Archive for the ‘DFW Living’ Category

Rough Summer…Bring on the Fall.

After a year which consisted of 6 exhibitions, great educational programming and 7,000 visitors, CADD (The Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas is vacating the Art Lab in Downtown. My gallery is one of the founding member galleries of this organization. I personally have designed everything from the logo to the 3 art guides CADD has released. That was quite a trail we blazed in between Neiman Marcus and The Joule Hotel, and I am sad to see it come to a close. I hate to blame it on the economy, but sustainability was an issue. I realize that times are tough, but if Dallas doesn’t support the culture in this city, there will be very little left after the recovery. I think the psychology of the recession is causing this wave of frugality amongst people who haven’t suffered the same loss as others, mainly those I am now going to discuss.

Here is a list of some of the places I have found myself at either grabbing a drink or a bite this summer: The Old Monk, The Idle Rich, Meridian Room, Libertine, Toulouse, Cowboy Chow, Twisted Root, Social House, The Porch, Lakewood Landing, Bolsa and Cafe Madrid among others.

This represents a pretty good sampling of Dallas: Expo Park, Deep Ellum, Uptown, Knox-Henderson, Lower Greenville, Oak Cliff and Lakewood. Most of the times I was at any of these places it was pretty packed out and people were spending money. I would consider most of the people at these places as people who I could see frequenting and patronizing art galleries, and some of them probably do, but a majority don’t. Why is that?

Art is a great investment. Although this investment can be lucrative, that is not what I am referring to, but rather how much investing in art can enrich your life. I remember the places I lived in that were sans art, and the house that my wife and I have that is filled with it, the difference is massive. Art is a way to engage with people, it sparks stimulated conversation and debate. Art galleries are the best place to meet quality people. There is a certain amount of effort required to know where good galleries are and when they are having openings. These people are the same people that take you to amazing restaurants that you have never heard of. That great feeling you get when you go to a place before it gets all blown out, never goes away with galleries.

The fall is the best time for galleries, we book our best shows then. Although the Art Lab will soon be no more, visit for a list of the best galleries in Dallas. Come out this fall and test the waters, the drinks are on us. And when you hang that first print, drawing or painting you pick up, get ready because people will be jockin’ you like crazy…guaranteed.

If you have it, spend it.

We have been in a recession for a long time, but now the psychology of it all is getting everyone down, and there seems to no longer be a bummer-free zone. There are many people here in Dallas that still have their really great, secure, well paying jobs. I have heard more people with these jobs talk about how concerned they are with the economy, than those on the other side of things. Sure you may have taken a huge hit in the stock market, or other investments, but you still have your job. I am by no means advocating that these people should go out and spend twice as much as they normally would, but not spending at all is not going to turn this around any faster.

A friend of mine told me a story yesterday. His sister teaches art in San Francisco and on the side gives private lessons. Since the recession was made official, the decline in private lessons has been with her most affluent clientele, rather than those most affected by the decline.

NPR’s Ira Glass mentioned something along these lines the other day. He was in a store debating on 2 gifts for a friend, one was more expensive than the other and also happened to be the one that the friend would undoubtedly prefer. However, he initially decided to purchase the less expensive one, because times were tough. The salesperson (who I can’t recall whether or not they knew him personally) suggested that if price was no object, which to Glass it wasn’t, then he should get the one that would be the better gift. He ended up getting the more expensive gift, and in turn will have given a great gift and a small boost to the economy.

If you are fortunate enough to have reached a level of financial independence, then you should enjoy it. Being unaffected, in the grand scheme of things, during times like this is the best part about where you are in your life, so get out there and shake your money maker.

All Things Considered…

I recently had a conversation with Sonny, a bartender at The Magnolia Theater in the West Village, about my beloved neighborhood Deep Ellum. It occurred to me that it’s not the perception of the neighborhood that has people down anymore, it is the simple fact that they just don’t really consider it much. So here are some of the draws of Deep Ellum.

Art Galleries
There are 3 major galleries in Deep Ellum and a lot of alternative spaces, here are the 4 standouts in the neighborhood…

Barry Whistler Gallery // 2909-B Canton St. // 214.939.0242
Barry Whistler is the Godfather of Dallas Art Dealers, with 20 years in the game. The gallery represents mostly mid-career and established artists. It is an extremely well rounded program showing a range of media including photography, drawing, painting and sculpture. Some of the best minimalist abstract work in Dallas is shown here with John Pomara and Johnnie Winona Ross leading that charge. Lawrence Lee is also a bright young artist whose works on paper are amazing.

