Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Dallas moment

    Holding a parade to celebrate the opening of Central Expressway

    Of course, we have no harbor for the tall ships to float into. No signature bridges to decorate. No peaks or buttes to illuminate with fireworks. We are a seat of commerce, a maze of office buildings and malls stitched together by roads. So why not celebrate the reopening of our own Mother Road with a parade? What could be… More >>
  • Best District Judge

    Judge Merrill Hartman, 192nd District Court

    In these highly litigious times when frivolous lawsuits are filed by too many lawyers clogging up too few courts, it's a rare judge that can remain even-handed as well as even-tempered. Hartman is part of that rare breed. Believing that talk is cheap and mediation is even cheaper, he is the most ardent proponent of alternative dispute resolution. His views… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Derik Webb, Bless Cricket, Crest Toothpast, and Tommy Tune at the Dallas Children's Theatre

    At intermission during this remarkable, semi-autobiographical world premiere from resident playwright Linda Daugherty, a DCT official commented that Webb's unnerving submersion into the role of a Down's Syndrome teenager was especially striking, because "he's the pretty boy in the company." Generally speaking, we don't shower accolades on pretty performers just because they've decided to black out a tooth or revel… More >>
  • Best play with a local setting that you may never see in Dallas

    Killer Joe by Tracy Letts

    Set in a trailer park on the outskirts of Dallas, this dark little play that won awards and rave reviews off-Broadway revolves around a dysfunctional family determined to have Momma bumped off so Worthless Son can get together some quick insurance money to pay off a drug debt. When you need a job like that done fast and efficiently, whom… More >>
  • Best Intellectual Resource That Needs your support

    The Dallas Public Library

    The library system definitely deserves its due from the citizenry, especially the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. While good ol' J. Erik doesn't have all that he needs (and deserves), the catalog is deep enough that you are sure to find most of what you are looking for, and the staff is helpful in aiding your search through the stacks.… More >>
  • Best sign that hell has frozen over

    The Toadies' second album is finished

    No, it's not out yet, and God only knows when Interscope Records plans on releasing it, but Toadies Album No. 2, Stars Above/Hell Below, is finished, a mere six years after Rubberneck hit the shelves. Sure, it's not like the band spent all of that time in the studio--Rubberneck didn't even become a hit until almost two years later--but still.… More >>
  • Best Reason Only Johnny Cash Should Be Allowed to Sing Johnny Cash Songs

    Colin Boyd

    When local singer-songwriter Colin Boyd sings Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" during one of his various regular engagements around town, you'd swear he'd gotten the song mixed up with James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." In fact, no matter what song Boyd happens to be singing, you'd swear he'd gotten it mixed up with a James Taylor song. The fact is,… More >>
  • Best open-mike poetry

    Sankofa Arts Cafe

    For those who adored the movie Love Jones, there's a Dallas spot that'll set the mood for your poetry. On Sunday nights this little hole-in-the-wall turns the lights down low, lights the candles, fires up the kitchen for a veggie delight, and turns the microphone up. This is a great place to go and relax to the sound of the… More >>
  • Best closet-sized art gallery

    Annex Gallery

    Conduit's Annex Gallery would be considered roomy if there were, say, pants and shirts hanging in it instead of art. Never let it be said, however, that the Annex Gallery didn't make the most of its limited space. Like its counterpart, Conduit Gallery, Annex has opened itself to some of the brightest up-and-coming artists, including the first show by members… More >>
  • Best movie theater

    Cinemark 17

    The other day, we were reminded of how little this title really means: We were driving past NorthPark and passed all that remains of the NorthPark I & II, which has been rendered a shell of its former glorious self. Soon enough, the building will be torn down and replaced by a department store, which is the last thing this… More >>
  • Best Radio talk show

    Glenn Mitchell, weekdays at noon on KERA-FM 90.1

    OK, we hesitated about this one. Sometimes the only listener we'll concede that Mitchell deserves during one of his more lackluster afternoons is Dan from Tyler, a regular caller to various public radio shows. Then again, finding five scintillating topics a week (and exciting speakers to discuss those topics) is no small undertaking. At least once or twice a week,… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Beverly May, Mrs. Klein

