Arts & Entertainment

  • Best City Council Member

    Angela Hunt

    When the City Council debated a living wage for garbage truck crews, Angela Hunt went out and rode a truck for a day. Management in Sanitation Services wanted to put her on one of the new air-conditioned vehicles, but a worker whispered to her that the old un-air-conditioned trucks are the real story. So that's where she spent a very… More >>
  • Best Local Playwright

    Lee Trull

    A few years ago Lee Trull was just another unemployed actor/playwright. The college dropout was struggling to get by on temp jobs and the occasional small roles, mostly smart-alecky dweebs. Then came the Kitchen Dog Theater premiere of Allison Moore's Dust Bowl drama End Times. Like a young Jimmy Stewart, Trull ambled across the stage, acted the thing to pieces… More >>
  • Best Professional Theater

    Dallas Theater Center

    In its 50th season the theater founded in 1959 by renegade director Paul Baker will spend a year saying goodbye to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building on Turtle Creek (now owned by the city of Dallas). In 2009 DTC will move into the 12-story Wyly Theatre (designed by Rem Koolhaas) at the multi-venue downtown Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.… More >>
  • Best New Player

    Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director

    When Kevin Moriarty stood up to announce the 50th season lineup for Dallas Theater Center, no one knew what to expect. Then came his stunning news. His first directorial work would be the vintage rock musical The Who's Tommy, about as un-DTC as you can get. Also, he was hiring a nine-member resident company of local actors, something DTC hasn't… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Kitchen Dog Theater

    They often work at other theaters, but when they return to their roots on McKinney Avenue, Kitchen Dog Theater's Artistic Company members click into what makes this the hothouse for avant-garde dramas and comedies. Alongside co-artistic directors Christopher Carlos and Tina Parker (both of whom act and direct) are double- and triple-threat talents who write, design, act, direct, compose, choreograph… More >>
  • Best Local Actress

    Lydia Mackay

    When she was 5, she performed an "interpretive dance" to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" and a career was born. Lydia Mackay, 31, comes from a family of actors and artists, so playing dress-up even as a grown-up is a snap. The SMU MFA grad recently played Blanche DuBois in Contemporary Theatre's A Streetcar Named Desire, Rosalind in… More >>
  • Best Local Actor

    Gregory Lush

    Having already played Hamlet, getting the lead as Jack, the main pup in Theatre Three's whimsical musical A Dog's Life, could have felt like a bit of a comedown. Gregory Lush, however, sank his canines into the part and made the show and his performance moving and memorable. The darkly handsome 36-year-old actor, a grad of UT-Arlington with an MFA… More >>
  • Best Younger Actor

    Andrew Phifer

    When he's older, Andrew Phifer would like to play Elwood P. Dowd, the delusional lead in the old comedy chestnut Harvey. For now he's content being cast as callow youth, such as in recent co-starring roles at Uptown Players (Bent) and Theatre Three (House and Garden). He's good at playing teenage boys hopelessly in love with boys and/or girls. "It… More >>
  • Best Younger Actress

    Maxey Whitehead

    She's 27 and looks 17, something petite redhead Maxey Whitehead has used to great effect in performances at WaterTower, Theatre Three and Second Thought Theatre. The Addison native and graduate of Texas State University specializes in playing wayward kids, and no role was more troubled than Lissie, the runaway shacked up with her high school teacher in Steven Walters' gritty… More >>
  • Best Belter

    Megan Kelly Bates

    When a musical needs a voice that can hit the back row, go through the back wall, into the parking lot and out to the stratosphere, the director calls for Megan Kelly Bates. The bouncy redhead sings, tap-dances and gets laughs, winning hearts and testing eardrums most recently as a yappy pup with a lot of high notes in Theatre… More >>
  • Best Director

    Bruce R. Coleman

    Director Bruce R. Coleman likes to say he's been around Dallas theater so long there are 12 companies on his résumé that don't even exist anymore. That includes New Theatre Company, which he ran for seven seasons. These days Coleman is in demand from almost every theater in Dallas and Fort Worth. He's recently put up shows at Theatre Three… More >>
  • Best Dallas Dance Company