The Public Trust // 2919-C Commerce St. // 214.760.7170
This is the space that I am the owner and director of. Since I am biased, I will not run on about how great the work is etc. What you can expect is a lot of drawing and painting and form and content going hand in hand. I am a huge advocate of outstanding craft, and the gallery’s program reflects that. We focus on emerging and mid-career artists, with an emphasis on two-dimensional work. There is a boutique in the front of the space that offers prints, t-shirts, books and other limited edition artist products. The purpose of this is simply because paintings are not for everyone but artist products are.

Road Agent // 2909-A Canton St. // 214.749.4049
Approaching its 3 year mark in Deep Ellum, this space shows really progressive work with content being critical to the work on the walls. They recently mounted a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by acclaimed British artist Dan Perfect. In addition to showing work by artists as established as Perfect, they also boast a stable of younger artists whose work is extremely exciting. Margaret Meehan’s exhibition which will be up through January 17, 2009, is an excellent example and should not be missed.

Deep Ellum’s Alternative Space…

Kettle Art // 2714 Elm St. // 214.573.7622
Kettle Art, “The little Deep Ellum gallery that could” is the leader in the alternative spaces category. Unlike most galleries, Kettle is keeps limited hours and is only open at night (7-10 PM Thursday-Saturday) so keep that in mind before you head over. This is an artist run space, so it’s vibe is a lot different than most commercial galleries, mainly it’s a lot less formal. The work is almost always within everyone’s price range, which is what makes going there so worthwhile. This is a great place for young artists to get their start, as their submission process is not as stringent as most other galleries. That being said some of the art can be a little green, but I have seen some incredible work in this space.

Food & Beverage
This is and will always be one of the neighborhood’s best attributes.

Local // 2936 Elm St. // 214.752.7500
I love fine dining, don’t do it nearly as often as I would like, but I have eaten at most of the finest restaurants in Dallas and Local is in the top 5. The thing about a lot of fine dining establishments is after a point they are trading on their name. I remember the first time I ate at Stephen Pyles, it was right when they opened. The food was pretty spectacular, but there has been a drop off since. Stephen Pyles can afford to do that, his reputation allows him the luxury. He’s famous, all of your friends have told you how amazing it is, therefore you will most likely think it is indeed amazing. Local doesn’t have that. “It’s in Deep Ellum, how good can it be?,” will be the attitude of most people. They will almost not want to like it, but once they take their first bite, they start to break down and it’s game over, best dinner ever.

Murray St. Coffee Shop // 103 Murray St. (on the corner of main & murray) // 214.655.2808
Everything about this place is good. The owners, Liz and Doug Davis, have a good thing going. The baristas are great, they serve Illy coffee, good food, beer and wine selection, everyone has good taste in music, the regulars are cool, the artwork is amazing, basically all of the trappings of your average coffee shop are non-existent here. It’s worth going out of your way to make this a part of your daily coffee fix.

All Good Cafe // 2934 Main St. // 214.742.5362
Give me All Good over Cafe Brazil any day of the year, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Everything is fresh and from local vendors. The chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans is as good as it gets. Weekend breakfast and lunch daily is usually the most crowded times, unless of course you’re there in the evening when there are live music performances. Usually cafes and coffee shops are upstart music venues, but All Good has brought some serious bands in to play a set, so the music is usually on point. One of my favorite overall spots in the hood for sure. Tuesdays from 6-9 is also by one get the less expensive entrée free night.

Twisted Root // 2615 Commerce St. // 214.741.7668
Best burger in Dallas. The only downside to this spot is that it is pricey for a burger place and at lunch it is hella busy, line out the door busy. Everything is fresh and made daily. They offer all beef, buffalo, ostrich, venison, turkey and veggie burgers all of which can be prepared as one of their many signature burgers, but that will cost you an extra 2-3 bucks. If you haven’t hit this spot up, join the crowd, I’d recommend a late lunch, between 1:45-2:00 if you are going on a weekday.

Cowboy Chow // 2801 Commerce St. // 214.742.2469
Cowboy Chow is the other dining option offered by the Twisted Root people. It has now eclipsed TR as my favorite place to grab lunch. The M.O. is the same, all fresh ingredients, however the menu isn’t very big but it is good. I recommend the brisket sliders with cowboy nachos to start.

