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Animal Rescue Group

Readers’ Choice: Saving Hope Rescue, 950 Commerce St, 214-914-7368
Critic’s Choice: Allie’s Haven Animal Rescue, PO Box 151731, Facebook.com/Allieshaven

As you can see, Allie’s has no street address. The group’s mission of giving deserving dogs a second chance involves a network of fosters. All of their rescued dogs live in private homes until they meet you (hint, hint). To meet –– and hopefully adopt –– one of their dogs, Step 1 is filling out an application at AlliesHaven.org. Some of their animals are seniors or have special medical needs because Allie’s tries to leave no doggo behind when pulling them from kill shelters. Allie’s even has a hospice program for aging, sickly dogs who have been deemed unadoptable. Donations are always needed. If you can’t adopt, then donate.

 

Art Exhibit
Urban-Cowboy-300x250

Readers’ Choice: Mark Bradford: End Papers, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, 866-824-5566

Critic’s Choice: The Perilous Texas Adventures of Mark Dion, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-738-1933

Certainly not your normal exhibit, this multimedia extravaganza gathered the effluvia of Mark Dion’s trek through the state in the footsteps of several 19th-century naturalists/explorers/adventurers. Lots of everyday objects, lots of sketches, and lots of vials of interesting, weird stuff — Perilous Texas Adventures showed that museums, especially ones devoted to American art, are capable of a lot more than just hanging pictures.

Art Gallery

Readers’ Choice: Fort Works Art, 2100 Montgomery St, 817-759-9475

Critic’s Choice: Artspace 111, 111 Hampton St, 817-692-3228

First off, happy 40th birthday to the gallery that started, essentially, as a studio. Secondly, the art doesn’t get any better than here. Seeking a crucifix in urine or a men’s urinal? Go someplace else. Looking for high-quality, mostly photorealist painting or brilliant abstract work? Artspace 111 is the place. And for the past 40 years, it has been. Representing co-founders and twin brothers Daniel and Dennis Blagg, plus Nancy Lamb, John Hartley, Devon Nowlin, Jim Malone, and nearly two dozen other heavy hitters, Artspace 111 deserves another 40 years. And then some.

 

Book by Texas Author Published in Last 12 Months

Critic’s Choice: Shots of Knowledge by Rob Arnold and Eric Simanek, TCU Press

Looking for a great page-turner to accompany that tumbler of whiskey? Rob Arnold, head distiller at Firestone and Robertson Distilling Company, has distilled the finer points of the whiskey-making process in Shots of Knowledge, a guidebook for lovers of the spirit. With the help of co-author and TCU chemistry professor Eric Simanek, the book explores whiskey production through 60 illustrated essays. Arnold and Simanek break down the science behind America’s favorite hooch, from photosynthesis to oak speciation and the distilling process.

 

Dance Troupe

Readers’ Choice: Texas Ballet Theater, 1540 Mall Cir, 817-763-0207

Critic’s Choice: Texas Ballet Theater

The best in all of North Texas hasn’t lost a step, despite the pandemic. The 2021 season is set to launch in February with three ballets in one night. Along with the Balanchine classic Serenade, TBT will perform two world premieres: Star Crossed, a fiery pas de deux featuring Romeo and Juliet, by TBT Artistic Director Ben Stevenson; and an unnamed piece by Associate Artistic Director Tim O’Keefe set to the music of one of ballet’s best composers.

 

Dog Park

Readers’ Choice: MUTTS Canine Cantina, 5317 Clearfork Main St, 817-377-0151 • Z Bones Dog Park, 6950 Camp Bowie West, 817-392-5700

Critic’s Choice: MUTTS Canine Cantina

It’s a pup’s dream. With lots of outdoor seating and treats for four-legged and bipedal creatures alike, MUTTS can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Sign up for membership that includes access to the off-the-leash area by visiting MUTTScantina.com.

