Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Gallery

    Oliver Francis Gallery

    At first glance, this might seem an unconventional choice. In between shows, Oliver Francis Gallery looks more like a cross-fit workout facility than a high-gloss showcase arena. But that's the thing. With so many Dallas spaces representing the biggest names in art, we've come to look to OFG for something else: difficult to market but important to see contemporary work.… More >>
  • Best Local Music Release

    Mind Spiders' Meltdown

    Mind Spiders started out as a solo project for former Marked Men singer/guitarist Mark Ryan. Fast forward a few years, and it's now expanded to a six-person wrecking ball with two drummers. Last year's self-titled was an impressive amalgam of all Ryan's influences: punk, soul, new wave, pop. Meltdown, released in February, is more focused in its attack, and finds… More >>
  • Best Local Band

    The Black Dotz

    It's sort of become a running joke for Black Dotz frontman Wanz Dover to take to Facebook and declare that the quartet's next show will be their last in a while. Inevitably it's not, but they always keep us on our toes, which is what a good rock and roll band should do. If you've caught them live, you understand:… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Special Guest

    Ah, the much maligned "special guest" is the scourge of fliers and Facebook invites everywhere. This Fort Worth punk group decided to cut out the middle man and just own the name, and we support this kind of script-flipping and mischief-making.… More >>
  • Best Columnist

    Jeff Siegel, Advocate magazines

    Jeff Siegel is funny and all that, but he also has an incredible talent for getting stuff first, which makes him not only a fun read but a must. He writes a regular column that is called, as best we can tell, "Jeff Siegel" (catchy, what?) in the Lakewood and Lake Highlands Advocate magazines, free-distribution monthlies. If they already hang… More >>
  • Best Before-Movie PSA

    Texas Theatre's "Ghost of Jock Ewing" spot

    Southfork's own Jock Ewing haunts Texas Theatre, looking just a tad rough around the edges. Moviegoers at the historic Oak Cliff cinema palace are always treated to a special pre-flick spot from Ewing (played by local musician and lovable cable-access weirdo George Quartz). The ghost of the great man is shown lurching unsteadily toward the bar, tipping his 10-gallon back… More >>
  • Best Temporary Art Installation

    Balloon Room at the Nasher Sculpture Center

    It's been almost a year since Martin Creed's exhibit at the Nasher closed, but we're still talking about it, because we miss it so. It was a giant room filled from floor to ceiling with some 9,000 yellow balloons, and you could run around through them. Technically, the piece was called "Work No. 1190: Half the air in a given… More >>
  • Best Giant Plaster Bull

    The one outside Raul's Corral Mexican Food & Steaks

    Dallas has a wealth of plaster bulls scattered around town, by which we mean two. One is pretty good; it sits proudly atop a steak joint on Oak Cliff's Jefferson Avenue. It's cute, you know? But the longhorn outside Raul's Corral Mexican Food is absurdly, gloriously excessive, a larger-than-life testament to the noble cow, sitting atop a stone platform and… More >>
  • Best Festival

    A-kon at the Hilton Anatole

    Anime lovers from all over the country flock to Dallas each year for the A-Kon convention. The three-day event is jam-packed with events in which folks get to live out their anime fantasies and participate in everything from art shows and costume contests to role playing. This year, during the 23rd annual A-Kon, tens of thousands of costumed fans took… More >>
  • Best DJ

    Wanz Dover

    When Wanz Dover first made a splash in the Dallas music community with his band Mazinga Phaser, he wasn't a DJ at all. At least that's not what he was known for. Nowadays, he has several DJ projects going, and with his German techno moniker Blixaboy as the flagship, Dover has made a bigger splash in Europe than he has… More >>
  • Best (Possibly Faux) Feud

    Erykah Badu versus Wayne Coyne

    Erykah Badu contributed vocals to a cover of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" on the Flaming Lips' recent album of collaborations, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, and also took part in the video. The latter is where things went awry. Badu and her sister Nayrok were both nude in the video, which includes self-indulgent… More >>
  • Best Museum

    The Nasher Sculpture Center

    It's been a year of turbulence for the Nasher, which has found itself the unfortunate target of a neighboring U.V. ray gun. Sure, some art work has been jeopardized on account of the conflict, and we've lost some dear friends, including the Turrell, because of the encroachment. What has not eroded during that time is the Nasher's curation and execution… More >>
  • Best Radio Comeback

