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Dwaine Caraway

This spring, when the realization slowly dawned on Dallas that the National Rifle Association was coming to town for its annual convention in the midst of another year filled with gun violence, the general mood was one of resignation. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings made it clear that there was nothing the city could do about the convention now that the contracts were signed. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway couldn't do anything either, but he did the best he could to stir the pot. At a City Hall press conference, Caraway made it clear that he didn't want the NRA in the city if they weren't willing to sit down and talk about gun control. Nothing happened — the convention went off anyway, and nobody sat down with anybody to talk about gun control — but at least Caraway made a fuss about the whole thing.

Beth Rankin

It's been up and coming for a while, and it's going to take longer still to get there. But the Cedars, which consists of roughly three square miles due south of downtown Dallas and north of the Trinity River, has more room to etch out its ultimate character than any other neighborhood in Dallas. The enormous residential loft complex the South Side on Lamar was home to the first Sears & Roebuck warehouse built outside Chicago. The building was once the hallmark of the neighborhood, home to Dallas luminary families such as Stanley Marcus. With venerable institutions Cedars Social, Mac's Southside, Lee Harvey's and Longhorn Ballroom, the question is not where to go but where not to go.

courtesy Texas Theatre
Joe Bob Briggs

More than 30 years ago, Dallas killed drive-in movie critic and redneck auteur Joe Bob Briggs for "Weird Al-ing" the Live Aid hit "We Are the World" into something more, shall we say, provocative. So it's only fair that Dallas help bring him back to life, and the Texas Theatre did just that. Grapevine's favorite son took his hilarious film lecture "How Rednecks Saved Hollywood" to the Oak Cliff movie house for a night of Briggs' classic brand of cinematic breast, beast and bloodlust in these times when we demand more tact and taste from our entertainment than our political and spiritual leaders. The tour led to Briggs' resurgence as TV's B-movie Siskel and Ebert thanks to the horror streaming channel Shudder. As Joe Bob says, "Check it out."

Social media users are flooded with hundreds and thousands of pictures and videos and witty remarks every day. And occasionally, those pictures or videos or social media users are trying to sell you something. And most of the time, it's awful and cheesy and makes you hate the person. But Sean Lowe is different. The former Bachelor contestant and Dallas native has taken his 15 minutes of fame and made it into a full-blown career as a star of other reality shows and a social media influencer. Whether he's posting about his toddler's diapers or the watches he wears, he makes everything entertaining. And his cute kids and cute wife don't hurt either.

Nat Chittamai and Kaitlin Hooper/Lifetime

Dallas has seen an influx of dozens of reality shows throughout the years. Whether it's a show about rich women and their Botox or little women and their problems, Dallas has seen it all. This year, however, Lifetime treated us to Married at First Sight Dallas, where three couples from Dallas were married without ever having seen each other. As we watch three couples try to navigate a relationship — all with cameras and producers following them around — we see the fights, the tears and, of course, the in-laws. And it's amazing.

With more than 5 million subscribers, Brooklyn and Bailey have shown the internet every aspect of their lives. The twins from Lucas, Texas, have uploaded videos about makeup, fashion, boys, their high school drill team, breakups and more. They've launched a scrunchie line and a line of mascara, and fans keep coming back for more. When the twins shared their experience getting their wisdom teeth taken out, the video garnered 21 million views. This fall, they'll take their YouTube channel to Waco when the two attend Baylor University. And we'll keep watching.

Justin Terveen
Justin Terveen

As residents, we get inured to Dallas' charms: skylines, bridges, lights and nature become the backdrop of our lives and just don't jump out at us during our day-to-day. Local photographer Justin Terveen's gift is helping us to see it all clearly again — and beyond that, giving us the opportunity to marvel at something we've taken for granted for years. Scroll through his online gallery for breathtaking angles on downtown; poignant tributes in light to fallen Dallas officers; shots of fireworks that'll make you put that cellphone camera away forever; and Trinity River pics that will change your perspective on the much-maligned waterway. And oh, the storm shots: Terveen's an avid storm chaser, and his captures of cloud formations and lightning strikes in the city are breathtaking. You can order prints for your home or office, find incredible housewarming gifts or get lost in images of Big D at

We like just about any comic book store, but we love Zeus. Zeus does, in fact, have an amazing range of books and collectibles, but it's more than that: In a realm of pop culture that has largely been dominated by straight white male points-of-view, Zeus creates experiences that amplify the voices and speak to the interests of female, LGBTQ and young comic book fans. It's an inclusive atmosphere, honed by owner Richard Neal, whose smiling face has greeted almost every customer over the past 18 years — and in countless conversations about storylines and superhero deaths, he's been able to key in on what fulfills his customers. Like his Birds of Prose Women's Book Club, which meets the first Wednesday of every month over cocktails and crafts and often features Skype sessions with authors like Brian Michael Bendis of "Jessica Jones" or Jen Van Meter of "Hopeless Savages." Zeus offers a Girl Scout badge program in the spring that fills up in seconds and has hosted lively LGBTQ mixers for years. Ultimately, it's an atmosphere that feels more like family than retail: Everyone is part of the pop-culture conversation at Zeus.

Need a hero? Meet local nonprofit Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, which fights for the rights of asylum seekers and immigrants in an atmosphere that's made their plight difficult, at best. This collection of attorneys, social workers, students, pastors and volunteers has been on the frontlines of immigration law since 1999, but since 2017 their mission has become more urgent. Under Executive Director Bill Holston, their attorneys joined the "war room" at DFW Airport during the first days of the Trump administration's "travel ban" on individuals from predominantly Muslim countries, working to free those detained at the airport. Today, they are focused on the children separated from asylum-seeking parents at the border: speaking out at protests and community events, serving on panels that discuss legal remedies, recruiting and training pro-bono attorneys and connecting resources across the region to reunite families.

courtesy Mike Williams

Mike Williams, or Magic Mike as he's known to audiences all over DFW, is a magician Dallasites need to go out of their way to see. He can send little kids into fits of amazement while making the parents in the room laugh at his exquisitely timed jokes. Williams' charm and charisma are infectious, and after watching a full performance, your face hurts from smiling. His skills as a magician only increase each year, and if he never added another new illusion to his act, it would still be worth watching.

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