 

Driving Range

Critic’s Choice: Golf Center of Arlington, 1301 NE Green Oaks Blvd, Arlington, 817-469-9005

Tucked behind an apartment complex and a City Garage auto mechanic is a hidden golf addict’s oasis. Golf Center of Arlington is the Little Driving Range that Could. New owners Larissa and Mauricio Galante resurrected the once-dilapidated range and putt-putt course and have turned it into a brand-new, comfortable, and high-standard place to hone your swing. Tee off from one of more than a dozen open and breezy covered bays (warmly heated in the winter) or out in the open on artificial turf or grass. The range itself features a variety of pin locations and distances to aim for, a sand trap to try and escape, and a nifty putting green as well. The bay stalls offer the latest ball-tracking technology with virtual course-play games on mounted touchscreens, similar to Top Golf. Inside the main building is a bar with two beer fridges busting at the hinges with a wide selection of inexpensive craft brews and a modest selection of golf paraphernalia. (The new pro shop is still under construction.) As a bonus, the 18-hole putt-putt course has also been renovated, making a visit to GCoA a perfect family-friendly outdoor activity.

 

Entertainment Spot

Readers’ Choice: Electric Starship Arcade, 5620 Denton Hwy, Haltom City,

817-479-6366

Critic’s Choice: Free Play, 1311 Lipscomb St, 682-231-1444

Open weekends only until further notice, this Near Southside retreat is a gamer’s dream. With more than 90 old-school treats like Frogger, Galaga, and Burgertime plus pinball, Free Play is hard to beat for selection and nostalgia. And price. Entry is only $11 per person. Extra points for the above-average arcade food.

An office and micro-retail project on the Near Southside, the angular, blocky, colorful Connex — imagine Optimus Prime doing Child’s Pose — is made out of repurposed shipping containers and is fully sustainable. Designed by Fort Worth’s Mel/Arch Studio, this building is quite the Grammable address.
Example of New Architecture

Critic’s Choice: Connex Fort Worth,

1201 Evans Av, 817-366-6951

An office and micro-retail project on the Near Southside, this angular, blocky, colorful assemblage — imagine Optimus Prime doing Child’s Pose — is made out of repurposed shipping containers and is fully sustainable. Designed by Fort Worth’s Mel/Arch Studio, Connex is already home to several tenants, including Trinity Works, Sana, James Walker Realty, and more. For architecture buffs, Connex is quite the Grammable address.

Golf Course

Readers’ Choice: Ridglea Country Club, 3700 Bernie Anderson Av,

817-732-8111

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Golf, multiple locations, 817-392-5721

The city of Fort Worth offers four quality and affordable golf courses that don’t require exorbitant membership fees. Whether you tee off at Meadowbrook, Pecan Valley, or Rockwood, you’ll find manicured greens and a variety of terrains to keep you challenged. Meadowbrook, an 18-hole regulation facility, is considered one of the Top 25 municipal golf courses in Texas. The courses regularly host tournaments and provide individual and group lessons. Social distancing lends itself to the sport of golf, just as we’re heading into perfect tee-off weather.

 

Kids’ Activities

Readers’ Choice: Benbrook Stables, 10001 Benbrook Blvd, 817-249-1001

Critic’s Choice: Benbrook Stables

Something about horse people: They always seem kinder and more patient than us average folks. And at Benbrook Stables, the horse people there have only the best interests of you and the animals at heart. Whether for a trail ride or lessons, or maybe even a birthday party, you will never regret your trip here. And in these trying times, maybe a little calming nature and animal love are in order.

 

Locally Made/Shot Film

Critic’s Choice: Miss Juneteenth

Channing Godfrey Peoples’ drama about Texas’ own African-American holiday defied a pandemic to arrive in our theaters on the proper day of June and in the middle of America’s protests over extrajudicial police killings. Our civic powers so rarely want to put Black life forward as representative of Fort Worth, so it’s important to have an African-American film specifically set in our city and taking place amid pillars of culture like the funeral homes and the barbecue joints. We won’t know the extent of its impact for a while, but we recognize its momentousness now.

 

Movie Theater

Readers’ Choice: Coyote Drive-In, 223 NE 4th St, 817-717-7767

Critic’s Choice: The Grand Berry Theater, 2712 Weisenberger St, 682-224-3684.

Always helps to have movies that no one else in the all of North Texas has. This independent venue in the Foundry District valiantly kept going (with social distancing in place) as long as it could and then was the first to climb aboard the “streaming movies to help a physical movie theater” bandwagon as the lockdown set in. Through this, they showed high-quality stuff that they doubtless would have on the big screen if they could: Beanpole, Saint Frances, Spaceship Earth, and the locally filmed Miss Juneteenth. They’re scheduled to open back up this week, and we’ll be happy to have them.

