Want to know what's going on politically in the southern sector? Or all the sectors, for that matter? Well, heck, you've got the top elected official in southern Dallas talking about it every week on the radio. Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price spices his show with humor and leavens it with uplift, but then he also just goes off the deep end sometimes telling it like it is--like he says it is, anyway--about Dallas politics. Liberation Nation provides smart and valuable insights into an important part of the city, and it also makes for some highly entertaining listening.
Since we take pride in celebrating local failures, we're honored to shine our Best of spotlight on Frank Hejl, the former KNTU DJ who hasn't seen a microphone with proper wattage since May. The creator and voice behind Frequency Down lost his job (an unpaid one, no less) after airing an uncensored version of "Shake It Off," a song by Ninja High School complete with the FCC's least favorite F-word (no, not "fandango"). We call B.S. on the firing . The accident was aired late on a Sunday night, and Hejl was our favorite kind of DJ: funny, smart in interviews and with a show full of good, local musical choices. But the Frequency is down for the count, as Hejl now has a new project: a stand-up comedian/band series called Mix Tapes and Baby Fights. And in spite of our bloodlust for failure, all hail Hejl's and MT&BF's success.
As you pass over the traffic on Dallas' clogged freeways, lower your paper for a second and just look at them down there, sitting in their cars, spasmodically inching along as you zoom past overhead. Then thank us for telling you to take the Trinity Railway Express from Dallas to Fort Worth's gleaming T&P station. The ever-growing popularity of this line may be linked to the blossoming appeal of downtown living; downtown Fort Worth, that is. It also may be that the trains are invariably on time to the minute, 65 of them from Union Station to the heart of Fort Worth's vibrant central district. And at $4.50 a ticket, not only is it faster than driving, it's also cheaper.
Dallas is famous for its abundance of surgically enhanced beauty, and most Uptown lunch spots offer plenty of reassurance that the reputation is well-deserved. But among narcissists there are also purists, those willing to spend their lunch hour at the gym in pursuit of the perfect body. So where do those die-hards line up for healthy takeout after their workout? Eatzi's phenomenal gourmet salad bar, that's where. It's worth eating at the tables outside to see the dizzying array of pulchritude flouncing in and out. Is that hunger that's making you feel faint, or lack of blood to the head?
As the quality of musical radio dries up, the search for a great local DJ becomes ever more desperate. Really, if an on-air personality doesn't have the right combination of personality, humor and taste, then why bother ejecting the car tape adapter for our iPods? Thankfully, Tom Urquhart nails that combination every Sunday at 9 p.m. with The Good Show, the only show left in town that gives a damn about the following four pillars: supporting good local music, delivering the best in national indie rock, surprising ears with great classic picks from all genres and making fans laugh in the process. Local band interviews, in-studio sessions and theme episodes are great, as are the Good crew members, but Urquhart's the ultimate music buddy, the guy who wraps up suggestions old and new in witty, pleasant banter. Best of all, iPod fans, you can even keep your gadget plugged in with weekly podcasts uploaded to goodshow.net.
Denton's DJ Nature calls each of his gigs "The Party" for a reason. Whether he's spinning on Friday nights at Zubar or forcing his hometown hipsters to stay up late on Wednesdays at Rubber Gloves, Nature packs rooms with the freshest live mixes in town. And we don't mean "fresh" as slang--his whirlwind blends of baile funk, indie rock and thugged-out hip-hop are full of tracks that have barely made blips in New York's DJ world, let alone in Dallas. Makes sense that Nature's a forward-thinker; before recently returning to town, the man did his duty in the ultra-competitive scenes of New York and Puerto Rico and worked high-profile gigs as M.I.A.'s live DJ and as re-mixer for various XL Recordings artists. Still, the rsum means nothing without a hot dance floor, and Nature wins on a weekly basis with a healthy spread of genres that gets guys and girls of all tastes dancing like fools. Party on.
It's one of those things you take for granted if you live here, sort of like the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The rotating bar at the top of Reunion Tower may seem like pure tourist fodder, but once you're up in The Dome, sipping one of their formidable margaritas and watching the skyline of Dallas creep slowly past the window, you'll forget all about the corruption and congestion that is downtown and remember that, by Crow, we have one bitchin' skyline.
Some comics are like grizzly bears, assailing their prey with vicious jokes. Others are like weasels, slyly creeping up on their targets before quietly taking them out with evil sarcasm. Corey Sutton is more like a puppy, all innocence and fluff until he takes a great big verbal pee right in the middle of your comfort zone. Sutton's got a boyish charm that is, ahem, truly boyish, since the Allen teenager is just barely out of high school. At 19, Sutton has perfected a shy, almost embarrassed onstage persona that makes him both endearing and surprising. Known to stuff his pockets with jokes written on scraps of paper, he might shamelessly pull them out, one by one, during his sets at Pocket Sandwich Theatre or Hyena's in Arlington. Sutton draws in audiences with his low-key, post-stoner demeanor. Blessed indeed are the meek, for sometimes they inherit the laughs.
Murray Street Coffee Shop
This coffee shop in Deep Ellum makes the most of a tiny space by going upward. In the small, loft-like space, the ascending stairs split two ways, into a living room area complete with funky furniture and a conference area with a long communal table for the more professional of midday online slackers. But seating can be competitive--either that or the commingling idea hasn't made its way to some Dallasites. Some people just don't like having to share a table or couch and simply walk back downstairs with their laptop cases unopened. Don't let that stop you. The soothing atmosphere of natural light and not-too-loud music makes for a relaxing kind of comfort where a neighbor is more than welcome. Oh, and the coffee's good too!
It's not often a Genesis music video will be followed by some campy obscure movie clip and then lead into the Aphex Twins. Joseph Howington transcends the DJ label by taking all the rules of mixing and throwing them out the window. Perfecting his set at the Fallout Lounge last year, he fits perfectly into the Cavern's mlange of not-your-typical DJs. Mixing videos and music isn't a new idea, but the random playlist Howington gives the upstairs lounge does one of two things: He will either entrance you as you sit and anticipate his next tune, or he will put you on your feet. The fun part comes when asking him to play a certain video. Will he have it or not? Hard to say, but buying him a drink tends to help.

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