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Best Of Atlanta Main Photo (large)


2012 Index of Winners

Best emerging visual artist BOA Award Winner

Micah Stansell
It's kind of a big deal when the High Museum decides to show a local artist's work. It's an even bigger deal when it decides to blanket the museum's exterior with it. In August, 350 feet of wall space surrounding Sifly Piazza was illuminated by Micah Stansell's five-channel sound and video installationmore...
It's kind of a big deal when the High Museum decides to show a local artist's work. It's an even bigger deal when it decides to blanket the museum's exterior with it. In August, 350 feet of wall space surrounding Sifly Piazza was illuminated by Micah Stansell's five-channel sound and video installation The Water and the Blood, the result of his 2011 Working Artist Project award that also showed at MOCA GA last fall. Like 2010's Between You and Me and the search for the exceptional, his 2012 collaboration with gloATL, The Water and the Blood was a beautifully mellow pondering of memory. Stansell, who often collaborates with his wife Whitney, shows a particularly Southern knack for visual storytelling steeped in nostalgia that we haven't been able to forget. www.micahstansell.com. less...

Best film festival BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Best opening BOA Award Winner

The Glass Ceiling Shattered

Best songwriter BOA Award Winner

Adron

Best sports bar BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best gateway to somewhere better BOA Award Winner

Driving up the roadway lined with flags and corporate overlord Delta Air Lines, you oddly feel like you're not in Atlanta, but in a parallel dimension. You notice the sleek building - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's new $1.4 billion international terminal - on your left. Consideredmore...
Driving up the roadway lined with flags and corporate overlord Delta Air Lines, you oddly feel like you're not in Atlanta, but in a parallel dimension. You notice the sleek building - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's new $1.4 billion international terminal - on your left. Considered Atlanta's new front door to the world, the 1.2-million-square-foot concourse - which is decked out with airy atriums and chock-full of public art - is a vast improvement over the former terminal. What will most delight frequent international travelers: arrivals no longer have to recheck their bags, and go back through security, to exit the damn airport, as they did for years at the main concourse. Yes, there were news reports about alleged favoritism over concessions programs. There was debate over whether it was really needed. There's no direct connection to MARTA rail, a major fault. And some tourists have complained about sore feet from all the walking. But the new terminal remains a wonderful addition to the bizarrely beautiful, romantic, and impressive busiest airport in the world. less...

Best non-commercial radio show BOA Award Winner

WREKage on 91.1-FM (WREK)

Best non-commercial radio station BOA Award Winner

WRAS (88.5-FM)

Best political move BOA Award Winner

Building Marta
Yeah, yeah, we can hear the complaints. It doesn't go anywhere. It's dirty. It doesn't work. But before you bemoan life with MARTA, first imagine life without it. In the late 1960s, metro Atlanta snagged federal funding left on the table by Seattle voters after they decided not to create a transit system.more...
Yeah, yeah, we can hear the complaints. It doesn't go anywhere. It's dirty. It doesn't work. But before you bemoan life with MARTA, first imagine life without it. In the late 1960s, metro Atlanta snagged federal funding left on the table by Seattle voters after they decided not to create a transit system. Racism and myopia caused the suburbs to say "No thanks" to the regional transit agency. And state lawmakers never showed much interest - but plenty of hostility. More than 40 years later, we have a system that connects the heart of the city to the world's busiest airport - a luxury that not all aviation hubs can claim - and a bus network that tries to link people in between its rail routes. Sadly, MARTA's a shell of what it could be and, should the state not step up and invest or give metro residents control of the system, will further atrophy. That's a shame. Were it not for MARTA, according to recent statistics, an estimated 185,000 additional cars would clog the region's roads. More than 60 percent of the city's hospitality employees, its largest industry, wouldn't make it to work. Nearly 50 percent of its straphangers have no other way to move around their world. Looking forward, which is something the state neglected to do when it thumbed its nose at what's considered one of the country's most efficient transit systems, we should be thankful for the foundation it's provided. Better yet, MARTA's helped Atlanta lay the groundwork to become more dense and the kind of walkable city that everyone - young and old - wants to call home. Not to mention provide us another way to move around when the next gas spike happens. It's a damn fine service, and the local leaders who fought hard to bring MARTA to life deserve a round of thanks. www.itsmarta.com. less...

Best show of radical dedication BOA Award Winner

Occupy Atlanta
It's been a year since rabble-rousers across the country settled in parks and vacant lots to protest greedy banks, income inequality, and other social ills in what became the Occupy movement. And while some cities' groups ultimately fizzled - or, as in Oakland's case, mushroomed - after being bootedmore...
It's been a year since rabble-rousers across the country settled in parks and vacant lots to protest greedy banks, income inequality, and other social ills in what became the Occupy movement. And while some cities' groups ultimately fizzled - or, as in Oakland's case, mushroomed - after being booted from their encampments, Occupy Atlanta sunk its teeth into Georgia's unfair foreclosure laws and ran with the issue. They shouted down courthouse foreclosure auctions and set up tents in front yards outside the homes of families being threatened with eviction, all the while risking arrest. In some cases, they actually helped people avoid being put out on the street. That's not to say the members of the leaderless group were always right, or that the think tanks and legal groups fighting the issues aren't doing just as commendable a job. But the leaderless group added a dose of radicalism to the foreclosure issue. And last time we checked, they were still fighting. less...

