Stone Street Theatre
A night out at this new downtown theater might find you in the middle of an adult clown act or an evening of Cole Porter. Comedy and cabaret rule at this small, elegant theater tucked between Campisi's and the Thomas and Leggitt Tavern on Main and Stone Streets. While Stone is more of an alley than street, you walk in as if you've discovered something no one else knows about, despite the crowded dinner patio next door. But that's just it. With a minimal advertising budget, Stone Street is struggling to find an audience. And while it wants to cater to the downtown denizens, most of the patrons come from elsewhere, according to artistic co-director John Davies. Discover this performance space now, before a small jewel in the big city is lost. And take a friend. In fact, take several.
For three months every summer, stingy but smart 20- and 30-something couples pack a picnic and a bottle of wine and head to White Rock Lake for the free concert series, Cool Thursdays. Actually, the series is not exactly free and it takes place at the Dallas Arboretum, but you can hear the bands just fine on the freeloading side of the fence right next to White Rock Lake. Typically, it's quite the scene. Perhaps there's some sort of honor-among-thieves camaraderie going on, but the moochers seem more eager to strike up a friendly conversation with complete strangers than the stuffy customers who see nothing wrong with spending the $14 ticket price on an Eagles cover band and other like-minded acts. Adding to the festive atmosphere of the free concert seats, sailboats from the nearby marina drop by to hear a song or two before floating away into the sunset.
Cruise down Lower Greenville any given Sunday and you'll hear the distinctive brrruub-brrruub-brrrrrrrruub of big bad motorcycles. And they're all headed one place: The Blue Goose. For hours, the bikes--choppers, hogs, you name it--are lined up outside the Tex-Mex restaurant as their riders carouse over tacos, enchiladas and festive libations. But these often leather-clad folk aren't the only two-wheelers looking for a little Sunday afternoon camaraderie. Around 2 or 3 p.m., another distinctive sound can be heard. It's the higher-pitched whirrr indicative of a scooter--a Vespa, a Honda Metropolitan, you name it. The mod squad begins to show up, stylishly dressed, in numbers not quite as large as their meatier opponents, for pints and the occasional Welsh rarebit at The Dubliner. Even with rarely a shout lobbed between the opposing motor squads, Sunday is all geared up (ba-dum-dum) at the Greenville cantina and the Irish pub.
Bark Park Central
All the time, we hear "White Rock Lake Dog Park this" and "White Rock Lake Dog Park that," but we never hear much about Bark Park Central. And we should. The off-leash dog park, which sits just under Central Expressway at the edge of Deep Ellum, is open 5 a.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Sundays and has lush, well-maintained grass and numerous places for humans to hang while the doggers have a ball or two. The water fountains are unusually clean and most important, the park has an exceptional amount of shaded area. Many patrons of Bark Park Central live in the nearby lofts and apartments and, in our experience, are friendly and helpful to new urban pups. Park patrons also get top scores for responsible poop scooping.
South Side On Lamar
For the thousands of harried night commuters glancing at the illuminated signage of the stately South Side on Lamar apartment building, urban living has to seem awfully tempting. Instead of living in a garden-variety gated apartment or soulless McMansion, you could hang your hat in a stylish-looking set of rooms that is almost universally described as cool. Despite its massive brick faade, the South Side manages to look friendly and engaging, cutting a distinctive figure in a city where just about every other apartment looks like it came off an old Soviet assembly line. Every city has a short list of buildings that define its character. The towering South Side stands out amid the nighttime sheen of Dallas' empty glass towers.
With a $1 million grant from the Embrey Family Foundation, human rights activist and educator Dr. Rick Halperin fulfills his longtime dream to bring more attention and more students to the study of human rights. With this four-year grant, Halperin, recently elected to his third term as chair of Amnesty International USA, will offer new classes on the topic in SMU's Dedman College, invite human rights scholars to campus and take students abroad to see up-close where historic genocides were committed (he recently guided a group to Rwanda and will return to Poland in December for an annual pilgrimage to the sites of Nazi death camps). This year's winner of SMU's top teaching award, Halperin has a reputation as a tough but fair professor whose classes change hearts and minds (not an easy task in W-loving environs). "If students want a world without torture, terrorism, genocide and other human rights violations, they must be prepared to become both better-educated and active in the struggle for social justice and human decency," Halperin says. At a school expected to erect a multimillion-dollar library for a war-starting prez, it's good to see some bucks being used to teach peace.
Matt's Rancho Martinez
Taryn Walker
A friend once said, "Well, you know it's a good patio if my mother will sit there." She went on to discuss the cool temperatures, ease of seating and the lively but not too intrusive atmosphere required to appease her high-maintenance madre. We had one in mind, but she had already begun to confirm, "She'll really only sit on the patio at Matt's." Matt's Rancho Martinez has been a long-time provider of mouth-watering Tex-Mex to the residents of Lakewood and beyond, but over the years, the restaurant's patio has become a beloved place to experience said mouth-watering. Festive lights, ample shade and rustic tables offer a homey feel and Old World vibe while the cold beer and hot food are nothing but fresh.
Special Care & Career Services supports children, adults and families with developmental disabilities by providing key services to Dallas, Collin and Denton counties with two age-determined programs: Early Childhood Intervention and Supported Employment Services. In addition to the great work they provide to the community, they also offer an annual concert that has proven to be a smashing success year after year. The key is the tremendous diversity of the talent. Staged at the Meyerson Symphony Center, recent benefit concerts have included knockout performances from a deliciously wide range of musical stars, from Tony Bennett to k.d. lang to Tom Jones. The legendary Ray Charles gave one of his most memorable performances at the 2003 event just months before his passing. Plans are already well under way for the 2007 concert on April 1, again at the Meyerson.
Lee Harvey's
There are many bars you can go to around town if you're looking to hook up. Of course, the blaring music, exorbitant drink prices and plethora of douchebags in striped button-down shirts may make it a challenging task, but it can be done. Enter a revolution in the bar scene: a cool, cheap dive known for great music, a diverse crowd and an excellent name. Lee Harvey's. Take a stroll through Lee Harvey's giant front yard one breezy weekend evening. If you meander around the picnic tables, listening to the live band tear it up in the distance, you'll note one important thing. You might actually meet somebody at this bar. Outdoor seating--and Lee's has plenty of it--just makes people friendlier. So does a bucket of Lone Star for your hottie of choice and his or her friends. In no time, you'll be enjoying the benefits of an outdoor romance, no matter what the temperature. If it's cold, you can snuggle up around one of Lee Harvey's outdoor fires. If it's hot, well, we may need to head home a little early, since that tank top just looks so, so very constricting.
You'll spot her dressed in expensive workout clothes as she comes in search of yogurt-covered pecans, free-range chicken and organic strawberries. She looks a little harried and more than a little forlorn. Her husband is working late while her kids are easily placated with a frozen pizza from Minyard's. She's not here for anyone but herself, looking for fresh produce and lean turkey so she can retain her youthful figure. Not that he'll notice, but that won't stop her from trying. The Whole Foods Market on Lower Greenville offers the freshest grapefruit juice, the richest chocolate, a range of natural foods and some of the best-looking older women in Dallas, many of whom seem like they're looking for love in all the organic places. Maybe it's Whole Foods' close proximity to Lakewood or the surrounding M Streets neighborhood, or perhaps the allure of Lower Greenville reminds many a MILF of a more exciting period in their lives, but this particular natural grocery store brings all the girls to the yard.

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