1995 Readers Poll
1995 Critics Picks
Best Cable Access TV Show

"Lenny" is an opera singer. He demonstrates his technique for the home viewing audience one evening: He takes a clear plastic tube and sticks it into his nose, pushing it down until one end comes out through his mouth. Then, tube hanging from his face, Lenny (in reality performance artist Linda Montano) commences to sing "That's Amore," gagging and drooling through chorus and verse. Watching Lenny and pouring tea for the two of them is Faustina, aka Fausto Fernós, reknowned Austin drag queen. Using what he calls "life-affirming images of transgendering," Fernós interviews local artists and reads letters from his fans and friends, combining original music with rants from his local stage and radio programs into a weekly bilingual talk show format that "takes the radical ideal of exploiting talk show guests to their advantage," he says.

Channel Austin
1143 Northwestern

Best Comeback

Coleman was riding high as KXAN-Channel 36 Sports Director until his arrest on drug charges during an undercover prostitution sting. A career-ending setback? No way. This summer, after a brief stint in rehab, the former college football player reemerged as general manager of the East Austin community radio station KAZI-FM.

8906 Wall St. #203

Best Example Of What The Net Is About

It's a comic book series! No, wait, it's an Internet service provider! Actually, it's both. There's no better proof of a micropublishing revolution in the works than at Eden Matrix. A bunch of guys who started publishing comics for small, devoted groups of fans have built a business where they sell low-cost, unmetered Internet connections to Austinites. What about the publishing? They also get to distribute their comics (along with other pop and underground 'zines) electronically to their fans anywhere they may be in the world.

Best Job In Town

Your CEO biennially turns his estate into a haunted house complete with hydraulics, Tesla coil, moat, and a bitchin' fireball device. The company team has won prizes for floating elaborate pirate ships, dragons, and steam trains down Town Lake. And you build some of the best-selling computer games - a fascinating craft merging graphics, sound recording, programming, and now screenwriting and film production - for a huge international audience. Having spent your formative years as a D&D dungeonmaster, you now realize it was perfect training for this job.

Best Line On An EE's Resume

Ever since the Apple-IBM-Motorola triumvirate began its quest to dethrone Intel as king of microprocessors, this design facility in the Northwest hills has quietly become home to some of the best electronics engineers in the country. It's still unclear if the fruits of their labor - the super-fast, superscalar PowerPC line - is the Holy Grail of microchips. However, with a steady stream of recruits (most of whom are inevitably wooed away to Silicon Valley or the Northeast Corridor), and impressive sales already on the books, it's unlikely this project will lose its steam anytime soon.

Best Local Action From Your Laz-e-boy

When they say "action," they mean music. Here's the best bet to catch the latest on what's up in the clubs. Every Sunday (10pm) and Monday (10:30pm), supervixens Tara Veneruso and Chronicle editor Margaret Moser dish on local gossip, sample fine cigars, flash their pick for gig flyer of the week, and give the best tips for the coolest E-Ticket rides in Austin's live music scene by previewing clips of local videos and live local performances from your favorite venues. Special guests and give-aways make it an even surer bet - to get better than this, you'll have to get out of that chair.

Best Morning Twang

You may have already changed out of your vintage cowboy jammies by the time host Rod Moag starts spinning his partner-swingin' favorites, but this show will inspire you to replace them with floor-skatin' western boots and a bolo tie. Tune in to sweet nasty rockabilly bomp and the honey-smooth sounds of western swing classics to point your pony down the right trail, buckaroo.

3823-B Airport

Best Multimedia Design Firm

Human Code is snapping up awards left and right for their high-quality interactive media designs, most recently for their adaptation of Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe. With well-honed material combined with gorgeous visual artistry, rock-solid programming, and lush audio textures, these CD-ROM gurus are a one-stop creativity shop if you're looking to make multimedia that matters.

Human Code
319 Congress

Best New Environmental Directory

Compiled by T. Paul Robbins, it contains damn near everything you need to know to be lean and green. Write PO Box 1374, Austin, TX 78767 to get one.

Best New Publication

We're always a sucker for an energetic, student-run, left-wing rag, and (sub)Tex clearly meets this criteria. Produced on a shoe-string budget, each issue is written with the kind of passion that comes when you know you might not publish again. We hope they do. Look for the paper's rack under the canopy at Wheatsville.

