Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Jan. 17

Rouge.

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Arts and Letters Live series is back, officially, tonight. In the coming months, we’ll see folks such as Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Matt Bomer, who is just so attractive, and Madeleine K. Albright, who I assume needs no introduction from me.

But this evening, we’ll kick the 2013 season off with an “Artful Musings” event that centers around the Dallas Theater Center’s upcoming production of Red, the Tony Award winning play about abstract artist Mark Rothko that will open next month in the Wyly’s smaller theater space on the ninth floor. The DMA is in on the production, which makes perfect sense, considering that there’s at least one Rothko lurking in the halls. The museum’s director, Maxwell Anderson, will moderate a conversation between art conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, who directed the restoration of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, and Joel Ferrell, director of DTC’s production of Red.

Afterward, the audience gets a sneak peak at the play, which drops in on Rothko in late 1950s New York, working on a series of commissions in his studio and adjusting to the presence of his new assistant, Ken. Fun fact: freckled Eddie Redmayne, who plays adorable yet dishwater dull Marius in that recent cinematic flaying of Les Misérables, played Ken in both the original Donmar Warehouse production  in London and on Broadway. You can still get tickets to tonight’s conversation online through the DMA.

Also this evening, famed explorer Robert Ballard is speaking at the Winspear Opera House as part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. You may recall him as the guy in the “Oops I Did It Again” video who went down and got that giant blue diamond for pre-2007 Britney after the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end. Or maybe he’s just the one who discovered the ho-hum, everyday wreckage of the Titantic, whatever.  Now with more than 120 expeditions under his belt, Ballard will talk about his many deep sea discoveries as well as his ongoing project aboard the E/V Nautilus, exploring the Black Sea, Aegean, Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. Tickets are just $25 for the mezzanine; not a bad deal.

You could snag a bite at any of the One Arts restaurants for something close–Café des Artistes, The Greek–but if you’re just looking for a beer before the show, you can’t beat the bar at Jorge’s. It’s big, and they have Estrella. For something down the road, The Libertine does brisk service if you just let your server know you’re on a deadline.

For more to do tonight, go here.