We love a list and a Best in Dallas list is even better! Today, we’re here to celebrate the South and, in particular, what makes Dallas-Fort Worth special. Here to give us a boot scootin’ good time is writer-producer Rex McGee.
A protege of six-time Oscar Award-winning writer-director Billy Wilder, Rex wrote a country musical film starring no other than George Strait called “Pure Country,” a film that spurned the local writer-producer’s dream to someday make it into a musical. That dream became a reality earlier this month as the cast of “Pure Country The Musical” hit the stage at Irving’s Lyric Stage. Rex is also known for the Hallmark Channel‘s “Where There’s a Will” and the IMAX film “Texas: The Big Picture” at the Texas State History Museum in Austin. This ambitious creative is always dreaming up his next project, whether it’s an erotic drama, film noir, social satire, political comedy or molding young minds during workshops at SMU. Texas-bred, Rex now lives in North Dallas and loves exploring our city’s hidden gems with friends or his 16-year-old daughter Annie. Read on for Rex’s Best In Dallas picks!
Dallas’ vibrant Arts District tops Rex’s local list. “Life without the arts is intolerable,” the writer-producer exclaimed. Chock full of the city’s best performing and visual arts, this Downtown Dallas destination is home to gems like the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas City Performance Hall, Booker T. and The Crow Collection of Asian Art.
“I love sitting at the charcuterie bar, trying their wonderful wines and watching the cooks prepare the meat and cheese boards,” Rex told us. In our minds, one can do no wrong when serving wine on tap but add food inspired by the wine country and an open kitchen? You’re golden. “The servers are delightfully friendly and attentive (and okay, very attractive),” he added about this North Texas wino haven, “the place reminds me of both an enormous Apple Store and a cool California eatery.”
A former SMU creativity student of Rex’s, local artist Liz London is an abstract expressionist, collage and assemblage artist and acrylic painter. “I’ve watched her over the years coping with the ups and downs of her life through her paintings,” he told us. “She’s a living, walking example of how art heals.”
In our friend Rex’s opinion, “reading is the best workout for the mind.” He’s an insightful man and, from what it sounds like, a well-read one too. His favorite spot to curl up with a good book and soak in a French-inspired atmosphere, preferably history or biography, is La Madeline. He’s “currently reading ‘Rise’ by Cara Brookins, ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders and ‘The American Spirit’ by David McCullough.”
Brain Candy: Old Movies
We admit this pick isn’t local, per say, but classic theaters like The Texas Theatre are pretty incredible if you feel like leaving the comfort of your home. Rex is a classic film fanatic. “Anything directed by Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick or Luis Bunuel,” is his favorite. “I learn something new about writing and filmmaking every time I watch their films,” he told us.
Image 1 courtesy of Rex McGee. Image 2 courtesy of Dallas Arts District. Image 3 “Forest for the Trees” courtesy of Liz London. Image 4 courtesy of Entrepreneur. Image 5 of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” courtesy of The Playlist. Image 6 courtesy of