Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST ART GALLERY

First Amendment Gallery

Few commercial ventures offer more risk than art galleries. Sure, paintings, sculpture, assemblages, and whatnot are solid investments...as long as you buy the right ones. They're also one of the first things even the most passionate aficionado passes on when times get hard. Factor in a fickle public and an extremely low looker-to-buyer ratio, and opportunities for ruination lurk in every clean, well-lit corner. Some local galleries—the mighty SooVAC and Midway Contemporary Arts, for example—fashion elaborate safety nets from private donations and foundation money, while the likes of Shoebox and Placement forge alliances with other local businesses. But First Amendment finances art with, well, art. The compact exhibition area in the gallery's northeast Minneapolis warehouse space opens onto graphic powerhouse Burlesque of North America's production facility, a huge room filled with the printing gear that helps pay the gallery's bills and provides added visual excitement when opening-night crowds inevitably spill over. First Amendment's principals—Mike Davis, Todd Bratrud, Lonny Unitas, Wes Winship, Aaron Horkey, resident DJ Mike the 2600 King, et al.—are all respected artists in their own right, with far-reaching connections, dead-on curatorial instincts, and a profound understanding of their clientele's budgets. To wit: You can walk out of First Amendment full-handed for less than you'd spend on a night of serious drinking. Add live entertainment from Calvin Johnson, Building Better Bombs, and a slew of other local and national luminaries, a substantial presence at SXSW 2008, a commitment to DJ culture demonstrated every Tuesday at the Triple Rock's Triple Double blowouts, and voila!—a formidable institution, built from the ground up by a crew that has been hanging out since high school, when a collective love of graffiti brought them together.

Best Art Gallery (2012) CO Exhibitions

BEST ART GALLERY (2010) First Amendment Arts

BEST ACTOR James Craven

BEST ACTRESS Sarah Agnew

BEST ALBUM OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Atmosphere, Strictly Leakage

BEST ALL-AGES VENUE The Garage

BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY Dan Cole

BEST ART CRITIC Patricia Briggs

BEST BAND NAME Emerson, Lake and Lyndale

BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS The Hockey Night

BEST BLUES BAND The Butanes

BEST BLUES BAR Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Club

BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR The Dog Says How, by Kevin Kling

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER Morgan Thorson

BEST CITIZEN-BASED MEDIA OUTLET The Uptake

BEST CLUB DJ Soviet Panda

BEST COMEDY Jerry Springer—The Opera

BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (LOCAL) Doomtree Blowout at First Avenue

BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (TOURING) M.I.A.

BEST CONCERT VENUE First Avenue

BEST CRAFT SHOW No Coast Craft-o-Rama

BEST DANCE CLUB The Front

BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE Zenon Dance Company fall season

BEST DANCER Anna Marie Shogren

BEST DIRECTOR Joel Sass

BEST FESTIVAL Twin Cities Pride Celebration

BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY Kerri Miller

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST Brother Ali

BEST JAZZ ARTIST Irv Williams

BEST JAZZ CLUB Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

BEST JUKEBOX 331 Club

BEST KARAOKE Staraoke Karaoke at Grumpy's

BEST LITERARY JOURNAL Rain Taxi

BEST LIVE ARTIST Skoal Kodiak

BEST LOCAL MUSIC COMPILATION Foreclosure and Eviction

BEST LOCAL RECORD LABEL De Stijl

BEST MOVIE THEATER Riverview Theater

BEST MUSEUM Minneapolis Institute of Arts

BEST MUSEUM EXHIBITION "Frida Kahlo," Walker Art Center

BEST NEW BAND Gospel Gossip

BEST OPERA La Boheme

BEST OUT-OF-TOWN CHEERLEADER FOR LOCAL MUSIC WFMU-FM

BEST PINBALL SS Billiards

BEST PLACE TO BUY ART FROM A VENDING MACHINE Chambers Hotel

BEST PLACE TO BUY PUNK/METAL MUSIC Extreme Noise Records

BEST PLACE TO BUY USED DVDS CD Warehouse

BEST PLACE TO LEARN AN ART FORM Highpoint Center for Printmaking

BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE Zenon Dance School

BEST PLACE TO WATCH MOVIES OUTDOORS Walker Art Center's Summer Music and Movies

BEST PLACE TO WATCH MOVIES OUTDOORS AT A BAR Solera

BEST PUBLIC ART The Merit Wall

BEST R&B ARTIST The New Congress

BEST RADIO PROGRAM AFTER MIDNIGHT The Root of All Evil

BEST RADIO STATION The Current 89.3 FM

BEST RECORD LABEL (COMEDY) Stand Up! Records

BEST ROCK BAND Vampire Hands

BEST ROCK CLUB Turf Club

BEST SONGWRITER M.anifest

BEST STAGE PRODUCTION Peer Gynt

BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA Open Eye Figure Theatre

BEST TV NEWSCASTER Bill Carlson

BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR Eric Perkins

BEST TV STATION ION Television: Channel 41

BEST TV WEATHERPERSON Paul Douglas

BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE) Laura Larson of Baby Guts

BEST VOCALIST (MALE) Mike Gunther