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2012CriticsMedia

Best "September Issue" in November
EAST Catalog

Over the past 11 years, perhaps the most collectible item from EAST is the EAST catalog itself. Like the Anna Wintour-helmed September issue of Vogue, the EAST catalog provides a look-book of the contemporary art landscape in Austin. To art-worlders, the EAST catalog at first appears to conform to the genre of art fair books; it rightly privileges the visual over the written word, and includes clear and well-designed maps. Yet, there are no VIP parties, celebutantes, or over-inflated admission prices. In fact, the EAST catalog can serve as your art-compass for the entire year (and now that WEST is happening, you've got a crosstown crosscut of Austin's scene). It's also a conceptually tight document. As a reader flips through the book, they "move" geographically down Austin’s Eastside, north to south. We repeat: Print media ain't dead.

Big Medium, 916 Springdale Rd., Bldg. 2, #101, 512/939-6665, www.bigmedium.org

Best Defense Against a Math Attack
Patrick Jones

If math is your enemy, Patrick Jones is your best friend. Whether it’s long division or LaGrange multipliers you’re battling at 2am on your last energy drink, Jones is there for you, wielding a Sharpie that can slice through the thickest of brain fogs. The local math tutor’s website houses hundreds of short, simple videos covering algebra, calculus, trig, statistics, and more, each featuring the affable Jones and his singular talent for demystifying the numbers to reveal the math behind the curtain. On a Facebook fan page in his honor, grateful students and teachers as far away as the Netherlands, Turkey, and South Africa profess their adoration, proclaim his god-like qualities, and wish to make him cakes. The page’s founder says Jones is the reason he passed Calculus II in college. “There were no pages in his honor,” he writes, “so I made one.” There were no “Best of” tributes, either, we realized – so we made one.

Patrick Jones, www.PatrickJMT.com

Best Emerging Graphic Novelist
Benjamin Frisch

After a star turn creating the web-comic serial Ayn Rand's Adventures in Wonderland, in which the objectivist protagonist spouts all kind of bullhonkey, dramatically vomits, and chain smokes like the Industrial Revolution, Benjamin Frisch is now working towards his first full-fledged graphic novel. Entitled The Fun Family, this gem is inspired by the insipid values of Bil Keane's The Family Circus. Countering Keane's notions of the wholesome family, Frisch's story centers on a dissolving marriage and a full and robust variety of family crises. Like the greats that came before him, Frisch is attempting to infuse the form of serial comics with rich emotional resonance. If you're not hearing his name whispered in comic book stores in the years to come, we'll be shocked. Shocked.

Benjamin Frisch, benjaminfrisch.wordpress.com

Best Gay Radio Crew
'OutCast,' KOOP 91.7FM

Stephen Rice has ably stepped into the lead role of this fast-paced, engaging, and sometimes even hard-hitting gay news and culture program after the departure of longtime host Heath Riddles. Stephen's support team includes the acerbic Bradley Pounds and friendly Chase Martin, who run the technical and online areas of the show, and often step in to keep him in check when something scandalous begins to slip off his sweet Southern tongue.

OutCast Austin, KOOP 91.7FM, 3823 Airport Blvd #B, 512/472-5667, www.outcastaustin.com

Best Guide To Attending and Avoiding Formula One
ATXGrandPrix.org

It's been a rocky road to the first U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, but at least there were some good signposts. The city communication's staff launched ATXGrandPrix.org as the all-purpose online gazetteer, loaded with information on everything from road closures for locals, to drinking ages for out-of-state visitors. It may not get you out of every traffic jam, but at least you'll know where everyone is going.

Best Hands-On News
ACCESS News

The brainchild of Dvorah Ben-Moshe and Ken Hurley, ACCESS News is a groundbreaking half-hour news program designed to open the city, and the world, to Austin's sizeable deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Anchored by Gallaudet University graduate Tamara Suiter-Ocuto, this civic-minded project is relevant for both hearing and deaf, bringing everyone together to foster a greater sense of civic responsibility and understanding.

ACCESS News, www.accessnews.us

Best Reason To Go to the Library (Other Than the Books)
'God of Blades'

Inspired by Seventies pulp fantasy novels, God of Blades allows iPhone and iPad owners to step into Frazetta-esque landscapes, wield mythical swords, and slash through a steady stream of armed baddies. The creators at White Whale Games repay the inspiration they took from marginalized literature by incentivizing visits to an increasingly marginalized place, the library. Enable the game's Loreseeker function, and visits to your local book repository are rewarded with storied weapons and, if you can tear yourself away from the action, an actual library book to borrow.

White Whale Games, www.whitewhalegames.com

Best Scream In Your Ears
'Weinberg's House of Horrors'

Local film writer and frantic Tweeter Scott Weinberg knows horror, and Geeknation.com let him off the leash with his combination podcast/free film commentary. Halloween II, Child's Play, and American Werewolf in London have all been unstitched and probed in Weinberg's evil audio lair. He blends the bloodlines of personal anecdotes and his encyclopedic knowledge, plus the odd addition from his beloved cat, Jones, to frightening and fascinating effect.

Weinberg's House of Horrors, www.geeknation.com

Best Tarot Reading
Sister Temperance Tarot

Through the gate of an Eastside cottage home, past an overgrown garden, and inside a tiny vintage trailer, any seeker can find out what it's like to meet a real witch. She's beautiful, unusual, and running over with love. She uses a 15-card Romani spread, and tenderly weaves together the threads of your past, present, and future. You'll leave with a clearer and bolder vision of your life, as well as with the glow of someone who has just been really seen.

Sister Temperance Tarot, 512/466-5124, www.sistertemperance.com

Best Twitter Tribute
ShitJohnAielliSays

"Just like the universe - it implodes and explodes again." - September 24 "It's garbage day. At least for me it is. And this band is Garbage." - July 5 "What is it, people of Austin? What are we suffering from? Because we've all got it." - May 1 We're glad someone's tracking these precious bon mots. Such Zen koans need to be preserved for those beyond the bumper-bound. We hope John Aielli says something about this. And then, ShitJohnAeilliSays tweets it. Full. Circle.

ShitJohnAielliSays, twitter.com/eklektikos

Best Writers' Resource
Write By Night

Writing can be a lonely venture. It takes dedication, questionable amounts of coffee, and a certain insanity to finish a manuscript. It also takes tons of support, and Write By Night provides just that. The writing center has a chilled-out, coffeehouse vibe, with tons of desk space, creative writing workshops, roundtable readings, as well as manuscript consultation and coaching. It's a great place to meet other local writers. They can also hook you up with good writing groups and accountability buddies. Yes, writers need accountability buddies.

Write by Night, 1305 E. Sixth #4, 512/322-5242, www.writebynight.net

Best WTF??? on the Street
The David Komie Billboard

This is Austin, people. We rock. We have real estate agents who rock. We have dentists who rock. Gosh darn it, we even have ex-game show hosts who rock (Whut-whut, WOOLERY!!!). So it only stands (or slacks, or sits … whatever, man) to reason that Austin's lawyer who rocks would have a billboard that rocks.

Komie & Morrow, LLP, 7703 N. Lamar #410, 512/640-2050, www.komieandmorrow.com

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