what the doctor ordered. Three Links, 2704 Elm St., 8 p.m., free, see Facebook. — Caroline North

Mon 12/26
Performance artist John Michael left a big ol’ void in Dallas when he headed to the colder climes of Chicago a couple years back. His vibrant one-man shows lit up the local theater scene, injecting his trademark silliness and effervescence into topics that are anything but. His John Michael and the Order of the Penix managed to combine HIV/AIDS transmission awareness with a ribald take on the Harry Potter franchise, while Crossing Your I’s took on Michael’s experiences in a facility for dementia patients. His shows specialize in that weird space where something strikes you as hilarious, but you’re not sure if it’s OK to laugh. Michael assures you that it’s totally fine. And Monday, Dec. 26, he’ll be back in Dallas to give you the go-ahead to giggle as he presents a deeply personal performance about the death of his mother. Meatball Séance, performed at The Margo Jones Theatre, finds him trying to perfect his mom’s meatball recipe in an attempt to raise her from the dead so she can meet his new boyfriend. Expect the usual blend of laughter and heartbreak — but add in a dash of culinary wizardry, onstage and off as the performance is followed by a leftover potluck and a keg full of craft beer. Margo Jones Theatre, 1121 First Ave., 7:30 p.m., pay what you can, — Jennifer Davis-Lamm

On his website, Austin-based designer and illustrator Michael Sieben includes a 2014 photo of a mural he painted on a small building on Singleton Boulevard. Commissioned by Dallas Contemporary, the heavily lined image of two human-like bird figures facing one another was to "remain on view until the building falls apart or the apocalypse occurs. Although there’s a distinct possibility that those two events could coincide," the website says. Sadly, the mural was across the street from Trinity Groves, sitting in the path of gentrification. So score one for the artist's prescience. Luckily, the skatepunk-inspired Sieben is back in Dallas with a new collection of works in an exhibition titled The Thing Within at {neighborhood}. The show opens Dec. 3 and continues until Jan. 1 or the apocalypse. Given the way things are going you might want to hurry by. {neighborhood}, 411 N. Bishop Ave., opens at 11 a.m. daily except Mondays, free, — Patrick Williams