We Have an Issue: Time to Vote for Your Favorite Local People and Places in The Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin Awards

Show your appreciation for the good work folks are doing

Cover by Zeke Barbaro (Photos by John Anderson / Getty Images)

This week's cover wasn't the planned one, but after news broke Monday that Mayor Kirk Watson struck a deal with state officials to place state troopers on Austin streets, that story clearly trumped our annual April Fools' prank (which is still in the issue – you'll know it when you see it). Staff writer Austin Sanders delves deeper into the DPS story and its troubling ramifications, and also expands on his ongoing coverage of problems at the Austin Police Academy.

How's about a massive tonal swerve? That's sort of the problem with this weekly "welcome to the issue" letter from me: The issue contains multitudes! And this week's issue contains the first-round ballot for our annual Best of Austin Readers Poll. That ballot contains multitudes, too – 173 awards across seven categories (Arts & Entertainment, Kids & Family, Nightlife, Politics & Media, Shopping, Services, and Sports & Recreation).

If you're new here or just need a refresher, The Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin Awards was founded more than 30 years ago to celebrate the good work being done in our community. The contest has evolved over the years into two parts: Critics Picks (sourced by Chronicle staff) and a Readers Poll that goes two rounds. The first round – a write-in ballot, what we call the "nominating" round – runs a brisk 11 days (March 30-April 10). We crunch the numbers and then unveil the second-round finalist ballot for voting that runs May 4-15. Winners will then be announced in our June 15 issue.

We tweak the Readers Poll ballot every year, dropping some categories that are low vote-getters or outdated, while adding other categories, sometimes on a whim. For instance, this year, a longtime reader emailed me to ask why we've never had a category for Best Travel Agent. Somewhat out of solidarity with another profession getting crowded out by the internet, I figured, why the heck not? We'll give it a try. (It might be the only year we have this category, so Travel Agents of Austin – make it count.)

I've been helming our Best of Austin issue since 2016. The question I hear most? "How do I get nominated for a Best of Austin Award?" My answer is pretty simple: First, be really, really good at what you do. Second, vote for yourself, and ask other people to vote for you, too. (We make this second part easy for you by providing free "vote for me" graphics you can use on social media: austinchronicle.com/vote-best-of-austin/campaign.)

Our readers, their passions, power the Best of Austin Awards. If they're passionate about what you bring to the community – as an artist, a technician, a TV station, a politician, a service worker, a music venue, and so on, and so on – they'll be happy to cast a ballot. They might just need a little nudge. (Only don't be gross about it, OK? And definitely don't offer anything in return for a vote: That'll get you booted from the contest. Also, one person, one vote. Don't create a dozen email addresses to vote for yourself. That's also gross, y'all.)

To sum up: Enthusiastically ask your fans to support you. Don't be gross. Vote just the once, but vote with your whole heart, in the spirit of this many-years-old-now annual rite, to cheer on the people and places that make Austin unique and uniquely awesome.

I think that about covers it. Flip the page to find this year's ballot, and vote now at vote.austinchronicle.com.

Jackie Venson performing at the Chronicle's Austin Music Awards in February (Photo by Jana Birchum)


You Oughta Know: Austin blues star Jackie Venson will perform alongside Alanis Morissette at this year's CMT Awards in Austin, airing Sunday on CBS.

That's a Wrap: To the dismay of fans of film and design, parent company Funko has shuttered the print arm of Mondo, the Austin-based collectibles firm.

New Funding, New Era: A city of Austin Cultural Trust investment is set to spruce up East Austin's Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex.

Motor Show —> Music Fest: Sudan Archives, Soccer Mommy, and Allah-Las will headline April's Handbuilt Motorcycle Show.

Wu Chow Expands: The popular dim sum spot will open a second location on North Lamar.

In Search of The Lost King: Philippa Langley, the amateur historian who found the grave of King Richard III, talks with Culture Editor Richard Whittaker about facing a fictional version of herself on film.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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