Politics & Media
2022 Readers Poll
2022 Critics Picks

photo by John Anderson

Best City Hall Rookie

Vanessa Fuentes campaigned for City Council as a progressive champion of the mostly working-class constituents who live in Southeast Austin's District 2. A little over one year into her first term, she is delivering. From helping to push the city toward providing more paid parental leave for employees to securing funding for a Trauma Recovery Center to help victims of violent crime, and – though unsuccessful – standing strong alongside her constituents who opposed expansion of the jet fuel tank farm at the airport, Fuentes has supported progressive action and shown working-class solidarity at City Hall.


Best Post-Pandemic Austin Trend

From Starbucks and the Statesman to Integral Care and the Alamo Drafthouse and the Texas Democratic Party, Austin's workers are leveraging the tight labor market to show that, as the song goes, "There Is Power in a Union." Kudos to organizers from the trade and industrial unions who've shared their time, talent, and treasure to help the millennial and Gen Z workers who've helped shift public opinion on organized labor (according to the polls) to its most positive levels since the Sixties.

photo by John Anderson

Best Midday Mixes

The hours between 1 and 4pm are often spent trying to get into a groove at work or maybe dealing with traffic on your way to a quick lunch. Luckily Austinites have Deejay Slyce at that time to keep heads nodding and butts shaking in whatever seat you might find yourself. On a typical day, the man behind the decks can go from Laid Back's "White Horse" to the Jets' "Crush on You," making stops at Chubb Rock, Röyksopp, and Connie along the way. The only problem is that Slyce might be coming a bit too hard for a weekday afternoon. Hopefully your chair will survive the moves.

8906 Wall St. #203

Best Dog-Themed Hospitality Industry-Centric Austin Meme Page

Austin’s service industry has been through a lot over the past couple of years, but clearly hasn’t lost its sense of humor if @austinindustrypups is any indication. Memes of adorable puppy pics feature text that might be a bit inside-baseball for nonindustry folks at times, but some are universal, like a blurry, bleary-eyed pug that just says, “Barfly’s.” I know, right? They’ve got their paws on the city’s pulse, making timely commentary on happenings in the biz and having a go at every aspect of the industry, from patron to critic to staff, and it’s great fun.


image via instagram.com/AustinIndustryPups

Best Texas True-Crime Stories

Located within UT's Moody College of Communication, this podcast studio is a startup of startups. Robert Quigley, associate professor of practice and an associate director at the school, started the Drag in 2019 to merge student and professional journalism and produce unique, Texas-specific content. Darkness: The Orange Tree became the Drag's first smashing true-crime success in 2020, with over 4,000 ratings on Apple Podcasts. This year, Katey Outka, the Drag's associate director and a UT journalism professor, worked with student Ashley Miznazi to launch the production house's second long-form, true-crime exploration, Darkness: Austin Bomber. Count on the Drag for wonderfully chilling content.

The Drag Audio Production House
300 W. Dean Keeton

Best Guide to Tomorrow's Austin

This site is what they call "content marketing" for the Downtown-focused real estate agency that produces it. Yet writer/editor (and native Austinite) James Rambin has made it a must-visit destination for anyone trying to keep up with Austin's endless boom time. Each week features not only deep dives into the latest plans and current status of the site's namesake towers, but lots of backstory about the people, structures, and locations involved in each storyline of Austin's long-running land-use soap opera. Reading it will heighten your situational awareness and help you check your assumptions about the city you actually live in.


Best Community Radio Legacy

Bob has done Austin a great service for basically the entire history of KOOP Radio, dating back to the 1990s. He's anchored its public affairs coverage with Civil Rights and Wrongs, a weekly exploration of not just legal matters but local and state politics that, as they often do in Texas, have a direct impact on your liberty and dignity. He's also worked off-air as a producer and station leader to help other programmers (including the Chronicle) make the most of this unique community asset. We wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.


Best Civic Volunteers

Sometimes, we forget that an important way to create change, and to accrue the power and influence needed to do so, is simply to show up and ask for it. This committee was envisioned as a way for the public to shape Project Connect's $300 million anti-displacement program – not the entire $7 billion to $10 billion transit system. Its members have quietly and persistently pushed back against these limits and have already begun to change the trajectory of Project Connect in ways the public should celebrate.


image via projectconnect.com

Gayest Podcast About Straightest Movies

Combine the casual celebrity knowledge and fun banter of Who? Weekly with the film insights and opinions of The Big Picture, plus a dash of that specific Austin queer zest, and you’ll be listening to Straight People Movies. This podcast captures the ultimate listening experience: feeling like you’ve dropped in on some friends during a phone call and are hearing all their best inside jokes. Hosts Dylan Garsee and Kirk Van Sickle are those friends, as two gays watching movies for straight people, from The Dark Knight to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Predator to Pulp Fiction, all while asking the ultimate question: Why?


Best On-Air Electronic Hour

We already admired Andrew P Brown for running inside-Juiceland vinyl shop Exploded Records and co-founding the much-loved showcase series Exploded Drawing. Turns out, the eclectic music curator also makes a great radio deejay, Wednesdays at 8pm on KUTX. His 2019-launched electronic and beat show, Soundfounder, supports the leading Austin station’s efforts at genre expansion. On air, Brown’s exploratory, educational, and highly listenable show provides an accessible entry point to the realm, connecting threads to names and musical touchstones you know. Find the solo project from your favorite festival headliner’s lesser-known producer, or the latest song from the offbeat maestro you’d forgotten all about.


Andrew Brown and Curtis   photo by David Brendan Hall

Critics: Nightlife
Critics: Services

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