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Things to Do in Dallas

The 25 Things You Must Do in Dallas This December

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The holiday season is here, bringing with it Christmas productions and seasonal shows along with the usual slew of tree lighting celebrations and Nutcracker performances. It all leads up to one of the most eventful nights of the year on New Year’s Eve. It’s safe to say it will be a busy month. Here are 25 ways to close out 2015 the right way.

Music
Lights All Night
Dec. 31 & Jan. 1
Lights All Night is Dallas’ big year-ending EDM blowout, a top-notch dance party that has in previous years brought in the likes of Skrillex, Calvin Harris, Disclosure, and deadmau5. This time, the two-day festival has booked Dutch DJ Hardwell (DJ Mag’s No. 1 DJ in the world two years running) to headline the first night and Chicago house music mainstay Kaskade to preside over the second. If none of the proper nouns in the preceding two sentences rings a bell, you should probably at least check out a few tracks on Spotify so you know what your kids are tweeting about. After starting at Fair Park, Lights All Night has found a home at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which is perfect, since the former senator was known for her stalwart dedication to fostering a sustainable dance music scene in Dallas. (Kidding. That was her husband.) Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St.

Theater/Dance
The Book of Mormon
Dec. 1–6
If you missed this juggernaut of a musical on its last two visits to North Texas—and chances are you did, considering just how hot tickets for this mega-hit comedy from the creators of South Park have been—here’s another opportunity. This is one case where the hype, the Tonys, and the sold-out shows across the country are all warranted. Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth.

Music
Girl Band
Dec. 2, 7 pm
There’s some of Can’s motorik propulsion and Mark E. Smith’s straight-outta-bedlam vocal style in Girl Band’s post-punk racket, but the aggressive four-piece finds a sublime noise all its own somewhere on the darker, more brutal end of the rock music spectrum. Wear earplugs. Club Dada, 2720 Elm St. The band’s cancelled the rest of its 2015 tour, including this date, for health reasons. You could go see Muse instead.

Opera
Becoming Santa Claus
Dec. 4–12
Before he grew the snowy beard and let all those cookies expand his waistline, Santa Claus was a young prince celebrating his 13th birthday around the same time of another momentous birth out Bethlehem way. In this family-friendly work, written by Mark Adamo and commissioned by the Dallas Opera, Santa experiences the first Christmas. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St.

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Music
King Diamond
Dec. 5, 7 pm
As a famed member of the Church of Satan whose menacing black-and-white face paint makes the guys in KISS look like choirboys, Kim Bendix “King Diamond” Petersen has always walked the walk where black metal is concerned. That’s not to say the 59-year-old Dane (who now lives in North Texas) doesn’t know how to put on a show—a King Diamond concert is one of the most bombastic, theatrical productions in rock music. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St.

Happenings
Sally Mann
Dec. 8, 7 pm
It’s appropriate that one of the country’s most renowned (and sometimes controversial) photographers would write a memoir packed full of photographs, including her most famous (and sometimes controversial) works: black-and-white prints of her children, playing in the nude at the family cabin. Mann will speak about the book for this edition of the Modern’s Tuesday night lecture series. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth.

Music
Robert Earl Keen
Dec. 27, 7 pm
Keen’s “Merry Christmas From the Family” is maybe the only holiday song that feels entirely appropriate in Texas, where margaritas, televised football games, and renditions of “Feliz Navidad” are much more common than snow and sleigh bells. Ditch the chestnuts, round up your dysfunctional kin, and join the country singer for the rowdiest caroling you’ll find this season. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. 214-978-2583.

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Theater/Dance
Black on Black: Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Dec. 11 & 12
This is the closest you’ll get to one of North Texas’ most incredible dance troupes without actually joining the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Held at the company’s downtown studio, Black on Black lets audience members see the group’s choreography in the most intimate of settings. DBDT Studios, 2700 Ann Williams Way.

Music
The Polyphonic Spree’s Holiday Extravaganza
Dec. 12, 6 pm
A Christmas tradition almost as old as the band itself, the Spree’s 13th annual December bash remains as reliably enjoyable as an extra serving of milk and cookies. As is custom, you can expect a magic show, a ventriloquist act, and other kid-pleasing activities to go along with two sets—a “holiday set” and a “rock set”—from Tim DeLaughter’s choral pop group. Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St.

Music
The Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops
Dec. 4–6
With all respect due to your neighborhood caroling group, they can’t top the combined force of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, and the Christmas Pops Dancers. Come for the classics like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and stay for renditions of songs from Home Alone and Scrooge. The Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St.

Happenings
Gilmore Guys Live
Dec. 27, 7 pm
One of the great and terrible things about online broadcasting is the possibility that one day there will be a podcast for every conceivable subject, no matter how niche. As proof, we direct you to Gilmore Guys, an episode-by-episode breakdown of television’s Gilmore Girls (rumored to be revived at Netflix) hosted by two men with too much time on their hands. Kevin Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe have now taken their show on the road. The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.

