Texas®

Man, it’s been a minute, but another “Appy Hour” is nigh upon us, good folks. This Friday, November 4th, we’re reaching out to the flavors of the Far East to get all kinds of Appy.

As we’ve said before, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be rocking a BestBuzz App on your iPhone or Android, these days. It’s free and to suggest that the benefits of possessing this app pay extreme and immediate dividends is a most serious understatement.

We could go on and on about the various deals one has available to them once they download the app, but first, let’s discuss this week’s Appy Hour specifically. The Sushi Zushi in Dallas has already come to be known as one of the best spots for sushi in a city that’s grown increasingly mad for the oceanic treat in recent years. Come on by Friday between 3pm and 8pm, buzz-in with your app and proceed to enjoy the following specials that you simply can not attain without being properly buzzed…

·         $1 specialty Dolce Vodka cocktails (this will go away at 6pm, though)

·         Bar Swag Giveaways

·         Free Apps and Rolls

·         Gift Card Giveaways

·         $5 drink specials (assorted beverages)

So, sound good? I know. I know it does. We’ll see you there then! Also, give the bad boy below a scan with your app so we know you’re coming.

Sushi Zushi

3558 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas TX, 75219

(214) 522-7253

As excited as I am to think about the coming cars from the new Fiat/Chrysler, there seems to be that awful lag time between what will be and what is now. Trapped in that limbo of low standards and trying to make the best of a bad lot is the Chrysler 200.
 
During the Mercedes years, Chrysler benefited hugely from the information transfer that allowed them to base their large cars (300c, Magnum, Charger and Challenger) on the fantastically stout and resilient E-series Mercedes engineering platform. This foundation has allowed for rapid development and execution of well sorted-out cars that literally hit the market here in the states squarely between the eyes. Big, strong and sexy looking; the large cars from Chrysler have become as good as any in the market.
 
After driving the Fiat 500 a couple of weeks ago and loving it, I can only hope Chrysler can find a way of taking one of Fiat’s great middle-sized cars and getting it in the market, ASAP. This time though, critical – almost emergency – was really driven home by every mile I spent behind the wheel of the Chrysler 200 Convertible.
 
The 200 has been touted by Chrysler as the “rebirth” of Detroit, but that baby is still a little premature. While the 200 is leaps and bounds better than the car it replaces, the Sebring, Stratus “Cloud” cars, it is not up to the changes in the market. Chrysler’s middle-of-the-road cars were leapfrogged by the Japaneese back when Toyota introduced the Camry, but now the Korean companies Hyundai and Kia have literally stomped on the Detroit icon. The Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata are proof that you can have a small economical car that works well, and looks great. Unfortunately, it’s like rubbing salt in an injured warrior’s wounds to point that out.
 
This used to be Chryslers forte; building cars just a little cheaper than Ford or GM. The company was looked upon with almost heroic “Mom, Apple Pie, and Baseball-style” Americana reverence, but the number three underdog was standing on a foundation of sand that each new competitor shoveled out a little more. When the global financial crisis hit and Chrysler’s credit lines evaporated, the company ended up spending all their time on survival and the efforts to design a replacement for their small sedans were shelved.
 
I honestly believe that part of the problem during the Venture Capital ownership period at Chrysler was exacerbated by the fact they had installed a senior management team from outside the automotive industry. These non-car guys just didn’t seem to understand the lead times and development investments in such a complex product.
 
The 200 and its Dodge Twin Avenger are the result of a muddling lack of vision.
 
Driving around in the 200 actually made me angry, partially because of how the car was simply not what I thought it would be, but more so because I had read a couple of articles touting how good the car was by so-called journalists or Autowriters whose objectives I have to question.
 
There is a fine line of balance in this business of reviewing cars. In my case, I see my “End User” as the person reading this article trying to find information to make one of their largest financial commitments in their lives. Thankfully, at Best of Texas, I don’t have the issues some local publications have of trying to generate advertising revenue via their editorial content. It is not that the manufacturers directly try to influence the editorial content at a local newspaper, but that business is so dependent on the Auto advertiser the last thing they need to do is annoy or offend an advertiser. This leads to picking up the paper and reading a review that is written by an Advertising Copywriter whose goal is to sell cars – not to give an unbiased opinion.
 
This is why you see canned pieces, rewritten press releases and stock photography in most of the publications out there. It’s just something that has crept into this business and there are very few reviewers out there who have insulated themselves from the pressure of advertising. There are others who have completely sold their souls, and that makes me mad.
 
The other balance point is finding a way to both entertain and inform. If the article is not compelling, the reader’s attention would have long since moved on to the next thing in the visual and technological barrage of information out there.
 
