Best of Dallas®

Best Of 2013

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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

BEST NEW ART MOVEMENT

When Deep Ellum's newish property management company, Deep Ellum 42, a group that's gained local support by pledging to retain the initial points of interest in old, vacated neighborhood haunts, met Apophenia Underground, the area's newest guerrilla art collective, something amazing happened. Jeff Gibbons and Justin Ginsberg — the humans behind the secretive art group — pitched an unlikely plan: They asked Deep Ellum 42 if they could use those empty buildings, many of which had no electricity, as short-lived art spaces. Not only did Deep Ellum 42 agree, they handed them the keys to an unleased city. Since that first show in February the neighborhood has turned into a cutting-edge, ephemeral scavenger hunt. On select night windows are simply lit up with GIF or video art, heavily curated group shows and solo works by local favorites. It's a game-changer for a time when emerging talent has risen to the surface, demanding the same attention as the more traditional gallery-repped circuit. Plus, it has made finding art a thrill while using the city's existing infrastructure. And by plopping it all in an area of heavy foot traffic, it has encouraged passersby to have unexpected interactions with beauty, merging the gallery scene, innovation and public art together.

BEST THEATER ACTOR

If Matt Purvis hadn't hurt his back playing high school football, Dallas' theater scene might never have met its newest hot leading man. Purvis, 24, grew up in Southlake, where he played ball and danced with a competitive all-guy hip-hop team. After his injury kept him off the baseball diamond too, he tried theater for the first time his senior year at Southlake Carroll High, nabbing a good part in Pajama Game. That got him hooked on acting, which he pursued with roles in Rent, Chicago and a dozen other shows at Grapevine's Ohlook Performing Arts Center, all while earning his marketing degree at UNT. Shortly after college graduation, Purvis was cast in dual leading roles in Theatre Too's production of the dirty puppet musical Avenue Q, which ran for a solid year. The week it closed, he got a lead in Theatre Arlington's musical Altar Boyz (running through October 6). "For me, theater used to be a release to get away from school or my job," Purvis says. "Doing Avenue Q for so long was a huge step. It validated my decision not to stop performing."

BEST STRIP CLUB DATE NIGHT
Saturday Date Night at The Lodge

If you're a straight couple that includes an adventurous, open-minded lady and a guy with a functional cardiovascular system, make Saturdays at The Lodge part of your date-night rotation. Between 4 and 9 p.m., entry is free for couples (we're pretty sure this applies only to those that include a female — sorry, cheapskate dudes, no claiming to be a gay couple to weasel out of paying the cover). Even better, $25 gets dinner and dessert for two. And it's not just a buffet of chicken fingers — we're talking steak, seafood or pasta. Take advantage of happy hour prices before 9 p.m. and you'll save enough to buy her a lap dance like the good old-fashioned romantic gentleman you are.

10530 Spangler Rd., Dallas, 75220
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972-506-9229
BEST SHAMELESS BREASTAURANT MARKETING PLOY

The competition for this honor was surprisingly fierce this year. On the one hand, it's hard to top the shamelessness of Bikinis, which evicted a long-time Hill Country resident to make way for Bikinis, Texas. (At the town's grand opening, the servers made plaster casts of their breasts for a Hollywood Walk of Fame-style display.) Were this issue published in May, they would be the clear winner. But DFW-based Redneck Heaven enjoyed a late surge when its Anything But Clothes Day — featuring body paint, gumballs and, in one case, twin bags of swimming goldfish — was banned by the Lewisville City Council. In other words, the girls were just too damn naked. Truly a stroke of marketing genius.

2501 Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville, 75067
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BEST FESTIVAL

The music at beer festivals is usually pretty lousy. And at music festivals, beer tends to be a mercilessly overpriced afterthought, with selection that ranges the spectrum all the way from Bud Light to Miller Lite. But when The Common Table and Spune Productions teamed up with Paste Magazine, they put equal emphasis on both. They've now pulled off three of the events, two in Dallas and one in Fort Worth, bringing in great indie acts and breweries. Acclaimed acts Delta Spirit, Blackalicious, Freelance Whales, Cults and Leagues set the mood at the most recent Dallas installment perfectly, and some of the best breweries in the world — including plenty of local and Texas companies — offered hard-to-find and unique brews to sample. The idea was such a hit, there's a spinoff fest called Canned in Denton October 5, as well as plans for Untapped events in Houston and Atlanta.

BEST BEER FESTIVAL

For two years, Chad and Nellie Montgomery's Fair Park brew fest has brought in dozens of breweries offering hundreds of great beers at reasonable prices. This year's edition included a handful of food trucks as well, which cut down greatly on the wait along with offering a better selection of potential pairings for the suds. The location, within stumbling distance of the Fair Park DART train station, meant there were no excuses for drunken driving afterward. And the specialty and one-off brews were some of the best we've seen at a beer fest. Inspired by Denver's Great American Beer Festival, the two want to grow their own fest into a destination event, and with a sell-out crowd of 5,300 at the 2013 Big Texas Beer Fest, it may well be on its way to such a status. We'll drink to that.

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BEST NEW ART MOVEMENT: Deep Ellum Windows

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