    We must admit a certain bias toward neurotically flamboyant actors--not the Sarah Bernhardts and John Barrymores of yore, who took theatrical polish and scrubbed themselves till they bled with the effort of universalizing tragedy in ridiculous booming voices. We speak of those who have taken the so-called Stanislavskian Method of psychological detail and self-exploration and turned it into a parade… More >>
  • Best Campaign Line

    Councilman James Fantroy

    Before besting a miserable field in District 8, James Fantroy told constituents at a debate this spring at Singing Hills Recreation Center that people in his district are worried about being poisoned by water siphoned specifically to South Oak Cliff from the spill-infested Lake Tawakoni. Paranoia is always one of our favorite traits in an elected official. It's even more… More >>
  • Best art museum

    Dallas Museum of Art

    The DMA does not win by default. Dallas' one and only combines the best aspects of art museums from across the metroplex. It has the regional art and historical objects of the Amon Carter and Kimbell. It showcases new talent and cutting-edge, contemporary works as do the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Arlington Museum of Art. Its… More >>
  • Best Place to Introduce Children to Theater

    Le Theatre de Marionette

    If you had bought Theatre de Marionette season tickets for the little ones this year, you could have assured them of seeing fun, professionally done, European-style puppet performances of such kiddie classics as Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin & His Lamp, Peter Pan, and The Littlest Angel. This is not Freddie the Clown or Howdy Doody stuff. Russian puppetry artist… More >>
  • Best Impromptu Performance by an actor

    Bruce DuBose displays his, um, artistic temperament

    Undermain Theatre stalwart Bruce DuBose excels at roles in which self-absorption can be easily confused for intensity. Onstage, he's often as serenely soporific as one of his voiceovers for KERA Channel 13 or a truck company, and veteran theatergoers have grown so accustomed to his rich-throated narcotic stylings, they forget that the role can be played in a way not… More >>
  • Best Place to Attend a non-stuffy book-signing

    Dick's Last Resort

    For several years now, Dick's has been doing its part to promote local authors with book-signing parties that are really parties. No boring "readings," no scholarly lectures allowed upstairs where the highly successful gatherings are held. Just lots of friendly mingling, munchies, cash bar, the opportunity to purchase the latest by a local writer and, most important, a good time. … More >>
  • Best Road Trip for Bookworms

    Recycled Books & Records

    Recycled is more like a library than a bookstore these days. There's no high-priced coffee bar or a section to purchase book accessories such as the Itty Bitty Booklight or stainless steel bookmarks. Instead, it smells like old books. That's because every room, level, nook, cranny, and minute space is filled with tomes, novels, and volumes. Size and quantity, however,… More >>
  • Best evidence that the local music scene is better than Austin's (Despite what Texas Monthly says)

    The Adventures of Jet, Baboon, The Baptist Generals, Budapest One, Captain Audio, Centro-matic, Chomsky, Corn Mo, Darlington, [DARYL], Todd Deatherage, The Deathray Davies, Dixie Witch, 41 Gorgeous Blocks, every band John Freeman is in, Fury III, The Hundred Inevitables, Last Beat Records, Legendary Crystal Chandelier, Lewis, Lift to Experience, Little Grizzly, Lo-Fi Chorus, The Lucky Pierres, Lucy Loves Schroeder, Mandarin,… More >>
  • Best half-assed attempt to support local music

    D's special local music issue in April

    God bless D. They tried. Really. You can tell they made a serious effort in this April's issue, with its focus on the local music scene. Well, you can tell they made a serious effort thinking about doing a local music issue. Let's put it this way: Any magazine that claims it's going to prove why Dallas is better for… More >>
  • Best Dallas chanteuse

    Drenda Barnett

    Barnett graces After Dark on Cedar Springs with her vocal gifts and presence on Saturday and Sunday nights. Her loyal fans are much happier for it. This powerhouse knows when to belt out a song and when to keep her voice soft and whispery. She's at her best when warbling jazzy, upbeat tunes. Somehow you can't help but feel lighter… More >>
  • Best African-American art gallery

