Lest you ever doubted that Dallas adores electronic music, consider this: For nearly two decades, and in the face of pressure from their corporate overlords at Clear Channel, KDGE-FM 102.1 The Edge ran a three-hour Saturday night show dedicated to the genre. Even crazier, people listened. Whether you were a fan of EDM or not, Edgeclub was an anomaly worth rooting for, a locally produced show that smirked in the face of the Edge's alt-rock format — a middle finger to the corporatization of American radio. Never mind the fact that the show's host, DJ Merritt, did an amazing job of turning listeners onto electronic talents national and local. That all went kaput back in November, though, when Clear Channel pulled the plug on the show in favor of a nationally syndicated program. Last we checked, DJ Merritt was trying, if only pessimistically, to get the show back on the air. New Edge program director Josh Venable, a local kid and on-air favorite now charged with running the ship, would do wise to give Edgeclub a second chance. If nothing else, it helped KDGE stand out from the radio clutter.
Here's how talented the guys behind local poster design shop Magnificent Beard are: In January, a poster that the team had come up with to promote a December Wu-Tang Clan concert at the Granada Theater was ripped off — rather blatantly — by another local design team looking to make a poster promoting an all-local show. The plagiarizing parties got torn apart for their move, but the fact that they even thought to steal from another poster design team was telling on two fronts. For one thing, there's a surprisingly large, thriving music poster art scene in Dallas. And, second, Magnificent Beard is the top dog in the market. More impressive: Designing smart, hip, eye-catching posters for the likes of the Granada Theater, The Loft, South Side Music Hall and the Palladium Ballroom is only a side gig for the pair behind the force. Connor Hill and Matt Brinker are ad designers by day, poster designers by night. At this rate, though, they might soon be able to quit their day jobs.
Dallas actors don't just love working for director-choreographer Joel Ferrell, they worship the guy. With back-to-back productions this year at Dallas Theater Center, the Horton Foote play Dividing the Estate, followed by the super-sexy staging of the musical Cabaret, Ferrell, a resident artist at DTC, showed what he can do with big shows on a big stage. For the Foote, he turned the Wyly Theatre space into the crumbling mansion of a fearsome Texas family down on their finances. For Cabaret, the audience, seated at café tables with booze service, became patrons of the show's louche Kit-Kat Klub in 1930s Berlin. Able to draw career-best performances from actors and to surprise the most jaded audience members with provocative ideas, Ferrell is taking local theater in all the right directions.
Oil and Cotton
At the risk of sounding old, back in our day, summer vacation meant no school. Meaning no homework. Meaning no summer reading lists, summer "mindwork" or whatever other euphemism teachers want to come up with for giving kids a bunch of busywork meant to keep their minds from atrophying over the summer but which in practice is just something that parents nag their kids about all summer, until the weekend before school starts up again, at which point the kids do the most half-assed job imaginable at rushing through a stack of paperwork. If only teachers would just let kids be kids during the summer — or have them exercise their creativity at art classes like Oil & Cotton's. Ranging from $10 hourlong craft classes to multiweek advanced sketching classes to four-day songwriting workshops, these instructional camps give kids something to look forward to while also keeping them from going brain-dead in front of the tube.
Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is hardly the first museum in the world to realize that people might rather spend a Friday night in the company of its collection than alongside the Drunky McDrunkerson set, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that they've taken the idea and truly embraced it. Every third Friday of the month, the museum bucks its self-inflicted 5 p.m. close time and entertains the masses until midnight. And we really do meant "entertain." Beyond the art, the museum comes alive with all sorts of events during these extended hours — there are DJs, tapas, movie screenings, live music performances (from the likes, even, of The Polyphonic Spree), yoga classes and guided tours. And it doesn't cost you a dime more than a regular trip here would: The same $10 fee you pay for admission during the daytime applies here; so, too, does the fact that children younger than 12 get in for free. It's a great family-friendly time — if your family can make it that late. If not? Well, it's a good date spot too.
Main Street Garden Park
The second annual Homegrown Music & Arts Festival saw downtown's Main Street Garden Park full of music fans gathered to hear a uniquely curated concert. Each band that performed had at least one thing in common — they all have strong North Texas ties. From Neon Indian and School of Seven Bells, whose members started here in town, to The O's and Seryn, who are still hanging around Dallas, the festival's lineup served as a showcase for the cream of the local crop. And 2011's installment went over quite well, with attendance more than twice that of 2010's inaugural festival.
It is the only news program on the local airwaves dedicated solely to, you know, issues — current affairs, as the old people say, shit that matters. Politicos stop to stump; you don't run for mayor in Dallas, Fort Worth or points in between without moving into the WFAA studios in Victory Park, otherwise a ghost town. And columnists slink by to opine; more Bud Kennedy, por favor? Brad Watson knows what he's talking about too, which always helps. Because most of the time, his guests don't seem all that sure. You know who else is pretty good? Gromer Jeffers, who's a little more press the meat than Meet the Press, but it'll do. But would it kill you to book Schutze? Scared, aren't you, Channel 8? Gordon Keith's about as cutting as your edge can handle. Admit it. Well, that's OK, then.
There were a few instrumental voices in our young adulthood: George Gimarc on KZEW, Liza Richardson and Chris Douridas on KERA, Ron Chapman on KVIL and The Voice of the People, otherwise known as KNON since its sign-on July 30, 1983. (Kids today don't have a midnight-Saturday Pajama Party to attend each week, and that's the real problem with kids today.) The station always was, and will forever remain, a wonderfully, willfully eclectic hodgepodge of noise — rockabilly, metal (and, like, some out-there shit), blues, jazz, country, Tejano, Native-American, polka, Jewish ... the whole "sonic burrito," as Weird Warren would say. Something for everyone. No, like, literally. Makes KXT sound like KZPS. No — KVIL, circa 1982.
We will forever have a soft spot for the late-night disc jockey, The Midnight Hour-man who rocks us to not-sleep while we polish off this one last drink and finish off this one last smoke and try like hell to nod off but just can't so you might as well play some Sonny James. Big Gus hosts Lonestar Underground, which is already the best six hours of music (real goddamned country) on local radio in a single stretch. He doesn't say much (the best ones never do), and when he does he drawls us through the wee small hours in a raspy how-y'all-doin' that reminds us to tump the ashtray and crack another cold one (sponsored by Shiner!) and that tonight might be the night when we see the sunrise if we're lucky.
Really, you have not celebrated July Fourth Weekend till you've spent a Saturday night by the radio listening to Maggie from Northern Exposure read from the Declaration of Independence before welcoming on to the show Ann Coulter and Gary Sinise. "Gather family, gather friends," she beckoned on that magical eve, before y'all-ing her way through the doc while bells of freedom chimed in the background. Best Not Christmas Eve Ever! She's so right she's around the bend and says things like "I'm a Texan, but I'm also an American" and considers herself a Constitutional historian ("History is fascinating," she once said) and welcomes the likes of Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain and Peter Guber — a regular Tom Snyder, ladies and gentlemen. Like recent guest Kinky Friedman told her, when speaking of Governor Rick Perry and his presidential run, "You don't know where greatness will come from." Here, it comes from here.

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