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7/14/2010

Local Color

Best of Orlando 2010:Local Color

 

Local Charitable Group - Local Website - Local TV Newsperson - Local Bigshot - Local Blog - Local Politician - Local Radio Personality - Local Writer - Place to Take Visitors from Out of Town - Local Politician in Need of a Slap Upside the Head - Reason to Live in Orlando - Reason to Leave Orlando - TV News Hair - Whatever - Writer's Picks

Best Local Charitable Group
1st: Mustard Seed of Central Florida
www.mustardseedfla.org

2nd: Second Harvest Food Bank
www.foodbankcentralflorida.org

3rd: Give Kids the World
www.gktw.org

Best Local Writer
1st: Scott Maxwell
Orlando Sentinel

2 Billy Manes
Orlando Weekly

3rd: Mike Thomas
Orlando Sentinel

Best Local Website
1st: Orlando Weekly
www.orlandoweekly.com

2nd: The Daily City
www.thedailycity.com

3rd: Buy Local Orlando
www.buylocalorlando.net

Best Place to Take Visitors from Out of Town
1st: Walt Disney World

2nd: A Comic Shop
114 S. Semoran Blvd.
407-332-9636
http://acomicshop.com

3rd: Universal Orlando

Best Local TV Newsperson
1st: Martha Sugalski
WESH Channel 2

2nd: Bob Opsahl
WFTV Channel 9

3rd: Danny Treanor
Central Florida News 13

Best Local Politician in Need of a Slap Upside the Head
1st: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

2nd: U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson

3rd: (former) Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez

Best Local Bigshot
1st: Dwight Howard
Orlando Magic

2nd: Aaron Haaland
A Comic Shop

3rd: Jim Philips
Real Radio 104.1-FM

Best Reason to Live in Orlando
1st: The weather

2nd: A Comic Shop
114 S. Semoran Blvd.
407-332-9636
http://acomicshop.com

3rd: The people

Best Local Blog
1st: The Daily City
www.thedailycity.com

2nd: Smile for Camera
www.smileforcamera.com

3rd: Analog Artist Digital World
http://thorspecken.blogspot.com

Best Reason to Leave Orlando
1st: The weather 
 

2nd: Traffic

3rd: There is no beach

Best Local Politician
1st: U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson

2nd: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

3rd: Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal

Best TV News Hair
1st: Martha Sugalski
WESH Channel 2

2nd: Bob Opsahl
WFTV Channel 9

3rd: Martie Salt
WFTV Channel 9

Best Local Radio Personality
1st: Jim Philips
Real Radio 104.1-FM

2nd: Johnny Magic
XL 106.7-FM

3rd: Jayde
XL 106.7-FM

Best Whatever
1st: Kyle Raker

2nd: A Comic Shop
114 South Semoran Blvd.
407-332-9636
acomicshop.com

3rd: Hard Knocks
5707 Dot Com Court, Suite 1025, Oviedo
407-359-9091

Writer's picks

Best year of tabloid infamy

Orlando ultra lounges

Who says Tiger Woods never did anything for Orlando? The athletic cocksman’s 2009 sex scandal dragged all kinds of filthy paraphernalia out of the dungeon of inequity known as his personal life, but he can be thanked for elevating the national infamy of Orlando’s club scene, at least. From Club 23 to the Blue Martini, Orlando’s muffin-topped waitresses experienced a moment in the TMZ spotlight that ended up looking relatively sophisticated next to what was to come later. In March, a woman claimed Florida native and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes smashed a glass into her face at Club Rain on Kirkman Road. She sued Holmes and claimed the
Orlando Police Department encouraged her not to file charges. (The police report was, somewhat suspiciously, filed weeks later.)
You stay classy, Orlando. 

Best monkey wrench

Florida Tea Party 

Ah, the Tea Party. Or Tea Parties. Or Florida Tea Party. Or Tea Parties of Florida. Or … confusing, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s that way on purpose. The real, authentic, original Tea Partiers are a proudly decentralized group, united in little more than hating “liberals/progressives,” remaining disorganized and claiming the name. But in August 2009, a few locals with long political histories – Fred O’Neal, Doug Guetzloe and Nick Egoroff – registered an actual “Tea Party” with the Florida Division of Elections, threatening to split the vote against TPer’s bęte noire Rep. Alan Grayson. Fundraising letters went out in the name of the “Florida Tea Party,” which prompted immediate indignant disavowals from “real” unofficial Tea Partiers, and the whole thing has degenerated into a mess of dueling lawsuits.

Best (and most frightening) self-referential political stunt

Linda Stewart’s self-replication
at Come Out with Pride
www.lindastewartformayor.com

Last October’s Come Out With Pride parade was, as usual, a rainy mess of expensive cologne fumes stirred by the big, gay thumps of house anthems. But it also turned out to be a political-cloning exercise for Orange County mayoral hopeful Linda Stewart (who can also be mistaken for a 3 a.m. drag-queen hallucination on occasion). Stewart made be-wigged waves with her growing gay fanbase by turning a select segment of them into male Linda Stewarts on bicycles. While the stunt may not have been a total stretch for a campaign seemingly sewn together by nimble queer fingers, Stewart’s self-deprecating self-replication proved the afternoon’s most worthwhile spectacle, at least among those spectacles that were wearing shirts. 

Best botched repair of arterial occlusion

Orange Avenue Streetscape,
Winter Park

An aerial view of this rehabilitated gateway to Winter Park shows multiple veins coming together in a knot of
confusion, with the centerpiece – a clock – sidelined to an inconspicuous corner. If you dare look at the Roman numbers, you risk missing a death-defying move by a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist trying to cross the $2.7 million Orange Avenue Streetscape project, which is supposed to actually improve the six-way crossroads of North Orange Avenue, South Denning Drive and Minnesota Avenue. Just as inscrutable as the intersection is the reality that more city streetscape projects
are underway.

Best community organizer

Kat Quast

Zombies and kickball may not seem like the most obvious way to bring a neighborhood together, but by organizing and promoting events like Zombietoberfest, a Monty Python tribute festival and, yes, a kickball tournament, Kat Quast is at the forefront of defining the vibe of the
previously inchoate Audubon Park Garden District. Roughly encompassing the strip of Corrine Drive between Leu Gardens and Baldwin Park – including Stardust Video and Coffee, Park Ave CDs, Big Daddy’s Roadhouse and other shops and restaurants – the district organically became one of the hippest places in town. Thanks to Quast’s efforts, the area is thriving, both as a destination and as a livable and
vibrant community. 

Best trivial pursuit of national notoriety

Scott Maxwell becomes an
answer on Jeopardy!

On April 20, the name of everyone’s favorite do-gooder dreamboat of an Orlando Sentinel columnist mysteriously dripped from the tongue of Jeopardy!’s King Geek Alex Trebek. “Columnist Scott Maxwell stands guard for this Orlando paper,” read the blue-and-white screen associated with a second-round $2,000 prize. Maxwell would shortly thereafter explain that the “stand guard”-as-Sentinel-reference eluded him – rendering him an unlikely Jeopardy! contestant in his own right. 

Best morning wood

The Senator, Big Tree Park
761 General Hutchison Parkway,
Longwood

Morning, noon or night, The Senator is the biggest natural shaft in these parts. And as a fillip to all you worried older guys, it’s more than 3,500 years old and still standing tall. In fact it’s one of the tallest bald cypress trees in the country at about 125 feet – and that’s after losing 40 feet to a 1926 hurricane. As centerpiece of a park, The Senator has sprouted supporting amenities: a wooden walkway, picnic area and restrooms. Those are needed because the big stick has been attracting visitors at least since President Calvin Coolidge came to
stroke it.

