The memorable events related to Dallas living in 2012 included the following:
1. Big Tex burns up. The iconic Animatronic symbol of the State Fair ignited the final weekend of the fair as shocking images of the skeletal remains poured over the Internet. Personally, we weren’t surprised — we always suspected Big Tex was a flamer.
2. The Calatrava/Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge opens. Sure, some had dismissed it as the bridge to nowhere, but actually it makes travel to the Oak Cliff gayborhood a snap now. Plus, whatever you think about its necessity, the thing’s just gorgeous — a welcome addition to Dallas’ already impressive skyline.
3. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opens ahead of schedule. Coming nearly two months earlier than predicted, this late entry in the year — with its Borg Cube profile and strange scenic escalator — ended up being a primo destination in 2012, from the interesting exhibitions to a venue for fundraisers and other social events. Get used to coming here.
4. Lucien Freud exhibit at the Modern in Fort Worth. Widely regarded as one of the greatest art displays of the decade anywhere in North Texas, this exquisite collection of portraits from the grandson of the famed psychoanalyst had its own psychological components.
5. The Dallas Way brings LGBT history online. This project to record and preserve the LGBT history of Dallas proceeded in earnest in 2012, as UNT began archiving items to go online when sufficient funds are raised, paving a resource for gay historians for years to come.
6. Dallas returns, just as J.R. departs. Long promised and longer delayed, the TV series Dallas came back with a vengeance, scoring big ratings with the return of many original cast members. Season 2 kicks off in a few weeks on TNT, but the recent death of star Larry Hagman will no doubt make the story arcs feel bittersweet.
7. Color of night: Dallas lights up after dark with Chihuly, Chinese lanterns. Never was there a better time to be outdoors after nightfall than in 2012, with both the Dale Chihuly glass “flowers” at the Dallas Arboretum and the Chinese lanterns at Fair Park. You could enjoy both exhibits during the day, but the illuminations after dark were simply dazzling.
8. Uptown Players stages Dustin Lance Black’s 8. You can’t really put this one-night-only staged reading of the Oscar winner’s play about the legal battle over Prop 8 in the “stage” category — it was more politically relevant than that. Using actual court transcripts, the play boils down the hypocrisy and misinformation about gay people with moving performances from the local cast.
9. Klyde Warren Park decks out the Arts District. Uniting Downtown with Uptown may be the greatest legacy of the long-planned deck park, which will serve to make the isolated central business district more pedestrian friendly. We hope.
10. The Downtown Omni Hotel becomes part of the landscape. Although it actually opened in late October 2011, it was in 2012 that we saw the Omni not as a symbol of wrangling in city politics but as its own landmark, adding already-captivating lights displays to its Dallas-themed interiors.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 11, 2013.