Does Fair Park ever cross your mind outside of car shows, Ferris wheels and all things fried? The African American Museum should help change that, and a visit leaves a deeper impression of the area's history. The museum as a whole is architecturally phenomenal and the collections are impressive, but the Freedman's Cemetery exhibition is powerful. A big chunk of Dallas' past is recorded here, so give yourself the time to soak it all in. Funereal artifacts, historic documents and recorded audio provide an enlightening picture of the thriving black community and its struggles against racism in Dallas. It's one thing to know a time like that existed in the city, but it's stunning to see the proof.
It just happens. We're sitting at Reikyu, in a seat that faces out onto Mockingbird Station, and we spy someone in an apartment with the blinds open, probably also enjoying the view. And before we know it, we're watching some guy pace around his stylishly minimal apartment while talking on a cordless phone. It's more addictive than TV at a bar. It's OK, we think. It's their fault for leaving their blinds open. We're not voyeurs; they're exhibitionists. But the truth is we love it, and so do you.
Every daily paper should employ a set of unyielding skeptics churning out columns that force readers to react--and to anticipate the next round. Too bad The Dallas Morning News runs so many tepid columns and soggy editorials. Only Mr. Dallas possesses the weaponry of a great columnist, and he's allowed only the occasional piece about nightlife. Few writers can lambast a bar or new fad in so few subtle, sharp and tightly crafted words as the bespectacled curmudgeon. Advising middle-aged men on the art of hooking up, he warns that "silence can be golden, but shoes never shut up." A few years ago he divided nightlife denizens into "scissor girls," "investment bikers," "torso boys," "Prada people" and so on. Mr. Dallas never becomes enamored with bars and babes and booze and all the stuff that most people find exciting about the night.
You like to be in the theater before the lights dim for the previews. Your companion doesn't mind missing the first few minutes of the movie. That leaves you waiting--hoping--for 10, 15, 20 minutes. Don't stand in the Angelika's lobby, tapping your foot and checking your watch every 30 seconds. Go next door to Trinity Hall; it's OK, you can see the theater from there. Have a beer, or maybe a whiskey is more suitable for calming your anxiety, and perhaps there's time for chips and curry or another Irish pub specialty. You'll like Trinity Hall so much you might not mind missing the movie's opening credits either.
We've always seen exercise as something done in hopes that eventually--one day far, far in the future--we might actually get hit on again. But, for some people, the payoff is much more immediate. It happens while they're exercising. That's right: Some people get hit on even when they're sweaty, pony-tailed, makeupless and Spandexed. On Saturday mornings at White Rock Lake, whether you're walking, running, pedaling, rolling or just walking the dog, you're a moving target in the city's biggest singles scene.
The High Five entanglement provides enough roller-coaster thrills to challenge Six Flags. Test your acrophobia on the connector from LBJ westbound to Central southbound; there's a cheap thrill to looking down as you become airborne. Just keep an eye on the road: The last thing anyone wants, especially the traffic behind you, is to be stuck in a fender-bender in the sky.
Does anybody remember Grinders Coffee on Lower Greenville years ago? (Erykah Badu probably does; she used to work there.) The homey neighborhood feeling it had is echoed in Standards and Pours on the south side of downtown in the South Side Lofts building. But if you're the white-collar financial type, this could be your second office. The coffee is good, but the options are above and beyond: Wi-Fi access, the Wall Street Journal at your fingertips, a reference library for research and even space for your meetings with a PowerPoint presentation. Not a starched shirt? No problem. Anyone not tied to a PDA can enjoy breakfast or lunch, live music, board games and even karaoke. Take that, Starbucks.
This is the kind of park you see in old movies with all the right touches. The lake itself is surrounded by nice green landscaping, picnic tables and a walking trail, and there's even a bridge spanning the water. It's a small jewel nestled near the downtown area, what is normally referred to as Old Mesquite. Walk the less than half-mile trail twice and you and your dog should be satisfied. There are the obligatory tennis and basketball courts and baseball field. Everybody's having a good time, just like in those old movies.
Before heading to Mesquite's version of the Opry, you need one of two things: either a love of country music, or an open mind to it, because the people at Rodeo City Music Hall love them some country and are gonna make darn sure you have a good time. Everything you might expect will probably be there, too. Cowboy hats, sure; big hair, yeah; even the obligatory Elvis lookalike. But for eight bucks, you experience two hours of simple, wholesome fun. The enthusiasm is infectious; just try not to tap your toes. You may even forget the multiplexes and malls that are just a couple miles away. Score on the cheapo concessions, and if you're really lucky, singer Amanda Graves may be on the lineup. Yeehaw!
We've seen and heard just about everything on Sunday nights at Nikita. Randy drunks try to catch the eyes of other randy drunks. They beg for phone numbers when their dates rush off to the unisex bathroom. Inside the john, guys brazenly attempt to lure party girls into stalls. One woman simply walked up to us and slurred, "I'm trying to pick you up." Nikita represents the last gasp, the last chance for a little weekend hanky-panky until, well, four days from now. Up until recently the bit of Sabbath bacchanalia was known as "Naked Sunday" because bar staff ran soft-core porn on two small monitors. Dallas vice cops blacked out the bouncing breasts a few months ago because of a deep concern for the morality of 20- and 30-somethings. Ah, but the revelry continues.

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