Best Of 2022

Best Local Poet

Winner: Eddie Vega

instagram.com/eltacolico

After winning a $10,000 Luminaria Artist Foundation grant for literary arts last year, local poet Eddie Vega (Chicharra Chorus) started putting together a book of South Texas poetry called Asina Is How We Talk. The book, in preparation for publishing, includes poems from more than 25 writers. Vega's contribution to the collection is his poem "The Culebra Meat Market Cumbia." Although originally from McAllen, Vega has lived in San Antonio for about 30 years, so he knows a thing or two about the chain of local stores beloved by carnivores. "There's always cumbia playing at the Culebra Meat Market," Vega told the Current. "I feel like dancing every time I walk in. The poem is about the experience being there." Vega is now working on his own book of poetry, which will also serve as a kind of memoir.

2. Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson

andreavocabsanderson.com

3. Anthony "Anthony the Poet" Flores

facebook.com/anthony.thepoet.3

People

Hispanic Elvis, 802 San Pedro Ave. Artist: Colton Valentine

Winner: The Lash Doctor

724 S. Alamo St., Suite 2

(210) 778-4504

thelashdoctorsa.com

2. The Injection Room

1010 S. Flores St., Suite 117

(210) 245-1420

theinjectionroom.com

3. Cera Studio

10615 Perrin Beitel Road #105

(210) 802-7260

facebook.com/cerastudiosa

Winner: Tim Duncan

After recent rough seasons, it's only natural for Spurs fans to yearn for the team's former glories. And that's why it makes sense to see Tim Duncan handily win this category. The golden era of Spurs basketball may be long gone, but the nostalgia remains stronger than ever. Duncan's 19 career seasons with the Silver and Black and his loyalty to the city of San Antonio have made him an immovable fixture in the hearts of fans. As a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP and three-time Finals MVP, it's clear the legend has yet to be dethroned as the city's most beloved Spur. 

2. Manu Ginobili

3. DeJounte Murray

Winner: Thomas J Henry

thomasjhenrylaw.com

2. Joseph Hoelscher

hgclaw.com/joe-hoelscher

3. Lora Lozano

ladylawtx.com

Winner: Haus of Erotique

instagram.com/hausoferotique.tx

The term "burlesque" often evokes thoughts of the campy and titillating variety shows of yesteryear, and there's no shortage of present-day troupes that excel at giving a sly nod to that particular art form. Haus of Erotique has won a local following with a slightly edgier approach, however — one heavier on fetish elements and kink than cheeky humor. The group's shows even come with a sense of danger thanks to the incorporation of fire, either of the juggled of swallowed variety. In addition to regular performances in local nightspots, Haus of Erotique has roped in plenty of admirers with its Fet Gala, an annual showcase for its performers' naughty charms that include anything from retro fashion shows to pole dancing displays.

2. Stars 'n Garters

starsandgartersburlesque.com

3. Pastie Pops

facebook.com/pastiepops

Winner: Johnny Hernandez, Hernandez Restaurant Group

chefjohnnyhernandez.com

Multi-time BOSA winner Johnny Hernandez has once again seized the distinction of being San Antonio's Best Chef. It might be easy to attribute the continued wins to Hernandez's ubiquity — after all, he helms the La Gloria, Burgerteca and Frutería Botanero concepts and has made plenty of TV appearances over the years. But it's also a good bet the approachability of his food also plays into his popularity. Hernandez excels at introducing diners to authentic Mexican cuisine but with nods to flavor profiles familiar to San Antonians. And who among us isn't genuinely excited to see a chef excel at elevating the cuisine that's so deeply ingrained in and associated with our city?

2. Tim McDiarmid, The Good Kind Hospitality Group

eatgoodkind.com

3. Lisa Astorga-Watel, Bistr09

bistr09.com

Winner: Jalen McKee-Rodriguez

twitter.com/theloserteacher

While technically a member of city council rather than an activist in the traditional sense of the word, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez has nonetheless taken an activist's fiery drive and progressive viewpoint to the dais during his first term representing District 2. From the start of his term McKee-Rodriguez has been unafraid to go against the grain when he senses council is catering to city elites. In February, he cast the sole vote against a distribution plan for federal pandemic relief funds that let three well-connected local organizations cut to the front of the line — "Maybe it wasn't slimy, maybe it wasn't shady, but how does it not look that way?" he said in an interview at the time. At the same time, McKee-Rodriguez has shown his ability to be more than a naysayer. Late last year, he won enough support from fellow council members to make a filing to expand the city's non-discrimination ordinance to apply to all private businesses with 15 or more employees, a proposal still waiting for its day in front of the full council.

