Arts & Entertainment

  • Dallas Theater Center

    Best Local Theater

    Dallas Theater Center

    With government support of the arts disappearing, public support of live theater is going strong at Dallas Theater Center. The 2010-'11 season, starting with Shakespeare's Henry IV and ending with The Wiz, was 51-year-old DTC's biggest-ever box office year. Patrons packed the house for Arsenic and Old Lace (performed at Kalita Humphreys Theater, DTC's first home). Cabaret, which reconfigured the… More >>
  • Best Dallas Website

    YouPlusDallas

    No one views Dallas in a better resolution than YouPlusDallas. Their videos are big, and they're gorgeous. They scroll right off the screen; often they crash our minuscule, puttering Observer HQ servers. Masters of the art of slow-motion and time-lapse, the cinematographers of YPD have found the newest way to make Dallas look badass. It's why blogs, like, ahem, ours,… More >>
  • Best Parody Twitter Presence

    @FakeSteveBlow

    @FakeSteveBlow would win this even if all the Twitter account did was establish #beansandwich as a trending hash tag in Dallas (which it did following Actual Steve Blow's reminiscence on the food item in his Dallas Morning News column). That said, the tech-savvy version of the saccharine columnist's personality that is @FakeSteveBlow is so very entertaining, if only because we… More >>
  • Nasher Sculpture Center

    Best Museum

    Nasher Sculpture Center

    This year the Nasher's been home to modern neon sculptures, bulbous fiberglass works and approximately 9,000 golden balloons. Yes, it's been quite the year for the young museum with recent exhibitions including Statuesque, which featured sculptures from Aaron Curry, Rebecca Warren and Thomas Houseago, among other artists, and Sightings: Martin Creed, which was a mesmerizing display of thousands of balloons… More >>
  • Meadows Museum and The Prado Museum

    Best Museum Collaboration

    Meadows Museum and The Prado Museum

    Last year, Meadows Museum announced a three-year collaboration with The Prado Museum in Madrid, and as part of the partnership SMU receives three important works from the Spanish museum. Earlier this year, El Greco's "Pentecost" was on display at Meadows, and currently the museum is hosting Jusepe de Ribera's "Mary Magdalene," curated by The Prado's Dr. Gabriele Findali. The partnership… More >>
  • The Art Tour at Cowboys Stadium

    Best Art Experience For a Sports Fan

    The Art Tour at Cowboys Stadium

    Art might not be the first thing you notice at the gargantuan Cowboys Stadium, but Jerry Jones and wife Gene are art lovers, which is evident when you take the time to gaze upon the 21 artistic works installed in various locations all over Cowboys Stadium. The contemporary pieces include Eliasson's "Moving stars takes time," located near Entry F in… More >>
  • Best Radio Show That Is No More

    Edgeclub

    Lest you ever doubted that Dallas adores electronic music, consider this: For nearly two decades, and in the face of pressure from their corporate overlords at Clear Channel, KDGE-FM 102.1 The Edge ran a three-hour Saturday night show dedicated to the genre. Even crazier, people listened. Whether you were a fan of EDM or not, Edgeclub was an anomaly worth… More >>
  • Best Poster Designers

    Magnificent Beard

    Here's how talented the guys behind local poster design shop Magnificent Beard are: In January, a poster that the team had come up with to promote a December Wu-Tang Clan concert at the Granada Theater was ripped off — rather blatantly — by another local design team looking to make a poster promoting an all-local show. The plagiarizing parties got… More >>
  • Best Theater Director

    Joel Ferrell

    Dallas actors don't just love working for director-choreographer Joel Ferrell, they worship the guy. With back-to-back productions this year at Dallas Theater Center, the Horton Foote play Dividing the Estate, followed by the super-sexy staging of the musical Cabaret, Ferrell, a resident artist at DTC, showed what he can do with big shows on a big stage. For the Foote,… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Summer Homework

    Kids Camps at Oil & Cotton

    At the risk of sounding old, back in our day, summer vacation meant no school. Meaning no homework. Meaning no summer reading lists, summer "mindwork" or whatever other euphemism teachers want to come up with for giving kids a bunch of busywork meant to keep their minds from atrophying over the summer but which in practice is just something that… More >>
  • Late Nights at the DMA

    Best Reason to Stay Up Late

    Late Nights at the DMA

    The Dallas Museum of Art is hardly the first museum in the world to realize that people might rather spend a Friday night in the company of its collection than alongside the Drunky McDrunkerson set, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that they've taken the idea and truly embraced it. Every third Friday of the month, the museum bucks… More >>
  • Best Local Music Festival

    Homegrown Music & Art Festival

    The second annual Homegrown Music & Arts Festival saw downtown's Main Street Garden Park full of music fans gathered to hear a uniquely curated concert. Each band that performed had at least one thing in common — they all have strong North Texas ties. From Neon Indian and School of Seven Bells, whose members started here in town, to The… More >>
  • Best TV News Show

