Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Political Moment

    Laura Miller's coming-out speech

    The governor of New Jersey got more national pub with his Gayo-American speech, but in local terms Laura Miller's public coming-out confessional before the North Dallas Chamber in June was every bit as riveting. The feisty former journalist who ran for office on a pledge of back-to-basics--she waged red-meat political campaigns against "the boys downtown" and their "big-ticket projects"--told the… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ

    Ayo, KDGE-FM (102.1)

    Ayo doesn't sound like a DJ, and we mean that as a compliment. He's funny without being shecky; personable but not self-obsessed; and enthusiastic but never phony. He sounds like a guy who loves music, and that's endearing, since the dial's full of slick-voiced, self-promoting, station-hopping sycophants. He wears Converse and band shirts, laughs at his own goofy jokes and… More >>
  • Best Daily Newspaper Columnist (tie)

    Steve Blow

    The guy writes three times a week; he doesn't have Mike Royko's research staff; he's not going to be Mike Royko, OK? Besides, look what happened to Royko. He's dead. Steve Blow is alive, if not edgy. With a laid-back, easygoing, yarn-spinning style, he can also be a darned good reporter when he feels like it. And if he had… More >>
  • Best Transformation

    The DMNs editorial pages

    As the promise of the Morning News' "revolution" fades, it becomes more and more apparent that you can't change a corporate culture unless you (warning: bizspeak coming) hire peak performers and empower them. When the paper hired Keven Ann Willey to be its editorial page editor, it did just that. The editorials under Willey continue to be sharp and sensible.… More >>
  • Best Site To Catch Journalists Jerking Off--Mentally, That Is

    FrontBurner

    Anybody really care what D magazine's writers think about Jessica Simpson, Alexa Conomos, Fireside Pies or other key issues of the day? Well, FrontBurner--a blog service of the publication's Web site--is the place to go if you do, indeed, care that much. On the other hand, if you prefer to catch up on inside jokes and office politics, they sometimes… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a City That Works (Eventually)

    Frisco Square

    Situated just past the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and Highway 121, Frisco Square is a 4 million-square-foot community built around the idea that the past is the future, that Norman Rockwell was right, that people want to walk to work (and to eat, and to shop), that real towns are built around plush parks and pedestrian-friendly streets. The… More >>
  • Best Socially Conscious Bookworms

    Central Dallas Ministries Urban Engagement Book Club

    Book clubs are powerful tools. For example, any tome Oprah Winfrey features on hers instantly becomes a best seller. Same goes (to a lesser extent) for the books featured on other chat-show book clubs. Larry James and Central Dallas Ministries have the same goal, except for one important wrinkle. They don't want people who come to their Urban Engagement Book… More >>
  • Best Developing Entertainment District

    Lamar Street

    It's still early, but give Jack Matthews (the developer who brought the South Side on Lamar complex to life and owns much of the neighboring property) and the others brave enough to join him time. South Side itself is already home to the best artists-in-residence program in the area (and one of the best, period), as well as tenants such… More >>
  • Best Word Freak

    Chris Cree, tournament Scrabble player

    As Chris Cree says, you don't have to know "antidisestablishmentarianism" to play Scrabble. Just plenty of two- to eight-letter words. Cree speaks from experience, because his knowledge of those words has made the local businessman the highest-ranked Scrabble player in Texas. He finished fourth at this year's National Scrabble Championship in New Orleans, losing a heartbreaking game in Round 30… More >>
  • Best Cheap Seat at the American Airlines Center

    Cingular Wireless Self-Expression Section at Mavericks games

    You can get in free at any Dallas Mavericks game. Yes, you. It's simple. Here's the deal: Paint your face. Your body, too, if you feel up to it. Show up two hours before tip-off at the American Airlines Center. Find something called the "Mavs Urban Excursion." Don't worry, it shouldn't be hard to miss, since there will be more… More >>
  • Best Arbiters of Cool

    Art Prostitute

    Besides coming up with an undeniably sweet name, Art Prostitute founders Brian Gibb and Mark Searcy have come up with undeniably sweet things to go along with it. Like Art Prostitute, the most stylish art and design magazine around, geared toward building a new generation of art collectors. (It's a touch pricey at $20 but worth every cent because of… More >>
  • Best Almost Famous Local Music Fan

    Actor-skater Jason Lee

    You might not have heard of Denton group Midlake, but Jason Lee has. Then again, you might not have heard of Jason Lee either, but that's a topic for another time. The actor-skater (you may remember him from such films as Chasing Amy, Mumford, Vanilla Sky and, yes, Almost Famous) swears it's one of the only bands he listens to.… More >>
  • Best TV News Show

    CBS Channel 11 at 10 p.m.

