Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment
There are a dozen places to roller skate in Dallas, but one of the best is city owned and operated Southern Skates off Ledbetter Drive. On Sunday night, the pros come out to adult skate, which runs from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Gene Kelly has nothing on the dancers here — couples who dance together more gracefully than most can manage wearing regular shoes and entire packs performing choreographed routines. In the center of the rink, skaters breakdance or just catch their breath and observe the scene around them. Two DJs man the booth and for the first couple of hours hip-hop, rap and R&B dominate the music selection. But once the lights are dimmed around midnight, the mirrored ball starts spinning and disco tracks take hold. Amateurs are more than welcome, and you'll see a few, but if you're wobbly on skates you'd do best to stick to the center. The people on the outer limits of the rink move fast — as fast as you should move to check out this Dallas institution while it's still hot.
Assassination Derby, one of Dallas' best roller derby teams, gave their seal of approval to this more than 50-year-old skating rink located in Mesquite. While it looks like it was built in 1961, a roller skater can't beat the price at Dad's, where skate rentals are only a $1. The skating rink is large. The bathrooms smell like a bathroom should smell and the service is exceptionally friendly. Dad's also offers skating classes for children and hosts dance skating between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. every Friday for the star-crossed junior lovers or older couples who wish to reminiscence.
It comes as no surprise that an exhibit of work by abstract expressionist luminary Jackson Pollock would be a draw for the Dallas Museum of Art. There's a reason his drip paintings are ubiquitous. They're good. Really good. But the exhibition Blind Spots, organized by DMA curator Gavin Delahunty, focused on Pollock's later work, a series of rarely seen black enamel paintings. Curated in low-ceilinged, carpeted rooms, the exhibition gave the viewer a mid-20th century experience. Yet, it felt new and exciting, and ultimately emotional. The turmoil, the chaos of Pollock's work was on full display, and with more than 70 works, the exhibition demanded numerous visits to the museum.
This has been Brandon Potter's year. In just a few months, the unknown MFA student at Southern Methodist University became one of the city's most promising acting talents. The dude's in his early 30s and he played a believable 55-year-old President Lyndon Baines Johnson in All the Way at Dallas Theater Center. In the same year, he played a killer King Richard first at Shakespeare in the Bar and then at Shakespeare Dallas' Shakespeare in the Park. Sure, they're both conniving powermongers, but Potter made them irresistible.
Mary Tyrone is one of the American theater's most iconic characters. The matriarch losing touch with reality in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night is a role rife with complications. It's a challenge for even the most serious actress and one rarely available. So, it's a treat to see an actress as gifted as Joanna Schellenberg step into the character. An actress seen so rarely on Dallas stages it's criminal, Schellenberg gave a bone-rattling performance as the drug-addled, fading woman.
In a year in which theater companies struggled to hold onto — or even find — performance spaces, Ochre House Theater remains the little theater that could. Against all odds, playwright/director Matthew Posey's company continues to produce new works in a small storefront in Exposition Park. Attending a production is an investment in the unexpected. The only thing your ticket promises you is something you've never seen before. And the risk itself is worth the $15 price of admission. From a play about an egg salesman to a bawdy musical about a small town girl named Indigo Sue, there's no end to the creativity at this little company.
Dallas Summer Musicals
There are a number of playwrights whose names you hope to see on an Undermain Theatre season announcement. The company has its go-to living playwrights, like Erik Ehn, Meg Miroshink and Len Jenkin. They work closely to commission or develop work by these writers, often to incredible results. Such was the case with Jenkin's Jonah, which Undermain's artistic director, Katherine Owens, developed alongside him at the Sundance Theatre Lab. Owens directed the world premiere of the work this year to critical acclaim. The frenzied take on the Biblical beach tale featured kaleidoscopic characters and heartwarming stories interwoven in a way that was meaningful, intellectual and fun — an Undermain hat trick. It was also one of the best uses of the basement theater space we've ever seen, thanks to John Arnone's theater-in the-round design, which put the audience inside a circus tent.