Cultural Baggage Like many of us, Dean Becker has a problem with the current war against the livelier substances available on our streets -- particularly marijuana. With "Project Housterdam," he's knocking on the doors of every politician in town, spearheading an initiative smokier than a hole in Afghanistan after Dubya had his way with it. In his personal fight for the liberation of pot and all its users, Dean talks to doctors, politicians, cops and anyone who'll face his microphone. Much of the time he confronts the people who could do something about the war but don't, and boy, does Dean have some suggestions for them. He's not the smoothest talker in the world, which might hinder interviews, and he can be a bit hazy at times, but his persona makes for great radio. And at least he's not sitting on his couch, sucking a bong and talkin' about "Who's better: David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?" He's sparking a revolution. One joint, er, one show at a time.

Cultural Baggage Like many of us, Dean Becker has a problem with the current war against the livelier substances available on our streets -- particularly marijuana. With "Project Housterdam," he's knocking on the doors of every politician in town, spearheading an initiative smokier than a hole in Afghanistan after Dubya had his way with it. In his personal fight for the liberation of pot and all its users, Dean talks to doctors, politicians, cops and anyone who'll face his microphone. Much of the time he confronts the people who could do something about the war but don't, and boy, does Dean have some suggestions for them. He's not the smoothest talker in the world, which might hinder interviews, and he can be a bit hazy at times, but his persona makes for great radio. And at least he's not sitting on his couch, sucking a bong and talkin' about "Who's better: David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?" He's sparking a revolution. One joint, er, one show at a time.

Confessions Who doesn't want to eavesdrop on or, better yet, weigh in on, a total stranger's dysfunctional relationship? That's the premise of Confessions, KCOH's mid-afternoon talk show hosted by the unflappable Wash Allen. At the beginning of the show, a "soothsayer" phones in to say he's cheating with his wife's sister, or that her husband doesn't know it but their kid is not his. What should these people do? The callers always have plenty to say, and Allen stays mainly on the sidelines, noting only that he's "got yours" when one of the callers has finished with his or her advice. Beats the hell out of listening to the right-wingers bitch about Kerry's war record and Clinton, that's for sure.

Confessions Who doesn't want to eavesdrop on or, better yet, weigh in on, a total stranger's dysfunctional relationship? That's the premise of Confessions, KCOH's mid-afternoon talk show hosted by the unflappable Wash Allen. At the beginning of the show, a "soothsayer" phones in to say he's cheating with his wife's sister, or that her husband doesn't know it but their kid is not his. What should these people do? The callers always have plenty to say, and Allen stays mainly on the sidelines, noting only that he's "got yours" when one of the callers has finished with his or her advice. Beats the hell out of listening to the right-wingers bitch about Kerry's war record and Clinton, that's for sure.

Best Blues and Soul Preservationist

Eddie Stout of Dialtone Records While Stout is an Austinite, we feel he deserves an award from us anyway. After all, many of the artists he records -- Little Joe Washington, Gloria Edwards and soon Earl Gilliam -- are from here; and no one else is cutting official albums on them. And what albums they are: Washington's volcanic Houston Guitar Blues has attracted favorable national attention and stamped the pint-sized bluesman's ticket to Japan several times, the last of which was as an opening act for the White Stripes. Edwards chips in on the all-female, funk-soul-R&B compilation Texas Soul Sisters, and her rumbling, low-down "Hoochie Mama" is one of the best tunes to come out of Houston in years.

Best Blues and Soul Preservationist

Eddie Stout of Dialtone Records While Stout is an Austinite, we feel he deserves an award from us anyway. After all, many of the artists he records -- Little Joe Washington, Gloria Edwards and soon Earl Gilliam -- are from here; and no one else is cutting official albums on them. And what albums they are: Washington's volcanic Houston Guitar Blues has attracted favorable national attention and stamped the pint-sized bluesman's ticket to Japan several times, the last of which was as an opening act for the White Stripes. Edwards chips in on the all-female, funk-soul-R&B compilation Texas Soul Sisters, and her rumbling, low-down "Hoochie Mama" is one of the best tunes to come out of Houston in years.

Off the Kuff In a field cluttered with "what I had for breakfast" and "my girlfriend/boyfriend is so cute" entries, Charles Kuffner's gazette keeps track of local and national politics, music, baseball and a bunch of other stuff in an informative and digestible way. And among political bloggers, Kuffner also stands out as a sensible moderate Democrat amid all the paranoid libertarians, smug right-wingers and shrill lefties typing their screeds in cloudy cuckoo land.

Off the Kuff In a field cluttered with "what I had for breakfast" and "my girlfriend/boyfriend is so cute" entries, Charles Kuffner's gazette keeps track of local and national politics, music, baseball and a bunch of other stuff in an informative and digestible way. And among political bloggers, Kuffner also stands out as a sensible moderate Democrat amid all the paranoid libertarians, smug right-wingers and shrill lefties typing their screeds in cloudy cuckoo land.

Crazy Tony Avitia Say what you will about Crazy Tony Avitia, but the man will not be ignored. Since tearing out of the northside in the late '80s as a member of 30footFALL, Avitia has released numerous compilation CDs of local and Texas funk, punk and rock on his Broken Note label and won several Houston Press Music Awards as a member of the "slip-hop" ensemble I-45. Avitia's latest gambit is promoting huge shows -- and he attacks that endeavor with boundless energy. Earlier this year, Avitia let the world know, via a massive flyer campaign, that "Crazy Tony Is Back!" And thank God he is.

Crazy Tony Avitia Say what you will about Crazy Tony Avitia, but the man will not be ignored. Since tearing out of the northside in the late '80s as a member of 30footFALL, Avitia has released numerous compilation CDs of local and Texas funk, punk and rock on his Broken Note label and won several Houston Press Music Awards as a member of the "slip-hop" ensemble I-45. Avitia's latest gambit is promoting huge shows -- and he attacks that endeavor with boundless energy. Earlier this year, Avitia let the world know, via a massive flyer campaign, that "Crazy Tony Is Back!" And thank God he is.

Best Of Houston®

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