Best and Worst of Dallas Culture in 2014

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Catherine Downes
Book culture, coffee culture, internet culture, beer culture.

Earlier this month, Merriam Webster Dictionary declared 2014's word of the year to be "culture." Which simply means that more people looked up the definition of that word than any other in the past 12 months. At first glance that may seem ludicrous. Everyone can define culture. But if I asked you to answer the question, "What is culture?" your response would likely be as obtuse as the answer I gave my boss in the interview for my job at the beginning of this year. "The arts," I understood as the general scene that arises from the creative output of artists, whether they be painters, poets, authors, actors, sculptors, etc. It is at once a catch-all for the work itself and the community it develops, and further the impact of that work or community. Expansive, yes, but fairly specific. Culture? Yeah, not so easy.

And for the past 11 months, I've been thinking about it a lot. Even if you can define what "culture" means as a stand alone, add it to a specific city you're meant to cover and you find yourself scarfing down breadcrumbs to follow the line of reasoning that trails off from questions like, What is the "culture of Dallas?" or How do we define "Dallas culture?" Or just what are examples of culture? And that last question is where you get listicles about ridiculous Dallas stereotypes, or occasional stories about the club scene, and, if I knew anything about sports, we could write on this blog about the Mavericks or the Cowboys. Because everything is culture, or everything is an example of culture. There's coffee culture, hipster culture, sports culture, art culture, the list goes on. And all of that? Well, that's Dallas culture. Which when you think about it, is kind of the wonderful thing about the pairing of arts and culture in the same section: everything is culture, and art can be everything. Art reflects culture; culture is informed by art. It goes on. But it doesn't make it easy to run this blog, in case you were wondering. Which is why we end up covering primarily the stuff that's simpler to pin down: art, comedy, film, theater, etc.

But without further ado, here are the best and worsts of 2014 in Dallas culture. Which is everything. So the best and worst of everything. But mostly the arts.


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14 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, December 18 - 21

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Joan Marcus
Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company

If you missed the 2007 film that made Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová famous, you missed one of the most compelling soundtracks ever made. The songs in Once turned the quiet drama into a hit, which eventually found its way to Broadway, where it answered its showy neighbors with intimate numbers and a simple story: Guy meets girl, shows her his music, they fall in love. There's more to it than that, but it's romantic and thoroughly lovely. It's stopped in Dallas through December 28 at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets are available at attpac.org.


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This Weekend Stay Home Alone at the Griswold Family Christmas

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Go Easy on the Pepsi, Clark.

With more than 20 years of annual viewing, lines from Home Alone and Christmas Vacation have become part of my family's holidayspeak. Even the easily ignored lines like, "Buzz, your girlfriend, Woof!" or when Clark is wandering the supermarket with his brother-in-law Eddie says, "And Clark, make sure you get yourself something REAL nice!" They're holiday classics and they've become part of American culture. Which is why the only logical thing to do is make fun of them publicly.

As a holiday rendition of the series we launched with the Granada Theater and Dallas Comedy House this summer, Mockbusters is back. This Saturday, Granada screens a double feature of Home Alone and Christmas Vacation, and if you've had your fill of gut-busting laughs from Chevy Chase, the comedians from DCH will be live Tweeting their jokes during the movie.

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Our Arts Editor Goes Clubbing, Finds America

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Roderick Pullum
Near the back of my closet, I have two bright pink costume dresses I've worn to theme parties; I have my sister's garish red prom dress; five versions of the little black dress that hit too close to my kneecaps to be properly labeled little; and tucked somewhere near the back I find a shock blue ass-hugging piece of cloth that is a little too long to be a shirt and a little too short to be a dress I'd ever wear to the low-key, backyard watering holes where I usually drown my Saturday nights.

But if I'm going to go to an Uptown club, I'm going to behave like I did in college, when "going out" was just what you did on the weekends. That's why I'm downing a bottle of pinot grigio, stuffing my feet into a precarious pair of stilettos, smearing glitter on my eyes, and blasting music so loud it scares away the stray cats we feed on my front porch in Old East Dallas.

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The Asshole's Guide to Holiday Movies

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By Amy McCarthy & Jaime Paul Falcon
You poor people, you're on your way home for the holidays, and the reality that you can't steal away to the bar every night sinks in right around the time your mother insists that you actually talk to your grandparents instead of just left-swiping idiots that you went to high school with on Tinder.

You are most certainly doomed to some "quality" time with the family that's spent on a couch watching those same damn holiday movies that your family insists on watching every year in the spirit of "togetherness" or whatever. We know this feeling, and we know it hard. In honor of the fact that you won't have near enough booze to make through one more viewing of Christmas Vacation, we've put together the ultimate guide to holiday classics for you to share (or not) with grandma when she suggests Elf, again.

