• 2013 Porsche 911 (991 series) - CultureMap 2012 Best New Design
    Photo by Kevin McCauley
  • 2013 Porsche 911 (991 series) - CultureMap 2012 Best New Design
    Photo by Kevin McCauley
  • 2013 Porsche 911 (991 series) - CultureMap 2012 Best New Design
    Photo by Kevin McCauley
  • 2013 Range Rover - Runner-up CultureMap 2012 Best New Design
    Photo by Kevin McCauley
  • 2013 Range Rover - Runner-up CultureMap 2012 Best New Design
    Photo by Kevin McCauley

Editor's note: In the first annual CultureMap Auto Awards, automotive writers Nic Phillips and Kevin McCauley bestow honors in 10 categories for the top 2012 cars and trucks and explain why they're deserving of a good, hard look. Now for our fourth award:

Best New Design: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera

What was that about subtle updates? First introduced in 1963, the 911 is the poster car for gradual, incremental development and visual nips and tucks. But Porsche's flagship received one of the biggest-ever redesigns for the slope-backed coupe, which doesn't mess with a good thing.

It's longer, lower and a bit leaner, with long overdue but gorgeous Panamera-inspired interior.

See more of the all new 911 in our preview from early 2012

Best New Design Runner-up: 2013 Range Rover

How do you redesign something widely considered to be the best? Subtly.

The all new 2013 Range Rover packs tons of new features and technologies into the familiar, decades-old shape, and inches it along into the future. Lessons learned in the wildly successful Range Rover Sport and sexy Range Rover Evoque are applied with a light touch, bringing an exterior update that most people will probably hardly notice.

In this case, it's a good thing, but once you step inside one you find yourself in a beautifully designed, benchmark setting interior finished as only Jaguar/Land Rover can do. Starting at just $83,000, Range Rover stands firmly at the top of the design pack.

Read more about the all new 2013 Range Rover from our exclusive preview

  • 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid - CultureMap 2012 Green Car of the Year
  • 2012 Infiniti M-Hybrid - Runner-up CultureMap 2012 Green Car of the Year
    Photo by Kevin McCauley

Smart Energy Car of the Year: Ford Fusion Hybrid is the most fun andbest-looking hybrid on the road

CultureMap Auto Awards

Editor's note: In the first annual CultureMap Auto Awards, automotive writers Nic Phillips and Kevin McCauley bestow honors in 10 categories for the top 2012 cars and trucks and explain why they're deserving of a good, hard look. Our third award:

Smart Energy Car of the Year: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Aston Martin-inspired styling, driving dynamics to match, interior design and materials with a European look and feel, claimed 47/47/47 mpg, and a gas pedal in a hybrid that when floored emotes driving passion without sounding like it may explode at any second — the 2013 Ford Fusion is a game changer.

It almost doesn't matter that some are challenging Ford and the EPA's 47 mpg figure, the Fusion Hybrid is the most fun to drive and best-looking hybrid under $30,000 on the road today. In fact, it starts just under $28,000, and adding technology like lane-departure warning with active lane-keeping steering, self parallel parking, automatic highbeams, adaptive radar cruise control, and voice-activated MyFord Touch with Microsoft Sync, one can keep the price in the mid-$30,000s.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid has raised the bar high and is the sort of sedan you'd be proud to own.

Smart Energy Car of the Year Runner-up: 2013 Infiniti M Hybrid

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the world's fastest accelerating full hybrid — the Infiniti M Hybrid. Rather than go for all-out efficiency, Infiniti kept all the parts that make a sports sedan just that, a true sports sedan.

Instead of some mushy CVT, it gets a properly sorted 7-speed automatic transmission. It has rear-wheel drive and near 50/50 weight distribution. Steering is direct with a hybrid electric/hydraulic setup, and it keeps a 3.5L V6 but adds a 50kW electric motor for a combined system output of 360 horsepower.

While 360 hp may not sound like much, it's the 457 lb-ft of torque (40 more than the V8-powered M) that puts even most diesels to shame, and 199 lb-ft of it comes on instantly from the electric motor with a 0-60 time near five seconds.

