SOCIAL LIVING Getting Plugged In

Our insider’s guide to the Dallas social scene.

I have a confession: I was not born here. So, just like you, I had to learn to separate this city from its myth. What does it really means to be a Dallasite? The truth is, a lot of the people that live here now are not from here. So we learn-quickly-how to become part of the Dallas culture. Lore and downright exaggeration have shrouded the true Dallas from any real public scrutiny for decades. Case in point: the Ewings.

Dallas is not all cowboys and oilmen. We are a city of families that have lived here for generations with roots that date back to the Civil War. We are a city based on the venerable institutions of oil and banking. But, we are also a city of newly acquired residents. Once just a finance center, Dallas is the nation’s telecom center, where technology moves at the speed of light.

People in this city, our new city, are always looking for a way to improve, enhance, and refine their way of life. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Dallas is the city where people are never satisfied with the status quo. So, now that the boxes are unpacked and you’re settled in. let’s get you plugged into the Dallas organizations that have enough cachet to elicit envy from even longtime residents.

We consulted image-makers, public relations gurus, and influential lifetime residents of Dallas to find the best organizations to get you in touch with the true Dallas, Here’s the scoop:


Society and the arts are synonymous in Dallas. But don’t get the idea that “the arts” means glittering opening nights and gala balls. Mostly it means rolling up your sleeves to pitch in when there is hard work to be done.

Want a backstage view of the arts community in Dallas? One place to roll up your sleeves is with 500, Inc., The Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Summer Musicals, The Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. Black Dance Theater, the USA Film Festival, and TITAS are just a few of the important artistic organizations enhanced through funds raised by 500. Inc. “Sample the Arts” is a monthly event that offers everything from a backstage look at the production of a theatrical event to special performances exclusively for 500, Inc. members.

Sponsorships begin at $250 and include six tickets to Artfest, Montage, and invitations to special sponsor social events. Platinum Star sponsors begin at $2,500 and include invites to wrap-up parties, admission to leadership development seminars. happy hours, a table for two at the annual holiday party, tickets to the Highland Park Wine and Food Festival, and tickets to the Gala for the Arts and Bow Tie Bash. Artfest-a three-day celebration held at Fair Park-includes music, food, and more than 300 artists from across the country. Proceeds benefit 37 local arts organizations.

Texas is the first in the nation to have a state-created-and-operated endowment for the arts. The Texas Cultural Trust Council (TCTC) raises funds and public awareness for the Texas Commission on the Arts and strongly promotes Texas’ rich and diverse artistic cultural heritage. Although TCA is a statewide organization, the benefits can be seen in our own backyard. For example, the Dallas Children’s Theater has established the Curtain’s Up program-an intensive yearlong workshop at Travis Elementary- that allows students to experience the curriculum through sound, sight, and motion. Five-thousand-dollar sponsorships with TCTC includes written recognition of official programs and signage related to the Texas Medal of Arts Awards, six event tickets with special seating at the awards ceremony, and more. Other sponsorships range from the $12,500 level to Seven Star Platinum at $500,000. If you can reach platinum membership, three corporate celebrity tables, VIP seating with the governor, and sponsorship of the luncheon at the governor’s mansion are included in the package.

It’s a girl thing. Explore your feminine side at the Dallas Women’s Museum. Located in the art deco beauty of Fair Park, the DWM-in association with the Smithsonian–is one of only five museums in the country that celebrate American women’s contribution to the history of our country. Scheduled to open in October 2000, DWM sponsor memberships range from $100-$500 and include special invitaiton-only events, and free admission for one to two guests. Founder-level memberships at $5,000 include recognition on the Donors’ Wall, a lifetime membership, guest passes, VIP invitations, and gala opening recognition. Legacy-level memberships offer all these perks and private museum tours. Don’t miss a chance to be part of this celebration of womanhood.

One of the premiere museums in the country, the Kimbell, is the backdrop for exhibits shown selectively throughout the country. Patron memberships begin at $250. The package includes two membership cards, two complimentary reservations to Patron Opening Receptions, and travel opportunities. Director’s Circle Memberships begin at $500 and include free admission for all ticketed events and up to live additional guests and a special invitation to an annual event hosted by the Museum Director. Director’s Circle and Sustaining Patron members are offered a travel adventure to China in the company of Jennifer Casier Price, curator for Asian and non-Western art.

Looking for something contemporary? The MAC is the ultra-hip gallery with a cool Uptown location and offers avant-garde, cutting-edge artwork and opening receptions where you can mingle with the artists. Memberships start at $50 and include invitations to lectures, films, performances, and the Kitchen Dog Theater season. Benefactor memberships begin al $2,500 and include wall signage and benefactor listing for an annual exhibition dinner in a collector’s home, as well as a six-month free membership for a friend.

