Best Of Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Dance Club Couture

    Red Light Lounge

    Every Thursday night, the rooftop deck of two-floor Red Light Lounge comes alive with music from The Guild, a group of DJs who have played at Burning Man. The real show, however, is the crowd of regulars who show up in wild-ass wigs, feathers, leather, sequins, tutus, body paint and...

  • Best Dive Bar

    Velvet Elvis

    If you're going to give yourself a name like Velvet Elvis, you better be tacky in your execution. And if there's anything that Velvet Elvis does well, it's bad taste. It's everything that a hole-in-the-wall dive located in a strip mall should be: dark, grungy and full of bad art,...

  • Best TV News Reporter

    Janet St. James, formerly of WFAA/Channel 8

    In March, award-winning journalist Janet St. James announced she was leaving her job of 19 years at ABC affiliate WFAA and moving to public relations. The next month came worse news: St. James had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. The news of her diagnosis and subsequent double mastectomy came...

  • Best Party Photographer

    The Naked Lens

    Here's the short-but-simple online biography of The Naked Lens: "I figured the world already had enough wedding photographers," he writes. "Most of my best friends are hookers, strippers or burners." The Naked Lens is photographer Mark Kaplan, a former naval air crewman and lifeguard who now works as a freelance...

  • Best Comedy Club

    Dallas Comedy House

    Dallas Comedy House isn't where you go to see a big-name headliner, but that's what makes it good. Head to the recently relocated Deep Ellum institution if you want to catch Dallas' best up-and-coming stand-up comedians (who might one day become big names) trying out new material and honing their...

  • Best Rock Bar

    Club Dada

    Club Dada's patio gives it a bit of an unfair advantage in this category. Sure, shows indoors at Dada kick plenty of ass; moshing along to Total Trash just wouldn't be the same in the fresh outdoor air. The dingy, don't-really-give-a-shit decor is a nice touch, and the bathrooms are,...

  • Best News Radio Station

    KERA-FM

    As what's left of talk radio on the AM dial rants itself red in the right-wing echo chamber, KERA-FM just keeps quietly, calmly providing news, interviews, panel shows and features from local, regional and national sources. The National Public Radio and Public Radio International affiliate is where you'll find This...

  • Best Live Music Venue

    The Bomb Factory

    When was the last time hype paid off so gloriously? The return of The Bomb Factory, out of commission as a concert venue for 20 years, had been publicized for over a year when the doors finally opened in March. And boy, did it ever live up to expectations: The...

  • Best Radio Talk Show

    Think, KERA-FM

    With its wide variety of guests — authors, arts leaders, politicians, performers — local host Krys Boyd's noontime talk and call-in show on KERA-FM/90.1 offers a calm, well-informed two-hour break from the angry voices doing talk radio elsewhere. Boyd's good at letting her guests make their points with minimal interruption...

  • Best Local Music Release

    Coming Home by Leon Bridges

    The feel-good story of Dallas music in 2015 has undoubtedly been the rise of Leon Bridges, who used a contract with Columbia Records to spring onto late-night TV shows, but still takes the time to go busking in Deep Ellum. Listening to Coming Home, it's easy to understand what all...

  • Best Erykah Badu Moment

    Montreal Jazz Festival

    We've been blessed with a steady stream of Erykah Badu updates this year. Some of the things that have kept her busy: She busked in Manhattan, appeared on the local news when her flight was delayed, performed an epic hip-hop medley with the Roots, headlined opening night at The Bomb...

  • Best County Official

    John Warren, Dallas County Clerk

    Big ups to Dallas County Clerk John Warren for changing his mind for the right reasons. In 2013, after saying for years that he opposed same-sex marriage because of his religious beliefs, Warren came out in support of marriage equality. This year he dutifully prepared his office for the Supreme...

  • Best Actress

    Jenny Ledel

    Versatile, classically trained Jenny Ledel is half of one of Dallas' most powerful theater-making duos. Husband Alex Organ, our Best Actor pick, is artistic director at Second Thought Theatre. Ledel is a company member at Kitchen Dog, where she was a comic delight in Lee Trull's zany Wilde/Earnest. She played...

