Best Of Arts & Entertainment
Best Album of the Past 12 Months
The Stand4rd, the Stand4rd
The national press fell all over Twin Cities rap supergroup the Stand4rd last year for good reason. Sure, there was curiosity associated with teen R&B sensation Spooky Black (a.k.a. Corbin), but interest in the four-headed monster quickly deepened. The album's combination of experimental structures, Psymun's wobbly beats, and emotional lyrical...
Work sucks. That's why there's "Lucid Nightmare" by Waveless, which happens to be the ideal blast of bummer noise for blocking out soul-stabbing drudgery. Even just the psychedelic punk song's final two minutes, devoted almost entirely to Dustin McChesney's scalding guitar solo, are a salve for a shitty day. Got...
Best Local Music Compilation
The Greatest of All-Time #1, Forged Artifacts
Twin Cities label Forged Artifacts' cassette-only compilation, The Greatest of All-Time #1, is a terrific primer on the current crop of underground excellence. This is punk bliss, from garage rockers France Camp's spastic burst of "No Love" to Rupert Angeleyes's psychedelic fuzz on "One Bong Rip From Heaven," and the...
All Black Rage, Sarah White
Lines between mixtape and album have blurred in recent years. The strongest in recent memory locally is Sarah White's DJ mix All Black Rage, a collection of politically minded hip-hop summing up the racism and injustice that defined 2014. Using Lauryn Hill's "Black Rage" as a jumping-off point, White's selections...
Lost Time, 12 Rods
The early aughts were a cultural mess, which explains not only why 12 Rods existed, but also why so few people cared. The Ryan Olcott-led rock experimenters treated genre distinctions with the same reverence as squares of toilet paper, and attracted a following that included Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon...
"I'm Breaking Up With Mr. Smiles," B.O.Y.F.
This synth-pop wonder from B.O.Y.F. (formerly White Boyfriend) unfurls a damning case against Mr. Smiles. Sure, Smiles can be a charmer, but anyone whispering in your left ear about the devils and the death of you has got to go. Off the White Boyfriend album released in early 2015, the...
Best Cover Song
"Wrecking Ball," Jeremy Messersmith
No one expected to hear Miley Cyrus at Rock the Garden. No one, that is, except Jeremy Messersmith. He jumped, never asking why. Aided by the Laurels String Quartet and his bruising live ensemble, Messersmith swung "Wrecking Ball" at about 10,000 hearts and shattered 'em all over the Walker's grounds...
Best Local Record Label
What started as a way for Twin Cities rock-and-soul act Southside Desire to release their material has blossomed into a formidable record label. In addition to SD's two compelling full-lengths, northeast Minneapolis-based Piñata Records has also put out genre-bending stuff from Narco States, Mystery Date, Black Diet, Grolar Bears, and...
Best Album Cover
Tropical Depression, Tropical Depression
Tropical Depression's album cover depicts a man standing on a beach. Behind him is a sunset surging with improbable, '80s-esque colors. It's an impossibly vivid window into the impossibly catchy music within. Local stalwart Erik Applewick's new project sounds like the best yacht rock you've never heard. If an album...
Best Band Name
Safe to say that Pornonono won't get booked at any church picnics this year. Still, their tongue-twister of a moniker feels more like a PG-13 indulgence than anything truly subversive. What can be gathered from the recorded material circulating is that Pornonono are all about sexual tension, synthesized drums, and...
Best New Band
Recent products of St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Hippo Campus play jangly Afro-pop that sounds equally infectious coming out of an FM radio or a sweaty club. The second-place finishers in 2014's Picked to Click poll have proven as resourceful as they are creative, and landed Alan Sparhawk to...
Babes in Toyland
Minneapolis '90s rock trio Babes in Toyland's reunion announcement back in August sent shockwaves through the music world. In their day, Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero, and Maureen Herman gave a decisive jolt to the scene here and beyond, with records that out-riffed, out-screamed, and out-muscled their grunge contemporaries. After hitting...
