Best Arts and Crafts Teachers

Volunteer-run and supported by membership dues and donations, the nonprofit Dallas Makerspace is the powerhouse of creativity. Want to learn to knit or paint a watercolor of your dog? There are plenty of places around offering classes for that. Want to learn how to use a CNC plasma cutter or a 3-D printer? Makerspace not only has the tools available for its members to use, it offers a full schedule of classes in how to use them. Traditional woodcarving, soap making and jewelry casting are among the classes on Makerspace's calendar. You can also learn how to use a forge and make chainmail, which might be a lot more useful in the city of tomorrow than a piece of embroidered denim.

Readers' Pick: Bishop Arts Theatre Center

Best Dance Troupe

Formed in 2011, DGDG is constantly cooking up new dance-theater hybrid shows that buck what we expect when we think of dance. Georgiou and her partner, Justin Locklear, are one of the most prolific teams in Dallas in terms of writing and producing new works. This year, we've seen DGDG's War Flower and Donkey Beach, two completely different shows that display Georgiou's knack for choreography with Locklear's theater chops. They also compose original music for almost every show they do and regularly employ nonprofessional dancers. DGDG isn't just dance or just theater, but a true collision of both. The result is thought-provoking, visually stunning productions that are accessible to audiences.

Readers' Pick: Dallas School of Burlesque

Best Theater Director

Kitchen Dog Theater co-artistic director Tina Parker has had a big year. The 27-year-old company secured permanent digs in the spring, which sent KDT on a bit of a nomad's journey until its new space, a former tile warehouse in the Design District, is up and running. An exciting development for the longtime Dallas company has meant some growing pains in the interim. KDT has churned out innovative theater while shuffling productions all over town, including one of the darkest and funniest plays all year, Trevor by Nick Jones. With Max Hartman deftly embodying the real-life chimpanzee that attacked his owner's neighbor, this production was a true example of KDT's ability to bang out weird and cool plays even while under duress. (Unexpectedly, it had to move the play to the Wyly Theater.) Parker also made a big splash this year with the return of her Breaking Bad character, Francesca, on the AMC series Better Call Saul. With a "keep going" attitude and affable good humor, Parker is a workhorse in the Dallas theater scene.

Readers' Pick: Amanda Austin

Best Music Radio Station

They say, "If you love something, set it free; if it comes back, it was meant to be." That makes us feel great about the return of rock radio station KZEW The Zoo, which reigned supreme in the '70s and '80s and then left the airwaves. But this year, 28 years after The Zoo said goodbye, host George Gimarc has brought it back at vokalnow.com and via the Vokal app. Gimarc calls the station a spiritual successor to the original Zoo and a love letter to what radio was like before Clear Channel homogenized the industry. The new Zoo's playlist is drawn from a collection of 5,000 records, and many songs will be familiar to longtime listeners, but the station also plays newer music that jibes with its spirit. Many of the on-air personalities from the '80s are back, including Ira Lipson, John Rody, Beverly Beasley and KTCK The Ticket's Mike Rhyner. Also, don't be surprised if you hear classic commercials interspersed.

Readers' Pick: KXT 91.7 FM

Best Play

In 2012, the Tony Awards committee went cuckoo for Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors. The smart slapstick comedy, a reinterpretation of a 1743 Italian play, originally starred James Corden in the role of Francis Henshall, a right-hand man to two criminals staying at the same hotel, each of whom must be kept a secret from the other. The magic of the play, set in '60s London, is largely because of copious breaking of the fourth wall and musical interludes by a live band. The play was nominated for seven Tonys, and Corden won best actor, but it wasn't until August 2016 that Dallasites got their first chance to see it, thanks to Addison's small and vastly underappreciated WaterTower Theatre. Even with a smaller budget, WaterTower managed to carry out a production comparable to the Broadway show, and even better, Corden's Broadway understudy 0x000A— Dallas native Brian Gonzales — finally got to step into the limelight and show his hometown what he could do as Francis.