  • Best Jukebox

    Lakewood Landing

    A jukebox — a real, honest-to-goodness one with CDs or records and pages that flip — is most at home in a dive bar. And if any bar in Dallas gets it right, it's Lakewood Landing. Put in $1 and you'll get three songs, but why would you do that...

  • Best Use of Star Power

    Garth Brooks

    In your face, Jerry Jones. The Cowboys owner may have built the biggest indoor concert venue in the state of Texas, but when Garth Brooks decided to make his big North Texas comeback, he took his business elsewhere. And boy did it pay off: Brooks, who hadn't played Dallas since...

  • Best Actor

    Alex Organ

    Sure, Alex Organ is great in the big classic roles: Coriolanus at Shakespeare Dallas, Iago in Othello at Second Thought Theatre (where he's artistic director now). But it was in Undermain Theatre's weird and wonderful production of Annie Baker's The Flick this season that this Yale-trained actor really showed the...

  • Best Concert

    Sleater-Kinney at Granada Theater

    Sometimes it's best to let the music do the talking. When Sleater-Kinney visited Dallas in the spring, they answered questions about whether their reunion tour could capture the old fire in the simplest way possible: by kicking ass. The trio barely spoke throughout the show, preferring instead to ratchet up...

  • Best Theater Company

    Undermain Theatre

    For several decades, the 90-seat basement space in Deep Ellum has staged avant-garde plays by emerging writers. This season, however, something clicked on a higher level with the world premiere of Gordon Dahlquist's sci-fi drama Tomorrow Come Today, the tightly focused work of actor Shannon Kearns Simmons as the title...

  • Best Small Theater Troupe

    Theatre Britain

    Founder and director Sue Birch's small professional company in Plano keeps the accent on all things English in seasons packed with murder mysteries, farces and traditional holiday "pantos." Production quality is consistently tickety-boo (as Brits would say), with fairy-tale panto shows designed like storybooks come to life (and scripts designed...

  • Best All-Ages Venue

    The Kessler Theater

    When you think of an all-ages venue you might think punk music and kids waving middle fingers at their parents and the establishment. But cultivating a great all-ages audience is really about respect for elders. The Kessler Theater, an always-all-ages venue, is nothing if not reverent toward music's past, and...

  • Best Roving Music Venue

    Vice Palace

    What's more do-it-yourself than not having a fixed address? Local artist Arthur Peña flipped the script on the DIY venue model by doing away with the actual venue (and the overhead) to set up a roving DIY space, Vice Palace. Peña has always liked things weird (witness a George Quartz...

  • Best Local Playwright

    Jeff Swearingen

    He often starts with a title: A School Bus Named Desire. Then writer-director Jeff Swearingen creates an ingenious homage to the original play, but with the twist of using children and teens as characters. As the co-founder and director of all-youth Fun House Theatre and Film, Swearingen has wowed critics...

  • Best Recurring Music Night

    Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions at The Crown & Harp

    If Lower Greenville has increasingly come to resemble Uptown with its rooftop bars and valet parking, then at least one bar, and in particular one weekly music showcase, has been keeping the neighborhood's creative spirit intact. That bar is The Crown & Harp, and thanks to Stefan González, who curates...

  • Best Theater Director

    vickie washington

    With this season's world premiere of Dallas playwright Jonathan Norton's moving drama Mississippi Goddamn, vickie washington (she likes it lower case) reminded us that she's one of the finest stage directors in North Texas. Expert at bringing new works like Norton's to stages at South Dallas Cultural Center, Jubilee Theatre...

  • Best After-Parties

    16bars.xxx

    Hip-hop is booming right now in Dallas (just ask Noisey), but if you really want to know what makes the scene tick you have to go underground. No one in North Texas has a finger on the pulse of hip-hop, both local and touring, like the folks behind 16Bars.xxx, who...