    Dallas Black Dance Theatre

    When Ann Williams started her modest dance company more than 30 years back, she probably had no aspirations to become an icon. From its humble beginnings in recreation centers, her company grew into the internationally acclaimed Dallas Black Dance Theatre and is soon to be one of the glittering jewels of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. The ensemble… More >>
  • Best Talent Showcase

    Mama's Party at Bill's Hideaway - CLOSED

    Every Monday night "Mama" Amy Stevenson invites friends to sing on the tiny stage of this friendly Oak Lawn gay bar. She brings in new talent and some who've been around a while and just like to get up and sing. Opera singers, belters, budding Broadway divas—even a few comedians and jugglers—have shared the teensy stage at this weekly show.… More >>
  • Best Scenic Designer

    Randel Wright

    He's a three-peat choice in this category, but Randel Wright has little local competition in the area of theatrical set design. Wright now works full-time as design director for Dallas Children's Theater, but his exquisitely rendered and beautifully constructed set pieces have adorned stages at Dallas Theater Center, WaterTower, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Circle Theatre and others. A midlife return… More >>
  • Best Talent on Tap

    Buster Cooper - Preston Center Dance

    Buster Cooper can't stop dancing. Now in his mid-80s, the veteran tap master still teaches new generations of hoofers the intricacies of the art form he pioneered in Dallas more than 60 years ago. For half a century Cooper owned his own studio, and for 30 years he served as head of the dance department at Hockaday School. Patrick Swayze… More >>
  • Best Dose of Clapping

    Uptown Players' Audience

    The running joke is that this is the only theater in town with a longer line at intermission for the men's room than the ladies'. That gives you some idea how the audience tips. That they're gay gentlemen would be almost beside the point except that the Uptown Players troupe targets the gay male theatergoer season after sellout season, with… More >>
  • Best Public Erection

    Dallas Center for the Performing Arts

    Every day the vision gets a little clearer of what the new Dallas Center for the Performing Arts will look like. Right now it's still a towering jumble of beams and cranes, but by fall 2009, the $338 million complex of state-of-the-art theaters and concert halls will be complete. The four venues: the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, Dee… More >>
  • Best Civic Architecture

    City Shade Pavilions

    Faced with a need to refurbish many aging shade structures and build more new ones, the Park Department has been using shade structures as a way of bringing public architecture into neighborhoods all over the city. Assistant Director Willis Winters, an architect, invited leading architects in Texas and from around the world to submit designs. Scott Marek of Frank Welch… More >>
  • Best New Library

    Bookmarks - NorthPark Center

    At last, a kid-friendly place at NorthPark that isn't trying to sell them something. Bookmarks is the new children's library tucked into the largest, glitziest shopping center in North Texas. With 5,000 items for kiddos from baby to tween-age, there are books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs and laptops for public use. Free WiFi means you can check e-mail while the little… More >>
  • Best Local History Source

    Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division -

    Over the years the Texas/Dallas division on the seventh floor of the downtown library has acquired a collection of local history resources running deep and broad. Prominent citizens, local businesses and institutions have left papers, pictures and other records. Somehow, in spite of recurring funding cutbacks by the city, the division has managed to carefully catalog this material. Top-quality professional… More >>
  • Best Place to Use Your WITS

    Writers in the Schools

    Hey, you, the writerly type. We know you're shy. We know you'd rather sit inside with your nose in a book, keeping humanity at bay. But you have to leave the house sometime, so you might as well do some good while you're out there. We recommend volunteering with the Writers in the Schools Program (WITS) and its companion, Writers… More >>
  • Best Reel-to-Real

    The 24-Hour Video Race

    The Video Association of Dallas knows a lot about teamwork. Sure, it's easy for some folks to say they work best on their own, but nothing incites team building than a crazy-awesome movie contest that allows people to not only be on the big screen (you know you live for it), but also to finish their own freakin' film (even… More >>
  • Best Boot Scootin'