    Inside Texas Politics

    It is the only news program on the local airwaves dedicated solely to, you know, issues — current affairs, as the old people say, shit that matters. Politicos stop to stump; you don't run for mayor in Dallas, Fort Worth or points in between without moving into the WFAA studios in Victory Park, otherwise a ghost town. And columnists slink… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KNON-FM 89.3

    There were a few instrumental voices in our young adulthood: George Gimarc on KZEW, Liza Richardson and Chris Douridas on KERA, Ron Chapman on KVIL and The Voice of the People, otherwise known as KNON since its sign-on July 30, 1983. (Kids today don't have a midnight-Saturday Pajama Party to attend each week, and that's the real problem with kids… More >>
  • Best Radio DJ

    Big Gus

    We will forever have a soft spot for the late-night disc jockey, The Midnight Hour-man who rocks us to not-sleep while we polish off this one last drink and finish off this one last smoke and try like hell to nod off but just can't so you might as well play some Sonny James. Big Gus hosts Lonestar Underground, which… More >>
  • Best Radio Talk Show

    The Janine Turner Show

    Really, you have not celebrated July Fourth Weekend till you've spent a Saturday night by the radio listening to Maggie from Northern Exposure read from the Declaration of Independence before welcoming on to the show Ann Coulter and Gary Sinise. "Gather family, gather friends," she beckoned on that magical eve, before y'all-ing her way through the doc while bells of… More >>
  • Best Film Advocates

    Aviation Cinemas Inc.

    It hasn't been a long time since Aviation Cinemas took flight. In 2010, the group comprising Eric Steele, Jason Reimer and Adam Donaghey took over operations at Oak Cliff's newly reopened Texas Theatre. In doing so, the trio has brought life to the once-abandoned cinema by screening a wide variety of indie movies, documentaries and decades-old television series that otherwise… More >>
  • Best Filmmaker

    Jun Kang at YouPlusDallas

    Jun Kang is one of the videographers over at YouPlusDallas, and his work can be seen all over the website, where he's helped shoot FC Dallas games, chefs and food at local restaurants and even the Dallas Observer Music Award Showcases. His best work, though, takes place in the beautiful short films he's created, which have included several Dallas landmarks.… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Emily Scott Banks

    She can be a fiery vixen or a bubbly comedienne. Or, in the case of her recent starring role in the hit comedy Five Women Wearing the Same Dress at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, both in one play. Emily Scott Banks launched her acting career in 2002 after studying the Meisner method with acting teacher Terry Martin (his class is… More >>
  • Best Concert Promoter

    Parade Of Flesh

    There are concert promoters who do what they do for a living, and then there's Parade Of Flesh's John Iskander, a DISD middle-school math teacher who counts himself as little more than a music fan. But that's what makes him such a good promoter: He only books bands that he loves. Since he has a broad musical palate, ranging from… More >>
  • The Kessler Theater

    Best Live Music Venue

    The Kessler Theater

    For decades, people have traveled northbound over the Trinity River to hear live music in Dallas, and rarely was it the opposite. But in 2010, the year Edwin Cabaniss reopened the 70-year-old Kessler Theater in North Oak Cliff, all that started to change. The shows being booked at The Kessler rivaled and often trumped shows happening elsewhere in town. The… More >>
  • Best Album

    True Widow

    Their 2008 self-titled debut went criminally unheralded by most, but, somehow, True Widow's first disc still caught the ears of the people over at New York City-based Kemado Records, who quickly snatched up the group and agreed to release their 2011 mouthful of a follow-up. The second True Widow release isn't much different from the first; it once again moves… More >>
  • Best Song

    "Clementine" by Sarah Jaffe

    This year and last have been especially good for local indie folk darling Sarah Jaffe, who was born in Red Oak, found her audience in Dallas and perfected her craft in Denton. It's been a steady climb, but one that took a steep upward turn following the April 2010 release of her sophomore album, Suburban Nature, which found the performer… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Ro2 Uptown

    When it opened this summer, Ro2 Art Uptown seemingly filled the art-scene lull that usually comes with the hot weather. Mother and son owners Susan Roth Romans and Jordan Roth expanded their reach from their downtown gallery space and promised exciting exhibitions featuring new talent, and did they deliver. Earlier this month, the Uptown gallery hosted An Evening of Arts… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Steven Walters

    The newest member of Dallas Theater Center's elite Brierley Resident Acting Company also is the co-founder and current artistic director of Second Thought Theater, which just ended its seventh and strongest season. A handsome, lanky, angular leading man, Steven Walters played Prince Hal in DTC's action-packed Henry IV last year and opened this fall's DTC season as the romantic Ferdinand… More >>
  • Best Pre-Swing Jazz Orchestra

    The Singapore Slingers

    At age 8, Matt Tolentino, a kid in East Dallas, became enchanted by the great Adrian Rollini, an early 20th century jazz instrumentalist best known for his bass sax in the speakeasy era just before the advent of big band swing music. Lucky for Dallas, Tolentino never came out from under Rollini's magic spell. Now in his mid-20s, Tolentino is… More >>
  • Best Day Caught on Tape