    KXT-FM 91.7 playlist

    KXT started out strong with a good mix of indie rock, folk and roots, playing a mix of local and non-local — what radio folk call "Adult Album Alternative." In 2011, it expanded its playlist to be more "inclusive," as they put it at the time. Apparently, "inclusive" meant "shitty." Matchbox 20, Santana, Everlast and other groan-inducing crap that anyone… More >>
  • Best Graffiti

    Pac-man scenes in South Oak Cliff

    In a neighborhood where nearly every tag is gang-related or the work of one particular ubiquitous tool who has written the same three initials on just about every bare surface available, it's refreshing to see some genuinely clever, whimsical street art. In between white road buttons at Kiest Boulevard and Polk Street, and on another street or two we've noticed,… More >>
  • Best Putting a Rapper/Former Child Star in His Place

    T. Boone Pickens' response to a tweet by Drake

    Whatever we may think of this Swift Boat-funding old rich dude, we have to admit he just got a little more cred. How these two worlds collided is a mystery to us, but we're glad they did. The following is an actual transcript of a May 30 Twitter exchange. @Drake (Drake, rapper and Degrassi: The Next Generation's Wheelchair Jimmy): The first… More >>
  • Best Author

    Ben Fountain

    His story of leaving his lawyer career to pursue full-time fiction writing is inspiring enough to make us consider walking away from our own day job. The New Yorker "late bloomer" write-up by Malcolm Gladwell — about how contrary to popular belief, genius can emerge later in life — reinforced the notion that maybe it's not too late to do… More >>
  • Best Scary Art

    Barry Kooda's Sculptures at Artisan's Collective

    Artisan's Collective has plenty of compelling artworks for sale, but our favorites are the creations of Barry Kooda. There's a series of little spear-wielding warriors made from the rearranged parts of rodent and bird skeletons, along with a few tamer pieces. Those skeletal combatants are what haunt our dreams, though, and yet we can't look away. That's why they're what… More >>
  • Best Art Heist

    Irby Pace

    When University of North Texas MFA student Irby Pace first saw her in that Mac store, he knew he had to have her. From the way her earphones balanced out her pouty expression, to the threadbare nature of her thrift-store T-shirt, her composition was irresistible. The problem was, she didn't belong to him. The photograph was one of eventually thousands… More >>
  • Best Kid's Camp

    Zine Camp at Oil and Cotton

    Summer 2012 marked Dallas' first installment of zine camp, a week-long exploration of self-published literature. Those inventive programming brains at Oil and Cotton collaborated with local literary booster The Writer's Garret to make it happen. As local artists heard about the project, they pitched in too, donating supplies and time to help make the camp run smoothly. It worked. The… More >>
  • Best Cheap Date

    Tuesday Night Trash, Texas Theatre

    Not all romances fit the conventional confines of a mall's megaplex. Some need booze. Recycled junk yard cinema. And reanimated corpses, having threesomes. For those modern age Romeos and Juliets, there is Tuesday Night Trash, a free weekly Texas Theatre series organized by crap's curator, Travis Box. Looking at TNT's monthly calendar is a little like digging through the VHS… More >>
  • Best Gallery on the Fringe

    Webb Gallery

    There are weird, artsy things happening between Dallas and Waco, and they're made possible by outsider collectors Bruce Lee and Julie Webb. The pair split their time between road-trip junking adventures through the South and selling the resurrected peculiarities at their historic store front, Webb Gallery. It's a temple to art's unsung heroes and renegade thinkers, and a shrine to… More >>
  • Best TV News Show

    WFAA-TV Channel 8, 10 p.m.

    In the ever-competitive local TV news market, it's hard for one station to distinguish itself, but as much as we hate to admit it, Belo-owned WFAA does just that. The station's stable of veteran reporters — Brad Watson, Brett Shipp, and Byron Harris foremost among them — is unmatched. Certainly they also get kudos for lasting as long as they… More >>
  • Best New Fest

    Oak Cliff Film Festival

    At first, we couldn't imagine why we needed another one. We already have the panache of the Dallas International Film Festival, the experimental lean of the Dallas Video Fest and the cinematic halitosis, grandpa wisdom of the USA Film Festival, but the Oak Cliff Film Fest found its own niche: balls-out fun. They brought in the strange, oozing flicks we… More >>
  • Best Fashion Show

    The Pin Show at Fairmont Hotel

    Produced by Julie McCullough Kim and directed by Bryan Embry, this fashion marathon let us see Dallas' best local up-and-coming designers as well as the bigger, more established industry names. They tackled a mountain of applicants and curated a multi-hour runway immersion with looks by 35 different labels. From model selection to accessorizing, each outfit sent down the catwalk was… More >>
  • Best Graffiti High Jinks

