Best Art Gallery 2022 | Conduit Gallery | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Hannah Ridings

Conduit has been holding down the Design District as the town's gallery central for nearly 20 years now, and owner Nancy Whitenack shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. You can count on a mix of aesthetics ranging from serious to whimsical, and the space's project room has an entertaining mix of quirky work curated by director Danette Dufilho. Want to pick up a soft sculpture of sardines in a can by Barbara Glazer Rosenblatt or a trippy painting of Marie Antoinette by Jennie Ottinger? This is the place to do it.

Sergio Martin

Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 moved to Dallas from New Zealand at the start of 2021, taking residency at Three Links and establishing itself as a new act to contend with in North Texas. Over the course of two solid years playing every venue it could, the band has built a reputation for putting on a racy show. Part garage-punk powerhouse and part burlesque show, the band defies you to not take notice when it hits the stage. Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 released its new 7-inch single release of the song "Teenagers" earlier this year on hot pink vinyl. You can pick it up at the band's shows or online.

Renelibrary (Rene Gomez), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Texas GOP politicians have been ban-happy when it comes to books in recent days, a fact that isn't keeping the authors of Forget the Alamo down. Penned by three Texas-based writers, Forget the Alamo was released to critical acclaim last year and has survived "cancellation" attempts by the state's far-right. Expertly written and highly engaging, the book exposes the not-so-pretty underbelly of Texas' most famous landmark. Forget the Alamo details the state's push to preserve slavery and reminds us to think critically about what the writers have dubbed the "Heroic Anglo Narrative of Texas history." Thank you, Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford, for your unwavering commitment to truth-telling.

Mike Brooks

Parker Twomey is not a newcomer to the scene. The singer-songwriter first stepped onto Deep Ellum's stages at age 10 with his musician father. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, he began working odd jobs at Modern Electric Studios, meeting the right crowd and eventually joining country star Paul Cauthen's band on keys. This year, Twomey breaks out with his debut album All This Life, as an eager new voice recounting the leather-worn tales of a young man with a worldview beyond his years. The album travels a road between indie-folk and country, pulling from the traditions of Gram Parsons and Kris Kristofferson to build Twomey's own legend.

Oscar Lozada

Three years in the making with a full rewrite, over eight reshoots and hundreds of hours of editing, Oak Cliff film collective Raw Lemon has given Dallas a masterpiece with its debut feature film We Start a Series. Director and writer Bryan Sabillon, co-writer Eric Sosa and their Raw Lemon team of actors Daniel "Busta" Campos, Guadalupe Reveles, Sigifredo Flores, Louis Clifton, Victor Hernandez and Oscar Sanchez created comedy gold. The comedy is a satirical, fictional narrative of the film crew's failures at finding YouTube stardom. Think American Pie meets Jackass with Dallas flair. Sprinkle that with timeless and nostalgic parodies and We Start a Series is hands down a must-see. After the "We Start a Porno" segment of the film took home a win for best comedy at the Austin After Dark Film Festival, the film debuted at the Angelika to a sold-out audience. The feature film has since begun releasing in weekly episode format on YouTube and "We Start a Porno" has been selected to showcase at Miami's The Citrus Circuit Film Festival.

Over the years, Dallas residents haven't been too sure where to take their environmental issues. Now, there's a body at City Hall meant to ensure Dallas is implementing its Climate Action Plan and that residents' opinions are being heard. The commission is chaired by Kathryn Bazan, a local environmentalist and former employee of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The local commission has already seen some of its work come to fruition since the first meeting this year as Dallas rolled out new regulations for cement batch plants in the city. Members are also working to help draft restrictions on another big polluter, gas-powered lawn equipment. Under the commission's watch, the city may get a little greener.

City of Dallas

Paul Ridley was no stranger to Dallas City Hall when he was voted into the District 14 council seat last June. He had served as the district's plan commissioner for eight years. Before that, he spent four years representing the district on the landmark commission. He's lived in the area for about 27 years, practicing construction law and commercial litigation, occasionally stepping away to serve the city. He's devoted to serving Dallas residents, and his attention to detail can make for some interesting mic-drop moments around the council's horseshoe.

In a party-loving city such as Dallas, there is hardly a shortage of great DJs keeping the nightlife lit. Ursa Minor stands out as one of the city's most popular party leaders, known for "playing to the Black girl in the room." Ursa's turntable skills are in high demand from clients such as Netflix and at events such as SXSW. But you can find her setting the tone all over town, whether it's a Sadie Hawkins dance at Charlie's Star Lounge, a pride event or the free PNC Patio Sessions at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

During the pandemic, the DJ started a successful side business as a cookie maker with brand The Butter Fairy, but her beats will always be the way to our hearts.

Kathy Tran

Being called the best comedy club is even more impressive when the club in question does only improv. Four Day Weekend, however, is not just a place where people who've never done comedy take a class and get shoved on stage at the end of the term. Four Day Weekend is a Dallas and Fort Worth comedy institution with costumes, interactive media and some very talented people who helped the theater reach its 25th year in 2022. The on-the-spot comedy troupe was one of the first to bring professional, improvised comedy to DFW, starting in Fort Worth and later Dallas. Founding members David Wilk, Frank Ford, David Ahearn and Troy Grant opened their show with a run at the Casa Mañana theater before moving to a massive, underutilized space on Fort Worth's Sundance Square and opening a second location in Dallas across from the Truck Yard in Lowest Greenville. The foursome and other cast members created characters in their shows, film shorts, TV pilots and outdoor spectacles that are now staples of the core cast's weekend performances. Both theaters still attract loud, responsive and entertained crowds who sell out the place almost every night.

Kathy Tran

As conventions become more corporatized and less local, it's easy for the organizers to forget how to cater to the fans who truly fuel the experience. The annual horror gathering Texas Frightmare Weekend is still a local entity that knows what its fans want and gives them more of it each year. This year's gathering in April-May featured the usual array of big-name cast reunions of horror classics such as Scream, The Monster Squad and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3. It put a great amount of focus on Texas' contribution to the genre with a number of panels and a special screening of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and local filmmaker Bradley Steele Harding's creepy and creative 13 Tracks to Frighten Agatha Black.

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