All this performance comes at a cost, nearly $56,000 base and $67,000 optioned out. But with 27/32 mpg ratings, this high performer keeps its green car cred real.

  • 2012 Audi Q7 TDI - CultureMap 2012 CUV of the Year
    Photo by Kevin McCauley
  • 2013 Hyundai SantaFe Sport - Runner-up 2012 CultureMap CUV of the Year
    Photo by Kevin McCauley

Crossover Utility Vehicle of the Year: Audi Q7 TDI delivers a clean diesel ridefor the whole family

CultureMap Auto Awards

Editor's note: In the first annual CultureMap Auto Awards, automotive writers Nic Phillips and Kevin McCauley bestow honors in 10 categories for the top 2012 cars and trucks and explain why they're deserving of a good, hard look. Now for our second award:

CUV of the Year: Audi Q7 TDI

Crossovers are king when it comes to utility vehicles, offering the benefits of a SUV without the mostly unused off-road or heavy-duty capabilities of a truck-based SUV. Although there are many CUV options, when it comes to great fuel economy there are few, so it's the Audi Q7 TDI that gets our award.

With its turbo direct-injected clean diesel technology, coupled with a best-in-industry 8-speed automatic transmission, the Q7 delivers 28 mpg on the highway (22 mpg combined) without compromising a fun-to-drive disposition and family-pleasing, three-row accommodations.

While the 3.0L V6 diesel delivers only 240 horsepower, it's a whopping 406 lb-ft of torque that make the full-sized CUV feel fast while using less gas. Add to the mix understated Teutonic styling, the latest MMI navigation with slick Google Maps integration, an expansive panoramic sunroof, the performance and safety of Audi's legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and a highly competitive starting price just below $53,000, and the Q7 TDI is a clear winner.

CUV Runner-up: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

It's remarkable to us how quickly Hyundai's newest models continue to improve and rightfully give their more established competition serious cause for concern. The all new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is no exception.

Starting at just $24,450, the Santa Fe packs class-leading content and features typically found on higher-end utes in a sharp-looking and efficient package. We prefer the 2.0L twin-scroll turbo version, with its 264 hp delivering a good push back in the seat and 19-inch wheels giving a truly premium look.

Clever touches abound. This is the first ever utility vehicle with an in-floor storage space for the load-space cover when not in use.

  • 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth - CultureMap 2012 Hot Hatch of the Year
    Photo by Kevin McCauley
  • 2012 Mini Coupe John Cooper Works - Runner-up CultureMap 2012 Hot Hatch of theYear
    Photo by Kevin McCauley

The Hot Hatch of the Year: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth is a little car that elicits bigsmiles — and a growl

CultureMap Auto Awards

Editor's note: In the first annual CultureMap Auto Awards, automotive writers Nic Phillips and Kevin McCauley bestow honors in 10 categories for the top 2012 cars and trucks and explain why they're deserving of a good, hard look. First up:

Hot Hatch of the Year: Fiat 500 Abarth

As smaller cars increasingly become cool again, a nice side benefit is the louder, quicker performance versions that often make their way into showrooms. There was no hatch hotter in 2012 than the Fiat 500 Abarth.

It wasn't the quickest or the most refined, but it brought style, character and a stinging exhaust growl backing up the Scorpion badge. It was one of the most emotive cars we drove all year, and we remember it fondly as the little car that put the biggest smile on your face.

This year, the 500 Abarth loses its top — making it all the more desirable.

The Fiat 500 Abarth starts at just $22,700 and breaks at around $27,000 with all the tricks.

Hot Hatch Runner-up: MINI Coupe John Cooper Works

MINI has taken the charm amp and dialed it up to 11 in the JCW Coupe, the most hardcore MINI ever offered.

It's a superior car in many ways to the 500 Abarth in that it's a serious sports car with a thoroughly sorted suspension and powertrain to match. It has vastly better fit and finishes but is not any faster than the regular MINI despite not having a backseat.

And with a starting price at around $32,000 (nearly $10,000 dollars more than the Fiat) and surpassing $40,000 with options, the choice was clear.

