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Some people wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on weekend mornings, ready to start their day with a jog 'round the lake or a trip to Whole Foods for some 40-grain, organic, free-range granola. Other people have to peel themselves off a drool-covered pillow and throw back three or four ibuprofen with a quart of steaming Colombian brew before anybody gets any big ideas about grocery shopping. Lament not, members of the second group; Gachet Coffee Lounge feels your pain. On Saturday mornings, a steady flow of hangover sufferers stumble into Gachet smelling of eau-de-last-night's-party. The baristas are gracious enough not to overdo the cheer--no morning with a hangover is a "good" morning, after all--and the custom brews are sure to brighten your eyes even if they don't bush up your tail. Not so bad when you consider you may run into Friday night's piece of tail at the milk-and-sugar stand. Awkward.
Although he would hate to be referred to as the conscience of southern Dallas, Michael Davis has claimed the holy ground between the unethical and hapless political leadership of the southern sector and their bigoted and hypocritical detractors. A smart blogger whose reporting on city events is often a step or two ahead of the lumbering Dallas Morning News, Davis is more than just a critic. He's been active campaigning against southern Dallas' tired political guard, arguing in favor of new, reform-minded leadership. He's also helped wage a successful fight to close down a notorious hot sheet motel in Fair Park. His blog,, gives readers a snapshot into his progressive world view. He loathes the smarmy leadership of city council member Leo Chaney while being equally dismissive of the Dallas Police Department's recent assertion that a hip-hop song led to a shooting death. Davis pays attention to the minutiae of city affairs, while turning his sharp gaze north of the Trinity.
Although the formula for pop culture blogs is relatively simple--a mix of embarrassing photos, a little gossip and quick, bitchy put-downs--few people know how to do it really well. Some try to make their pop culture blog a scholarly treatise on entertainment, while others try to reinvent themselves as the next Janet Maslin (the New York Times' notoriously picky culture critic). But the local co-authors of realize just what you want to read at work: quick-to-read-gems of pop culture silliness, including photos of Paris Hilton with funny one-liners about her huge, manly feet--who knew?--and embarrassing party pics of Lindsay Lohan with catty comments about how rapidly she's aging (think bad dude in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). This is not a blog that's going to change the world, the city or even your mind, but for the times at work when you need a brain break, this blog is mental Club Med.
Sometimes, you just want to take off all your clothes and have someone rub lotion all over your body--in the middle of a workday. Before Massage Envy came along, the only way of fulfilling this basic human need was to deal with some unsavory characters over on Northwest Highway. But now, every respectable achy back with $39 can call upon a certified massage therapist for aid at a moment's notice. The Massage Envy mantra is this: Everyone deserves a professional, affordable massage. Walk-ins are welcome, and members even more so, though the $39 is only for first-timers. After you join, a $49 monthly fee gets you one hour-long massage and discounts on subsequent massages. Tell your boss you're taking a long lunch today. You've got to go lie around in your underwear for an hour.
Dallas supports a strange and wonderful little industry of professional book reviewers. Not the ones who read a new best-seller and type 500 words of yay or nay. These folks perform the books. At churches, country clubs and women's luncheon groups, the book reviewers bring their tomes alive. More than 75 times this year Dr. Lurline Morrow, currently one of the most in-demand and most entertaining among the area's 40 to 50 professional reviewers, has been booked to do her one-woman/one-book act. She's packed the house at Highland Park United Methodist's popular speakers' series and now is busy all over Dallas (and as far away as Wyoming) presenting her new take on the biography Chanel: A Woman of Her Own (in the past she's done books on the scandal-ridden Gucci and Vanderbilt families). Her audience isn't expected to read the book or discuss it. Morrow admits that what she does is "purely for entertainment." But along with relating juicy facts about her subject, she's known to delve into the psychological profiles of the rich and famous. Part lecturer, part literary stand-up comic, Morrow's a star on the tea-sandwich circuit.
Linda Stogner
Nothing incites more painful cringing than watching someone really go out on a limb, make four times the required effort and fail miserably. This is simultaneously one of the best and worst things about live stand-up comedy, depending on your propensity for schadenfreude. Comics and comedy venues alike are prone to the sad fate of trying too hard to cater to everyone, which is why the Backdoor Comedy Club is such a relief from the same old shtick. Intimate and unassuming, Backdoor is run by two of the funniest women in town, Linda Stogner and Jan Norton. Each weekend, eight or more comics are featured per night, from local favorites to new faces trying out material in the tiny theater. The crowd's always appreciative and manageable for the waitstaff, which means prompt service and less of a chance you'll want to pummel the heckler in the front row. For a city prone to taking itself far too seriously, Dallas is lucky to have had Stogner and Norton's weekly doses of funny for 15 years running.
Rising gas prices be damned, bands from across the country still fill their van tanks with enough unleaded to reach our city's rock clubs. But with no money left over for a booking agent, how's an upstart band supposed to find a decent place to play? Surprisingly, the area has a few booming do-it-yourself venues that are happy to accommodate, and the hands-down leader of the rising D.I.Y. scene is the Metrognome Collective. This isn't just some barren room with a single speaker and a guy banging on an oboe with a spoon; the space is a complete artistic statement, from its large art gallery to its stellar reputation for netting some of the best twee, avant-garde and garage-rock bands that even local hipsters haven't heard of yet. Just make sure to visit the venue's Web site for directions, or you'll blink and miss the location...they don't call it D.I.Y. for nothing.
No, not that kind of horizontal, you perv. We mean the kind of horizontal involving a picnic blanket, a sack lunch and a lazy afternoon nap in the sun. Grab your honey and stake out a spot on the east shore of White Rock Lake with a prime downtown view. Bring the dog for a little Frisbee, or just ask that guy over there if you can borrow his. We're sure he won't mind, since folks chilling out at White Rock are of the most agreeable demeanor. Just be sure to give the pooch back before your sundown mug-down with the aforementioned honey, otherwise you're just being tacky.
At a time when restaurants, music venues and other generally sane business owners were running with tails tucked between legs away from Deep Ellum (or being shuffled out by landlords owed back rent), the Art Prostitute Gallery bravely took up residence in a ground floor loft on the east end of Commerce. Mark Searcy moved his gallery south from Denton, and the despairing Dallas neighborhood thanks him for it. His openings are legendary, the cavernous space echoing with the sounds of a good DJ who knows his indie rock and hip-hop, and booming with the plentiful laughter of all kinds of art fans. Shoulder to shoulder, the sunglasses-indoors types schmooze with Goths and gutter punks. Thanks to Art Prostitute's fearless shows of edgy pop and modern art, hipsters are now going where no hipsters have gone before--or at least not gone for a very long time.
You don't exactly head to Ye Olde Cineplex for the eye candy, do you? Sure, the popcorn vendor kid isn't bad-looking, except for that weird lip piercing, but all in all, there's just not much to look at. Not so at the Belmont Hotel's "B-Reel at the Belmont" movie night out by the pool. The Oak Cliff hotel's got a swingin' retro style happening, and the rectangular pool is the very definition of "too cool for school." But the best part is the long-range view of downtown Dallas from your lawn chair. Sure, the movie's probably pretty interesting, since B-Reel plays only the finest in B-movie gems, but you just might find yourself following the skyline more than the plot line.

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