Arts & Entertainment

  • Culture: The Money Pit

    Web extra: Founder and producer Tim Shane leads a video tour of the no-frills Dallas Hub Theater. Dallas Theater Center can spend $400,000 to mount a single production. Contemporary Theatre of Dallas spends up to $40,000. Budget for a really big show at Dallas Hub Theater? $40. "In most cases, we're actually at zero for the budget," Hub founder and producer Tim Shane… More >>
  • Best City Council Member

    Angela Hunt

    All right, Mr. or Ms. Readerpants, wherever you may be, we already hear you groaning and going on about how predictable we are, choosing Angela Hunt again as Dallas' best city council member, playing favorites. This is the third time we've done it since 2007. Well, you know, that's the predicament we're in. They don't call these awards the "OKs… More >>
  • Best Place Not to Bring a Fishing Pole

    Dallas World Aquarium

    It started off as an old warehouse used for numerous businesses like Mohawk Rubber Co. and Tejano Rodeo. Now you know it as the Dallas World Aquarium, home to various underwater species. For only $18 (plus some tax) you get to feel like you are standing in the middle of a rain forest or getting the secret skinny about what… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Weird Play

    The Ochre House

    Actor-writer-director and self-described madman Matthew Posey lives not just for the theater but in one. The Ochre House, tucked between a couple of bars on Exposition Avenue just a corndog's throw from Fair Park, is Posey's experimental playhouse and his home (shared with a dog named Walter). The theater space is up front—a small stage, plastic chairs and shelves showing… More >>
  • Best Local Actor

    Ian Sinclair

    Audiences fell for exceedingly handsome Ian Sinclair in The Nibroc Trilogy, staged by Echo Theatre first at the Bath House Cultural Center, then revived to sell-out crowds at Theatre Too. Sinclair, 25, played the leading man in all three plays, an experience he says "had a profound effect on me as a person." Raised on Swiss Avenue, the Texas Christian… More >>
  • Best Local Actress

    Emily Gray

    Classically trained at the London Drama Studio, Emily Gray and husband Matthew (a company member at Dallas Theater Center) tried New York before settling in Dallas. In the past year, Emily's been acting up a storm, from the violent Popcorn at Theatre Three (she played a serial killer in short-shorts) to the wacky Season's Greetings at Theatre Too (where she… More >>
  • Best Young Actor

    Drew Wall

    In Second Thought Theatre's Lobby Hero, his second professional Dallas theater role, Drew Wall, 24, wowed audiences and critics as a slouchy doorman. With a thick Irish brogue, he was disturbingly twitchy in A Skull in Connemara. Then he turned in a fine performance as a sweet, confused rich kid in Upstart Productions' staging of Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our… More >>
  • Best Young Actress

    Morgan Justiss

    This graduate of Wylie High School and UT-Arlington ('08) burst onto the Dallas theater scene this year in Echo Theatre's remarkable production of The Nibroc Trilogy. Justiss starred opposite Ian Sinclair in the three plays: Last Train to Nibroc, See Rock City and Gulf View Drive. "When I was cast, I knew we were going to do all three plays,… More >>
  • Best Comic Actor

    Jeff Swearingen

    As the title character in Matt Lyle's silent film homage The Boxer, Jeff Swearingen, 31, showed off physical comedy finesse inspired by Keaton, Chaplin and maybe a bit of PeeWee Herman. He teamed with Lyle again to play Blork, the Franken-Romeo in the silly-romantic Hello Human Female. A veteran of several improv groups, the actor got his start at The… More >>
  • Best Comic Actress

    Becca Shivers

    Since her local theater debut in Dallas Children's Theater's Charlotte's Web in 2005, this UT-Austin grad has been popping up in comic roles on both sides of the Trinity. Shivers, 29, was a stitch as the lady cop in Circle Stage's hit Unnecessary Farce and made Ochre House audiences roar as Timmy in Matt Lyle's Hello Human Female. Inspired by… More >>
  • Best Theater Festival

    Out of the Loop

    Every spring brings another three-week onslaught of new plays, one-person shows, music, dance and other entertainments to the theater complex under the water tower in Addison. Performers fill the three acting spaces and sometimes spill out into the lobby for bursts of song and comedy. This year's biggest draw was the One Man Star Wars—all the movies, all the characters… More >>
  • Best Political Drama

