2001 Readers Poll
2001 Critics Picks
Best Bridge Over The Digital Divide

American YouthWorks, the intrepid charter school that's proving alternative education isn't summed up in the Ten Commandments, continues to show us new ways to help kids care about learning. C-Corp teaches students how to rebuild and program computers, then sends them out to Eastside libraries and churches to train others. Students are paid a stipend and get to keep a computer in exchange for their work. It's education, financial aid, and community service in one clever stroke.

American Institute For Learning
204 E. Fourth

Best Commerical Icon

As with film, we usually find that no-budget, local commercials have far more impact than their glitzy, agency-produced cousins. The haunting harmonies of the jingle for Body-Tek Collison Repair ("If you have a wreck, take it to Body-Teeeeeek ... ") still occasionally get stuck in our heads, years after the spot left the airwaves. And who can, who will ever forget the face of Andy Howard Pest Control's poster boy bug man and his chilling mantra "Kill Your Bugs. Kill Your Bugs. Kill Your Bugs."? As the camera zooms in on his sweaty snarl, we say: Forget the chemicals, is this face not enough to ward off any living creature? Much scarier than Gary Coleman, and that's saying a lot.

Andy Howard Pest Control
13824 I-35 N.

Best Digital Networking

The concept behind AMODA is sharing, specifically that digital musicians and artists need a place to share information and equipment. With their crack team of tech wizards, a Web site, Youth Media program, and monthly Digital Showcases, they do just that. The volunteer staff work hard to bring the digital arts to the Austin community. Monthly Digital Showcases at the Red Fez showcase the talents of digital musicians and artists from Austin; five-hour sessions give participants access to new kinds of sensory overload. AMODA is the forerunner of things to come.

Austin Museum of Digital Art
809 E. 44th

Best Fashion Coverage On Local TV

Don't see fashion happening in Austin? Then you're not watching News 8 Austin. In addition to their comprehensive coverage of our fair city, Cheryl Bishop's Fashionably 8 reaches a vast audience of fashion-hungry citizens with her coverage of our local style scene. Providing entertaining information to the public regarding fashionable events and invaluable exposure for designers and retailers, she is our own local Elsa Klensch, taking us to the local stylemakers, and the places that style happens.

Cheryl Bishop
News 8 Austin
1708 Colorado

Best Field Research On Gay Austin

Gee, it's nice to be validated. Big kisses to Austin American-Statesman arts writer Michael Barnes and his New York friend and social scientist Sean Massey, who undertook a first of its kind newspaper survey on gay life in a major metropolitan area. The response was overwhelming: 1,200 gays and lesbians returned the questionnaires, and Barnes and Massey followed up with the hands-on aspect of the study - the interviews. In the end, they turned out a huge package of personal profiles, a sampling of survey responses, and a whole new understanding of just how much power (oh, the power!) we really do wield in this town. Let's put on a show!

Michael Barnes

Best Local Web Site Featuring Live Squirrels

Nuts about squirrels but live in a habitat unfriendly to the bushy-tailed creatures? Let Bob Smith bring 'em home to you with his five cams aimed at various points around his South Austin back yard. Aside from the rotating cams, Smith's site features news about the squirrels in his life, including new additions. Better yet, features the most comprehensive list of squirrel-related links, so you'll be prepared for anything the little guys might throw at you!

Best Media Circus

When November rolled around, There was no space to be found, Without reporter, hack, or news anchor Spouting up like some sore canker. Like a plague, they flocked to Austin, Even what's-his-name from Boston, Top TV stations across the nation, You'da thunk it were a celebration ... All the media wanted to know, How would Jeb make this election go? The voters snoozed in their beer, Dreaming, "It's only four more years?"

Governor's Mansion
1010 Colorado

Best Non-Austin PR Mavens

With clients from Woodshock and Dash Rip Rock to Toni Price and Quatropaw, the San Marcos-based publicity firm has more than kept up with the demand for getting Austin names into ink. It's an often thankless task, but Julie Carr and Vickie Lucero's enthusiasm for their clients and the job is refreshing and admirable. You go, girls!

The Propaganda Group
829 N. LBJ #201

Best Physical Graffiti

We're not sure whether it was suicide, foul play, or an accident which sent this poor lass tumbling, but we suspect a good deal of silliness was involved as well. There may be more artfully rendered graffiti in town, but what can match this combination of pathos and comedy?