If you prefer live animals over dead artists, check out the Safari club at the Fort Worth Zoo. Cowtown transforms into an oasis where 5.000 animals ramble along winding paths in a natural habitat. Adopt your favorite animals with supporting membership starling at $279 for one year or $500 for two. Or. the Dallas Zoological Society offers sponsorships beginning at $500, which include exclusive members-only events at the zoo, 1.500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles, and membership to the Dallas Aquarium.

Drink in the beauty of intoxicating spring nights under a canopy of a thousand twinkling stars. The Arboretum is Dallas’ version of the Garden of Eden. Already a landmark and world-class botanical center since 19X5, the DeGoyler estate and the surrounding 66 acres offer perfectly preserved elegance. Partner-level memberships range from $ 1,000 to $2,499 and include exclusive members-only events, dinners, free admission and valet parking, concerts, and gardening workshops. Enjoy trips planned exclusively for friends and reciprocal admission at more than 80 botanical gardens worldwide. Want the grounds for a private party? Benefactor memberships starting at $10.000 include an opportunity to use the historic DeGolyer estate without rental fees and a private guided tour of the Arboretum for four. Once drawn into the beauty of the grounds, you’ll never want to leave.

It’s not over till the fat lady sings. At the Dallas Opera, younger and younger audiences are beginning to understand and appreciate opera’s grace and timeless beauty. High-tech staging and special effects are sharp and precise enough to elicit gasps from the audience. Get involved through a wide range of support groups. Join the young professionals organization. Voce Forte (which means “strong voice” in Italian), and get an invitation to events such as wine tastings, swing dance parties, and happy hours at some of Dallas’ most popular restaurants and distinctive homes. The Opera Guild offers a chance to participate in the company’s school performances program and attend such special events as the Vintage Dallas Dinner and Wine Auction and the Sweetheart of the Year gala. The women’s board members attend the annual Opera Ball gala, the spring luncheon and style show, and the Sporting Clays Invitational. Three community outreach task forces ensure that the board reaches members of the entire city.

The Junior Associates at the Dallas Museum of Art offer the unique opportunity to meet like-minded art aficionados and help people through fund-raising and volunteer work for people under 40 Membership begins at $550 and include!. free admission to special exhibits, invita lions to members’ previews and specia events, opportunity to join volunteer and art focus groups, exclusive tours of private collections and exhibitions, weekend and day trips, tours of private and corporate art collections, 85 reciprocal memberships, and I gala exhibit preview with DMA President’s Circle and Associate members. Other levels range upward from Associate at $1,750 to the Monet Circle starting at $15,000. This membership level offers the opportunity to use the DMA for private entertaining, an annual exclusive trip with the director, and complimentary memberships in DMA friends groups.

Mad about Mozart? With four support organizations, the Dallas Symphony has something for the music aficionado in everyone. The Symphony Guild-the largest support organization-is open to anyone interested in supporting the symphony through special projects or committees. The fall luncheon and fashion show is the highlight of the Guild’s social season. Membership includes two meetings per month and a benefit concert and dinner. And in the fall, several intimate dinners are held at some of the most exclusive private addresses in the city with a guest artist providing the entertainment.

The Junior Group is for ladies ages 25 to 45. The 200 active members and 100 associate members enjoy two annual fundraisers: Deck the Hall and the Symphony Run. Membership includes daytime meetings, volunteer opportunities, and social events. The Junior Group also aggressively targets Dallas-area schools for educational services about the symphony. The Innovators Group compromised of professional men and women who take time to slow down and listen to the music. Evening meetings make this group accessible for those who work full-time. Social and volunteer opportunities make this an easy and enjoyable way to sup-1 port the Dallas Symphony.

The Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet has taken flight. The Dallas Supporters of the Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet offer Arabesque Bronze memberships at $ 1,000. Memberships include the ballet newsletter, invitation to the annual board meeting, private receptions during ballet intermissions, and VIP parking. Arabesque Gold memberships begin at $10,000 and include all Arabesque privileges four complimentary tickets to Peter Pan and an invitation to the exclusive lunch or dinner party with Artistic Director Benjamin Houk. Leadership Ballet offers an exciting behind-the-scenes look at the ballet, including production, staging, lighting, the technical intricacies, and planning and budgeting, and the daily life of a dancer. Graduation from the program is followed by membership in the Alumni or Auxiliary Associations.


Interested in politics? We don’t want to imply this is a one-horse town, but the only horse to ride is the Republican Party. All you need to become a member of Dallas County Young Republicans is to be one, that is. a youngish one. The focus here is not just on politics du jour, but in building leaders for the future. Members enjoy monthly happy hours. get-togethers, fund-raisers, special events, and volunteer opportunities. Associate memberships begin at $45 for two years.

The Golden Corridor Republican Women’s Club is no coffee klatch. These ladies take their civic duties very seriously and prove it with rigorous grass roots campaigning. Their aim is to increase the effectiveness of women in the causes of good government through active political participation. Activities include elections for Republican Party nominees on the local, state, and national levels. Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month.


