Welcome to the BEST
The more things change

No one wants to be unpopular. Through popularity comes acceptance. Acceptance leads to assimilation. Assimilation leads to bliss. We calm and reassure. We embrace people with the message that we're all in it together and that there is nothing, absolutely nothing WRONG.

In 1997, that's the quote we used to end our "welcome" to the inaugural edition of the Best of Lexington poll. It was from the defunct thirtysomething, and it was all about the "dance of advertising." The episode revolved around Desert Storm, an ad campaign that got canceled because of a war protest, and what it was like NOT to be a Yankee Doodle Dandy in the midst of a national crisis.

Here it is five years later.

And in so many ways, it's déjà vu all over again.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

The "Best Local Band" in 1997 was a three way tie: the Metropolitan Blues All-Stars, Catawampus Universe, and the Yonders. All three are still alive and kicking in some form or fashion, though Catawampus Universe remains the most prolific.

Readers had begun bemoaning the loss of the Wrocklage - as they still are today. (If half as many people showed up there as voted for it, it'd be bigger than Bogart's by now.)

Many winners in the 1997 food and drink category still maintain a significant presence in the local restaurant scene (and in the voting). Dudley's, a la lucie, Common Grounds, and Natasha's were all favorites in 1997, and remain just as popular today.

Gatewood tied with Ed McClanahan as most beloved local character And you'll see, one of 'em is back this year.

That said, there are many newcomers in this year's list. Hopefully you'll be inspired to visit them, listen to them, watch them or whatever's appropriate.

This is the issue where the readers get their say.

So without further ado, let's give the people what they want.