    Beaujour Galerie Des Beaux Arts

    This haven of artistic talent just across the Trinity in Southern Dallas is named after the artist who we'd seen paint a mural in a Lutheran church many, many years ago. It was astounding. His wife opened a gallery in March 1997. All the pieces are eye-catching, and there's a lot to eyeball--anywhere from 30-50 artists' work is on… More >>
  • Best children's art school

    J's Art Studio

    Jaye Weiner, the mother and proprietor of this school, has recently moved into a new building to accommodate her success. She and a staff of 10 enthusiastic teachers help children ages 4 and up produce fantastic, creative objects d'art, often from recycled material. Sign up early because these classes fill up quickly.… More >>
  • Best visual artist

    Nic Nicosia

    The Dallas artist pulled a quasi-Triple Crown this year with simultaneous shows at three venues, not to mention his showing at New York's Whitney Biennial. Jumping from photography to filmmaking and back again, he brought Circles and Squares (which was based on a fashion shoot for Neiman Marcus at the Lakewood Theatre) to Dunn and Brown Contemporary, contributed his films… More >>
  • Best place to find arcane videos

    Forbidden Books

    Forbidden doesn't claim it has Dallas' largest collection of cult video for nothin'. Though it changed hands earlier this year from founder Jason Cohen (who leaves the store to run a same-monikered gallery around the corner) to Ben Moore (who's in his early '20s), the collection of 2,000 videos in genres ranging from Japanimation and cult to blacksploitation and fetishist… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ

    Barry Switzer, "Football All the Way," Thursday at 6 p.m., KTCK-AM 1310

    OK, so the ex-Sooners and Cowboys coach isn't really a DJ--he's no Kidd Kraddick or Carter, no computer jockey playing the latest by Britney or Sting or some other disposable pop icon (hey, we love Sting as much as the next straight man, but we stopped caring around the time of "Russians"). And he's not necessarily the host of "Football… More >>
  • Best gadfly Web Site

    Sharon Boyd's "It's a Bad Deal," www.dallasarena.com

    She whines. She carps. She's half-wrong. Sometimes she's almost impossible to read. But at least she gives a small hoot about what's going on downtown, and with a little publicity blast this year, she's even being noticed for it. Boyd, whose hit-counter reads more than 52,000 lately, is not the force she aspires to be in Dallas. She's just not… More >>
  • Best Local TV News Show

    Weeknight broadcasts on KTVT-TV Channel 11

    Whether it's vengeance on his former colleagues at WFAA Channel 8 or just being free of them, Channel 11 News anchor Tracy Rowlett has helped give his fellow teammates an edge the other locals sorely lack. Covering the school district, the cops, the controversy over sexually oriented businesses, the folks at KTVT clearly don't have to worry about all the… More >>
  • Best Reason for An Appointed Judiciary

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

    You say you believe in the Democratic process, in the right of an informed electorate selecting the most viable judicial candidates from the marketplace of lawyers who have distinguished themselves in their careers. You say voters are intelligent enough to make good choices, to select the most qualified candidate, unswayed by the politics of the moment or popular sentiment. Then… More >>
  • Best Director

    Preston Lane

    Preston Lane… More >>
  • Best Band Comeback

    Union Camp

    We had no idea how much difference a name makes until Check changed its moniker to Union Camp. To be honest, we probably wouldn't have given Check another chance, after 1998's All Time Low proved to be a tease, featuring guest appearances by Slobberbone's Brent Best, Legendary Crystal Chandelier's Peter Schmidt, and Centro-matic's Will Johnson, and, well, that's about it.… More >>
  • Best proof that Texas Monthly might be right

    The Nixons, Hellafied Funk Crew, Pimpadelic, and every band that plays at The Rock. Unfortunately, there's even more where these came from.… More >>
  • Best threat to Sam Paulos' empire

    ACME CD Manufacturing Co.,

    The compact-disc manufacturing outfit run by former Leaning House Records honcho Mark Elliott and The New Year's Bubba Kadane out of a storefront in Exposition Park will one day pry loose Sam Paulos and Crystal Clear Sound's stranglehold on the local music scene. Count on it: Everyone involved with the company is too smart and talented for that not to… More >>
  • Best threat to Sam Paulos' empire (Part II)

