2000 Readers Poll
2000 Critics Picks
Best Online Journal

This online diary by a chick in comedy troupe Monks' Night Out is one of the best bored-at-the-office time-wasters this side of Quake. Austin-based Pamie's musings know no bounds, and whether recounting her attempts to make it to work on time or conducting a discussion of the female orgasm with her many devoted readers, every entry boasts a fluid style and sharp wit.

Best Book Title Of The Year

As usual, the seemingly only liberal voice on talk radio (who still isn't carried on his hometown airwaves!) starts cutting through the BS before you even open the book. When it comes to Hightower's works - his previous tome was titled There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos - you really can judge a book by its cover.

Best Documentary Labor Of Love

In addition to being head of production of the RTF program at UT, Stekler knocks out award-winning documentaries in what can't be a lot of spare time. He's a six-time Emmy nominee, winning twice, and this year saw his brilliant examination of demagogue Wallace win the Special Jury Prize for Documentary Writing at 2000 Sundance and then showcase at SXSW 2000. It was broadcast nationally on PBS in April. Documentaries are a labor of love, and this guy's got the goods.

Best Doublespeak Ingest Slogan

You've seen it on signs all over downtown. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Like maybe bands playing for free and white-collar downtown types checking it out on their lunch hours? Sure doesn't sound like what it is - two to five years of traffic headaches while CSC and all the related projects are being erected. Orwell would be proud.

COA / City of Austin
Housing Authority of the City of Austin, 1124 S. I-35, 512/477-4488
Urban Transportation Commission, 1501 Toomey, 512/457-4850
Water & Wastewater Utility, 625 E. 10th, 512/322-0101
City of Austin Service Center, 818 Springdale, 512/385-3999
Information Systems Department, 625 E. 10th, Ste. 900, 512/499-2880
Emergency Services, 2785 E. Seventh, 512/305-4000
Early Childhood Services Centex CCM, 2538 S. Congress, 512/326-9210
Building Services Department, 1905 E. Sixth, 512/476-2272
Fire Department, 1621 Festival Beach Rd., 512/495-1450

Best Free Beer Commercial

In an episode of The X-Files last May, agents Mulder and Scully sip on Shiner Bocks while watching television in Mulder's apartment. Officials at Shiner headquarters in nearby Shiner, Texas, were as mystified as the rest of us as to how the alien-chasing agents picked the National Beer of Austin - it was by no product-placing design in which the bock moguls would claim involvement. If we have learned anything from The X-Files, though, it is to trust no one. Conspiracy theories, anyone?

Best Free Guide To Austin

Graphic artist B.J. Smiley Goins combined her professional talents with her love for outdoor art to produce a book that offers a different kind of tour of Austin. Organized by geographic areas, the Guide to the Murals of Austin takes art lovers to the outdoor people's galleries throughout the city - covering over 129 murals. The booklet reveals Austin oldest surviving mural and highlights the work of the very prolific. Although not every entry has an accompanying photograph, each one is identified by the subject, title, date, and artist, when the information is available. There are plenty of color photos and maps, so you won't get lost as you get lost in the gorgeous public art that makes Austin shine.

Austin Visitors Bureau
201 E. Second

Best Guerrilla Agitprop

Springing up all over town in this, the age of rising rent, is a flier campaign with a grave caveat: "Warning: this neighborhood is being gentrified." The producer/distributor of these cautions might remain anonymous, but he/she's sampled known work for graphics: a panel from the ouvre of traveling cartoonist Joe Sacco. Time for a new flier? "Warning: this intellectual property is being appropriated."

Best Jazz Deejay Deserving Of Wider Recognition

For the past 13 years, Laczko has been a mainstay on the Austin radio landscape, anchoring KAZI's weeknight jazz programming. Laczko really knows his stuff, and he exudes a passion for the music that is evident in his intelligent and tasteful programming. He covers the jazz gamut from classic legends like Charlie Parker to the young turks of today. Without the confines of a strict playlist, Laczko lets this freeform music guide him, although sometimes he can't resist the occasional theme, like his recent foray into Sax Week, or celebrating certain artists on their birthdays. Those music lovers who haven't checked out his show owe it to themselves to do so. Laczko is one of Austin's underappreciated treasures.

Dave Laczko
8906 Wall St. #203

Best Late-Night Insight

Host Richard Smith gives listeners a chance to sound off on Talk Time, "the program that listens to you." Call-ins range from birthday announcements to serious debate about city planning, racism, and public affairs in Austin and beyond. We make late night a good morning by hearing our fellow Austinites out - and by adding to the public dialogue!