Stokes Parking Garage
12th & Guadalupe

Best Public Access Show From Another Dimension

Even amongst the vast armada of eccentrics in the safe harbor of Austin access TV, "Flash" Jordan Thomas stands out as one of the more meteoric talents ever to grace the medium. Her weekly song-and-dance show, Austin City Lights, is a brutally edited mishmash of unevenly heartfelt, synthesizer-laden music performances that recall "outsider" artists like the Shaggs and B.J. Snowden. The whole thing is set against a blue-screen background of highly dissonant found video imagery that's bound to inspire the pure at heart even as it boggles the sound of mind. Look, there's Thomas dancing at the Broken Spoke! Wait, now it's the Golden Gate Bridge! Now it's Thomas riding the Hill Country Flyer! No, it's a full house at Wembley Stadium! And many a synapse among regular access viewers was permanently fried when Austin City Lights recently aired footage of Thomas climbing aboard Air Force Freakin' One! The well-sequined Thomas hosts the show along with a supporting cast of friends and family members, including her mother, Lady B. Austin City Lights soldiers on in a joyously self-made plane of reality unlike anything you've ever seen before. Look beyond the scattershot production and unconventional, if there even is any, narrative, and you'll see that Jordan Thomas carries herself like a true star. And in the sense of being a one-of-a-kind original, she most certainly is one.

Best Public Memorial

Ivan Garth Johnson's heartbroken mother put up a stenciled memorial to her 10-year-old son, killed in a drunk driving accident in the early Nineties. The memorial was painted over earlier this year, then reappeared first as paper taped to the column, then lovingly redone and again displayed. It is among the most effective reminders of social responsibility anywhere in Austin, and for the few weeks it was gone, its heart-tugging presence was much missed. Rest in peace, Ivan.

Best Radio Station Sampler

Everyone has a particular musical taste. The music for KVRX's latest Local Live double CD was culled from a year of live recordings in the KVRX studio and separated into the two distinct musical tastes of the Local Live bookers, John Erler (country/rock) and Erik Woffard (electronic/dub). Local Live #5 features live recordings of the Texas and Austin artists making headlines among the younger generation in Austin: Sub Oslo, The Barkers, Li'l Cap'n Travis, and A Roman Scandal are only some of the bands captured on Local Live, sometimes for one of their last performances. Of course, Local Live is only a continuation of KVRX's regular programming, which serves to awaken the public to the newest music and bands the KLBJ corporation isn't playing.

PO Box D

Best Show of Fanfare

Chalk one up for persistence. It was bad enough for Star Trek: Voyager fans when UPN dropped out of Austin television. But add the fan-addicts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell -- two programs dumped by the WB network and picked up by UPN -- and there was a battle cry. Organized letter-writing campaigns, phone trees, and all around noisemaking by fans of these shows helped bring UPN back to Austin airwaves.

Best Taste Of Home

So you've recently immigrated to Austin from Northern Mexico, and you're missing the sounds of home. This Tejano music is pretty good, but you crave the stuff you heard back in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, or Chihuahua. KFON is there for you. For many years an all-talk and sports station, 1490 AM recently switched formats to Puro Norteño - pure northern Mexican music. If you like your music raw, heavy on the old-style accordion, and even a little of the brassy horn sections, then KFON is your direct line back across the border.

KFON 1490 AM
811 Barton Springs Rd.

Best Trail Of Crumbs

To announce their move to the old Butter Krust bakery at 5800 Airport, the Hoover's Online company (an Internet-based business information site designed to "serve the needs of people behind desks") sent out loaves of the former occupants' Texas Toast to the media along with their press release.

Hoover's Online
1033 La Posada Dr.

Best Web Site for a Monolith

In a world where it is impossible to get a human being on the phone, and it takes large portions of hours to navigate Web sites (and this is when you just want to know what time the game starts), the recently reorganized UT Web site is refreshingly concise and simple. For an institution of its size this is no small task. Thousands of events occur each year on the campus, but the university's webmasters do an outstanding job of keeping things current. Even the technically challenged can locate the information they're seeking without trouble. Maps of the location are included with events listings. Considering the size of the campus, which is as large as many mid-sized cities, this is useful. Plus, the site itself looks like a classy book, not a geek's idea of spam-o-rama. News you can really, easily use.

University of Texas at Austin
727 E. Dean Keeton, 512/471-3434
Sarah M. & Charles E. Seay Building, Speedway & Dean Keeton, 512/471-1157
UT Architecture Library, 200 Battle Hall, 512/495-4620
University of Texas Department of Art & Art History, 2301 San Jacinto, 512/475-7718

Most Interesting Talk Radio Program

Usually, the phrase "freeform radio show at KVRX" implies more music than talk. Not so for John Erler. Every Thursday morning when the maestro puts on his fez - the order of Elkmaster, of course - and takes up his duties as keeper of the elks, listeners are treated to his exploits with Laura, the DJ apprentice. Sometimes it's riveting daily news as read from the pages of The Daily Texan in the voice of He-Man's nemesis Skeletor. Sometimes it means calling John's friends in the early morning to put them on air sleepy and slurry. You never know when one of John's fans will call in to ask for a date, tell him about last night's dreams, or just to sing a little song to the elk. He would like you to call in too, if it's not too much trouble. Oh, and it's probably good to mention that his musical tastes are so far afield from your general "eclectic" that the chitter chatter is not the only thing that keeps his loyalists tuned in.

Critics: Kids
Critics: Outdoors & Recreation

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle