shopping

The Quirky in Dallas: Shopping

For the first 13 years of my life I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I enjoyed a childhood of Mardi Gras parades and my mother covering my eyes as she shuffled me past certain shops in the French Quarter. New Orleans is a lively community with amazing food and talented street performers. It’s a creative person’s paradise. When I was 13, a hurricane that you might remember (Katrina) made landfall and somehow I ended up in Austin, Texas, a place that is home to things like famous cross dressers named Leslie, giant natural public swimming pools, and an endless supply of live music. And then a few years ago I moved to concrete Dallas, and ever since, I’ve been thirsty for some culture. I’ve been told that I came to the wrong place, that Dallas is as vanilla as the Blue Bell ice cream we all had to do without. I say those people are wrong. I’ve met too many great people in this city to write it off so quickly as boring. In fact, I think it’s full of colorful things if you just know where to look.

So begins my quest to find the quirky in Dallas. Along the way, I’ll share with you some of the interesting and fun places and people in D-town.

First up: shopping.

My friend, Ali, and I took an afternoon off from our adult lives and decided to explore places in Dallas that we’d never been before. The first place we went is a vintage store called Dolly Python. When we opened the door, we were pleasantly surprised to find two dogs looking up at us. I can’t really think of anything more excellent than being greeted by a couple of pups before you shop.

How do I begin to explain this place? We've all had those days when you think to yourself, “I really need a pair of vintage cowboy boots, a new kids on the block sweater, and a some random doll parts… but I only have time to go to one store!”

OK, so maybe you haven’t experienced that exact dilemma, BUT if you ever do there is absolutely no reason to stress because Dolly Python’s got you covered.

Dolly PythonAlong with the vintage sweaters and admittedly creepy doll parts, there was also no shortage of vinyl records, taxidermy deer heads, giant plastic clown shoes (unfortunately a little big for me), vintage children’s toys, a mug that said “The Old Lady’s,” and a live bird (didn’t realize it was real until I got a little too close).

There was also a large bowl of old family photos, and Ali remarked that it would be so strange if you were to find a picture of your own family. She then picked up a completely average looking family photograph from around the 1930s and said, “This one is probably mine. I just feel like it is.”

This is why I like vintage stores. They’re like museums of stuff that nobody cares enough about to put in an actual museum. All these things that made up the everyday lives of real people are here now in a jumbled mess for me to sift through. It’s the closest we’ll probably ever come to time travel.

Next up, we made our way down to Deep Ellum to check out Rocket Fizz, a new candy store that opened up a few months ago. The second I walked in I decided there was a distinct possibility I was hallucinating. It was just that fun. You should definitely check it out if you want to take a slightly trippy afternoon stroll down memory lane or find some exotic candy from around the world.

Rocket FizzMy purchases? Some candy cigarettes (which I then “smoked” while walking down the street dressed in all black wondering if anyone was going to mistake me for a member of the Grease cast) and giant chewy sweat tarts (my regular purchase anytime I went to blockbuster to rent an Olsen twins movie circa 2001).

If I hadn’t been in the mood for candy that would have been fine as there seemed to be an endless array of options. Some of the things I found include ranch dressing-flavored soda (this is America, so no one should be surprised), a giant rubber horse head (good to have because you never know when you might need to go incognito), an emergency bow-tie (SO important to be prepared for when a black tie opportunity presents itself), and fake mustaches for boys AND girls (with clever, fun names such as “lip liner”).

So basically if you are avoiding adulthood and determined to cling to your fleeting youth then THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU.

Wild About Harry'sTo finish off our afternoon, we threw caution to the wind and ignored those articles circulating Facebook about the dangers of processed meat and indulged in a quick snack at Wild About Harry’s. The colorful custard and hot dog shop has been a Dallas staple since 1996. We each got a frozen treat (and I also had a Chicago-style hot dog) because if you’re going to clog your arteries, you might as well do it the right way, the Dallas way.

Hayley Waring is a level 5 improv student at the Dallas Comedy House training center. If the world was a perfect place she would spend her days writing poetry with Alexander Hamilton while sharing an ahi tuna tower.

Doing Dallas: Now Walk It Out

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. There are few things I dislike more than waking up early or working out; among them are tonsillectomies, catheters, and paper cuts to the eye. So, when I found out about this next Dallas tradition, I was initially hesitant because it involved waking up early TO workout – basically my worst nightmare.  But, I decided to take one for the team because this activity is simply too perfectly, marvelously Dallasy to pass up.

NorthPark Center: A gym with free membership!