    Nintendo Mural Performance Art

    When we first heard that two guys were dressed like video game characters and painting a giant Nintendo mural in Deep Ellum, we didn't grasp the depth of the spectacle. A quick site visit revealed all: A graffiti artist named Kid NES and a graffiti writer named Eder had joined forces over their shared love of eight-bit gaming. Dressed up… More >>
  • Best Art Trend

    Collectives

    From In Cooperation With Muscle Nation to Homecoming!, pockets of artists across the region have started joining forces as collectives. It's making everything a bit more interesting. By forming these tiny unions, artists have started turning unconventional spaces into makeshift galleries. From Muscle's takeover of the Goodyear Retread Plant, to Homecoming!'s invasion of The Trinity Railway Express line, these collectives… More >>
  • Best Performance Art

    "Invisible Shell" by Erica Felicella

    The Oak Cliff artist designed her solitary confinement in the form of a Plexiglas box. Felicella was on a mission to explore the full range of human emotions that comes from self-imposed isolation, done in plain view. Constructed in her studio and erected in an empty lot behind the Kessler, the box wasn't much larger than a phone booth and… More >>
  • Best Reality TV Dallas

    Most Eligible Dallas

    Cable's Bravo channel came to Dallas and found Courtney Kerr, Matt Nordgren, Tara Harper, Neill Skylar, Drew Ginsburg and Glenn Pakulak, attractive, chatty "socialites" (emphasis on "lite") willing to let cameras follow them around (with producers telling them what to do) for a "docuseries." The show made our city look twinkly by night and sunny by day. It made Dallas… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Designer

    Bob Lavallee

    He's a wizard with scenery, putting the twinkle and fog in Dallas Theater Center's annual A Christmas Carol. Bob Lavallee also made the boxy Wyly Theatre into a hot box of writhing bodies for Cabaret and this summer painted that stage with whirling pyramids and psychedelic images from the Old Testament for the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.… More >>
  • Best Theater Director

    Matthew Posey, Ochre House

    Years from now, we'll look back at the work now being produced at the tiny Ochre House theater and marvel that such avant garde brilliance could have come from such a modest company. At the center of it all is Ochre House founder Matthew Posey. He writes, directs and stars in almost everything they do on the 8-by-12-foot stage in… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Production

    Oklahoma! by Lyric Stage

    With its devotion to producing American musicals the way their writers and composers intended — full orchestra, full dance numbers, big chorus and big voices — Steven Jones' Lyric Stage in Irving is starting to get the national attention it deserves. Composer Charles Strouse, in his 80s, came to see Lyric's versions of his shows Bye Bye Birdie and Rags… More >>
  • Best Children's Theater

    Fun House Theatre and Film

    Dallas actor and director Jeff Swearingen has created a small but exciting theater company for kids up in Plano. They do plays, musicals and short films, sometimes all in one production, on shoestring budgets. Best of all, he isn't teaching his young thesps the hammy habits some kiddie theaters inflict. Swearingen's actually getting subtle, intensely interesting performances out of very… More >>
  • Best TV News Personality

    Brett Shipp

    First, let's get one thing out of the way: Follow Brett Shipp on Twitter and you'll find him to be whiny, self-righteous and enamored with Brett Shipp. That said, the man — not to mention his amusingly large eyebrows — makes great television. In 17 years as an investigative reporter at WFAA, he's broken a ridiculously impressive list of stories… More >>
  • Best Boost for Dallas Pride

    Dallas

    It had us at the opening theme music. As the camera swooped in for its first shot of Southfork Ranch and then the rising towers of downtown Dallas, we were happy to go along for the ride — again — with the feuding Ewings. The new Dallas series on cable's TNT has sucked us right back into its vortex of… More >>
  • Best Acting Family

    Barrett and Barry Nash

    Dad Barry and daughter Barrett Nash have each accomplished something special as actors: They've both starred in one-person shows on Dallas stages, giving gripping performances all by themselves. Barry Nash played the title role in Bob Birdnow's Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self at Second Thought Theatre (after debuting the piece by Eric Steele at the… More >>
  • Best Theater

    Ochre House

    Matthew Posey's tiny storefront by Fair Park showcases his brilliant, always shockingly original productions of plays and musicals. This year audiences laughed at The Butcher, a play starring the puppet-corpse of a dead pig, and they shuddered at the musical Mean, about the meeting of Charlie Manson and Tex Watson. You could laugh and cry at Morphing, Posey's multimedia reconstruction… More >>
  • Best Local Vinyl Art

