Magic isn't easily definable.


There are vanishing tigers and sawed-in-half women. There are levitations and card tricks and feats of mind-reading. Magic can be presented on a massive scale or in an intimate setting. It’s versatile, unpredictable, and fun. Kind of like New Times’ annual Best Of.

When I first tapped local magician Rich Ferguson to help illustrate this year’s Best Of magic theme, I had no idea he would win for Best Local Entertainer. Ferguson isn’t the cape-wearing, wand-wielding sort—he’s known for his sleight of hand, improv, and mentalism. Check out the illusions and more he cooked up to guide readers into each section.

Dining Out explores the cuisine scene on the Central Coast.

After Hours invites a closer look at local nightlife and beyond.

Arts Scene reveals some of this area’s more creative types.

Burnin’ Money presents hot shopping opportunities.

About Town
highlights businesses and other necessities.

Get Out focuses on all kinds of recreation.

Community Watch keeps a close eye on government and public life.

This year’s Best Of was a massive project that wouldn’t have worked without the alchemy between loyal and new New Times readers; local businesses, groups, nonprofits, and individuals; a bevy of advertisers; and a hard-working staff of writers, designers, sales representatives, ballot counters, photographers, and more.

—Ryan Miller, editor


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