    City Hall corruption trial

    Like everyone else, we expected the trial of former Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill and four others charged with bribery and extortion to produce little drama. The case was going to be a slam dunk, right? The FBI had more than 30,000 hours in wiretaps, more than 5,000 exhibits and its biggest witness—Brian Potashnik—struck a plea deal the night before… More >>
  • Best Tween Theater

    Dallas Children's Theater

    Dallas Children's Theater's Young Adult Relevant Drama series (nicknamed "y.a.r.d.") presents plays that entertain the "tween" generation and explores topics important to that age group. This past year's lineup—the B-movie spoof The Mummy's Claw, the new play dont u luv me? about obsessive teen relationships, and the Anne Frank drama And Then They Came for Me—were beautifully produced, directed and… More >>
  • BEST Community Theater

    Artisan Center Theater

    Proprietor Richard Blair has created a community theater beloved by its surrounding community. There's never a weekend dark at this 150-seat, in-the-round playhouse tucked beside an old movie theater in a Hurst shopping center. Double- and sometimes triple-casting roles, Artisan gives amateur actors lots of work in shows like My Fair Lady, Grease, Nunsense and other family-friendly titles. The house… More >>
  • Best Low-Budget Theater Director

    Billy Fountain

    Director Billy Fountain has gained the reputation of doing a lot on a stage with very little money. The Pleasant Grove native has been teaching for 20 years, but he's slowly been building an impressive résumé of shows in community theaters during the past three seasons. This year he staged a critically acclaimed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Uptown Players

    Big things are happening this season for Uptown Players, the gay-centric company known for edgy musicals, body-baring dramas and drag comedies. For two shows in 2010—the drama Equus and the raucous musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels—Uptown will take over the stage at the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. This is an important step in the evolution of Uptown, which now… More >>
  • Best Way to Find Your Inner Artist

    Paper Works by Paper Nerds

    Art shouldn't be scary. Even if a person hasn't been creative since preschool finger-painting, making art (granted, not necessarily good art) can be as easy as making a beautiful piece of paper or printing a simple design. The owners and proprietors of The Center for Art Conservation, Shannon Driscoll Phillips and Tish Brewer, want to share the joy of creation,… More >>
  • Best Old Tat

    Dallas Lace Society

    Feeling strung out? At regular "lace-ins," the ladies of the Dallas Lace Society meet to teach and practice the old-fashioned, very relaxing arts of bobbin lace and tatting—methods of creating intricately woven patterns using only fingers, simple tools and threads and yarns. Workshops focusing on various projects and advanced techniques are held throughout the year. Guests are welcome. Membership is… More >>
  • Best Staycation

    Dallas International Film Festival, née AFI Dallas

    Don't book a hotel or buy airfare. Why waste money? Come spring, Dallas becomes another place entirely. For more than a week, you can escape, in your own city, into chilly theaters with tickets and badges as your boarding passes to a fantasy land, a nightmare, a place for romance, a realistic place in someone else's life—you call the shots.… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Clarice Tinsley

    She sure doesn't look like a dean, but with Tracy Rowlett now out of the local television news business, Clarice Tinsley, who started at Channel 4 in 1978, is now the longest-running news anchor in the market. She was 24 years old when she took the job. During her tenure Tinsley has done lots of solid journalistic work, including a… More >>
  • Best Cat Coiffures

    Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs by Julie Jackson with Jill Johnson

    Julie Jackson is a genius. Recession be damned, she nailed her ideal demographic and tapped into that ever-purchasing, wacky world of cat lovers with her company Kitty Wigs. And although the tiny, incredibly flattering and fashionable wigs instantly caused quite a stir when the company launched, over the last couple of years, the public began wanting even more. Along with… More >>
  • Best Clerks Ripoff/Marketing Ploy

    The Variants

    This scripted Web series launched in early August, but even at its onset, it was clear that the folks behind the serial shorts were on to something kinda special. Self-produced by Richard Neal and his staff at Zeus Comics (4411 Lemmon Ave., Suite 105), the series promises a look at the comic book world "from the other side of the… More >>
  • Best Free Garden