Best Music Video
"Without You," Spooky Black
After arriving seemingly out of the ether, Spooky Black's grainy, Blair Witch Project-like video for "Without You" has garnered over two million views on YouTube. Directed and edited by Gabe Broderick, the clip features the durag-clad artist now known as Corbin in the woods and nondescript rooms mouthing the words...
Best Video Director
Director Dan Huiting rose to local prominence through his City of Music video series spotlighting Twin Cities bands for MPLS.TV. Now, he creates the artistic visuals for Pitchfork and helped launch TPT's live music broadcast series The Lowertown Line. His music videos and mini-documentaries have featured Bon Iver, Liars, the...
Best Record Store Day Location
There is no better vinyl distributor for Twin Cities hip-hop heads to get their fix than Fifth Element, but the Rhymesayers-owned shop always brings something all music fans can appreciate on Record Store Day. In 2014, Atmosphere dropped the "Lake Nokomis" maxi single, a six-song EP previewing much of the...
Best Concert Venue
The 85-year-old "Grande Dame" of Twin Cities theaters, located at the center of the University of Minnesota's campus, was in desperate need of an upgrade. Following a three-year remodel by HGA Architects, the old building's capacity shrank from 4,800 down to 2,700, the balconies and main floor were upgraded to...
Best Rock Club
The future was uncertain when the Turf Club closed for several months last year for a much needed renovation by new owner First Avenue. Many felt the University Avenue stage for alt-country, punk, and Big Freedia was perfect just the way it was. When the venue re-opened at the end...
Best All-Ages Venue
For young music lovers, the ever-present challenge is finding those elusive all-ages shows about town. The VFW enjoyed a good run with some all-ages punk shows in its dingy basement last year, which was eventually cut short. Thankfully, there's one place that fans of every age are always granted entry...
Best Venue Name
Shit Biscuit is easily the finest venue name in the entire Twin Cities. Want proof? Say it out loud. Spell it out if you wish. Imagine it on a flyer, on a T-shirt, tattooed on your thigh, or carved into the driver's side door of a 1972 AMC Gremlin. S-H-I-T...
Best Music Festival
Rock the Garden
The Current and the Walker Art Center's annual summertime rock 'n' roll party Rock the Garden hit its stride when it expanded into a two-day affair last June. This festival not only boasts an appealing, diverse lineup, but takes place on the picturesque Walker grounds with the Minneapolis skyline forming...
Best Concert of the Past 12 Months
The Replacements at Midway Stadium
Expectations were sky-high going into the 'Mats' first hometown gig in 23 years. Our beloved local bar-band-that-could delivered a set engaging long-time and first-time fans alike at the St. Paul Saints' ballpark. A Replacements performance is never perfect, but the September night was awfully close. Original members Paul Westerberg and...
Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at State Theatre
Nick Cave made up for lost time in his first Twin Cities performance with the Bad Seeds in over 10 years. His connection with the audience made a sold-out theater show feel like an intimate club gig. He even climbed into the crowd and walked deep into the middle of...
Best National Anthem at Target Field
Although Idina Menzel was not a winner in the category of Best Name Pronunciation by John Travolta, hopefully she can take solace in this deserved victory. The Disney movie Frozen opened a few doors for the already accomplished Menzel, whose rendition of "Let It Go" in her vocal role as...
Best Hip-Hop Festival
Rhymesayers could easily sweep all hip-hop-related Best Ofs, simply because no one in the North Star State loves or respects rap music more than the homegrown label. Soundset is their annual celebration of both the genre and Minnesota. The 2014 iteration paired big industry names like Wiz Khalifa, Nas, and...
Best Outdoor Show
The Fucking Best Show Ever
P.O.S. threw himself a heckuva welcome back party in September of 2014. Pizza Lucé staff were on hand slangin' their prized pies, latchkey kids tricked on a Minnesota-shaped quarter pipe, and some of the nation's most sardonic MCs were onstage. Hundreds gathered in a downtown parking lot on the crisp...
