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2010CriticsArts & Culture

Best Art Fundraiser
Body of Art – Spring Gala

The Women & Their Work gallery attracts deeply talented and accomplished women (and the men who worship them) from all over Austin. Despite dazzling and incredibly successful exhibitions, panels, tours, and other fundraisers, this annual Spring Gala offers a bit of an edge. Held at the homes of its board members and supporters (all of whom have fabulous art collections of their own), the gala truly defines the perfect high-glam fundraiser, bringing together artists, art lovers, and fashionistas.

Women & Their Work, 1710 Lavaca, 512/477-1064,

Best Couple of Clowns in the City
Schave & Reilly

The husband-and-wife team of Ben Schave and Caitlin Reilly are like a living piece of vaudeville in the midst of Twitter times, plying their baggy-pants trade – stilt-walking, juggling, fire-eating, and (above all) slapstick comedy – with the clown college-educated professional poise that's earned them multiple awards and fans all over the globe. As their website asks, "Have you ever seen a rubber chicken duel that you didn't like?"

Best Funny First Steps
Cap City Comedy Club Open Mic

Margie Coyle at Cap City Comedy Club   photo by John Anderson

It takes not only great, original material to be a comedian in the making but also some serious cojones to brave a stage and wear your dementia on your sleeve. It also takes the loving embrace of a community and a club that is Austin's funny bone to coddle and encourage those who just want to make the masses laugh. That place is Cap City Comedy Club.

Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research #100, 512/467-2333,

Best New Collaborative Art and Volunteer Space

photo by Bret Brookshire

Knowledge of Space12 spreads predominantly by word of mouth. This Eastside compound houses many organizations and nonprofits, such as Inside Books Project and Skillshare Austin, and hosts numerous events, including the Round, a 360-degree immersion in local musical, visual, and spoken-word performance. Comfy couches, clean work surfaces, foosball, ping-pong tables, free wi-fi, and more appoint the "co-working space" that is open to anyone in need.

Space12, 3121 E. 12th, 512/524-7128,

Best Undiscovered Event Venue
Hummingbird House

photo by Bret Brookshire

Just 10 miles from Downtown in deep South Austin (aka Manchaca) sits Hummingbird House, a spacious indoor/outdoor venue for weddings, fundraisers, birthdays, and more. These beautifully manicured 5 1/2 acres beckon with lush greenery, flowers constantly in bloom, and hummingbirds, of course, in season. There is a 40-by-80-foot covered pavilion fed by lovely walkways and a secret vine-covered arbor for the bride to make her appearance. Overlooking Onion Creek, the complex features a very green, grassy outdoor amphitheatre and a sparkling pool accented with rock and verdant plantings. Owner Tom Tinguely – also of South Congress' Great Outdoors – apparently has the Midas touch: He turns green into gold.

Hummingbird House, 12805 Arroyo Doble Dr., Manchaca, 512/934-0201,

Critics: Architecture & Lodging
Critics: Entertainment
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