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Animal Rescue Group

Readers’ Choice: Saving Hope Rescue, 4455 Camp Bowie West, @SavingHopeTX

Critic’s Choice: Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, 1430 E Cleveland St, Hutchins, 972-225-4000

If you work in a shiny office building for any length of time, you will learn that birds are not smart. They mistake the mirrored windows for the clear, blue sky and go splat. Often. Sometimes, they are dead on impact. Other times, they are simply stunned. The best practice is to move them to a somewhat protected area overnight. If they eventually fly away, your work here is done. If they are truly injured, Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is your best bet. On any given day, they take in abandoned chicks, birds with broken wings, and injured or sick feathered friends of every breed. Some birds become permanent residents, but most are able to be released back into the wild after healing. Founded by Kathy Rogers in 1989, RWRC is the largest all-species avian rehabilitation and education center of its kind in North Texas.

Art Gallery

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Critic’s Choice (only): William Campbell Gallery, 4935 Byers Av, 817-737-9566

First off, congrats to Bill and Pam Campbell for not only running a small, independent art gallery in Fort Worth nearly 50 years but for being such awesome human beings. Your active presence will be dearly missed. The good news is that you left our pristine art space in good hands. Now under new ownership, William Campbell Gallery has proven by its inaugural group show last month that, while Fort Worth is the capital of Texas art, other parts of the state can’t be ignored. We just hope William Campbell and Artspace 111 can share all the talent. (Spoiler alert: They can. And are.)

Artist

Readers’ Choice: Mariell Guzman, @MariellGuzman

Critic’s Choice: Bernardo Vallarino, BernardoVallarinoArt.com

The Colombian-American artist repped by Fort Works Art tackled the pandemic head-on, going against his stated mission to focus on human violence and suffering. Of course, Vallarino soon realized the politicization of the virus had become a manifestation of human violence and suffering, as boneheaded decisions by leaders here and overseas were killing citizens, especially the elderly, the impoverished, and minorities. For his series A Responce to a Pandemic, the mixed-media sculptor and installation artist created replicas of American flags using U.S. bills for the stripes and sometimes gold swastikas for the stars, a beetle pushing an orb of dung with a Trump/Pence bumper sticker on it, and mini-cages with small figures in them made out of Goya beans cans. “We are not only suffering from COVID-19,” he writes, “but we are also suffering from a pandemic of greed, hate, bias, racism, intolerance, and apathy.” A fellow with NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures), Vallarino graduated with a BFA in sculpture from TCU and an MFA in the same discipline from Texas Woman’s University. He is the current coordinator of the Fort Worth Art Collective and a board member at Artes De La Rosa.

 

In A Responce to a Pandemic, the mixed-media sculptor and installation artist Bernardo Vallarino created replicas of American flags using U.S. bills for the stripes and sometimes gold swastikas for the stars, a beetle pushing an orb of dung with a Trump/Pence bumper sticker on it, and mini-cages with small figures in them made out of Goya beans cans.
Courtesy of bernardovallarinoart.com

Arts & Crafts Class

Readers’ Choice (only): Twisted Glass, 1527 Jacksboro Hwy, 817-624-0420

 

Culinary Class

Readers’ Choice: The Cookery Fort Worth, 710 S Main St, 682-888-8901

Critic’s Choice:

Central Market, six area locations

It’s nice to have this cooking class back on after the pandemic forced it to go away for a while. Taking place on every day of the week except Tuesday, the classes at the venerable supermarket will take you through cuisines ranging from Brazilian to Korean and classic French, turning humble ingredients into dishes that will dazzle your date night and turn you into the toast of your potluck supper.

Burlesque

Critic’s Choice (only): The Red Goose Burlesque Revue, Red Goose Saloon, 306 N Houston St, 817-332-4745

The Red Goose downtown is the place for all your burlesque needs. Be it a regular Friday night or even a Saturday brunch, Delilah DuBois, a.k.a. the “Double-D Debutante of Burlesque” and the “Duchess of Debauchery,” and members of North Texas’ super-glam drag family, are here to titillate and tease their stupendous, well-dressed bodies the way it used to be, long before pole-dancing took over and acrobatics in clear heels and bikinis became the norm. The Goose’s next drag brunch is noon-2pm (doors at 11am) on Saturday. Doors open at 11.