See, I was recently told that NorthPark Center is the place to workout on weekday mornings from 8 – 9 a.m. Apparently, walking around the giant square that is NorthPark is a wonderful (and popular) butt-toning activity. Never mind that your square neighborhood block is literally just steps from your front door – oh, no! It’s totally way better to drive a sizable distance to an establishment in which none of the stores are open yet and walk around the abandoned space. Fresh air and nature? Pshaw! Give me food court smells and window shopping or give me death! Okay – that might be a little extreme, but I was so fascinated with and tickled by this phenomenon that I had to try it out for myself.

Here’s what happened:

A Retroactive Live Blog: Walkin’ in NorthPark*

* This title should be read to the fabulous tune of “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 – Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

11:00 p.m. – Already dreading waking up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. Setting my alarm for 7:30 a.m., I cringe knowing that my precious REM cycle and dreams of Ryan Gosling will be soon be brutally interrupted.

1:24 a.m. – Unable to sleep; worried about how I’ll perform in the morning. Will there be sprints up the escalator stairs? Should I have a jogging stroller? Will there be relay races around the mall? Maybe I should bring my baton just in case.

2:20 a.m. – Five hours until I have to physically exert myself. Probably even break a sweat. Five…five…fiiiivvveeeee…

7:30 a.m. – The shrill sound of my alarm clock pierces my peaceful, baby-like slumber. NO. IT IS TOO EARLY FOR THIS. Log rolling out of my lofted bed, I land with a thud, grab the alarm and hit the snooze. I lay in fetal position on the floor, soaking up my last few minutes of sleep.

7:35 a.m. – Snooze alarm sounds. NOOO. Trying to figure out how to sleep more. “I’m working out, I don’t need to shower or wear make-up, right? Or will the Yogis roaming the straight in front of Lululemon judge my under eye circles and disheveled bun? After all, I am exercising in NorthPark Center – the social watering hole of Dallas – so I suppose I should look presentable.”

7:40 a.m. – JK. I like sleep more than bronzer, so I succumb to the snooze once again and decide that no selfies shall be taken in the making of this blog.

8:10 a.m. – Game face, though not made-up face, on, I have arrived and am ready to do this thang.

8:15 a.m. – Successfully enter the mall. Whoa. There are fewer people here than I expected – clearly the watering hole is experiencing a drought. Which way should I go? Is it like a, “On Tuesday/Thursday we walk counterclockwise” situation? Suddenly I see two powerwalking, baby-stroller-pushing women rapidly approaching and I panic. Intimidated by their show of speed, strength, and agility, I take off in the opposite direction.

8:17 a.m. – I discover a playlist on my iPod called “Running.” It’s been a while since I’ve needed to use such a playlist, and so it hasn’t been updated for some time. I click it anyway. The first song on the shuffle? "My Humps" by The Black Eyed Peas, of course.

Cool artsy statue or axe-murderer coming to kill me? YOU TELL ME.

8:20 a.m. – This is quite frightening. Walking down empty corridors alone, the statues somehow look much more threatening. Praying my exercise-attempt doesn’t become the topic of a 60 Minutes.

8:27 a.m. – I arrive at the escalators. No one is doing sprints up them – they’re really missing out on a solid workout. An escalator is totally like a stair climber, right? I take the steps two at a time and repeat. LOOK AT ME, DOING FITNESS.

8:27 a.m. – A rogue jogger just whizzed past. I REPEAT, A ROGUE JOGGER JUST WHIZZED PAST.

The skirt, tempting me as I walk.

8:33 a.m. – There is the CUTEST skirt on display in Anthro. I want to try it on! BUT OH WAIT. I can’t. Not only because the store isn’t open yet, but because I am here to workout, not to shop! What was I thinking!? I suppose my being in a mall and surrounded by merchandise threw me off – a mistake I will not make again.

8:40 a.m. – HALLELUJAH  the Starbucks is open! Vanilla latte, you get in my belly.

Hand-selfie, featuring a Vanilla latte, turned-off fountain, and a locked Dillards. #NorthParkAtDawn

8:42 a.m. – This is about the time I’d take a selfie, to prove I’ve actually woken-up and actually power-walked around a mall. Too bad I look like I fell off the back of a turnip truck. I settle for a hand-selfie instead.

8:50 a.m. – A precious old couple in complementary velvet athletic suits pass me by. My heart fills with joy. Then the reality of the situation sets in – I just got passed by 80-year-olds. Yikes. This signals it is time to go.

9:08 a.m. – Back home and BACK IN MY GLORIOUS BED. Good thing I don’t have class til noon. Night night!  

