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Arts & Culture
2006 Readers Poll
2006 Critics Picks
Best Actor/Actress

Improv darling and actress extraordinaire, Lee Eddy charismatically charms her audiences with a quick wit and a face of a thousand expressions. She's best known for her prodigious comedic timing and is a core company member of the Salvage Vanguard Theater. Ms. Eddy's credentials include her original one-woman production The Ladee Leroy Show, Salvage Vanguard's The Intergalactic Nemesis, Zach's The Santaland Diaries, and Hyde Park Theatre's Something Someone Someplace Else.

Lee Eddy
Salvage Vanguard Theater
2803 Manor Rd.
www.salvagevanguard.org

Best Art Gallery

In the year that the Blanton has dominated arts news, two galleries off the beaten track have provided outlets for rising new voices. Gallery Lombardi, home for new Austin artists, is so far off the beaten track it’s almost on the tracks – the abandoned train sidings on Third at Bowie. Women & Their Work on Lavaca has given exposure and support to female artists from diverse backgrounds around the state. Both continue to use their spaces to keep Austin’s artistic life vibrant.

Women & Their Work
1710 Lavaca
512/477-1064
www.womenandtheirwork.org

Gallery Lombardi
910 W. Third
512/481-1088
www.gallerylombardi.com

Best Clothing Designer

In just a few short years, South Austin has watched the charming Chia grow from a small crafter into a serious entrepreneur. Her simple styles of vintage and new fabrics are inexpensive and coveted by all the SoCo girls and her imagination is as big as her list of fans. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

Chia
512/457-9456
www.chiahats.com

Best Composer

A brilliant composer of all genres, Austin's Graham Reynolds has attacked live scores for theatre (the Rude Mechs' upcoming Have You Ever Been Assassinated?), soundtracks for films (Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly), and live music of his own in the Golden Arm Trio. Whether it’s experimental, classical, or avant-garde, Reynolds is the man.

www.grahamreynolds.com

Best Cultural Asset

Though its name comes from the Latin "to breathe together," when this professional choral ensemble starts to sing, it's more likely to take your breath away. The voices in this company meld together so seamlessly, into luxuriant harmonies with such purity of vocal tone, they seem to be pouring down from some celestial source. Having recently released their second heavenly CD and received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to host a national conference on American choral music, director Craig Hella Johnson and his astounding choir have proven anew how they enrich our city, giving everyone cause to sing.

Conspirare
505 E. Huntland #155
512/476-5775
www.conspirare.org

Best Dance Company

Magical and magnificent, Sally Jacques' contribution to local culture makes her an Austin treasure. Her compositions and choreographies take us into dimensions only she dreamed of. From the breathtaking Where Nothing Falls to her dazzling Whispers of Heaven to her etherally beautiful Requiem, Jacques is rewriting the book of dance.

Sally Jacques
Jacques Productions
PO Box 3614
www.bluelapislight.org

Best Dance Lessons

Talk to owner Mylie Alrich for two minutes and you can tell: She is absolutely in love. With dancing. She just wants everyone to dance. All the time. Any time. She's that lady at weddings tugging the unwilling onto the wood. Just go dance, she says. Do it by yourself (private lessons) or with a sweaty mess of friends (socials and dance parties are part of the studio's fun). So … go dance. Because Alrich and her gang can teach you how. Because it just feels so darn good. Because it's your God-given right as a human being to feel the music and move. Just move. Just go.

Go Dance
2525 W. Anderson
512/339-9391
www.godancestudio.com

Best Film Series

For 31 years, Paramount's Summer Classic Film Series has been a tradition in Austin. Showcasing popular to obscure classic movies and foreign features in a classic theatre with a big screen and adult beverages, it's a great way to revisit old memories and make new ones. Also, this year the Austin Film Society debuted AFS@Dobie. In the tradition of Dobie, this three-month series shies away from the mainstream and focuses on documentaries, independent films, and foreign titles. All in all, two great theatres, two great series, and one great love of film.

Paramount Theatre
713 Congress
512/472-5470
www.austintheatre.org

Austin Film Society
1901 E. 51st
512/322-0145
www.austinfilm.org

photo by John Anderson

Best Improv Group

Austin's getting funnier by the minute, and it's thanks to folks like these guys … and gals. The nine talented ladies of Girls Girls Girls have been performing long-form improvised musicals since Sept. 2003, which makes them the oldest performing improv troupe in town. With this much talent, we can only hope they'll be around forever (Golden Girls Girls Girls?). We wish the same for Coldtowne, a coed troupe that's been in Austin since they were displaced from New Orleans by Katrina. In just a year, Coldtowne has opened up their own theatre behind the Space on Airport Boulevard where they put on shows and teach all levels of improv classes to those of us who aspire to one day be even half as funny as they are.