Cultural Event

Readers’ Choice: FWADA Gallery Night, FWADA.com/GalleryNight

Critic’s Choice: A Tribute to Larry McMurtry, presented by Lone Star Film Society at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, 817-738-9215

Lone Star Film Society pulled out all the stops to pay homage to the great Western novelist who died in spring 2020. This past summer, they screened a number of the films that he wrote the script for as well as episodes of the trailblazing TV miniseries Lonesome Dove. The screenings included context from McMurtry scholars as well, giving insight into the cinematic legacy of this Texas literary legend.

Dance Troupe

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

Critic’s Choice: Texas Ballet Theater

In response to record levels of COVID-19 infections across North Texas in December 2020, leadership at Texas Ballet Theater announced several changes to the company’s early 2021 performances. TBT originally planned to perform Serenade (a Balanchine classic set to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings), Star Crossed (a pas de deux of Romeo and Juliet), and a world premiere by TBT associate artistic director Tim O’Keefe at Bass Performance Hall this February. Those performances, along with performances of works by Bartok and other composers, were filmed and presented online instead. This allowed the troupe to showcase the art and resilience of ballet to the community through TBT’s digital space. With in-person performance back on the schedule, we look forward to The Nutcracker — and The Nutty Nutcracker — this winter and a full schedule for spring 2022.

Day Trip

Readers’ Choice: Dinosaur Valley State Park, 1629 Park Rd 59, Glen Rose, 254-897-4588

Critic’s Choice: River Legacy Living Science Center & River Legacey Park, 703 NW Green Oaks, Arlington, 817-860-6752

Sure, Arlington isn’t that far, but you can easily spend a day exploring River Legacy Park. Whether you’re gazing at the aquariums and exhibits in the Discovery Room (which currently includes the traveling Dinosaur Safari exhibit), exploring the park’s eight miles of hiking and biking trails, or hurtling down its 10-mile mountain bike run, this urban oasis is well worth a whole Saturday. Just be sure to bring plenty of water. All that exploring is thirsty work.

Dog Park

Readers’ Choice: MUTTS Canine Cantina, 5317 Clearfork Main St, 817-877-0151

Critic’s Choice: Z Bones Dog Park, 6950 Camp Bowie West, 817-392-5700

With seven grassy acres — three of which are fenced off for small dogs — Zbonz has more than enough space for your pups to get their zoomies out, fill up on smells, and leave liquid graffiti for their pals and rivals to read. The park has two aerated ponds and an agility course, and there’s ample shaded seating for humans to relax.

Drag Performer

Critic’s Choice (only): Patrick Mikyles, Drag With Me, @DragWithMe.TheShow

Some drag queens are natural performers while others have what it takes to lead drag shows as MCs. Patrick Mikyles does both masterfully well. Mikyles is the go-to ringleader for the My Oh My! series that primarily presents shows in Fort Worth. He does a spot-on impersonation of Prince, and his lively renditions of “Purple Rain” leave fans making it rain dollar bills. The chorus’ downbeat is when the athletic performer drops his glittery purple cape to reveal a skin-tight purple one-piece. It’s a sight to behold. Mikyles can read a crowd, and he has a gift for making everyone feel comfortable at his shows. If you want to order Mikyles a drink, we hear the MC loves Fireball shots.

Some drag queens are natural performers while others have what it takes to lead drag shows as MCs. Patrick Mikyles does both masterfully well.
Photo by Edward Brown

Entertainment Spot

Readers’ Choice: Electric Starship Arcade, 5620 Denton Hwy, Haltom City, 817-479-6366

Critic’s Choice: Texas Live!, 1650 E Randol Mill Rd, Arlington, 817-852-6688

Now that live music is coming back to this complex, we feel comfortable in recommending it for its sheer variety of entertainment options. The dining options alone are enough to make you dizzy, and the activities range from pop-up yoga to craft beer events. Of course, when it comes to catching the big game, the sports bars here are the next best thing to being at the stadium. Whether your tastes are lowbrow, highbrow, or somewhere in the middle, this massive complex has something for you.