    This is a tough one, because WFAA-Channel 8 still has Byron Harris and Brett Shipp, two of the consistently best investigative reporters in the market. But Channel 11's news team just seems to work harder and dig deeper day in and day out. Politicos and public relations types keep a close eye on Sarah Dodd's City Hall coverage to know… More >>
  • Best Art on Two Wheels

    Charles Arvin, Arvin Art

    Like comic books and graphic novels, customized motorcycle and auto art is underrated. The skill required to paint a flawless pinstripe by hand or to render Elvis' snarl on the body of a Gold Wing calls for the most delicate and gifted touch. Charles Arvin has that touch and is one of the most prolific "customizers" in the area. Sport… More >>
  • Best Pageant

    Ms. Femme/Ms. Butch Buddies at Buddies II

    Think pageant and immediately the mind calls up Miss America-like shows with stupid and obvious questions answered by vapid, hair-sprayed women in sparkly gowns. It's different at Buddies II. (Somehow we suspect Adam West won't be hosting the next Ms. Femme/Ms. Butch Buddies pageant at the homey lesbian bar.) Sure, there's a formal dress competition, and there are questions for… More >>
  • Best Show No One Sees

    Bobby Jack Pack Show Comedy Show

    From the warped mind of local photographer Bobby Jack Pack Jr. comes one sick, twisted and absolutely hysterical sketch comedy show. The show, started more than a decade ago, stars a rotating cast and is filmed, well, whenever the hell they feel like it. Same goes for the airing, too, as the BJPSCS randomly shows on public access television or… More >>
  • Best Public Humiliation

    The open mike at West End Comedy Theater

    Fancy yourself a comedian, eh? Well, put together a two-minute routine and try to woo the audience at the West End Comedy Theater's open mike every Wednesday at 8 p.m. The forum is open to singer/songwriters and performance artists as well, but we find the real test of humiliating the self comes with an amateur round of comedy. Not to… More >>
  • Best Role Model Who Doesn't Have Millions to Donate

    Action Jaxon (97.9 The Beat)

    Oh, you could hand over a collection of old sculptures to the city. The newspapers would lavish praise on you, and the 500 or so people in Texas who actually appreciate bits of cast-off construction material welded into odd shapes would consider you some sort of god. Working for broader goals--the eradication of AIDS, an end to poverty, that sort… More >>
  • Best Autograph

    Drew Pearson

    It depends on who tells the story. Either Dallas Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson rudely shoved Nate Wright to the ground as Roger Staubach's desperation heave descended on that fateful day, one game before the Super Bowl, in 1975, or the hapless Viking simply fell victim to incidental contact. When Minnesota fans approach Pearson for an autograph, however, he lets them… More >>
  • Best Musical Chairs

    [DARYL]'s lineup

    We've started bragging that we used to be in the local band [DARYL]. With all the lineup changes in the last 15 months, no one would be the wiser, perhaps not even the actual members of [DARYL]. It was hard to keep track--we tried, but it was at a bar, on a napkin. You know how these things go. The… More >>
  • Best Drama Queens

    Our Endeavors Theater Collective

    The D-FW theater scene needs a lesson on supply and demand. There is too much of what we don't want. Seriously, could anyone else stage Annie or Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this year? Was there a clearance sale at the costume warehouse? And then there's the matter of too little of what we do want, mainly Our Endeavors… More >>
  • Best Roadside Attraction

    Webb Gallery

    We can't expect you to drive 30-something miles south to Waxahachie to look at art when you won't even drive five blocks to go to a Dallas gallery. But, for a few hours on a weekend afternoon and a quarter-tank of gas, Waxahachie's Webb Gallery is an inexpensive road trip. And the art's so fun, we swear it won't even… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    The Magnolia