 

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

What We're Loving: Good Things Ending, In Car Giggling, Mile High Shopping, Fictional Assistants

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison faces mortality, Ashley Bright laughs at absurdity, Amanda Hahn explores the free market, and Ryan Callahan shocks the world. hqdefaultI’m terrified of death and want everything to go on forever. There, I said it! If I had my druthers all things that I enjoy would continue and it would be the law that they exist forever, or at least until I’m tired of watching them (RIP my interest in Dexter after Season Four). I was confronted with this existential crisis this week when I realized that a web series I’ve recently come to enjoy, Chicago Rats, is coming to an end after only three installments. Looking back, I should’ve realized that the warning signs were there all along. I mean, incredibly talented people like Saturday Night Live’s Mike O’Brien and Tim Robinson don’t waste their time on YouTube clips forever. And there wasn’t much of an arc that needed to be completed. And the first and second installments were literally labeled 1 of 3 and 2 of 3, but still, staring down that 3 of 3, knowing that something I enjoy is coming to an end, was not a fun realization.

If for some stupid reason you’re not aware of the random thing that I love this week, let me introduce you. Chicago Rats comes to us from The Above Average Comedy Network on YouTube. You may remember the online conglomerate as the same page that brought you Mike O’Brien’s  Seven Minutes in Heaven celebrity interviews these past few years. The same no budget production style is employed in these videos, the best of which is "Condo Nights". Nights is batting in the Empire Strikes Back slot in the lineup as the second of three and pits O’Brien, Robinson and fellow SNL writer Shelly Gossman as three clueless porn actors forced to improvise dialogue. Their cluelessness is perfect. The other two clips are worth checking out too, but realize, THERE ARE ONLY THREE. So if you want a reminder of your impending demise and the finality of all things, check out the entire three part series. - David Allison

Charles-Bukowski-Uncensored-CD-Bukowski-Charles-9780694524228I have not refreshed the stock of CDs (compact discs with audio files for you youngins)  that I keep in my car in quite some time.  I either hook up my phone, listen to 90.1, or select from the same slim rotation of CDs.  I'm simple and I have a short commute these days.  Heavy in that slim rotation is a Charles Bukowski Uncensored CD that I found at a yard sale a couple of years ago.  And when I put this CD in, I usually listen to the same two tracks on repeat.  The tracks are of him reading his poem, "The Genius of the Crowd."  First, I'll explain why I love this poem and then I'll explain why I listen to it repeatedly.  Aside from when he tells us to beware of folks who constantly read books, he strikes a lot of truth chords with me.  "Beware of the knowers" may be my favorite line because I am always leery of people who are strictly black and white with their beliefs - people who know what's right and wrong.  "Beware of those who are quick to praise for they need praise in return."  Not an absolute truth, but something that's true most of the time.  "Beware of those who detest poverty or those who are proud of it."  Again, he strikes on the absolutes. But here's the real reason I listen to this on repeat.  On the first reading, he pronounces absurdity as 'absurbity.' They let him read through without interrupting him. The next track they ask him to re-read it, but this time pronouncing it correctly.  He tries and keeps saying 'absurbity.'  He can't hear the difference.  Finally, his wife or ladyfriend attempts to walk him through the phonics.  He can do it slowly, but mispronounces it again when he tries to read the whole poem.  They all break up laughing.  I giggle every single time I listen to it.  A hard, raucous, alone in my car. giggle every single time.  If you ever want to listen to it, skip your Uber and I'll drive you home, and we can giggle together. - Ashley Bright

skymall3This week, I traveled out of town for work. Mid-flight on the way out of Dallas, I noticed something in the seat pocket in front of me that I had forgotten existed. It was the most entertaining magazine in the whole world. It was the SkyMall shopping catalog. I love SkyMall so much and laugh out loud every time I flip through it. I’m convinced the creators of the items look through the decoy gift boxes from The Onion and base actual products on those. Compare the pictures below. Based on the products themselves, it’s hard to tell which item is from The Onion and which item is a real product that you can actually buy with real money from SkyMall.

HahnWWL1

I’ll admit that some of the products are actually somewhat useful, just overpriced. However, most are ludicrous. Of the ludicrous, my two favorite categories are: 1) Tricking old people and 2) Is this for real?!

“Tricking old people” includes cleverly worded products (usually electronics) named to be appealing to old people that can be purchased far cheaper elsewhere. For example, you can buy a “VHS to DVD converter” (it’s a VHS/DVD player, and if you’re under the age of 75, you knew that already) for nearly $300 from SkyMall. The same thing can be purchased for about $200 less at…anywhere else. Don’t forget about the “Picture Keeper,” available for about $60. It’s nothing more than an 8 GB USB drive. As malicious as this trickery is, it has allowed for my favorite hobby of pointing at products with my mouth agape, looking around at my fellow passengers, mouthing “are you kidding me?”

“Is this for real?!” includes things like: boxes that are programmed to say “Lookin’ good, Bob” when opened. Or this giant gorilla statue surrounded by cheerleaders (it’s unclear whether cheerleaders are included with your purchase).

