Best Place to Attend a non-stuffy book-signing

Dick's Last Resort

Dick's Last Resort

For several years now, Dick's has been doing its part to promote local authors with book-signing parties that are really parties. No boring "readings," no scholarly lectures allowed upstairs where the highly successful gatherings are held. Just lots of friendly mingling, munchies, cash bar, the opportunity to purchase the latest by a local writer and, most important, a good time.

Recycled is more like a library than a bookstore these days. There's no high-priced coffee bar or a section to purchase book accessories such as the Itty Bitty Booklight or stainless steel bookmarks. Instead, it smells like old books. That's because every room, level, nook, cranny, and minute space is filled with tomes, novels, and volumes. Size and quantity, however, don't make Recycled great. It's the selection. This oasis on the Denton courthouse square is the main selling spot for students and professors at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University. (Denton's other bookstores concentrate on the more lucrative business of college texts.) This gives the selection more diverse and worldly flair than most used bookstores and makes it well worth the drive and an afternoon of browsing.

Best evidence that the local music scene is better than Austin's (Despite what Texas Monthly says)

The Adventures of Jet, Baboon, The Baptist Generals, Budapest One, Captain Audio, Centro-matic, Chomsky, Corn Mo, Darlington, [DARYL], Todd Deatherage, The Deathray Davies, Dixie Witch, 41 Gorgeous Blocks, every band John Freeman is in, Fury III, The Hundred Inevitables, Last Beat Records, Legendary Crystal Chandelier, Lewis, Lift to Experience, Little Grizzly, Lo-Fi Chorus, The Lucky Pierres, Lucy Loves Schroeder, Mandarin, The New Year, The Paper Chase, Pleasant Grove, Pinkston, The Polyphonic Spree, Quality Park Records, Red Animal War, The Riverboat Gamblers, The Rocket Summer, Shells, Slobberbone, Stumptone, Sub Oslo, The Toadies, Union Camp, Vibrolux, When Babies Eat Pennies, Wiring Prank, Yeti. And there's more where these came from.

God bless D. They tried. Really. You can tell they made a serious effort in this April's issue, with its focus on the local music scene. Well, you can tell they made a serious effort thinking about doing a local music issue. Let's put it this way: Any magazine that claims it's going to prove why Dallas is better for music and musicians than Austin, then puts on its cover, as an example, Sara Hickman (a musician who has lived in Austin for years), is in way over its head. As for the rest of the issue, going into Deep Ellum one night a year does not count as local music coverage. Make it two nights, and then we'll talk.

Barnett graces After Dark on Cedar Springs with her vocal gifts and presence on Saturday and Sunday nights. Her loyal fans are much happier for it. This powerhouse knows when to belt out a song and when to keep her voice soft and whispery. She's at her best when warbling jazzy, upbeat tunes. Somehow you can't help but feel lighter on this planet when you listen to her sing. Check out her happy, breezy version of "Pennies from Heaven" to see what we mean.

This haven of artistic talent just across the Trinity in Southern Dallas is named after the artist who we'd seen paint a mural in a Lutheran church many, many years ago. It was astounding. His wife opened a gallery in March 1997. All the pieces are eye-catching, and there's a lot to eyeball--anywhere from 30-50 artists' work is on exhibition. There are sculptures in wood and carvings and figurines. The owners host several small art shows each year and one major exhibition in the fall.

Jaye Weiner, the mother and proprietor of this school, has recently moved into a new building to accommodate her success. She and a staff of 10 enthusiastic teachers help children ages 4 and up produce fantastic, creative objects d'art, often from recycled material. Sign up early because these classes fill up quickly.

The Dallas artist pulled a quasi-Triple Crown this year with simultaneous shows at three venues, not to mention his showing at New York's Whitney Biennial. Jumping from photography to filmmaking and back again, he brought Circles and Squares (which was based on a fashion shoot for Neiman Marcus at the Lakewood Theatre) to Dunn and Brown Contemporary, contributed his films Moving Picture and Middletown (his piece in the Whitney) to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth's Natural Deceits, and staged a retrospective of his career at the Dallas Museum of Art called Nic Nicosia: Real Pictures, 1979-1999. While quantity doesn't equal quality, each of Nicosia's pieces thrills, saddens, brings a laugh, or is just a plain wonder to see.

Forbidden doesn't claim it has Dallas' largest collection of cult video for nothin'. Though it changed hands earlier this year from founder Jason Cohen (who leaves the store to run a same-monikered gallery around the corner) to Ben Moore (who's in his early '20s), the collection of 2,000 videos in genres ranging from Japanimation and cult to blacksploitation and fetishist stays intact, though some of the music and books have been pulled. We hope it's to make room for more video, though we can't imagine what else they might need.

OK, so the ex-Sooners and Cowboys coach isn't really a DJ--he's no Kidd Kraddick or Carter, no computer jockey playing the latest by Britney or Sting or some other disposable pop icon (hey, we love Sting as much as the next straight man, but we stopped caring around the time of "Russians"). And he's not necessarily the host of "Football All the Way," which airs during The Hardline's 3 p.m.-7 p.m. time slot on The Ticket, the domain of Greg "The Hammer" Williams and Mike "The Old Grey Wolf" Rhyner. And, OK, it's a 10-minute show. Got it. But it's the best damned 10 minutes of radio this town's heard in a very long time, at least since Gordon "Microphone Johnson" Keith asked Stars coach Ken Hitchcock which part of his last name was popular with the gay community. For 10 minutes every week, Switzer talks Cowboys and OU, stumbling down Memory Lane (and, on occasion, Amnesia Lane) like a pissed-off drunk at closing time; the man uses "damn" and "hell" and "crap" the way other people say "and" and "the" and "but." Now that he's no longer on the payroll, he's free to dish on his old boss, Jerry "Crazy Sumbitch" Jones (that's our appellation, by the way, not his), and his old team. And you can damned sure bet your ass he'll say whatever the hell he wants about them damned good old days when the University of freakin' Oklahoma used to beat the crap out of Nebraska. Want to get Barry going? Ask him why he's not in the College Football Hall of Fame. Damned politics, that's why, helldamncrap. Come back, Barry, all is forgiven. We miss you so damned much.

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