Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Dec. 19

Elvis Costello playing with Delbert McClinton at The Warehouse, from the film by Kirby Warnock.
Elvis Costello playing with Delbert McClinton at The Old Warehouse, from the film by Kirby Warnock.

Dallas’ musical history isn’t my strongest point, but even I’m aware of the special sort of alchemy that coalesced in the 1970s.

Oak Cliff filmmaker Kirby Warnock’s documentary on the city’s rock ‘n’ roll roots, When Dallas Rocked, packed the Texas Theatre a couple months ago. Tonight’s screening at the Kessler might be your last opportunity to see it for awhile, barring DVD purchases. The film explores the couple of decades when Dallas was a record distribution hub and enjoyed the presence of the region’s dominant rock radio station, KZEW. A few local folks you might recognize, such as the Dallas Morning News food writer Kim Pierce and former FD Luxe editor Tracy Achor Hayes, make cameos alongside the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Freddie King. Jon Dillon, who was with KZEW for 14 years, is the evening’s special guest. Grab dinner at Ten Bells before the film rolls at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas From the Fam-o-Lee concert happens tonight at House of Blues. Peter Simek has all the details on what one might expect from the show, but here’s a good primer on the song that started the holiday tradition:

When Keen rolls through Dallas this month, audiences will be treated to one of the most popular and perfect Robert Earl Keen songs, “Merry Christmas from the Family.” The song is a showstopper, one whose every last line the audience will surely sing back to the performer. In it, the redneck heroes of a Texan Christmas buy snow by the can, blow out the Christmas lights with a motor-home generator, and run to the Quick-Pak store for everything from Marlboro Lights and Pampers to Diet Rites and a can of bean dip. The song’s charm comes from the way it disarms the preciousness of the holiday with wry, Chevy Chase wit. And yet, as with many of Keen’s songs, there’s an emotional punch that comes from the narrative suggested in between the lines of his lyrics.

You can still get tickets online.

For more to tonight, including a free whiskey tasting at Abacus, go here.