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.More »