Consistently elegant work, large luminescent space and magnetic urban location constitute the trifecta that makes Holly Johnson Gallery a winning space. Though a newcomer, having opened in early April 2005, the gallery has had a triumphant run of shows. Casey Williams, whose work was shown in late spring, makes photographic abstraction out of the molten stuff of a harbor. His photographs of the Houston Ship Channel play on the entropy of different surfaces--the expressive decay of a painting's desiccated canvas and the rust-strewn hull of enormous cargo ships. William Betts' work, the subject of a more recent show, makes a world of stripy colors from bits of pixelated detritus. Manipulating digital information into flat planes of infinite lines, Betts makes surfaces of colorful stripes that would knock the socks off of Peter Brady, that erstwhile master of striped pants. Proprietor and namesake of the gallery, Holly Johnson has injected an intelligent sense of subtle experimentation into the beau monde of the local gallery world.

Readers' Pick
Goss Gallery 2500 Cedar Springs Road 214-696-0555
You just want an inexpensive faux hairpiece. That's all. Not so much to ask. Your girlfriend wants a fake Louis Vuitton wallet. Easy. Or so you thought. The logical destination is, of course, the Sam Moon Trading Company off LBJ Freeway and...hey, the new location even has one big-assed parking lot. Unfortunately, that means more room for minivans, which means more obnoxious screaming children and their clueless, inattentive parents. We don't know how many toddlers we've crushed on our way to the sparkly, dangly earring wall, but to be honest, we don't really care. Breeding licenses, anyone? Anyone?
One of the best art exhibits this year had nothing to do with buzz or hipness or hype or scene. It was about heart. But it was still the exhibit for artists to contribute to and for art fans to attend. A Friend in Deed, a one-night show and sale at Barry Whistler Gallery in January, benefited Scott Barber, a Dallas painter and teacher at St. Mark's School of Texas who received a bone marrow transplant as part of his treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (see Best Visual Artist). The show included 65 works donated by artists including Bill Komodore, Ann Stautberg and Vincent Falsetta and was organized by gallery owner Barry Whistler and artists John Pomara and Ted Kincaid. More than $35,000 was raised for Barber, with more than 50 pieces sold. Whistler said it showed everyone, especially Barber, that a community of artists who work alone could come together when one needed help.
Cave's Lounge
You're decked out in your chucks, with your low-slung ass-huggers and wife beater, and your eyeliner is absolutely perfect. You really, really need to listen to some Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or Johnny Cash and you crave a Hefeweizen, but for Pete's sake, you're in Tarrant-freaking-County. It's a scary feeling. What's a hipster to do? Haul ass down to Division Street, the bail bond/pay-per-hour motel capital of Arlington and cram your car into the gravel pit of a parking lot at Caves Lounge. You'll be greeted by an extensive import beer menu, a jukebox stocked with all your favorite indie rock hits and at least one really hot emo kid drinking a Lone Star alone in the corner, just begging to get his or her heart broken. With nary a frat boy in sight, you'll be able to pretend you're in Brooklyn--just don't drink too much, cause you won't be able to take the L train back home.
Like so many things associated with the Trinity River, Trammell Crow Lake Park, between the levees on Sylvan Avenue, is mostly about potential. The parking lot is littered, the soccer fields neglected. The curvilinear artificial lake is mostly mud (from which protrudes a Dallas Morning News vending machine). But with a little sprucing up, this scene could be positively idyllic. A concrete running path around the lake leads to a shady tree and--what the? Are those cows? Yes, this abandoned attempt at pastoral bliss includes a scattering of life-size marble cows, variously standing and lying in the shade with the Dallas skyline behind them. One has a shattered horn, while others are scrawled with graffiti (cow-tagging, anyone?). Unlike their lean, charging bronze counterparts adjacent to City Hall, these bovines appear well-fed and placid, pondering with dignified melan-cow-ly the park that might have been.
Any PG-13 movie on a Friday night opening at the Webb Chapel Cinemark/IMAX: Watch with horror as hundreds upon hundreds of scantily clad prosti-tots pile out of SUVs and congeal into hormone-charged nodes. Tremble with hatred as they throw popcorn, M&Ms and female sanitary products across the theater during the film. Seethe with anger as your emphatic shushing is answered only with sarcastic echoes and sneers. Quiver with happiness as you remember how much junior high really sucked and enjoy the fact that they must endure it five days a week.
In the past, Nick's has been the recipient of the prestigious "best breakfast" and "best potato salad" awards from the Dallas Observer. But whatever gastronomical satisfaction may be derived from a heaping plate of home cookin' pales in comparison with the sheer enjoyment that is eating in the company of amiable senior Dallasites. Perched on the blue vinyl seats, they regale us with war stories ("And that's when Jimmy got his leg blew clear off! Have another sausage."), sneer at our youthful self-expression ("Time was, if you had more than two holes in your nose you'd try to fix it, not stick an earring in it!") and complain about better days when they walked uphill to school both ways, barefoot in the snow (in Dallas.) Mmm. There's just nothing like a big ol' chicken-fried steak with a hearty portion of respect for your elders on the side.
It's an insomniac's dream. Every third Friday of the month, the DMA stays open till midnight with a crazy schedule of activities: music and dance performances, yoga classes, cooking demonstrations (which means free tastings, yum), screenings of cult movies, karaoke. And, oh yeah, there's all that art to hang out with. Free with paid admission to the museum ($10 max, free for DMA members), the late-night gatherings are sponsored by Starbucks, which provides all the coffee you can drink. Six hours of caffeine? Try some double-shots and then go stare at Jackson Pollock's Cathedral or Matthew Barney's The Cloud Club. Zowie. Next Late-Night bash, October 21.
Convenient to both Uptown and downtown workers, Greenwood Cemetery, founded in 1874, is the kind of place we could imagine spending many a quiet, leisurely lunch hour. It's not morbid, at least not to Romantics like us, who love crouching to decipher the weather-worn poetry on 100-year-old headstones, like the one for a 5-year-old who died in 1902 that reads: "Our only daughter...A bud for earth/Too sweet and fair/Has gone to heaven/To blossom there." Or there's the cryptic inscription on the grave marker for Milla, wife of J.W. Yates, that simply states: "I'll come to see you." If you don't really go for the gothic side of it, Greenwood offers a lot for the historian, too, including Civil War soldiers and veterans (both Confederate and Union), mayors and Dallas pioneers. Look for the green kiosks to direct you to special points of interest.
You're driving east on Main toward Deep Ellum, down around Harwood, and all of a sudden this huge blue orb starts to appear in the distance, sort of floating out there over the street. But you can't quite tell where or what it is. As you approach, it grows, but as you near the I-45 overpass, it falls apart and more or less disappears. It is "The Blue Dot," a sculpture actually built and painted on four separate freeway overpasses, a wonderful optical illusion created by Rory Villanueva, an architect with the Beck Group. The Blue Dot was a joint project of the Downtown Improvement District and the Texas Department of Transportation. Assembled in September 2004, it includes metal wrappings of bridge pillars to make them into ceremonial pylons at the gateway into Deep Ellum. It's all very cool.

Readers' Pick
"Walking to the Sky" Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St. 214-242-5100

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