    The world's divided into camps: Kerry vs. Bush, Roth vs. Hagar, Magnolia vs. Angelika. While the Angelika in Mockingbird Station has its up sides--more theaters, a restaurant in the lobby--the Magnolia still gets the nod as Dallas' best theater, and not just because you can smoke in the bar, though that doesn't hurt. The place is just a little cozier… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KHYI-FM (95.3), The Range

    From The Range's Web site: "The Country Music Industry had alienated so many fans by the 'Great Garth Cloning Experiment of the '90s' that The Range seemed like a breath of fresh air. KHYI brought many listeners back to Country Radio." Couldn't have said it better--actually, we could have, but we can't argue with the point that country radio in… More >>
  • Best Concrete Jungle

    Nasher Sculpture Center

    There is an oasis from the musty-smelling air grates and urine-soaked corners of downtown. A place where the grass is always greener, the sunlight is diffused, the honking traffic is muffled and water runs clean and cigarette butt-free. Even ink pens are prohibited; sketch artists beware. Thanks to Raymond D. Nasher, this rectangle of downtown Dallas is neither downtownish nor… More >>
  • Best Use of Humidity

    The Dallas World Aquarium

    Humidity curls our hair and dots our brow with sweat. And there are only a few reasons worth enduring it: tiny howler monkeys with tiny hands and tiny ears; sleek, whiskered river otters; three-toed sloths and stoney, ancient-looking manatees. These and hundreds of other creatures inhabit the Orinoco--Secrets of the River rain forest exhibit at the Dallas World Aquarium, which… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear Local Music

    MySpace

    You'd expect a bar or music club to fill this slot, so what's the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game doing here? Our winner already earns techie points with more options and faster loads than Friendster, but MySpace's music section stands out by making local music simple to wade through. Type in a Dallas ZIP code, and more than 300… More >>
  • Best Musical Happening

    East Dallas Acoustic All-Stars

    Every other Sunday evening (or so), a group of musicians gathers at the Barley House. As night bleeds into morning, they trade off the spotlight for short acoustic sets--nothing fancy, just a guy and a guitar and a stool, perhaps, the kind of earnest-looking scene that sends most beer-drinkers clamoring for the check. Except these are some of the best… More >>
  • Best Quilter

    Sue Benner

    Textile artist Sue Benner works in cloth, thread and dyes, but there the resemblance of her creations to the quilts your grandmother made ends. Using small pieces of fabric to create dynamic abstract wall hangings, Benner says her current pieces are about relationships, "color-to-color, shape-to-shape, pattern-to-pattern." Educated in molecular biology and trained as a medical illustrator, Benner says her work… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Cultural Fix

    Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art

    Going to the museum is a lot like going to church: It occurs during the daylight hours (usually Sunday), it's good for you (read: boring), there's an endless supply of old people around, and whatever you do, you can't make a peep. That's why the DMA's Late Nights series is such a revelation. Running once a month on Fridays from… More >>
  • Best Place to See Tiny Elephants (Without Drugs)

    The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art

    Huge art mainstays like the DMA and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth do well to veil the money-hungry concrete jungle that is our fair town, but it's the beauty of smaller collections that makes us say, "Are we really in Dallas?" Case in point: the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, whose focus on ancient works… More >>
  • Best Lower Greenville Save

    Granada Theater

    For about two months solid, it seemed, the Granada Theater showed nothing but old episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and maybe a football game. The beautiful space, once a movie house and then a live music venue, had tumbled to the point of hosting a few concerts a month and otherwise lying fallow. That changed when CD World owner Mike Schoder… More >>
  • Best School for Budding Rocket Scientists

    DISDs Science and Engineering Magnet at Townview

    Talk about stand and deliver. For two years in a row (2002 and 2003), SEM, one of DISD's court-mandated magnet high schools, had more minority students pass the advanced placement calculus exam than any other school in the nation. It's even more remarkable considering how small the student body is. With only 400 students, 113 passed the test in 2003;… More >>
  • Best Theater Director

    René Moreno

    A good director will inspire actors to give their best performances and let the playwrights' words shine without the directing getting in the way. René Moreno, who directed eight productions in Dallas and Fort Worth theaters this year, is one reason so many good actors are staying in the area instead of migrating toward the coasts. They're eager to collaborate… More >>
  • Best City Council Member