    Outdoor Sculpture Garden of the Dallas Museum of Art

    You may think downtown Dallas is the last place on earth you'd go to relax, but you're missing out. Located in the heart of downtown is a free sculpture garden shaded by mature oaks and filled with pools of water and forceful waterfalls. The large area is surrounded by 12-foot concrete walls draped in twisted ivy, so the traffic noise… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Hal Samples Gallery

    It's not really fair to call this space an art gallery. It is and it isn't. The artwork showcased on the first floor of the gallery in Deep Ellum is from unknown artists presenting their first solo shows. "I'm a Peter Pan kind of guy," owner and photographer Hal Samples says. "Throw some pixie dust and have some people perpetuate… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Family Karaoke

    Even experienced karaoke singers can be intimidated by a bar full of strangers. But at Family Karaoke's private rooms, you can be jeered by just your closest friends. Three sizes of rooms accommodate groups of two to 25, and bar and food service directly to your room keeps the party going. Choose your favorites from a good selection of American… More >>
  • Best Case of Self-Representation

    Gary Vodicka, attorney

    They say a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, but that hasn't stopped Dallas attorney Gary Vodicka from waging thermonuclear war against Southern Methodist University over the last four years, alleging the school committed fraud as it went about amassing units in his condo complex, the University Gardens, only to tear them down to make room… More >>
  • Best New Civil Judge

    Marty Lowy

    By "new," we mean Democratic, since they came in droves—all 42 of them during the 2006 election. And just because they are Democrats and different from what we had before (read: Republicans) doesn't mean they aren't susceptible to the same judicial foibles as their predecessors—arrogance, ignorance of the law, fear of making a decision, bad taste in robes. But Judge… More >>
  • Best Pro Bono Project

    Amachi Texas

    With so many folks in need these days, it may be somewhat ludicrous to rate which volunteer program does the best job of do-gooding. But that won't stop us from trying. Amachi Texas, headquartered in Dallas, is a statewide effort to prevent crime by breaking its cycle at the source. Research shows that the children of offenders have a 70… More >>
  • Best County Judge for Hard Times

    Teresa Tolle

    If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being charged with a petty crime and without sufficient funds to pay your debt to society, you'd be damn lucky if you landed in the courtroom of Teresa Tolle. A former nun, Tolle wears her compassion on her robe and is willing to buck the district attorney's standard plea recommendations for… More >>
  • Best TV News Show

    Good Day

    On the one hand, maybe it's not fair to pit Good Day against the full-bore 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts. On the other hand, half the world thinks Jon Stewart's Daily Show is a newscast, so what are the rules anymore anyway? Good Day is a blend of local street reporting, weather, headlines and talk, delivered in a zeitgeist somewhere… More >>
  • Best Politico

    Jonathan Neerman

    If it's hard being a Republican these days in Dallas County, it's got to be even harder recruiting Republicans to run for office in Dallas County. But that's part of Jonathan Neerman's job as chair of the county Republican Party. (He is also a full-time attorney at a major Dallas law firm.) Though he is the standard-bearer for all things… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Elm Street Tattoo

    So, you've finally given in. Maybe the peer pressure finally got to you. Or maybe you've resolved your issues with Mother and are looking to devote a patch of skin to honor her (or maybe you have really big mommy issues, so you're ready to have a death's head inked into your flesh). Now comes the hard part: finding an… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk Show


    Krys Boyd's the perfect interviewer: informed but not intrusive, objective with just a hint of opinionated. At a time when most talk radio shouts dumb-ass at you, she's the rational, calm, thoughtful voice of reason; she wants her guests to teach her something, not agree like a fast-food flunky. And she's just as likely to welcome a jazzer as she… More >>
  • Best Festival

    North Texas Irish Festival

    Lots of countries have a can-do spirit, but if there's one that combines serious fun and frolic with theirs, it's Ireland. After a potato famine as well as civil, political and religious unrest for years, the island of Éire and its people still know how to party (that's probably why they know how to party, now that we think about… More >>
  • Best Blog

    D Magazine's Inside Corner

    When The Dallas Morning News told longtime Texas Rangers scribe Evan Grant that he'd be moving into a group of several Dallas Cowboys beat writers resulting from the paper's agreement to share sports coverage with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he decided it was time to ply his craft someplace else. He found an unlikely partner in D Magazine publisher Wick… More >>
  • Best Breakup

    Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson

    OK, we'll forgive you if you spent about a week thinking Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's All-American romance with local pop princess Jessica Simpson was adorably appropriate. After all, why wouldn't America's hot-and-ditzy princess want in on a little career Romomentum? But after the infamous pink jersey loss and the disappointments that followed, was there anyone in town besides bloggers hard-up… More >>
  • Best Local Music Fest


    Last we heard, NX35 still hadn't secured funding for next year's festival, but that doesn't mean the March 2009 one put on by the Baptist Generals' Chris Flemmons was a failure. In fact, it was arguably the biggest local music event of the year, with roughly 90 local bands and road acts descending on Denton for four incredible nights of… More >>
  • Best Bird Nerds (Tie)

    J. R. Compton and David J. Ringer

    For local nature buffs who don't make it out to the lake each day, J. R. Compton's Amateur Birder's Journal is the next best thing, filled with daily photos of myriad birds at White Rock Lake and their strange, wonderful behavior. From ducks to purple martins to hawks and even the occasional coyote, Compton covers it all—when he's not attending… More >>
  • Best Ears

    Matt Barnhart

    We know you guys love Salim Nourallah. He's won the Best Producer award at the Dallas Observer Music Awards for, like, eleventy years now. But you guys are dead wrong on this one, as Nourallah isn't even close to the best producer in North Texas—especially considering that world-class talents like Stuart Sikes (White Stripes, Dove Hunter), Matt Pence (Centro-matic, American… More >>
  • Best Daily Newspaper Columnist

    Scott Burns, The Dallas Morning News

    Burns was the Morning News investment columnist for 21 years until three years ago when he walked out the back door in one of the News' draconian staff cuts. But he's still in the paper on Sundays and Thursdays as an independent "syndicated" columnist, meaning he works for himself now and sells his column back to the News and 82… More >>
  • Other Winning Culture Suggestions From Our Readers

    Best Visual Artist Ron Radwanski Best Public Sculpture The Traveling Man DART station in Deep Ellum Best Radio Morning Show Kidd Kraddick… More >>
  • Best New Theater Company

    Upstart Productions

    The aptly named Upstart Productions debuted last season with a blazing staging of Suzan-Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog and followed with a gripping look at post-adolescent angst with Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth. This season, producer Josh Glover and crew will dedicate themselves to the plays of Eric Bogosian. First, Talk Radio (October 28-November 22), directed by Regan Adair. Then they'll… More >>
  • Best Underground Theater

    Theater Too!

    What formerly felt like a tomb—Theater Too! beneath the venerable Theatre Three—has lately become Dallas' best underground (literally) theater. Last season, audiences filled the tiny space for the two-man musical The Big Bang and Bruce R. Coleman's new play, Look What's Happened to Pixie DeCosta. Year after year, tickets fly for the return of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now… More >>
  • Best Belters

    Mama's Party

    Once again, Mama's Party gets the big ovation as the most consistently entertaining musical theater showcase. The spotlight here is on the big belters, singers who not only hit the back row with a note but send it soaring out the back door and into the next county. Now in a new venue, the big stage at Contemporary Theatre of… More >>
  • Best Elvis Presley with Hot Sauce

    Tuesday Nights with Domingo at La Parillada

    You can't help falling in love with Domingo "The Best Voice of Elvis." He's alarmingly captivating. He's incredibly friendly (he wants to be your Facebook friend). He's an accomplished Elvis impersonator. Honestly, that term seems derogatory—Domingo may perform the works of Elvis in the style of Elvis, but he is his own man, after all. Domingo has claimed rank in… More >>
  • Best place to recharge over lunch

    Cosmic Cafe

    Om...Om...Om...Cosmic Cafe has successfully created a spiritually inspired oasis in a land of concrete and strip malls. From the moment you turn off Oak Lawn and into the driveway of the restaurant, you notice your surroundings have changed. Everywhere you look you see relics of Eastern spirituality: Hindu gods; Buddhas; fountains; and vivid colors of blue, pink and yellow. The… More >>
  • Best Free Museum

    Crow Collection of Asian Art

    This exquisite collection of modern and ancient paintings, carvings and artifacts from China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia is the perfect weekday or weekend activity. The two-story gallery is free to enter and loaded with ways to occupy your time. A recent exhibition of Japanese snuff bottles from the late 19th century captivated us while we examined each bottle's intricate… More >>

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