Uptown Players

Director Bruce R. Coleman likes to say he's been around Dallas theater so long there are 12 companies on his résumé that don't even exist anymore. That includes New Theatre Company, which he ran for seven seasons. These days Coleman is in demand from almost every theater in Dallas and Fort Worth. He's recently put up shows at Theatre Three (House and Garden), Uptown (Bent) and ICT (Dracula). His specialties: comedies and musicals. And the bonus: He's also a whiz at designing sets and costumes. Coleman's a big fan of the local talent he gets to put through their paces in plays. "The not-so-famous folks I work with are tons more talented than most of those big names you see in New York or L.A. I'll take [Dallas actors] Regan Adair and Arianna Movassagh over Nicolas Cage and Julia Roberts any day." His enthusiasm for theater is infectious. "It is a visceral and communal experience that electrifies for the sheer glory of sharing it with our fellow beings," says Coleman. "People should go to the theater because it reminds us how to be human."

Lee Harvey's

It's not easy to find a laidback, just-dingy-enough bar that acts both as a backyard filled with fire pits and picnic tables, and a place to get down to your favorite DJ. And that's why we love it. The yard is sprawling, with a stage for local acts like folk-country band Eleven Hundred Springs. The inside of the little shack is about as big as a matchbox. Yet somehow it fits a pool table and games such as Ms. Pac-Man, as well as an itty-bitty dance floor. Which brings us to the DJs. At least three nights a week, the shack rocks with tunes spun by EZ Eddie, DJ Chikki G or, our personal favorite, DJ Sista Whitenoise. Forget the painfully monotonous and sterile house mixes of Uptown's exclusive clubs. Sista Whitenoise combines complex, layered beats and rhythms with the best of dance music, from Steve Wonder and Parliament to the Beastie Boys and MIA. She spins at Lee Harvey's every Saturday night.

White Rock Lake Dog Park

Yes, it got flooded for quite some time this spring. Yes, it was muddy. But let's face it: You know it's the best dog park when people ignore the "closed" sign and hop fences in defiance of rain and muck to bond with their pups, mutts and AKC breeds. The small and large yards of the White Rock Dog Park are large enough to accommodate a healthy population of both under 30-pound and over 30-pound four-leggers, plus the swim section provides a different sort of canine fun (a ramped entrance helps fetchers return their sticks, balls and toys to dry land). Maintained by public donations and volunteer efforts, the WRDP is open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight (second and fourth Mondays are closed for maintenance) so even parents with bizarre schedules can snag some off-leash time for their fur-babies at the park.

Uptown Players

The running joke is that this is the only theater in town with a longer line at intermission for the men's room than the ladies'. That gives you some idea how the audience tips. That they're gay gentlemen would be almost beside the point except that the Uptown Players troupe targets the gay male theatergoer season after sellout season, with Charles Busch drag comedies, raucous musicals such as Valley of the Dolls and edgy dramas by leading gay playwrights. Everyone's welcome, of course, at Uptown, and the loyal subscribers always are eager to bring newcomers into the fold. No audience laughs louder, weeps more unabashedly and applauds with more unbridled enthusiasm.

Galaxy Drive In Theatre

Movie ticket prices are into the double digits at most theaters, but there's still at least one theater in the area where you can see not just one but two new films for just $6. Galaxy Drive-In offers eight new movies on four screens every night, and you can watch two for less than some theaters charge for a single matinee ticket—from your car, folding chair or picnic blanket. Better yet, there are surprisingly affordable snack-bar munchies such as pizza, nachos and funnel cakes. The prices aren't the only thing that's retro, either. Promotional ads at intermission are straight out of the '50s, upping the nostalgia factor. Get there early to ensure you snag a good spot with time to spare for a $3 round of miniature golf.

