Men in sleek black suits and women wearing shimmering cocktail dresses pace the ballroom floor, sipping aged whiskey and single-malt scotch from their nosing glasses. The gala’s attendees aren’t extras in a scene from AMC’s Mad Men or characters in Jane Austen’s unpublished futuristic novel, AMC’s Mad Men. They are whiskey enthusiasts, sartorially getting into this year’s theme for the Dallas Whiskey & Fine Spirits Festival. Representatives from more than 150 distilleries such as Bulleit, Elijah Craig, and Johnnie Walker pour their signature whiskeys, scotches, and brandies—as well as vodkas, gins, and tequilas—as they lead guests through tastings.
Culinary crews from local restaurants such as Abacus, Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House, and Whiskey Cake cleanse palates with samples of their food as The Marc Toussaint Combo sets the soundtrack with Rat Pack–era tunes. In between sips and bites, guests can practice their card-slinging skills, try their luck, and finally overcome their phobia of numbers that add up to 21 at casino-style game tables.
At the Dallas Vintage Clothing and Jewelry Show?the largest show of its kind?vendors from Atlanta, Chicago, and local outlets gather to showcase vintage apparel and accessories. By reading tags or sawing items in half and counting the rings, shoppers will find items that date from the 1890s to the 1980s. Vendors include Vintage Martini, which won D Magazine's 2011 editor?s choice award for best vintage clothing store, and Lush Life Antiques, a retailer that specializes in distinctive fine and costume jewelry. Though the inventory varies, previous finds have included mink stoles, jeweled brooches, and 1950s formal dresses.
Dallas Handmade Arts Market, Inc is a magnet for the city's creative community. Once per month, it pulls in a rotating lineup of more than 45 independent artists, designers, and crafting enthusiasts to sell their wares to enthusiastic customers hoping to discover a new artist or innovative piece. Live musicians set the mood as visitors wander past stalls, chatting with the artists behind the work and purchasing jewelry, pottery, and other creations. On select days, the market transforms into a center for artistic education where professional artists teach visitors to craft jewelry and mold ten-gallon hats out of clay.
At a base price of $300,000 each, only 150 versions of the 2012 Lamborghini LP570-4 Super Trofeo exist worldwide. One of them—production No. 123, in fact—dwells at DFW Exotic Rentals, along with exotic vehicles from Ferrari, Porsche, and BMW available to take out for lessons or short-term spins. DFW's resident driving coach, Les Betchner, draws on more than 20 years of racing and precision-driving expertise to teach the proper techniques for handling the sports cars' tires lined with cleats. Outside of Betchner’s lessons, the fleet zooms out of the lot for corporate-event rentals, recreational drives, or chauffeured rides.
Sure, most people smile in photos. But in Brian Hilson's portraiture work, his subjects' smiles are so natural and radiant that they don't look posed—it looks like he caught them in a moment of genuine happiness. This is likely in part to his mission to give each project "a fresh perspective instead of applying a formula," one that has led to his pictures being seen everywhere from local bars to Zagat.com. He's worked with food, street fashion, headshots, and bridal work and is currently focusing on LGBT weddings. He also leads classes in photography and software such as Photoshop.