Best Of 2016

Best Dedication
Photo by Rob Bartlett

The Matt Gersting Stage at Bull & Bush

2408 E. Robinson St., 407-896-7546, bullandbushorlando.com

The unexpected death of Matt Gersting left a big hole in Orlando's heart, particularly in the music and comedy scenes. Gersting first rose to local significance in bands like the Sugar Oaks, but his more recent claim to fame was as the founder of the Shit Sandwich comedy showcase at Bull & Bush and, later, one of the original organizers of the Orlando Indie Comedy Fest. It's not a stretch to say that Orlando comedy would not be at the level that it's reached in recent years without Matt Gersting. So it was bittersweet when the Bull & Bush dedicated its stage to Gersting, complete with a memorial plaque. The Matt Gersting Stage may not be the birthplace of the alt-comedy scene here, but it is where it grew up, and having Gersting's name permanently associated with it feels like the right thing to do.

Arts and Culture: Orlando's best comedians, film fests, museums and more

Arts and Culture
Best Walking Naughty Bits

art31.org; jasonhackenwerth.com

Last March, the Art & History Museums – Maitland's monthlong Art 31 project brought works by a number of internationally acclaimed artists (including Dale Chihuly, Lorrie Fredette and Paige Smith) to the Orlando area. However, nothing topped Jason Hackenwerth's biological balloon sculpture costumes for sheer grin-inducing WTF-ness. You can say they were abstract forms or alien fish; we could only see giant walking naughty bits, and we loved them for it.

Best Place to Find Free Art Elements

The on-ramps are better prospects than the off-ramps, as if merging depends on purging. Outside the I-4 Ultimate construction fences, there's a no-man's-land of heaved purses, flung coolers, thrown books, car parts, children's toys ... the Orlampa Corridor's forgotten detritus, a fascinating linear treasure trove that's constantly changing. You'll need both a driver and a spotter, but the driver needs a fighter pilot's nerves and reaction time. Turn sharp eyes toward any area where they've stopped mowing, and look for piles. At the west side of Kaley, for example, we recently found brass engine parts and a rusty aqua chaise lounge. At Princeton's little westbound on-ramp: an Encyclopedia Britannica – that rare Volume XII – and a dog dish. All fodder for the muse.

Best Arts Advocate

1. Blue Star

2. Patrick Greene

3. Denna Beena

Best Arts Event/Festival

1. Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, orlandofringe.org

2. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, wpsaf.org

3. Artlando, artlando.com

Best Recurring Arts Nights

1. Thornton 2nd Thursday Wine & Art Walk, thorntonparkdistrict.com

2. Sanford Alive After 5, facebook.com/aliveafter5

3. 1st Thursdays at Orlando Museum of Art, omart.org

Best Burlesque Troupe

1. VarieTease, thevenueorlando.com

2. Corsets & Cuties, corsetsandcuties.com

3. Rock Hard Revue, rockhardrevue.com

Best Comedy Club or Night

1. SAK Comedy Lab, 29 S. Orange Ave., 407-648-0001, sakcomedylab.com

2. Improv Orlando, 9101 International Drive, 407-480-5233, theimprovorlando.com

3. The Tumbleweed Comedy Tour, tomanddan.com

Best Dance Company

1. Orlando Ballet, orlandoballet.org

2. DRIP, ilovedrip.com

3. Voci Dance, vocidance.com

Best Film Fest or Series

1. Florida Film Festival, floridafilmfestival.com

2. Enzian FilmSlam, enzian.org

3. Orlando Film Festival, orlandofilmfest.com