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2017 Critics Picks

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Best Place to Become a Unicorn

In a world where hair every shade of the rainbow is becoming more common, salons with true talent for color are more vital than ever. If you want your hair silver, green, purple, blue, or any hue in between, go to Benjamin Beau Salon. After a friendly consultation, they will go about making all your fantasy hair dreams come true. Take a moment to pet the resident dog, relax with a nice drink, and re-emerge the beautiful unicorn you were born to be.

Benjamin Beau Salon
300 S. Lamar
512/284-9048
www.benjaminbeausalon.com

Best Batting of the Eyelashes

If eyes are the windows to the soul, are eyelashes considered the curtains? Who knows – but that’s a question you can pose to the cutie at the bar after your lash extension appointment. If your lashes need a break from overuse of mascara or you’re looking to shave some minutes off of your morning routine, may we recommend Pink Lady Lash? Fluffy isn’t a word we’d normally use to describe anything other than a Pomeranian, but a fluffy set of lashes from the talented artists here can really make those ojos pop.

Pink Lady Lash
3801 Capital of TX Hwy. N. Ste. 160-C
512/368-5458
www.pinkladylash.com

photo by Jana Birchum

Photo by Jana Birchum

Most Innovative Medical Care

Whether you’re seeking STI testing, access to PrEP – the little blue pill that basically stops the transmission of HIV when taken daily – or gender affirming care and hormones, Austin’s Kind Clinic is your one-stop shop. What started as an entirely volunteer-run clinic to help residents learn about and get on PrEP has transformed into a full service sexual health and wellness provider that’s also home to Travis County’s first-ever trans-specific health care clinic. Kind not only keeps Austin queer, it’s keeping the community (and all folks) healthy and thriving.

The Kind Clinic
900 E. 30th #302
512/853-9547
www.kindclinic.org

Best Available Office Space for Musicians on a Budget

By taking over an old convalescent home on the Eastside and turning it into a music compound, scene supporters Dan Redman and Curse Mackey look to solve the affordability and fragmentation issues facing Austin’s music industry by putting everything under one roof. The 25,000-square-foot facility is already filling up with studios, gear rental, practice spaces, and a large performance venue while they prepare to add vinyl record pressing, screenprinting, and educational facilities – which members can use at discounted rates – plus ample office space for music businesses. The Butthole Surfers have christened it by recording their new album there.

Mosaic Sound Collective
6400 FM 969
713/398-2604
www.mosaicsoundcollective.com

photo by John Anderson

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Most Zen Massage Studio

Myofascial release specialist Laura Ann Gilpin has a gorgeous new studio on the Eastside. If the airy space, hammock, and tropical plants aren't meditative enough, her holistic approach to bodywork is sure to bring you peace. And, if it's more convenient, Laura Ann makes house calls, too.

Homestead Healing
1109-A Shady
301/339-3897
www.myhomesteadmassage.com

Best Way to Stop Smoking

Locally owned since 1975, and now part of the Yost Automotive family, Muffin provides the kind of friendly personal service you don’t see much anymore, including free evaluations and estimates. Shop manager Tom Finger has been working there for 38 years, since he was 18 years old. That’s well before there were personal computers, so the records are long gone, but by rough guesstimate, Muffin has probably installed well over 50,000 mufflers, and he’s personally overseen most all of them.

Muffin Muffler
6615 Shirley Ave.
512/453-5287
www.muffinmuffler.com

photo by Susan Moffat

photo by John Anderson

Best In-the-Rough Auto Inspection Center

You pull up and some kid in cutoffs and a ratty T-shirt asks for your keys and paperwork, then points you to your seat at a tattooed picnic table near the bushes. It looks like the electricity isn’t working inside; there’s a shelf of tools and an old microwave that you imagine is caked inside with melted cheese. But what this grungy garage lacks in decor is more than made up for by the business’ speed and service, and an earnestness that tracks back to old-time Austin, when you knew the guy who worked on your car because you probably once kicked him out of your band.