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A-list fashion stars align at Dallas’ most stylish black-tie awards gala

FGI Night of Stars

It's been called Dallas' version of the Met Gala. More than 300 of Dallas' chicest packed the Thompson Hotel ballroom for the Fashion Group International of Dallas (FGI Dallas) Night of Stars 2022 gala on Friday, November 18.

They included fashion luminaries, celebrities, socialites, philanthropists, business owners, and influencers — all there to raise funds for scholarships for aspiring fashion designers and professionals.

Event chairs Ken Weber, Richard Rivas, and Cristina Graham presided over the glamorous evening, which was emceed by James Aguiar, the VP Fashion and Creative Director for Modern Luxury. Besides being a chic soiree, the event is also an awards extravaganza, honoring the best and brightest stars in fashion.

This year's honorees were:

House of Pierre Cardin, represented by Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion (presented by Karen Katz). "Founded and led by Pierre Cardin in 1950, [the brand's] bubble dresses, along with celebrity ties such as actress and model Lauren Bacall, launched the brand into the ethos of the 1960s," event organizers said. "Throughout the decades House of Cardin established itself as an avant-garde fashion house often evoking a 'Space Age' quality to the garments."

Palmer//Harding's Levi Palmer, a Dallas native, and Matthew Harding received the Career Achievement Award in Design (presented by Jan Strimple).

And Fern Mallis, regarded as the "Godmother of Fashion" and creator of New York Fashion Week, was honored as the Icon of Innovation (presented by Ken Downing).

The style highlight of the evening was a fashion show presentation by House of Pierre Cardin and palmer//harding, produced by Jan Strimple Productions.

In total, the organization raised over $45,000 toward student scholarships.

Spotted in the crowd, looking fabulous and enjoying the evening, were numerous patrons and guests, including Amy Van Cleave, Maxine Trowbridge, Nerissa von Helpenstill, Kameron Westcott, Carey Deuber, Leeanne Locken, Kendra Tillman, Lynae Fearing, Laura Harris, Patrick Means, Maryanne Grisz, Holly Katz, Michael Buss, Ashley Anderson Smith, Steve Rahal, Natalie Harden, Holly Quartaro, Chuck Steelman, Gail Bass Good, Osé Azenabor, Sylvie Enoh, Maribel West, Esé Azenabor, Heidi Dillon, Steve Lopez, Darren Deville, Steve Hoyle, James Turner, Jessica Jesse, and Susan Posnick.

FGI Dallas is part of Fashion Group International, Inc., a global, nonprofit, professional organization with more than 6,000 members representing all areas of the fashion industry. For more information about the organization, visit the website.

Photo by Thomas Garza Photography and Danny Campbell

Osé Azenabor, Sylvie Enoh, Maribel West, Esé Azenabor

These are the 13 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for December

Theater Critic Picks

This is, in my opinion, the best time of the year to go see a show. There are so many family-friendly offerings just begging to become traditions, and lots of new interpretations of holiday classics.

Plus, there are always one or two non-holiday themes shows, if you need a break from all the tinsel and holly.

Because there were so many holiday shows that opened late last month, they are included again here for easy planning.

In order of start date, here are 13 local shows to watch this month:

My Fair Lady
Broadway at the Bass, through December 4
Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed? The musical boasts such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “On the Street Where You Live.”

Jesus Christ Superstar
WaterTower Theatre, through December 11
The iconic rock opera, featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane," and "Superstar."

Twas the Night Before...
Cirque du Soleil, through December 11

Cirque du Soleil’s spin on the beloved Christmas tale is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production is a flurry of Christmas cheer and rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil.

Christmas with Nat and Natalie
Casa Mañana, through December 17
Cozy up in the Reid Cabaret Theatre for an “unforgettable” evening with holiday favorites from Nat King and Natalie Cole. The father-daughter duo separately recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts.

Crystal City 1969
Cara Mia Theatre, through December 18

Inspired by a little-known event in Texas history, Crystal City 1969 is based on the true story of Mexican-American students in South Texas who walked out of their school and into civil rights history. Crystal City became an example of American democracy at its best.

