The Conduit Gallery

The Conduit isn't just a "walk in, stand and stare" sort of art gallery. Oh, sure, you can do that all day long, but the spacious gallery nestled in the Design District doesn't require you to keep still or whisper your thoughts. You will feel the creative energy in the air, and if you're fortunate to make it to an opening or art happening, you'll definitely see it in full force. Art devotees come out in droves to celebrate what owner/director Nancy Whitenack and assistant director/Project Room curator Danette Dufilho have to showcase. The gallery has featured interactive sculpture, video art installations, large scale paintings, site-specific installations and murals, text and diary adaptations and collage. Conduit shows three full exhibitions concurrently, most of them of solo artists—many of whom are no strangers to our state. Whitenack says there is a strong representation of artists working in Texas, and an equal amount of other artists scattered across the country.

The School of Contemporary Ballet Dallas

We always heard if you didn't graduate high school and go on to become a professional dancer you'd be relegated to watching So You Think You Can Dance? from your couch for eternity. Wait, what? No. Contemporary Ballet Dallas knows that isn't the case when it opens its East Dallas doors almost daily and welcomes adults to revisit dance classes typically reserved for kids and teens. Naturally, children's classes do abound, but so do ones for adults, and for all experience levels. It's possible to start from the beginning—or just recover what time has erased—with an encouraging, professional dance instructor and a beginner ballet or tap workshop. The school also offers hip-hop dance and Nia movement as well as jazz and samba. The old saying isn't true. You can go back...and gain some muscle tone doing it.

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In three years as artistic director at Dallas Theater Center, Kevin Moriarty has experienced the high of moving his company into the shiny new Wyly Theatre downtown, and the low of a box office bomb like the Bible-themed In the Beginning (which he directed). But nobody faults the guy for taking big chances. Moriarty, an Indiana native who came to Dallas after working at major theaters on the East Coast, is a bold director of classics and new work and a major champion of local talent. All of the actors in his stagings of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and of Neil LaBute's Fat Pig (part of DTC's three-month long trilogy of The Beauty Plays) were hometowners, a blend of veterans of DFW stages, SMU drama students and kids from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where Moriarty also teaches. In Moriarty's biggest production to date as a director, this summer's $800,000 "revisal" of the 1966 Strouse-Adams musical It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman!, he provided plum roles for lots of thesps who'd paid their dues at Kitchen Dog Theater, WaterTower, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and other houses. Being in a Moriarty show has become the new benchmark for what it means to be a Dallas actor. We can't wait to see what he does next and who gets to be in it.

Everybody's got to start somewhere and many a Dallas actor, director and playwright have been launched from this annual summer festival of fringe theater companies overseen by Bath House regulars Marty van Kleeck and David Meglino. Only troupes that don't have their own home stages can qualify for this three-week event, which features mostly new scripts (none more than an hour long) and fresh, new faces. Such up-and-coming talents as The Drama Club started at FIT, as did Matt Lyle's Bootstraps Comedy group, which has since transferred to Chicago. A dozen different one-act plays rotate in repertory throughout the festival, with marathon viewings on weekends. For diehard theater lovers, FIT is a feast.

Ain't no party like a Cool Out party 'cause a Cool Out party don't quit. Quite literally, actually: For the past few years, Dallas has flocked to Tony Schwa and Big J's weekly residency upstairs at the Cavern, which remains the best DJ-helmed party in the Dallas area. Even as more DJs have become hip to the fact that Monday nights are the new Fridays, and that Greenville Avenue's the place to bring those weeknight crowds, Schwa and J have never skipped a beat. They spin their disco and hip-hop tunes for their loving, regular, strong crowds and let the music do the talking. Even in the face of new weeklies at Kush, Sugar Shack and Billiard Bar, all of which aim to take a bite out of Cool Out's reign as the best weekly in town, the duo just seems to be getting stronger and stronger. Perhaps it's their infectious energy and welcoming spirit. More likely, though, it's that they know what music to play to get people dancing without inhibition. It's time the competition came to grips with a certain fact: Cool Out's not in danger of cooling out any time soon.

Kidd Kraddick, 106.1 Kiss FM
Angelika Film Center

The goal of Art Conspiracy is simple: to bring artists together to create, in 24 hours, art that can then be auctioned to folks who can't/don't generally buy art...while they enjoy live music. The proceeds may benefit a pre-selected charity, but in reality, the event draws so many creative people (and fans of creative people) that the entire art scene gets a boost. There's just one thing: That 24-hour art is how-you-say amazing. The auction scenes are animated thanks to talented auctioneers and can be, well, politely cut-throat if two folks are really gunning for the same piece. Prepare yourself ahead of time. Thaw the credit card or visit the ATM for a couple-three days. Practice your mantra: "It's OK. It's for charity. It's OK. I can write it off my taxes." Exercise your dominant arm, making sure you can raise it, wave a program or achieve a predetermined signal in a quick, smooth motion. Get there early and do a once-over of all the pieces. Now you're ready to bid Art Conspiracy.

There's a reason why WFAA's 10 p.m. newscast is consistently atop the Nielsen ratings: Veteran anchors Gloria Campos and John McCaa are the strongest duo in the game, and relevant stories take precedence over those, found on other stations, that we sometimes confuse for infomercials. Gary Reaves, Rebecca Lopez, Jason Whitely and Chris Hawes highlight a deep crop of reporters who track down stories other stations either aren't looking for or are afraid to touch. Top-notch investigative reporters Brett Shipp and Byron Harris, political guru Brad Watson, popular weatherman Pete Delkus and opinionated sports director Dale Hanson round out a stellar team, and even if local news isn't your thing, it's always worthwhile to watch the uncomfortable banter between Delkus and Hansen—always a train wreck waiting to happen.

In 1997, three years after taking the nation by storm with their still-holds-up-quite-well major label debut, Rubberneck, the now-seminal North Texas rockers in the Toadies went back into the studio to record their follow-up. The resulting album was Feeler, a disc that the band now looks back upon as perhaps the best in its catalog. Thing is, Interscope Records, to which the band was signed at the time, didn't agree. In fact, it straight up hated the sucker and just scrapped it. And with that move, the Toadies' eventual breakup in the early '00s was essentially cast. Sure, the band came back to Interscope and released Hell Below/Stars Above in 2001, but the damage had been done; the band had all but been forgotten in a world suddenly obsessed with nu-metal and rap-rock. But the Toadies would eventually get their revenge. After re-forming in 2008 and releasing their well-received comeback record, No Deliverance, on local label Kirtland Records, someone pitched the idea of re-recording Feeler and putting it out for the fans to finally judge; after all, Interscope may have still owned the recordings, but the Toadies owned the songs. Earlier this year, the band got its revenge, releasing Feeler on Kirtland and continuing its resurgence—a resurgence, mind you, that finds the band bigger now than it ever really was in its supposed heyday. Oh and one more thing: Releasing Feeler on Kirtland gave the band the chance to finally do something it had always wanted to do, but never could while on Interscope—talk shit in the press about the terrible, terrible judgment of the major-label hacks who clearly don't know a good thing when they hear it.

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