The Angry Dog // 2726 Commerce St. // 214.741.4406
Used to be the best burger in Deep Ellum, but if you aren’t down with the gourmet prices that Twisted Root charges, then the Angry Dog is a close second. I personally am a fan of their chicken spiedez (pronounced speed-ease). I am not sure how they make chunks of seasoned grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, grilled onions on a white roll something I can’t duplicate at home, but I am glad that they do.

Baker’s Ribs // 2724 Commerce St // 214.748.5433
4 sloppy joes for $5, the best potato salad ever and a damn fine bbq chicken sandwich, are what makes Baker’s ribs a solid spot to grab a bite. Their giant barrel of salty peanuts, whose shells you can discard on the floor adds that extra layer of awesome. Oddly enough I have never had the ribs, but I can bet they are pretty good, since they didn’t call it Baker’s Chicken Sandwiches.

Rush Patisserie // 2901 Elm St. // 214.749.4040
You may remember Sweet Endings, you may not, but that doesn’t matter because Rush is now there and is way better than Sweet Endings and its Greenville rival Society Bakery. I don’t have a super sweet tooth, but Samantha Rush makes some excellent sweets. So next time you are down for the sugar coma she will gladly abide.

Taco Loco // 3014 Main St. // 214.748.8226
Handmade tortillas and gigantic breakfast tacos are the signature moves for Taco Loco. Their chorizo, egg and cheese taco is insanely good. Taco Loco and Fuel City are deadlock for the number 1 spot for best taco stand tacos in Dallas. If you don’t know about Fuel City, you better ask somebody.

Deep Sushi // 2624 Elm St. // 214.651.1177
How do you stay open in Deep Ellum for 12 years? Consistency. Deep Sushi is always consistently good, that stands for everything from the food to the service and atmosphere. The selection is big and the sushi is always really fresh tasting for a landlocked sushi spot. Your dollar will go a lot further here than in other parts of Dallas and the food will most likely be on the level or better. Great spot for happy hour or lunch specials with 2 for 1 action on both occasions.

Retail, Music Venues & Bars
Where once there were a lot of the above, sadly there is very little. The biggest hole in the neighborhood for sure. Here are some spots that are still holding it down.

Club Dada // 2720 Elm St. // 214.742.3400
The last man standing. When Deep Ellum was THE spot for live music, Club Dada was there. Despite the desolate live music scene here, Dada is still cranking out the jams. New management and better booking is rebuilding their audience, and their back patio is still one of the best in Dallas.

Century Modern // 2928 Main St. // 214.651.9200
On any given day you can find something amazing here. Vintage everything, from a 1940’s neon wall clock to a red leather Barcelona chair. This is one of those, “those who know…know,” kind of spots and you will most likely leave with something on your first visit. I heard that Issac Brock (the Modest Mouse lead singer) was spotted there buying vintage microphones, a specialty of this unique retail store.

Orange Salon // 2932 Main St. #104 // 214.698.2006
I have never had my wig chopped here, but it seems like everyone else has or does, and if the doubling of their salon and the owners orange Land Rover are any indication of a healthy clientele then it’s probably a place to consider if you are in need of a stylist.

Leather Masters // 3000 Main St. // 214.528.3865
I am not a leather man, nor am I into bondage or dog masks, but I have to hand it to these guys for cornering a market in Dallas. If you are into having your fantasies fulfilled or picking up some strange, I would suggest high tailing it to Leather Masters and they’ll bring out the gimp for you.

Dallas Metblogs is Back!

So I have been off the blogging wagon for awhile, but I am back on with a mission to keep this blog updated and to add a consistent group of diverse bloggers to finally represent Dallas properly here at Metblogs.

First Things First…
Obama by Shepard Fairey
Hell Yes!
Image by: Shepard Fairey

On the art front..
Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson opens this Sunday at 3PM at the Dallas Museum of Art. I cannot express how amazing this man’s work is. If you can’t make the opening, there will be a talk with the artist on November 12 at 7PM in the Horchow Auditorium. If you can’t make either of these, just don’t miss this exhibition.

CADD Art Lab Opens
The Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas also known as CADD, have opened an amazing exhibition space in Downtown Dallas, called Art Lab. Anne Lawrence, former associate director of Road Agent (gallery), is now the director of CADD and curator of Art Lab.

