Our Alternate Awards from the Austin Critics’ Table

by Seth Orion Schwaiger June 9, 2014

Last week the Austin Critics’ Table held their informal and highly irreverent annual awards ceremony.  With their fair share of salty language and off-the-cuff humor, writers from The Austin Chronicle and The Austin American-Statesman highlighted achievements of the past year in visual art, theater, classical music, and dance. With a grip on the mic that belied his punk rock past, Tiny Park curator Brian Wiley pointed out that the visual artists, being the only strangers to the stage, had a disadvantage under the spotlight. Nonetheless, this demographic held their own, likely due to the overwhelming support from this year’s crowd. Both Big Medium and Blue Genie Arts Industries were inducted into the Hall of Fame, and their ranks of participants and supporters easily doubled the visual arts turnout.

After the ceremony it seemed clear that further awards should be handed out for stellar performances of the evening. A few suggestions follow:

Best Drinking Game Suggestion
Robert Faires (arts editor at Austin Chronicle). “Every time one of us says,  ‘It was a difficult decision,’ drink.”

The F-bomb Award
Madge Darlington of the Rude Mechanicals for opening up the stage to a broad spectrum of language. In their acceptance speech the troop gave a planned Freudian slip for the critics seated at stage right: A heartfelt “Fuck you – I MEAN –  Thank you, critics of Austin.” The profanities picked up pace from there.

Best/Worst Irony
Tiny Park receiving Best Gallery Body of Work just months after they’ve shuttered their space.

Best Indecision
The Visual Artist of the Year award was handed out to both Claude Van Lingen and Michael Sieben. This recognition had the visual artists in the room applauding louder than any other moment.

Most Noted Visual Arts Absence
We have a tie! The Blanton Museum and The Contemporary Austin were M.I.A. (We’d really like to see more of you outside the institutions.)

Best Reference to Austin Real Estate
Jeanne Claire Van Ryzin (arts editor at Austin American-Statesman) for her tongue-in-cheek accusation of Big Medium raising her property taxes in the East Side through the phenomenal growth of East Austin Studio Tours.

Best Dressed
Texas Choral Concert’s Brent Baldwin’s sharp vest and tie, perfectly resembled the attire he had been wearing in the press photo on the large screen behind him. He really, really likes that outfit.

Best impromptu Plug
A’lante Flamenco. After their acceptance speech for Best Dance Ensemble, the performers gave the crowd a brief heart-racing performance that has many itching to see them again.

Best Ceremony Closing
Robert Faires ending as he began with martini glass raised. His short speech included such gems as “I have to take a wicked piss right now.”

The full list of real awards and their winners can be found here.

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