Lizard Lounge

Not only does Lizard Lounge routinely feature some of the best DJs in the country (and some of the best in town, including Edgeclub host DJ Merritt), it's just about the sexiest club in town, and we don't mean just because there's a good chance some off-duty stripper might whip her top off at any given moment. Of course, that doesn't hurt. Whether you're looking to dance, hook up or both, this is your best bet. And, if we didn't stress this point earlier, there's a good chance some off-duty stripper might whip her top off at any given moment. Just saying.

Sons of Hermann Hall

Though Gypsy Tea Room books many of the same acts, Sons has one big advantage: room enough to dance. That, and it reminds us of the dance halls we grew up in, sneaking a sip from a can of Lone Star when our grandpa wasn't looking, dodging the two-stepping couples scooting their boots on the hardwood floor. It's a comfortable piece of home, even more comfortable after, oh, a dozen longnecks. You know, to get into the spirit of things.

Ash, Super Furry Animals, Spoon, Dieselboy, Deepsky, The Weakerthans, ALL, Pinback, Guided by Voices, Superdrag, South, James Hall, Supersuckers, Remy Zero, Chomsky, Clinic, The Apples in Stereo, The Vines, The Breeders, X-Ecutioners, The Coup, Blackalicious, Beulah, Sparta, Cranes, The Promise Ring, The Deathray Davies, My Morning Jacket, Nashville Pussy, Hank III, Dixie Witch, Bowling for Soup, Speedealer, The White Stripes, Trans Am, AK1200, DJ Dara, Bare Jr., Old 97's, Pleasant Grove, Bushwick Bill, Tomahawk, North Mississippi All-Stars, Reverend Horton Heat, Baboon. That's just naming a few, and that's just in the past year. Think that speaks for itself.

Yeah, we've given it to these guys before, but hey, this isn't your son's Little League team. We don't have to make sure everyone gets some playing time. If you suck, you ride the bench. Simple as that. So until someone comes along and does it better, we ain't changing the starting lineup. Look, we know there are plenty of other fine places to see live music--Muddy Waters, Trees, Liquid Lounge, Club Clearview, Barley House, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, Bar of Soap, even Curtain Club, Galaxy Club or Club Indigo if you catch 'em on the right nights--but none of them is as consistent as the Tea Room. You could never even go to another club in Deep Ellum or anywhere else and see the best in hip-hop (Jurassic 5, Common), rock (Wilco, Doves), soul (Erykah Badu, Musiq), country (Eleven Hundred Springs) or whatever (Earl Harvin Trio). We could go on, but I think you get the point. We'll just finish our thoughts next year at this time.

Central Market

A well-known author whose name we cannot recall at the moment wrote something in one of those college anthologies--can't remember which--about the anonymity of a crowd. Or perhaps it was loneliness. Anyway, it was quite appropriate to the topic and would have conveyed the message in words far more powerful than those without which the entire meaning of this paragraph would be lost. There was also something in the book regarding form and function, another point of great significance in this context. To grope someone in an apparently inadvertent manner requires close quarters and the cloak of innocence. The uncomfortably tight maze of Central Market's aisles provides both, thanks to a combination of poor design and incredible popularity. It's impossible on a weekend to maneuver through Central Market without pressing flesh with dozens of strangers. Shoppers collide with great regularity, and foot traffic often crashes to a halt. A simple swing of the hips or twitch of the arm--tempered by a quick apology--provides hours of illicit adult fun.

Best Place to Watch Someone Score in a Non-sexual Way

Dallas Desperados games

Admit it, you and every other sports fan in this part of the world want to see tons of scoring. And not just with the cheerleaders. (Rim shot!) The bigger the blowout, the better. And not just with the cheerleaders. (Thank you, Dallas, goodnight!) Forget pitchers' duels and 1-0 hockey finals. Which is why the high-octane, indoor pinball game of Arena League Football has every chance of succeeding in Big D. Played on a 50-yard field in the American Airlines Center, the game produces long ball touchdowns faster than you can count 'em. It doesn't hurt that the new Dallas Desperados have record-setting veteran Andy Kelly at quarterback. Or that the once high-scoring Texas Rangers are staggering through the kind of nightmarish summer that makes everyone long for football of any kind. Fact is, we pay this much to watch such good-looking men score any time.

Really can't say much more than that...except that it failed. Obviously.

Let's put it this way: Most of the musicians in town swear by the steady hands of Mark Thompson and the rest of the artists at Trilogy. If it's good enough for rock and roll, it's good enough for you.

Well, yes, a 12-hour drive is as close as it gets, but Taos Ski Valley is well worth it, and far more interesting than a lot of places you can reach by plane. Taos is a family-owned, family-run, world-class ski mountain for serious skiers. The local lore is that Taos was initially thought to be too steep for most recreational skiers when it was built in the late 1950s, yet bull-headed Texans short on skill, but long on nerve, flocked there and said, "To hell with it, I'm going to the top." We've been rewarded with runs named Longhorn, a double-black diamond bump run that just doesn't quit and Lone Star, a more gentle intermediate run. On the "ridge," where one must hike, at more than 12,000 feet elevation, to catch the serious steeps and untracked powder, the runs are named after some of the German generals who schemed to assassinate Hitler. This blend of European ski traditions and the desert Southwest means great skiing by day and great dining by night. From the looks of things, the wet El Nino weather pattern, which produced bases of more than 100 inches last time it came through, should mean a helluva season this year.

For countless centuries, humans performed every personal activity--No. 1, No. 2, No. 69--in full view of their neighbors. Nowadays, the undeniable pleasure of relieving your bladder when and where it demands is circumscribed and carries considerable risk. If you insist on establishing some sort of kinship with humans past and wish to lessen the risk of prosecution, the aforementioned area offers relative safety and anonymity. It's an area of dark parking lots trapped behind restaurants and office buildings, with patches of foliage for extra protection. First, of course, you must douse your kidneys with beer, and Duke's Original Roadhouse and The Londoner will oblige in this. And the legendary rusticity of The Londoner's johns makes outdoor urination a necessity.

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