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Technology, shmechnology. Bluetooth, Blu-ray, blah, blah, blah. Toys are terrific and gadgets are great, but these modern times can turn tiresome. A litany of life's simpler pleasures is but a stone's throw down Interstate 35 where another dimension awaits. Troubles melt and tempers tame as you cross the border into a time gone by at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Located in historic Waxahachie, this seasonal Renaissance-themed fest is based on the year 1533 during the reign of Tudor monarch Henry VIII. Visit 200 "shoppes" featuring handmade wares, take in a demonstration of glassblowing, blacksmithing or candlemaking, catch three full-combat jousts each day, watch a winged falcon overhead or mingle with "Queen Anne Boleyn." Full-bodied food is a favorite feature, and more than 20 tons of the festival's famous giant turkey legs are devoured annually, along with more than 60 other hearty foods that comprise the culinary adventure at this quaint 35-acre "village." And when the throat becomes parched, convey yourself to one of seven pubs and taverns and hoist a pint with a kindly innkeeper or, better yet, a lusty wench. What ho!

Bootcamp trainer Scott Colby, known as "The Abs Expert," offers free group classes every other Saturday morning at the bleachers and track at SMU's Westcott Field. In 45 minutes, Colby leads a grueling but doable workout that includes bleacher-running, push-ups, skipping, jogging, crunches and squats. The intense routine works the whole bod and leaves even the fittest participants ready to flop. Then Colby and crew head to a nearby juice joint to do a little socializing. Some 244 members have signed onto the free Meetup group, but there are usually around 20 to 30 who show up regularly. Beginners and newcomers are welcome, and Colby will help modify all the moves for first-timers. Bring water and a willingness to sweat, and in under an hour you're that much fitter. And for free!

Dallas Museum of Art

Enough with overpriced happy hours and the sad effects of forgoing dinner for the movie theater: popcorn tummy. Ew. Instead, head to the Dallas Museum of Art's perfect date, the Late Night. On the third Friday of each month, our beloved purveyor of fine art stays open till Cinderella's curfew. For 10 bucks or less (DMA members and tykes under 12 get in for free), visitors can enjoy art, live music performances, movie screenings (past events have included classics, indie, new releases and art flicks), family activities, lectures and more. And you don't even have to put on heels after that bitch of a work week. Each month brings a new theme and a new chance to work a little casual culture into the weekend. See the new Judd Apatow on Saturday; hit up the DMA for some hot Late Night action come the third Friday.

Horror films are great. Nothing beats a good scare and some really bad acting. Nothing except local artist E.J. Antilla's Horror Remixes. As the Web site boasts, it's "All Killer, No Filler" when Antilla edits down B-rated horror flicks (think Hell High, Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Slumber Party Massacre and the like) to 30- or 40-minute flicks without all the lame side-plots and stupid dialogue. Each film's Horror Remix is basically a greatest hits of itself—gratuitous nudity, gore, sex and some seriously bad hair. All of Antilla's remixes are available for download or pop-up viewing on his site, and occasionally he'll hit the town with themed screenings. And for the blog followers, Antilla offers epilogues for most features with commentary from Thunderclap and Cheesecake (puppets with very particular tastes). Go see for yourself...but lock all the doors and windows first.

The Rose Room

Don't know who'll be there when the roll is called up yonder...but here's where lots of folks will be when their number is called down here. Gaybingo is the silliest fun you can have on the third Saturday of the month. This long-running hit is one of Dallas' hottest GLBT events. Hosted by drag divas Jenna Skyy and former Miss Gay America Patti LePlaeSafe, this ain't your Maw-Maw's bingo, although she might be there in the crowd of hundreds whooping, hollering and hooting. Recently relocated to posh digs in the Rose Room, this high-octane game night features polished production numbers, full service bars and chances to win prizes and cash. Lavish themes are announced in advance, and attendees are encouraged, though not required, to participate. Careful not to break rules or throw 'tude lest you find yourself at the mercy of the BVDs: Bingo Verifying Divas, the fierce drag queens who keep order as they roll through the crowd on inline skates, tossing one-liners and insults. The event also benefits the Resource Center of Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the GLBT and HIV/AIDS communities. Tickets go quickly, but if you get in—Bingo!—you're in for some outrageous fun.

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