Best Music Residency
Hollow Boys at Grumpy's Downtown
Armed with a new album, EP, and bass player, gloom-pop act Hollow Boys took over Grumpy's downtown every Saturday in September. Each performance highlighted different portions of the band's catalog, and their latest full-length, Believe in Nothing. The final night's theme was Twin Peaks, which coincided with David Lynch announcing...
Best Concert Controversy
The Current and MN Original's State of Hip-Hop
Originally envisioned as a unifying concert at the Fitzgerald Theater, the State of Hip-Hop turned into a discussion regarding how to best represent the Minnesota hip-hop community. After a heated community meeting to shape Minnesota Public Radio and MN Original's event held at Intermedia Arts, the show was eventually scrapped...
Best Live Artist
Doomtree became a rap institution in the Twin Cities on the strength of their potent live shows. The yearly Blowouts expanded every year, and culminated in 2014 with Blowout X. To end the cycle, they put on 10 different events over eight days in December. Overkill? No way. Doomtree's live...
Best Acoustic Performer
Leah Ottman wields a convincing bow as the violinist for folk-rock collective We Are the Willows, but her solo project LOTT shows there's more to the instrument than just arranging strings. With a looping pedal hooked up to her instrument, Ottman layers intricate melodies that combine classical beauty with an...
Best Hip-Hop Artist
Kanye West and Beck's kerfuffle at the Grammys recalls the divide between rap and indie-rock fans during the early '90s. Two decades later, the piercing angst of grunge and free spirit of underground West Coast boom-bap both come through St. Paul's Dem Atlas. The recent Rhymesayers signee has been kicking...
Best R&B Artist
Amid the Twin Cities' deep-seated tradition of soul and R&B music, rising sensation PaviElle holds her own among the greats and shines as her own unique entity. Much of PaviElle's work is in conversation with the sounds and the political focuses of pro-black soul music from the '60s and '70s,...
Best Vocalist (Female)
Claire de Lune
Claire de Lune has come alive as the voice of electro-pop project Tiny Deaths. With the help of producer Grant Cutler, Tiny Deaths' self-titled EP examines the fragile, elusive nature of human relationships. De Lune, the veteran vocalist of hip-hop group the Chalice, manipulates her dulcet vocals to explore the...
Best Vocalist (Male)
As the Tickle Torture experience instigator, Elliott Kozel gets a lot of mileage out of his bod — and that includes his vocal cords. Sure, the oiled-up skin and bedazzled g-strings helped get the sleazy soul project up and running, but it's Kozel's flowing lothario pipes keeping heads turned and...
For many producers, the temptation to find a particular style and stick with it ad nauseam can consume their work. Big Cats takes the Best Producer crown in a city brimming with talent for doing precisely the opposite, expanding his own palette and adapting his signature style with each new...
Best Rock Band
Punk legend Bob Mould likes Fury Things so much that he invited them to open his 7th St. Entry and First Avenue shows. The Minneapolis garage-rock trio's two initial EPs and subsequent singles tap into the melodic, guitar-fueled sound of '90s alt-rock. Frontman Kyle Werstein's revealing, penetrating lyrics soften his...
Best Family Band
The O'Brien Brothers
Brothers Casey and Graham O'Brien could be the tightest and most prolific rhythmic one-two punch in Twin Cities history. In addition to teaming up on projects under their own names, Graham on drums and/or Casey on bass have enhanced albums from No Bird Sing, Moon & Pollution, PaviElle, Kristoff Krane,...
In a decade, Haley Bonar's music has grown from fragile, acoustic strumming to the art rock of 2014's Last War. (Additionally, material too noisy and defiant to fit under her own name has spilled over into the post-punk side project Gramma's Boyfriend.) In all, her ear for melody is matched...