As I was annoyed with the Chrysler 200’s not-quite-there driving inputs, lethargic acceleration and dismal handling, I was thinking that it wasn’t really that awful. After all, if you really want a convertible, I was figuring the 200 would be a reasonable option if it came in around $25-27k. But here is a little secret of how I write my reviews. I purposely don’t look at the information the manufacturer provides to me until I have given the car a chance to either impress or depress me. I don’t look at the price until I have driven it for a couple of days. Oh, wow. When I did, all I could do was think of things I would rather do with $37,000.
 
That is where the anger came in.
 
I can’t in good conscious recommend this car. I might have at a far lower price point, but at 37k there are simply too many better options out there. I could happily own a Fiat 500 and the motorcycle of my choice for that money. Or, if you need a drop-top, I would be driving people out of Chrysler showrooms and down the street to buy a Mustang convertible. I was staggered they could put this car that still has roots back in the K Car days out for that price. For that matter, I know you can find a slightly enjoyed BMW for that money, and let me tell you: The 200 is certainly not in that area.
 
Chrysler needs to run, not walk, to figure out how to rebadge one of Fiat’s platforms, ASAP. Italian car division Lancia has a couple that pop to mind. I really want to see that and it is not every day I say this, but the 200 sure as hell looked better leaving than it did with me.

A couple of years ago, one wouldn’t think of Texas, let alone Dallas as a Mecca for world class electronic dance music festivals. Sure, there are some significant clubs scattered through the state that have always attracted relatively big names from e do world, but it wasn’t until last year when the Electric Daisy Music Festival hit Dallas that many people began to take notice of our states thirst for electro dance grooves.

After another commercially successful, but sadly tragic, EDC, Dallas is set to host what might be the single biggest music-related New Years Eve party in the country. The Lights All Night festival is so big, in fact, that it requires two nights of stone lights and pulsing beats to get it all done. Beginning on December 30, the party won’t end until the New Year is sufficiently rang in, for sure.

The number of performers is only topped by the sheer quality of the talent. Worldwide headliners such as Diplo, Tiesto, Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT, among other quality acts such as Neon Indian and Texas’ own Ghostland Observatory.

So, for those looking to ring in the new year with some danceable beats that last well beyond the drop of the times square ball, look no further than downtown Dallas.

 One of my good friends from The Dallas Observer, Daniel Hopkins, is more than just a writer and musician, these days. Thanks to his segments on the site You + Dallas, he’s a real-life video star kinda dude. Here are a few examples of his handy work.

Recently, we couldn’t help but notice that everyone around us seemed to be wearing cozy long-sleeve t shirts that bore the name of some race that the person wearing the shirt had presumably run. Honestly, we got a little jealous. Heck, we even ran a 5k in Irving a couple of weeks ago. Good fun. The shirt was horribly ugly though, which was a bummer, to say the least.

For those of you who may have also recently caught yourself feeling a slight ping of jealousy over someone else’s racing shirt, there are tons of options available to you. Perhaps you might want to give one of  these upcoming runs a look and see if your up for running, even of the shirt turns put to be hideously unwearable …..

- The Undy Run (White Rock Lake – Dallas): This Saturday, run in your boxers and support the search for a cure for Colon Cancer.

- The Hill Country Pumpkin Run (Kerville): Another run on this busy 5k weekend.

- Cowboys and Kids 5k (Mesquite): Help the teachers out by running a couple of miles, why don’t ‘ya?

- The San Antonio Rock & Roll Half Marathon: Get a serious run in while you seriously rock out. this is one of the bigger running events in the state, these days.

A few months ago, we discussed what exhibits were being showcased in some of our states best museums. We figured it would be a good time to see what new things were going on. You know, just so you have something to do and stuff.

Dallas Museum of Art: Mark Bradford ~ The DMA focuses on this emerging, modern artist. According to the museum’s website, Bradford “ is best known for his large-scale abstract paintings made from a variety of collaged materials.” For many North texans, this seems like an exhibit that would typically be found in Ft. Worth, so it’s pretty cool to have it land in Dallas’ Art District.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston ~ We could stop with two words: King Tut. But we wont. This gem of Houston’s stellar museum district has too many other great thigns going on right now. If the lines are too long for Tut, or tickets are sold-out, we suggest the The Spirit of Modernism exhibit. Thanks to a gift from a friend of the museum, John R. Eckel, MFAH has only built a stronger case as perhaps the prime must-visit museum in all of the state.