    24 Hour Video Race

    We're not ashamed to admit we're biased when it comes to the Video Association of Dallas' 24 Hour Video Race. With the advent of the Mixmaster, the Dallas Observer arts and culture blog, we finally got up the guts to enter the annual contest. Regardless of the award outcome (third in our division, high five!), we persevered from midnight to… More >>
  • Best Month of Film

    April with Dallas International Film Festival & USA Film Festival

    Dallas International Film Festival, March 31 to April 10 this year, offered more than 200 films to choose from. USA Film Festival, April 27 to May 1, supplied film lovers with nearly two dozen more. For one month, that may seem like a lot of celluloid (or whatever filmmakers are using these days) ground to cover and a lot of… More >>
  • Best Hashtag

    #kxtfail

    On the one hand, we feel for Mark Abuzzahab, the new guy in charge over at KKXT-FM 91.7 KXT. We really do. He's taking over a station that, only a few months ago, was being slaughtered in the Twittersphere, nitpicked for every song choice its DJs would make. Clever social media types took to Twitter in particular to voice their… More >>
  • Best Mailbox Art

    Allison V. Smith's Limited Edition Superficial Snapshots zines

    Over the years Allison Smith has offered various themes in her self-published zines, from iPhone (Can You Hear Me Now?) and Lomo (An Issue With Lomos) to her love for the Lone Star State (Things I Like About Texas). Her April 2011 release, "40 Days," featured shots created via the Hipstamatic app and it didn't disappoint, giving up both ethereal… More >>
  • Best Children's Books For Adults

    Deanna Molinaro

    Local animator Deanna Molinaro writes and illustrates storybooks that would traumatize most children but that, in truth, aren't any scarier than Grimm's fairy tales. With a few exceptions (she's marked innocuous, all-ages books "OK for children"), the stories explore that sort of nightmarish what-if world that smart kids tend to imagine early on. Molinaro says she writes the books "for… More >>
  • Best BYOB Art Class

    G'Nosh

    Luckily for the artistically challenged, there's a whole crop of art studios that tout their abilities to turn finger-painters into pseudo-Van Goghs. And they encourage you to bring your own booze to swig while you make your own "Starry Nights." Some of the teachers at these classes have made us wish we just went straight to happy hour, but not… More >>
  • Best DJ

    Sober

    You can find Sober in the club — or at a bar spinning to the post-brunch crowd, or in a retail spot entertaining the shoppers, or at a corporate event educating the cubicle-dwelling masses — but you'll never, ever find him with a bottle of bub. Will Rhoten's DJ name isn't a gimmick; the dude straight-up doesn't drink, which may… More >>
  • Best City-backed Rave

    Electric Daisy Carnival

    They say one bad apple can ruin the bunch, but let's hope that's not the case with Los Angeles promotion company Insomniac Events' Electric Daisy Carnival, which back in June returned to the city-owned Fair Park complex for the second year in a row. The electronic music festival, which since coming to Dallas has brought in the celebrated likes of… More >>
  • Best Knee-High Views

    The Children's Aquarium at Fair Park

    In December 2010 what was once the Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park officially reopened as The Children's Aquarium at Fair Park, and the changes made were certainly for the better. The venue now features interactive exhibits at eye level for the target demographic. Some of the rays in Stingray Bay are touchable for certain tots, but even babies can sit… More >>
  • Best Weird Chicken-Gawking

    Fur & Feather Building

    You've seen chickens before, but have you ever seen a white crested black Polish chicken? Think in terms of the Muppet Big Bird, shrunk down to chicken size but twice as strange. Maybe three times. Another chicken that might set you back apace if you haven't seen one before is the mottled houdan. We can't really describe it, but you… More >>
  • Best Snack That You'd Feel Guilty If You Didn't Eat

    Snack Shack at Galaxy Drive-In Theatre

    A previous Best of Dallas winner, the Galaxy Drive-In is an incredibly fun and affordable night out, starting with the well-worn miniature golf course and ending with the kindly attendants who can jump-start your car in a jiffy if your battery drains in the course of a double feature. But your trip to Ennis just isn't complete if you don't… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    The Texas Theatre

    It's hard to walk into Oak Cliff's Texas Theatre and not feel the history thick in the air. The stucco walls on the interior cover up the theater's original architecture that was in place the day Lee Harvey Oswald ducked in without paying, shortly after the death of President John F. Kennedy. Since then, the theater has changed hands several… More >>
  • Best Easter Parade

    The Newellian Easter Parade on Newell Avenue

    Who knows how these things happen? An outwardly respectable neighborhood in Old East Dallas has for six consecutive years puts on an increasingly and wonderfully bizarre Easter Bunny parade. Some of the bunnies, especially the ones with coconut brassieres, don't look like Easter Bunnies at all. They look more like Tim Burton scary-cute monsters. On one float a Viking lady… More >>
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