Oh, the humanity! Just as the City Beautiful extricates itself from the national crosshairs focused on us as a result of a slut-shamed tot mom with baby-in-the-trunk issues, it’s time to take a leap into the superlative soup again? Why, yes it is, dear readers. And in a sense there couldn’t be a better moment to hold the old cultural magnifying glass up to Orlando and take a sweaty-browed gander at ourselves on our way to whatever’s next.
So, in the spirit(s) of the countless hairs of countless rabid dogs, we threw on our glad rags and threw down some cocktails in search of How We Live Now, hoping to bypass the smirking authoritarianism of Gov. Rick Scott, the haters of the Food Not Bombs fracas, the sad old end of the space program. We were looking for anything not involving butterbeer that makes Orlando such an endearing mess. Guess what? It turns out we love Orlando sometimes, at least when we’re talking to Orlando’s face.
But it’s not for us to decide what makes this city great on our own: This year we tallied a record 4,500 Best of Orlando Readers Poll ballots, shuffling through all of the “Your Mom” responses we could stomach to get to the nut of what you think and feel about your immediate surroundings. We added new categories – your food trucks, your Feldmans – to spice up the proceedings, and we broke music out of its previous arts hole to give it its own stage. As always, you surprised us with your shocking spelling – there are way too many ways to misspell Le Coq Au Vin – but in the end there were plenty of worthwhile distractions to toss into our magical blender and bring you this stiff drink, the Best of Orlando 2011.
Speaking of magical, artist Lesley Silvia created a fairy-tale backdrop for this year’s BOO, slicing the cover art and each section header out of a single sheet of paper. (The next pack of X-acto blades is on us!) Our fearless new art director Dave Plotkin pulled out all the stops to bring the whole package to life in record time. Most of the photos came from two of our favorite photographers, Jason Greene and Aldren Capulong.
The things with letters in them – what are they, words? – well, most of those were picked from the heads of your humble Orlando Weekly editorial staff: Jeff Gore, Billy Manes, Justin Strout, Aimee Shea, Katie Westfall, Erin Sullivan and Jessica Bryce Young. Additional verbiage flew in from freelancers Holly Kapherr, Faiyaz Kara, Seth Kubersky, Bao Le-Huu and Caitlin McGill. A special thanks goes out to our poor, poor interns – Sten Ivan, Sarah Kinonen, Nicole Schoen – who, in addition to putting up with us, counted votes and contributed some words of their own to this sizable endeavor. But we couldn’t have done any of this without you, the best readers in Orlando. Thanks for sticking around so long. It does get better!