Readers' Pick: Frisky Business at Dallas Comedy House

Best Movie Theater

In 2001, the Angelika Film Center was the hippest, most sparkling theater in town. It was the crown jewel of the new Mockingbird Station and was among the first to expand the standard popcorn and Milk Duds menu to include gourmet snacks and alcohol that doesn't suck. Sixteen years later, more ambitious chains have in some ways outpaced Angelika. Look Cinemas has chairs designed by Lexus, and Alamo Drafthouse will serve you a themed menu while you watch. But even if it's not as shiny and exciting as it once was, Angelika still wins out where it counts most: film selection. Sure, you won't find many of the blockbuster hits, but you're also much less likely to find a dud than at an ordinary theater. Angelika's lineup is made up of all the indie Oscar contenders, and it's safe to pick at random. It also hosts some of the city's best film festivals, from big ones like the Dallas International Film Festival to the small Studio Ghibli Festival of Hayao Miyazaki's animated films.

Readers' Pick: Alamo Drafthouse

Best Musical

In a year when discussion of a bill that would prevent transgender people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity has dominated state politics, the first national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch also visited Texas. John Cameron Mitchell's musical has been familiarizing American audiences with what it means to be transgender for nearly 20 years, long before gender dysphoria was part of the national lexicon, and it won a Tony when it debuted on Broadway in 2014. On Broadway, Neil Patrick Harris played the role Hedwig Robinson, a transgender woman from East Germany, who tells the story of her sex change, move to Kansas and career as a rock singer, all set to a '70s glam rock soundtrack. In February, Euan Morton appeared as Hedwig for the musical's performance at the Winspear Opera House. It was a marvelous feat of set design, with a giant, translucent screen that served as a striking canvas for the show's graphics — but most important, it was a fun, funny and emotional tale that couldn't have come at a better time.

Readers' Pick: Wicked

Best Non-Music Festival

Most festivals are fairly predictable. If it's a music fest, you can expect some big names, a bad vantage point and to spend a whole paycheck on bacon-wrapped macarons or some other food gimmick. Frightmare Fest is anything but predictable, and if you're a fan of horror or even just the macabre, it's one you must attend. The three-day festival, which has been going on for 12 years, is laid out inside the labyrinthine Hyatt Regency at D/FW Airport. When you round a corner, you might run into Malcolm McDowell of A Clockwork Orange, a stand selling Venus flytraps or a lifelike corpse prop being autopsied. Frightmare Weekend, founded by Lord Cryer, returns every May. The itinerary each day is packed with roundtables, panels, parties and meet-and-greets — plus plenty of opportunities to grab a T-shirt of your favorite Stephen King adaptation from hundreds of vendors.

Readers' Pick: Deep Ellum Arts Festival

Best Theater Company

The symphony, the opera, the theater ... these are not venues people with short attention spans are likely to visit, however beautiful the work created inside them may be. That's why we're grateful for Dead White Zombies, a theater experience that's perfect for anyone with an insatiable curiosity and an inability to sit still. University of Texas at Dallas drama professor Thomas Riccio writes all the performances, which Dead White Zombies call "instigations." They're loosely scripted, interactive and staged in unconventional spaces. Last May, Holy Bone, a performance designed to encourage attendees to disconnect from technology and reconnect to their humanity, started out at Tacos Mariachi and sent attendees — broken into small groups — on an adventure through spaces in West Dallas. The plots are a bit hard to follow, but a Dead White Zombies experience is always stimulating and mind expanding.

Readers' Pick: Pocket Sandwich Theatre

Dallas is no stranger to reality shows. We have a Housewives and a Little Women, and the two most recent Bachelorettes have called Dallas home. But the best reality show is one that has been around since 2006 and is filming its 12th season. CMT's Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team is essentially the same story line every season: Hundreds of hopeful women try out to be part of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, but only about 36 make it. There are tears, injuries, dances and a lot of speculation from the judges and coaches on whether the women are fit to represent America's team as one of America's sweethearts. Despite its repetitiveness, it is fascinating to watch a skinny woman be told she needs to lose more weight to look good in the iconic uniform. Nothing about it is politically correct, but that's why it's so captivating. And the tears. There are a lot of tears.

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