Since when was an Austin Chronicle "BOA" banner a sign from God herself? Since the Austin American-Statesman told us so. Thanks, guys! In what we are refusing to call an error but a divine act of providence, last year we added some sparkle to the otherwise straightforward Austinuts moniker. AustiNuts is better. Waaay better. And apparently the Statesman, AustiNuts owner Cipi Ilai (Hi, Cipi!), and those geniuses at Kellogg's who don't know what a "snack" is agree. Oh yeah, and the eternal presence agrees, too.
Pssssst. Hey. Heeeeeyyyyyyeee. Is it drunk and you're late? I mean, are you drunk? Need someone to talk to? Call 481-BONE, and ladies of the night Jodi and Emily will be there for you, sugar tits. This brassy, besotted duo's taken a love of the bottle and the gift of gab from the bar stool to the Web, offering afterhours advice on sex, love, and assorted bodily functions during their Thursday call-in show/podcast. They slur truth to power (with the help of Jameson) and offer a cock-eyed view of the lush life that could only come from Austin. Call them; they're waaaaiiting.
And by "411," we mean the deets, the score, a clue, the data, the dirt on everything you need to know or report in our fine metropolis. Austin's 311 harkens back to a time when customer service wasn't just a long wait on hold and a byzantine odyssey through extensions and transfers that ultimately end up in dead ends with you throwing your phone across the room. Every time we've used this 24-hour service, service has been key. If they don't know it, they look it up. If they can't find it, they ask a supervisor. Whether we're reporting a pothole or a messed-up traffic light late at night, calling to request a change to the size of our city-sanctioned garbage cart, or registering a "feral hog complaint," our city's encyclopedic ambassadors of infrastructural info have the answers. With a smile. We can hear it.
Indiana Adams' eye for piecing together fab from drab is impeccable. With barely a year under her (well-coordinated) Web belt, she's already made quite the scene, having gotten her ATX-centered fashion blog national attention with nods from Glamour.com and Lucky, and she was nominated for a Texas Social Media award to boot. All that while thrifting, DIY-ing, and scouring the city for fashion finds on the frugal fashionista's budget. Local is king on Adored Austin with coverage of glam events and on-the-street snapshots of our stylish head-turners.
When contract publisher and graphic design company owner Marla Camp bought the Edible Communities franchise for Austin in 2007, we had no way of knowing how quickly and completely Edible Austin would become a reliable resource for the Austin artisan food community. Whether it's a BookPeople reception for a cookbook author or a benefit for the Sustainable Food Center, Urban Roots, or Gulf Coast renewal, Camp and Edible Austin will be there. Perhaps Camp's greatest accomplishment is Edible Austin's sponsorship of the annual Eat Local Week every December – several days of wildly popular events showcasing local farmers, ranchers, artisan food producers, foods, spirits, beers, coffees, and teas.
We of a certain overlooked generation have been down the block and back with sincerity a few times, but by now it's pretty evident we've settled down and shacked up with irony the way goddess intended. And to keep our committed thing hoppin', we've been known to indulge in some consensual mutual parody from time to time. Submitted into evidence: nutty zine B Style T Style, the brilliant brainchild of local queerleaders Paige Schilt, Katy Koonce, Ann Cvetkovich, and Gretchen Phillips. Jumping off from local gay product catalog/lifestyle magazine L Style G Style, the sprightly little pub offers some genuinely helpful service journalism and thoughtful rumination while also skewering mainstream culture of all stripes, mocking the clichés of "alternative" or "free" publications (including this rag), and engaging in a now-familiar appreciation/mocking of what were once Middle American fashions, or at least aspired to be (Exhibit A: purple zebra spandex shorts). Its makers are just as adept at lampooning their kind, taking jabs at their own self-aggrandizing tendencies and bent for abstract thinking, and it's all wrapped in a visually stimulating, well-composed bow. Making fun of normals has never been so queer.