Theater/Dance
Elf The Musical
Dec. 8–20
More nice than naughty, this kid-friendly Broadway production maintains the good-natured humor of the 2003 Will Ferrell film it’s based on. It’s a worthy entry into the modern canon of stories about the “true meaning of Christmas,” which mostly seems to involve enjoying time with your family. You can do that safely with Elf. Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus.
Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

Music
Lucero
Dec. 13, 7 pm
The country-rock act is pulling double duty on this tour, opening for itself with an acoustic set before plugging in and following up with a full performance. It’s the best of both worlds for fans of Lucero’s ballads and its rockers. South Side Music Hall, 1135 S. Lamar St.

Theater/Dance
Naughty but Nice: A Christmas Cabaret
Dec. 11–13
The Soul Rep Theatre returns to the South Dallas Cultural Center as the new resident theater company, opening its season with a holiday special set in a “South Dallas hole-in-the-wall.” Billed “for adult audiences only,” the Christmas cabaret may lean more naughty than nice. South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave.

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Music
Soundings: A Thousand Cranes
Dec. 12, 7:30 pm
The Nasher’s Soundings series continues to supply the most innovative, challenging classical music you’ll hear in North Texas—or anywhere, for that matter. The highlight of this performance by the East Coast Chamber Orchestra is the world premiere of A Thousand Cranes, a new piece by the acclaimed composer Christopher Theofanidis. Montgomery Arts Theater, 2353 Flora St.

Happenings
Dan St. Germain
Dec. 10–12
St. Germain does not have a Wikipedia page. He does have a Comedy Central special, and a podcast, but most of his comedic reputation has been built off the grid the good old-fashioned way—by being very funny, very frequently, on stages across the country. Catch the stand-up in his natural element. Hyena’s Comedy Nightclub, 5231 E. Mockingbird Ln. Editor’s note: This show was cancelled after the December issue of the magazine went to press, but before this post went live. Consolation prize: Comedian Raj Sharma is now performing at Hyena’s the weekend of Dec. 10.

Music
A.A. Bondy
Dec. 17, 8 pm
During Bondy’s last extended break from releasing new music in the early 2000s, the former grunge rocker reinvented himself as a tender folkie. It’s been four years since Bondy put out an album, but—fortunately for fans of his open-hearted acoustic sound—this time the song remains the same. Three Links, 2704 Elm St.

Theater/Dance
Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 13, 6 pm
This production gets a musical boost with the addition of the Dallas Pops, as the orchestra dives into a grab bag of holiday music to match the spectacle of the acrobats and performers. It’s a family-friendly affair that combines the classical awe of a night at the symphony with the light-hearted fun of the circus. Dr Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco.

Photo courtesy of Cirque Musica.
Photo courtesy of Cirque Musica.

Theater/Dance
Black Nativity
Dec. 10–20
The Nativity according to Langston Hughes is chock-full of gospel music and poetry, a beloved retelling of the birth of Jesus mixing Christian and African-American traditions. The play itself has gone through a number of interpretations over the years, ensuring TeCo’s production may have its own musical surprises to bring to the familiar story. Bishop Arts Theatre Center, 215 S. Tyler St.

Music
!!!
Dec. 11, 8 pm
With a reckless disregard for search engine optimization and Giuliani’s no-fun New York, this outfit made an unpronounceable name for itself during the dance-punk genesis of the early 2000s. The group has continued to forge its own path while sticking with the extensive percussion and relentless grooves that forced us to learn how to say “chk chk chk.” Club Dada, 2720 Elm St.

Music
Voices of Winter
Dec. 12, 6 pm
The Women’s Chorus of Dallas will join with the Metropolitan Winds—for those keeping track at home, that’s more than 100 performers—for a mix of holiday staples. The performance will also feature the premiere of a new piece from the composer Jocelyn Hagen, whose extensive résumé of vocal work, along with her birthplace of chilly North Dakota, would make her uniquely equipped to write for the chorus’ winter show. Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St.

Music
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Dec. 3, 7 pm
Bradlee has created one of the internet’s most viral cover bands by reinterpreting popular modern songs in the styles of decades past. Think Taylor Swift filtered through Motown, or doo-wop Katy Perry. It’s a gimmick, to be sure, but the strength of the performances and the creativity of the old-fashioned arrangements make the Postmodern Jukebox more than a one-trick pony. The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St.

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Music
Jennifer Nettles
Dec. 3, 6:30 pm
Nettles skyrocketed to fame as one half of Sugarland, but the country singer remains plenty dynamic outside of the famous duo, with an anticipated solo album on the way and a role in an upcoming Dolly Parton movie. She’ll perform here with Brandy Clark, one of the songwriters behind the Dallas Theater Center’s recent Hee Haw musical, Moonshine. House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. 214-978-2583. houseofblues.com/dallas.

Music
Chrismukkah with JEFF the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet
Dec. 4, 8 pm
Local booking outfit Parade of Flesh has put together a veritable power-chord symphony with this holiday show starring two notoriously raucous live acts. Diarrhea Planet’s six-piece lineup includes an onslaught of four guitarists, each of them adept at the art of the chugging riff and the squalling solo. JEFF the Brotherhood has a third of the firepower but achieves the same hair-singeing effect. Club Dada, 2720 Elm St.

Theater/Dance
Jersey Boys
Dec. 16–27
The last time this hit musical about the Four Seasons came to Dallas, its five-week stay became the highest-grossing Broadway run the AT&T Performing Arts Center has hosted. The moral of the story here is that fans of Frankie Valli and company will want to buy tickets early for this limited 16-show engagement. Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St.

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