Novelist Sarah Bird (The Yakota Officers Club, The Boyfriend School, Alamo House, The Mommy Club and her latest book, The Flamingo Academy) wins over her readers with hilarity and plots that take place in notorious Austin and Central Texas landmarks. Spike Gillespie also hits audiences hard in the funny bone, taking jabs at herself and turning rage into cathartic read in her works All the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy, Surrender (But Don't Givev Yourself Away), and Pissed Off: On Women and Anger.
Sarah Bird, www.sarahbirdbooks.com
Spike Gillespie, www.spikegillespie.com
Is this Web site’s name a double entendre? Of course, it refers to the rose-tinted edifice on Congress Avenue. But some of the elected officials satirized by the caustically observant bloggers at PinkDome must surely “see red." Then again, it could be a conceit to the facial hue of the blog’s founder after one of those self-professed and well-documented tipsy weekends. The world may never know.
The self-proclaimed "Zine That Supports the Austin Scene," Austin Daze has kept a pulse on the music and arts of our fair city for seven years. Editors Russ and Wendy get in good with the likes of Jethro Tull and Kinky Friedman. They've recently relocated to South First Street, and they always do their part to keep Austin weird.
While some Austinites might consider our own humble rag a travesty in and of itself, UT is home to an actual self-styled Travesty. The student-run publication fancies itself a hybrid of The Onion and National Lampoon and is good for more than a few chuckles during boring history lectures. If poking fun at coffeeshops and student athletes is your particular cuppa, chances are you're already reading it.
KVUE nails down another "Best of Austin" in 2006, along with 21 Associated Press Awards for excellence, including 13 first place, four second-place awards, and four honorable mentions. KVUE was also honored with a special statewide award for Overall Excellence. Anchor Christine Haas captured several of the awards herself, and Austin favorite Mark Murray won for Best Weathercast. Now that's news!
Thanks again, Austin, for voting Yours Truly as your online source for all things entertainment in the ATX. This year you also recognized the contribution of Austinist.com to your insatiable lust for entertainment goings-on. With our powers combined, you'll never be short of something to do. While you're checking us both out online, befriend The Austin Chronicle and Austinist.com on MySpace for up-to-date bulletins on even more news and events.
Just a point and a click'll do ya, satisfying anyone desiring the A-Z's of A-town ... and much more. Full circle, like the name suggests, with easy-to-navigate tool-bars, easy enough, even the myopic grandparents might have a chance at getting the happs in the capital city. Thank goodness, this site covers what you need: local news, national happenings, headlines, technology, Angelina's next four babies, the latest trends of anything you can imagine. It's all there, because Austin asked for it. And they listened.
John Kelso started in life with what some consider an impediment - he's not a native Texan. Born in Oklahoma, raised in Maine, educated in Missouri, this carpetbagger has become one of Austin's distinctive and defining voices. The down-home homilies in his three-day-a-week Statesman column manage to have a true Texas twang.
John Kelso, Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress, www.statesman.com
Now you can take a trip into the city without ever leaving your sofa. Thank goodness KLRU is a frequent remote destination for us, or we may never have stumbled across our new favorite show, and as a result, some of our new favorite things about our town. In half an hour the Emmy Award-winning series captures the beat, the art, the arts, the history, the excitement, the essence that is downtown Austin. They cover everything, with past features ranging from the East End and the Victory Grill to Zilker and Barton Springs, from Austin women builders to the Central Texas hip-hop scene, the Gospel Brunch to the Quentin Tarantino Fest. No finer place for sure, Downtown, everything's waiting for you!
Downtown Austin Alliance, 211 E. Seventh Ste. 100-L, 512/469-1766
People who don't know him personally ask those of us who do know him personally: "Is he really as much of a totally decent guy as he seems?" And the answer is: Yes. Even though he's so often called by duty, amateur or professional, to render judgment upon a mind-numbing variety of local creative productions across a shimmering spectrum of disciplines, Faires does so with the sort of precision and clarity that makes a phrase like "fair and balanced" seem quaint in comparison, that makes him the very spirit and image of "a gentleman and a scholar."
Art photographer Celesta Danger became a household name this summer as the woman behind the camera that launched Texas' "Naked Teacher" photo controversy, a story that blazed across the blogosphere and even made waves on the national mainstream talkshow circuit. Even without the nudity or titillating topics, her work is damn sexy. This no-digital diva knows that it's all in the process: the right lights, supersaturated color, and an amazing eye for expression. Apparently this has clicked with the readers of The Austin Chronicle who have voted loud and clear: This young artist deserves way beyond her allotted 15 minutes.
Celesta Danger, PO Box 6375, www.celestadanger.com
Sure, Austin is one of the most wired cities in the nation, and you could probably catch a signal just about anywhere. But why settle for just any signal when you can punch it strong at Austin Java Co., where you can surf, get caffeinated, people-watch, and listen to live music all at the same time?