Best Dance Night
Worldwide Discotheque at Clubhouse Jäger
The second Friday of each month brings rhythm lovers out to Club Jäger for Worldwide Discotheque (WWDT), a night of all-vinyl dance music from around the world. While EDM continues to saturate the club scene, WWDT keeps everything moving with a fresh mix of funky and Afro-tropical dance tracks played...
Best Dance Club
There are tons of dance clubs in Minneapolis, so standing out in the mix can prove challenging. Being an actual series of clubs within a club consistently gives downtown's Skyway Theatre the upper hand. Take the elevator up into Barfly, a long window-lined room that's played host to countless EDM...
Best Club DJ
Minnesota native Alex Presley has played an instrumental role in the rise of dubstep's popularity here in Minneapolis. Presley goes by the name Vaski, a word that has become synonymous with hot, sweaty dance clubs and pounding bass lines for EDM fans everywhere. Last year, Vaski became the first electronic...
Best Jazz Club
Icehouse hosts shows across the music spectrum, but its wealth of original jazz performances has made it a must for serious fans. On Mondays, there's JT's Jazz Implosion, a creative carryover from drummer JT Bates's improvisational days at the old Clown Lounge. Other recent highlights include experimental fusionists Happy Apple's...
Best Jazz Artist
The Whole Twin Cities Scene
Rather than a specific person or group, the local jazz artist of the year is the vibrant Twin Cities jazz scene in its entirety. Recently, the scene has survived daunting odds, including the closing of the fabled Artists' Quarter. Nobody's getting rich, but jazz is thriving artistically here. It's a...
Best Jam Band
New Sound Underground
Twin Cities jam band New Sound Underground formed in 2009 and quickly gained a rep for their riveting and energetic stage performance. It's hard to pin down their exact sound, but there's funk, fusion, soul, jazz, rock, and even gospel mixed in there. The band calls it "superfunk." They've packed...
Best Radio Station
The rest of the Twin Cities stations can talk a good game, but the raw, unpolished power of real college radio has no equal. Not only is the U of M's Radio K the source of commercial-free music spanning hip-hop, punk, post-rock, and experimental fare that's too adventurous for the...
Best Radio Personality
For a Minnesota Public Radio host known for running one of the more warm and measured programs in the Twin Cities, Kerri Miller has a dogged style of button-pushing that just tickles our civic curiosity. She isn't one to shy away from complex issues, like why police should attend funerals...
Best Sports Radio Personality
Dan Cole, "The Common Man"
By now sports talk radio listeners are acquainted with Common's trademark brand of esoteric nonsense. He hasn't changed the bit much over the years, but he doesn't really have to in a sports media landscape that largely defines itself through eyeroll-inducing hot takes. Instead, he opts for a laid-back, reasonable...
Best TV Station
Twin Cities Public Television
Television can make you dumb enough to get elected governor of Arkansas. Among the few shining exceptions is Twin Cities Public Television. Unlike its local competitors — which feature beautiful people with enough makeup to require hazardous waste permits — TPT is thinking TV. It airs a Twin Town-centric lineup,...
Best TV Sports Anchor
Let's face it. WCCO's Mark Rosen isn't just a sports anchor, he's a Twin Cities sports icon. Since being hired full-time by the local CBS affiliate while still at the University of Minnesota, "Rosie" has covered the Minnesota sports beat with the passion of an eight-year-old. From World Series wins...
Best TV Newscaster
Is it just us or is Fox 9's Jeff Passolt an underappreciated talent on the Twin Cities news landscape? Passolt has added some gray to his meticulous coiffure since the days he manned KARE-TV's sports desk. But the St. Cloud State alum and Emmy-winning journalist is proof that some things...
Best TV Weather Person
Sundgaard, the local-boy-made-good, is just the right combination of cute, handsome, and smart to be appealing but not annoying. Sungaard claims he's always wanted to be the weather guy, and it shows. It could be 15 below and really feel like negative 30, or 78 degrees with no humidity; there's...