  • Best Scenester

    Scenic designer Rodney Dobbs

    Theatrical set designer Rodney Dobbs regularly makes something out of nothing. Starting with a bare stage, with some plywood, paint and lots of imagination, he can re-create 1960s Southern suburbia, as he did for the play Mississippi Goddamn, or go multilevel with fancy staircases and video screens for Uptown Players'...

  • Best BYOB Club

    R.L.'s Blues Palace #2

    This should be a two-horse race. Where else in Dallas would you want to BYOB (or technically speaking, BYOL) other than Ships Lounge or R.L.'s Blues Palace? The answer is, "Nowhere, you idiot." Sadly, Ships' recent (though, God willing, temporary) closure means there can only be one, Highlander-style. R.L.'s is...

  • Best Theater Festival

    Festival of Independent Theatres

    The four-week summer round-up of one-hour shows by small local companies bounced back in a big way this year. Producing presenter David Meglino chose eight diverse productions filled with energetic talent eager to introduce audiences to fresh pieces of live theater. Top draws were The In-Laws' dreamlike new mini-musical Decline...

  • Best Moment on Dallas Before It Got Canceled Again

    Judith Light Does a Line

    Dallas the cable reboot got the boot this year after just two seasons, but dang, it had some dandy moments, even if the scripts about Alaskan fracking contracts and Mexican drug cartels were dumb. The addition of Emmy and Tony-winning actress Judith Light gave the TNT series a temporary boost...

  • Best Swing-Dancing Video

    Mark Cuban at The Standard Pour

    Say this much for Mark Cuban: He has a sense of humor. Or maybe he just doesn't give a damn. When the Free Loaders perform each week at the Standard Pour, band leader John Jay Myers makes the same joke: "If you like what you heard, put $100 in the...

  • Best Punk Venue

    Three Links

    Three Links is punk to the core. Having an owner who's a world-class tattoo artist is a good start, as are the one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn show posters. But everything about this club smacks of a no-bullshit approach that places the emphasis on the music, man. More important, Three Links is a...

  • Best Pop-Up Concert

    J. Cole at House of Blues

    Every once in awhile, a concert winds up being more notable as an event than as a pure live-music experience. Case in point: J. Cole's secret concert at House of Blues. The North Carolina rapper announced the latest round of his ongoing Dollar and a Dream tour would kick off...

  • Best Viral Song

    "White Iverson" by Post Malone

    Local rappers have gotten their fair share of shine in 2015, thanks to collaborations with Dr. Dre and shout-outs in Noisey. But the most unexpected success story was that of unknown Grapevine ex-pat Post Malone, whose clever song "White Iverson" had Complex and XXL singing his praises. An ode to...

  • Best New Festival

    Dallas Medianale

    Dallas Medianale is the experimental film festival you didn't know you wanted to go to until you did. In February, the Video Association of Dallas took over The McKinney Avenue Contemporary to curate a month of film screenings, video art installations and intermedia performances, which included internationally renowned video artists...

  • Best Jeopardy! Cameo

    Old 97's

    "I'll take 'Rhett Miller's White Jeans' for $100, Alex.'" OK, that wasn't the category that got everybody's favorite cow punk — uh, alt-country — band from Dallas onto Jeopardy!, but we can dream, can't we? The real $64,000 question (or, in this case, $800 question) asked, "The Old 97's are...

  • Best Movie Theater

    Texas Theatre

    To some, the Texas Theatre is best remembered as the place where Lee Harvey Oswald tried to hide out after assassinating President Kennedy. But since its revitalization a few years ago, and thanks to creative and thoughtful programming, the landmark with a dark history is enjoying a second life as...

  • Best Country Bar

    Love and War in Texas

    Texas country is somewhat different from red dirt country, quite different from alt-country and a whole hell of a lot different from bro-country. Texas country is real; it's not full of glitz and glitter, and it's not about trucks or bass fishing or taking shots or dancing. It's about living...