    Gary Griffith

    At a feel-good, PR-style luncheon where many of the guests are whispering on their cell phones, Dallas City Councilman Gary Griffith is not only listening intently to the speaker but actually making tiny little notes with a ball point pen on a small leather-backed notepad that he keeps pulling out and then redepositing in his breast pocket. It's typical of… More >>
  • Best Reason to Leave Humming the Scenery

    Randel Wright, scenic artist

    It happens at almost every play for which Randel Wright designs the set. The lights come up onstage, the audience gets its first look at his spectacular handiwork and everyone applauds. For A Girl's Guide to Chaos at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Wright filled the acting space with a ceiling-high tribute to the line drawings of the late pop artist… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Uptown Players

    Now in its third season of plays and musicals at the Trinity River Arts Center, the Uptown Players upped the ante this year with more ambitious work and higher-quality productions. This company, founded by co-producers Jeff Rane and Craig Lynch, performs gay-themed shows for a dedicated audience composed mostly of young gay theatergoers (everyone's welcome, of course). To their small… More >>
  • Best Blog

    www.blogmaverick.com

    Some people like to visit Mark Cuban's blog for its train-wreck aspects. You know, how he'll promote his show The Benefactor and say how great it is just before it airs to an indifferent public. We like it, weirdly enough, for all the other posts. Like the one about his take on politics and its effects on the business environment.… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Lulu Ward

    For years we've watched Lulu Ward dazzle Dallas theater audiences by disappearing so convincingly into characters that she's almost unrecognizable. Like the twin divas (one gorgeous, one homely) in Pegasus Theatre's black-and-white comedy Cross Stage Right: Die! Or the three parts she played in Cloud Nine at the Bath House. She was Medea in Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo.… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Halim Jabbour

    He's drop-dead handsome, hugely talented and bald as an egg. Halim Jabbour, 30, also is one of Dallas' most in-demand leading men, cast in a variety of tasty roles at theaters large and small over the past year. For Ground Zero Theater Company, he was a cheating groom in the premiere of Vicki Cheatwood's smoldering drama 10:10. He played a… More >>
  • Best-Looking Arts Center

    The Latino Cultural Center

    The LCC has had operating fits and starts during its first year, but the Ricardo Legorreta-designed building has added warmth and beauty to a cold corner between downtown and East Dallas. The $10 million structure makes the colors purple and orange seem understated, even though the center's grandeur is in stark contrast with its across-the-street neighbors, a still-underdeveloped string of… More >>
  • Best Artist

    John Pomara, painter and professor of painting at UT-Dallas

    John Pomara is a painter who thrives on the death of painting. He understands well that painting's so-called death has become its very condition, and he has managed to infuse the splendors of that death with something radically new. His work hinges on the idea and fact of mediation--the mediation of pixels and paint through the repeated modeling of computer-generated… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Angstrom Gallery - CLOSED

    Angstrom Gallery is both hip and intellectual, punk and smart. Everything about it--the artwork, the artists, the people who run it, the location--is right on. In short, Angstrom makes Dallas a better city. David Quadrini, the gallery's impresario and catalyst, has shown a penchant for verisimilitude of late, showing objects that appear to be what they are not. Muscling forth… More >>
  • Best Use of a Bond Issue

    Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School

    The former Stephen J. Hay School on Herschel Avenue stands proud again, refurbished and alive with uniformed seventh- and eighth-grade girls and their teachers. This first single-sex school in DISD was made possible by the willingness of the district to try something new, the bond issue voted by the citizenry in 2002 and the work and generosity of philanthropists Lee… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Sculpture

    The Chromosaurs, Dallas Museum of Natural History

    Neither rant nor rave about the Nasher Sculpture Center. It is great. It is great with a capital G. We love it. Our readers love it. But, for as long as it lasts, the great shiny, chrome dinosaurs, crafted from recycled car parts and installed bumper-to-bumper, you might say, on the grounds of the Dallas Museum of Natural History, are… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Brad Hawkins

    Yeah, yeah--Tracy Rowlett has more gravitas, whatever that means, but we're sticking with this selection, and not just because Hawkins is one of the few local TV news guys who doesn't think the Dallas Observer's one step below toilet reading. We like Hawkins because he's a reporter and anchorman and good at both gigs; he's even something of a poet,… More >>
  • Best Local CD Release

