Editor’s Choice Awards 2019: A celebration of strange times

Editor’s Choice Awards 2019: A celebration of strange times

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Well, another year has come to a close, and with it a whole dang decade. A lot can happen in 12 months, and even more in 120. The Museum Fire, Theatrikos flooding, Air Pods (now with straps), the impeachment of Donald Trump, a very expensive banana. It’s been a year of oddities, and we’d like to memorialize some of them in this year’s annual Editor’s Choice Awards.

Every year, Flag Live! presents a non-academic and admittedly silly way of giving thanks to our readers and honoring the town that we love so much. As with last year, we can’t capture it all, and our list is far from complete. We hope you take this list and the upcoming year with humor and in good stride. Thanks for reading!


Most Beneficial to the Public Collaboration: Pizzicletta’s new location in Dark Sky Brewing

Best Addition to the Green Room: Dank Sammies

Best New Coffee Shop That’s Not 200 Miles Away: Lux Coffee

The Lux Latte

The Phoenix-based Lux Coffee recently opened up a new location in Flagstaff. Photo by Ben Shanahan

Cursed Location That Looks Like It Finally Has a Business That Will Last: Carmel’s, then Gaby’s Restaurant, and now Ko Ki Yo

Best Pastries Inspired by a Tragic Shakespearian Death: Ofélia Bakeshop

Worst Impending Move: The Mayor to Root Public House’s old location on San Francisco

Coziest, Most Seasonal Cocktails: Rendezvous’ winter drink menu

Best Food to Satisfy Those Late-Night Cravings: Aloha Hawaiian BBQ                                    

Best Breakfast Burrito: Tacos Los Altos and Los Alteños (tie)

The Restaurant Flagstaff Needed the Most: Santiago’s Tamales

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Santiago's Tamale's. Photo by Cody Bashore

Proof That the Pizza Shops Are Taking Over: NiMarco’s opening a third location on East Route 66

Best Place You’ve Always Wanted to go to But Probably Can’t Afford: Josephine’s Modern American Bistro

Best Place to Celebrate Your 100th Birthday: Basha’s on Humphreys

Best Place to Grab a Coffee Away from the Hustle and Bustle: Cedar House Coffee Shop


Local Losses That Hit Hard: Jake Hoyungowa, Silvestre G. Garcia

Loudest and Most Lively Local Crooner: Guy who sings at the corner of San Francisco Street and Route 66

Best Source for Local Gossip and Colorful Language: George Averbeck

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George Averbeck is a local glassblower. Photo by MacKenzie Chase

Greenest Hair, Kindest Smile, Best Tea: Cyam at Steep


Cyam is a musician and serves delightful tea concoctions at Steep. Photo by Gabriel Granillo

The Only Person Who’s Allowed to Call You Sweetie in Public: Kathy at Walgreens

Best Punk Rock Barber: Val from Val’s Workshop

Most Enthusiastic Wordsmith: Dapper Dre, you don’t say, but I just may

Saddest (And Grooviest) Dance Party: The Last Payback event at the Weatherford Hotel

Coolest Avian Tricks In Town: Bird man around Heritage Square

Best Amateur Birder: Stacy Murison

Best Horror Film Director to Help Reignite Your Love of the ‘80s: Rene Rivas

Best Filmmaker to Highlight the Struggles of Native American NAU Students: Tinia Witherspoon

Tinia Witherspoon.jpg

Tinia Witherspoon is an NAU student and local filmmaker. Her short documentary Medicine and Obligation, looks at the struggles of indigenous NAU students. Photo by Gabriel Granillo

Cutest Darn Shop Dog: Fozzie at Starrlight Books

Local Historian with the Best Hat: Johnny Anaya

Best Person to Remind Us That Art is Every Where: Margarita Cruz with her The Art of column


Most Heartfelt Crowd Banter: Bill Callahan at Coconino Center for the Arts

Best Evidence That Ska Punk Was Alive and Well in 2019: The Mad Caddies tearing up the Green Room

Saddest Band Departure(s): Nothing Add All, Lo-Fi Sophias

Best Show That Didn’t Deserve the Technical Difficulties: Man Man with opener Rebecca Black (yes, that Rebecca Black) at the Green Room

Most Convincing Proof that Cowboy Aliens are Real: Sci-Fi Country

Best Public Meetup of Cazo’s Friends: A S H E S

Best Show That Came to Flagstaff That You Definitely Missed but Should Not Miss the Next Time: Mac Sabbath with Playboy Manbaby at the Green Room

Bloodiest, Most Lethal Album Release Show: Reverend Gabe & His Priestly Duties, Happy Hour

Holiest Wave: Holy Wave at Firecreek Coffee Co.

Best Event to Make You Feel Like a Beat Poet: Harvest at Flag Brew

Best Use of the Tagging Function on Instagram to Get Flag Live!’s Attention: WinterHaven

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Band (As In, Everybody Likes Them): Tow’rs


Best Excuse to Cry in Public: Theatrikos’ production of A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Quickest Way to Travel to the Moon: Lunatique Symphonique at Firecreek Coffee Co. as part of the Lunar Legacy

Best-Looking 90-Year-Old: Museum of Northern Arizona

Best Double Feature: FlagShakes’ Indecent and God of Vengeance

Weirdest Monthly Gathering of Flagstaffians: Flagstaff Foundry

Exhibits We’re Looking Forward to Next Year: Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest, Exodus Art Show, William Ambrose exhibit at CCA

Best Film Festival: Red Screen Film Festival

Sustainable Artist Award: Ava Miller of Velo in a Jar

Best Explosions of Color on Single Pieces of Canvas: Cazo and Sky Black

Best Use of Copious Amounts of Fake Blood (And Nods to Stephen King. And Lights): Talaina Kor’s Color Study