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," the writer George Santayana once famously said. The StarTribune's Curt Brown prevents that from happening. Brown authors the paper's Sunday history column, blowing new life into old tales most of us never knew existed. Be it the gangster saga...
Best Viral Video
Guy Pulls Out Sign on Gophers Kiss Cam
Fresh sweat and stale popcorn aren't the most romantic smells in the world, and yet at pretty much every major sporting event you'll find these and one other thing: the Kiss Cam. That roving eye sees all sorts of couples sitting together, silently goading them into putting on a show...
Best Local Website
For Ellen Lawson, it was time that the Midwest be known as something other than whatever's-between-the-coasts. In 2014, she launched the Flyover, reclaiming "flyover country" and elevating it to haute heights while keeping it firmly grounded in striking street style. Lawson, a photographer, previously ran the Twin Cities-centric street style...
Best Local Blog
Streets.mn has a small army of well-educated urbanists offering smart, thoughtful takes on all things transportation and development — two topics frequently making front-page news lately. Its bloggers are no homebodies; these are people who use city infrastructure frequently and have detailed, well-researched thoughts on how to improve it. And...
Best Local Facebook
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition
There's something about the imminent threat of being run over, getting doored by heedless parkers, or tripping into the endless minefield of potholes that brings people together. The Twin Cities has one of the nation's best spreads of dedicated bike lanes, but is the biker community strong because of glorious...
Nora Purmort caught our attention when she documented her husband Aaron's battle with brain cancer in an unflinching series of blogs and tweets that kept us giggle-weeping stupidly in front of our monitors. In late November, Aaron died. But as Purmort would have it, "It's not a cancer story. It's...
Instagram is about more than choosing between Valencia and Amaro. A true artist can do just about anything with the canvas he or she is given. When most of your fans are viewing your work through a tiny square on a phone, that's no small feat. Photographer Matt Treiber invites...
Best Local App
Some phone apps aid us in practical ways, others help kill time, and then there are the varieties that encourage people to spend money. Leav does none of the above. Instead it invites people to experience cities in new ways. The free app, which launched earlier this year after a...
Best Local Commercial
"Our Song," United Healthcare
The scene opens with one of the worst songs in the history of histories — "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes — playing in a quintessential suburban kitchen. "It's our song," a wife of pleasant girth announces to her equally robust hubby. They...
Open Eye Figure Theatre
This Best Of is not just for the work that Michael Sommers and Susan Haas do at Open Eye. It's also for the space itself. The producers gave us a string of high-quality shows last year, topped off by the mad German fairy tale Strumply Peter. The space has also...
Colossal, Mixed Blood Theatre
Mixed Blood Theatre took a big chance and reaped major rewards with the risky Colossal. A play about a crippled dancer-turned-football player and his love for a fellow teammate could easily have become a silly, overbearing exercise. Instead, the booming production (there was a live drum line) and kinetic performances...
Little Shop of Horrors, 7th House Theater
In July, tiny 7th House Theater went to tiny Open Eye Theatre to present a tiny version of this off-kilter musical for just two weekends. It ended up as the freshest, funniest, and most brilliant bit of musical theater in a long time. The show's nonexistent budget became a virtue,...
Rothstein spun silk last year with Theatre Latte Da, starting with a big, bold, and invigorating Cabaret, where you could almost taste the decay in the final days before Hitler's reign in Germany. That was followed by a transformative Our Town, and a searing Master Class. Rothstein always has a...
Our Town,Theatre Latte Da
Thornton Wilder's drama is a warhorse that has long been trounced by bad community and high school theater production. Oh, but in the right hands! Theatre Latte Da's tremendous production infused the show with a level of breathtaking honesty. A lot of that power came from the company of actors,...
Aimee K. Bryant
Aimee K. Bryant has often been cast against type, landing roles that normally would not go to an African-American performer. That came to full fruition last year, as she took on Marian the Librarian in the middle-America classic The Music Man. The casting not only made sense in the logic...
Best Emerging Actress
Andrea San Miguel
Andrea San Miguel has quietly moved to the forefront of young performers in the Twin Cities, having been featured in the likes of Theatre Latte Da's Company and the title role in Walking Shadow's Eurydice. Her breakout role came in 2014, when she took on the doomed youth Emily Webb...
Zach Curtis acted in a fat suit for his stunning turn in Walking Shadow Theatre Company's The Whale, but all of the power of the performance as a dying 600-pound man came from inside. Curtis, a longtime actor and director, made a man whose inner life was nearly as off-putting...
Best Emerging Actor
Tyler Michaels was an obvious choice for our 2014 Artists of the Year issue, and we're here to praise him yet again. The actor, singer, and director has gone from strength to strength: In a little over a year, he played the Emcee in Cabaret (Theatre Latte Da), Puck in...
Best Costume Designer
Katherine Kohl has been an innovative and engaging designer in the Twin Cities for years, and has done especially strong work with Frank Theatre. She outdid herself in 2014 on the company's Threepenny Opera, employing a ragged look that brought the underlying sleaze of this hypercharged Victorian London to full...
Best Dance Performance
April Sellers Dance Collective
April Sellers's sublimely idiosyncratic "Big Baby" featured Emily Gastineau, Tim Rehborg, Kimberly Rhyme, and Heather Spear channeling the chaos and uncertainty of (mostly) female adolescence. With consummate timing, an abundance of vaudevillian chutzpah, and championship endurance they sang, spouted rap-style monologues, shook their booties, and made their way through an...
Best Set Designer
Morgan has crafted fantastic sets around the Twin Cities, but this award is for the tremendous work done last fall for Ghost Sonata at Nimbus Theatre. August Strindberg's play passes like a fever dream, and the multifaceted set followed that, as it unfolded in multiple layers for each scene, starting...
In a year when a lot of local dance manifested boisterous and aggressive physicality, Chris Yon's quietly riveting "SWAGGERPRANCE To Keep From Crying" wove a rich tapestry on the Red Eye stage. It celebrated the intersection of the mundane and the marvelous in what sometimes resembled a Renaissance court dance...
In her dance-theater work "The Master," Vanessa Voskuil evoked zen serenity and cosmic uncertainty with a surge of movement that can only be described as speaking in gestural tongues. Like the set that she and her fellow performers demolished in the finale, Voskuil dismantled herself and illuminated all the working...
Best Fashion Designer
Flame-haired Joy Teiken is the talent behind the impossibly beautiful signature line Joynoëlle. Teiken has been designing for over a decade, and has found her stride in crafting gorgeous bridal and ready-to-wear lines that turn heads and inspire envy. This year, she debuted a ready-to-wear collection that was sensual in...
Best Fashion Show
I AM EVERYTHING
Not many girls can say they had their prom dresses handmade and tailored to their exact desires by an honest-to-goodness fashion designer. Ten lucky girls from the Twin Cities wear that honor. Last year, local designer Emma Berg brought her talent beyond the runway to the high school dance floor...
Lottie Anderson looks a little like a cross between Greta Gerwig and Felicity Jones... only she's got a shock of bright-blue hair. Anderson started her website, igobyblue, in fall of 2014, and has since amassed nearly 14,000 Instagram followers thanks to her keen eye for simple, minimalist fashion and neutral...
Best Movie Theater
Among 50th and France's bistros and boutiques glimmers the city's artistic savior: Edina Cinema. Part of the Landmark Theatres chain, along with Minneapolis's Uptown Theatre and Lagoon Cinema, this suburban outpost has quietly surpassed them both. It retains a classic glamour with its intricate marquee, art-deco interior, and old-school ticket...
Best Place to See a Movie and Discuss It Afterward
St. Anthony Main Theatre
All movies deserve immediate discussion over drinks. Step inside St. Anthony Main Theatre, and you'll be presented with a few options: You can check out Hollywood's latest offering, take in an acclaimed independent piece, or see one of the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul's eclectic selections. Afterward, you have even...
Best Place to Watch a Film Outdoors
Lake Harriet Band Shell
Clapping at the end of a movie? Generally that's considered a faux pas. Clapping during a movie? Hell yes. The uninhibited cheers and boos during movie screenings at Lake Harriet Band Shell are an essential summer activity. It seemed like half of Minneapolis was at the 2014 screening of The...
Bell Museum of Natural History
If you're squicked out by taxidermy, or you need serious sensory overload, this is not the place for you. But if you're looking for a glimpse into our state's ecology and animal dioramas arranged to look like the best-ever version of nature in Minnesota, then this is the place to...
Best Museum Exhibition
Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections
Sometimes it takes a little nudge to remind us just how lucky we are to have the Walker Art Center here in the Twin Cities. "Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections" is just such a nudge, with a slew of greatest hits from the museum's 75 years...
Best Public Art
The Floating Library
Last August, Sarah Peters's ingenious project placed a library of books adrift on Minneapolis's cool waters, and was one of that summer's bright spots. It featured art books commissioned by Peters using a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, as well as other great books by artists from all...
Best Art Gallery
Soo Visual Arts Center
Founded in 2001 by the late Suzy Greenberg, this nonprofit gallery showcases a steady stream of unique artistic voices. Chosen by a curatorial panel, the exhibitions at SooVAC highlight the wealth of emerging and mid-career talent the Twin Cities has to offer. They've also cultivated more experimental formats at SooLocal,...
Best Literary Press
Book editors around the world face the following questions: Are you a Maxwell Perkins or a Gordon Lish? Will you guide your authors toward a beautiful collaboration, or will you end up slashing and rewriting their work? The folks at Graywolf Press in Minneapolis opt for the former. Graywolf works...
Best Local Author
Marlon James can smell bullshit from a mile away, whether it's the latest hoopla in the media or a hastily finished assignment from his creative writing students at Macalester College. Luckily the old saying "whoever smelt it dealt it" doesn't apply to James. The Twin Cities-based writer by way of...
Best Local Comic Artist
While many comic artists find a niche where they can best shine, local talent Blue Delliquanti creates work that is intriguingly all over the map. There's The Accidental Candidate, which explores the real-life campaign trail of Alvin Greene, a man who beat out Tea Party incumbent Jim Demint for a...
Burn Something Zine
Like mixtapes and Doc Martens, zines are back. One of the best ones out there is called Burn Something Zine, by local artist and rabble-rouser Adrienne Doyle. Seeking to create a queer-inclusive alternative space for women of color, Doyle offers a forum for social critique and identity exploration with a...
Best DIY Space
Minnehaha Free Space
Minnehaha Free Space acts as a community center, one that is driven by the tenets of resisting capitalism, heteropatriachy, white supremacy, economic injustice, and other forms of domination and oppression. Run by the Minneapolis Autonomous Radical Space (MARS) Collective, they host skill shares, workshops, lectures, live music, movie screenings, and...
While most festivals attempt to go big, Autoptic chooses to go small. Since 2012, organizers have masterminded a fun get-together for a variety of independent culture creators. Print artists, zine authors, local musicians, small record labels, alternative publishers, illustrators, and other DIY folks are typically in attendance. In addition to...
Best Artsy Hangout Scene
After being forced to move from their old West Bank location, Bedlam took about four years to finally find a new space in Lowertown, and the grand opening celebration happened last May. The question during that purgatory period was whether Bedlam could return to its reign as the most fun...
Best Geeky Guest
William Shatner is exactly how you'd expect him to be: boisterous, loquacious, and way livelier than his 84 years. Yes, Shatner is in his 80s. While he doesn't seem to be slowing down, he's got stories to prove his age. Shatner only answered a handful of questions during his hour-long...