8906 Wall St. #203

Best Local Color Commercial

Yeah, it's The Bank. And The Bank is The Man. But we've got to admit, Liberty Bank's new local TV ad campaign featuring gorgeous sweeping portraits of a few colorful and very right-on entrepreneurial-types (who presumably bank with said institution), like Threadgill's Eddie Wilson, Hotel San Jose's Liz Lambert, and Katz's Marc Katz, hit us right here, man. Yeah, man. You da man!

Liberty Bank
900 Congress

Best Morning Update Of Local Issues (Internet)

For more than five years now, this subscriber-supported online newsletter has had no peer in covering city issues. Ken Martin (the founder and now staff writer) and Jo Clifton (the reporter who just became the new owner) go to the meetings, keep their ears to the ground, and dig up the dirt on everything going on with Austin's politicos, and deliver it fresh to your Web browser every weekday morning.

In Fact Daily Newsletter
PO Box 3224

Best Morning Update Of Local Issues (radio)

We disagree with just about everything KVET's acerbic Sammy Allred and Bob Cole have to say, but darn it, if you want to know what's going on in this town's political scene, their 6-10am morning show just can't be beat. They've grilled officials from Cap Met to the Council Chambers, sometimes face-to-face in studio interviews. Get your day off to a cranky but well-informed start with Sammy & Bob.

705 N. Lamar

Best Off-the-Air Voice

John Aielli's Eklektikos shoulders a heavy load as KUT's most popular program, but he would be the first to point to assistant Jen Proctor as part of the reason for the show's success. Proctor is usually heard reading community announcements with Aielli and books his ever-eclectic carousel of guests. Proctor joined Eklektikos as producer in 1995 after earning her B.A. in radio-television-film and philosophy and working as an intern on the show; her presence is a bright foil to John's intellectual wit.

Jen Proctor
KUT 90.5FM
300 W. Dean Keeton

Best Old Hippie Web Site

There are many reasons why Austin developed its mystique in the Sixties and Seventies, and that spirit is celebrated with glee on this site. Here are the original beatnik/hippies of the Sixties, contemporaries of Janis Joplin and denizens of Austin's underground who resided at an infamous West Campus complex called The Ghetto. From the Vulcan Gas Company to Rip-Off Press, this rather benign-looking crew's antics and achievements are slowly being added into the site, creating a most interesting view of Austin's hip past.

Best Ongoing Coverage Of G. Dubyuh

No surprise here. The Texas Observer's muckracking journalism has been annoying the hell out of Texas politicians for more than four decades now - from Robert Bryce's incisive "Funeralgate" exposé to not beating around the Bush about our governor's funding sources, legislative record, and environmental foul-ups. Having a Texan run for the presidency has only brought out the best in them.

The Texas Observer
307 W. Seventh

Best Online Show List

More than just a list of underground rock shows, the Texas Show List gives you the lowdown on underpublicized performances at nontraditional venues as well as information on new Texas recordings, zines, microbroadcasters, and political actions. Usually updated each Friday, the List is a solid, no-frills example of technology in the service of grass roots. Die-hard Luddites can still pick up a hard copy at Sound Exchange.

Best Place To Surf, Er, Bike The Web

Michael Bluejay is determined to save the world, one turn of the pedal at a time. He does so quite effectively on his very thorough Web site, covering every cycling issue imaginable. The highlight is an excellent manual on bicycling safety - it is possible to cycle in an urban environment and not get run over, you just have to know how to make it happen, both on the bike and at City Hall.

Best Place Where All Your Groovy Friends Work

The first time we didn't think much about it. The second, a coincidence, but after a while it got ridiculous: All the cool people we met worked at Human Code. One after another, they seemed to disprove what we had assumed about tech geeks - they were possessed of a twisted sense of humor, creative flair, and a pop-culture savvy that went beyond Star Wars. We tip our hat to the hiring teams of Human Code, who have beckoned such genuinely hip and artistic souls; we only hope this serves as a lesson for Sapient, who acquired the multimedia/broadband firm last month.

Human Code
319 Congress

Best Presentation Of A Delicate Subject

Austin American-Statesman feature writer Julie Bonnin deserves special recognition for trusting her sensibilities in both her research and writing of "Who Killed Caitlin?," the story of a 12-year-old girl who hanged herself in the bathroom of Cedar Park Middle School. Bonnin dug deep, yet recognized the sensitive nature of the subject. Few reporters - or their editors, for that matter - have the courage to explore such delicate ground.

Julie Bonnin
Austin American-Statesman
305 S. Congress

Best Radio Show For When You've Just Been Dumped And Want To Cry Into Your Haagen Daaz

Love is hell. Being dumped by some bastard who can't remember your name is hell. But when you feel like buying a pint of Rocky Road and crying your eyes out, Love Songs on Majic 95.5 is more than happy to help tear at your heartstrings. The velvet voice of Stephen Michael Kerr introduces all your favorite tunes; you can listen to "Forever Yours, Faithfully," "Sister Christian," and Abba's heartbreaking hit "Fernando," all while pigging out and sobbing unabashedly.

