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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Chamblee Ferguson
Despite the name, this troupe quickly has become a top choice among avid theatergoers looking for exciting new works and attractive young actors serious about entertaining with intelligent scripts. These recent Baylor grads are putting down roots here. "We would like to continue to grow and become a staple of Dallas' theater community," says co-founder Steven Walters, who writes new plays for the company as well as acts in them. "We want to become an Equity theater one day and leave the indie theater status behind." Last season they earned strong reviews with the quirky Anton in Show Business and noirish Earth and Sky. On weekends they drop by the West End Comedy Theatre and do improv as "The STDs." Among the young actors drawn into the ensemble are Meridith Morton, Joey Oglesby, Jack Birdwell and Kristin McCollum. Second Thought moves this season--their second--to Addison Theatre Centre's Black Box, a nice step up from flea-ridden Frank's Place at DTC.
Most people at the Double Wide were too young when Urban Cowboy was released in 1980 to remember the two-step craze that got city slickers putting on big hats, tight jeans and snakeskin boots to be like John Travolta and Debra Winger. These urban cowboys are more likely to be wearing flip- flops, Vans or Chuck Taylors, and that's all right; they work just the same on the dance floor (and maybe hurt a little less when two-stepping on toes). The free dance lessons are Tuesdays in the music venue part of the bar; DJ Snakebite from the Boys Named Sue spins records, too. Take Barbara Mandrell's advice and be country when country isn't cool. You never known when two-steppin' will be back in style.
Lee Harvey's
Lee Harvey's feels like home. Maybe not your home, but that great party house you used to hang at. The bar actually is an old house, divided into small spaces crammed with barstools, booths, vintage arcade games and a DJ table, forcing you outside to the spacious yard--the prime real estate. There are long wooden picnic tables and benches, fire pits and a covered porch. But Lee Harvey's is better than those party house memories. Drinks may not be free, but they're so cheap they might as well be. The food, served till 10 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays, is miles beyond chips and dip and cheap hot dogs on the grill. There's live music--bands on Fridays and Saturday and DJs throughout the week. Best of all, when you show up at 1:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, no one's roommate is going to yell at you.
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Andy+Hanson
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Monday night openings are a little weird. Theatre Three's the only theater in town that does that. But it does cut down on the competition, and to make it more worthwhile, they host an after-party in the lobby. A buffet of snacks themed to each show is provided free for audience and actors, who spill out to the Quadrangle's pretty patio to mix and mingle for an hour or two. Since the theater usually "papers" the first-night crowd with free tix for local actors, it's a great opportunity to meet and greet some of the performers from other stages. Nice bonus: Jerry Haynes, Dallas TV's beloved "Mr. Peppermint," is usually there, looking not a day older than he did wearing the striped jacket for his kiddie show.

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