Hilton Anatole

Anime lovers from all over the country flock to Dallas each year for the A-Kon convention. The three-day event is jam-packed with events in which folks get to live out their anime fantasies and participate in everything from art shows and costume contests to role playing. This year, during the 23rd annual A-Kon, tens of thousands of costumed fans took over the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Dallas. But since the convention has gotten so large, it'll move to the massive Hilton Anatole in 2013. Not a fan of dressing up? We recommend grabbing a seat at the hotel bar and spectating.

When Wanz Dover first made a splash in the Dallas music community with his band Mazinga Phaser, he wasn't a DJ at all. At least that's not what he was known for. Nowadays, he has several DJ projects going, and with his German techno moniker Blixaboy as the flagship, Dover has made a bigger splash in Europe than he has stateside. But typically, when you catch a DJ set from him these days, you're going to be hit over the head with his incredible collection of punk garage soul. He's passionate about the music he spins. A simple request while he's behind the ones and twos can lead to a long conversation about music, a subject in which Dover is an expert.

Erykah Badu contributed vocals to a cover of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" on the Flaming Lips' recent album of collaborations, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, and also took part in the video. The latter is where things went awry. Badu and her sister Nayrok were both nude in the video, which includes self-indulgent slow-mo shots of Lips members and a tub full of glitter and a white creamy substance meant to look like jizz. Badu balked at getting in the tub, but her sister didn't, yet the final cut of the video suggests it was all Badu. She then took to Twitter to ream Coyne, telling him to "Kiss my glittery ass." Coyne responded with apologetic tweets interspersed with jokes that suggested he wasn't so repentant after all. It was hard to tell whether the feud was real, a publicity stunt or perhaps some mix of both, but it was the most amusing musician Twitter exchange this side of Courtney Love's stoned ramblings.

The Nasher Sculpture Center

It's been a year of turbulence for the Nasher, which has found itself the unfortunate target of a neighboring U.V. ray gun. Sure, some art work has been jeopardized on account of the conflict, and we've lost some dear friends, including the Turrell, because of the encroachment. What has not eroded during that time is the Nasher's curation and execution of remarkably spectacular exhibitions, which are the cornerstone of its fame. We loved every tactile interaction we shared with Ernesto Neto's woven, walk-through installation Cuddle On The Tightrope. And the hauntingly narrative tales spun by North Texas artist Erick Swenson — where acrylic deer were seen in a state of decomposition and plastic snails faced beer-stein demise — left us chuckling darkly, and then immediately contemplating why. Sure, you might fry like untrimmed bacon if you visit the famous sculpture garden during peak sun hours, but that will not deter you. It's a place of respite in a cacophony of downtown bustle, and it's a proven haven for award-winning art. Nothing will stop the Nasher, and we're thankful for that.

KXT started out strong with a good mix of indie rock, folk and roots, playing a mix of local and non-local — what radio folk call "Adult Album Alternative." In 2011, it expanded its playlist to be more "inclusive," as they put it at the time. Apparently, "inclusive" meant "shitty." Matchbox 20, Santana, Everlast and other groan-inducing crap that anyone could hear on other generic stations were such a shock that the Twitter hashtag #kxtfail quickly caught on. But in recent months, the station seems to have reached a middle ground. The occasional Gin Blossoms song has us lunging for the mute button, but overall, program director Mark Abuzzahab has found a balance between enjoyable for the snobs and the slobs. Instead of about two bad songs to every good one, it seems to be the other way around. Hey, no station's perfect. And with events like Summer Cut, the Flaming Lips and St. Vincent concert, KXT is improving its cachet among Dallas' hard-to-please music cognoscenti.

In a neighborhood where nearly every tag is gang-related or the work of one particular ubiquitous tool who has written the same three initials on just about every bare surface available, it's refreshing to see some genuinely clever, whimsical street art. In between white road buttons at Kiest Boulevard and Polk Street, and on another street or two we've noticed, someone has stenciled Pac-man, Ms. Pac-man and colorful ghosts from the arcade game. They're just the right size to be in the right proportion to make the road buttons look like power pellets. They're starting to fade, though, so hopefully the artist will come back and insert another quarter with his or her spray paint.

Whatever we may think of this Swift Boat-funding old rich dude, we have to admit he just got a little more cred. How these two worlds collided is a mystery to us, but we're glad they did. The following is an actual transcript of a May 30 Twitter exchange.

@Drake (Drake, rapper and Degrassi: The Next Generation's Wheelchair Jimmy): The first million is the hardest.

@BoonePickens (T. Boone Pickens, Texas tycoon): The first billion is a helluva lot harder.

@Drake: @boonepickens just stunted on me heavy

His story of leaving his lawyer career to pursue full-time fiction writing is inspiring enough to make us consider walking away from our own day job. The New Yorker "late bloomer" write-up by Malcolm Gladwell — about how contrary to popular belief, genius can emerge later in life — reinforced the notion that maybe it's not too late to do so. But then we just have to read a beautiful description from his short story collection Brief Encounters With Che Guevara or a wonderfully original simile in his 2012 novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and we realize we have a long way to go before we can give up that paycheck.

Artisan's Collective

Artisan's Collective has plenty of compelling artworks for sale, but our favorites are the creations of Barry Kooda. There's a series of little spear-wielding warriors made from the rearranged parts of rodent and bird skeletons, along with a few tamer pieces. Those skeletal combatants are what haunt our dreams, though, and yet we can't look away. That's why they're what our kids head straight for whenever we take them inside (and have to pry them away). No wonder collectors of the former Nervebreakers singer include Ministry's Al Jourgensen.

When University of North Texas MFA student Irby Pace first saw her in that Mac store, he knew he had to have her. From the way her earphones balanced out her pouty expression, to the threadbare nature of her thrift-store T-shirt, her composition was irresistible. The problem was, she didn't belong to him. The photograph was one of eventually thousands that Pace downloaded from sample devices such as iPads and iPods used in the retailer's local stores. He hijacked the images, all snapped by individuals who were playing with the camera features while shopping. Those folks who didn't delete their digital portraits wound up as muses for Pace's MFA show. The collection became an investigation of the fusion between modern technology and photography and toyed dangerously with the concept of ownership. Soon, Pace's little act of expression sparked a fire of debate. And once Wired picked up the story, it became a global conversation.

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