Every Wednesday morning, 9-11am, deejay and Louisiana-music master Tom Mahnke invites you to board the "Zydeco Train," the Cajun/Creole choo-choo, as it were, for the qui, the quelle, the où, and the quand of Louisiana music, from tributes to Clarence "Frogman" Henry to the recently passed Bobby Charles ("See You Later, Alligator"), from all points Acadiana and all things Cosimo Matassa to the city of New Orleans. It's Fais Do Do, two hours of east of the Sabine bliss. Écoute, baby, écoute!
If it's an early weeknight out with your friends and you've got half a six-pack under the table and dauber ink already all over your fingers, you must be at bingo. Between rounds, instead of buying pull-tab cards or making giant origami with your losing sheet, check out a copy of Bingo Gossip. This statewide, one-woman operation was started by Missy Mouser after she graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2005 and provides jokes, recipes, info about pro-bingo politicians, and cheery profiles of bingo patrons from Longview to Corpus Christi. Bingo Gossip gives a new perspective on people not often positively represented in those daily wire stories about small-town life. Who says print is dead?
For many, any entertainment expense outside the DVD rental kiosk requires some budgeting. That's why the library's so indispensable. Films and DVDs, including multidisc sets, can be kept out for up to three weeks, and the library regularly adds recent blockbuster, arthouse, and kids' selections to its collection. Online holds can be arranged that will deliver rentals to the branch of your choice, and the same goes for CDs, audiobooks, and paper volumes too, all of which can be renewed. And what's better than free?
Oral history is the people's history: a view of a time through the voices of the humble, individual humans who lived it. Outside of the mainstream media matrix of power, wealth, and privilege, history is taking place every day, and oral history is its record. The Texas After Violence Project is an exemplary narrative and human rights project created to document the stories of people "touched by serious violence or other serious human rights violations, the criminal justice system, incarceration, and executions in Texas." In the words of the project: "We encourage people to speak their own truths. We encourage communities to practice listening." Our world is a more honest one for it.
This Greater Austin Creative Alliance blog offers reviews of local theatre productions, events, and specialty shows. The blog and the site itself are a great introduction for newbies and a resource for veterans on different stages and troupes (prominent and underground alike), promoting increased awareness of and stronger participation in local theatre. While the blog informs, GACA offers discounts to shows, freebies here and there (like a beverage at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf), and invitations to happy hours with fellow thespians.
Life is a game, the saying goes, but Gowalla knows where all the pieces are. It's called location-based social networking, in which your phone automatically checks in at real-world sites. Tracking your friends is helpful, but discounts and prizes from vendors you visit are even better. Launched at South by Southwest 2009, Austin-based Gowalla returned to the Interactive Festival in 2010 to go toe-to-virtual-toe with New York-based rival Foursquare, picking up the award for best mobile service and a whole hunk of international tech buzz.
From the haunting chants of Medieval monks and nuns sung a cappella to the flirty madrigals of the Renaissance and measured intensity of Baroque dance music, Ancient Voices brings church to us on Sundays. At 9am and 4pm, this show transports Austin through early Europe's extraordinary tapestries of sound. Peace and a sense of the sacred emanate from the radio. Listeners are gently guided through history by host Sara Hessel's timeless voice.
Erin Hanson's dreamy photography has a distinctly vintage vibe, with an eye for dilapidated buildings, sneaky signage, portraits practically swirling with dust motes of a bygone era. No surprise, then, that her side project, the Recovering Lazyholic, packs just as much retro punch. "The Prescription Is Doing," goes her slogan, and her minimalist "1 Minute Photoshop Thoughts" series – which illustrates the 12-step recovery program and the difference between "want" and "need" – strikes the same balance between kitsch and sincerity, wordplay and playful imagery.
And that's saying a lot in this town! Since the trashy, porny, and beloved TWiT (This Week in Texas) has gone AWOL, the question has been who will take up the bar gossip mantle? The good folks at Charlie's Austin have been publishing their own glossy rag for these past few months – and they've already gone through a name change(!) from Lavaca Caca to Lavaca Enquirer. Dang it. Lavaca Caca was perfect and oh-so-meta as it called itself out on the long and proud tradition of gay bar bullshitting. Devoid of advertising space (at least for now) this new mag stays true to what it is: dancey, pervy, dirrrrrty fun. We suspect they have achieved some level of success because, as of yet, we've been unable to obtain a physical copy of the magazine formerly known as Lavaca Caca – they've been flying out the door like, well, tricks in the morning.