Example of New Architecture

Critic’s Choice (only): Drift Bridge by Volkan Alkanoglu, built for City of Fort Worth’s Public Art Program, @FWPublicArt.org/Drift

Not something you expect to see in good ol’ Cowtown, Drift manifests the kind of progressive, sustainable design that’s normally found in major metropolises on the coasts and in Europe. The 62-foot-long bridge looks like a giant hollowed log or canoe. Spanning a creek in South Hills, the timber-and-steel structure represents the only route across the waterway for seven blocks. Commissioned by Fort Worth Public Art, Drift was designed by Portland’s Volkan Alkanoglu and represents his first major infrastructure project.

Gallery Exhibit

Readers’ Choice: Swallow the Frog, Jules Buck Jones, Artspace 111, 111 Hampton St, 817-692-3228

Critic’s Choice: Tell Me, I’m Listening, Charles Gray, Dang Good Candy Studio & Gallery, 420 Houston St, @Dang_Good_Candy

Charles Gray is mild and soft-spoken, but his often-autobiographical paintings and portraits speak loudly. A painting of two chickens may seem unimaginative if you are blissfully unaware that poultry was often used as bartering for buying enslaved Black men, women, and children. Gray’s muse never strays far from his immediate circle of friends and family, and his familial storytelling ability was on full display at a recent gallery show at Dang Good Candy, the new downtown studio/gallery space headed by multi-disciplinary artist Jay Wilkinson.

Tell Me, I’m Listening featured more than a dozen oil portraits by Gray, whose friends and relatives sprung to life throughout the show that Gray also curated. One multiracial friend of Gray’s was shown in different poses and temperaments to illustrate the many identities women of color must adopt as they navigate a white- and male-dominated America. Kudos to Gray for using his first solo show to acknowledge the men and women who have shaped him into the young and brilliant artist that he is today.

Charles Gray’s familial storytelling ability was on full display at a recent gallery show at Dang Good Candy. Tell Me, I’m Listening featured more than a dozen oil portraits by Gray, whose friends and relatives sprung to life.
Courtesy of Instagram

Golf Course

Readers’ Choice: Rockwood Golf Course, 1851 Jacksboro Hwy, 817-392-6560

Critic’s Choice: Rockwood Golf Course

Opened prior to World War II, Rockwood has undergone a renaissance and revamp that make this public course play like a country club. A $5 million renovation started in 2015 and gave these links a possible play length of 7,000 yards (where championship golf courses start). Bond money gifted the course an upgraded clubhouse, which opened back in May. Rockwood is also home to The First Tee from the Ben Hogan Center, which is an instructional facility for golf with classrooms, a kid’s library, as well as simulators and club repair. The original Rockwood designer — Ralph Plummer — also designed Colonial’s course and co-designed Southern Hills. If you love golf, and Fort Worth, you’ll never be disappointed driving these links adjacent to the Trinity River.

Kids’ Activity

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

Critic’s Choice: bike riding the Trinity Trails

Even during the hot months, as long as you avoid going between, say, 11am and 3pm, there’s really no better way to tire out the little monsters than by hopping on the Trinity Trails and pedaling away all the bad stuff. Parking typically isn’t too bad, though good luck getting out of the park — it’s a one-way path that winds from near the Fort Worth Botanic Garden to West freaking 7th. And we hear you, weekend warriors. You’re on our left! We heard you the first five times. Sorry for trying to do something nice with our family on your precious trail. Get a life.