Velazquez’ socially conscious art is a timely reflection of a society that is increasingly rebelling against tolerance of sexual harassment, racism, and xenophobic politicians.
Photo by Lee Newquist
Mural

Readers’ Choice: (tie) “Fort Worth for Vanessa” by Juan Velazquez, corner of Hemphill and W Ripy sts • Texas Medical Institute by Kathleen Cameron, 3304 SE Loop 820, Ste B, 817-615-8633

Critic’s Choice: “Fort Worth for Vanessa”

Juan Velazquez is a relative newcomer to the local arts scene. Two years ago, at the age of 29, he picked up his brushes after a several-year artistic hiatus and began painting. And painting. By the end of that year, he had around 100 oil paintings and newfound confidence in his abilities. Velazquez blended his experiences as a graffiti artist and oil painter to create several masterful murals this year. “Fort Worth for Vanessa” pays homage to Vanessa Guillen, the 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier who was murdered last April at Fort Hood. Velazquez, who serves in the Army Reserves, started the project with a Facebook post on July 3. That single ask for help and donations was answered by hundreds of locals who were equally shocked by Guillen’s tragic death. The final mural, located near Noah’s Art & Supplies off Hemphill Street, drew several hundred spectators as Velazquez, Sarah Ayala, and other artists rendered Gillian’s uniformed image against a backdrop of flowers. Velazquez’ socially conscious art is a timely reflection of a society that is increasingly rebelling against tolerance of sexual harassment, racism, and xenophobic politicians.

 

Museum

Readers’ Choice: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St,

817-738-9215

Critic’s Choice: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Though we love all of Fort Worth’s major museums, the Modern was especially wonderful this year for offering Mark Bradford: End Papers, an exhibit that, while not outwardly socially conscious, seemed to presage the fight for racial justice that’s currently sweeping the nation.

 

Nonprofit Organization

Readers’ Choice: Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank, P.O. Box 471277,

817-334-0727

Critic’s Choice: The Women’s Center of Tarrant County, 1723 Hemphill St,

817-927-4040

The Women’s Center provides rape crisis counseling, therapy, legal assistance, awareness education, and health-care advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Despite the center’s name, the Women’s Center serves women, men, and children. Working remotely, stay-at-home orders, and quarantining leaves victims with less visibility to coworkers and other watchdogs, making the Women’s Center’s services particularly important during a pandemic. Currently, the center is working remotely, but their services are still available by appointment. The center’s 24-hour Rape Crisis and Victim Services Hotline (817-927-2737) and general helpline (817-927-4000) are also available.

 

Park

Readers’ Choice: Trinity Park, 2401 University Dr, 817-392-5700

Critic’s Choice: Trinity Park

We bet a lot of muscleheads sighed in relief after the lockdown was in place knowing that Trinity Park was waiting to satisfy their workout needs. Running, biking, doing pullups on tree limbs — who needs a gym? (At least for the time being.) The best part about busting a sweat a Trinity is that when you’re done, you can relax on a bench and enjoy the balmy weather we’ve been having.

 

Performing Arts Organization

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Fort Worth’s performing arts groups deserve gold medals all around for their laudable work during challenging times. Fort Worth Opera, the Van Cliburn Foundation, Amphibian Stage, and other vital arts groups were hit doubly hard by cuts in performances and individual giving. Fort Worthians stepped up where they could by donating purchased tickets in lieu of refunds. Rather than pulling back, groups like the Cliburn stepped up with prompt and quality programming, especially in the educational fields. Homebound children began viewing livestream shows that taught music history and other arts-related topics. Even with so many deserving critic’s choices, one performing arts group stood out due to the recent departure its music director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya. The esteemed conductor will continue to guest conduct with the FWSO and call Fort Worth home for the foreseeable future. He is credited with building Fort Worth’s resident symphony orchestra to the world-class stature that it enjoys today. As music director, he blended standard repertoire with works from living composers. We wish Harth-Bedoya the best on his plans to teach the next generation of conductors through his work at the Conducting Institute, which he founded, and his new position as Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Nebraska.