Best Line to Stand In
Matt Smith's Line at Minneapolis Comic Con
There are precious few places in space and time where you can spot hundreds of Doctors and Daleks queuing up patiently, but Minneapolis was home to one of them, if only for a few hours. Doctor Who's Matt Smith popped into the city's first-ever Comic Con, and initiated the longest...
Best Local Standup Comedian
A staple of the Twin Cities comedy community for more than a decade, Mike Brody has performed at every club, open-mic night, and showcase, and has worked with some of the biggest names to ever come through town. This past year, Brody created a viral sensation when his Kevin Love...
Best Comedy Club
Acme Comedy Co.
The Twin Cities comedy scene continues to grow, both in terms of quality and the number of venues hosting shows. Bars, clubs, and even gaming stores have begun hosting comedy nights, exposing a wider audience to some of the area's funniest people while giving performers new opportunities to showcase their...
Best Open Mic (Comedy)
Acme Comedy Co.
Every Monday night, Acme Comedy Co.'s open-mic night combines up-and-coming talent hoping to break through with seasoned comedians working on new material. The show has become so well established that nationally touring comedians will often stop by to do a set to work on new jokes in front of an...
Best Open Mic (Spoken Word)
Re-Verb Open Mic at Golden Thyme Cafe
The local spoken-word community thrives in large part due to the many vital open mics in the Twin Cities. TruArtSpeak's weekly event at the Golden Thyme Cafe is one of the most respected for a reason. With a writing workshop at 4 p.m. preceding the 6 p.m. open mic portion...
The beauty of the old-school jukebox at Grumpy's is the quality and obvious care that was taken in filling it up. There's nary a dud in the bunch. You can cram a fistful of lint-flecked quarters into it and hear the Damned, Lifter Puller, Bowie, Fugazi, or the Beastie Boys...
Best Audience Member
The Tardis at Minneapolis Comic Con
When Minneapolis Comic Con arrived last spring, folks dressed up in their geeky best. But for Dr. Who fans, one costume stood out from the rest. Designed to look like a British police telephone box on the outside (so it can travel incognito), the TARDIS is a living machine that...
Best Tattoo Parlor
Minneapolis Tattoo Shop
For neurotic patrons hoping for something they can be permanently proud of, the girl gang at Minneapolis Tattoo Shop is like a team of registered tattoo nurses. Surgical sanitation and a sweet bedside manner are what set this shop apart. Portfolios show precise lines, expertly practiced shading, and a watercolor...
Best Bar Game
331 Drinkin' Spelling Bee
While most bar games are designed to require as little thinking as possible, the Drinkin' Spelling Bee at 331 Club is the exact opposite. Presented by Trivia Mafia every other Saturday, the Drinkin' Spelling Bee has become a must-see event for anyone who likes words or booze. Whether you're brave...
Grand Casino Hinckley
Close enough to the city to avoid booking a hotel room, but far enough north to feel like a proper trip, Grand Casino in Hinckley has all the trappings of a full-bodied casino with high stakes blackjack and Texas Hold 'Em. Table games are kept separate from the slots, and...
Best Strip Club
With a tip of the cap to the reigning champ, King of Diamonds, a wonderland of full nudity and booze out in Inver Grove Heights, our testosterone brought us to a new titleholder in the city: Rick's Cabaret. It's modeled after the original location on Bourbon Street in New Orleans...
The 1029 Bar
The 1029 has a long-held reputation as a cop bar, but stop by on a Friday or Saturday night and its karaoke popularity is even more apparent. For starters, the participants — many of them regulars — take it very seriously, often giving their own takes on songs, rather than...
Best Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months
Minneapolis garage-rock quintet Prissy Clerks ranked ninth in the 2012 Picked to Click poll and notched Best Rock Band in 2013 on the strength of high-octane live shows, but the accolades couldn't keep them together. The group splintered before issuing a follow-up to their potent debut, Bruise or Be Bruised...