    The Texas Twisters

    Craving to kick up a heel, cut a rusty or clog with a cutie? The Texas Twisters are a group of gay men and women whose passion is country and western dancing. Nope, you don't have to be gay to take part. Although most of the group is gay folk, membership is open to anyone with an open mind and… More >>
  • Best Free Group Workout

    Scott Colby's Playground Fitness Group

    Bootcamp trainer Scott Colby, known as "The Abs Expert," offers free group classes every other Saturday morning at the bleachers and track at SMU's Westcott Field. In 45 minutes, Colby leads a grueling but doable workout that includes bleacher-running, push-ups, skipping, jogging, crunches and squats. The intense routine works the whole bod and leaves even the fittest participants ready to… More >>
  • Best Hoochie Lessons

    The Girls Room

    Within every straitlaced lady there's a stripper busting to get out. Or so they think at the Girls Room, where the emphasis is on sexy exercise, not sleaze. There is something sort of nicely naughty, though, about classes called Beginners Pole Dancing and Intro to Burlesque. Learning to bump and grind in a safe environment is merely an avenue to… More >>
  • Best Fright Night

    E.J. Antilla's Horror Remix

    Horror films are great. Nothing beats a good scare and some really bad acting. Nothing except local artist E.J. Antilla's Horror Remixes. As the Web site boasts, it's "All Killer, No Filler" when Antilla edits down B-rated horror flicks (think Hell High, Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Slumber Party Massacre and the like) to 30- or 40-minute flicks without all… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast

    News 8 Update at 10 p.m. - WFAA-Channel 8

    It's not just us. An informal poll of people close to the local television news biz confirms what we were going to say anyway: Channel 8 at 10 p.m.—well, pretty much Channel 8 all day long—towers above everything else in the market. They win on just about every score, especially the "deep bench" issues. Reporters Jim Douglas, Byron Harris, Gary… More >>
  • Best Local News Anchor

    John McCaa

    Choosing the best TV anchor is tough, because even people in the TV business can't really tell you what makes a great anchor. They'll usually say ratings. But why is one anchor trusted and another not? It's called gravitas, and John McCaa has it. He communicates straight-on with authority that isn't stuffy or arrogant. We hear McCaa writes his own… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KLLI-105.3 FM

    You go up and down the dial searching for something to listen to. A good song, maybe an interesting sports discussion or a breaking news item. And somehow you find yourself riveted to a discussion on infidelity or just a gaggle of dudes giggling away at one another for being stupid. You're listening to professionals paid to sound like amateurs.… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ

    Paul Slavens

    With his soothing voice, Paul Slavens sounds like your standard National Public Radio personality. But Slavens is so much more. He's a composer, an improv musical comedy genius (his Monday night residency onstage at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton is becoming legendary) and, best of all, a go-to source for locally produced songs and long-forgotten gems. He comes to his knowledge… More >>
  • Best Reason to Buy a More Powerful Radio Antenna

    Radio Salaam Namaste

    If you're not much for sports talk or wingnut political commentary, your radio may have gathered dust recently. Well, the sounds of "Desi" await you on 2-year-old community station Radio Salaam Namaste. For variety, there's no other station offering anything like this—the best sounds and top news (in four languages) from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. We're not… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    The Party

    Just by looking at them, you'd never guess that Markus Underwood, Will Rhoten and Scott Quinn were especially hip guys. By day, they're just your average-looking alterna-dudes. But by night they become (respectively) DJs Nature, Sober and $elect, the finest dancehall DJs in Texas, let alone Dallas. When their powers combine, they go by the name "The Party." It's simple,… More >>
  • Best Album Art

    Nevada Hill

    Denton artist and musician Nevada Hill made quite the mark on North Texas this year, contributing stellar cover art for releases by Record Hop, Dust Congress and Stumptone, the latter a vinyl-only release featuring two cardboard panels screen-printed with an imposing image of reverberating speakers. And while Hill's work for Record Hop is admittedly on a much smaller scale (thanks,… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Scarborough Renaissance Festival

