John McCaa, WFAA
AMC NorthPark 15

Yes, AMC NorthPark 15 is part of a major chain. But, hold up, naysayers. It's also got ample leg space (good for shopping bags and tired legs), great sound and a burly concession stand. The theater provides both 3D and non-3D options for films available in both formats, and offers a killer blend of mainstream big-budget flicks and indie/art house films. If you're playing hooky, there's really no better place to rock out a double (or triple) feature thanks to the well-staggered viewing schedule and numerous distractions to fill gaps between shows. And, really, who are we to bitch about AMC MovieWatcher rewards and line-avoiding ticket kiosks? The Inwood, Magnolia and Angelika are fine destination theaters, but when you're strolling through the merchandised masses and need an escape, AMC NorthPark is a silver-screened heaven.

If only because you can only shoot so many portraits in front of brick walls and murals, the Traveling Man has been a welcome addition to the Dallas cityscape. But after a year of keeping watch over Deep Ellum's western front, the hulking guitar-headed robot man, towering public art installation and friend to all giant metal birds, has finally shed his novelty. A year ago as we watched the Traveling Man come together, artists Brad Oldham and Brandon Oldenburg said the design was all about nodding to Deep Ellum's history—from the Traveling Man's pants of steel to a creation myth about an elm tree and a bottle of gin—while haters complained it was too corporate, too whimsical or even too reflective. A year on, though, the argument's died down and this three-piece sculpture series has become something else entirely: a familiar welcome home into the city's best-loved neighborhood.

If you attended any musical theater productions in or around Dallas over the past 12 months, you probably saw 21-year-old SMU theater major Katharine Gentsch singing and dancing somewhere just behind the lead actors. Since September 2009, she has appeared in a remarkable string of shows: as a "Hot Box Girl" in Guys and Dolls at WaterTower Theatre, in the chorus of Breathe at Uptown Players, playing the little sister in Sanders Family Christmas at the Bath House Cultural Center (a role she'll reprise this fall), singing and dancing in Lyric Stage's Showboat, in Bye Bye Birdie at Richland College and in a different, professional production of the same show at Lyric, hoofing it in Uptown's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and in Garland Summer Musicals' 42nd Street, and most recently in Lyric's big-budget My Fair Lady. When she's not onstage, Gentsch is tweeting about how much she loves musicals. One day soon she'll get that starring role, but until then save a little applause for the pretty redhead just out of the spotlight.

Presented last fall by The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs in conjunction with Theatre Communications Group, the Free Night of Theater launched a national program to bring new audiences to live theater performances. Thousands took up the offers of free tickets from Kitchen Dog Theater, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, the Eisemann Center, Rover Dramawerks, Teatro Dallas, Dallas Children's Theater, Dallas Theater Center and Shakespeare Dallas, plus a dozen others. The generous cooperation of these arts organizations raised awareness of this city's great theater companies and allowed many new audience members to experience the excitement of professional live theater for the first time.

His biggest career accomplishment? Saving the governor's kidnapped son all the way back in 1985. And, OK, maybe he's been riding that train about 25 years too long at this point. But the fact remains: Dan Stark is a goddamn hero, folks. And it's not just his mustache, his always-present aviator shades, his sweet 1979 Trans Am or the fact that he lives in a trailer in the shadow of the Fair Park Ferris wheel that does the trick. No, it's that somehow, against all odds, Stark and his straight-laced partner Jack Bailey, despite being pinned with petty crime investigation after petty crime investigation, manage to bust big-time punk after big-time punk—and at a clip of about once a week, no less! It's impressive to say the least. Add in the fact that he does this while bedding female witnesses left and right—while drinking on the job—and, really, that's a man worth decorating. The guy's already had one TV movie made in his honor. At this point, he deserves a ridiculously highly rated TV series. Maybe on Fox?

The Unticket
WFAA Channel 8 News

Conventional wisdom holds that rich guys don't like to air their dirty laundry in public, which is likely why the descendants of H.L. Hunt settled their family feud on the courthouse steps in May. It's also why we relished the opportunity to view the dirty laundry filed by billionaire Ross Perot Jr. against billionaire Mark Cuban in the form of a civil case that alleged Cuban had racked up so much debt during the nine years he has been running the Dallas Mavericks ($270 million) that he had basically run the team into the ground. Perot claimed that Cuban's bad management had jeopardized the 5 percent minority interest Perot, through his Hillwood Properties, still retains in the Mavs. Claiming that the Mavs were nearly bankrupted by Mark Cuban seemed about as likely as saying that the Rangers weren't nearly bankrupted by Tom Hicks. Although Perot did his talking through lawyers, Cuban took his case to the Internet and e-mailed various press outlets, telling them that the lawsuit was an act of desperation on the part of Perot, who had lost big on his Victory Park development. No matter the right and wrong of it, the public was given a glimpse of rich guys getting all shitty with each other. And the prospect of watching how the rich play hardball remains as the lawsuit takes on age and animosity.

Sure, a classy dinner, a bottle of wine and a movie says "romance," but it's not exactly the stuff of sweeping love songs. No heartbroken musician out there pens tunes about the time they had the fish at Central 214 and rented The Proposal. A song-worthy kiss comes with hints of danger, apprehension and excitement. Your heart will go pitter-patter with both love and adrenaline when you make a late-night run at climbing the fence of AT&T's telephone pole-climbing training ground at the corner of Bryan and Fitzhugh in East Dallas with the object of your affection. The barbed-wire is easily conquered with a thick flannel blanket, and there are plenty of footholds at the northwest corner of the compound. We're not saying it's like taking candy from a baby, but we are saying that maybe we know a girl who did this in a mini-skirt, unscathed. And once you've shown your prowess at trespassing vertically, getting horizontal is the easy part.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of