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2013ReadersArts & Culture

Best Actor/Actress
Martin Burke

For a dozen Decembers, Martin Burke donned the gay apparel of Crumpet, the Macy's elf in The Santaland Diaires, and filled us with Christmas cheer. But Burke is more than a pair of candy-cane tights, as proven by his hilarious and heartbreaking performances in The Laramie Project, The Drowsy Chaperone, Angels in America, Twelfth Night, Take Me Out, Shakespeare's R&J, and, most recently, Harvey and Design for Living. He's retired Crumpet's pointy slippers, but we're eager to see him establish a new holiday tradition this year portraying all the citizens in Bedford Falls in the one-man show This Wonderful Life.

Martin Burke, en.wikipedia.org

Best Art Gallery
Blanton Museum of Art

In a town bursting with arts and culture, the Blanton Museum of Art brings together centuries-old European paintings and intellectually challenging modern works from across the Americas. During the day, moms with toddlers in strollers mill around the brightly lit rooms and share the space with gaggles of UT students following their profs around like so many water buffalo thirsty for sweet art knowledge. The entryway itself is a work of art, as it plays host to Teresita Fernández's site-specific installation, Stacked Waters. This architectural embellishment rendered in different tones of blue and white cast acrylic creates the impression of wading under a blue surf: a lovely way to enter into the depths of art.

The Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK, 512/471-7324, www.blantonmuseum.org

Best Arts Festival
TIE: East Austin Studio Tour; Art Outside

The insular has its place in art but according to this vote, Austin prefers community and sunshine as the setting for expression. Trek through the minds, homes, and studios of creators for free during EAST or go trip the light fantastic during Art Outside's hedonistic weekend. Both are communal, personal looks into the visions of Austin's up-and-coming artists. This double rainbow of imagination will have you freaking out, man.

East Austin Studio Tour, 916 Springdale Bldg. 2 #101, 512/939-6665, www.eastaustinstudiotour.com

Art Outside, 9112 N. FM 908, Rockdale, TX, www.artoutside.org

Best Clothing Designer
Gail Chovan

Peut-être que vous avez déjà entendu parler de Gail Chovan? Bien sûr que son atelier Blackmail à Austin est le meilleur endroit pour obtenir tous vos vêtements et accessoires d’une teinte noire. Mais, saviez-vous également qu’elle passe ses étés à Paris, en enseignant le stylisme à la Sorbonne? C’est vrai! On la vue là-bas. Et tout d’un coup ça a fait tilt – entourée de toutes les maisons de la mode, grandes ainsi que petites, on s’est rendu compte que Chovan se tient bien. Mais, un conseil d’ami: Si vous pensez à vérifier tout ce qu’on dit, il faudrait bien apprendre français avant que vous fassiez vos valises pour Paris.

Gail Chovan, www.blackmaildesign.blogspot.com

Best Comedian or Comedy Troupe
Master Pancake

Let's be real; there are some truly awful movies out there. Luckily, Austin has a crew of comedic craftsmen that takes the bad and makes them not suck ... as much. (Hey, there is only so much that can be done to make Twilight any less of the bloodsucking suckfest of suck that it is.) Master Pancake takes movie mocking to a whole new level by incorporating intermission skits into their already knee-slapping, spit-taking spoofs. What could be better than Master Pancake's hilarious dialogue? Their hilarious dialogue with John Erler in his chones, duh. (We're not letting go of that one, John. Every year you win, we namecheck your manties ... until you lose them altogether. Gauntlet. Thrown.)

Master Pancake, www.fb.com

Best Composer
Graham Reynolds

This master of mood can take any instrument and make it do his bidding. There is no feeling he can't capture, whether it's original music for Rick Linklater's Before Midnight or a score for Forklift Danceworks' upcoming PowerUP performance by the folks who work the lines at Austin Energy. Drawing from both contemporary and classical inspiration, Graham Reynolds creates emotion with every note and nuance. And Austin, he's all ours ... you know, that whole music-to-our-ears thing.