  • Best New Book by a Dallas Author

    Blackout by Sarah Hepola

    Write a book about experiences you don't remember. It's a riddle of a premise, but Dallas native Sarah Hepola wasn't afraid of a challenge. Her relationship with alcohol, which continued despite crippling blackouts, is the subject of her memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. It's a tale...

  • Best Sports Bar

    Ojos Locos

    This is the best bar to watch soccer in Dallas. This is also the best bar to watch the Cowboys play, which you might find hard to believe because it's not located in some posh neighborhood or in an old rundown building. The clientele is 99 percent Latino, but gringos,...

  • Best Comedian

    Clint Werth

    Because secondhand embarrassment is real, we sometimes get nervous before seeing stand-up comics. Good jokes take risks, which means any comedian with hope of being good is just as likely to get crickets as big laughs. When Clint Werth takes the stage, however, you forget to be nervous for him...

  • Best Gay Bar

    Round-Up Saloon

    This cowboy-themed bar is a Cedar Springs legend, and for good reason. In addition to the frequently cheap drink specials, cute boys (and girls) dressed in western wear and RuPaul's Drag Race watch-parties, Round-Up is the place every celebrity in the world heads to when he or she visits Dallas...

  • Best Old School Impresario

    John Hardman

    At some of the nation's top shopping malls, the "Santa experience" is being retooled. A Santa show produced by DreamWorks, for example, promises a "fully immersive story hosted by characters," including "a thrilling four-minute flight on Santa's sleigh." The shows Dallas puppet maestro John Hardman has produced with his Le...

  • Best Dance Club

    Station 4

    If you're really trying to shake your groove thing, Station 4 is the only place to go in Dallas. This massive club on Cedar Springs is always playing pulsing techno, and the dense crowd means you won't have to be self-conscious about your moves. In addition to the five-plus dance...

  • Best School Board Member

    Mike Morath

    No matter what you've heard about the Dallas school board over the last year, picking the best member isn't easy. Miguel Solis, for example, did a yeoman's job as board president, stitching together consensus in a body ripped by controversy. But Mike Morath is the one who has suffered the...

  • Best City Council Member

    Scott Griggs

    District 1 (Oak Cliff) Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs is known outside his district for leadership in citywide battles against bad stuff like fracking operations near homes and schools and that stupid toll road they want to build along the river. But he's better known inside his district for the...

  • Best Metal Bar

    Reno's Chop Shop

    You know the satisfaction of walking into a bar and realizing you've found exactly what you've been looking for? For Dallas metal heads, that feeling comes as they step through the doors of Reno's Chop Shop. It has been an institution of the Dallas metal scene for years. The bar...

  • Best Mayor

    Philip Kingston

    Wait a minute, he's not the mayor. Philip Kingston is just a City Council member from East Dallas. But he's out-mayoring Mike Rawlings by doing all the things a mayor should do. He stands up to the Dallas Citizens Council, for example. (They're the old mossbacks who've been calling the...

  • Best Club DJ

    DJ Red Eye

    DJ Red Eye holds down a multitude of roles at It'll Do Club, including promoter, host and, most important, resident DJ. He has over two decades of experience controlling dance-floor vibes, with residencies at some of the most notable dance clubs in Dallas clubland history, from Club One back in...

  • Best Community Garden

    Bonton Farms

    Tucked under the knee of two freeways, with a wild, forested flood plain at its southern edge, the neighborhood around Bonton Farms organic community garden has long been the urban island in a part of southern Dallas that isn't quite paradise. It was a place where kids might not even...

  • Best Bartender

    Benj Pocta

    The craft cocktail movement has done wonders for booze enthusiasts, but it has also muddled the drinking scene with pretension and overpriced drinks. Benj Pocta could chew your ear off about obscure bitters, but he's much more likely to ask you about your personal tastes and then actually listen to...