Best street BOA Award Winner

Peachtree Street

Best Tumblr BOA Award Winner

Corporate and nonprofit forays into social media are often awkward and clumsy - really, why does a fertilizer need a Twitter account? But the Atlanta History Center has figured it out. There's the world's busiest airport when it was basically just a tower and strip of asphalt. And there's Peachtreemore...
Corporate and nonprofit forays into social media are often awkward and clumsy - really, why does a fertilizer need a Twitter account? But the Atlanta History Center has figured it out. There's the world's busiest airport when it was basically just a tower and strip of asphalt. And there's Peachtree Street packed with men in fedoras and celebrating Japan's surrender in World War II. Oh, and here's an as-it-happened, liveblog reenacting the 1917 fire that consumed nearly 300 acres between the Old Fourth Ward and Midtown. By digging into its vaults and sharing historic photographs, audio files, relics, and other do-dads on Tumblr (and often with humor), the Buckhead-based center deftly manages to do what so many museums can't - become more than a building filled with exhibits. Not to mention tempting a younger generation to make the trek north on Peachtree and pay a visit. less...

Best TV anchor send-off BOA Award Winner

Monica Pearson
For nearly 40 years, Monica Pearson (formerly Kaufman) of WSB-TV has been considered the evening news anchor in Atlanta. There were others, yes, but none matched the Kentucky native's celebrity. After decades of reporting on such stories as the Atlanta child murders and the 1996 Olympics, the winnermore...
For nearly 40 years, Monica Pearson (formerly Kaufman) of WSB-TV has been considered the evening news anchor in Atlanta. There were others, yes, but none matched the Kentucky native's celebrity. After decades of reporting on such stories as the Atlanta child murders and the 1996 Olympics, the winner of multiple Emmy Awards and wearer of 1 million hairstyles called it a career. And Jesus, did WSB-TV celebrate. An in-studio meet-and-greet! A congressional commendation and City Hall reception and proclamation! A farewell ball! Radio interviews! And then ... tours of Monica's closets! Clips of Monica trying on boots! Shots of Monica hanging out by a lake at the home she shares with her husband. The heady hero worship was, for some reason, oddly mesmerizing once you got sucked in. less...

Best walkable neighborhood BOA Award Winner

Virginia-Highland

Best way to pimp out your nonprofit's office BOA Award Winner

Days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swung a wrecking ball into old buildings that were probably health hazards themselves, volunteers visited the decommissioned labs and offices and started unscrewing furniture. Instead of a landfill, the desks, filing cabinets, and shelves, allmore...
Days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention swung a wrecking ball into old buildings that were probably health hazards themselves, volunteers visited the decommissioned labs and offices and started unscrewing furniture. Instead of a landfill, the desks, filing cabinets, and shelves, all in usable condition, traveled to southwest Atlanta to the Lifecycle Building Center. The all-volunteer nonprofit is housed in a nearly 100-year-old mammoth warehouse where the salvaged items are resold at low cost to homeowners, artists, and businesses, or sometimes given free to qualified charities and churches. The project, a partnership with several intown design firms, building companies, and greenies, aims to tap a potential gold mine and source of unnecessary waste. According to the center's figures, Georgians tossed out an estimated 2.9 million tons of wood, gypsum wallboard, metal, and other building materials. By interrupting the process before demolition, they're able to reuse the items, thereby reducing the amount of waste that goes into dumps. Their efforts also offset the need to cut down more trees to build another bookshelf. less...

Best bookstore for browsing BOA Award Winner

There are places you go to find exactly what you're looking for. Then there are places you go to find what you didn't know you were looking for until you actually find it. Does that make sense? Anyway, it will when you carve out a couple of hours from your busy schedule and visit one of Book Nook's threemore...
There are places you go to find exactly what you're looking for. Then there are places you go to find what you didn't know you were looking for until you actually find it. Does that make sense? Anyway, it will when you carve out a couple of hours from your busy schedule and visit one of Book Nook's three area locations. Before you even walk in the door, it's obvious this place is great, thanks in no small part to the logo on its sign, which features an anthropomorphized book and CD, jauntily walking atop some musical notes, the latter of the two wearing a bow tie and a fedora. What the books and CDs inside lack in human-like qualities and fancy dress, they make up for in sheer quantity. The Decatur store - the closest to intown Atlanta - is a biblio- and discophile's treasure trove spilling over with gently used DVDs, comics, records, and, of course, books. (More than 150,000 of them, the Nook says.) And from the 45 rpm records - some of which are still in their original sleeves - to a stack of vintage Rolling Stone and Premiere magazines, you could spend all day flipping through everything in the store. Book Nook also offers money and store credit for your used media. So it's also a place to get rid of the things you didn't know you didn't want anymore. Does that make sense? less...