Mural (Commercial)

Readers’ Choice (only): Texas Medical Institute mural by Kathleen Cameron, Texas Medical Institute, 3304 SE Loop 820, 817-615-8633

Mural (Community)

Readers’ Choice: Jennifer Guillen mural by Juan Velasquez, 1117 Belknap St

Critic’s Choice: “Cosmic Journey,” by Eric “Drigo” Rodriquez, 401 Hemphill St

The Near Southside has long been an incubator for local art. Projects along South Main Street and West Magnolia Avenue have made the district a bastion of fun and thought-provoking murals that seemingly greet visitors at every turn. June saw the completion of the most massive mural undertaking to date in that area. Chicago-based CRG, a real estate company, ponied up $50,000 for a mural on one side of its parking garage at 401 Hemphill St. To complete it, CRT partnered with Art South, a Near Southside Inc. venture that facilitates private business investment in public art. Eric “Drigo” Rodriguez was selected from 89 applicants to complete the massive undertaking. The 5,000-square-foot mural is adequately trippy and whimsical. Unfolding across the garage’s five-story south-facing facade, it depicts a sunny dreamscape of eye-popping tropical flora, psychedelic fauna, and a human being found in some transcendental moment involving a portal and a flamingo-shaped watering can. “Cosmic Journey” speaks to humanity’s potential to evolve.

Eric “Drigo” Rodriguez was selected from 89 applicants to complete the 5,000-square-foot “Cosmic Journey” on the Near Southside.
Photo by Wyatt Newquist

Museum Exhibit

Readers’ Choice: Queen Nefertari’s Egypt, Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Campo Bowie Blvd, 817-332-8451

Critic’s Choice: Buddha Shiva Lotus Dragon, Kimbell Art Museum

The exquisite curatorial eyes of John D. Rockefeller III and his wife Blanchette Rockefeller came to the fore in the Kimbell’s show of Asian art, with its spectacular displays of Indian Chola bronze sculptures and Chinese porcelain. This feast of decorative arts boasted metalwork and ceramics showing how Buddhism, Hinduism, and commercial trade knitted together far-flung parts of Asia in olden days.

The exquisite curatorial eyes of John D. Rockefeller III and his wife Blanchette Rockefeller came to the fore in the Kimbell’s Buddha Shiva Lotus Dragon, a feast of decorative arts boasting metalwork and ceramics and showing how Buddhism, Hinduism, and commercial trade knitted together far-flung parts of Asia in olden days.
Photograph by Synthescape, courtesy of Asia Society and American Federation of Arts

Nonprofit Organization

Readers’ Top 5: Cancer Care Services, 623 S Henderson St, 817-921-0653 • Don’t Forget to Feed Me, 5825 E Rosedale St, 817-334-0727 • Sunshine Spaces, 12650 N Beach St, Ste 8, 979-324-9567 • Tarrant Area Food Bank, 2600 Cullen St, 817-857-7100 • Texas Coalition for Animal Protection (TCAP), 2400 Westport Pkwy, Ste 100, 817-837-4500

Critic’s Choice: Texas Jail Project, 13121 Louetta Rd, Ste 1330, Cypress, 512-469-7665

Americans have been fed a lazy narrative on criminal justice, one that describes anyone with a badge as the “good guy’ and anyone in cuffs as deserving to be treated like an animal. Sometimes, the person in cuffs is an impoverished single mother who is behind on traffic tickets because her underserved neighborhood is overpoliced, and sometimes jailers are megalomaniacs on a power trip.

Take those same police cameras from Como and Stop Six and place them in tony neighborhoods around Colonial Country Club, and we promise that the county will see an uptick in impounded luxury SUVs from DUIs, cocaine confiscations out the wazoo, and a surge of confiscated prescription meds that were taken for “back pain” from all those hours out on the green.

Texas Jail Project humanizes the impoverished men and women who are swept up by local law enforcement and left to languish in decrepit county jails. Idiotic retorts of “Do the crime, do the time” from conservatives are no longer fooling younger generations, who understand that pretrial detainees are legally innocent and often the victims of a U.S. criminal justice system that too often protects the wealthy and targets the poor.

