Winning cover art by Art Institute student Jonathan Ayala.
Winning cover art by Art Institute student Jonathan Ayala.

Pink tennis shoes or combat boots? It’s been that kind of in-the-trenches year in our fair burg and, really, the rest of the state. Still coming out of the recession, still growing.

The Lovers of Air-Breathers contingent, those optimistic rascals, are still engaged in the apparently endless struggle to get state and local governments to put people first, rather than pipelines, profits, or political careers. Other folks concentrate on making kickass music, breathtaking art, or beautiful architecture. A river still runs through it, as filled as ever by controversy (and other stuff) but also being enjoyed more than ever by hikers and bikers along its banks.

Fort Worth hit the national spotlight several times this year, including for that instantly famous filibuster by our state senator, for the exhibits gracing our museums, and for the work of up-and-coming artists in several disciplines. We also, of course, remain the grimy, smelly capital of the fracking debate in this country –– yippee-yi-ki-yay for that one.

Vato Loco Web Ad (300 x 250 px)

In-fill development, in and around the Cultural District and the Near Southside, is going great guns — always a bittersweet change, as older neighborhoods are first revitalized and then, in many cases, threatened when redevelopment becomes so successful that it begins eating into often-modest residential streets. And traffic — the most prosaic and one of the most consistently annoying aspects of a growing city: No, Virginia, you can’t get anyplace in Fort Worth in 15 minutes anymore. These days, thanks to construction, it sometimes seems like you can’t get anywhere from anywhere. That’s also true if you sit in on some of our local government deliberations: You’ll plow through plenty of roadblocks and U-turns on your way to finding stability, civility, and progress on the Fort Worth school board, for instance.

This issue, always our biggest of the year, is where we traditionally celebrate the new and old places, the delights and the perils of living in our part of North Texas. But this issue isn’t just our biggest for 2013 — it’s the largest issue ever published by Fort Worth Weekly. Progress, indeed — especially in an industry that hasn’t had all that much to celebrate in recent years. So join us in raising a glass to that milestone, as well as to the public servants and pretty faces, the musicmakers and waitstaffers, the art and the artists, businesspeople and bouncers, chefs and movers-and-shakers whose contributions we highlight in these pages.

It takes every pair of hands we have at the Weekly to get this issue out, from freelance writers and photographers to advertising salespeople, production workers, reporters, editors, support staff, and cheeses big and little. This year, again,  we also thank — and congratulate — the folks from the Art Institute of Fort Worth who produced the art for our cover and our section openers. The students whose winning entries were used: Jonathan Ayala, cover art and Getting & Spending; Anthony Garcia, People & Politics; Mark Mayr, Culture; Cathy Lincoln, Good Grub; and Jose Perez, On the Town.

Thanks to all of them, to our readers for voting (and reading), to our advertisers, and to those whose good wishes keep us fired up year-round. Nobody does quite what the Weekly does in this town, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to keep on doing it. — Gayle Reaves


[box_info]Best Of 2013 is on the streets right now! Check back here Thursday morning for more Best Of winners and stories.[/box_info]