Local performer and yoga teacher Stefanie Tovar — who could be her own Best of Dallas item — founded Hanuman Homies in 2017 with the goal of sharing yoga with those who don't have access to it. After traveling the world as a performer, Tovar found yoga and decided to dive into training. She has since accumulated hundreds of training hours in various practices and has combined her yoga and performing background into the curricula she creates and shares through Hanuman Homies. Yoga possesses a number of beneficial properties that have, in recent years, been secluded in studios not everyone can afford. Hanuman Homies seeks to equip women and children who are battling mental illness and trauma with healthy, yogic-based coping mechanisms they can carry into life. In giving young people a base of yogic breathing techniques, mindful movement and meditation methods, Hanuman Homies hopes to allow for a space in which they can heal and grow within their own bodies.

stefanietovar.com/outreach

Forget the Met Gala — the campiest event of the year was the AT&T Performance Center's production of Cruel Intentions the Musical in May. The traveling show retold the '90s teen-movie tale of Sebastian, a rich kid vying for a place in his cokehead stepsister's bed through a bet hinging on his ability to deflower a waiting-till-marriage ingenue. In the play, the Dangerous Liasons-inspired story is told as a musical with '90s hits, from one-hit wonders like Marcy Playground to the decade's rock icons like No Doubt. The production not only captures the sound of the time but also its irreverent humor, including the casual misogyny, racism and homophobia. It was, after all, a time in which "gay" was interchangeably mixed with the word "lame," while "fag" was tossed around like a hacky sack.

What the Design District has: a great dive bar/bowling alley (Bowlounge), a fantastic craft beer bar (Meddlesome Moth), a perfect neighborhood coffee shop (Ascension) and a bevy of the city's best restaurants (Town Hearth, Wheelhouse, Sassetta, El Bolero, Rodeo Goat and Ferris Wheelers, to name a half-dozen). What the Design District doesn't have: overwhelming crowds, stumbling drunks or — for the most part — scooters on the damn sidewalk. Gather ye rosebuds and head to the west side of I-35 while ye may.

Robert Redford publicly announced The Old Man and the Gun as his last film, and the last story he wanted to tell was that of affable and gentlemanly bank robber and serial prison escapee Tucker Forest. Redford brought the script to Dallas-based (and Disney director) filmmaker David Lowery, who assembled a dream cast including Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Casey Affleck and Elizabeth Moss. The film puts its audience through an awkwardly conflicted moment of moral introspection as we root for the bad guy to get away with crime. It's a beautiful piece of filmmaking told through Lowery's austere style, with impeccable scoring by fellow Dallasite Daniel Hart.

Best Drag Queen

The phenomenon that is May May Graves has been wowing audiences throughout the area since making her way into the local drag and burlesque circuit in 2015. Confidence and stage presence may be prerequisites for drag performers, but Graves has those attributes on a level that's transcendent within her craft. Graves has built a massive following, which has allowed her to pursue other ventures in the entertainment industry. Graves released an industrial punk album in July 2018 called Monsters. She's also a highly sought-after event host, but fair warning: Graves as an MC is essentially a stand-up comedian. The only thing that's more blue than her make-up and outfits is her sense of humor. On the second Thursday of every month, Graves produces Qweird at The Nines. The show blends the genres of drag and burlesque while intentionally pushing the boundaries of what audiences come to expect from both.

Best Political Campaign

For 20 years, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions was untouchable. Then, suddenly, in 2018, he wasn't. Counting on local distaste for President Donald Trump and Dallas' rapidly changing demographics to push them to victory, four Democrats threw their hats in the primary ring. Colin Allred, a civil rights attorney and former NFL player, won the right to take on Sessions. In the general election, Allred repeatedly hammered the incumbent on healthcare, a winning issue in North Dallas, and cruised to victory by six points. Sessions blamed his loss on California residents moving to Dallas, but Allred beat him on the issues.

Opened by entrepreneur brother-sister team Rachel and Alex Fox, The Refuge is a city haven for meditation. The Foxes are Dallas natives and SMU alums who spent time in California then decided to bring a bit of Los Angeles meditation practice to Texas. Located in Deep Ellum, The Refuge's classes take place in an airy, high-ceiling loft space decorated with local art, crystals and candles. A seemingly industrial scene becomes serene in the presence of their welcoming, diversely trained teachers. The Refuge offers a full schedule of classes, ranging from a quick but effective 30 to 50 minutes, all within the realm of meditation and self-care. One of those offerings includes therapeutic yoga, which allows for hands-on, personal mental and physical renewal. Others are their sound and essential oil baths, which seek to send students into deep, restful relaxation. It's the ultimate place of self-care for an overworked generation.

4140 Commerce St. , No. 202, refugedallas.com

Best Pop-Up Art Gallery
Kathy Tran
Sweet Tooth Hotel

There's a new age-old question: Are art pop-ups — installations made primarily for Instagram's benefit — cheapening the traditionally high-brow art world experience, or elevating selfie culture by offering backgrounds far more interesting than your dirty bathroom mirror? No matter how you feel about the selfie factories, they're not going anywhere — especially in Dallas, where we can count at least eight happening just this last year. But nobody does it as well as Sweet Tooth Hotel, which changes themes seasonally and is always impeccably constructed by custom designers Built by Bender, with art installations by some of the city's greatest. With a Prince-themed bar and a silent disco fitness class, there's far more to do at Sweet Tooth than making a duck face with your friends.

Best Local Defense of the Affordable Care Act

Michael Lummus

Before a federal court hearing in Fort Worth, Alvarado's Michael Lummus took the chance to berate one of the attorneys representing plaintiffs trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act. "Why you lying, boy?" Lummus said. "That Obamacare saved my life, and people like you want to kill people like me because we can't work. I'm trying to find a job, but they ain't going to cover me if you take away pre-existing conditions."

Best Deal

When Dallas made the decision to take down its Robert E. Lee statue, one of the many arguments trotted out by those who wanted the statue left in Turtle Creek Park was that getting rid of it would be too expensive. As it turned out, the city made money on the deal, thanks to a successful online auction in June. It cost the city $450,000 to take the statue down. It got $1.5 million from an Addison-based attorney for the oversize bronze. Good riddance.

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