Paint Night

Readers’ Choice: Cowtown Paints, 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ste 809, 469-844-8480

Critic’s Choice: A Geek and Her Brush, AGeekandHerBrush.com, 682-429-8064

Self-described as a “hot mess of a Southern belle with an imagination as big as the Texas sky,” Jana Mills hosts public paint nights at bars and restaurants — like Rogers Roundhouse (1616 Rogers Rd, 817-367-9348) — all around North Texas through her Fort Worth-based arts and crafts business A Geek and Her Brush. With stay-at-home practically being the theme of the year, the Geek helps people plan a custom party at the location of their choice, including in homes and private businesses. For a party of eight, the cost is $25 per person for a two-hour session and includes the supplies, plus tables and chairs. For bigger parties, give her a call. Mills gives lessons and paints commissioned works as well.

Self-described as a “hot mess of a Southern belle with an imagination as big as the Texas sky,” Jana Mills hosts public paint nights at bars and restaurants all around North Texas through her Fort Worth-based arts and crafts business A Geek and Her Brush.
Courtesy of Facebook

Park

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

Critic’s Choice: Buffalo Ridge Park, 5720 Parkwood Tr, Haltom City, 817-831-6464

Trinity Trails may be great, but do they take you past a high school athletics facility? That’s a negatory, Ghost Rider, because Buffalo Ridge Park on the edge of Fort Worth territory winds from North Beach Street to White Branches Park, navigating all manner of ups and downs and swerves through mostly woody neighborhoods and Haltom High. Do the loop twice, and that’s about six miles. The best part: no weekend warriors behind you shouting, “On your left!” constantly.

Recreational Activity

Readers’ Choice: Classes at Studio of MoveMINT, 5512 Bellaire Dr, Ste 140, 682-312-0442

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Bike Sharing, various locations, 817-348-0084

Available for rent at stations scattered between Waterside retail district in the southwest and Nolan Catholic High School in the northeast, these sturdy bikes are a fantastic way to get some fresh air, exercise, and see the city via the Trinity Trails, popping into the adjoining neighborhoods for bites, beers, and other bike-based adventures.

See Movies, Place to

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

Critic’s Choice: Film Alley, 825 I-20 Frontage Rd, Weatherford, 817-341-3232

Alas, the Alamo Drafthouse locations have been closed since last summer, so we go with this place that not only has a full-service restaurant and a bowling alley but also is one of the increasingly rare movie theaters to offer a large video arcade. Plus, it was the only theater last year showing the Australian horror film Relic. If Film Alley displays more specialty movies like that, that’ll give us even more reason to make the trip out west.

Take Kids, Place to

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

Critic’s Choice: Kid Mania, 9101 Tehama Ridge Pkwy, 682-703-8440

Unleash the animals to bounce and jump and climb and duck around for hours while you chill on a chair far, far away and dine on surprisingly delicious, seemingly made-from-scratch food. It’s pizzas, burgers, salads, and the like, but, man, not too shabby! Give this place a liquor license, and the North Fort Worth building will have to expand by about a million square feet to accommodate all of the life-crazed chillun and beaten-down parents out there.

Theater Production

Readers’ Choice: Dead, Dead on the Range at Texas Star Dinner Theater, 816 S Main St, Grapevine, 817-910-5588

Critic’s Choice: The Naughty List, Stage West 821 W Vickery Blvd, 817-784-9378

If you braved the freezing cold this past winter to see the troupe’s holiday show, you took in an outdoor dance piece that told the origin story of Krampus, with dancers moving to Christmas carols that you hadn’t heard before. The dialogue-free piece put a premium on the safety of performers and audience members alike and made great use of the space at Texas Wesleyan University to tell a story in a new way.

Theater Troupe

Critic’s Choice: Stage West, 821 W Vickery Blvd, 817-784-9378

The pandemic really put a crimp in the live theater scene both here and around the world. The troupe that has been in operation since 1979 took best to the obstacles thrown in its way, putting shows online and staging interactive productions where audience members could take part via Zoom. Nothing will ever replace the thrill of live performance, but as the industry staggers back to its feet, Stage West showed everyone else how to cope with adversity.

Read about our winners by going to the Best Of Getting & SpendingPeople & PlacesArts & CultureGood Grub, and On The Town section articles on FWWeekly.com. To see the Best Of 2021 special edition in a flipbook, page-by-page format, click here.

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