Six Best Yoga Studios in Dallas

Categories: Best of Dallas

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We're bending over backward and sweating through our yoga pants for you, Dallas. For this list of Dallas' best karma palaces, Katie Womack and I combined our yogi knowledge and crawled out of child's pose to try new studios. We downward dogged for days on end to present you with the following round up of the city's best yoga studios. Namaste, Dallas.

-Lauren Smart


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Five Best Trivia Spots in Dallas

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Courtesy Trinity Hall

Building a solid trivia team is a tricky venture -- you need a jock, an entertainment junkie, a book worm, a history buff and at some Dallas venues, someone who has really good aim with coasters. My biggest regret about dumping my college boyfriend was losing his endless knowledge of useless facts. Grab your smartest friends or ex-boyfriends and head to these bars to test your trivial strengths.

Trinity Hall
Definitely the toughest trivia in town, Sunday nights at this Irish pub attract brainiacs from all over Dallas. You'll need to do more than kiss the blarney stone to be competitive with these professional nerds. Do you know answers to obscure questions like, How many strands of hair does a My Little Pony have? What is the sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel? (answer: 666) Regulars like The Skinny Skiers do, but they were finalists to be on VH1's World Series of Pop Culture, so that's just not fair.

Bryan Street Tavern
Every Wednesday at 8 p.m. at one of the best dive bars in Dallas, a bunch of smart-alecky trivia nerds eats delicious pizza, throws back a few brewskis and competes in a few rounds, with themes like "TV Shows Your Parents Watch," and a few name-that-tune rounds. There are a couple other bars in Dallas who use the Geeks Who Drink trivia chain, including Snookie's on Mondays, Nodding Donkey on Tuesdays and J. Black's on Wednesdays. But BST is the better bar and the questions are more audible.

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The Five Best Places to See a Play in Dallas

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Photo by Elaine Liner
Outside of Dallas, too many people think there's no great theater happening inside of Dallas. We know better. Besides the giant venues with the name of a telecommunications giant attached to them, there are a bunch of more interesting, smaller playhouses where local actors, directors and playwrights are putting new work and the classics on stages large and small. Here are our current favorites.

1. Bath House Cultural Center (Shown Above)
Built in 1930, this really was a place where bathers changed into swim togs before plunging into the then-swimmable waters of White Rock Lake. After sitting vacant for nearly 30 years, the Bath House (521 E. Lawther Drive at Northcliff) reopened in 1981 as a neighborhood cultural center, with many features of its Art Deco architecture restored.

The building now is home to an art gallery and several theater companies, including One Thirty Productions (which performs on a matinee-only schedule), WingSpan Theatre Company, Echo Theatre and the annual Festival of Independent Theatres. Audience-wise, the space is a comfy fit for 150 and has such good acoustics there's no need for microphones on the actors. Currently running: WingSpan's production of Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, starring the great Stephanie Dunnam, through October 26.


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Jeff Swearingen: Putting the Fun in Fun House Theatre

Categories: Best of Dallas

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If you think children's theater is just about giving a mouse a cookie or putting a hat on a cat, you haven't been to Fun House Theatre and Film, this year's Best of Dallas Best Theater Company. Located in an unglamorous little playhouse behind a Thai restaurant in a Plano strip mall, Fun House, co-founded by Jeff Swearingen and Bren Rapp, is children's theater as re-imagined by, say, Louie C.K. and Quentin Tarantino.

See also: Best of Dallas 2013

Swearingen writes and directs most of the shows, starring local kids age 7 to 17. His big hit earlier this year was his own script, Daffodil Girls, inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, about a troop of cookie-selling scouts getting a lesson in sales from a tyrannical teenage leader. Then he staged Edward Albee's Zoo Story starring teenage boys. Next was The Sound of Fannie, his original spoof of syrupy musicals like Annie and The Sound of Music, with deliciously subversive swipes at The Producers, Cabaret, Chicago and My Fair Lady.

Produced on budgets of tens of dollars, Fun House shows require their all-kid casts to work hard and nail the punchlines and dance steps like older pros. The results are polished performances of remarkably edgy material.

Via email, we asked Swearingen, an accomplished actor and improv comic, what he's up to with Fun House and if the parents of Plano mind their young 'uns playing tap-dancing Nazis.

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The OMNI Hotel's Lights Come Alive Again on Friday. Here's What You Can Expect.

Video by Frank Benlin.

Since last year's Expanded Cinema project, where local artists took control of the OMNI Hotel's complex and baffling LED-wrapped exterior, we've craved another hit. On Friday night, we'll get it.