Their inaugural exhibition Indexing the Moment, is a group exhibition featuring 11 of the 14 CADD galleries, as the organization has added 3 new members since its inception, which include: Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Mighty Fine Arts and Light and Sie. The next exhibition will open next week on Thursday, November 13, from 5-8 PM.

CADD Art Lab is located at 1608-C Main St in Downtown Dallas, in between Neiman Marcus and The Joule Hotel. For more information visit

Dallas Represents in the latest edition of New American Paintings no. 78
The latest edition of New American Paintings is out, and DFW is solidly represented by Steven Hopwood-Lewis, Brent Ozaeta, Margaret Meehan, Elliot Johnson, Vincent Falsetta and Paul Booker, just to name a few. You can pick up a copy at your local Barnes and Noble and other major bookstores, or you can order a copy at

The Public Trust and Barry Whistler given the nod in the Observer’s Best of Dallas 2008
This is an older news item, but worth mentioning. The Observer’s Best of Dallas recently came out and awarded The Public Trust with Best Reason to Visit Deep EllumM, and Barry Whistler Gallery was awarded Best Art Gallery. On another awards note, The Public Trust was also awarded Best Place to Meet an Artist in D Magazine’s, Best of Big D

THE Magazine launches in Dallas
I personally have been waiting a long time for this, a free distribution publication focused solely on the arts, and now it is here. THE has been holding it down in Santa Fe for a minute and then expanded to cover Los Angeles and now it is here in DFW, covering all aspects of the arts. It is a quality publication, with reviews, interviews and editorials on everything art in DFW. So if you are out and about pick up a copy, they can be found throughout the city in stands as well as galleries, museums and other cultural spots. For more info visit

Dallas Represents in Miami during Art Basel
Art Basel is an international art fair that takes place twice a year, once in Switzerland and once in Miami Beach. Basically it is an event that draws the world superpower galleries and top tier collectors, for a 4 day art buying/viewing frenzy. You can read more about it here.

As the notoriety of this fair grew, so did the need to represent the other 99% of art galleries in the world, thus came the “satellite” fair. These were fairs that took place concurrently with Basel, and now play just as important a role as Basel in the art fair world. Three Dallas galleries (that I know of) are going to be exhibiting at Aqua Art Miami. The Public Trust will be at The Aqua Hotel, while Light and Sie and Conduit Gallery will both be at Aqua Wynwood. So if my post has got you amped on a trip to Miami, don’t be a stranger while you’re there.


The "Gentrification" of Deep Ellum…

In an article I was interviewed for regarding the state of Deep Ellum, the word gentrification was used by the writer to describe my views on what is happening, or needs to happen to revitalize the neighborhood where my gallery is located. Since this article I have noticed this word being used more and more in conversations I have had pertaining to the area. Having minored in cultural anthropology I am very familiar with the word and its meaning, but today I looked it up on Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, so that the official definition can help to illustrate my point. And here is the definition they gave for the word:

gen·tri·fi·ca·tion • jen-trə-fə-ˈkā-shən • noun
the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

What is happening in Deep Ellum is hardly gentrification. There is no displacing of a lower economic class by affluent people who are capitalizing on low property values for their own financial gain. In fact if you were to shop around the neighborhood you would find that a lot of the property in Deep Ellum is quite expensive. The property owners of Deep Ellum are doing what any good capitalist does, and that is simply getting a return on their investment. There really isn’t a lot that anyone can do to stop someone from selling something that is theirs.

Organizations like the Deep Ellum Association, Deep Ellum Foundation and the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project serve a key purpose of trying to keep the culture of Deep Ellum intact as we move into this new era promising big change. I think the spirit of Deep Ellum is more vital than the physical complexion of the area.

If a few large retailers end up moving into the neighborhood I think that will be really great for the independent businesses that are already here. Large retail, residential communities and restaurants generally come with budgets to advertise. This will ultimately draw new people to the area that might not have come here otherwise. Once they are here they can walk around and discover the O.G. businesses who are foundation of the neighborhood.

This isn’t an after school special where the big developer’s soft spot is touched when he sees the neighborhood kids playing on the playground he is about to tear down for his latest mixed use development, and the climax occurs when he tears up the contract while his investors stand their shaking their heads.

This is commerce not gentrification, and the above scenario will almost certainly never happen. So since this is inevitable at this point, playing ball sounds like a good idea. It is better than the alternative of being confrontational and resistant to change, you’ll get less referrals from your gigantic new neighbors.

