Best Dance Troupe 2015 | Danielle Georgiou Dance Group | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

With her namesake troupe, Dallas choreographer Danielle Georgiou blurs the lines between theater and dance. Her shows combine original dialogue, live music and vibrant choreography — men partner men, women partner women — and explore topics focused on gender identity. With Georgiou's The Show about Men at the most recent Festival of Independent Theatres, she had her all-male cast singing and dancing about masculine anatomy as they stripped to their skivvies. In NICE, part of the Wyly Theatre's Elevator Project, she presented a moving movement study of female behavior as reflected in old etiquette manuals. Georgiou doesn't dance around controversy; she kicks it up a notch.

We complain about Uptown. It's too popular, too crowded. But it's got a lot going for it: grocery stores, navigable sidewalks, a plethora of restaurants and bars. Yes, and overpriced apartments. It's a real estate goldmine and the developers are moving in and building up. That palpable lack of personality is exactly what they're trying to sell in neighborhoods known for their authenticity. They're looking at you, Deep Ellum. They're coming for you, Lakewood. There are even designs for a West Village-style development in Oak Cliff. You can't avoid it much longer.

Liliana Bloch moved her namesake gallery this year from a modest space in Deep Ellum to the more art-centric Design District. It was a shrewd business decision, but it also signaled a step forward for the gallery, which continues to book some of the most complex, thoughtful shows in the city. For the inaugural show in the new space, Letitia Huckaby presented a series of her large photographs of Sisters of the Holy Family Motherhouse in New Orleans, the first Roman Catholic order of African American nuns. These portraits and landscapes, printed on quilts and linens, gave this exhibition a breathtaking texture. Each of Bloch's exhibitions and her choice of artists, both local and international, are evidence of this gallerist's exquisite taste and sharp eye for curation.

If print is dead, it seems publisher Will Evans didn't get the message. In a little over a year, he's published seven books translated into English from other languages including French, Spanish and Russian. His commitments to both his translation company, Deep Vellum Publishing, and to the city of Dallas have injected new energy into the Dallas literary scene. In year two, Evans says, he plans to publish a dozen new titles, including the translation of a book written in French from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That's how you turn the page into the future of the publishing biz.

Oak Cliff's Erica Felicella describes her art as "endurance performance." She's stayed awake for a week straight to explore the depths of depression. She's sat in a confessional booth listening to visitors share their darkest thoughts and feelings. She's locked herself in a box for two days, writing the same sentence over and over. Her work as a self-taught photographer, new media and installation/performance artist is thoughtful, personal and meaningful — and always challenging to expectations of what art should and can be.

The Dallas arts landscape is crowded with festivals each year, but the Oak Cliff Film Festival has emerged as a do-not-miss event. Founded by the partners behind The Texas Theatre, who are filmmakers themselves, this fest picks a theme each year, exploring a particular era of filmmaking, for example. (This year's fest looked at the No Wave cinema style of the 1970s and '80s.) Like a never-ending party, the OCFF rolls into locations scattered around Oak Cliff, and after a few screenings, audience members get friendly and chatty. For cineastes, it's a gas.

Best Place to Buy Your First Piece of Art

Kettle Art

No art gallery in Dallas is more welcoming to artists and art lovers than Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. Owners Paula Harris and Frank Campagna keep a strong rotation of local artists' work on their walls. For first-time buyers, it's where you get that painting you'll be glad you acquired when the painter's work was still affordable. Go ahead and invest early and often. After showing at Kettle Art, a painter's career has been known to pick up steam.

Dallas-based painter Francisco Moreno's most recent piece, WCD (Washington Crossing the Delaware), was a re-interpretation of the famous Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze painting of George Washington. Moreno abstracted the image using a technique known as "dazzle camouflage." He then painted a 1975 Datsun Z in corresponding shapes and had his auto mechanic brother install a motor and drive it in circles as part of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Soluna Festival. Moreno, winner of the Dallas Museum of Art's Anne Kimbrough Artist Award, described the project as a "camouflage interpretation of a symbolic American story executed by a German painter to inspire European revolutionaries that includes a Japanese car ... swapped with an American engine that was completely rebuilt by three Mexicans."

Rashad Dickerson hosts the Street View podcast, an occasional program recorded in the basement of the downtown Dallas Public Library. When Dickerson started the podcast with Jasmine Africawala, DPL's community engagement administrator, he was homeless. He says he wanted to speak directly to his community through storytelling, conversation and discussion of services and companies that help the homeless. There's a lot of public good happening in these episodes, but there's also honest insight into the ups and downs of life on the streets.

"The Man Who Lived to Tell" describes 70-year-old storytelling master Rawlins Gilliland. A former sales director for Neiman Marcus, now a KERA radio commentator, this Dallas native spent the past year regaling audiences with three shows full of stirring, soul-searing stories from his rich and varied life. In a series of standing-room-only nights at Sons of Hermann Hall and the Kessler Theater, Gilliland shared brushes with death, encounters with great minds and adventures from a lifetime of what he describes as "simply showing up." He says his most recent show was his last, but we refuse to believe that. When and where Gilliland shows up next, we'll be there.

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