    Technology, shmechnology. Bluetooth, Blu-ray, blah, blah, blah. Toys are terrific and gadgets are great, but these modern times can turn tiresome. A litany of life's simpler pleasures is but a stone's throw down Interstate 35 where another dimension awaits. Troubles melt and tempers tame as you cross the border into a time gone by at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Located in… More >>
  • Best CD Release Party

    Dove Hunter's The Southern Unknown at The Double Wide

    The party celebrating The Southern Unknown was one for the books. Too many bands are content to stack a show with their friends' bands and just call it a "CD Release Party." Dove Hunter and the Double Wide actually held up the "party" end of the bargain, hauling out a snowcone machine and bringing in an all-female mariachi band from… More >>
  • Best Local Music Web Site

    WeShotJR

    The juvenile, angry sentiments so often spewed in the comment sections on WeShotJR do quite the disservice to the site's pseudonymous ringleader efforts. Stoned Ranger, as he calls himself, has his opinions on the local music scene—strong ones, too—and he stands by them, dammit. But unlike his harem of anonymous commenters who are quick to damn a band and claim… More >>
  • Best Place to See Musicians in Compromising Positions

    Stage Dumps

    Don't lie. You like a little toilet humor here and there. And you like rock 'n' roll, yes? Well, the love child of rock and shock value is Stage Dumps. Created by some well-known but slightly secretive Denton-based musicians, the blog pays photographic homage to musicians who rock out so hard, it appears they've filled their diapers. But fret not.… More >>
  • Best Reason to Vote Democratic

    Judge John Creuzot

    Criminal District Judge John Creuzot has been a political prize for both parties since Dallas County woke up during the Reagan revolution in the mid-1980s and realized the courthouse was rife with partisan politics. Creuzot was originally appointed to the bench as a Democrat but had the survival instincts to jump ship in the mid-'80s, as did many Democratic judges… More >>
  • Best Double Feature

    Galaxy Drive-In Theatre

    Movie ticket prices are into the double digits at most theaters, but there's still at least one theater in the area where you can see not just one but two new films for just $6. Galaxy Drive-In offers eight new movies on four screens every night, and you can watch two for less than some theaters charge for a single… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Inwood Theater

    The renovations have done the old girl so proud, we just have to toss another Best of Dallas to the Inwood, where they recently replaced the standard movie theater seats with cushy sofas, loveseats, ottomans, throw pillows and blankies. Can't afford a 60-inch plasma for your den? Ten bucks gets you the comfort of home and a really wide screen.… More >>
  • Best Cinema Verité Filmmaker

    Avi Adelman

    The Barking Dog out to keep Lower Greenville free of "scumbars" and the sumbitches who populate them is a filmmaker now—or, c'mon, don't you read our blog Unfair Park? Because, seriously, every Monday morning we know Avi will provide us with a must-see video in which a drunk or 10 are getting busted by Dallas' Finest. And Avi's no sideline… More >>
  • Best Advertisement for the City of Dallas

    AFI Dallas International Film Festival

    Admittedly, we were a touch skeptical about the Deep Ellum Film Festival's transition from The Little Indie Fest That Could into The Big-Money Target All-Star Throwdown Jamboree scattered hither and yon. But, just two years in, the thing's a mighty beast—and mighty impressive, as the likes of Lauren Bacall, Charlize Theron, David Lynch and some dude named De Niro have… More >>
  • Best Detective Work

    The First 48

    Want to know where some of your tax dollars are going? Just watch the gritty detective work showcased on A&E's The First 48. The premise is simple: "For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving a case is cut in half if they don't get a lead in the first 48." For… More >>
  • Best Reason for Dallas to Own a Convention Center Hotel

    Everyone Else Has One

    Mayor Tom Leppert and the city council have spent much of 2008 moving forward with plans to build a $600 million, publicly funded convention center hotel. Most of the key decisions regarding the project, such as selecting the site, funding method and developer for the hotel, have taken place in executive session, with the taxpayers left in the dark. Leppert,… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Barry Whistler Gallery