 

Take Kids, Place to

Readers’ Choice: Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Pkwy, 817-759-7555

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Zoo

Not long before the pandemic, we took the little tyke to the zoo and, basically, didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t necessarily the snacks or the stuffed animals for sale, though we loved them, too. It was the animals. Seeing the wonder on the little fella’s face as he fed a massive giraffe was priceless. Don’t ever forget how lucky we are to have a world-class institution like the Fort Worth Zoo in our own backyard.

 

Tattoo Inspired by a Mural

Critic’s Choice: Chelsea Pace, Fade to Black, 209 S Jennings Av, 817-878-4349

Art is life, and life is art. This phrase is true for Chelsea Pace’s Chel Tattoos. You see, Fade to Black has a sister business called The Bearded Lady. Ever heard of it? Pace painted a tattoo-inspired mural on the building there in South Main Village. The bar manager loved it so much that she got it as a tattoo.

 

Theater Troupe

Critic’s Choice: DFW Live Professional Theaters

The pandemic could have made this a difficult category to call, but then numerous troupes from all over North Texas banded together to create this alliance to keep actors and crew members afloat during these days of dark auditoriums. Amphibian Stage, Casa Mañana Theatre, Circle Theatre, Jubilee Theatre, and Stage West all joined in to keep live theater alive in our area and also safe when audiences return. Desperate times call for unusual measures, and we look forward to this ad hoc group helping us take our seats again in the future.

 

Theatrical Production

Readers’ Choice: Texas Star Dinner Theater, 816 S Main St, Grapevine, 817-310-5588

Critic’s Choice: What We Were, Circle Theatre.

The pandemic meant that the pickings for this category have been slim this year. Nevertheless, Circle Theatre’s world premiere of Blake Hackler’s drama from last October was good enough to have won it even in a full year of theater. Despite its issues, Hackler’s examination of childhood rape on the adult lives of three sisters offered some powerful dramatics, and Jenny Ledel’s performance as an extreme case of arrested development was the most compelling piece of acting that our local theater troupes saw in the last 12 months.

The difference between a traditional Hillary Dohoney painting and a photograph is that no visible sweat equity went into the photograph.
Photo Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.
Visual Artist

Critic’s Choice: Hillary Dohoney

Hillary Dohoney is a maximal naturalist. While some of her works feature the shadowplay of tree limbs, the young oil painter focuses primarily on sumptuous seascapes, most of them calm or merely stirring, rarely raging. In an occasional touch of the surreal, the odd everyday object (cowboy hat, twig, fountain pen) materializes above the horizon, but for the most part, Dohoney thirsts for water. The difference between a traditional Dohoney and a photograph is that no visible sweat equity went into the photograph. The Fort Worth native and Hunting Art Prize finalist is represented by Fort Works Art.

 

Best Thing to Do on Wednesdays

Critic’s Choice: Virtual Trivia Night, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café, 401 Bryan Av, 817-708-2739.

From 7pm to 9pm every Wednesday, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café hosts Virtual Trivia Night. Join them via Zoom, Facebook Live, or in-person to watch screens in the taproom. TBG Trivia and Contrarian Librarians alternate the hosting duties every week. If you eat at Funky Picnic or order takeout on Wednesdays, you earn five bonus points. There is no cost to play, and the winner receives a $25 gift card.

 

Best Thing to Do on Thursdays

Critic’s Choice: College Night, Billy Bob’s, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, 817-624-7117.

Thursday is College Night at Billy Bob’s. Admission is free with your college ID, plus there are free line dance lessons. Billy Bob’s is open 11am to 2am every Thursday. Try their Honky Tonk Kitchen for lunch or dinner while you’re there.

 

Best Thing to Do on Fridays

Critic’s Choice: Date Night, Coyote Drive-In Theater, 23 NE 4th St, 817-717-7767.

Friday is date night at Coyote Drive-In Theater. Tickets are $4-6 person. Each ticket transaction provides you with one car spot for the night. As Coyote screens double features, it is two movies for the price of one. Gates open at 7pm daily. Bar & Canteen onsite offers locally sourced food and drinks thru closing time. What else do you need for a great date night?

