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Best of

the Twin Cities

BEST JAZZ ARTIST

Irv Williams

At 88 grand years of age, tenor saxophone icon Irv Williams could very well rest on his considerable laurels, which include nearly seven decades on the Twin Cities jazz scene as a musician and educator. Instead, Williams continues to explore the rich arsenal of elegant emotions he uses to vividly color jazz ballads, not only on a busy schedule of live dates but also in a recent relative flood of recordings. This year's Finality, issued on his own Ding-Dong label, is Williams's fourth new album since 2004, each distinguished by the wonderfully warm and glowing tone that inspired former Pioneer Press critic Bob Protzman to dub him "Mr. Smooth." Williams also imbues his playing with a quietly passionate lyricism that's riddled with deftly nuanced mysteries. His gorgeous solo on Finality's "Debra's Dream" is wistful, a little bittersweet, and light as air yet luminous with substance. Williams, joined by the classy local jazz quartet of Kenny Horst, Gordy Johnson, Peter Schimke, and Loren Walstad, mixes up the ballads with some swing and blows up a storm with fellow tenor Gus Sandberg on the Ellington/Hodges classic "Castle Rock." Williams has declared Finality to be his last album, which we can only hope is hyperbole. He continues playing sublime jazz remarkable for a musician of any age.

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 ART GALLERY First Amendment Gallery

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 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