    Pour le Corps Records

    The art of the album has largely been lost as attention spans dwindle and quantity trumps quality, at least in terms of how we absorb music these days. Dallas tape and vinyl label Pour le Corps is letting their aesthetic flag fly, however. Marjorie Owens and Sean French have an eye for detail and theme within each of their limited-run… More >>
  • Best Video Production

    Yes Go

    The Flaming Lips and Erykah Badu used Yes Go's Oak Cliff space to film their controversial video earlier this year, but the production company has been heeding their eponymous mantra to create music videos, ads and short films way before that minor dustup. Its attendant space, El Sibil, has also been known to throw some killer late-night parties.… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up

    Record Hop

    Bands come and go, but this Denton noise-rock quartet seemed to embody a period in Denton music that was muscular, primitive and raw. For close to a decade, the group put forth an almost perfect catalog, and the live shows reflected that muscle. Record Hop singer-guitarist Ashley Cromeens went on to co-front hip-hop collective Neeks, though, so all is not… More >>
  • Best Electronic Music Event

    Meltdown

    We didn't get an Electric Daisy Carnival this year, but we had a slew of smaller-scale electronic music festivals come through Dallas. Meltdown, held out in Grand Prairie at QuikTrip Park, was sort of the unofficial start of summer, with a nice mix of local and national DJs. They even had noise complaints from the neighbors, because their bass was… More >>
  • Best Summer Concert Series

    Barefoot at the Belmont

    From early spring to late summer, KXT's Barefoot at the Belmont series drops local and national acts onto the beautiful grounds of Oak Cliff's Belmont Hotel and demands your attention. The shows are always sellouts, which points to KKXT-FM 91.7 knowing its crowd. Will Johnson, Gary Clark Jr., Tim DeLaughter? Check. Demand was so high this year, the station might… More >>
  • Best Interwebs Radio Station

    Indie-Verse

    More than any traditional local radio station, the shows on CBS-owned Internet station Indie-Verse (klli.radio.com) are a reflection of the divergent tastes of the community. The playlists are a bit looser, the dialogue a bit more casual. You might hear a 10-minute death metal song or the theme song to Roseanne. We need more of this in Dallas, radio-heads.… More >>
  • Best Scene Stealer

    Sally Nystuen Vahle

    The Dallas Theater Center acting company member performed this year's best scene-stealing bit onstage. In God of Carnage, the Tony-winning play DTC produced at Kalita Humphreys Theater, Sally Nystuen Vahle played a high-strung, tightly wrapped urban mommy. The play is about civilized adults who, as alcohol flows and conversations grow heated, turn into furious savages. Vahle's character was one of… More >>
  • Best Sports TV Personality

    Daryl "Razor" Reaugh

    In a town flush with quality sports TV types, nobody cooks a vocabulary stew quite like Daryl "Razor" Reaugh. Using words like "mastadonic" and "pulchritudinous" as effortlessly as "skate" or "puck," Reaugh brings an auditory flavor to the local hockey broadcast that can't be matched. Alongside excellent play-by-play man Ralph Strangis, Razor has been in the booth for the Stars… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Elizabeth Evans

    As one of the creative troupe of actors, artists and musicians known as "The Ochre House Boys," Elizabeth Evans has proven she's able to mix it up in company founder Matthew Posey's avant garde comedies and dramas. As the bedridden Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in Posey's biographical play Ex Voto: The Immaculate Conceptions of Frida Kahlo, she gave her best… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Christopher Dontrell Piper

    His appearances in recent years at African American Repertory Theatre, WaterTower, Upstart and Undermain now seem like mere warm-ups for Christopher Dontrell Piper's explosive performance this season in Tracy Letts' Superior Donuts at Theatre Too. As a young man full of ideas about how to boost business at a failing Chicago bakery, Piper formed a perfectly balanced acting partnership with… More >>
  • Best Local Playwright

    Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

    With her stunning two-act drama Ruth, Dallas playwright Vicki Caroline Cheatwood put something truly important on the stage at Kitchen Dog Theater. Based on the Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi, the play featured parallel sagas of women in the 1930s Dust Bowl and in present-day Oklahoma. In each time period, newly widowed friends must deal with being displaced,… More >>
  • Best New American Pastime