Best Dancer or Dance Company
Ballet Austin

With a history spanning more than half a century, Ballet Austin strives to reflect our city’s unique culture by honoring classical traditions, but always pushing the limits and exploring adventurous new concepts with exquisite style. If history is prologue, the upcoming 2013-14 season will bring a whole new chapter of excellence that is always, after a fashion, en pointe.

Ballet Austin, 501 W. Third, 512/476-9151, www.balletaustin.org

Best Local Author/Poet
Owen Egerton

What’s not to love about Owen Egerton? From his goofy early days on the improv comedy scene to the juggernaut that was Mister Sinus aka today's Master Pancake (in which he occasionally appears as guest) to his current status as a thoughtful-yet-still-funny novelist and performer, this ginger firecracker has earned his place among the Austin literati, and Austin loves him for it. His latest novel, Everyone Says That at the End of the World, is his love letter in reply.

Owen Egerton, www.owenegerton.com

Best Museum
The Blanton Museum of Art

In a town bursting with arts and culture, the Blanton Museum of Art brings together centuries-old European paintings and intellectually challenging modern works from across the Americas. During the day, moms with toddlers in strollers mill around the brightly lit rooms and share the space with gaggles of UT students following their profs around like so many water buffalo thirsty for sweet art knowledge. The entryway itself is a work of art, as it plays host to Teresita Fernández's site-specific installation, Stacked Waters. This architectural embellishment rendered in different tones of blue and white cast acrylic creates the impression of wading under a blue surf: a lovely way to enter into the depths of art.

The Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK, 512/471-7324, www.blantonmuseum.org

Best Performance Space
The Long Center

This world-class creative nexus is the Austin community home for art and performance. The Long Center demonstrates an incredibly innovative use of materials from the old Palmer Auditorium, which previously sat in the same footprint, as well as clever use of space, with performances and events hosted both inside the venue and outside on the grounds. The summer season included Concerts in the Park with the Austin Symphony, the Alamo Drafthouse's Austin Sound & Cinema: Music & Movies on the Lawn, and numerous theatrical performances and live-music ticket movers.

Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside, 512/474-5664, www.thelongcenter.org

Best Place to See Local Art
East Austin Studio Tour

Big Medium has really upped its game: There's WEST (the West Austin Studio Tour), the upcoming Texas Biennial, and new, impressive digs off Springdale. Nothing compares, though, to its hallmark venture, the East Austin Studio Tour. From the sublime to the risuckulous (and that's subjective, natch), there's no greater concentration of visual creativity in this city at any other point in the year. That's why you pony-up for a catalog, fill up your water bottles, and just ... go!

East Austin Studio Tour, 916 Springdale Bldg. 2 #101, 512/939-6665, www.eastaustinstudiotour.com

Best Theatre Director
TIE: Dave Steakley; Ken Webster

Two hands, and not necessarily jazz hands. On the one hand, you've got that hardworking, Broadway-inflected Steakley with 22 seasons of ZACH theatre on his résumé, not least of which includes the advent of the new Topfer venue with the Steakley-helmed production of Ragtime inaugurating it to full glory. On the other hand, you've got the equally industrious Webster (the only person to receive a B. Iden Payne directing award in each of the last three decades) taking tiny Hyde Park Theatre to new dramatic and comedic heights, especially when he's part of (or even all of) the cast of whatever modern, relevant, and likely sardonic show he's directing. Hands down.

Dave Steakley, Topfer Theatre at Zach, 202 S. Lamar, www.zachtheatre.org

Ken Webster, Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd, www.hydeparktheatre.org

Best Visual Artist
Tim Doyle

Tim Doyle moved to Austin in 1999 "to fulfill a lifelong dream of not living in Dallas" (his words). Since that moment, Doyle has graced Austin with a screenprint-based artistic practice made up of equal parts comic book, fanboy geekery and wry, observational wit. Example: Doyle's Shepard Fairey Obama poster homage featuring Optimus Prime instead of Barack and the dictum to "Change Into a Truck." Perhaps he's best known for the Intergalactic Nemesis series; we dig his quieter Unreal Estate series even more. Here's hoping you stay the hell away from Dallas, Tim!

Tim Doyle, 512/940-3838, www.mrdoyle.com

Readers: Architecture & Lodging
Readers: Entertainment
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