#LAWebAwards: The 2013 Winners List
The Internet just won't stand still. A few years ago it was all about Facebook and Twitter. Then Pinterest, then GIFs. Now we're all taking a crash course in something called Vine. Oh, and did you hear MySpace is back — and Yahoo is beating Google?
But as online life continues to evolve, the medium is increasingly less important than the message. Smart, funny and creative, our 2013 Web Award winners would succeed in any platform, and whether they're posting photos on Instagram, uploading videos on YouTube or putting good old-fashioned words on a blog, you'd be wise to stop snapchatting already and check out their awesomeness. —Sarah Fenske
Best Arts Blog
Based on its name and tagline — "celebrating the taco lifestyle in Los Angeles" — it would be easy to mistake L.A. Taco for yet another of this city's countless food blogs. But while there are food-centric regular features like "Bang for Your Burger Buck," this blog's meatier offerings celebrate the art painted and plastered on public walls from Boyle Heights to Venice Beach. Founded in 2005 by an anonymous collective of bloggers whose love for street art is as great as their love for street food, L.A. Taco not only covers local news — such as the city's ban on murals and the subsequent protests — but also promotes underground art shows and documents L.A.'s constantly changing graffiti landscape.
Our judge writes, "Brian Redban definitely knows how to use the web and social media to push his DeathSquad brand, but when I heard him on the Muff Said podcast talking about accidentally massaging a dolphin's vagina after eating a dose of psychedelic mushrooms I about laughed myself into unconsciousness. That's when I knew I had a winner." You read it here first.
Meme of the Year
The Laker Bros
Ah, the Laker Bros. A pair of good-looking SoCal dudes in matching Dwight Howard jerseys attend a Lakers game last November. And when Kobe Bryant scores, the left bro whips off his sunglasses in dramatic fashion while the right bro applauds, with perfectly bro-tastic expressions. In the year 2000, this would mean nothing. In the year 2013, this is a meme. It gets turned into a GIF, written up in Deadspin and the Daily Mail and endlessly dissected on Reddit. Brobible.com weighs in with "The 15 Best Things About That Lakers Bro GIF." Someone even puts the whole sequence in reverse. Now, you could argue that the moment lasted a few seconds, tops, and that neither of these guys should be famous, much less given an L.A. Weekly Web Award. But it's 2013. And that reverse sunglass whip is priceless.
Best TV Blog
Ben Mandelker's B-Side Blog covers "TV, food, drink and everything in between" — which just about covers all of our hobbies, thankyouverymuch. Our judge writes, "B-Side has been the undisputed king of TV blogging for years. Mandelker practically invented TV photocapping." Funny, perceptive and spectacularly good with the screen grab, B-Side will suck you in for hours on end.
Best Food Instagram
AMANDA LOPEZ Evan Funke of Bucato: Our winner for Best Food Instagram
See Amy Scattergood's story about Evan Funke
Best Web Series — Comedy
Writer-director Shilpi Roy's delightfully angst-filled series knows exactly how much heart and humor to pack into each episode. Says our judge, "We stick around for the laughs, but we return for the story."
Best Local Startup App
Where My Dogs At
If you're looking for love, there's OK Cupid. If you're looking for sex, there's Grindr (or Tinder). But what if you're just a dog lover looking for other pups (and their people) to play with — or a nice pet-friendly patio? Where My Dogs At fills that important niche, allowing you to search for "dog people" or "dog places" in the vicinity with just a few clicks of your smartphone. And, of course, you can create a profile for your dog — because if there's one thing dog people like to do, it's share furry baby photos.
Best Fashion Blog
Put This On
The comprehensive approach taken by Jesse Thorn and Adam Lisagor's fashion blog, Put This On, just might blow your mind. One judge writes, "Both newsy (a recent post alerted readers to the possible going-out-of-business sale by a beloved thrift shop) and thoughtful ('reviewing' takes on new meaning here). Men should bookmark this site yesterday."
Best Gossip Blog
Crazy Days and Nights
For six years, Crazy Days and Nights brought the goods, dropping tasty blind items with a knowing, had-to-be-an-insider tone. Readers ate it up. And then something so deliciously juicy went down that even the mainstream media was forced to pay attention: Some readers became convinced last year that Robert Downey Jr. was leaving comments on the site. Downey's spokesperson took the rare step of issuing a denial, but the resulting furor only seems to have emboldened CDaN (as fans call it). Run by an L.A.-area man who goes by "Enty," the site remains a fascinating peek into the darker side of Hollywood. Is any of it true? A New York Post story published in the wake of the Downey imbroglio suggests not (it revealed Enty to be a probate attorney, not a connected entertainment lawyer, as he's suggested). But the site is such a good read, you can hardly blame readers for wishing it was.
Funniest YouTube Video
Gorgen Zargarian, star of Rhett & Link's "Shift It"
"Shift It," by Rhett & Link
See Jennifer Swann's story about Rhett & Link
Best NonProfit Facebook Page
Heal the Bay
Do-gooder Facebook pages can be boring, static places — "like" them and you'll be subjected to a slow but steady entreaty of requests to give money. Not Heal the Bay. The venerable Santa Monica nonprofit shares gorgeous photos, links to relevant news stories and even posts a quiz or two. Once you've liked the page, it's impossible not to feel a kinship to the organization — and more committed to its cause.
Author, screenwriter and blogger Kelly Oxford has earned 543,000-plus Twitter followers for her nastily hilarious musings. Writes our judge, "I love cerebral-funny and sunny, adorkable-funny, but I also appreciate the kind of funny that sucker punches you in the gut and takes names. And for that, I chose Kelly Oxford."
Best Food Blog
KCET's food blog doesn't have a catchy name (it goes, simply, by "food"). But it makes up for the lack of clever branding with a reader-friendly mix of recipes, lists and essays. Videos show how to make various dishes, while reported pieces (often by the site's Living editor, Katherine Spiers) explain L.A.'s food scene. A consistently enjoyable read.