    ZestFest

    First of all, this festival is batshit. Every year, the Irving Convention center is sardine-packed with vendors selling slivers of the most magma-spicy, butt-churning peppers on the planet. At ZestFest, you'll find "foods" like extract of the ghost pepper, "Volcano Dust," habanero wings and the Trinidad Scorpion (OMG, beware). So, we come to our new favorite pastime. Watching other humans'… More >>
  • Best Inaugural Ceremony

    KXT's Summer Cut

    On Friday, June 1, at Gexa Energy, local station KKXT-FM 91.7 brought out the big guns for their first festival: St. Vincent, Flaming Lips, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and more. It was an exuberant and bright summer festival with both national and local hooks. It was also a clarion trumpet blast against KXT's growing naysayers. Dallas, with all its… More >>
  • Best Rain or Shine Festival

    35 Denton

    You have to hand it to 35 Denton. Following artist payment controversy, name changes, cancelations and droves of mustachioed artists, the festival continues without missing a beat. Hell, the Jesus and Mary Chain outright couldn't make it to this year's fest (they rescheduled for later that week). Then there was the rain. The Friday of 2012's 35 fest was rainy,… More >>
  • Best SXSW Hangover Cure

    Bro Fest

    It happens the same time every year. On the last day of SXSW — when feet are blood balloons and brain is mush, when you're hovering between death and exhilaration — comes the lifesaving hair of the dog. It's Bro Fest. Parade of Flesh's John Iskander grabs a handful of bands coming through Austin, shakes them in a bag and… More >>
  • Best Unexpected Salvo in the Culture War

    JCPenney's Gay Dad Ad

    JCPenney is the somewhere you associate with toxic concentrations of toxic perfume or your grandmother's 90th birthday sweater, not progressive social causes. In June, however, the Plano-based department store chain waded neck-deep into the culture war, running a touching Father's Day ad featuring all-American dads Cooper Smith and Todd Koch, who love their kids. And each other. The gay-dad ad… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Slam Poet

    Lady BSmoove

    Brandy Simington has never had trouble expressing herself. Through poetry or music, the words have always been there. But as Lady BSmoove, she's onto something. Her delivery is a mixture of poetry and hip-hop that melds anger, pain and hope into something primal, original and moving. At this year's LGBT Pride kickoff at City Hall, she stole the spotlight from… More >>
  • Best Background Noise

    The Orphanage

    The conversation between Danny Balis and Dave Lane and the occasional caller on their Saturday morning talk show on The Ticket can range from somewhat-informed sports talk to snippets of music Lane's been excited about lately to bizarre hypothetical dilemmas to nothing at all. Even if you stop paying attention as they waste air time reading "Hints from Heloise," it… More >>
  • Best Radio Station (Talk)

    KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket

    Depending on the hour, you could stumble on 1310 The Ticket and go minutes, a segment or even two, without hearing a word about sports. The Hot Sports Opinions promised by the station's promos often get buried by pop culture, old music, new music, race, sex — anything, really, to keep the routine of sports at bay. (These guys are… More >>
  • Best City Council Decision

    Twice-weekly watering

    Texas suffered through one of its worst-ever droughts last year, and it took a toll on water supplies. Dallas never came close to running out, but plummeting reservoir levels did prompt the City Council to take action and implement mandatory watering restrictions. Under the rules, homes and businesses can water lawns only twice per week. More than that means a… More >>
  • Best Radio Station (Music)

    KNON-FM 89.3

    We've got to hand this one to our favorite listener-supported station playing a wide variety of independent artists, and no, we don't mean KXT. Dallas' community station has an eccentric cast of DJs — who are clearly not radio pros, as the occasional technical gaffe proves. Much of the fun of listening comes from catching CDs skipping, bungled guest call-ins… More >>
  • Best Talk Radio Show

    BaD Radio, KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket

    It's difficult to single out the best talk radio show in Dallas, let alone on The Ticket. Each of the station's shows has its own appeal, avoiding sports-talk-at-all-costs for funny bits and raunchy laughs. The show in the mid-afternoon slot, BaD Radio, takes the most high-brow approach to its humor. The complex dynamic between Bob "The Sturminator" Sturm (a highly… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Corby Davidson, KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket

    It is when Corby Davidson goes traipsing into the wild, microphone in hand, that The Ticket's afternoon-drive show, The Hardline, earns its stripes. Things get raw and sometimes awkward, like a recent escapade when he asked an interracial couple about the challenges of their relationship, or a group of teenagers about various teenage exploits. Like the show he co-hosts with… More >>

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