Make a sick child’s dream come true by joining the Make A Wish Foundation.

Wish-maker level sponsorships start at $5,000 and the proceeds underwrite one or more wishes. The funds can be an outright donation or garnered through fund-raisers. The Cornerstone Club is a lier that makes five-year financial commitments. Exclusive benefits accompany Cornerstone Club memberships. As a member, enjoy an invitalion to Wish Night-the signature black-tic fundraiser event held every April. In the first three years, the foundation raised $1 million, making more than 250 wishes come true. Volunteer meetings and special training .sessions are required.

Splashing colorful holiday decorations throughout Children’s Medical Center is a real gift for thousands of sick children confined to the hospital for the holidays. The Women’s Auxiliary at Children’s Medical Center makes every day a little brighter. The annual fashion show and breakfast with Santa at the Adolphus Children’s Parade are the highlights of the season. A $30 yearly membership-which is open to all women-gives you the chance to touch so many lives.


Tennis anyone? If you don’t already know how to play, then learn. The Dallas Racquet Club presents the perfect opportunity to displace your aggression while mingling. Work on your backhand and your opening line at singles-only events. Social outings aller mixed doubles are a chance to gloss over the previous tirades on the court.

Brookhaven Country Club conducts a monthly tournament for singles at all levels above beginners. Round-robin style tournaments offer new partners and opponents for each match. Ranking after each tournament enhances the levels of play. After unveiling your John McEnroe impression, you can showcase your more refined side. At the after party-held in one of the member’s homes-dinner and cocktails round off the evening nicely. Special winners are presented with trophies. Guests and members are welcome.

Brookhaven tournaments and the Fritz Park court are open to the public, and Fritz Park offers weekly adult leagues-singles or doubles-in June and July. Players must be above beginner level.

If the only competition you’re looking for exists between you and your golf handicap-but you haven’t joined a local country club-try these publie courses.

Want to play Amen Corner at Augusta National, but you haven’t qualified for the Masters? Head up to Flower Mound to Tour 18 Golf Club. Designers have recreated famous holes from Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and other great courses throughout the world. Greens fees: $75 weekdays, S85 weekends.

Chase Oaks Golf Club offers a public course with country club amenities. Beginners can start on the nine-hole course while 16 handicappers head for the blackjack course. Greens fees: $49 weekdays. S69 weekends.

One of the most established courses in the city. Stevens Park is the course where golfing legend Lee Travino learned to cut a four-iron under trees and around doglegs. Greens fees: $14 weekdays, $17 weekends.

When the PGA Tour stops in Dallas for the Byron Nelson Classic in mid-May. the best golfers in the world tee it up at the Tournament Players Club at the Four Seasons Resort. Although play is reserved for members only, weekend packages entitle guests to two rounds of golf. Weekend packages start at S455 for one player and two hotel guests or S610 for two players. Prices include two rounds of golf, range balls, club cleaning, bag storage, and cart fee. Other packages that include spa services also are available.

Once you’re settled, in no time at all, you can probably finagle a membership to one of these country clubs;

Justin Leonard grew up playing Royal Oaks, consistently rated as one of the most challenging golf courses in Dallas and the classroom of teaching legend Randy Smith. If you want your kids to play golf. Royal Oaks is the place for you. It has one of the best junior golf programs anywhere. The best isn’t cheap. Initiation will cost $35,000; dues, $280 a month.

Designed by Pete Dye, Stonebridge Country Club is rated as the hardest golf course in Dallas-Fort Worth. Stonebridge is beautiful and brutal. Bring lots of balls. Home of the golfing Kuehnes, Hank and Kelli, both competing on the professional tour. Membership initiation fees run $18,000. dues about S300 per month.

Members at Gleneagles Country Club in Piano have two courses to choose from when they’re feeling lucky. Kings and Queens. Both run almost 7,000 yards and are perfectly groomed with Bent Grass greens. Freddie Couples used to play at Gleneagles. A full membership will run $35,000 and dues another $380 per month.

If a friend. long-lost uncle, or business colleague ever offers to put you up for membership in Dallas Country Club, Brook Hollow, or Preston Trail, say yes immediately and call your loan officer. These three clubs are the most exclusive in Dallas.The Dallas Country Club (DCC) sits between Mockingbird and Beverly on Preston Road in Highland Park. The newly refurbished golf course is good but not great, but the DCC has never really been about golf. One thing it does have is the best swimming pool in the entire city. The DCC is the local hangout for Parkies. Brook Hollow is old Dallas, hidden behind the landscaping on an otherwise derelict stretch of Harry Hines. It has good tennis facilities and an outstanding golf course. Members pay for the privilege of being able to stride to the first tee without tee times. Preston Trail used to host the Byron Nelson before the tournament moved to Las Colinas. Preston Trail is a men’s-only golf club, full of bonhomme and slaps on the back. The course is the best in the city. Dallas power-brokers hang out at Preston Trail when they want to be alone or with their buddies.


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