    Bamnan and Slivercork, Midlake

    Perhaps it's not fair to call Midlake's Bamnan and Slivercork the best local album of the year. Sure, it's great, but the word "local" might be considered a stretch. First off, the album hasn't yet seen an official launch in the United States, though that hasn't stopped local record shops from importing the album from Britain's Bella Union label in… More >>
  • Best Library That You've Never Heard Of

    Dallas County Law Library

    Containing a wealth of do-it-yourself legal information, the Dallas County Law Library is free for all Dallas County residents. Librarian David Wilkinson estimates that of the 250 people who use the library each day, only about half are attorneys. What are all of these non-lawyers doing in a law library? Taking care of routine legal matters without the expense of… More >>
  • Best Place to be Negative

    Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery

    As digital photography gets cheaper and easier to use, Kodak moment by Kodak moment, we fear film will become obsolete. And for most people that's probably true. But for the few, the proud, those who practiced prying open film canisters and rolling film around developing reels in the dark, those whose favorite shirts bear developer and fixer splash stains across… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Tattooed

    Pair O' Dice

    When it comes to permanently scarring our body with needles and ink, we require three things: cleanliness, comfort and chemistry. We need to know the equipment is sanitary. We need people who ease our anxiety. And we need to know that the artist will work with us to make us happy. And that's why we keep going back to Pair… More >>
  • Best Way to Satisfy Pretty Much Every Vice at the Same Time

    Free poker tournaments at The Lodge

    We live in a world of modern convenience where cars have TVs and DVD players in them and even a lowly cigarette lighter can occasionally be outfitted to double as a bottle opener. The same concept of convenience applies to the free Sunday-afternoon no-limit Texas hold 'em tourneys at The Lodge, which, if you didn't know, is one of the… More >>
  • Best Way to Be Famous and Not So Much at the Same Time

    Being a member of The Polyphonic Spree

    When you're in a band with, like, 24 other people, you're not going to get rich anytime soon. Probably not ever. You can, however, be famous--sort of--if that band happens to be The Polyphonic Spree. You'll tour with David Bowie, travel around the world for free, see your face in magazines and on TV, hear your voice or flute or… More >>
  • Best Phoenix Impersonation

    Rosewood Center for Family Arts

    This chunk of concrete and steel on Skillman Street near Northwest Highway was a Don Carter's All Star Lanes, with peewee leagues where kids would win tiny trophies and learn the thrill of victory and the agony of an ill-timed gutter ball. Now--nearly $10 million and two and a half years of construction later--you'd barely recognize it. Renamed the Rosewood… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk Show

    Mark Davis

    While all the other talk jocks seem to be collapsing into a single personality and voice, Mark Davis gets more distinctive. First of all, he actually knows some stuff and appears to have a life, something beyond skimming the front page and then trying to channel Rush Limbaugh. Some of his tangents are arcane, like his passionate interest in the… More >>
  • Best Radio Show With the Worst Reception

    The Good Show, KTCU-FM (88.7)

    Overheard at Best Buy last year: "I'm into all kinds of music. I listen to Nelly and Limp Bizkit." Right, buddy. Now, granted, everyone winds up claiming musical impartiality at some point in his life, but there's no way a person can like every single genre in the world. Do your tastes honestly jump from Tejano to punk rock, from… More >>
  • Best Radio Program

    The Glenn Mitchell Show, KERA-FM (90.1)

    Here's yet another reason to feel guilty about not pledging, or not paying your pledge, to public radio. Glenn Mitchell's noon-to-2 p.m. show on Dallas' public radio station, KERA-FM, is not only wildly entertaining, dastardly informative and harpooningly to the point, it's the local intelligentsia's preferred manner of intercourse. It's conveniently scheduled as well, while we're mad-dashing around town at… More >>
  • Best Legal Cock Fight

    9 O'Clock Cock Fight

    Back-alley cockfighting is deplorable. Good can come from it only if it's out in the open, broadcast even. And without using roosters. In fact, the best cockfights involve no cock at all. We prefer head-to-head combat between two new songs, instead of poultry, and each weeknight at 9, 102.1 the Edge provides that battle and right on our FM dial.… More >>
  • These Guns for Hire

    Ask anyone in town for the name of the premier political consultant in Dallas and you'll get two names: Carol Reed and Rob Allyn. Since their offices are on separate floors of the same building on McKinney Avenue, and since they often find themselves in competition, you might assume that there's a war going on in the stairwell. Your… More >>

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