    Last Beat music complex

    A place where bands can rehearse and record, combined with a fully functioning record label, the Last Beat compound on Commerce Street has undergone major changes in the past few years, with outstanding results. The Toadies, Legendary Crystal Chandelier, The Deathray Davies, Chomsky, Captain Audio, Pinkston, and others all use the rehearsal facilities, and Baboon, The Polyphonic Spree, and many… More >>
  • Best place to see a living legend

    Al Dupree at The Balcony Club

    "Big" Al Dupree sings and plays the piano. Very well. From his low perch in front of a piano, Dupree's soft jazz and gentle blues captivate the crowd at The Balcony Club an average of five nights a week, joined by eager Dallas musicians who want to play with the great one. Their eagerness is understandable--in his time, Dupree played… More >>
  • Best Public Sculpture

    Pegasus, Farmers Market

    The new one, lit up by Der Mayor on New Year's Eve, is pretty enough--a glossy neon vestige brought back to life in a downtown trying to breathe life into its concrete shells (lotsa lofts, but we'll see if it makes a difference). But the original, sitting in a Farmers Market shed, is still a sight to behold, especially up… More >>
  • Best elementary school

    Stonewall Jackson Elementary

    While the Dallas Independent School District talks about splitting into three (we think they ought to use dynamite rather than a bureaucratic blueprint) to deal with their woes, it's nice to cite an example of what is good within DISD. Stonewall Jackson Elementary School has received the exemplary school status on the state level, and the blue-ribbon school status on… More >>
  • Best art gallery

    You gotta be kidding

    Yes, we're pulling another cop-out, but come on, there are many damned fine galleries here, and our favorite changes with each new show. It would be fruitless to list one each here along with its respective virtues. Some good starting points include Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Photographs Do Not Bend, Conduit Gallery, Barry Whistler Gallery,… More >>
  • Best newspaper columnist

    Timothy O'Leary, The Dallas Morning News

    Covering international beats is a cool but challenging gig, especially considering the void of interest in international relations endemic to the American public. Bringing compelling tales from or about foreign lands to the pages of local newspapers is a good vehicle to get people to shed their back yard mentality. Timothy O'Leary hopscotches the world in search of dramatic conflicts… More >>
  • Best TV Journalist

    Brett Shipp on WFAA Channel 8

    He hammered Bill Rojas and his overpriced posse of headquarters bureaucrats, then came up with what could be the scoop of the summer: sleazy back-scratching judges down at the civil courthouse. What's cool about Shipp is that he's so nice while he's capping those knees. Rather than huff and puff himself up as a crusading investigator, like so many others… More >>
  • Best city council member

    James Fantroy

    What? James Fantroy the best city council member? A man who was seemingly handpicked by the felonious Al "Big Daddy" Lipscomb to fill his seat? A man whose first business was operating a liquor store? A man who operated a security company without a license for years? Well, he's new, and he hasn't had a chance to screw up yet.… More >>
  • Best Political Gaffe

    City council members wade into deep doo-doo

    Many, many people are going to think this one definitely has to go to our recently departed short-timer school superintendent, Waldemar Rojas, if not for the unforgettable "tin-cup" episode, then for some other installment in his Bosnian-style public relations career in Dallas. But we get into a technical area. Strictly speaking, good gaffes can't be done by major-league wackoids. Those… More >>
  • Best Theater Classes for Kids

    Richardson Centre Theatre's Family Theatre

    There are other better-known and better-funded theater companies offering classes to children, but dollar-for-dollar the Richardson group offers the best value. The six-week sessions end with your children in professional and actually enjoyable productions. Most of the kids on stage appear to have learned how to act. The adult repertory actors perform the major roles, making the theatrical occasion a… More >>
  • Best Production, Best Director

    Inexpressible Island, Dallas Theatre Center; Preston Lane, Director

    The entire 20th century was brought under microscopic scrutiny in this North American premiere courtesy of the Dallas Theater Center and director Preston Lane, who made a revelatory debut as a main-season captain after he had previously worked at the perennial task of resweetening DTC's hard-candy fave A Christmas Carol. We've grown so accustomed to the computer-created special effects provided… More >>
  • Best Improv Comedy Troupe