Alan's Vehicle Inspections
5253 N. Lamar
512/323-6763
www.facebook.com/AlansInspections

Best Scrub for Your Motor Tub

Surely, your car hasn't looked this spiffy since it first drove off the dealer's lot. Nice-N-Clean hand-washes and buffs your auto so that nary a smudge remains, and the team there would not have it any other way. It's a compact place that utilizes every inch of its smallish corner lot, which includes a sweet tented area with fans and picnic benches where you can park yourself for a pleasant spell, unless, of course, you prefer the air-conditioned waiting room. You'll find the wait worth your while.

Nice-N-Clean
1201 E. 11th
512/517-2778

photo by Jana Birchum

image via www.austinpupculture.com

Most Chillax Relax for Rex

Dog owners know the most stressful part of vacationing isn’t the TSA pat-down: It’s worrying over how our puppers will handle kennel life. No need to fret when you board your dogs at Austin Pup Culture. During the day, they get to play ruff with the regular daycare doggos; at night, they have the run of their own luxury suites, stocked with orthopedic beds and colorful, Austin-centric decor that’s sure to make them feel at home. And if you’re one of those helicopter pup-parents, APC’s lively Instagram feed supplies photographic proof that your dog is having a way better vacay than you are.

Austin Pup Culture
606 Kenniston
512/524-0057
www.austinpupculture.com

Best Peeper Keeper

You know who you are, those of you who cobble your eyeglasses together with tape and chewing gum whenever they break. For a whole lot less money than the cost of a new pair of frames, a little solder in the right place might just do the trick. Christino is a wizard with these tiny repairs, and is a great conversationalist to boot. And if the talk lags, there's plenty of art and ephemera to gaze at on the shop's walls. It's best to call before coming because the shop closes from time to time, but you can always cool your heels at nearby Juan in a Million.

EZ Frame Fixer
2308 E. Cesar Chavez
512/391-9900
www.fb.com/ezframefixer/

image via EZ Frame Fixer Facebook page

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Best Way to Keep That Timepiece Ticking

All those cunning devices we use to chart the illusion of sequence in our brief human existence? Those machines are as susceptible to damage and decay as we who own them. Luckily, there's nary a thwarted chronograph on Earth that can't be fixed or improved by Raymond Garza, relentlessly tinkering in his second-floor repair shop in the Arboretum, as affable as he is skilled and efficient. Oh, and he fixes jewelry too.

Ray's Watch and Jewelry Repair
10000 Research #257
512/551-9733
www.fb.com/rays7073/

Best Space Is the Place

They say it 'cause it's true: Practice makes perfect. Whether you're looking to rehearse, record, or mix your soon-to-be smash hit, the Space is the place. Clean rooms, cool staff, and reasonable rates attract all the South Austin shredders. Endorsed by the Black Angels; what else do you need?

Space Rehearsal & Recording Studio
7915 Manchaca Rd.
512/448-9518
www.spaceatx.com

Photo by David Brendan Hall

photo by John Leach

Best Giving Back to the Earth Burial

Eloise Woods Burial Park provides a serene woodland landscape just outside of Austin for death, remembrance, and the rituals that accompany both. They offer low-cost, eco-friendly burial services to all loved ones, be they person or pet. By insisting on biodegradable and chemical-free processes, the park allows the deceased to join the natural rhythms of the woods around them. And by offering walking trails to explore, they allow visitors to enjoy the seasons of nature alongside the rhythm of their own grief.

Eloise Woods Community Burial Park
115 Northside Lane
Cedar Creek
www.eloisewoods.com

Best Place to Say Goodbye to Your Furry Friends

There's no hole in your heart quite like that left when losing a pet. Austin Pet Memorial Center’s dedicated crematorium staff treats you and your four-legged friend with compassion and care for when these times call. Available 24/7 (because death does not keep business hours), they can bear your furry pal away for you, or let you hold them right until the end. Importantly, each animal is handled completely separately, so you know it’s their ashes you’re bringing back home. As their motto says: Because our pets are family.

Austin Pet Memorial Center
16670-B S. I-35
Buda
512/425-0879
austinpetmc.com/

 
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