New Year’s Resolutions for Lovers of Local Arts and Culture

Discover local artists like Drigo, whose canvases keep getting larger.EXPAND
Discover local artists like Drigo, whose canvases keep getting larger.
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It’s a time-honored American tradition: You make resolutions for the new year, then — 48 hours later— you break them. But as a new decade begins, it’s time to mix things up. Your resolve to improve should never be dampened by a judgmental freelance writer writing a topical year-end list, but nevertheless, I have a suggestion: Start the decade on the right note by seeing, supporting and enjoying local art and artists.

Here are some resolutions we recommend adding to your 2020 list:

Find a new favorite local band
If you like local rapper Kaash Paige, then you might dig EBO, whose wholesome stylings stress the importance of self care and self love. If you like indie bands and house shows, then you will probably enjoy vibing to Kyoto Lo-Fi, a local band with a forthcoming EP. Then there are artists like Damoyee Janai, a Booker T. grad whom KXT’s Amy Miller calls one of her local favorites. There are many great local artists worthy of your attention in 2020 and beyond, and if you find someone you like, you can often catch them at a local show.

Go to more local shows
This one is a no-brainer, and it does not have to interfere with your budgeting goals. Buck the House of Blues and the AAC for venues like Club Dada, Double Wide, Three Links or Denton’s Dan’s Silverleaf — spaces with consistently fun bills that won’t hinder you from paying your bills. Bonus: You can see the stage and performer.

Support local art
Stream local movies (or better yet, buy them at Top Ten Records), visit local theaters like Undermain and Ochre House Theater and find plays that are unique to Dallas. Buried beneath the buzz about omnipresent immersive art experiences, local art galleries like PLANT on Cesar Chavez Boulevard and ex ovo are inviting local artists to exhibit their powerful, provocative work. Recent ex ovo shows have tackled everything from surveillance and cybersecurity to the subject of Dallas itself, while a recent PLANT show featured artist David-Jeremiah sequestered in a self-made prison cell for three weeks, forcing visitors to confront the realities of our putrid prison system. These are the kinds of searing exhibitions that are easy to miss, but demand to be seen. Use 2020 as an opportunity to keep an eye out for the local artists creating important work, and the galleries giving them a space to do it.

Support local comedy
Like a concert, it's easy to blow electric-bill money on a famous comedian visiting Dallas for an hour or so one weekend night. Save that dough, skip that performance and see a local comedian in action instead. Stand-up performers like Chanise Condren, Maria Garcia and Megan Mingo are all women of color cracking up Dallas denizens with their witty, relevant and wholly original material. This is your chance to see them before we add them to this list.

Listen local
I learned about the three comedians listed above because of De Colores Radio, the Dallas Observer Music Award-winning podcast and art collective that discusses everything from trending memes to racial oppression, with ample wit and intelligence. They are just one of the local podcasts you should add to your commute this year. If you love true crime, listen to the Dallas-based Sinisterhood. If you have an unrelenting love for the perennially disappointing Dallas Cowboys, listen to Matt Mosley and Ed Werder talk up and take down God’s Team on The Doomsday Podcast. Like music, art and comedy, there is a local pod for nearly every interest you can think of.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.