Harry Ransom Center (Austin): Banned, Burned, Siezed and Censored ~ On the heels of wonderful, literary exhibitions (see: Kerouac’s scrolls for On The Road and the recently concluded Tennessee Williams exhibit), this Austin treasure’s latest exhibit ”reveals the rarely seen ‘machinery’ of censorship in the United States between the two world wars. It’s also more than worthy to note that the permenet collection of the Ransom center has one of the only five Gutenburg Bibles in the US. In terms of literary history, it’s pretty hard to top that one.

Kimbell Art Museum (Ft. Worth): Caravaggio & His Followers in Rome ~ What can be said about this museum that hasn’t been said by legions of admirers already? Not much really. In fact, the jewel of Ft. Worth’s excellent arts district is worthy of one simply showing up without even knowing what’s currently travelring through, thanks to the museum’s high standards and historically-proven track record of being beter than so many others at what they do. So, with that said: Just go.



All of the award nominations and kind words for Calhoun’s record Heavy Sugar are insanely deserved. The song featured above was one of the five songs nominated for “Song of the Year” in the Dallas Observer Music Awards. the Ft. Worth-based act has long been a great indie band, but this record gave them a pristine guitar-pop vibe that lent accessibility without sacrificing the band’s overall character.

House of Blues Entertainment unveiled its restaurant, “Crossroads at House of Blues,” a new dining experience featuring a menu created by noted celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez, known to television viewers for his appearances on numerous Food Network shows and culinary events across the country. 

Incorporating flavors from all over the world, Chef Aaron has created new signature dishes such as shrimp and grits, short rib meatball sliders, hand stretched grilled flatbreads, chile braised short ribs and street tacos.

“House of Blues is all about music, love, art and spirituality,” said Chef Sanchez.  “In many ways, those are the same ingredients for great food and that’s exactly what I’ve tried to capture in the new menu for the Crossroads restaurants.”

 
Previous House of Blues dining favorites like jambalaya remain on the menu and Chef Aaron has also created updated versions of House of Blues staples like cornbread, pulled pork sandwiches and signature burgers that feature unique twists.
 
House of Blues showcases the diversity of live music by presenting nearly every genre of music on its stages.  Crossroads at House of Blues also celebrates this spirit of diversity.  The cuisine is a mix of American and international inspired dishes created by one of the hottest chefs in America , culinary visionary Chef Sanchez. 
 
Surrounded by the unique folk art that fills the walls of the restaurant, Crossroads at House of Blues is a place where food, music and art intersect.
 
The new imagery for Crossroads at House of Blues is a combination of antique road signs and U.S. roadmaps. The rusted vintage road signs come from all over the world, reinforcing a multicultural cuisine back-story while also incorporating the overarching juke joint/roadhouse textures of the House of Blues brand.  The signs, maps and branding provide a subtle overall roadmap to the Crossroads experience.

The junction of Highway 61 and Highway 49 in Clarksdale is also designated as the famous crossroads where, according to legend, Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for mastery of the blues, the truly American art form that the House of Blues clubs pay tribute to every day.

 

It would be a sin for us to keep from making sure that you all know about this weekend’s celebration of north Texas’ best music. The 22nd edition of the Dallas Observer Music Awards are nigh upon us, and a few years ago, that meant a pretty nifty awards ceremony and a great special issue of the free alt-weekly would be awaiting us. But now, so much more is meant when the time for these awards roll around.

For the last few years, a massive majority of the nominated acts get together and jam within a few blocks of each other. Last year, the showcase was held in the historic Deep Ellum district. While there were 50 or so bands playing in several clubs, the highlight was the positively communal vibe that a bustling night of music fostered.

This year, Deep Ellum will once again hold the showcase and a main stage line-up will join the festivities. It’s tough to think of a more appropriate bill for a main stage at a festival full of Dallas, Denton and Ft. Worth’s finest acts. The Toadies, The Old 97s, Centro-matic and Sarah Jaffe will ring in the night that will see nominated bands rocking until 2 am.

Of course, it would also be sinister to forget about the awards show itself, now wouldn’t it? On Tuesday, the 18th at the House of Blues in Dallas, Erykah Badu will headline the festivities as the best of the regions music stars are revealed.

 

Dallas roots duo, The O’s are legit talents and have certainly earned their spot as one of the most talked about acts in north Texas. We’ve talked about them here before. We freaking love their record from earlier this year. It seems as though they’ve pledged to make a video for each of the album’s 12 songs (not one of them worth skipping, by the way). At this juncture, they’ve recorded three, and they’re all really well-made and stand on their own as individual works of creativity, aside from the song itself.