Magic 95.5

Best Scorned Breakup Slur

We overheard this Austin-specific line one night exchanged in a heated lover's spat: "You're like a yellow bike; put you down and 10 minutes later someone's riding you again." Eco-consciousness, meet Jerry Springer.

Best South Austin Bumper Sticker

That just about says it all.

Best Texas Newspaper Web Site

Sharp graphics combined with archives that allow users to access stories that are several days old and other features make the Morning News site one of the best in the country. It has special sections with archived stories on the Bush campaign, the Gore campaign, the Waco investigation, and many other topics. Plus it's easy to navigate and contains loads of useful information. Check it out.

Dallas Morning News

Best Way To Kick-Start Saturday Night

Saturday night need a kick in the pants? Host Scott Gardner plunges into a wild weekend Saturdays from 8-10pm with all manner of garage, punk, and savage rawk from Sixties obscurities to current local faves, plus interviews with touring bands and Austin scenester guests. Listen to two hours of this high-octane stuff and you can't help but go out and tear it up!

3823-B Airport

Best Wine Newsletter

The Cellar's pleasing monthly wine newsletter exists primarily to push their wines of the month. We are always pleased that they go to so much trouble to find interesting and obscure wines that haven't had their prices driven up by demand. Newsletter creator Sue Carter also writes small, helpful articles, like how to return a bottle of wine in a restaurant or how to tell if a wine is defective. Her years of training as a graphic artist help keep the presentation crisp and clear. To subscribe, call the store. It's free.

The Cellar
3520 Bee Caves

Four Finest Consecutive Hours Of Austin Radio

Nothing beats waking up on a beautiful Saturday morning, turning on the radio and just going about your day without having to switch stations every five minutes. The Lounge Show's mix of crooners, chanteuses, cocktail jazz, exotica, and retro-futurism keeps your toes tappin' until noon. Then Ear Candy takes over with two hours of glorious, globe-spanning indie-pop. Despite KOOP's many kontroversies, the station never fails to redeem itself for at least four hours every Saturday.

3823-B Airport

Most Evenhanded Movie Criticism

The locally generated Web site and listserv Juxtaposeur bills itself as a site that reviews reviews and critiques critics. Every Friday when the new movies open, Juxtaposeur presents samples compiled from the reviews of a variety of major national film critics as well as a well-written summary of the film. In one concise spot, you can find salient excerpts from the reviews in publications like The New York Times, Variety,, E! Online, and a host of others. And all this comparative information is all usually available before the box office even opens on Friday afternoon.

Most Insight Into Modern Education

We hear a lot of talk these days about the sorry state of education and the best ways to improve the lot of the 21st-century student. Unfortunately, most of it is blather from people who haven't spent an hour in a classroomsince LBJ was a president and not a high school. How refreshing then to read words about the challenges of schooling kids today from one who knows intimately what it's about. Clayton Stromberger's dispatches from Blackshear Elementary - first in his moving essay "20 Kids," published in XLent, and in a later editorial in the Austin American-Statesman's Sunday Insight section - were the impassioned testimony of a teacher who believes in his students and their ability to learn and knows that TAAS scores and TEA judgments can't tell you everything about a kid's potential to succeed. Stromberger'swriting was clear and powerful, his stories about his students were moving, and his observations about AISD troubling. Anyone looking for insight into the lot of teachers in our city right now would be hard pressed to find any reportage more humane or illuminating.

Most Underappreciated KUT Shows

Teresa Ferguson's silky purr on Femme FM is a delicious complement to the satin sounds of the ladies she plays. She's one of the few deejays who can make us turn up the radio for her backsell, even if we already recognize what she just played! Ferguson's playlist ranges from Sara Hickman to Sarah Vaughan and features women composers, performers, and songwriters in a wildly eclectic context. FFM follows Paul Ray's popular Twine Time on Saturday nights until midnight. KUT's American Pop, produced and hosted by Louis Harrison since 1992, is a collection of really, really golden oldies - vintage pop, if you will. These songs were huge hits in their day. Harrison's Tin-Pan Alley musical choices are usually zippy, and the shows have themes - from singing cowboys to loving tributes to singers like Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, and Johnny Mathis - often celebrating a singer or composer's birth, such as Ginger Rogers' birthday.

KUT 90.5FM
300 W. Dean Keeton

Wisest, Most Earnest Sentiment

Right near Kealing Park and Kealing Junior High, this sign greets passersby with the fine admonition: "It will not hurt to be nice."

Mid-Town Tire
Chicon, just north of Rosewood

Critics: Kids
Critics: Outdoors & Recreation

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