Best Of 2016

Best Clapback
Photo by Steve Gula

Leah Sandler's reaction to having her art pulled from AIOP

Last year's Art in Odd Places was a beautiful thing, and a bold step forward for a downtown arts establishment known for mostly hewing to the very middle of the road. Which is why it was great, on the whole, to see real city support for such a free-wheeling conceptual mashup. But then it seems that mainstream mindset reasserted itself when some stakeholders actually saw one piece, approved for placement in the planning stages, in situ. The feminist Housewifes Collective created a multi-work installation called We Don't Like Your Tone; Leah Sandler's piece was a fairly straightforward take on Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" (a mass-produced urinal signed "R. Mutt" that is generally regarded as the first piece of conceptual art). The mint-green toilet, lying on its side and signed "R. Muther," was located near the fountain in Heritage Square. Predictably (but really though?), there was outrage. Artists claim they were told it "looked like trash"; city representatives claimed it was all a locational mixup, fingers were pointed and accusations of bad taste and know-nothingism flew. Sandler, though, stayed cool as a cuke, merely placing signholders with well-written texts describing the removed piece and explaining what had happened, as well as observing that even 100 years later, clearly Duchamp's point still hadn't penetrated some people's consciousness. Grace under fire.

Local Color: Orlando's best in media, politics, charitable groups and more

Local Color
Best LGBT Voice

Patty Sheehan

During the tragedy on June 12, Orlando's openly gay commissioner, Patty Sheehan, was near the gay nightclub Pulse to comfort others. She was also there to shut down politicians who offered their "thoughts and prayers" but were slow to mention that the victims were LGBT. And she had some choice words for the shooter himself. "If you think that you're going to stab at the heart of us by doing this horrible, violent act, you're not, because we love," she reminded the world on that day. Sheehan has also been instrumental in calling for unity in Orlando with the Muslim community. Tough situations bring out people's real personalities, and we learned after the Pulse mass shooting that Sheehan is one tough advocate

Best Act of Kindness

Blood donors from the Central Florida community who stood in long lines for hours after the Pulse shootings

After waking up to find that 49 people who'd been their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers had been killed in a mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse, it would have been reasonable for local residents to shut down and hide in their homes. But they didn't. Instead, they took to the hot streets outside local blood banks and waited for hours in blocks-long lines to give blood for people fighting for their lives at nearby hospitals. Others helped out by providing pizza, water and snacks to the hot, sweaty donors. On a day filled with darkness, these wonderful souls were a beacon of hope and a reminder that good exists.

Best Waste of Campaign Cash

The Paul Paulson campaign for mayor of Orlando

Remember that guy? Last November, Paul Paulson tried and failed to become Orlando's newest mayor by dishing out more than $800,000, outspending incumbent Mayor Buddy Dyer. Apparently, spending $100 for each vote didn't make much of a difference for Paulson, because he received a third of the vote. Maybe next time instead of wasting money on mailers that won't work, he can spend money on hiring a designer for a decent logo instead of swiping one from the internet.

Best Kept Secret

1. City of Sanford, sanfordfl.gov

2. Gods & Monsters, godmonsters.com

3. Uncomfortable Brunch, uncomfortablebrunch.com

Best Local Activist Group

1. The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, thecenterorlando.org

2. Zebra Coalition, zebrayouth.org

3. Orlando Food Not Bombs, facebook.com/orlandofoodnotbombs

Best Local Big Shot

1. Jim Philips, WTKS Real Radio 104.1 FM

2. The Orlando City Unicorn, twitter.com/orlandounicorn

3. Daniel Dennis, tomanddan.com

Best Local Charitable Group

1. Second Harvest Food Bank, feedhopenow.org

2. Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida, cnfl.wish.org

3. Yellow Brick Road: The Holden Flynn Foundation, ybrf.org

Best Local Hangout

1. Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 E. Winter Park Road, 407-623-3393, stardustie.com

2. Wekiva Island, 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, 407-862-1500, wekivaisland.com

3. Johnny's Fillin' Station, 2631 S. Ferncreek Ave., 407-894-6900, johnnysfillinstation.com

Best Local Instagram Feed

1. @tomanddanofficial

2. @orlandoweekly

3. @orlandobungalower