Best brand-name shoe bargains BOA Award Winner

Like any of the other brand-name-discount-stores - T.J. Maxx, Ross, and their ilk - Marshalls tends to be hit or miss. It depends on how nice a neighborhood it's in, what time of the year it is, and how much or little the employees care about things being in order. The Marshalls tucked away at themore...
Like any of the other brand-name-discount-stores - T.J. Maxx, Ross, and their ilk - Marshalls tends to be hit or miss. It depends on how nice a neighborhood it's in, what time of the year it is, and how much or little the employees care about things being in order. The Marshalls tucked away at the back of a shopping center on Peachtree Road in Buckhead is either staffed by people who care or overseen by a manager who makes sure they care, because this place (at least the shoes) are in order and the selection is fantastic. By which we mean, "on-trend." By which we mean, "not last year's or last season's crappy stock." (Although there's some of that on the clearance rack - minus the crappy part.) Believe it or not, there is a difference between Marshalls stores, even in the same city. Your feet will thank you for believing us. Multiple metro Atlanta locations. less...

Best car wash BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations.

Best caterer BOA Award Winner

Bold American Events & Catering

Best CDs BOA Award Winner

Atlanta's longest-running nonstop dance-or-be-damned party BOA Award Winner

Backstreet Atlanta
For 30 years, Backstreet Atlanta was the city's best-known all-hours nightclub. More than a gay disco, it was a landmark of Atlanta's sanctified underbelly and a queer haven where the performing drag queens of Charlie Brown's Cabaret reveled in giving straight patrons a reason to blush. Even before themore...
For 30 years, Backstreet Atlanta was the city's best-known all-hours nightclub. More than a gay disco, it was a landmark of Atlanta's sanctified underbelly and a queer haven where the performing drag queens of Charlie Brown's Cabaret reveled in giving straight patrons a reason to blush. Even before the city began its nightlife crackdown near the turn of the millennium, Backstreet served as an after-hours respite for late-night lurkers and off-the-clock bar workers after regular clubs stopped the music. But in 2004, the danceteria that never shut its doors did just that when sibling owners Vicki and Henry Vara ended their hard-fought legal battle against encroaching city legislators, stiffer liquor licensing laws, and a gentrifying Midtown constituency. Though the club at 845 Peachtree St. has been closed for eight years, Backstreet lives on as a symbolic reminder of the once-vibrant nightlife scene and celebrated subculture Atlanta lost in its rush to normalcy. less...

Atlanta's original avant guardians BOA Award Winner

Hampton Grease Band

Best dive bar BOA Award Winner

Best gay bar BOA Award Winner

Best movement in the making BOA Award Winner

Two9
If the children are the future, Two9 is a harbinger of hell to pay. And no, that's not a backhanded compliment. Like Los Angeles' Odd Future and Harlem's A$AP Mob, the ragtag Atlanta collective of MCs and producers recalls an era when smoking blunts and bagging stunts was no fun if the homies couldn'tmore...
If the children are the future, Two9 is a harbinger of hell to pay. And no, that's not a backhanded compliment. Like Los Angeles' Odd Future and Harlem's A$AP Mob, the ragtag Atlanta collective of MCs and producers recalls an era when smoking blunts and bagging stunts was no fun if the homies couldn't have none. Ratchet lyrical aspirations aside, this young crew of rowdy upstarts has a mean work ethic that includes an endless stream of new music, in-house video direction, and production, which they've successfully farmed out to big names such as Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, and Kreayshawn. Did we mention they run deep? With a core consisting of Key!, Curtis Williams, Fat Kids Brotha, Retro Su$h!, Wavy Wallace, and Damien Aidoo, Two9's extended list of hometown affiliates (MoneyMakinNique, Papa Jae, the Coolismac, DJ Osh Kosh, Originalfani, Gunner Stahl) make it hard to sleep on the self-made movement espoused on the recent mixtape Two 9 Forever. Five years ago, an otherground rap scene sprouted in Atlanta that largely went unheralded by the industry players-that-be. The emergence of Two9 feels like a second coming of sorts. Just don't expect these kids to be content with asking for what's presumably theirs for the taking. www.two-9.tumblr.com. less...

Best restaurant to take visitors BOA Award Winner

TIE: Empire State South and JCT Kitchen

Best restaurant trends BOA Award Winner

Food Trucks

Best service BOA Award Winner

If you've ever stumped your server with a question regarding the menu, you probably weren't enjoying a meal at Woodfire Grill. In fact, there, the opposite is more likely. In-depth menu knowledge is a must for Woodfire's front-of-the-house staff, which is impressive considering the menu is subject tomore...
If you've ever stumped your server with a question regarding the menu, you probably weren't enjoying a meal at Woodfire Grill. In fact, there, the opposite is more likely. In-depth menu knowledge is a must for Woodfire's front-of-the-house staff, which is impressive considering the menu is subject to daily changes. Under the watchful eye of general manager Rick Blumberg, servers at Woodfire Grill are there when you need something and scarce when you don't. From the moment you walk in, and whether you're in the dining room or at the bar, you're always in someone's capable hands. And while you will most certainly leave Woodfire with a full stomach, don't be surprised if your appetite for culinary knowledge is satisfied, too. less...


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