If you want to see what gentrification looks like, Oak Cliff is a 10 minute drive from Deep Ellum.

Town2 Magazine’s First Issue on the Streets

Town2 Magazine is a 5.5″x5.5″ publication that has recently been released in Dallas. Unlike free distribution publications like Envy and Tribeza, who focus on Dallas as a whole, Town2 Mag’s focus is on the Main St. District, South Side, Deep Ellum, Victory Park, The West End and Expo Park. I am the art director and senior designer for this publication, and just going through the content list for the issue I discovered a lot of places in Dallas that I was completely unaware of. Some of them were so good that I have returned many times since my initial visit.

Tourists visiting the area can definitely pick it up at a concierge in any of the covered neighborhoods and get a local’s view of what there is to do in the city. If you are living here, looking to break out of your usual haunts this is a good place to start. It’s scheduled release is the last Thursday of every month, so keep your eyes peeled for this pocket guide to Dallas proper.

State Fair this Weekend!

He’s back! Big Tex and the State Fair of Texas.

I’m actually excited. This is the first year that the fair is just down the street from me, and I’m looking forward to checking out all the fun that is going to be happening practically in my back yard. The rides, the smell of cattle and fried food, the activity and parades. It all starts tomorrow at noon with a parade through downtown Dallas. Let’s all play hookey from school or work and make it a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off reinactment. You’ll see me syncronized dancing with the crew over on the stairs.

Did you know they are going to have Chinese Acrobats there…and pig races, a cigar rolling demo, a llama show, and a dairy goat milk-off? The list goes on and on. Their website ( has a downloadable events calendar so you can print it out and circle your favorites and create your own State Fair expierence. My favorite page on the site is the highlighted events page. Marilyn Monroe is going to be pinned up all over the Women’s Museum, and you can sneek a peek for FREE. You have to pay to get into the fair, but once in, there are a lot of outrageous shows that are free to see.

Also while your are there, go ahead and spare yourself the wait at the ticket counter and purchase your tickets online. You’ll even get a discount if you do. General admission will run you $10.95 online and $13.00 at the fair. Food and ride tickets will cost you another $10.00 for a sheet of 20 tickets.

I’ll be there with my camera, trying and figure out what to take a picture of first. It’s going to be visual overload. Puppets, corndog-eating mullets, cowoys, cattle, flies, families with good kids, families with obnoxious kids, families with grandmas, crying, laughing, screaming…good times.

Dallas Observer…Best of Dallas issue out now!

Love it or hate it, the Observer’s Best of issue is out on the stands. For the second year in a row they have issued a perfect bound edition along with the regular paper. Art Prostitute was named Best Hipster Art Gallery. And apparently goths and gutter punks frequent our openings rubbing elbows with people who wear sunglasses inside at night. I have not seen one of those 3 things ever in our gallery.

The thing that was most disturbing about the Best of Dallas, was that the reader’s picks are not elaborated on a bit. All they list is the name address and phone number. That seems super backwards. In retrospect at least that keeps you safe from their writers. My question is…Why bother with a popular vote, if you aren’t going to give your readers insight on what won?

Dallas Observer’s Best of Dallas 2006

It is that time again to cast your vote for the Observer’s 26th Annual, “Best of Dallas.” In the current issue there is a ballot, that you can write in your votes, or you can go online to and vote as well.

The online ballot is on the home page at the top of the side bar.

The Parking Patrol has a new Job

Just when we thought our parking troubles were over here in Deep Ellum with the meters being free till 6pm, we were soon to find out “the catch.” The parking patrol has a new job. Instead of checking for unpaid meters during the daytime hours, they are running your plates to see if you have any unpaid parking tickets!!! That’s right, you’ll get booted if you have any leftover, unpaid parking tickets…all for just parking at a meter.

I just wanted to give everyone the heads up. If you have any unpaid parking tickets, watch out for the “free” meters in Deep Ellum…you may end up getting your car booted, then end up with the major pain in the ass of having to figure out your way downtown without your car and having to pay your fines on fines, plus the booting fee. You might as well just go ahead and pay the 30 bucks now and save some of the troubles…but somehow I think this is all a bit strange. Is the parking patrol really allowed to run your licence if you are not breaking any laws…say if the meter is free, and you are legaly parked there?

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