We’re in a reflective mood here at CultureMap. Dallas had some ups and downs in 2014, but the city continues to surprise us in ways that make us proud to call it home. These are some of our favorite moments from the last year:
Dallas welcomes young people with a plan
“This has been a great year for the young entrepreneur. Dallas has been inundated with great ideas, and we are willing to take chances on those who have them. It’s encouraging to live in a city that supports people in their quests to create something new that, in most cases, makes some aspect of our lives just a little bit easier. Oh, and Pecan Lodge opening on Main Street in Deep Ellum was pretty sweet.” — Diana Oates
Alamo Drafthouse becomes more than just the best place to see a movie
“Keeping in the tradition of their forebears, Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson has been known for its out-of-the-box movie programming since it opened in August 2013. But when a real-life crisis hit the movie industry — Sony Pictures’ getting hacked and then threatened by North Korea if it released the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview — our local Alamo was at the forefront in not backing down to terrorists.
“First they spoke of their desire to show the film despite the threats; then they arranged to show a similar satire, Team America: World Police, in its stead. Thanks in part to a petition Alamo backed, The Interview ultimately was released to independent theaters, and Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson made the most of it, with a slew of showings and a special themed-menu. Although championing a low-brow comedy may seem strange on the surface, Alamo helped to make sure a precedent of censorship was not set, thereby allowing filmmakers to continue taking risks in the future.” — Alex Bentley
Dallas gets slightly more environmental
“We’re a long way from Austin, but baby steps. Struck by the horrors of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a ‘swirling collection of debris particles and trash’ adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Snappy Salads banished plastic straws. In October, the Dallas salad chain began using slightly more expensive paper straws. In March, Dallas passed a new ordinance requiring a 5-cent fee on single-use bags, effective January 1, 2015. An outright ban would have been better, but something is better than nothing.” — Teresa Gubbins
The Texas Rangers gave us a history lesson
“I suppose I could talk about the Dallas Cowboys’ renaissance this year behind record breakers DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant. I could mention that FC Dallas returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and how forward Tesho Akindele won the MLS Rookie of the Year. Instead, my favorite moment of 2014 was the collapse of the Texas Rangers. They finished the season at 67-95 — their worst record since 2000, which is perfect, because it made me feel young again.
“I grew up on the early 2000s, when the Rangers were abjectly terrible, and I loved them regardless, with little hope that one day that faith would pay off. And, then, it happened. Being a Rangers fan was no longer MLB leprosy. The Rangers were exciting and successful and good. They had a bevy of All-Stars and deep playoff runs with vindicating victories. It was something that I, and many others, began taking for granted almost as soon as it happened. We bitched about losing the play-in to Baltimore in 2012 and the tie-breaker to Tampa in 2013 as if we, as fans, were owed something.
“By bottoming out, the Rangers reminded everyone that those early departures to the post-season weren’t that bad. No, it could be so. Much. Worse. I won’t say it made me happy, but it was a refreshing callback to the days of Chan Ho Park and Alex Rodriguez’s bloated contracts, inept pitching and an offensive strategy that consisted mostly of hitting home runs and praying. It restored an appreciation for what the Rangers have done the last six years — and hope that it can get better.” — Jonathan Rienstra
Dallas Art Fair brings the city to life
“The plethora of activities around last year’s Dallas Art Fair was the best time of the year for me — from the Eye Ball, where the local art and fashion worlds finally got up close and personal with artist Tony Tasset’s ocular sculpture, to the double whammy two-man show of Richard Phillips and Julian Schnabel at the Dallas Contemporary. During that week it was really evident that our city is being taken seriously as a destination for the arts — and the vibe is so exhilarating it’s almost easy to imagine what it could be like to have that energy and anticipation in Dallas year-round.” — Kendall Morgan
TCU football shows it belongs on the national stage
“TCU’s rise to national prominence and a near-berth in the first College Football Playoff validated the Big 12’s decision to invite the Horned Frogs back into the world of big-time college football three years ago. Being on the field the day the Horned Frogs clinched a part of the Big 12 crown was like a New Year’s Eve party.
“Trevone Boykin flirted with a Heisman Trophy run, head coach Gary Patterson reminded the country why he’s one of the game’s best head coaches and the Horned Frogs crushed Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl to send a message to College Football Playoff selection committee — you made a mistake not taking us.” — Matthew Postins
Having a sanctuary is a good investment
“Most days I get up in the morning and walk around my neighborhood as part of my daily routine. It’s a form of exercise, of course, but it’s also an opportunity for me to scope out my neighbors’ yards for landscaping ideas, see what’s on the market and watch the new construction progress.
“The latter is a fairly recent phenomenon; mine is one of the hottest neighborhoods in Dallas right now, so it’s a hotbed of building activity. Yes, some homes are being torn down to make way for those dreadful cookie-cutter houses you see in the ’burbs. But existing homes are also being renovated, some with additions that more adequately meet the needs of modern families yet still fit within the scale of the neighborhood.
“Why do I like to watch all of this play out? Because it reminds me that I made a good investment. More than seven years ago, I sunk nearly all of my pennies into a 1950s ranch and turned it into my sanctuary. Now, as I watch the activity buzzing around me, and I read the reports about Dallas’ being one of the top — and still affordable — housing markets in the country, I know I settled in the right place.” — Jennifer Chininis