2. Sasha Wengler

facebook.com/sasha.taylor.794628

3. Robert Salcido

twitter.com/rob_salcido

Winner: Kristi Waters

kristiwaters.com

Multitasking drag queen Kristi Waters is on a roll. For starters, she's taking home her third consecutive win in this category — no easy feat considering the wealth of drag talent in our fine city. Amusingly hailed as "San Antonio's Most Expensive Water," the former Corpus Christi elementary school teacher also was recently named general manager of Paramour, where she rules the roost each weekend as host of the chic rooftop bar's wildly popular drag brunch series. And in June, the onetime drag mother of San Antonio-born Drag Race star Jorgeous got tapped as Grand Marshal of the inaugural Bud Light Pride River Parade & Celebration — an occasion that called for a Grecian-inspired gown custom made by Texas designer Rico Cavalli. Addressing the honor, Waters eloquently offered, "San Antonio has cultivated a rich LGBTQ+ culture of expression and celebration across the city, and I am both excited and deeply honored to be named the Parade Grand Marshal — especially in a year when self-expression, female empowerment, trans inclusivity and drag performance are at the heart of the public debate."

2. Lyn-z Lang Andrews

facebook.com/lynzlangandrews

3. Mehgan Iman Dlux

instagram.com/mehgandlux

Winner: Ada Vox

instagram.com/adavox

Alamo City native and South San High School grad Adam Sanders is better recognized as his drag persona Ada Vox — the powerhouse vocalist who wowed audiences and won fans on Season 16 of American Idol and the inaugural season of Queen of the Universe. Buzzworthy turns on those shows earned Vox accolades from the likes of Katy Perry, RuPaul, Jennifer Holliday and Vanessa Williams — not to mention a fanbase of more than 100,000 followers the performer lovingly calls #Voxies. A free-flowing complement to her televised interpretations of classics by Radiohead, Etta James, Queen and Patti LaBelle, Vox's Instagram page chronicles her career as a recording and touring artist — including recent appearances at RuPaul's DragCon and Drag Fest UK — but also reveals the fierce, funny person underneath the wigs and makeup. Winning examples of Vox unplugged and unfiltered include pre-soundcheck vocal exercises in the bathroom and a clap back to a commenter who likened Drag Race star and Queen of the Universe judge Trixie Matel's heavily painted face to a coloring book: "You really shouldn't be disrespectful to people. Especially when you don't know who they are. ... That 'coloring book' is worth millions of dollars. ... That 'clown' is everything that I as an artist and businessperson aspire to be."

2. Siempre San Antonio

instagram.com/siempre_sanantonio

3. SATX Foodie

instagram.com/satx.foodie

Winner: Rey Lopez

facebook.com/reylopezentertainment

San Antonio boasts a vibrant LGBTQ+ community that's long supported the art of drag through pageants, talent competitions and club nights. But all scenes can grow stagnant and benefit from being shaken up. Upon moving to the Alamo City in 2011, Brownsville transplant Rey Lopez found the drag scene to be waning and lacking a key component that was working well in other cities — performances by touring RuPaul's Drag Race stars. Going out on a limb, Lopez booked fan favorite Manila Luzon to perform at the bygone nightclub Old San Juan. That show was a hit and inspired Lopez to continue booking Drag Race talent, first for shows at the Silver Dollar Saloon and eventually at Heat Nightclub. More than a decade into his career as a local LGBTQ+ nightlife innovator, Lopez seems to have found his groove in the theater-like setting of the Bonham Exchange's upstairs ballroom. All hosted by snaggletoothed camp queen and former Best of San Antonio award winner Tencha La Jefa, these shows also highlight an array of local talents cultivated by Lopez's weekly competition Drag Me to Fame. The fun-loving local celebrity's upcoming engagements include Thursday night showcases for Angeria Paris VanMicheals (July 28), Bosco (August 11), Pangina Heals (August 18), Maddy Morphosis (August 25) and Jinx Monsoon (September 1).

2. Ada Vox

adavoxofficial.com

3. Jesse Borrego

twitter.com/thejesseborrego