    For 23 years, Barry Whistler has brought seriously talented Texas artists to his Dallas gallery walls. And without fail, his exhibitions get the conversations going. From impressions and interpretations to artistic method, Whistler's gallery openings are abuzz with "I wonder..." and "That's so...wow." And that's what makes a gallery successful—when people actually talk about the art. The list of BWG's… More >>
  • Best Place for Jenny the Elephant

    Anywhere But Dallas

    When the Dallas Zoo's 39-year-old elephant KeKe died in May, the media spotlight shined on KeKe's cage mate Jenny, who either needed a new home or a new buddy. Zoo officials decided to send Jenny to the Africam Safari Park, a drive-through zoo in Mexico. A group called Concerned Citizens for Jenny, along with council member Angela Hunt and even… More >>
  • Best Local CD Release

    Record Hop's Record Hop (TXMF)

    Record Hop's self-titled sophomore record stormed out of the gates when it was released in late March, offering listeners a furious, ferocious, angst-filled update on the post-grunge sound of the '90s. Is it groundbreaking? Maybe not. But, more than anything, it's a work of art—and clearly a labor of love for its members (front woman Ashley Cromeens, guitarist Scott Porter,… More >>
  • Best Public Sculpture

    César Chávez plaque on Shed 2 in the Farmers Market

    Technically, we suppose a metal embossed plaque on a near-empty shed in the Farmers Market isn't really a sculpture per se. Much the same way, a boulevard isn't an avenue and an online poll isn't the same, say, as casting a ballot in the city council elections. Nevertheless, we're going to bend the rules a bit—there's a lot of that… More >>
  • Best Blog

    Pete's Place

    According to his blog, Pete's Place is "a running commentary on whatever strikes me at the moment," and the result is sharp and thoughtful commentary on issues ranging from college football to national politics. Pete Oppel, former music writer and entertainment editor for The Dallas Morning News, offers up a regular dose of movie and DVD reviews, and he also… More >>
  • Best Art Exhibit

    Phil Collins: the world won't listen

    Considering the fact that we don't really like The Smiths (blame our college roommates), we weren't really sure about "Phil Collins: the world won't listen," the three-screen video installation presented earlier this year by the Dallas Museum of Art. But damn, if it wasn't the most entertaining thing we've ever seen in a museum, with the 1987 Smiths compilation, The… More >>
  • Best Magazine Writer

    Skip Hollandsworth

    In the last year or so, the city's best long-form magazine scribe has given us tales about: the Bandidos motorcycle gang; some seriously scary cholos down in Houston; a killer nurse named Vicki in Nocona; and most recently, the story of four West Texas high school football stars who clubbed two deer to death for sport. His stories are better… More >>
  • Best Daily Newspaper Column

    Rod Dreher

    Skip the Metro section, and why bother reading a sports column when we all know those guys save their best bits for radio and ESPN? (We're talking to you Cowlishaw, Galloway, et al.) If you want to find a column worth your time—one that offers an original opinion and actually makes you think—you'll have to wade deep into the paper's… More >>
  • Best Local Author

    Ben Fountain

    Who else could make a horny Haitian voodoo goddess, an aid worker turned African diamond smuggler and a bird watcher trapped in the Colombian rainforest seem not only familiar, but infinitely relatable? Only local writer Ben Fountain. The Southwest Review fiction editor, who is putting the finishing touches on a new novel based in Dallas, is the perfect writer for… More >>
  • CULTURE: Future Acts

    In 1958, with the new Kalita Humphreys Theater rising on the east bank of Turtle Creek, architect Frank Lloyd Wright made a prediction about his then-ultra-modern edifice: "One day this will mark the spot where Dallas once stood." Audacious, perhaps, but an interesting observation about the often underappreciated significance of the performing arts in big-city history. Half a century from now, Wright's… More >>

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