At the very least, it's better than listening to Uncle Ted talk about racism in America while chugging cans of Old Milwaukee. Good luck this holiday season, dear readers, and remember. Drinking a bottle of wine all by yourself may be a classic sign of alcoholism, but you can't be embarrassed by your family if you don't remember seeing them at all.

Warning: the following content contains little to no holiday cheer.


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18 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, December 11- 14

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Mike Mezeul

This weekend your Dallas Stars take on the New Jersey Devils on their home rink. Which is good, because on the Devils' ice, we sometimes don't receive all our deserved points. Also, I'm beaming with pride that I know this much about sports. My dad would be so proud if ever read my blog. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $15, but spring for better seats. Let the nosebleeds be on the ice.


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More Shakespeare and More Beer Tonight!

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Scott Wayne McDaniel
When I reached out to Katherine Bourne, one of the key organizers of Shakespeare in the Bar, she mentioned in passing that one of their actors is sick and they're trying to decide whether to have a sock puppet or an audience member fill the role. I voted sock puppet. It's these sort of irreverent last minute decisions that give the organization (in the loosest form of that word) its moxie. These young actors take over The Wild Detectives and freewheel through a Shakespeare play, drinking through the night right along with the audience.

In New York, they have Drunk Shakespeare, which has been compared to the popular YouTube series Drunk History. In Chicago, it's Backroom Shakespeare. Both take place in bars. In Dallas, it could be aptly called Backyard Shakespeare, or Bookstore Shakespeare, or the flexible, simple name the company landed on, which is Shakespeare in the Bar.

"Even if you're not drinking, the environment in a bar opens up an audience -- everyone is allowed to care more," says Bourne. "In Shakespeare's day, they were drinking, standing up for four hours, buying nuts from buskers and trying to avoid the plague. Shakespearean language has gotten a reputation similar to ballet in the dance world. It is supposed to be refined, beautiful, but not provocative or necessarily fun. I mean, it's hard stuff. But it gets less hard when the actors allow themselves to take joy in the language and the ridiculousness."

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Serial's Real Life Murder Mystery Is Entertaining, but Is That a Good Thing?

Categories: Dallas Stories

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This sign on the rooftop of a bar asks people not to speak.
I was running late last night, as 8 p.m. approached swiftly and I was still not on Greenville Avenue. I wasn't meeting people for dinner or drinks, and it was unlikely my night would last past 9 p.m. I was headed to a podcast listening party. Because exactly two weeks before, I'd become obsessed -- like thousands of others -- with a little podcast called Serial.

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The Roller Derby World Cup Skates Into Dallas This Weekend

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Roller Derby World Cup

By Anita Riot
If you aren't familiar with the decade-long rise of modern roller derby, you may not know that teams, officials and fans from 30 different countries have already taken over the concrete floors of the Dallas Convention Center.

The Roller Derby World Cup, hosted by Blood & Thunder magazine, will span December 4 to this Sunday, December 7. It is the second all-female international derby tournament of its kind. The first took place in Toronto in 2011, where USA nabbed the gold in an overwhelming sweep. This came as no surprise, as the US had a leg-up on most countries -- the first modern leagues cropped up in North America over ten years ago, beginning with Austin, Texas and spreading like wildfire to major metropolitan areas across the country. Big contenders this year include England, Canada, and Australia -- which have leagues that have risen to Division 1 in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) competitive rankings.

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24 Awesome Things to Do In Dallas This Weekend, December 4-7

Categories: Dallas Stories


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Serial
If you're not listening to the hit podcast Serial, chances are you know someone who is and won't shut up about it. If you're a friend of mine, I'm probably the fanatic in your life who monologues about what exactly happened in Woodlawn, Maryland -- the sleepy suburb of Baltimore. It's likely you've asked me to please stop telling you whether or not I think Adnan killed his high school girlfriend 15 years ago. Or if -- as it's occasionally implied in the show -- his friend Jay set him up. Whether speculating on the guilt of these people is fair (one was acquitted and the other sent to prison for life) is a question I've recently begun to wrestle with, but that doesn't squelch my addiction. I need to know where the series will go. And I need to find more people as obsessed with Serial as I am. Which is why I'll be on the rooftop of Sundown at the Granada (3520 Greenville Ave.) for the free Serial Listening Party at 7 p.m. Thursday. They'll switch on the heaters, and serve up some warm drinks. More information at granadatheater.com.


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