It'll Do Club

DJ Red Eye holds down a multitude of roles at It'll Do Club, including promoter, host and, most important, resident DJ. He has over two decades of experience controlling dance-floor vibes, with residencies at some of the most notable dance clubs in Dallas clubland history, from Club One back in the day to It'll Do and Beauty Bar today. Red Eye brings to the table a savant-level knowledge of classic club tracks (many of which he owns on vinyl) and a firm grasp of the latest tracks with underground buzz. Red Eye can read a crowd like few others and uses his deep knowledge and extensive technical skill behind the decks to get any crowd to shake their shoes.

Wait a minute, he's not the mayor. Philip Kingston is just a City Council member from East Dallas. But he's out-mayoring Mike Rawlings by doing all the things a mayor should do. He stands up to the Dallas Citizens Council, for example. (They're the old mossbacks who've been calling the shots in Dallas since before Elvis.) Like the time they told him he couldn't attend their political luncheon, so he went anyway and made them throw him out. That's the kind of cool stuff a mayor should do — stand up for the city and the people who live in it.

District 14, Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St., Room 5FN, 214-670-0776
Small Brewpub
Kathy Tran

The craft cocktail movement has done wonders for booze enthusiasts, but it has also muddled the drinking scene with pretension and overpriced drinks. Benj Pocta could chew your ear off about obscure bitters, but he's much more likely to ask you about your personal tastes and then actually listen to your response. The drinks he serves at Small Brewpub are straightforward and refined, but they also boast enough inventive ingredients (smoked tea, for example) to keep the drinking interesting. Bonus: Each of his creations only costs $8, and he can also pour you one of the city's best local pilsners.

Bonton Farms

Tucked under the knee of two freeways, with a wild, forested flood plain at its southern edge, the neighborhood around Bonton Farms organic community garden has long been the urban island in a part of southern Dallas that isn't quite paradise. It was a place where kids might not even know there was a big, beautiful world growing just beyond it. But Bonton is turning that around. Habitat for Humanity has built almost 200 homes in this stretch of about 100 small blocks. And the best and happiest thing to happen has been Bonton Farms itself, a faith-based community garden with goats, chickens and a guard dog still working on the idea of guarding the chickens, not eating them. From seedlings of great ideas, bigger, better things sprout. Let the good times roll in an area of Dallas that's just starting to blossom.

If we're being honest, every other karaoke night in town is pointless in light of Good Luck Karaoke. Imagine the Joker seizing control of a bar once a week to make people sing songs for his twisted entertainment and you're pretty much there. Every Thursday night, Twilite Lounge offers a peek into the mixed-up world of Deep Ellum's OG residents — the ones who've been there through the bad times, the good times, the new bad times and now the yuppie times — who don't take too kindly to outsiders coming in and turning their playpen into something it's not. So beware: It's a madhouse, but you'll have a hell of a time.

Peter Johnson was a teenager in Louisiana when he joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the mid-1960s, serving first as a gofer and bodyguard to Martin Luther King Jr. and other SCLC leaders, later moving up as an advance man and organizer. He landed in Dallas in 1969 and as the founder and CEO of the Peter Johnson Institute of Non-Violence has been working for social change ever since, going to the City Council to argue that guns and rifles (carried by ROTC) didn't belong in the MLK Day parades, speaking out for peace, living wages and racial equality. Johnson, like Obi-Wan, is a powerful soul in touch with a greater uniting force.

Lee Harvey's

The atmosphere at Lee Harvey's is already a local favorite, but the happy hour there should be a weekly stop for every Dallasite on a budget. In addition to the impossibly cheap drink specials, good company and divey surroundings, Lee Harvey's food specials during happy hour cannot be beat. On Wednesdays, hot wings are half-price, and Monday nights mean half-price burgers. Sometimes there's even free live music or other bizarre entertainment. Bring a few bucks for the jukebox and enough to tip your waitress handsomely and you could still get out of there with a full belly and a pretty good buzz for less than $20. If you're truly hard up for cash, stalk the Lee Harvey's Facebook page: Lucky people with quick typing-fingers can claim a free entrée and a drink.

Just putting yourself out there, standing up in public and saying "Vote for me" is hard enough. Not winning is a bummer. Instead of sulking, however, candidate James White viewed his third-place, 23 percent showing in the May 9 10th District Dallas City Council election as not bad for an unknown, unfunded newcomer. Then he turned it into a solid plus by offering his support to second-place Adam McGough, after McGough came out strong against the Trinity toll road. White's help probably made the difference in McGough's subsequent victory in a run-off. That's the way to lose.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Courtesy Dallas Arboretum

Last year Fodor's Travel Guides named "Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum" as "One of America's Best Pumpkin Festivals." Oh, it's that and more. The Arboretum's fall festival of giant orange squash, running through November 25, offers a lot more than thousands of uncut jack-o'-lanterns. When the searing Dallas heat begins to subside and you can almost consider wearing a jacket, the fest on the landscaped park east of White Rock Lake is the perfect time and place to stroll among 150,000 blooming flowers scattered lavishly across 66 acres of beds and lawn. If Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin existed, he'd come here to celebrate.

Harvest House
Ed Steele

Since it burst onto the local scene in March during the return of 35 Denton, Harvest House has made a name for itself as the new place for young Dentonites to hang out. That's mostly because of its giant patio and outdoor stage. Add in a relatively mild summer and a wide beer selection, and it's no surprise the 20-somethings who make up North Texas' hippest town have deemed this Denton newbie the place to drink away the week.

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