Who knocked over the tire mound of mystery? Jordan Smith. Who unlocked the KeyPoint Government Solutions report into the Nathaniel Sanders II shooting? Jordan Smith. Who helped exorcise the ghosts of the fake satanic abuse scandal that put innocent people in jail? Jordan Smith: the best damn cops and courts reporter in Texas.
Since he's constantly writing novels, short stories, screenplays, and material for DadLabs.com, we're not sure when Owen Egerton sleeps. Add to that his work onstage with Girls Girls Girls and Zach Theatre, appearances with (and helping found Austin's original) Master Pancake Theater, and the release of his own album, and we can see why this Renaissance man is one of Austin's favorite authors. While Texas transplant Sarah Bird doesn't stray so far from the page, she too is an author of many talents. With degrees in anthropology and journalism, Bird has a knack for observing human behavior and writing social comedies about it. You've probably read her newest, the hilarious How Perfect Is That, so why not trace the funny back to its source by picking up one of her old romance novels under the name Tory Cates?
Owen Egerton, www.owenegerton.com
Sarah Bird, www.sarahbirdbooks.com
It’s the local creation and the regional office. The homegrown Republic of Austin is a DIY mash-up of single-take music videos and debates about art cars vs. hoarder-mobiles, while Austinist has adapted the Gothamist hipster-culture model to life on the banks of Lady Bird Lake.
Founder of the popular Republic of Austin, Chris Apollo Lynn is outgoing and always on the town. An Internet-age Kerouac (though we can't shake how much he looks like the lovechild of Hugh Grant and Rufus Wainwright), Lynn has a cultural point of view that promotes responsible living, and he does a great job synthesizing what makes our city the vibrant force that it is – from ugliest underwear contests to sightings of gorillas on the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. His great reporting, humor, and creativity keep our readers obsessively clicking refresh.
What's going on tonight? That phrase can strike fear in the hearts of even the most connected city dwellers, but it's Do512's business. From music, film, art, and comedy to the best happy hours, Do512 knows what Austinites want to do: drink, mingle, get cultured, and get weird, though not necessarily in that order.
Missed last night’s big story? Catch a replay on KXAN’s website. Essentially what a news portal should look like in 2010, KXAN’s page features video of most of its stories, offers blogs and photo galleries, and, of course, includes a comprehensive weather page.
When looking for the future of journalism, look no further than UT’s beloved Texas Student Media. The Daily Texan is proof college students actually know what’s going on in the world. UT’s award-winning student newspaper has been keeping students informed and breaking local stories since 1900. However, when things get too serious, the Texas Travesty, UT’s humor publication, lightens it up. Full of clever quips and jokes at UT’s expense, the paper keeps students laughing even when the piles of homework make things look grim.
Tyler Sieswerda, Terri Gruca, Olga Campos, Quita Culpepper, Melissa Gale, Mark Murray, Mike Barnes – these are household names in Austin television for a reason. KVUE takes the "Best of Austin" win yet again, and it's no wonder why: reliability, trustworthiness, and honesty. We're honored to congratulate them once more.
No less than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum enshrined public television's locally produced music beacon this summer with its Austin City Limits exhibit – a sound and vision of American roots and rock from the last four decades. The show is already in the thick of its 36th season's taping schedule, and Austin institutions Alejandro Escovedo and Spoon have taped global transmissions. Just wait ’til ACL Music Fest season. Austin City Limits is the original music television.
Our readers have a favorite radio frequency, and it's home to local singer-songwriters, talk radio, and even metal (AC/DC, Rush, UFO). Larry Monroe scholars out the first, morning man John Aielli inhabits all modes of the second, and last month's superb Armadillo soundtrack took care of the last ("In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida," yo). Jay Trachtenberg holds down the afternoons, Paul Ray hosts eternal Twine Time, and Michael Crockett dishes picante Tex-Mex (Horizontes). For those about to rock: KUT, we salute you.
