Best Festival 2014 | Index Festival | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Dallas is so overrun with festivals that it can be a little overwhelming. Picking and choosing is a necessity lest one suffer from a bout of festival fatigue. No matter how selective your list of must-attends is, though, Index Festival should be on it. The festival, which takes over Deep Ellum for the third consecutive fall this year, has grown to a three-day, 90-plus-band extravaganza that highlights the best of Dallas' best music neighborhood. Catch the big-name acts on the outdoor stages early, then stick around for the venue-hopping late-night fun that comes after. You never know what you'll find, but it won't be disappointing.

We know people who look down on big traveling art exhibitions, those money-makers larded with masterpieces that draw masses who line up to rent headsets for the audio tour. Well, screw those canape-nibbling hater snobs. We like the big shows. Take, for example the Kimbell's exhibition from earlier this year, The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from The Art Institute of Chicago. Now, the Art Institute is one of our favorite places on earth, but it's a long haul to Chicago, so the chance to drive to Fort Worth to see an expansive, sharply curated survey of Modern masterworks, plus get an informative lecture on the links between the artists and the development of styles, made for a wondrous day. The Kimbell, wide open, glowing with light, is the perfect place to take in a show like Modern Masters, which is why we're looking forward to Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from the Musée d'Orsay this October. Thanks, Kimbell, for delivering beautiful art on our doorstep and giving us such a magical space, especially the new Renzo Piano Pavilion. Walking through its mix of gentle curves, blond wood and translucent glass make you feel like you're aboard a sailing ship that floats on air and light.

The Continental Avenue Bridge spanning the Trinity River west of downtown reopened in June as a multi-million-dollar renovated park. It now offers playground equipment, a bocce court, spray fountains, incredible views of downtown and, most important, a walking path. While this may not have the pizazz or glamour of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, walking on Continental at least gives one a nice view of the former, and unlike Margaret, Continental is actually built for pedestrians. No cars are allowed.

In June, Dallas Police Department spokesman Major Max Geron messed up. He tweeted that Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was charged with public intoxication. NBC soon realized the name was wrong and corrected him; it was actually Yaqub Talib, Aqib's brother. Geron took to Twitter to say sorry. Not that the DPD should be giving out bad information, but the occasional wrong name is a minor price to pay for a DPD spokesman with a Twitter account that is entertaining and strangely human. "Where should you definitely not speed or commit any other traffic violation? (Besides everywhere you drive today)," he posted recently, linking to a DPD list of traffic enforcement locations. He posts a mix of standard crime news mixed with jokes aimed at his coworkers. But the account is most interesting for the news articles and posts he publishes that are critical of law enforcement. Recent stories he tweeted include a report about Texas officers getting in trouble for hazing and a Morning News editorial calling for police departments to develop less lethal measures on mental health calls. He added a commentary for the latter story: "It's unconscionable — mental health system is so bare bones that police officers are frontline mental health workers." Not exactly whistle-blowing or anywhere close, but he's at least willing to offer some commentary on working in law enforcement that's far more interesting than the usual "police good."

You take them in your car; in your place of business; in your bathroom (gross!). We're getting really tired of your lack of creativity. If you insist on showing us how green your eyes turn in the sunlight (#chameleon) or want our opinions on your new haircut (#unsure), could you please find somewhere more exciting to do your social navel-gazing? May we suggest downtown Dallas' Eyeball sculpture. The unwavering stare of artist Tony Tasset's larger-than-life eye is the perfect background for your #SelfieSunday. Oh, and you looked better without bangs #truthhurts.

Exposition Avenue is a strange little street filled with diversion and magic. No, really, magic. You'll know Confetti Eddie's magic parlor by the smaller-than-life dinosaur out front — an artifact of his own creation. Inside, you'll be welcomed into a show that is equal parts art and magic. He performs tricks with cinematic perfection, shrinking the unshrinkable and making permanent things disappear — like heads, for one. Working with his lovely assistant Karleena, he fills his magic show with marvels that will make your jaw drop. The next time you see one of his shows on the calendar, don't hesitate, grab those tickets. They disappear faster than Karleena's clothes, and you don't want to miss that trick.

If you must live outside of Dallas — maybe it's the fear of Dallas ISD, maybe the reality of being priced out of booming neighborhoods — live in Richardson. It has good schools, affordable homes, and, as part of Dallas' older, inner ring of suburbs, lacks the nouveau riche tackiness of a Frisco or Southlake. Dallas expats will be amazed by the functional library, public pools and recreation centers. And the city's diversity is a boon to anyone who enjoys the cosmopolitan feeling of sitting in Starbucks and hearing a half dozen languages being spoken around you, or cheap ethnic food.

It's a simple image: Two grackles painted in shades of azure and watermelon pink. But in context of Trinity Groves, these derisible birds in the mural by Michael Sieben carry a narrative of beautification and restoration. One of several collaborations between the Dallas Contemporary and this West Dallas culinary epicenter, the mural taps into the zeitgeist of vivifying a previously deserted area of the city. It's a thoughtful execution of public art, and it's really damn pretty. Plus, it joins the ranks of the area's Shepard Fairey and FAILE murals, making Trinity Groves a mural destination.

For years, the southernmost strip of Greenville Avenue had a reputation for underage drinking and drunken disagreements. Now it has a reputation for frozen pops and poutine. In just a short time, these few blocks have become desirable real estate, welcoming in new tenants like Trader Joe's and the ever-popular Truck Yard. It's got everything you could want, from the early morning brews at Mudsmith to the late-night beverages on the rooftop of HG Sply Co. Plus, you can fix your flats at Transit Bikes Co. or see a show at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. We're one step closer to a walkable neighborhood, Dallas.

When the folks behind Dallas Comic Con announced they were finally bringing it to Dallas proper, con attendees shrugged their shoulders. When it comes to conventions like this, location of the building doesn't matter because inside it's an entirely different universe. But accompanying the setting change was the announcement of all-star guests Stan Lee and William Shatner. That's right, earlier this year while you were busy binge watching some crappy Netflix drama, the creator of Spiderman was hanging out with Captain Kirk and thousands of nerds in downtown Dallas. The con was bigger than ever and its new home at the convention center handled the overwhelming crowds well. It's grown exponentially in just over a decade's existence and from the looks of it has the potential to become one of the biggest comic cons in the country.

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