Best Of 2016

Best New Experimental Art Space
Photo by Seth Kubersky

A Place Gallery & Studios

649 N. Mills Ave., facebook.com/aplacegallery

The art scene has been especially active in the past 12 months, with galleries closing and opening (usually there's more of the former). Upstairs in a creaky old building at the crossroads of Mills 50, A Place Gallery – the public wing of the Time Waste Management art collective – hosts exciting young and emerging artists. You might see projection mapping or dust collecting, experience a performance meditating on someone's grandmother through the medium of her old fur coat or hear African-American artists discussing the black experience. It's all about the ideas, and unlike many galleries that program a year or more in advance, A Place is deliberately of-the-moment. Original ideas aren't in short supply these days, but venues that air them to the public are. Check it out.

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