This one-woman whirlwind of energy and talent has become synonymous with the term "photo booth." At the forefront of the photo booth trend and known for her shouts for more passion, Annie Ray is loved for both her charisma and her fantastic shots, which always have colors that pop and personality shining through.
Annie Ray, www.annieray.net
This international public access show includes debates about religious philosophy while promoting a positive education on atheism. Some of our town's most delightful free thinkers, including Hepcats author Martin Wagner, computer scientist Don Baker, and aerospace engineer Jen Peeples, host this tasteful approach to lively, interactive conversations with viewers of various beliefs.
Though his playlists today might not be quite as free-ranging (and surprising) as they were when he spent 30 hours a week behind the mic, John Aielli still spins enough varied and unexpected music for his long-running KUT program to more than justify its title, Eklektikos. The public radio station's morning host for the past 40 years is that rare deejay who is comfortable with and conversant about both classical and pop music, and, moreover, he can hear musical connections between disparate songs and scores and weave a tapestry of recordings over the airwaves that leads you to hear them, too.
Charlie Hodge, formerly one-third of the morning radio trio on The Dudley and Bob Show, has launched his own four-hour midday program featuring his brand of idiosyncratic comedy (complete with impressions of notable local figures George W. Bush, the Whataburger dude, and the Lockhart sausage – yes, he impersonates a sausage) mixed with tried and true rock & roll standards. Hodge was previously anchoring an hourlong noon show by himself but this year has taken on a sidekick, veteran Austin comedian Matt Sadler, who reins Hodge in and keeps his comedy on track. Given the synergy created by this teaming, it's no wonder our readers have pegged Hodge as the best radio chatter in Austin.
For more than 20 years, Mike Barnes has been with KVUE, using such local sports segments as "Friday Football Fever" and "Texas Tailgaters" as his calling cards. Arguably the more successful sports-related Barnes in Austin (with Rick presumably being his evil twin), Mike has clearly earned this award thanks to his love and loyalty for Austin sports.
In a city where you’re vilified for being anti-Longhorn, this award is a testament to Austin American-Statesman writer Kirk Bohls’ great work. Even after he voted for Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh for Heisman over Longhorn legend Colt McCoy, you admired Bohls’ stand and decided an honest opinion was better than a pressured one.
Whether you want the latest buzz out of City Hall, the scoop on the day's national headlines, or someone to keep you company on your evening commute, KUT's on the air. But Austin's favorite public radio station does a little bit more than that. Like the sound of a baseball game in the summertime or a lawnmower buzzing in the distance, kids jumping into Barton Springs or your number getting called at your favorite taco stand, KUT is the voice of America, of Austin, of home – so once you've rolled into your driveway and turned off your radio, walked into your kitchen, and started up the stove, all you need as you make a lovely dinner is a glass of wine and the sounds of KUT.
Amid the shifting TV news landscape, perennial "BOA" favorite Maggio is a comforting, steadying presence. A UT alum with nearly three decades of news experience, she’s in her seventh year of anchoring KEYE-TV’s newscast, delivering the 10pm news with smarts and sincerity.
Was there a time before Quita Culpepper? More to the point, was there a time before Culpepper won our readers' hearts as the best TV reporter in town? We think not – at least not in the last eight years. Culpepper first hit the "Best of" list in 1999 and, after a three-year hiatus, won again in 2003. And she's remained our favorite ever since. Culpepper is infinitely interested, engaged, and enthusiastic no matter what role she's playing – anchor, reporter, intrepid tester of products – for KVUE news. It's no wonder we love her so very, very much.
The formality and candor of KXAN's chief weather guru and 12-time "Best of Austin" winner Jim Spencer makes the weather sound like dish. Waving a hand at the map in beautifully cut suits, in sleeves even during full meteorology crisis, he always looks perfectly put together, and he still has all the answers.