  • Best Obi-Wan Kenobi

    The Reverend Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson was a teenager in Louisiana when he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the mid-1960s, serving first as a gofer and bodyguard to Martin Luther King Jr. and other SCLC leaders, later moving up as an advance man and organizer. He landed in Dallas in 1969 and...

  • Best Karaoke Night

    Good Luck Karaokeat Twilite Lounge

    If we're being honest, every other karaoke night in town is pointless in light of Good Luck Karaoke. Imagine the Joker seizing control of a bar once a week to make people sing songs for his twisted entertainment and you're pretty much there. Every Thursday night, Twilite Lounge offers a...

  • Best Loser

    City Council candidate James White

    Just putting yourself out there, standing up in public and saying "Vote for me" is hard enough. Not winning is a bummer. Instead of sulking, however, candidate James White viewed his third-place, 23 percent showing in the May 9 10th District Dallas City Council election as not bad for an...

  • Best Happy Hour

    Lee Harvey's

    The atmosphere at Lee Harvey's is already a local favorite, but the happy hour there should be a weekly stop for every Dallasite on a budget. In addition to the impossibly cheap drink specials, good company and divey surroundings, Lee Harvey's food specials during happy hour cannot be beat. On...

  • Best Fall Outing

    Autumn at the Arboretum

    Last year Fodor's Travel Guides named "Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum" as "One of America's Best Pumpkin Festivals." Oh, it's that and more. The Arboretum's fall festival of giant orange squash, running through November 25, offers a lot more than thousands of uncut jack-o'-lanterns. When the searing Dallas heat begins...

  • Best Patio

    Harvest House

    Since it burst onto the local scene in March during the return of 35 Denton, Harvest House has made a name for itself as the new place for young Dentonites to hang out. That's mostly because of its giant patio and outdoor stage. Add in a relatively mild summer and...

  • Best Outing For/With/Because Kids

    Lacerte Family Children's Zoo

    Fun for adults, too, but definitely designed with the little people in mind, the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo has things like "The Underzone," with a crawl-through tunnel that takes curious tykes up close to dwarf mongooses (small ferret-like, snake-killing mammals), hornbills (wild-looking parrot-sorta birds) and naked mole rats (you just...

  • Best DIY Venue

    Pariah Arts

    Pariah Arts is primarily an art space, but multimedia performance art and music are included under that banner. Musically it tends to lean toward bills with envelope-pushing acts and DJs who are less likely to be featured in the local bar scene. (They threw a whole three-day festival celebrating this...

  • Best Public Art Downtown

    Pegasus at the Omni

    On New Year's Eve 2000, Dallas celebrated the unveiling of a brand new, high-tech replica of the city's iconic Pegasus sculpture atop the 29-story near-century-old Magnolia Building. The original weather-beaten Pegasus, installed in 1934 as a temporary advertisement for the first annual meeting of the American Petroleum Institute, had lasted...

  • Best Latin Club

    New West

    Cumbia, tejano, reggaeton — you'll hear it all at New West, aka Dallas' top spot to catch Latin music and dance like you're at your cousin's quince. It also doesn't hurt that no matter the day, you can get a shot of Jameson and a Lone Star tall boy there...

  • Best View of Downtown from a Distance

    McCommas Bluff Landfill

    When you stand at the peak of the McCommas Bluff Landfill, possibly holding your nose, depending on wind direction and recent deposits, you are about 110 feet above the elevation of downtown Dallas. The skyline is 10 miles to the northwest, and from the trash mountain, it's a very striking...

  • Best Farewell Concert

    Centro-matic at Dan's Silverleaf

    All good things must come to an end, but boy can it hurt like hell. It was with a heavy heart that Denton gathered to watch their beloved Centro-matic bid farewell over a three-night stand at Dan's Silverleaf at the end of 2014. Nary a voice was heard or an...

  • Best Music Tweeter

    Sachse Dad

    No one knows who he is (OK, we know who he is, but we're not tellin'), but the scion of the suburbs is frequently found tweeting about local music with wild abandon. He's at every local show, he's buying merch and drinks and he's tweeting about it the whole time...

