Best Of 2019

Best Director (Theater)

Winner: Christopher Rodriguez

Woodlawn Theatre

2. Tina Jackson

Bexar Stage

3. Scott McDowell

Overtime Theater



Winner: Thomas J. Henry

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys

Hard to say which attorney buys more TV airtime, Thomas J. Henry or that frantic 444-4444 guy. Either way, it's a sure bet that Henry's copious ad budget has at least something to do with his showing here. And it probably doesn't hurt that the personal injury attorney's self-promotion goes beyond the ad buys. Whether it's launching a YouTube reality show called "Hangin' with Los Henrys" to show off his attractive brood or bragging via news release that his 56th birthday party came with a $4.5 million price tag, it's clear Henry revels in creating a larger-than-life myth around himself. That said, the guy has also practiced some impressive personal-injury lawyering over the years. He regularly racks up head-turning jury awards, including one of the 10 largest verdicts recorded in the state in 2017.

2. Ashley Morgan

Soyars & Morgan Law

3. Javier L. Herrera

The Herrera Law Firm

Winner: Stars and Garters Burlesque

With one stiletto planted in burlesque's vaudevillian roots and the other in the genre's present-day possibilities, Stars and Garters is proudly the longest-running burlesque troupe in San Antonio and a five-time winner in our annual readers' poll. Comprised of "transoceanic tropical tease" Black Orchid, '60s-inspired blond bombshell Suki Jones, "tattooed, tassel-twirling" redhead Pystol Whips, "long, lean and leggy" Giselle J'Adore and recent recruit Miss Sugar Free, the troupe shimmies and shakes its way through themed performances that have recently featured live accompaniment by retro jazz diva Ruby Alexander and her band the Bonafide Playboys, playfully provocative games, naughty improv and opportunities for audience members to spin "the wheel of titillating tunes" to determine the evening's routines.

2. Pastie Pops Burlesque Revue

3. Le Strange Sideshow

Winner: Johnny Hernandez

Multiple locations

These days, Johnny Hernandez isn't so much a chef as he is an enterprise. Since opening his Mexican street food concept La Gloria at the Pearl in 2010, Hernandez has grown his empire to include six more San Antonio restaurants, not to mention one in Vegas and another in the Houston airport. He's also become the city's go-to television chef, putting in appearances on Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay and Bravo's Top Chef, among others. One of the things that seems to keep us rooting for Hernandez is that he's not importing trends from either of the coasts but elevating the authentic Mexican flavors that this city has cherished and championed for years.

2. Stefan Bowers


300 E. Travis St.

3. Elise and John Russ


2195 Northwest Military Highway

Winner: Robert Salcido

Pride Center San Antonio

2. Rey Lopez

Rey Lopez Entertainment

3. Barbie Hurtado


Winner: Tencha La Jefa

Like the late great Shady Lady before her, San Antonio treasure Tencha La Jefa is not obsessed with passing for female, fitting in or looking glamorous — she'd much rather make you laugh. A Laredo native who grew up alongside late San Antonio drag icon Erica Andrews and cut her teeth as a backup dancer and choreographer in the International Imperial Court System, La Jefa fell into the world of drag on a whim but quickly established a signature look all her own: a messy wig full of rollers, over-the-top eye makeup reminiscent of Divine and a snaggle-toothed grin that would send any dentist running for the hills. A proud Rey Lopez Entertainment Showgirl who emcees all the local LGBT nightlife kingpin's events at Heat Nightclub, La Jefa excels at audience interaction and exemplifies drag's unique ability to inspire folks to forget their cares for a moment and stop taking everything so seriously.

2. Kristi Waters

3. Lyn-Z Lang Andrews

Winner: James Avery

Multiple locations

2. Moses Jewelers

19141 Stone Oak Parkway #103

(210) 490-2404

3. Rialto Jewelry

8910 Bandera Road #107

(210) 509-8100

Winner: Joanna Estrada

A San Antonio native and alumna of Southwest High School, Joanna Estrada (better known as Chona E) describes herself as a "comedian, actress and plus-size model who can do it all." With Facebook and YouTube among her platforms of choice, she creates both candid, slice-of-life videos and full-blown productions satirizing popular songs. Standing out among her funnier endeavors are the body-positive anthem "Chubby Up" (filmed on the Hays Street Bridge complete with a squad of backup dancers), a spoof of the Cranberries hit "Zombie" about the menacing, mythical Cucuy and a parody of Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day," in which she jokes about her recent pregnancy diet of Twinkies and pickles, wets her pants and dangles a green mucus plug in front of the camera. Arguably her greatest hit, the video for "I Lika My Phat" (her take on Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin's "I Like It") sees the lovable Chona E ordering a raspa from Big Daddy's Eats & Treats, rapping about her love of Peter Piper Pizza and taking a dump in a bathroom stall at the Poteet Fleamarket.

2. Tommy Lee Jones

3. Lilly Grace Wilmoth