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There was a time not long ago when a decent playlist on the radio could only be found via satellite. With some local radio stations stuck in the '90s and others on a steady rotation of Black Eyed Peas and, umm, more Black Eyed Peas, the best music on the airwaves actually came from a sports talk radio station. But thanks to the fine folks over at KKXT-FM 91.7 and their public supporters (it's easy to become one on their website), you can hear from Wilco, Ariel Pink, The Rolling Stones and Beach House all in the same half-hour. Judging by the wide range of folk, blues, classic rock and indie rock, their "Music To The Core" motto is more of a manifesto. And, though they encourage membership from listeners, there's plenty of room for public radio freeloaders, too.
Patrick Kennedy's cause is a daunting one: winning over truck-loving locals to the car-free lifestyle, and hoping those building this city proceed with an eye on livability. And yet, something about the 31-year-old blogger and design consultant recalls a guy voted "Most Likely To Succeed" back in high school. Well-spoken, opinionated and lively, his blog posts sometimes take on the look of academic white papers. Like plenty of other successful bloggers before him, Kennedy's audience has snowballed as a series of profiles and guest-columnist invitations have put his ideas about the future of Dallas in front of more influential and less sympathetic readers. Melding urban planning theory with minutiae of Dallas history, Kennedy's ideas for promoting walkability and sustainability—at the expense of those who'd build more highways—start to make a lot of sense. Then again, he may just have us distracted with all the big words.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza has become a serious international repository of documents, films, periodicals and research dealing with the Kennedy assassination, much of which the museum is now making available to the public in a sunny reading room staffed by a full-time academic research librarian. You do have to call ahead for an appointment, but the reading room is designed to be open and welcoming to all interested persons, according to Nicola Longford, executive director of the Sixth Floor Museum. The full collection amounts to more than 35,000 items, all of it indexed with the latest software and accessible through touch-screen monitors at small work stations. But instead of carrels in musty stacks, these work stations are desks next to big open windows looking out on the site of the event. Opened June 29, the reading room is an exciting addition to the life of the city.
In a sweep of 60-foot lipstick-red walls on its glass facade, the new 2,200-seat Winspear Opera House welcomes theatergoers into Dallas' finest new arts facility. In its first season, the Winspear wowed audiences with Broadway tours of the Pulitzer-winning drama August: Osage County, the Tony-winning musical Spring Awakening and then the topper, the world premiere of Jake Heggie's magnificent opera adaptation of Moby-Dick. With acoustics that are just about perfect, the Winspear is a grand, graceful venue for music or the spoken word.
Heading in with a mix of hope and skepticism, we weren't exactly sure what to expect from Neil Young's high-dollar solo performance June 7 at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Would we get an hour and a half of classic Neil? Or an hour and a half of Greendale (which is what we got the last time Neil rolled through town in 2003)? Thankfully, it was the former, with plenty of classics interspersed with a smattering of new material. He even brought out Old Black, his trusty '53 Gibson Les Paul, for solo electric performances of "Ohio," "Cinnamon Girl" and "Down By The River," which rivaled anything the DSO has ever played in the building for sheer volume and power. It's one of those shows that will stay with the people who witnessed it for years to come, and if you weren't there, you should definitely still be kicking yourself.
Thanks to an incredibly energetic bunch of neighborhood advocates, particularly Go Oak Cliff and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, the Bishop Arts District has become the best place to go for a festival. Even better, they're the kind of creative, exciting, invigorating fests that make you proud to live in the 'hood. It seems like just about every month there's some kind of reason to dance in the streets, whether it's an art crawl, a homebrew festival, a Mardi Gras parade or the wildly successful Bastille Day party. Better yet, there's usually some kind of civics lesson, whether it's the Better Block Project showing how code changes could make livable, walkable urbanism possible or the emphasis on bicycling at the Tyler Street Block Party and Bike-In Movie. Thankfully, the political undertones don't get in the way of a good time.