  • Best Trinity River Guide

    Charles Allen

    The Trinity River in Dallas is a much more interesting float than you might guess, but it's also a little less user-friendly than you might expect. The currents are more massive than they may look from the freeway bridges, and at certain times of the year, the river can present...

  • Best Music Radio Station

    91.7 KXT-FM

    For fans of local music, it doesn't get better than KXT. Tuning in, you'll hear local legends like Calhoun, Sarah Jaffe and Rhett Miller. The independent, listener-supported station also rotates in more widely known acts such as REM, the Rolling Stones and Violent Femmes. In an era when mainstream radio...

  • Best Evening Stroll

    Deep Ellum Wine Walk

    Pay 10 bucks for a glass when you sign in, then join a convivial mob to wander and shop in wine-welcoming Deep Ellum venues. If you haven't been that way in a while, the once-a-month wine walk sponsored by the Deep Ellum Community Organization is a great way to reacquaint...

  • Best Place to Get "Hammered and Nailed"

    Beauty Bar

    Come sundown, Beauty Bar throbs with sweaty people and DJ-spun tunes, but you'll find a different scene from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. That's when those in-the-know take advantage of their $10 "Martini and Manicure" special. Ms. Pattycakes the manicurist will take good care of you while you bask in...

  • Best Development in Dallas Politics

    Vonciel Jones Hill's City Council term limit

    No politician, no matter how cosseted, would dare rail against transparency. And yet former City Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill — her colleagues referred to her as "Judge" because of a long-ago position in the municipal judiciary — did exactly that. Repeatedly. She was wrong about just about everything else, too,...

  • Best Use of Classical Music

    St. Vincent with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

    When musicians in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra donned white jumpsuits for a concert in May at the Winspear Opera House, they probably knew they were in for something exciting. The sold-out audience, on the other hand, could not have predicted how magical it would be to see Dallas-raised singer-songwriter Annie...

  • Best Politician

    Dwaine Caraway

    No member of the Dallas City Council was quite as theatrical as Dwaine Caraway. Whether urging young folks to pull up their pants, doling out absurd economic development incentives to a (fantastically delicious) fried-chicken joint or proposing that the Trinity River be rerouted through downtown, Caraway never stopped being awesome...

  • Best Emerging Music Neighborhood

    North Dallas

    The area north of LBJ Freeway is supposed to be no-man's-land for anyone seeking culture or a good time. North Dallas may technically be part of Dallas, but it may as well be Plano for all we care. Well, that's how we used to feel. But then something odd happened:...

  • Best Supreme Court Win

    Inclusive Communities Project

    For years, Dallas has pushed city-sponsored low-income housing into heavily poor minority areas on the rather flimsy pretext that a shiny new apartment complex might spur revitalization. This was the norm, despite reams of research showing that poor people — kids especially — in mixed-income neighborhoods fare far better than...

  • Best Vinyl Record Store

    Josey Records

    Dallas benefited from an influx of top-notch record stores at the end of last year, with Off the Record and Spinster throwing out some fresh twists on the tried-and-true brick-and-mortar concept. But it was Josey Records that really raised the bar for North Texas record stores, and they did so...

  • Best DISD Innovation

    Eduardo Mata Elementary School

    Recently departed DISD Superintendent Mike Miles' legacy is complicated and controversial, but he leaves behind a handful of successes, chief among them Mata Montessori in East Dallas. The first in what was intended to be dozens of "schools of choice" — neighborhood-focused campuses with the specialty programs of a magnet...

  • Best Place to Get a Pre-Show Buzz

    Good Records

    Pregame: It's the name of the, uh, game when it comes to "pro" concert-going. If you have real-ass adult responsibilities — like a kid you've arranged to be babysat — when you go to a concert you want to make a night of it. And knowing where to get a...

