On March 14, a club full of gay men thundered with excitement after a long night's wait. It wasn't because the bartender replaced the kegs of cosmos. Lady Gaga had arrived. The night before her Monster Ball Tour hit the American Airlines Center with the Scissor Sisters, Twitter's rumor mill was spinning. She was there. She was at the jam-packed Round-Up Saloon on Oak Lawn. "Please don't rush the stage," the club's announcer said over the P.A, "or I'll kick you in the nuts." Someone nearby screamed, "Is she here?" Then it happened. Fast. Like a lightning strike, she stepped on the wooden dance floor, performed "Born This Way," and left. It was fast and furious, and something very special. There was a sense of genuine care, love and community in the air. There was a sense that we all caught the view of something fleeting and good. We all saw an artist at work, just for a moment. Whether you love or hate her, in that moment, she was great. It was an exciting moment in a city that pretends to have too few.
There's no bonding experience quite like self-imposed humiliation — or mutual success. Dallas Comedy House's improv classes offer the perfect way for laugh-loving folk to meet, make friends and figure out paths to punch lines that don't always involve dick jokes. Students enjoy weekly classes to build skills and show them off in a public showcase at the end of each term so they can prove to family and friends why they should or shouldn't be the next member of Upright Citizens Brigade. Those who truly improve their improv get to level up to more challenging classes. Jam sessions (for those who prefer a seat in the audience or those who want to go after improv with open-mic-style abandon) can sometimes morph into a dance party and the cover's cheaper than an ultra-chode lounge. Occasionally, DCH offers a trial improv class for free so potential students can see if the world of "yes, and" is right for them.
Dallas, you finally have that place. That one place you keep hearing about, haven't fully grasped what it is and need to be there. It's a place that shimmers at night and sleeps by day. Here's the kicker for this music and art find on 2703 Canton St.: It's the most unpretentious, genuine venue in Dallas. Proprietors Leticia Gallegos (who also runs a local music aggregate site called Gorilla Groove) and Emilo Muniz (a photographer schooled at UNT) are lovers of Deep Ellum. They're protectors. It's in their bones. They live it, and the vibrancy of Deep Ellum shines best at their shows. Established in 2010, the co-op has hosted shows that include metal art, live photography, Parade of Flesh brand concerts and "Who Sharted?" (a hilarious T-shirt art concept show). They are always on the lookout for local sponsors who give a shit (they currently have an informal partnership with Batter Blaster, an aerosol pancake dispenser thing out of Austin). Oh, one thing we forgot to mention — there's always free beer. Donations are welcome, though.
Most happy hours consist of a few cheap beer specials and dollar-off wells, but the Beauty Bar specializes in our kind of happy hour: manicures and martinis. During their workday happy hour, the low, low price of $10 lets you end a stressful day with a new coat of nail polish and James Bond's chosen libation. Don't expect the spa treatment, but you will get a damn good manicure and strong adult beverage for less than you'd pay for a mani at the nail salon. The vibe's cool, the manicurists are sexy and you'll have pretty nails and a buzz by the time you leave. Now that's killing two birds with one stone.
There's no shortage of titillating men's clubs in the city, and we've done enough research to know that it's no easy decision choosing a favorite. But one of the defining qualities of a great men's club is its ability to cater not just to men but also the ladies. Plus it has to have a wide variety of women to appeal to, well, a wide variety of clients. That's why Cabaret Royale gets our vote. There are the standard bottle-blond types, the exotic brunettes, the stick-thin, the curvy girls and just about every other type of lady you want to see partially clothed. And since the club is just as accommodating to lady customers, you can feel comfortable bringing the girlfriend. It's a lot easier than explaining the stack of ones in your wallet.
Over the course of one night spent bouncing between the indoor tables and the patio of the Lakewood Landing, we overheard the following conversations: a girl weighing the pros and cons of various birth control (she knew that shit like she'd auditioned for the latest Ortho-Vaginale commercial), a guy lamenting how messy his roommate's "bike room" was (We're jealous. Who can spare an entire room for bike storage?), a group of duders besting one another on their knowledge of Argentina (yes, a girl was involved and no, she was not interested) and a proposed sugar-cookie eating contest. OK, fine, there's a large chance we were actually involved in that last one. Point is, the Landing may always be a great place to catch up with friends, but it's also a fantastic place to go to forget about your own troubles and focus on someone else's.
Sitting out here on a warm (or sweltering hot) summer evening and watching a good band fill up Dada's spacious front room with music is pretty damn nice. It's also comforting to be able to chain-smoke nervously while you wait to go on and bomb at karaoke with a live band behind you. And when you stumble offstage after your voice breaks five times trying to hit the high notes on "Welcome to the Jungle," you can sit outside and nurse your wounds with a cold beer under the stars. Dada, for your outdoor contribution to an already great indoor space, we salute you.