When you stand at the peak of the McCommas Bluff Landfill, possibly holding your nose, depending on wind direction and recent deposits, you are about 110 feet above the elevation of downtown Dallas. The skyline is 10 miles to the northwest, and from the trash mountain, it's a very striking view, the more so for what's underneath your feet — a manmade hillock of solid waste. By the way, the landfill is free to residents of the city, and a trip out there offers an other-worldly sort of post-apocalyptic experience well worth having at least once. Just take something to throw out, so you won't look like an idiot.

5100 Youngblood Road, 214-670-0977

No one knows who he is (OK, we know who he is, but we're not tellin'), but the scion of the suburbs is frequently found tweeting about local music with wild abandon. He's at every local show, he's buying merch and drinks and he's tweeting about it the whole time. He tweets about local music on a plane, he tweets about local music from the high plains, he tweets about local music from locales that don't fit the rhyme scheme. Anyway, he tweets a lot, and all of it's positive, and he's now having local bands play his birthday party because they know he genuinely cares about them. Really, the rest of us are failing to live up to his standards.

@sachsedad
Trinity River Expeditions

The Trinity River in Dallas is a much more interesting float than you might guess, but it's also a little less user-friendly than you might expect. The currents are more massive than they may look from the freeway bridges, and at certain times of the year, the river can present sudden obstacles and serious perils. Nobody knows the river more intimately than Charles Allen — where to find its hidden secrets, how to avoid problems and when the most opportune times may be for an expedition by canoe. He can set you up and put you in, or he can go with you, which is the better deal because he really does know and love this deeply misunderstood old river.

For fans of local music, it doesn't get better than KXT. Tuning in, you'll hear local legends like Calhoun, Sarah Jaffe and Rhett Miller. The independent, listener-supported station also rotates in more widely known acts such as REM, the Rolling Stones and Violent Femmes. In an era when mainstream radio stations struggle to stay relevant, 91.7 keeps current. Instead of goofball DJs' banter about "funny" cat videos on YouTube, KXT's hosts direct you to their Live Sessions page online, featuring stripped-down live performances in their studio. Specialty shows like The Paul Slavens Show make the station a real stand-out. Their Barefoot at the Belmont summer concert series (Hello, Leon Bridges!) is also in its sixth year, and tickets always seem to sell out instantly. Bonus: The spellbinding voice of Music Wrangler/Host Gini Mascorro is a thing of beauty that your iPhone's music shuffle will never be able to compete with.

Readers' Pick: 91.7 KXT-FM

Kettle Art

Pay 10 bucks for a glass when you sign in, then join a convivial mob to wander and shop in wine-welcoming Deep Ellum venues. If you haven't been that way in a while, the once-a-month wine walk sponsored by the Deep Ellum Community Organization is a great way to reacquaint yourself with the funky warehouse district. Rich in music and art, at the eastern edge of downtown, Deep Ellum's scary-bad skinhead days of yore are pretty much gone. Instead, you will find amiable company among grown-ups who love music, visual art and vino. Walk. Talk. Stop. Sip. It's a lovely meander.

Beauty Bar

Come sundown, Beauty Bar throbs with sweaty people and DJ-spun tunes, but you'll find a different scene from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. That's when those in-the-know take advantage of their $10 "Martini and Manicure" special. Ms. Pattycakes the manicurist will take good care of you while you bask in the retro glory of the glitter-coated digs. See the bartender first and he'll give you a drink/manicure menu. You'll choose a creatively named cocktail, such as the "Shameless Hussy" (a dirty martini), and a nail color. For an extra $10, Ms. P. will even do nail art. It's worth the splurge — if you can dream it, she can do it.

No politician, no matter how cosseted, would dare rail against transparency. And yet former City Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill — her colleagues referred to her as "Judge" because of a long-ago position in the municipal judiciary — did exactly that. Repeatedly. She was wrong about just about everything else, too, in particular transportation, in which key city and regional appointments gave her particular sway. She was outspoken about homosexuality, publicly condemning it. In addition, her swimming pool, as the Observer discovered last summer, was a fetid mosquito swamp. And yet Hill was elected four times. But that's it. Because of term limits, she has left the council.

When musicians in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra donned white jumpsuits for a concert in May at the Winspear Opera House, they probably knew they were in for something exciting. The sold-out audience, on the other hand, could not have predicted how magical it would be to see Dallas-raised singer-songwriter Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, take the stage with the DSO led by assistant conductor Karina Canellakis. With the support of new orchestrations, Clark's music was elevated to heavenly heights. It was part of the inaugural Soluna International Music & Arts Festival, planned by the DSO to blend the performing, musical and visual arts. This auspicious and audacious night successfully united two different musical worlds.

The area north of LBJ Freeway is supposed to be no-man's-land for anyone seeking culture or a good time. North Dallas may technically be part of Dallas, but it may as well be Plano for all we care. Well, that's how we used to feel. But then something odd happened: North Dallas got really cool. Blame it on the affordable housing, but once Josey Records went in, the signs became clear. All of sudden making the trip to Velvet Elvis didn't seem far-fetched, and the compound emerged as one of Dallas' most exciting DIY spaces. It may not be Deep Ellum, but it sure ain't the 'burbs either.

No member of the Dallas City Council was quite as theatrical as Dwaine Caraway. Whether urging young folks to pull up their pants, doling out absurd economic development incentives to a (fantastically delicious) fried-chicken joint or proposing that the Trinity River be rerouted through downtown, Caraway never stopped being awesome. The best part: He really genuinely cared. No one at City Hall fought harder for constituents. Term limits have ended his time on the council, but in what may prove to be his most exciting and entertaining move yet, he is challenging embattled County Commissioner John Wiley Price for the office Price has held with an iron grip for almost three decades. Get your popcorn ready.

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