Black Nativity
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, through December 18
Black Nativity, returning to the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage for its 18th anniversary, is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping theatrical wonderment, inspired by Langston Hughes' retelling of the Nativity story.

A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy
Casa Mañana, through December 23
Casa Mañana presents a new, fresh twist on a classic Dickens tale that will have children ages 4 to 100 laughing alike. A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy features a contemporary pop score and current pop culture references that are guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles. This show is suitable for all audiences.

A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center, through December 24
Dallas Theater Center presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol, a delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future that annually delights audiences across North Texas. But will it be enough to save Scrooge’s soul?

Head Over Heels
Uptown Players, December 2-18
An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, Head Over Heels is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening, and self-discovery, all set to the music of The Go-Go's.

Broadway Dallas, December 6-25

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take the mic to remix 50 years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power.

Handle With Care
Stage West, December 8-January 8
A young Israeli woman on holiday with her grandmother in the United States is confronted by an unexpected turn of events. Now, she finds herself stranded in a motel room on Christmas Eve with an oddball delivery man. Is their meeting an accident, or is it destiny generations in the making? Hilarious and tragic circumstances culminate in a heartfelt romantic comedy about what you can find when you feel lost.

The Dimension of Death
Pegasus Theatre, December 29-January 22

The world premiere of the 22nd Harry Hunsacker adventure by Kurt Kleinmann finds us in the year 1955. Harry, Nigel, and Foster have been dispatched to a Top Secret Air Force base in Nevada where a matter of the highest level of National Security awaits them. They’d heard rumors about Paradise Ranch but the reality of what they saw exceeded their imagination. In no time, however, the bodies start piling up and our trio finds themselves trapped in The Dimension of Death.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Theatre Three, December 29-February 18
Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Robert’s musical is headline the grand opening of Theatre Too, the intimate downstairs space that has been closed since 2020. Directed by Joel Ferrell and music directed by Vonda K. Bowling, this comedy takes on the truths and myths behind what it means to love, date, or lose someone. The run includes special performances on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, complete with holiday-focused perks like champagne, chocolates, and flowers.

New Nashville hot chicken restaurant in Frisco adds a Lebanese twist

Fried Chicken News

A new Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant has debuted in Texas with a unique twist. Called Crimson Coward, it's a California-based concept that has opened its first Texas location in Frisco, at 3246 Preston Rd. #510a, serving tenders, wings, and sandwiches.

Crimson Coward was founded in the Los Angeles area in 2018, with the first location in Downey, and has opened three more in the southern California, including Long Beach and Garden Grove.

The menu includes tenders, wings, boneless breast, and chicken sandwiches, served on a brioche bun, topped with slaw and pickles. For those who want to skip the chicken, there's a grilled cheese sandwich on toast.

They just introduced an innovative "bunless" Nashville hot chicken sandwich, in which chicken is wrapped in a tortilla, then pressed and grilled, like a Cuban sandwich.

Sides include mac & cheese, potato salad, coleslaw, fried pickles, and fries. There's a decadent item called Joey Eat Fries, a loaded fries dish topped with chicken, slaw, pickles, and melted cheese.

The chicken can be ordered in the usual array of heat levels, starting with no heat and ending with one that cautions diners about its fiery effects.

The twist is in the unique mix of spices, including a heady dose of garlic, that reflect the chain's Lebanese-American heritage.

The Frisco location is from Hassan Bawab, an entrepreneur and founder of Magic Logix, a digital marketing agency. Bawab had done all of the marketing for Crimson Coward and decided to open after location after witnessing its integrity and popularity.

"The feedback from customers was so positive and heartfelt," Bawab says. "I also liked the brand and the quality of the food. I know there are other Nashville chicken places out there, but most are like fast-food, with frozen and pre-made ingredients."

"Crimson Coward uses fresh ingredients, and makes the food to order," he says. "It's not sitting in a warmer. Sides are made fresh daily. It's also 100 percent Halal."

Bawab is already working on a second location in Dallas. He's also related to Crimson Coward's founder, Ali Hijazi, who is his brother-in-law. It's all in the family.

"It's not a corporate franchise," Bawab says. "We put a real focus on the food, the spices, the breading."