Best New Statesman Feature To Imrove A Lagging Self-image

The Statesman's newest addition to the "Life" section lets disgruntled readers sound off on everything from noisy babies to rude waitresses and unappreciatve immigrants.

Austin American-Statesman
305 S. Congress

Best New Statesman Hire

When the Houston Post closed its doors April 19, Capitol Bureau Chief Ken Herman lost a job at which he had become one of the state's most respected journalists. Herman was hired in the same capacity by the Statesman, a move that renews some faith in the paper's eventual improvement.

Best Of Lines; Worst Of Lines

Problem: Modems have pretty much reached their speed limit, and "surfing the Web" from home feels more like trudging through a swamp. Solution: SWB's DigiLine ISDN service, a blazing-fast set of digital phone lines that will make your modem-shackled friends drool. Caveats: Your wallet will flatten considerably after you shell out for the installation and monthly upkeep of an ISDN Internet account. And you can consider yourself lucky if you don't have to wipe sweat from your brow trying to get it all up and running smoothly.

Southwestern Bell
909 Colorado

Best Phone Book Pages (white)

You'd like to think someone in SWB's directory division has a potato fetish.

Southwestern Bell
909 Colorado

Best Phone Book Pages (yellow)

While it's never a waste of time to behold three professional women embracing a skeleton (p. 385), most people don't realize how truly efficient the Yellow Pages can make you. Have a great idea or a shopping list you want to remember? Simply jot them down on any of the handy "Notes" areas Ma Bell thoughtfully tucked throughout the one thousand four hundred and some odd pages (i.e., 215, 363, 626, 1165, 1325). Finding them again may be tough, but hey, think of the exercise your fingers will get doing all that walking.

Southwestern Bell
909 Colorado

Best Place To Hang Ten

While it lacks the sophistication of New York's @ Cafe, the Incubator is more than cyber-coffee-klatcsh: it's an immersive experience that combines mochas, micros, murals and music. VR games and nascent multimedia production facilities make a visit to the Incubator quite unlike a trip to the video arcade. Ruta Maya's new presence promises to up the coolness factor here by several notches. If nothing more, it's a cool place to hang when you tire of net.angst.

Best Post-game Camera Hog

Who got the closest to Houston's Akeem Olajuwon in the NBA Finals? That would be local developer and minority-share Rocket owner Gary Bradley, who glued himself to the Dream's armpit throughout the celebration of the deciding fourth game and thus insured his 15 minutes of national television fame. If only David Robinson had done half as good a job at sticking to the big guy, the Spurs would be the team now wearing the championship smile.

Best Proof That Information Doesn't Want To Be Free

Microcomputers have been around for over 20 years. E-mail has become an integral part of corporate life. Real electronic commerce - and jobs - are right around the corner. If you haven't got a computer or a network connection, however, you lose. Building public network access ain't cheap: It's a task that has entangled both the Austin Free-Net and the Metropolitan Austin Information Network in awkward fête in the free-access game. Though recent developments are promising, Austin lags far behind many other cities' efforts to prevent the formation of an information underclass by deploying public terminals throughout libraries and schools.

Austin Free-Net
2209 Rosewood

Best Reason To Mix A Batch Of Early Morning Martinis Or Best Early Morning Hangover Remedy

Some of us never really hated our parents' music. Some of us secretly reveled in those snappy, pappy tunes by the likes of Ferrente & Teicher, 101 Strings, Sergio Mendez & Brasil 66. Jay Robillard forces the smoking jacket out of the closet and serves up a swizzling mix of easy-going (not EZ Listening) tunes. Like many of his compadre deejays at Austin's new community radio station KOOP, he is an expert - nay! an academician - in his field of elegance and savoir vivre. The music of Nino Rota is the soundtrack to life, baby - and may any backlashers who debunk the Cocktail Nation forever fizzle in the embers of their lack of true spark: They probably think the best drinks come in a can.

3823-B Airport

Best Reason To Tape Seinfeld & Watch It Later

The name of their weekly call-in program is stupid and redundant since it's also the name of the already-established Daily Texan column. Corky mutters that he wants to change it to Everybody's a Critic, which sounds like a good idea. Still, we hear too many people griping about music critics and their opinions in print; here's the chance to ask two sharp, world-class critics hard questions about the Biz, and what the two get is moronic queries like, "Who do you like better, Stone Temple Pilots or Nirvana?" On the other hand, an annoyed Corky is infinitely more amusing than a happy Corky.