All right, that'll be enough jokes about MTV not playing music videos anymore. Thanks to Texas Student Television and one radio-television-film senior named Jerod Couch, Austin has found a better way to keep up with what's happening in hip-hop, locally and nationally. And there's something heartwarming about seeing Austin rappers like Kevin Jack and Tee Double alongside Ghostface Killah and Kanye West. With ATX, who needs MTV? We want our ATX!
Texas Student Television, University of Texas at Austin, Communications Building, 2500 Whitis, www.texasstudenttv.com; www.atxmw.com; myspace.com
Truly a mark of Austin diversity, Hot 93.3's D-Train - the multiyear winner of Evening Radio Host - and KUT's John Aielli match up for this honor. Aielli, fresh off his yearly August sabbatical, has the soothing voice of an angel, perfect to wake up to on those early, rainy mornings. D-Train, on the other hand, plays caffeine to Aielli's chamomille tea: energetic and uplifting. Be it hip-hop or Eklektikos, Austin deejays rule.
D-Train, Hot 93.3, Hot 93.3FM, 8309 N. I-35, www.hot933.fm
John Aielli, KUT 90.5FM, 300 W. Dean Keeton, www.kut.org
Local favorite, one-of-a-kind KGSR, blends Triple-A hit makers like Norah Jones, Sean Lennon, and Shawn Colvin with stalwarts like Dylan, Petty, and Jerry Lee, all while pushing locals like Alejandro, the Sextons, and Los Lonely Boys, and our readers love 'em for it year after year after year.
As eclectic as they come, 90.5 KUT has so much to offer to so many, in so many ways. And that's just the music. Excellent local news, features, and interviews spice the day's music blocks, while national shows like NPR's All Things Considered, This American Life, Fresh Air, and international news from the BBC and PRI keep Austin informed outside of her violet crown. Syndicated shows In Black America and Latino USA originate from KUT, bridging the local with the beyond.
And the winner is ... surprise! Jeff Ward must have his bathroom plastered in his BOA certificates, by now. And well he should, since the former Dallas Cowboy has been charming, informing, and baiting Austinites (and, apparently, Austin Chronicle readers) on his afternoon KLBJ-AM talk radio show since 1994.
Jeff Ward, KLBJ 590AM, 8309 N. I-35, www.590klbj.com
Uh-oh. Number 24 looks like he's waning a bit. No, he's still pushing, running toward the finish line. But, wait, what's this? Get a load of Number 36! He's gaining on 24! They're neck and neck! And ... oh, my god! We've never seen anything like it, not in all our years of BOA writing (ok, we have, but whatever): It's a tie for first place! The gold medal for Best Austin Sportscaster will have to be melted and poured into two tinier molds, because KVUE-24's Mike Barnes and KXAN-36's Roger Wallace are each going to be skipping on home (holding hands, we hope) with the beauts hanging from their sporting necks.
Mike Barnes, KVUE, 3201 Steck, www.kvue.com
Roger Wallace, KXAN, 908 W. MLK, www.kxan.com
When the soft-spoken Statesman sports writer picked Trojan Reggie Bush over Longhorn Vince Young to top his 2005 Heisman ballot, there was burnt-orange outrage. Yet the two-decade veteran commentator on UT sports kept his own counsel, even when it would be easier to play to the home crowd. Bohls remains the voice of reason in a stadium of fanatics.
Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress, www.statesman.com
K-EYE's got it again. Friendly Fred's got the morning news, judicious Judy's got the evening news, and together they've got it covered. The two of them have traded off this "Best of Austin" award for many years. But this year, instead of one or the other, they've tied for Best TV Anchor – and they have some very tough competition. Kudos to them for doing such a fine job year after year.
Judy Maggio, 3201 Steck Avenue, 512/459-2062, kvue.com
Fred Cantú, www.fredcantu.com
Ever question the sometimes outrageous claims made by the manufacturers of new products? KVUE's Quita Culpepper does too, and her "Does It Work" Wednesday segments can be very satisfying by either confirming the claims or debunking them. In adition, she anchors the Weekend Daybreak news and reports three days a week. A native New Yorker, Quita moved to Austin at the age of 13, and joined the KVUE news team in November of 1998. Year after year, our readers show her how happy they are that she did.
Quita Culpepper, KVUE, 3201 Steck, www.kvue.com
Awww! We dare you not to love Jim Spencer’s welcoming grin and comforting personality. When he says it’s gonna rain, you better believe it will, and he understands 100-degree pain. We adore the KXAN meteorologist, and you do, too, for the eighth time.
Jim Spencer, KXAN, 908 W. MLK, www.kxan.com