BEST LIVESTREAM 2020 | Chad Stockslager | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

In his bimonthly livestream, 40 Acre Mule keyboardist Chad Stockslager pulled out every trick in his seemingly bottomless sleeves to entertain his audiences virtually. A North Texas University alum and music teacher, Stockslager engaged thousands of viewers through a surrealist hodgepodge including his piano playing, comedy bits, an uninterrupted 10-plus-minute scene of Stockslager romantically admiring his record collection and story time — in which he recounted random "fond memories" of life — all interjected with poetry, music videos, dream sequences and comfortably awkward dancing. Stockslager's series was so influential it inspired the CarBaret Variety Drive-In in Richardson, a popular film and music series that's now taken to the road. But most of all, the musician became the one person we'd choose to be stuck with in quarantine.

Kathy Tran

While we love the retro appeal of traditional tattoos, Francisco "Frank" Sanchez's work makes us want to leave our anchor tattoos at the bottom of the ocean and in the past. The tattoo artist's hyper-realistic work would've impressed Renaissance masters. One of the artist's recent commissions depicting a biblical scene is so splendid it will have you running to convert to a life of piety. Sanchez is a skilled painter, too, and his artistry is evident. His multi-detailed skin art has so much depth it looks like the kind of 3D you'd pay to watch at an IMAX theater. Sanchez works by appointment only and specializes in color realism, black and white, and portrait tattoos. Sanchez also does custom tattoos and manages to make even the cheesiest of pet photos look tasteful.

Nicolas Henderson

Picking a best museum is a little tricky in the coronavirus pandemic; some have decided to temporarily shutter while others remain open with stringent safety guidelines. The Dallas Museum of Art is exercising both caution and innovation by paring down its visiting hours and offering phenomenal online exhibits. Homebodies can embark on a virtual tour of a DMA collection with works ranging from modern sculptures to classic European art. Adventurers should check out its Dallas: Art Outdoors compilation, where you can explore 13 public works including sculptures, murals and memorials.

Tweeting out a whole book isn't anything new; Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You character earned her fame after releasing her book on Twitter, and just recently, North Texas-born Kassie Shanafelt released a book of poems in reverse chronological order through the social media platform. The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City by author and former longtime Observer columnist Jim Schutze, has long been out of print since it was first published in 1986. But in June, someone decided to type out all 199 pages of the book and tweet it out — sentence by sentence, by the hour. The book details the history of race relations in Dallas, recounting a series of racially motivated bombings against Black households in the 1950s. Rare copies of the book can be found on Amazon (for $1,000, plus $3.99 for shipping). As Black Lives Matter protests flooded the city, and the world, some Robin Hood of literature decided to spread this wealth of knowledge by allowing Twitter users access to this treasured bit of info for free, 280 characters at a time. It's not a pleasant way to read, but it's worth it.

Charles Rogers is the co-creator of HBO's Search Party, a dark comedy that starts off as a mystery about a group of friends searching for a lost companion and evolves by its third season into a satire about crime and a parody of millennial narcissism. Rogers is the sole creator of his Instagram content, however, and his account, under the handle @Gcharlesrogers, is just as enthralling. Rogers, who was born in Dallas and grew up in Brownsville, uses his Photoshop powers in a showing of unparalleled weirdness. The treasures found in Rogers' posts include photos of himself altered into the likeness of a human-fleshed horse — in a suggested ménage à trois with himself; shower photos of his naked backside transformed into a generous hourglass shape; or eating oysters naked in a cage. Call it surrealism or highly confusing erotica — we don't know what we're looking at, but we're too powerless to turn our eyes away.

Jana Renee

Say what you will about the whole "entire world going to shit" theme of 2020, but it sure did a lot to inspire new art. Fort Worth's Jana Renee was one artist who made lemonade out of the pandemic's Satan-brand lemons by using the lockdown as inspiration. The artist used her time in isolation to connect intimately with her subjects, asking her friends to send photos of themselves at home. These friends posed in various states of domesticity: with their children, among rows of toilet paper, having sex or lounging in bed. The artist turned these photos into drawings and then into paintings. The portraits document the era and serve as honest and playful timestamps in a whimsical, heartwarming and beautifully voyeuristic way.

Vertical Entertainment

Fort Worthian Channing Godfrey-Peoples grew up celebrating Juneteenth with her family, taking in the cultural significance of the holiday's traditions and reserving special attention to the Miss Juneteenth pageants. In her debut film, Miss Juneteenth, Godfrey-Peoples' honors those early impressions by imagining the lives of a former winner and a reluctant contestant. The film tells the story of Turquoise Jones (played with flawless subtlety by Nicole Beharie), a former pageant winner who struggles to make a living and whose dream is to pass on the crown to her teenage daughter, who's uninterested in pursuing the title. The film unfolds slowly, dragging the viewer into a visual folk song sizzling with the subtext of the hardships of motherhood and poverty and the bitter aftertaste of missed opportunities. It's ultimately optimistic in its metaphorical message of seeking out hope for a better future. Miss Juneteenth was fittingly released on June 19 at the peak of this year's civil rights protests. Its timing couldn't have been better.

Ribs Man

Skateboarding is always entertaining for those of us who have zero capacity to glide gracefully, let alone jump, with a wheeled artifact, but one local skateboarder has captured our attention and our unending curiosity. A mysterious skateboarder dressed like a skeleton, known as Ribs Man, has become the Banksy of the skateboarding world, at least in the sense that nobody knows his, hers or their true identity. Over the past four years, Ribs Man has earned a huge online following by posting videos of his skateboarding prowess as he wheels around — and above — Dallas. Ribs Man's identity has become a tireless guessing game for the skateboarder's followers, but it's a secret the skeleton will likely keep in the closet.

courtesy Mutt's Canine Cantina

You can bring both your two- and four-legged friends to this off-leash dog park-restaurant mash-up. Dubbed the canine cantina, Mutts is the best place to sit back, grab a bite, sip a smooth adult beverage and let your pet mingle with other pets. You'll want to swing by during Mutts' "Yappy Hour" for cheap cocktails and draft beer and look out for events like breed meet-ups at their Dallas and Fort Worth locations.

Chris Wolfgang

This sports bar doubles as an adult arcade. Pingpong tables, dart and shuffle boards are set up inside Sidecar Social where patrons can order cocktails, beer and wine from one of two onsite bars. If these games aren't your thing, grab a few pals to play bocce ball or foosball. But if you're just looking to stuff your face and knock back a few drinks, you can find a spot in front of one of the bar's 18-foot televisions. On TVs this big, you can see where players cut themselves shaving the morning of the game.

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