  • Best Experiment in Legal Education

    University of North Texas-Dallas College of Law

    UNT-Dallas opened its new law school at a shaky time for legal education. Tuition-hungry law schools had been convincing far too many students to rack up far too much debt in pursuit of jobs that didn't exist. And yet, despite the glut of lawyers, there remained huge segments of the...

  • Best Use of Iambic Pentameter

    Shakespeare in the Bar at The Wild Detectives

    When it comes to the Bard, our theater critic Elaine Liner is emphatic: If William Shakespeare were alive today, he'd write for The Daily Show. Too often when contemporary actors are tangling their tongues around iambic pentameter, it's all so classical and reverent. Pish posh, say the players of the...

  • Twilite Lounge

    Twilite has had legions of devoted patrons almost from the day it opened more than two years ago. How is that, one might wonder? Besides the award-winning jukebox selection, the down-homey patio, the comfy couches and the weekly costume party that is Good Luck Karaoke, we mean. Those things are...

  • Best Art Exhibit

    DreamArchitectonics at Dallas Contemporary

    An exhibit at the Dallas Contemporary last fall used an intricate web of computer coding to create an immersive, interactive experience. The audio-visual installation called DreamArchitectonics produced dreamlike sequences based on the tone and emphasis of a human voice reading lines of poetic imagery by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. New...

  • Best Dance Troupe

    Danielle Georgiou Dance Group

    With her namesake troupe, Dallas choreographer Danielle Georgiou blurs the lines between theater and dance. Her shows combine original dialogue, live music and vibrant choreography — men partner men, women partner women — and explore topics focused on gender identity. With Georgiou's The Show about Men at the most recent...

  • Best Neighborhood

    Uptown

    We complain about Uptown. It's too popular, too crowded. But it's got a lot going for it: grocery stores, navigable sidewalks, a plethora of restaurants and bars. Yes, and overpriced apartments. It's a real estate goldmine and the developers are moving in and building up. That palpable lack of personality...

  • Best Art Gallery

    Liliana Bloch Gallery

    Liliana Bloch moved her namesake gallery this year from a modest space in Deep Ellum to the more art-centric Design District. It was a shrewd business decision, but it also signaled a step forward for the gallery, which continues to book some of the most complex, thoughtful shows in the...

  • Best New Thing in Town

    Deep Vellum Publishing

    If print is dead, it seems publisher Will Evans didn't get the message. In a little over a year, he's published seven books translated into English from other languages including French, Spanish and Russian. His commitments to both his translation company, Deep Vellum Publishing, and to the city of Dallas...

  • Best Performance Artist

    Erica Felicella

    Oak Cliff's Erica Felicella describes her art as "endurance performance." She's stayed awake for a week straight to explore the depths of depression. She's sat in a confessional booth listening to visitors share their darkest thoughts and feelings. She's locked herself in a box for two days, writing the same...

  • Best Not-Music Festival

    Oak Cliff Film Festival

    The Dallas arts landscape is crowded with festivals each year, but the Oak Cliff Film Festival has emerged as a do-not-miss event. Founded by the partners behind The Texas Theatre, who are filmmakers themselves, this fest picks a theme each year, exploring a particular era of filmmaking, for example. (This...

  • Best Place to Buy Your First Piece of Art

    Kettle Art

    No art gallery in Dallas is more welcoming to artists and art lovers than Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. Owners Paula Harris and Frank Campagna keep a strong rotation of local artists' work on their walls. For first-time buyers, it's where you get that painting you'll be glad you acquired...

  • Best Use of a Car in an Art Exhibit

    The WCD (Washington Crossing the Delaware) Project by Francisco Moreno

    Dallas-based painter Francisco Moreno's most recent piece, WCD (Washington Crossing the Delaware), was a re-interpretation of the famous Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze painting of George Washington. Moreno abstracted the image using a technique known as "dazzle camouflage." He then painted a 1975 Datsun Z in corresponding shapes and had his auto...

  • Best Local Podcast

    Street View

    Rashad Dickerson hosts the Street View podcast, an occasional program recorded in the basement of the downtown Dallas Public Library. When Dickerson started the podcast with Jasmine Africawala, DPL's community engagement administrator, he was homeless. He says he wanted to speak directly to his community through storytelling, conversation and discussion...