    Section 8

    Are the guys in Section 8 the funniest? Depends on the show. A good audience can make the show come together as surely as a bad one can ruin it. The point is this: These guys are fast and ready to take what they're handed. They're crass; they have a crazy following. They have two weekly shows--Wednesdays at the Improv… More >>
  • Best local music fans

    The Chomsky Army

    OK, sure, they get a tad obsessive (that works better if you replace "a tad" with "extremely"). Yet you won't find any more dedicated fans than the group of people mouthing the words and awkwardly dancing at the foot of the stage during Chomsky shows. It doesn't matter if the shows are in Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth, or even Austin,… More >>
  • Best Band Name (Once You Know What It Means)

    The Lucky Pierres

    There are plenty of bands with dumb names floating around Deep Ellum, most of which only get dumber once someone explains what they mean. For instance, Alligator Dave & the Couch Band, Rubix Groove, Elm Fooy, Spoonfed Tribe, Plastic Tongue, Edgewater, Dolly Braid, Red Trucks & Chickens, and on and on and on. The Lucky Pierres' handle, at first, seems… More >>
  • Best Dallas businessman

    Lou Reese

    The crafty Deep Ellum developer stands accused in civil court of bleeding several savings-and-loans in the '80s, ratting out a few bank presidents, doing some very short time in the federal slam, and returning a rich man, flush with zillions stashed in offshore banks. Why is Lou the best? Well, anyone can make a killing in Big D when times… More >>
  • Best Online PR Stunt

    dotcomguy

    In January, a University Park man decided to do what no computer geek had done before: For one year, he would live his life online, his every movement--sleeping, eating, goofing off mostly--would be Webcast to a global audience 24-7. He would abstain from sex and travel (traveling was the hard part), never leaving his home, which was quickly labeled the… More >>
  • Best new museum

    The Women's Museum - CLOSED

    Labeled "An Institute for the Future," this new institution will open this month in the former Coliseum in Fair Park. Using interactive media, the museum will tell the stories of American women, including those of Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Day, Jane Addams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Maya Lin. Grab your girls and go...girl.… More >>
  • Best IMAX theater (tie)

    Cinemark 17 & The Science Place

    All right, you caught us. There are only two IMAX theaters in Dallas, but each one has its advantages, its charm, its je ne sais quoi. While The Science Place generally sticks to more, uh, duh, scientific films, the Cinemark goes for the flash and hype. It's The Magic of Flight vs. Cirque du Soleil's Journey of Man, or Wolves… More >>
  • Best radio station

    Magic 102.1-FM "Jammin' Oldies"

    We can quibble with Magic 102's haphazard sense of history in its programming choices--does '80s Madonna, however much a dance-floor mainstay she was then, really deserve so much airplay alongside Donna Summer, one of the greatest pop singers of the past 25 years and one of the canniest, a woman whose endless string of Giorgio Moroder-produced hits enjoys much-deserved new… More >>
  • Best theater company

    Wingspan Theatre

    Wingspan Theatre… More >>
  • Best Gadfly/Activist

    Anne Carlson, Dallas County chair, Common Cause Texas

    She might look like your benevolent aunt, but Anne Carlson is a pit bull. Her quiet but determined approach to uncovering the sleaze of City Hall politics is a refreshing change from the E-histrionics of Sharon Boyd or the eco-tinged good government babble of the Green Party types. They are her allies, but she puts the best foot forward with… More >>
  • Best place for foreign and indie films (tie)

    Inwood Theatre & United Artists Cine

    Hmmm...This category was impossible to nail, because we had to choose between the four-screen Inwood Theatre and the two-screen Cine. Both bring the latest in independent and foreign cinema to Dallas and are much appreciated by their patrons. Aesthetically, however, Inwood is tops. You have to give props to Landmark Cinema for keeping a beautiful vintage theater like Inwood in… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Gloria Campos, WFAA Channel 8

    This was a tough category. Exactly how, we asked ourselves, should we judge Dallas' top news anchor? We finally nailed down our criterion: Whoever doesn't put us to sleep on the couch. Gloria Campos, practically a Dallas institution, has been around for a while, but she still fronts the most smoothly professional newscast in Dallas, even if it has gone… More >>
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