The 2012 offering was so bold that it left us humbled. It was executed by a few enthusiastic local talents -- without public funding -- and man, they just went for it. The end result was, quite simply, remarkable.

That's why we gave it the Dallas Observer's award for Best Light Show.

I sat down with Bart Weiss yesterday. He's the orchestrator of Dallas VideoFest, which organizes the project, and a first-time video contributor for the 2013 offering, Multipli-City. Aptly named, Friday's production combines local and national talents to extend public art's dialog beyond our city's limits.

Here's what he had to say on tomorrow's event, which was curated by Mona Kasra with assistance from Kyle Kondas.


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The 10 Best Gift Shops in Dallas

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Jason Yang
We Are 1976
A great gift shop is a place where art and consumerism meet. Until you enter its doors, you never really appreciated the beauty of taxidermy, or you never you desired -- or in fact needed -- a mannequin dressed as an Aztec warrior. Well, maybe you don't need one, but your best bro's wedding is coming up ...

As part of our annual celebration of all the best things in Dallas, we've scoured the streets to find some of the coolest, artiest and most eclectic shops in town, places that offer a unique blend of works from local and international artists, toys for you inner child and cool gifts for you besties. Here is our list of our 10 favorites.

See also: Best of Dallas 2013

We Are 1976
The winner for the best gift shop in our 2013 Best of Dallas issue, We Are 1976 has nothing to do with 1976 except for the owners' birth year. Its inventory carries original and affordable prints from local artists ($30 and up), handmade or exclusive accessories, pocketknife necklaces, Japanese candy and loads of other pick-me-ups. If you'd rather make your own art, this shop offers letterpress and art workshops, teaching the print and paint skills needed for a typeset poster, monogram, or other art design ($35 to $180). Nothing like a gift made with love (or laziness).


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The 10 Best Murals in Dallas (Photos)

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Dallas' murals are as disjointed as the architecture they're painted on.

The high-end commissioned works, like the walls Shepard Fairey and Faile did for the Dallas Contemporary, are balanced by spaces where local artists were allowed to get handsy. What we don't have much of -- well, never for long anyway -- are renegade teams of muralists. But hey, painting a wall takes time and money, so it's best to find a generous benefactor.

Here's our 10 favorite Dallas murals -- some new, some old. Have another that you like more?

Tough. Start your own blog.

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Dallas' Five Best Adult Novelty Stores

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Sex shops are like snowflakes -- assuming snowflakes wanted to get you laid, like real bad. They each have their own feels and specialties. You shouldn't drive out of your way for bachelorette party accessories just to find only hand-blown glass anal plugs. Or vice versa.

Some shops cater more to couples -- to keeping the romance churning a bit longer. Others want to help you get sexed-up tonight, but safely. Regardless of your current state in the coital life cycle, gas is expensive and wasting it blows. So, we've done the driving for you and put together a list of our five favorite shops, including our recent Dallas Observer Best Of winner, New Fine Arts.


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Dallas' Five Best Movie Theaters

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Dallas-Things-To-Do.com
The Inwood
In honor of Oscar season, and our annual quest to see all of the Best Picture noms, here's our list from earlier this fall of Dallas' best movie theaters.

Verisimilitude. It's the suspension of disbelief you feel when you're watching a film and the line blurs between reality and the story that's engrossing you. It's a phenomenon that happens every single day in theaters all over the world. And in Dallas there are a multitude of theaters in which to kick back, sip a Coke and get your Junior Mints fix, waiting to be transported to another time and place. So in no particular order, here are five favorite places to get our verisimilitude on.

1. The Inwood Theatre (above) (5458 West Lovers Lane Dallas, TX 75209)
The theater's iconic exterior combined with a beautiful lobby full of murals, lighting and other original features from its birth in 1947, the now fully-restored Inwood is currently owned by Landmark Cinemas and allows moviegoers to experience a true throwback-style evening. The opposite of high-tech or cutting edge, the Inwood is full of history. A quality spot to catch new releases and indie films, you can choose to grab a drink at the bar before the show, and you can even watch your selected flick from the comfort of a number of couches, loveseats and LoveSacs in the unique "Screening Lounge Auditorium."
Adult Ticket Price: $10

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The Best of Dallas Through Your Instagrams

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Mitchell Cathey
Ernesto Neto's "Kink" at the Nasher
Early last month, in honor of our 2012 Best Of Dallas Issue (which hit newsstands yesterday), we asked you to send in Instagrams of your favorite people, places and things in Dallas. We put together a slideshow of some of our favorites. You can check it out here.

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