  • Best Storyteller

    Rawlins Gilliland

    "The Man Who Lived to Tell" describes 70-year-old storytelling master Rawlins Gilliland. A former sales director for Neiman Marcus, now a KERA radio commentator, this Dallas native spent the past year regaling audiences with three shows full of stirring, soul-searing stories from his rich and varied life. In a series...

  • Best Artistic Middle Finger

    Richard Sharum's Observe Dallas Project

    When East Dallas street photographer Richard Sharum announced that he would install a series of enormous photographic prints on the outside walls of buildings throughout downtown Dallas, he described it as a "war" with the city. It was his way of giving City Hall the bird, he says, for not...

  • Best Arts & Crafts Classes

    Oil & Cotton

    Since opening in 2010, this "creative exchange" in Oak Cliff has become a haven for art makers and crafters. Pick up materials for a new project here, or take affordable hands-on classes with local artists and creatives. Founded by art conservator Shannon Driscoll and piano teacher Kayli House Cusick, Oil...

  • Best Art Party

    Art Conspiracy

    Originally intended as a one-night auction and party to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Art Conspiracy kept going and is now one of the largest, rowdiest events for a good cause in this city. The organization has grown into a nonprofit community-wide charity that "conspires" to raise money...

  • Best Poetry Night

    WordSpace's Pegasus Reading Series

    WordSpace, a nonprofit literary organization, has been a vital source for the Dallas literary scene for two decades. The new Pegasus Reading Series, arranged by WordSpace member and poet Sebastián Hasani Páramo, is a new forum where emerging and established writers and poets read new work. Happening monthly, in collaboration...

  • Best Museum

    Meadows Museum

    Next to a tree-lined boulevard, fronted by sculptures by Henry Moore and Claes Oldenburg, the Meadows Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus houses one of the foremost collections of Spanish art outside The Prado in Spain. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this small but impressive museum, funded by...

  • Best Musical

    Stagger Lee, Dallas Theater Center

    Years in development at Dallas Theater Center, February's world premiere of the musical Stagger Lee, written by DTC playwright-in-residence and Meadows Prize SMU writer Will Power, filled the Wyly Theatre with impressive talent — Cedric Neal (now living in London and starring in West End musicals there), M. Denise Lee,...

  • Best Bridge

    Continental Bridge

    It was around dusk one evening during Dallas' monsoon season last spring, and clumps of people were sprinting off the Continental Avenue bridge, just steps ahead of a wall of fat raindrops. The downpour was expected, but the lure of standing above the swollen Trinity River and watching downtown Dallas...

  • Best Pizza Restaurant

    Olivella's

    Order a Neapolitan pizza of your choice and make sure to request that it stays in the oven till it's extra crispy. You'll be well on your way to enjoying the best pizza served in Dallas. The crust here has integrity and stands up to toppings without going limp. You...

  • Best Cheap Drink Deal

    Cock and Bull Neighborhood Pub

    Sometimes you go to a bar to hide. From your spouse. From your problems. From the glare of daylight itself. The murky atmosphere of the Cock and Bull, a cozy little red-walled bar in Lakewood, is as dark as a Raymond Chandler mystery. Some poorly lit bars skimp on cleaning,...

  • Best Caffeine Merchant

    The Cultured Cup

    Drop in during the weekend and be prepared to leave with a little extra zip in your step. Whether you prefer freshly ground coffee or the more delicate appeal of loose tea-leaves, The Cultured Cup will send you home with everything you need to assure your coming week is well...

  • Best Cocktails

    Midnight Rambler

    As if it weren't cool enough to slink down the stairs positioned just under a neon-lit "cocktails" sign, the atmosphere at Midnight Rambler is chic without feeling over the top. Once you find your way into this dimly lit cocktail den, the drinks that await somehow manage to eclipse the...

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