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Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST OLD BAND

Dan Wilson

Dan Wilson found himself staring into the business end of the Recording Academy's highest honor last February, when the august body declared 2006's best song to be none other than the Wilson-penned Dixie Chicks snubber "Not Ready to Make Nice." But even if the glitz of the red carpet had never beckoned the former Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare frontman, he would still be a shoo-in for this award—which isn't nearly the backhanded compliment it sounds like (honest). Wilson's Grammy may just cast some light into the shadows of his previous bands, especially Semisonic, whose history reads like any night at the bar: If you stopped at "Closing Time," you missed the best stuff. But unlike that little gilded Victrola, our humble offering serves to recognize not the man's foggy past but his bright future: namely, a long-overdue solo album and the wave of live performances it will surely incite. Partly produced by Rick Rubin, allegedly titled Free Life, and tentatively slated for release in 2007, the record has but one concrete certainty: It's Wilson's white whale. As such, bits and pieces surface regularly. The minor-key stomper "Baby Doll" and the heartrending ballad "All Kinds," both leaked online, indicate that his voice is tender as ever and his lyrics are even better. His songcraft, meanwhile, sounds streamlined, to the point where every strummed chord conjures goosebumps. Semisonic was never this good.

BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER Piper's Crow

BEST ACTOR Ansa Akyea

BEST ACTRESS Tracey Maloney

BEST ALBUM OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Chooglin'

BEST ALL-AGES VENUE The Garage

BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY Tom Mischke

BEST ART CINEMA Oak Street Cinema

BEST ART GALLERY Creative Electric Studios

BEST BAND NAME Huge Rat Attacks

BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS The Soviettes

BEST BLUES BAND The Butanes

BEST BLUES BAR Famous Dave's

BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR 900 Miles from Nowere

BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER Roseville 4

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER Ananya Chatterjea

BEST CLASSICAL PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Minnesota Orchestra performing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

BEST CLUB DJ E-Tones

BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (LOCAL) The Plastic Constellations and Tapes 'n Tapes at First Avenue

BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (TOURING) Rakim

BEST CONCERT VENUE Varsity Theater

BEST DANCE CLUB Foundation

BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Anytown: Stories of America

BEST DANCER Karen Sherman

BEST DIRECTOR Wendy Knox

BEST FESTIVAL Grand Old Day

BEST FILM Sweet Land

BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY Bill DeVille

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST Brother Ali

BEST HIP-HOP RADIO PROGRAM Redefinition Radio

BEST INDEPENDENT THEATER Emigrant Theater

BEST JAZZ ARTIST Frank Morgan

BEST JAZZ CLUB Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant

BEST KARAOKE James Ballentine VFW Post 246

BEST LITERARY JOURNAL Conduit

BEST LIVE ARTIST Dance Band

BEST LOCAL MUSIC COMPILATION Duluth Does Dylan Revisited

BEST LOCAL RECORD LABEL Afternoon Records

BEST MOVIE THEATER Riverview Theater

BEST MUSEUM Minneapolis Institute of Arts

BEST MUSEUM EXHIBIT Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love

BEST MUSIC STORE (CHAIN) Guitar Center

BEST MUSIC STORE (INDEPENDENT) Twin Town Guitars

BEST NEW BAND Mouthful of Bees

BEST OPEN MIC BALLS Cabaret

BEST OPERA The Grapes of Wrath

BEST PLACE TO BUY VINYL Hymie's Vintage Records

BEST PLACE TO RENT FOREIGN FILMS Cinema Revolution

BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE OUTDOORS Stevens Square Park

BEST PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE TV PROGRAM Black Focus

BEST PUBLIC ARTS PROJECT Art Shanty Projects

BEST R&B ARTIST J. Isaac

BEST RADIO PROGRAM AFTER MIDNIGHT Radio Riot

BEST RADIO STATION KFAI (90.3/106.7 FM)

BEST READING OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Mark Mallman and Chuck Klosterman Kill Themselves to Live

BEST ROCK BAND Little Man

BEST ROCK CLUB First Avenue

BEST SINGLE ARTIST SHOW Jaron Childs: Ruptures

BEST SONGWRITER Jeremy Messersmith

BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST Paul Allen

BEST STAGE PRODUCTION Last of the Boys

BEST THEATER FOR COMEDY Brave New Workshop

BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA Children's Theatre Company

BEST TV STATION TPT:Channels 2 and 17

BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE) Prudence Johnson

BEST VOCALIST (MALE) Mike Gunther