 

Best Thing to Do on Saturdays

Critic’s Choice: Saturday Mini-Market, Town Talk Foods (three area locations)

With locations in Fort Worth, Weatherford, and a brand new one in Arlington, Town Talk Foods is providing discount groceries throughout the area. They are open Monday to Saturday selling dry goods, household items, frozen foods, and a limited selection of produce, but Saturday is when the produce really shines. Every weekend, Town Talk has Saturday Mini-Market featuring a fresh batch of fruits and vegetables. You can preview the current week’s offering at around 10am via Facebook Live on each location’s Facebook page.

 

Best Thing to Do on Sundays

Critic’s Choice: Weekend Services, Gateway Church, 4209 Basswood Blvd, 817-552-7581

Sunday is a great day for brunch and/or church. Before or after you check out the Best Brunch winner from the Good Grub section, Gateway Church invites one and all to attend church services in person at any of their campuses in North Texas, including Gateway North Fort Worth (4209 Basswood Blvd, 817-552-7581). In-person weekend services are Saturdays 4pm, and Sundays 11am and 1pm, or watch online anytime at GatewayPeople.com/Sermons.

 

Best Thing to Do on Mondays

Critic’s Choice: Rotisserie Chickens, Velvet Taco, 2700 W 7th St, 817-887-9810.

When Velvet Taco first arrived back in 2014, Fort Worth Weekly writer Steve Steward summed it up in one word –– sumptuous –– and provided a perfect description. “Besides a few sides like the dish of elote-style rotisserie corn, breakfast casserole-esque potatoes, and local eggs, the main fare here is indeed tacos ––21 different types. While they mostly maintain the basic form, their fillings run an exotic gamut of cuisines ranging from Cuban to Vietnamese, with a lot of Mediterranean and Indian in between.” While the main fare is indeed tacos, did you know they also sell whole rotisserie chickens? This $5 –– the discount price each Monday starting 5pm ––  is the best you’ll ever spend.

 

Best Thing to Do on Tuesdays

Critic’s Choice: Adrian Hulet Residency, The Post at River East, 2925 Race St, 817-945-8890.

Adrian Hulet –– former chef of Birdybop at The Moon and lead singer / keys player for Denton-based Oso-Closo –– is starting a new music residency at The Post at River East, a neighborhood restaurant and music venue. See Hulet live every Tuesday from 7pm to 10pm in the courtyard.

 

Best Thing to Do 8 Days a Week

Critic’s Choice: Seminars, Ensemble Coworking, 1617 Park Place Av, 817-984-3633.

Beyond being one of the best coworking locations in North Texas, Ensemble Coworking motivates their tenants and hosts various seminars for their betterment. At Ensemble’s Productivity Work Sprints, productivity is boosted with virtual coworking and accountability. Business Mixers Over Coffee events help you meet other like-minded professionals. The little extras like these makes being your own boss a bit more manageable.

 

Big Ticket 

Critic’s Choice: Culture on a Budget, Fort Worth Cultural District (various locations)

Did the annual gallery week hoopla awaken a sudden interest in the arts for you? While your mind may want to hit every museum as soon as possible, your wallet may have a few questions. Museums in the Cultural District can help your budget in a big way.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell St, 817-738-9215) does not charge admission on Fridays. Other museums are free all the time, like Amon Carter Museum of American Art (3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-738-1933), and Sid Richardson Museum (309 Main St, 817-332-6554). Kimbell Art Museum (3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-332-8451) charges admission for the traveling shows, but its permanent exhibits are free to attend.

If curiosities are at the top of your cultural list, Fort Worth is home to a few oddball options. Located on TCU’s grounds, the Monnig Meteorite Museum (2950 W Bowie St, 817-257-6277) has an extensive collection of specimens you can see for free. You can take a free weekday tour and see actual dollars being printed at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing’s facility in Fort Worth (9000 Blue Mound Rd, 817-231-4000). (Dollars you do not have, thus the search for free tours.)

Also, let’s not forget our world-class zoo. Voted the #1 zoo in the country by USA Today, Fort Worth Zoo (1989 Colonial Pkwy, 817-597-5555) offers half-price ($8) tickets every Wed. (Note: The hyenas, lions, tigers, and zebras are going on hiatus in November while their habitat is remodeled, so visit them soon.)

Click HERE to read Best Of 2020: Good Grub.

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