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"Delicate Organism." Photo by Talaina Kor

Most Politically Relevant Exhibit: Todos Dignos by Amy Martin

Best Reoccurring Show to Bring Awareness to the Importance of Recycling: The Artists’ Coalition of Flagstaff’s Recycled Art Exhibition


Best Celebration Worth Dragging on Two Years: Lunar Legacy

Trashiest Nonprofit: Praxis Waste Solutions

Dopest Way to Roll Through Town: Bike parties

Easiest Way to Enrage a Bunch of Flagstaffians: Say you’re going to remove the buffalo at Buffalo Park

Second Easiest Way to Enrage a Bunch of Flagstaffians: Sarcastically depict the Coconino County Fair using 10-cent words

Best Arizona Daily Sun Bragging Rights: Cody Bashore’s snow photo published in The New York Times

Most Tragic Loss of A Public Sleeping Place/Concert Poster Billboard: The disappearance of the cubby hole/nook attached to Crystal Magic on North San Francisco Street

Most Confusing Traffic Light: The new crosswalk on Route 66 near The Standard

Sneakiest Goodbye: Galaxy Diner

When Actors Say “Get Your Feet Wet,” They Don’t Mean Literally: Raw sewage flooding the basement at Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse—don’t worry, it’s all cleaned up now

Hottest Natural Disaster to Almost Sweep You Off Your Feet And Out Of Your Home: Museum Fire

Fire in the Sky

The Museum Fire at night. Photo by Jake Bacon

Best Hostage Situation: Ransomware at Flagstaff Unified School District

Whitest Stuff: February’s record snowfall

Bittersweet Annual New Year’s Tradition: First Polar Plunge without late Daily Sun editor Randy Wilson

Largest Regional Closure That We’re Not Quite Sure How to Feel About: Navajo Generating Station

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Navajo Generating Station. Photo by Gabriel Granillo

Most Questionable Sporting Event: Goldfish racing at Collins Irish Pub

Best Way to Get a Sunday Afternoon Laugh: Watching the Flag Live!/Arizona Daily Sun softball team compete at Thorpe Park during the summer recreation season

Best Faint Buttery Smelling DMV: The new Flagstaff MVD (formerly Harkins Theatres)


The Flagstaff MVD, formerly Harkins Theatres, opened to the public Dec. 23. Photo by Gabriel Granillo

Most Reliable Aspect of Living in Flagstaff: Potholes and traffic on Milton. And people complaining about both.

Largest Cutting Board in Flagstaff: The Skate at the Station “ice” skating rink

Coldest Floor: Jay Lively Ice Skating Rink

The Place You’re Most Likely to Hear A Big Lebowski Reference: Starlite Lanes

Most Disappointing (but Probably Safest) Decision: Dogs being banned from the Flagstaff Community Market

Best Place to Donate Warm Clothing and Blankets: Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Most Anticipated Art Project in Northern Arizona that Might Actually Open Before the Year 3000: James Turrell’s Roden Crater

Best Way to Try to Save the Planet: Climate 2020 summit at NAU

Best Shoes: Flag High’s customized Vans, which won $75,000 for its art program

First in the Nation

Holding a check for $75,000, a trophy and the show designs that won them first place in the Vans Custom Culture contest earlier this year are Alyssa Williams, Nicole Dougherty and teacher Kayley Quick. Photo by Jake Bacon

Worst Place to Go Sledding: On the shoulder of Highway 180


Worst Way to Ask for a Return: A man allegedly lit a fire in the Walmart Supercenter on East Huntington Drive in October. The store was closed for nearly a week before reopening with two-thirds blocked off from the public. 

Solid Candidate for Worst Person Ever: Officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department offered a $3,500 award for information that might lead to the arrest of the individual, or individuals, who deliberately poured fuel into a water catchment northeast of Flagstaff in September. Evidence at the scene suggested suspects took down fencing to contaminate the catchment that provides water for wildlife when natural water sources are not available.

Smartest Thief Award: The March 28 headline really says it all: “Suspected Pizza Patio thief caught caked with flour.” The suspect broke into Pizza Patio on Phoenix Street, drank a glass of wine and beer, attempted to pry a wall-mounted flat-screen TV off the wall and broke open a 50-pound bag of flour. The man was found by Flag PD in the Fry’s Food and Drug parking lot, pulling on car door handles with flour coating his pants, shoes and hat.

Proof That You’re Always Being Watched: A video posted on Facebook in July showed a man flick cigarette ash outside his car window on a dry, grassy area within view of the Museum Fire. The video was used as evidence to cite the man for criminal littering.


Deaths That Hit Hard: Cokie Roberts, Toni Morrison, Eddie Money, Baba Ram Dass, Doris Day, Robert Forster, Peter Mayhew, Ginger Baker, Peter Tork, Peggy Lipton, Elijah Cummings, Anna Karina, John Witherspoon, Grumpy Cat

Greatest Early Christmas Present: Trump’s impeachment

Best Depiction of Vampires Since Twilight: FX’s What We Do in the Shadows

Best Reminder That We Are All Just Grown-Up Children: More superhero movies dominating theaters

The Movie We Most Want to Euthanize: Cats

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Taylor Swift stars in Cats. Courtesy photo

Lamest Product Placement: The Starbucks cup in the last season of Game of Thrones

Best Donald Trump Impersonator: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Best Reminder to Public Figures That Everything They’ve Ever Done Will Come to the Surface Eventually: Justin Trudeau’s blackface

Worst Use of Taxpayer Dollars:  Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Most Expensive Piece of Fruit: That banana duct taped to a wall at Art Basel Miami Beach

Best Fake Suicide: Jeffrey Epstein

Best Ball Kickers: U.S. Women’s soccer team

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US Women's soccer team. Courtesy photo


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