Arts & Entertainment
2022 Readers Poll
2022 Critics Picks

photo by Bret Brookshire

Best Place to Learn the Art of Glassmaking

Glassblowing and other ancient ways of working with molten, malleable silicates: not the sort of delicate art you can teach yourself, really, no matter how many YouTube instructionals you binge. Besides, Austin's own Ghost Pepper Glass professionals – working, award-winning artists in their own right – welcome students at all levels of proficiency, glad to share their sandbending skills and passion, to help you achieve your most inspired, light-shifting, amorphous-solid dreams in their fully equipped Eastside studio.

Ghost Pepper Glass
979 Springdale #100

Best Place to Binge on TV

Cheers. Frasier. The Jeffersons. M*A*S*H. It’s an elite group that makes it to 11 seasons – and none of them notched that achievement during a global pandemic. From bootstrap beginnings way back in 2012, ATX Television Festival co-founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson have grown their event into a must-attend fest that’s a favorite of fans and industry folks alike for its good-vibes-only, egalitarian ethos. The pandemic only inspired ATX to double down on its commitment to being a force of good with the launch of nonprofit the Syndication Project, promoting inclusivity and compassion in the television arts. Come June, the fest returns to in-person programming with Scrubs and Parenthood cast-and-crew reunions.

ATX Television Festival

photo by Jana Birchum

image via

Best Scene-Print

Both acronymized as “FSG,” printers Fine Southern Gentlemen and sister business Feels So Good Records have gelled into a cultural hub at their latest location on Alpine Road. The converted industrial space is, at once, a screenprinting facility where local merch gets manufactured, a retail space selling hip apparel, a record store, a design shop, and an event space. With the latter, FSG has added a stylish DIY space into Austin’s music ecosystem that’s emerging as a favorite spot for record releases, parties, and special events.

Fine Southern Gentlemen
211 E. Alpine

Feels So Good
211 E. Alpine

Best Underground Rave Sustainers

Among the lovely return of unofficial, impromptu music spaces during South by Southwest 2022, the artful, intense party-planners of 1222.Productions absolutely win for throwing a rave at a South Austin Long John Silver’s. Locally launched SaliYah DJ’d from atop two trash receptacles reading “Thank You.” Prior, the secret festivity-makers – whose location details typically text out hours before – hosted Faux Real at Ben White’s Blazer Tag. Earning their first Austin Music Industry Awards nomination, the team gained notoriety for hosting electronic performances in local drainage tunnels. Balancing pop-up surprise with thought-out ticketing, sound systems, and artful installations, 1222’s scope keeps getting more creative.

image via

Best Possibility to Get Your Hands Dirty at an Art Opening

Would you like to sit cross-legged on the floor and have poetry read to you? Does eating homemade baked potatoes while wandering through an art show sound like your style? The DIY project space All the Sudden features such artistic experiments. Located in a residential neighborhood between Airport and Ed Bluestein Boulevard, ATS consists of a 1,000-square-foot warehouse, a large backyard, and a rental property occupied by its organizers, Emily Lee, Thom Waddill, and Anthony Laurence. The space welcomes community-driven proposals for exhibitions and events ranging from poetry readings to art shows, book clubs, mutual aid gatherings, and material workshops.

All the Sudden
906 Koerner

Best Outdoor Cinema Advocates

Founded in 2009 to keep a great American tradition alive, no one could have foreseen that Austin's own drive-in experiment would become so vital to our moviegoing culture. As indoor theatres closed due to the pandemic, the Blue Starlite shone brighter than ever, adding screens and locations, investing in top-end projectors for big Hollywood pix, hosting micro-indies, keeping festivals safe and in-person, and helping organizations like Community First!'s Community Cinema get on the drive-in trip. Truly, the drive-in will never die.

Blue Starlite Mueller II
2103 E.M. Franklin Ave.

Blue Starlite Downtown
300 San Antonio

Blue Starlite North
12709 MoPac N.

Blue Starlite Round Rock
800 Harrell Pkwy.
Round Rock

photo by John Anderson

photo by Zeke Barbaro

Teensiest Art Exhibit in Austin

Curators Marianne Newsom and Juliet Whitsett have upped East Austin’s art game with two white cube galleries – the size of Little Free Libraries – on each of their front lawns. From now until November, the Banton Road Museum of Art and the 14th Corner Contemporary are offering exquisite micro exhibits each month, plus a few flash shows in between. Artist talks, opening receptions, and live performances accompany these delicate displays, so be sure to check out their Instagram for updates big and small.

Best Wizardly D&D Game Master

What better environment than a rollicking Ren fest out in the wilderness in which to throw your dice and adventure up some arcane treasure with fellow travelers? None, we avow – especially when the game master is the wizardly Mike Nystul, who's been leading successful quests for decades and who, with performative flair, now plies his trade in the midst of Sherwood Forest's magisterial milieu. Bonus fact: Nystul's father used to play with Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax(!) back in the early Balrog-bashing days.

photo by John Anderson

The Pale Door   Courtesy of Paper Street Pictures

Best Pandemic Production House

When the pandemic hit, sets closed, right? And only the big studios could afford to implement all those health and safety protocols, right? Wrong and wrong. Austin-based Paper Street Pictures, founded by Aaron B. Koontz, proved you could make movies safely on a budget, and they did it 12 times at the height of COVID, plus launched the Blood Oath horror movie consultancy, all while keeping Texas techs and artists employed. Paper by name, rock-solid by nature.

Best Place to Appreciate Furniture as Fine Art

Rath Gallery, which opened last fall, is Austin's only gallery dedicated to furniture and rare home decor. While all of the inventory is for sale, the experience of browsing the store is designed to be similar to visiting fine art galleries in major cities like Los Angeles or New York. The gallery features antiques and objects that are often hundreds of years old, and owners Eli Rabb and Maggie Orth often share enchanting stories about each object they have acquired for the space, detailing histories and provenances that span the globe.

Rath Gallery
900 N. Lamar

photo by Jana Birchum

Best Boost for Budding Moviemakers

Would Kat Candler have been showrunner for TV smash Queen Sugar without that $5,000 grant to help distribute her debut feature, Cicadas? Would Zellner Bros. have worked with Robert Pattinson if they hadn't received a thousand bucks for their 2004 short, "Quasar Hernandez"? Maybe, because they're insanely talented, but early career support from AFS Grants has helped hundreds of filmmakers through over $2.2 million in grants and support since 1996. With the establishment of a new endowment, this vital program is set to continue its pivotal role in nurturing new talent. Remember, the next film they support could be yours.

Austin Film Society
1901 E. 51st

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