10 Lucky Dogs Will Win Spun Chairs From the Nasher Sculpture Center

Perhaps one of the most lovely art exhibitions in town this year was Provocations at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Featuring the design work of the UK's Heatherwick Studio, it featured small scale models, or bits and pieces of designs from around the globe, all of which demonstrated the company's humanistic approach to creation. Not only was it fascinating to see the spectrum of the company's work, it was also revelatory to get to know up close an architecture studio that emphasizes people and how they use the buildings or interact with the designs, rather than creating a formulaic recognizable standard.

But I'll stop bandying. One of the best parts of the exhibition was a simple one: a chair without a back that spins without throwing you out. They were displayed outside next to garden and they were a hit. Everyone went for a spin in the Spun Chairs, which is why you might be excited to hear the Nasher Sculpture Center is giving 10 of the chairs away to a few lucky Instgrammers. And just FYI, I'm only telling you about this to make the competition more fun. I plan to enter every day; if you want to win, I'm your obstacle.

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The Ten Best TV Shows of 2014

Categories: Film and TV

"My Dream Breakup" on Inside Amy Schumer.

By Inkoo Kang

TV continued to unmoor from its origins and transform into something else this year. No longer tethered to a specific appliance, a particular kind of storytelling, or even commercial concerns, "television" now feels like an increasingly obsolete word.

But that's a discussion for another time, for we've come to celebrate TV, not mourn it. Among the bajillions of hours of programming that's constantly available, here are the 10 shows, miniseries, and films that really stood out:

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Five Art Exhibitions To See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

Gaeb Cardinale
Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance is something most adults understand, and relate to. That two things you believe or value could be in direct conflict with one another is a frustrating, anxiety-filled way to live in this gray-shaded world. The new series of work by Dallas-based artist Gaeb Cardinale shares a name with this psychological struggle. He juxtaposes vibrant blocks of color with stark, cold backgrounds to create pieces that pop. During the opening reception for his exhibition at Two Bronze Doors (5732 Richmond Ave.) from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, a dj will spin tunes and Braindead Brewpub will pour drinks. More information at twobronzedoors.com.

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Marion Cotillard Wins -- Twice -- in Our 2014 Film Critics' Poll

Categories: Film and TV

Sundance Selects
Marion Cotillard, was voted best actress in this year's film critic's poll.

What kind of circle is time again? A year after blowing the doors off our annual critics’ poll, golden boy Matthew McConaughey won just a single vote for his turn in the loudest movie of the year, Christopher Nolan’s tears-in-space effort Interstellar, which has tied with the unprescient Transcendence as 2014’s worst film. (Transcendence dreamed that Johnny Depp’s character would take over every screen in the world — that didn’t happen.) But his margin of victory lives on, this year in the form of Marion Cotillard, who wins best actress twice: first for the Dardenne brothers’ vote-gathering drama Two Days, One Night, then besting second-place Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin) with her turn in James Gray’s glorious melodrama The Immigrant, available now on Netflix streaming because Harvey Weinstein doesn’t believe Oscar voters will bite.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 30 Delicate Touch Margaret Meehan

Categories: 100 Creatives

Robert Boland
Meehan in action.
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
The touch of artist Margaret Meehan is delicate. Which is not to say that her work is sugarcoated, but respectful, intricate and sensitive. Gleaning subject matter from history and literature, much of Meehan's work pulls back the curtain on those culture has outcast or deemed "freaks." Her art is obsessed with monsters and the creation of them, repositioning the grotesque within the lovely, exploring questions of race, gender and how we build history.

Her work is layered and laboriously researched. She creates in numerous media, and has shown her work at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Dallas Museum of Art, Soil Gallery in Seattle, David Shelton Gallery in Houston and Conduit Gallery in Dallas, to name a few. Her art moves people, because she works in concepts we all understand and participate in on a daily basis. And she seems to be encouraging us in the most beautiful way to reconsider -- which is one of the loveliest things art can accomplish.

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Bad Taste, Good Time at Trailer Park Christmas Musical

Categories: Theater

Karen Almond Photography
Sara Shelby-Martin, Cara Statham Serber, Megan Kelly Bates (front) with Amanda Passanante and Tony Daussat (back) in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical at WaterTower.
If you have soured on The Nutcracker or are humbugged by too many Christmas Carols, pull into The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical, now onstage at WaterTower Theatre in Addison. It's a hot mug of sassy-crass tea, two hours of low comedy with a high-caliber cast.

Christmas season has arrived at Armadillo Acres, a swampy clump of rusty RV's that may or may not be squatting illegally somewhere in Florida. A nasty feud has erupted between half of the trailer park's residents, who have decorated their "manufactured homes" with plastic baubles and Star Wars-themed nativity scenes, and the local Scrooge, a meanie named Darlene Seward (Amanda Passanante), whose last name is pronounced "C-word." (The down-and-dirty script by Betsy Kelso and lyrics by David Nehls recycle trashy wordplay throughout the show. It's def R-rated. Do not bring the kiddies or sensitive elders to this one.)

When a loose wire sends enough volts through Darlene to light up death row, she switches to loving all things yule. She also has a change of heart about her bully of a boyfriend, Jackson (Greg Hullett), proprietor of a Hooters-like pancake house called Stacks. During her 12 days of amnesia, she falls for scruffy neighbor Rufus (Tony Daussat, doing a cuddly Jack Black thing) sparking a tinsel-wrapped tussle for who'll come out on top. Of Darlene.

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This Weekend Stay Home Alone at the Griswold Family Christmas

Categories: Dallas Stories

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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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 31 Critical Artist Thor Johnson

Categories: 100 Creatives

If you see this dancing machine, buy him a beer.

Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

Thor Johnson has great stories. A lot of great stories. And a lot of shocking ones too. He's been in and out of the art scene in Dallas since the 80's, with his first exhibition when he was still in high school at the long-defunct Theatre Gallery, which was owned by Russell Hobbs in conjunction with his Prophet Bar. Although, he was never formally trained, Johnson's art has been reviewed by major national publications, and his art remains some of the most provocative work in the city, with its consistent critique of the corrupt mythologies we use to build our societies from religion to politics.

Plus, Johnson is one of the most recognizable faces in the left of center Dallas art scene. You might not see him in slideshows of the DMA art ball, but if you frequent local concerts or art openings, he's the one with the big smile dancing to the music.

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Our Arts Editor Goes Clubbing, Finds America

Categories: Dallas Stories

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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2014: A Year in Dallas Dance

Categories: Dance

Dallas Black Dance Theatre at Dallas DanceFest

The Dallas dance scene is alive and well, and if 2014 is any indication, 2015 is going to provide us with a lot of entertainment, opportunities to perform and chances to expand the community.

In an effort not to sugarcoat anything, I will say that we are still facing issues of sustainability, funding, training, location and visibility. Money will always be an obstacle for dancers and dance companies, especially in a city like Dallas. Based on population, we're a large city -- one of the largest -- but when you look at how much local grant money and public arts funding is available, the city shrinks. We're all grappling to win over the same people and the same performance venues, and that can be problematic. While there are many venues to choose from, many of them are costly to rent. Yet, from my own experiences this year and from what I have witnessed as an audience member and writer, the future is looking brighter.

2014 saw the reemergence of festivals, and the advent of new companies, programs, dancers, directors and spaces. Let me start with the Dallas DanceFest.

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