Dallas Museum of Art
It's downtown Dallas at its best. On the third Friday of every month, the Dallas Museum of Art hosts the best party in town, opening its doors and its collection until midnight. Anchored off the glimmering Dallas skyline, the museum is an especially festive place at night, inviting to art lovers and partygoers alike. With tickets only $10, an evening at the museum won't tear through your checkbook like the rest of the Dallas late-night scene, and with a provoking modern art collection—our absolute fave is Chris Burden's "All the Submarines of the United States of America"—you and your date are sure to have plenty to talk about.
Come on, admit it. For sheer guts alone, you have to hand it to freshman city council member Angela Hunt, who stood up to the entire bunch on the Trinity River toll road issue. What makes Hunt the best council member is not so much the position she took on that river thing, but that she had the courage to do it and not be a nut case about it. When we read about her or see her on the tube, she's always calm, cool and collected. And except for the Trinity deal, she seems to play well with others. It's something about being smart, thinking for herself and doing what she thinks is right. Is that not a plan?
This DJ shit sometimes gets on our nerves, what with the boy culture and the wheelspinners' propensity to try to out-obscure each other at the expense of alienating the dance floor. Oh, and then there's that whole club mindset, in which anything that's not house music with a beat that sounds like a cat barfing isn't considered danceable. That's where DJ Wild in the Streets comes in; she's adept at digging some gems out of her crate that will please the purist and the casual booty-shaker alike, all without succumbing to remix fever. This is a woman who knows that if you provide the international pop, the Stax classic and the classic backbeat, they will come.
Let's get this straight—this is not a category for best beer joint or best place to get a cheap brew or best place to scope some SMU co-ed you have no chance with. This is best cold beer in town. And it goes to Gezellig, because every single one of the dark, slightly upscale spot's draught brewskis is run through that little tube thing that connects the keg with the tap, just like any other bar, except at Gezellig, that tube is kept ice cold, and from the tap the liquid goes straight into a chilled glass. The warmest thing that beer will touch is your lips, baby. Hey, that's our new pickup line.
Backdoor Comedy
For stand-up comedians, stage time trumps all, including spouses, children, international incidents and most major sporting events. There's nothing more important than the opportunity to make drunk people laugh. It's about gaining experience, about learning what makes the masses guffaw. Nobody knows this better than Linda Stogner and Jan Norton, who, for the past 15 years, have hosted comedy shows in the backs of bowling alleys, delis, pizza parlors and other unlikely venues. Calling their operation the "Backdoor Comedy Showcase," Stogner and Norton have championed both up-and-coming and veteran comics. They were booted from their first official comedy-only space on Ross Avenue this year to make room for another soulless corporate headquarters, but that hasn't stopped the pair, who continue to host shows anywhere they can draw a crowd. For that, we give them our most sincere rubber chicken salute.
This blessedly wet and weird summer aside, there is no season in North Texas more brutal, more unrelenting than June, July and August, especially if you've got kids. Hopefully, you have a pool, or at least access to one, but if not, head over to the Allen Spray Park. Even if you live south of LBJ, it's worth the drive. The park includes a big spray gun, a tunnel that sprays mists of cool water and geysers that shoot up from the ground. Best of all, the spray ground's pumping system is now being retrofitted to allow it to operate on re-circulated water.
Couple problems here. "Metro Politics" really isn't a column. It's a little explanatory title that the News puts over stories by Gromer Jeffers, local political reporter. And Jeffers isn't supposed to be considered a columnist. But the larger truth is that Jeffers is a better columnist than any of the typists at the News who are supposed to be columnists. He takes you inside local government. (If you happened to read his take on why the proposed University of North Texas law school at Dallas died in the Legislature, for example, you saw that it got doused in a pissing match between state Senator Royce West and state Representative Yvonne Davis, both Democrats of Dallas.) Jeffers also gives you some flavor for where and when politics gets done in the real world. Seems like half his stories include references to stuff said at tables or just outside the front door of Brooklyn Jazz Café. That's cool. If the News was smart, they'd stick his picture on top of his stories and call him an official DMN columnist. No, wait. Better to leave him where he is: as the best columnist who isn't one.
Some people like a sense of place when it comes to night spots. There's a certain comfort in crossing the same threshold weekend after weekend, but even Studio 54 got tired after awhile. When it comes to something as subject to the whim of trends as a dance club, sometimes it's better to have a little breathing room. So we love that the guys in Central Booking—a DJ collective featuring guys who call themselves Nature, Sober, Select and Prince Klassen—keep the party moving, literally. Their traveling dance party, aptly named The Party, draws club kids, hipsters, preps, goths and anyone else who likes to let loose and shake it. We've Partied at Zubar, the Palladium Ballroom, some guy's house...if the floor's flat and there's available electricity, Central Booking will tear it up with classic hits, booty-bumpers and electronica like the yes-y'all. Check their blog for the location of the next show.
OK, we know you Farmers Branch people are scared—what with the "invasion" and all—but seriously, Oak Cliff has changed a lot since the last time you heard about it. Completely gentrified. Totally bland, McMansions all around. Sure, you might see a (gasp) Mexican or two, but we can assure you, they all speak perfect English and listen to Clay Aiken. No Tejano music down here. Just American flags and apple pie. So come on down—Interstate 35, exit Jefferson, roll the windows down and enjoy the view. You'll love it.
Kettle Art
The Kettle Art Gallery really shouldn't exist. In a missive on the official Kettle Art Web site, co-owners Frank Campagna and Kirk Hopper admit that they rarely represent artists who sell work for bucketloads of cash. They have no major benefactor and don't live in the space or hold fund-raisers—all elements that keep most galleries afloat. To top it off, they're in Deep Ellum, the neighborhood everyone's been told to run far, far away from. But anyone who's been to Kettle knows better. Their strip of Elm Street is thriving. Campagna's and Hopper's marathon exhibition schedule, featuring everything from tattoo artists' works to horror-themed shows, keeps the gallery walls full of fresh new work from both underground and prominent local artists. It's all a mighty fine affront to conventional attitudes about how to make and sell art.

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