Best Place to Ponder 2008 | The Fountains at Addison Circle | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

When you're landlocked and the closest river is low and sluggish most of the year, you have to take your running water where you can get it. The fountains at Addison Circle are a great place to eat lunch on your work break, take the kids to play when it's hot, or stargaze at night. Plus there are nearby performance halls, outdoor fields and walking trails, as well as exhibit space for art. Whatever the weather, the fountains make it easy to pretend you're sitting in a waterfall-filled Zen garden.

Earlier this summer, the folks who run Greenville Avenue Pizza Company decided that they needed to bring some entertainment into their Lowest Greenville restaurant. Who knows why—the lines for their slices are so long after the neighborhood's bars let out, but maybe they were just sick of missing out on the pre-2 a.m. crowd. Along the way somehow, the owners got hooked up with a group of semi-professional magicians. And before long, the restaurant's newest, um, attraction was born: Every Wednesday night, a group of five or more magicians stop by and try out some new tricks for a curious, pizza-eating audience. Because it's not an official performance, the show's pretty informal—so much so that you've got a damn good chance of seeing a few tricks fail while you laugh silently to yourself and smugly make your slice of pizza disappear before the magician's eyes.

Best Place to See Garbage Bags as Outerwear

Kiest Park

Located in Oak Cliff, Kiest Park's 2.8-mile path is perfect for anyone looking to get fit without paying a gym membership. It winds through dense woods that provide shade during the hottest summer days and features several stations for modified push-ups, sit-ups and climbing exercises. Best of all, your eyes will not get bored. There's the pretty scenery, sure. But even better are your fellow exercise enthusiasts. You're guaranteed to see at least a couple of hotties every time, but our favorite people-watching sport is looking for the mysterious trash-bag people. For some reason, many of Kiest Park's walkers and joggers favor a strange outfit that looks exactly like an inflated trash bag. Often clinging to the material are beads of moisture that might be distilled sweat. Are these bizarre outfits intended to increase weight loss through excessive perspiration? Is their aerodynamic inefficiency intended to increase resistance? Or are they simply fashionable among middle-aged Hispanics? Figuring it out will give your mind something to do as you torture your body with exercise.

Best Place to See Musicians in Compromising Positions

Stage Dumps

Don't lie. You like a little toilet humor here and there. And you like rock 'n' roll, yes? Well, the love child of rock and shock value is Stage Dumps. Created by some well-known but slightly secretive Denton-based musicians, the blog pays photographic homage to musicians who rock out so hard, it appears they've filled their diapers. But fret not. It's all strain and posture and no actual elimination. Aside from slightly humiliating pics of our favorite bands, Stage Dumps excels in its tags. Some of our favorites include "no shame," "proud clencher" and "standing in my own fog." A pic of Rod Stewart is posted as "forever dung"; Joe Satriani is titled "Shitting With the Alien." Local Will Johnson is pictured perched in Good Records under "Fart Recovery." Loads of fun, Stage Dumps is nothing short of craptacular.

With its semi-industrial location and red brick exterior, Brooklyn Jazz Café indeed evokes the mighty borough that is its namesake. Inside, too, the rough-hewn brick walls, copper bar top and intimate feel are urban and urbane. It's clear someone put some thought into the detailed décor and, for once in this town, didn't go cheap on executing a vision. Every time we enter the place for a glass of wine and some downright soulful, amazing jazz, we remember: Dr. Cliff Huxtable lived in Brooklyn, and he too liked jazz. Coincidence? We thought so, until we looked around and noticed a number of hip, grandpa-aged men sporting "Huxtable" sweaters—those loose-hewn acrylic numbers, each with its own unique, complicated geometric pattern. It makes the whole thing kind of eerie, like stepping into a time machine and a television set. But no matter—the ambiance at Brooklyn is one of Dallas' semi-known—but still underappreciated—gems, a nice spot for a cocktail and some always varied, always riveting jazz.

Hey, you, the writerly type. We know you're shy. We know you'd rather sit inside with your nose in a book, keeping humanity at bay. But you have to leave the house sometime, so you might as well do some good while you're out there. We recommend volunteering with the Writers in the Schools Program (WITS) and its companion, Writers in Neighborhoods (WIN). Both focus on getting kids to use their imaginations through the use of reading and writing skills. The programs are fun, you get to know some great kids, and you get to see great results. WITS director Sue Glenn says many kids in the program show healthy improvement in their test scores. And that spells success that could change lives.

Getting out of the parking lot at The Palladium or Gilley's following a packed concert is like sitting in a traffic jam on LBJ Freeway, except your ears are ringing and the other drivers are drunk. But if you aren't in a hurry to get home—and that's probably a moot point anyway, considering the traffic—Absinthe Lounge is within stumbling distance of the venue. The club is host to jazz or acoustic live music on most nights, offering a relaxing way to wind down after a loud rock show, and overstuffed couches in a cozy, dark bar are a relief after a standing-room-only show.

Visiting Adventure Landing, it's hard not to picture yourself in some classic teen movie, à la John Hughes, mustering your courage and making your move after slyly teaching your date to putt. A high-tech gaming center this isn't, but it's got all the staples—old-school laser tag, batting cages, an arcade and our personal favorite, go-karts. Throw in the classic '80s soundtrack blaring on the "three uniquely themed 18-hole miniature golf courses" (actually, between the fake concrete caves, the elephant statues and the stinky moats, they're all about the same) and you'll have visions of Cusacks, Ringwalds and Brodericks dancing in your head in no time.


In its 50th season the theater founded in 1959 by renegade director Paul Baker will spend a year saying goodbye to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building on Turtle Creek (now owned by the city of Dallas). In 2009 DTC will move into the 12-story Wyly Theatre (designed by Rem Koolhaas) at the multi-venue downtown Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. Before the relocation, it's time to recognize a shift in attitude and a new dedication to local talent at DTC. Under new artistic director Kevin Moriarty, the theater is returning to Baker's regional theater philosophy of encouraging local talent and debuting new work. The season opener, The Who's Tommy, directed by Moriarty, cast Denton rock band Oso Closo and four Dallas performers—Cedric Neal, Liz Mikel, Josh Doss and Gregory Lush—in lead roles, a big change from past seasons when actors were imported from New York City for starring parts and locals were relegated to spear carrying. Moriarty has also aligned DTC with SMU's theater department and has expanded free theatergoing opportunities for children and teens. There's big buzz about DTC again, and if, like us, you heart the arts, that makes the future of theater in our city pretty exciting.

For GLBT teens, horror can replace happy in what should be a carefree rite of passage. Even today with more tolerant attitudes, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth often face taunts and bullying at school. And what happens on prom night? At the Gayla Prom for GLBT and "questioning" youth, it's all about taunt-free fun. One of the largest events of its kind in the country provides the chance for kids to celebrate prom night with their friends in a safe environment. Now under the loving care of the Resource Center of Dallas, the Gayla Prom held its 11th annual party in May, and plans are already under way for 2009. About 25 percent of attendees are straight and come with gay friends. Many who have taken advantage of this unique evening say they felt they could be themselves for the first time in a social setting and for once didn't feel isolated from their peers. There's something prom-ising about that.

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