Best little-girl-lost story that doesn’t end with a body

Nadia Bloom’s successful rescue

Florida has seen enough missing girls turn up dead, if they turn up at all, to risk becoming an Internet meme, so it was extra-good news when 11-year-old Winter Springs girl Nadia Bloom was found alive and relatively well on April 13 after four harrowing days lost in the woods. Whew. But the best people-watching came in the immediate
aftermath, wherein her rescuer turned out to be a creepy old outdoorsman who claimed he started speaking in tongues shortly before finding her and that God led him there. Even better were the cries of “hallelujah” the unbelievable tale elicited even from typically levelheaded reporters like the Sentinel’s
Scott Maxwell.

Best small-town spectacle

Resident chickens in downtown Oviedo

If you’ve ever wondered why the chicken crossed the road, you might find the answer in Oviedo, where more than 30 free-roaming chickens stake claim to the parking lot of fast-food/fried-chicken purveyor Popeye’s. The chickens likely trace back to a rooster and hen spotted in the mid-1990s in a downtown parking lot. A businessman with a fondness for fowl fed and nurtured the pair, which eventually turned into a flock. The birds – which locals say are
reminders of the town’s simple farming roots – like to
loiter while those who like their chicken a little less fresh and with a little more breading enjoy their
greasy feasts. 

Best case of politics literally choking on testosterone

The No-Name Club scandal

It’s an unwritten rule on the political highball circuit that the best deals are drawn in the whiskey-tainted spittle of aging men who navigate expensive cars and silicone breasts through the suit-pant swish of extravagant private events. In March, Republican lobbyist Fred Leonhardt accidentally let the dog out of the bag when he let word seep into the public domain about his secret “The No Name Club,” an all-male (except for the eye candy) group that held private parties at upscale venues. Orange County mayor Rich Crotty – along with a host of other guy guys including mayoral hopeful Bill Segal and various Sentinel staffers – got caught in the hormone fallout of the cigar-smoke-filled balloon leak, leading many female politicians to cry foul over the potential ethics violations implied by such exclusionary events. At least one among them, mayoral hopeful Mildred
Fernandez, would go on to eat her words when she was arrested on corruption charges just a
month later. Fishy.

Best train of fools

The radical disconnect of SunRail and high-speed rail

At some point in all of the pronouncements about infrastructural improvements involving railroads, somebody must have pulled his head out of the engine room and noticed that our two biggest transportation projects – the SunRail commuter train and the federally funded high-speed rail line to Tampa – were not being developed with a conjunction junction in mind. Back in February, Orange County mayor Rich Crotty sounded the whistle of the obvious, calling for some kind of connection between the CSX-tracked commuter line and the shiny new non-CSX bullet train; he’s since gone on to endorse a privately funded Maglev pipe dream to connect the two earthbound lines, while others have suggested a
connecting bus. 

Best movie scene come to life

Jason Rodriguez downtown shutdown

Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, was a quiet day in the old, now-rotting Orlando Weekly offices on Livingston Street when, on our “royal-We” trip to get some lunch, there arose such a clatter. It was a big-ass tank! We looked out at the horizon; no cars on I-4! After we sprinted back to the safety of our leaky former building, it was discovered that Jason Rodriguez, a guy who believed his brain was being hacked, had killed someone at his former office at Gateway Center, injured others and was … wait for it … still on the loose! Armed SWAT teams scoured the streets looking for the fugitive, who was finally caught two and a half hours later.   

Best post-interview arts booster etiquette

Kathy Ramsberger
www.drphillipscenter.org

On the surface, Kathy Ramsberger, president of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, is an impenetrable wall of development boosterism. She trots her way through the questionable financing of the ill-conceived performing arts center with all of the aplomb of a seasoned realtor on her way to the nearest appletini. But she didn’t come to her position of power without manners. Following a two-hour interview with her earlier this year, Ramsberger sent this paper a follow-up gift: a framed square of the old, orange flag that hung outside city hall for about six months and read “2012” – the date the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was supposed to open. The flag was quietly lowered last year when it became obvious that the center would not open on time. “A piece of the arts center’s history for your desk,” read the postcard delivered with the fabric square. “An inaugural flag remnant.” Then she went on to soil the name of the paper to everyone she could after OW’s story on the Phillips center (“Keeping up appearances,” March 24) hit the stands. No hard feelings, though. It’s the thought
that counts.

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