ColdTowne Theater
4803-B Airport
512/814-8696
www.coldtownetheater.com

Girls Girls Girls
PO Box 301026
ggg.austinimprov.com

Best Local Filmmaker

The hometown hero best known for his sprawling, dialogue-driven, philosophical films about disaffected youth, is surely a favorite because he appeals to everyone. He tackles every film genre, from the lighthearted heroics of School of Rock, to the serious and somewhat disturbingly revelatory Fast Food Nation. Linklater is nothing if not inventive, and his rotoscopic techniques overlay film and animation into dreamy visual scapes. Also, it's always fun to watch films and cheer a little when you see faces you know and places you go.

Detour Filmproduction
3109 N. I-35
512/322-0726
www.detourfilm.com

photo by John Anderson

Best Museum

The opening of UT's new improved Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art this past spring gave Austin the largest university art museum in the country and the third largest art museum in Texas. With a permanent collection of more than 17,000 works, it is recognized for its old master paintings, modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, and an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings. Though the old masters shine at the Blanton, this is a museum as cutting edge as it is traditional. Having recently exhibited the graphic flair of Paul Chan; the magical compositions of Daniel Joglar; and video art from Burt Barr, the Blanton continues to blaze the contemporary art trail with upcoming exhibitions including the sculptures, installations, videos, and drawings of Cristian Silva; the installations of Matthew Day Jackson; and performance art by by Michael Smith and Joshua White. The building is cavernous with endless galleries and exhibits, which have already been put to good use in a seemingly endless flow of parties and monthly B-scene gatherings.

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

Best Painter/Sculptor

Our readers' favorite artist works in a wide variety of mediums including sculpture, painting, photography, film, and mixed media. He has exhibited his work regionally, nationally, and internationally. As president and founder of the GAT5 Artist Collective, he helped make it possible for Mayor Will Wynn to take a sexy turn on the runway at the GAT5 Showcase in February 2006.

3403 Larry Ln
512/680-0532
www.eastaustinstudiotour.com

photo by John Anderson

Best Place to See New Art

The opening of UT's new improved Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art this past spring gave Austin the largest university art museum in the country and the third-largest art museum in Texas. With a permanent collection of more than 17,000 works, it is recognized for its old master paintings, modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, and an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings. Though the old masters shine at the Blanton, this is a museum as cutting edge as it is traditional. Having recently exhibited the graphic flair of Paul Chan; the magical compositions of Daniel Joglar; and video art from Burt Barr, the Blanton continues to blaze the contemporary art trail with upcoming exhibitions including the sculptures, installations, videos, and drawings of Cristian Silva; the installations of Matthew Day Jackson; and performance art by by Michael Smith and Joshua White. The building is cavernous with endless galleries and exhibits, which have already been put to good use in a seemingly endless flow of parties and monthly B-scene gatherings.

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

Best Theatre Director

One of Austin's most creative theatre directors, Steakley graces the stages of Zach Scott with his visions of life and drama and spirit – and we are better for it. His original production Keepin' It Weird is a homegrown showcase of the quintessential elements that make Austin what it is; his direction of Crowns presents one of the most spiritually uplifting productions ever; and I Am My Own Wife was an incredible tour de force. Wow, are we lucky to have Dave!

Topfer Theatre at Zach
202 S. Lamar
512/476-0541
www.zachtheatre.org

Best Theatre Performance Space

As one of the premier theatrical venues in Austin, Zach Scott may be the most versatile. With its 135-seat Whisenhunt Arena Stage, and the 250-seat Kleberg Stage, and the new Grace and Andrew Groten Stage created out of the former bike shop on Toomey, the theatre complex maintains an intimacy even as the venues expand and grow to accommodate more fans. We can hardly wait for the new 500-seat theatre addition to see how Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Co. spread out and thrill the crowds with their popular signature shows like Beehive, The Santaland Diaries, Keepin' It Weird, and Crowns.

Topfer Theatre at Zach
202 S. Lamar
512/476-0541
www.zachtheatre.org

 
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