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Most people assume the only place a person can grab a beer in Dallas while playing an arcade game (read: not Golden Tee or one of those touch-screen mini-machines) is Dave & Buster's, but Exposition Park's Bar of Soap gives drinking gamers a shot at some fine cabinets without forcing them to wear khaki shorts. Racing, shooting, pinball, Pac-Man and air hockey are on tap in the bar's laundry room, so whether you want to kill time while finishing a load of whites or kill terrorists on the Gunblade: New York machine, electronic diversions are only a quarter slot away at the BoS. Even better, there's no Dance Dance Revolution cabinet--that's the last game you want to play after a few rounds, anyway.
If you like Broadway musicals but not enough to actually sleep on the Great White Way to score a ticket, Dallas Summer Musicals and the Broadway Contemporary Series are for you. They bring the best of Broadway (or at least the touring versions of it) to Fair Park year-round, mixing old favorites such as Annie Get Your Gun and the hottest tickets (of last season or the season before), including, this season, The Producers and Wicked, the splashy Broadway smash about the witches of Oz (onstage October 6 through October 23). Sure, instead of Natasha Richardson or Jennifer Jason Leigh, you get Cabaret starring Lea Thompson (yup, Howard the Duck's Lea Thompson) and Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby (actually, she was pretty good flying around in those green tights), but tickets are affordable, with seats ranging from $11 to $74.
Most open mike nights are painful affairs. You bring your guitar and your songs, and everyone else brings their best Dave Matthews impersonations. Not at the Fallout, where the open mike draws everyone from talented unknowns with great record collections to established local talents. Local scenester Tania Rivas founded Open Mike Mondays in April 2004 but has since handed over hosting duties to Jeb Hagan, who faithfully enforces the most important rule of Open Mike Mondays--thou shalt not ask the audience for money.
For seven summers the Bath House has played host to a lively festival of experimental works by some of the area's boldest young theater companies and best new playwrights. Limited to one-hour performances, Theatre Quorum, Commedia dell' Carte, WingSpan and others present new plays in rotating rep for several weeks. At times there are performances happening simultaneously inside and out at the Bath House, the most action this venue sees all year. This year's FIT was the best yet, drawing large crowds of theatergoers eager to sample the wares of small theater groups who are trying to build followings. As a showcase for new talent, it's the sort of cutting-edge event that's creating national buzz about the bounty of innovative young theater professionals calling Dallas home.
Business in the front, party in the back seems to be a popular theme at our favorite annual event, which boasts almost as many mullets as it does turkey legs. A good place to start your hunt is the automobile building, but just about anywhere else in Fair Park is excellent mullet habitat as well. They'll be damn near everywhere--at the pig races, in the front row at the Cowboy Troy concert, behind you in the fried Snickers line and definitely watching the knife demonstrations in the Embarcadero. And if you somehow arrive on a slow day, don't fret, as the Midway and its short/long-tressed Carnies are only a short walk away. Luckily for you the Fair has plenty of excellent cuisine, because all that mullet-watching can give you a man-sized hankering for something battered and fried.
Porn premiered last summer at the MAC to packed houses and, ah, a less than ecstatic review from our theater critic. But tastes differ. We liked it. And we're not the only ones. Porn's running this fall at Art Centre Theatre in Plano. The show's a great one for a date, preferably a first, as was our case when we saw it. A 70-minute exploration of all that is different between men and women who have sex on their minds, Porn for Puritans is funny enough to have a man slapping his knee--and his date's. This is crucial, this accidental touch. It loosens both parties' nerves. And because the play deals with sex, viewers will inevitably talk about it afterward (the show, that is...and, well, yes, by extension, sex.) There is no better topic to discuss on a first date--particularly if it goes well.
Technically, it's illegal to panhandle at intersections in Dallas. But, if you must, there's no better place than the corner of North Hampton and I-30. Here you'll find traffic lights to ensure a captive audience, several cheap tacos stands nearby for begging fuel and a scenic vista the homeowners at White Rock Lake could envy. Your hillside retreat will afford you breathtaking views of downtown and Texas Stadium, better air quality than your counterparts in the concrete canyons and the added bonus of being able to spot the cops coming from a mile away. And with all that to inspire you, you'll finally come up with that catchy slogan you need for your cardboard sign.
Founder Robyn Flatt, daughter of the legendary Dallas Theater Center founder Paul Baker, has made this former bowling alley site into the stunning Rosewood Center for Family Arts, one of the finest professional theaters for children in the country. Time magazine named it one of the top five in the nation and noted that it was the only one of the five to tour its productions to young audiences. Dallas Children's Theater introduces children to theater as art and entertainment, hiring the best professional actors, designers and directors. They never scrimp on production values and they always treat young patrons with respect (no talking down).
Sushi, sake, karaoke and drag queens. One may seem not like the others--that is, unless you've been to Sushi Sapporo on karaoke night, which is hosted (previously on Fridays, now on Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.) by a drag queen with a Cher impersonation as fierce as her wardrobe. That's just one of the reasons this shindig's hype has been spreading by word-of-mouth for months. There's also the great sushi, song-inspiring sake and a small enough crowd--sometimes containing drag queens acting as backup singers and dancers--that any inhibitions remaining after the sake can be squelched with more sake. Plus you're just a bobbed hot pink wig and an orange camouflage shirt away from reenacting Lost in Translation.
As one of the young founders of the year-old Second Thought Theatre company, this Fort Worth native and 2003 Baylor grad already has earned impressive credits as a writer and actor. He played the sensitive husband in Classical Acting's exquisite Gift of the Magi and the perpetual student in their Cherry Orchard. His new play Apathy and Angst in Amsterdam was a standout at last spring's Out of the Loop Fest. This summer Walters, 24, was the fall-out-funny title fool in his own adaptation (with Allison Tolman) of King Ubu for the Festival of Independent Theatres, and he opened Second Thought's new season this fall co-starring in Wonder of the World. He'll be on tour in his play Pluck the Day in 2006. Acting since the age of 17, Walters also is under contract to translate scripts into English for some of Cartoon Network's late-night Japanese anime series. And in his spare time, he joins other Second Thoughters for improv comedy at the West End Comedy Theatre. Talented? Much.

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