HahnWWL2

There is also this creepy bag that winks while you walk (it’s unclear why, why, why, why, why on Earth anyone would want this.HahnWWL3

Ladies and gentlemen, do not despair thinking you can only experience the joy of SkyMall on an airplane. I am happy to say that you can browse the SkyMall catalog online or have delivered right to your door, free of charge. If I haven’t convinced you to order it, then let the sole online review from six years ago do the talking: 4-stars from a guy with the username “justdoit.” And he recommends the catalog. - Amanda Hahn

clash18We've grown close enough over the past few months, dear reader, me sharing my thoughts on pop culture, you reading and occasionally acknowledging what you have read, that I'd like to think I can talk about professional wrestling again without fear of mockery or recrimination. Cool? Great, because the WWE Network now has every Clash of the Champions available for streaming.  Cancel my two o'clock, Miss Fletcher, I have some old wrestling to watch! (Miss Fletcher is the fictional assistant I pretend to call with the fake phone on my desk when I want my imaginary car brought around or I need to place a call to President Bartlet. Miss Fletcher is the best assistant a guy could have: smart, loyal, dedicated, and good with her fists. She's saved my life on more than one adventure. It's such a shame to see her slowly turning into a weremole.)

What was I talking about? Right, pro wrestling. For those who don't know, Clash of the Champions was an occasional live tv event put on by WCW from the late 80's through the mid-90's. They were  like Pay-Per-Views, but instead of having to spend twenty or thirty bucks to see them, you could watch for free. Simply amazing that this company went out of business. For my money (which is again, no money) the Clash shows are the most enjoyable wrestling broadcasts in history. They offer the full spectrum of the rainbow that is professional wrestling. There are all-time great matches (the Ric Flair vs Terry Funk 'I Quit' match from Clash 9), all-time terrible matches (Ric Flair vs Junk Yard Dog from Clash 11), hidden gems with wrestlers who never really got their due (Brad Armstrong, Butch Reed, Silver King), and, most important, some of the dumbest gimmicks and worst ideas in the history of storytelling.

I'm talking about the Ding Dongs, a pair of masked wrestlers, their costumes covered in tiny bells, who would ring a giant bell in the corner for motivation. (You're probably wondering, Did those tiny bells sewn to their costumes fall off all over the ring during the match? You bet the did!) I'm talking about the Master Blasters, a Road Warriors-knock off featuring Kevin Nash in a red mohawk and suspenders. And I'm talking about the Shockmaster.

If you've never heard about the Shockmaster, do yourself a favor and watch this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Q4EVpIFIk

That, dear reader, is the most famous flub in the history of wrestling. But it's not just the falling through the wall that makes the scene so wonderful. Every terrible part, from everyone standing with their back to the camera, to Sting's "shock the world" introduction, which someone thought was a good idea, to the mistimed explosion, to the fall through the wall, to the Shockmaster meekly grabbing his glittered  storm trooper helmet and putting it back on, to Booker T's "oh God", to the way time stands still while everyone wonders what to do, to the way the Shockmaster's movements do not match the piped in promo in any way, works together to create a magically awful whole. And now I can watch it over and over again.

Miss Fletcher, cancel my three o'clock with Leo McGary. And for the love of God, please stop tunneling through the office.  - Ryan Callahan

Black Friday Tuition Sale

2016-black-friday Our annual Black Friday Tuition sale is just around the corner. It’s our yearly tuition sale where you can save $50 on comedy classes. At exactly 12:01 am on Friday November, 25th, all classes will be discounted $50! For 24 hours only. It’s our biggest sale of the year, and classes often sell out in one day. So drink some extra Thanksgiving Coffee on Thursday and get ready for our online sale. BLACK FRIDAY SALE FAQs

1. Can I register for more than one class with this discount?  You can register for more than one class as long as they are not consecutive classes. For example: You CAN register for an improv class and a sketch writing class and advanced study, because they are all in different departments. You CAN NOT register for levels 2-5 and apply it to later terms.  

2. What classes are eligible? All multi-week classes are eligible for Black Friday. The only classes that are not eligible are one-day workshops. 3. Can I register for a class with the Black Friday discount and apply it to a later term?  Unfortunately, no. Due to the popularity of our Black Friday Tuition sale, you will be taking up space in a class that could fill up. You can not register and apply it to a later date. It is only applicable to the January/February Term of 2017. 

4. What if I want try to register for a class and it is full? You can email maggie@dallascomedyhouse.com and be asked to put on the waiting list. The Black Friday Tuition Sale only applies to classes purchased online on November 25th, so we can not offer this discount at a later date to those on the waiting list. You’ll still have the opportunity to take advantage of Early Bird Registration.