Year in review

Hot headlines: The top 10 CultureMap stories of 2012

Hot headlines: The top 10 CultureMap stories of 2012

Welcome to 2013, Austin! As we look forward to the new year, it's also time to take a look at where we've been. The biggest stories of CultureMap in 2012 were as varied — and weird — as our dear city, ranging from cultural breaking news to the city's best burgers and a look at hipster towns on the rise.

We turned to you to vote for the top story of 2012. Was it news of an Austin icon, the response to an uproar in the comedy scene, or Austin's growing international footprint? The results are in, and there are some clear winners, as well as some close calls near the end of the list.

Here are the top 10 CultureMap stories of 2012, based on your votes.

1. The best response we've heard to Daniel Tosh's 'misquoted' rape jokes — 18%

People have wounds, and those wounds are painful. That doesn't have shit to do with the weak concept of "taking offense." If someone talks about Texas being a shitty state, I might "take offense" at that. Fine, whatever. All of us who like comedy are generally in agreement with the idea that "taking offense" is lame, and a comedian should be willing to "offend" whenever he or she wants to.

But causing pain is quite a different fucking matter. Your job as a comedian is to take us through pain, transcend pain, transform pain. And if you don't get that, you are a fucking bully, and I've got zero time for bullies.

2. Austin icon Leslie near death after undergoing emergency brain surgery— 16%

"He has, since the surgery, been unconscious, semi-comatose, as he is responsive to external stimuli. He lifts his hands and moves his legs. I'm told these are 'autonomic' responses, but he did clasp my hand while I was talking to him, so the optimist in me wants to believe otherwise. It's hard to say what the expectations are on his recovery. Right now we are in 'wait and see' mode."

3. The new hipster cities of America: Who's emerging as the "next Austin"? — 15%

Sometimes it feels like there is no place more hipster-plentiful than Austin, Texas. The city has become the poster child of what young creatives and entrepreneurs are discharging into this world. When you look up the word 'Austin' in the thesaurus, the words, 'old-timey facial hair,' 'your grandmother's eyewear,' 'college degree in food carting,' 'bee hive hoarding' and 'Which Wich eating' appear. It's true that there is no escaping the fauxhemian gorilla-whale that is running amok in our city.

But are other cities unscathed by the beast? Smaller, up-and-coming cities that are like how Austin was before 'we' showed up? Cities that hipsters can flock to now that other, older hipsters have crimped their style of being on the forefront of a burgeoning scene? The answer is yes.

4. Austin loses mentor, activist and music-lover Esme Barrera in tragic New Year's morning murder — 10%

Early New Year's morning, a great portion of young Austinite's Facebook feeds and email inboxes were flooded with the terrible news that one of their own, Esme Barrera, had been killed.

A mentor to young girls via Girls Band Camp, a teacher at Casis Elementary School and an avid music-lover, Barrera died in her home on King Street at the hands of a predator who has yet to be identified or found in the West Campus neighborhood just a few blocks west of Guadalupe.

5. Formula 1's Austin party takes shape: Downtown will rock — 9%

For those of us who already live here, whether you head to Elroy, Texas or not, downtown will be buzzing with F1 action. COTA is planning a huge party, not at Auditorium Shores, that is out of the discussion since the Junior League's Christmas Affair will be going on at the Palmer Events Center; no, it'll be downtown. It's called Fan Fest and the epicenter will be at 3rd and Congress where a stage will show off huge international acts. The act getting most of the rumor-mongering — I won't name it to avoid being accused of spreading rumors — happens to include a certain former American Idol judge and 80s rock legend not named Jennifer Lopez or Randy Jackson, but that's totally rumor.

6. Austin's 12 best burgers, and they're not where you think — 8%

The quest to track down and name the best burgers in Austin was trying; in fact, when I began this list at 10 burgers I quickly learned I would simply have to extend it to 12.

Along the way, I learned more than just what and where the best burgers are but also what qualities and ingredients sum up their greatness. Some of these burgers win not just because of their taste, but also because of the ambiance and atmosphere that surrounds them. Others win for their historical, almost cult-like following in the city. A few sealed their place on our list for their bold move beyond the typical Texas beef, yellow mustard and sesame bun combinations.

7. The wait is over: H&M confirms opening of Austin location at The Domain in fall of 2012 — 5%

H&M confirmed Friday that it has leased a 24,000 square foot retail space at The Domain and officially plans to open its doors in the fall of 2012. In addition to mens and womens, the Austin location will carry H&M's childrens collection.

8. Miami 'zombie' identified after autopsy, explanations offered for face-eating behavior — 5%

Reports from police who responded to the attack on Saturday describe Eugene as "delirious" and "highly aggressive," the same description as those of patients who are high on bath salts.

The victim of Saturday's attack has been identified as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, who is reported to be in extremely critical condition. More than 80 percent of Poppo's face was demolished during the attack.

9. Say hello to Bikinis, TX: Proud "breastaurant" empire expanding into city governance — 4%

Doug Guller, CEO of ATX Brands, LLC — the company that owns The Parish, Pelóns and Beale Street Tavern — announced Tuesday that he has purchased an abandoned Hill Country town and named it after the company that made him his first million: Bikinis.

Bikinis, TX, is a real thing. That you will soon be able to visit.

10. What went wrong during Dave Chappelle’s Austin appearance? — 4%

So nobody — the audience or Chappelle himself — expected to endure 90 minutes of banter between the weary comic and the rowdy crowd, punctuated by a dozen abandoned set-ups and several stock bits about pussy and parenting.

Austin photo: News_Mike_Tosh Response_Daniel Tosh
1. A response to Daniel Tosh
Austin Photo Set: News_Leslie Cochran_older photos_march 2012_3
2. Austin icon Leslie near death Leslie Cochran/ Facebook
Austin Photo Set: News_Lauren_new hipster cities_feb 2012_detroit
3. What's the new hipster city? Photo by Westpress
Esme Barrera
4. Austin loses mentor Esme Barrera Courtesy photo