101X FM
8309 N. I-35

Best Reportage

It's been said nostalgically that World War II was "the last good war." That's not the way it has come across in Glover's column over the past few years. With his "50 years ago this week" format, a matter-of-fact, present-tense prose style, and liberal quotations from first-hand accounts, news reports, and primary historians, Glover has woven together a moving tribute to his fellow WWII veterans and given readers a vivid feel for their life and times. There's been an element of historical text - the dates and places of the major battles - but where Glover has really shined is in his glimpses into some of the personalities of the war. He's focused not only on the generals and politicians, but also, through diaries, letters, and other sources, on the field officers and ordinary grunts. And the portrait that has emerged is not only one of extraordinary will and courage, but also of folly, bureaucracy, and backroom politicking of senseless tragedy and futile death. Slowly, over the last few years, the random vignettes of human drama, played out in scattered obscure corners of the globe, have coalesced into not just a history lesson, but a lesson in what histories can be. Soon after the 50th anniversary of VJ-Day, presumably, Glover will re-retire. We'll miss him.

Austin American-Statesman
305 S. Congress

Best Roadmap To The I-way

First and still one of the best. Though creator Brian Combs has moved on to build Austin Web Publishing, Inc., webmaster Shelly Hatfield has taken the reins and continues to make this site shine. If you're looking for Austin cyberspots on the Web, then point your browser at Quadralay's hotlists and soon you'll be cruisin' all around town without having to lift a finger. Except, of course, to click the mouse button.

Best Sports Headline

When the U. of Georgia Women's Basketball team took advantage of a Lady Horn cold streak in February, someone at the Statesman sports desk saw their chance.

Austin American-Statesman
305 S. Congress

Best Statesman Headline

Alliterating b's are particularly popular at the paper (another winning entry proclaimed "Bikers boost Barbara Bush with back-cover blurb"). And if you like puns, how about this one for a story on the Internet in the traditionally stodgy business section: "Web Wilder with Growth".

Austin American-Statesman
305 S. Congress

Best Statesman Ongoing Series

An opinionated and in-depth analysis of cultural trends and current events south of the border that appears in each Sunday's "Insight" section, Garcia's column is one of the Statesman's must-read items. If only the rest of the paper could match his consistently impressive standard of excellence.

Austin American-Statesman
305 S. Congress

Best Supermarket In Hyperspace

Well on their way to owning the entire specialty food market, the folks at Whole Foods Market have put together an informative, useful site on the World Wide Web where you'll find recipes, consumer tips, and lore. Produced by Net-savvy design firm Go Media, this is a clear sign that all things Austin will soon be on the Web.

Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market Gateway, 9607 Research #300, 512/345-5003
Whole Foods Market Downtown, 525 N. Lamar, 512/476-1206
Whole Foods Market Arbor Trails, 4301 W. William Cannon, 512/358-2460
Whole Foods Market Bee Cave, 12601 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave, 512/206-2730
Whole Foods Market Domain, 11920 Domain Dr., 512/831-3981

Best Telephone Acronym

We hope it's true that Hightower can have more long-term impact on policy on the radio than he did in the bureaucracy.

Best Television Feature Reporting

Austin's a city with a million and one characters - and no one does a better job of seeking them out than KXAN's Swift. Far from the sterile objectivity to which television traditionally aspires, his reports are both entertaining and passionate, personal and heartfelt. Swift's the reason many people still switch over for the tail end of the Channel 36 broadcast.

908 W. MLK

Best TV Anchor

Although the Channel 36 newscast languishes at the bottom of the ratings heap, Hadlock's performance remains stellar. His no-nonsense approach minimizes the insipid intra-anchor banter that typifies Austin television journalism. And what a relief that is.

908 W. MLK

Best TV News Reporter

This one's no contest. Having brought such features as the "Truth Test" to the airwaves (in which the veracity of candidates' campaign ads are rigorously examined), Channel 24's Grougan is far and away the best in the city. In fact, his solid reporting is one of the main factors in making KVUE the city's best and best-watched newscast.

3201 Steck

Critics: Kids
Critics: Outdoors & Recreation

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