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Arts & Entertainment

  • BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

    Playing favorites can be a dangerous game, particularly in matters artistic, where the judge's personal taste is paramount. Nevertheless, we find it undeniable that, alongside Hidden Theatre's Brian Baumgartner, Steven Epp (who played Aramis in Theatre de la Jeune Lune's The 3 Musketeers) is playing in his own league in this town, and has been doing so for far too… More >>
  • BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA

    This town is packed with good actors, but Hidden Theatre cofounder Baumgartner is disgustingly good, and we are getting disgusted with ourselves for pointing it out so often. His talent is clear in every role, from the psychotic girlfriend-beater of The Crackwalker and the pseudo-psychotic guerrilla activist of Accidental Death of an Anarchist to the sweet, torch-bearing best buddy of… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

    A veteran of the Guthrie stage, Wingert shines most wickedly in witty roles. Her rollickingly funny performances in last year's A Midsummer Night's Dream, You Can't Take It with You, and Blithe Spirit again proved the actress has a gift for saucy wit and comic timing. Her wide smiles slide from sweet to saccharine to sneer in seconds, but it's… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

    Okay, okay: So the two characters Duncan portrayed in Jar the Floor and A Raisin in the Sun are pretty much one and the same, with the Jar character simply a few years farther down the road to senility. No matter. Duncan hit almost every note perfectly in both roles, and when she wasn't cracking us up with her impeccable… More >>
  • BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, the acerbic, absurdly energetic T.D. Mischke broadcasts either from "the muddy ditches along Highway 61" or his summertime perch above right center field at Midway Stadium. Mischke's m.o. is to use tidbits from the news as springboards into the inane, the banal, and the just-plain-stupid. Once he starts… More >>
  • BEST ART CINEMA

    These days the least bottom line-minded theater in town books enough essential exclusives (e.g., Gabbeh, Gummo) and multiplex run-offs (Jackie Brown, Kundun) to keep things interesting--and, one hopes, solvent. As persistent rumors of their impending death prove premature on a weekly basis, the benefits of their survival are evident nearly as often, and twice a year profoundly with their Mpls./St.… More >>
  • BEST ART GALLERY

    Since its opening in 1995, the Soap Factory has shown the Twin Cities some of the boldest art in town. With eggs hanging from gauze ovaries, newspaper photos of faces smeared into mystery, and grass splitting through the hardwood floor, its images burn indelibly through the city's aesthetic like kerosene through snow. Combining good intentions and good taste, the nonprofit… More >>
  • BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

    Every year for the past 10 years, the Minnesota Center for the Book organizes the Minnesota Book Awards to acknowledge the work of authors who live and work in the state. This year, more than 70 books in 18 categories were nominated from more than 200 titles ranging from novels to anthologies to children's books. The books represent a vast… More >>
  • BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER

    Even before the movie starts, one feels transported here: The authentic Art Deco furnishings are well-maintained rather than run-down, while such inimitable touches as the faux-gold water fountain are enough to conjure filmgoing memories from childhood. And as the site of Asian Media Access's venerable Cinema With Passion series--or, on a good week, an exclusive second-run screening of a period… More >>
  • BEST CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

    The giant anthill at the Minnesota Children's Museum is by itself worth the price of entry. (Museum admission is free for infants and members, $3.95 for toddlers and seniors, and $5.95 for those aged 3 to 59.) Not only are the human-size catacombs a fantasy come true for young children who love to crawl through boxes at home--they're also a… More >>
  • BEST CHOREOGRAPHER

    Riverdance, Stomp, and Tap Dogs have put percussive dance epics on the mainstream map, but local choreographer Joe Chvala seems to prefer the more obscure potential within his pagan soul--and we're all better off for it. References to Nordic myths, fairy tales, and medieval spiritual journeys abound in this hoofer's imaginative body of work: dances that startle with their hard… More >>
  • BEST DANCER

    Dancers tend to be as nomadic as Bedouins, but Denise Armstead and Christine Maginnis have made Minneapolis the home-sweet-home of their Zenon Dance Company for more than 15 years. During that time, the pair's repertoire has encompassed countless variations of modern and jazz techniques--no mean feat of versatility for any hoofer. Armstead, who first came on the scene with Rezone… More >>
  • BEST FILM

    Not coincidentally, the best local film of the past 12 months tells an intimate history of Twin Cities art through the life of its director's own uncle, abstract painter Reginald Anderson. (And as luck would have it, this little-seen, hour-long film is playing May 15 at the Walker as part of a two-hour "Midwest Film and Video Showcase" program that… More >>
  • BEST FILM FESTIVAL

    No contest whatsoever, which is why its survival remains of the utmost importance. In the three years since U Film Society's Al Milgrom stopped referring to his annual workaholic binge as the Rivertown Film Festival, it has stayed the same as it ever was: an expansive, unruly, catch-as-catch-can affair that somehow comes together at the 12th hour touting enough belated… More >>
  • BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Rare is the radio personality who can use the word "dichotomy" in its proper context. And rarer still is one who actually talks about music and artists while on the air. For these reasons, as well as his mellifluous voice, his left-leaning social and political commentary, his "What were we thinking?" spots that play deliciously awful songs at 6 a.m.,… More >>
  • BEST FREE TOUR

    We know what you're thinking: Free beer! Better yet, free Summit ale and porter! But first you've got to see how it's made, and that requires a phone call to reserve one of the 40 spots on the Saturday tour at 1 p.m. every week. For an hour, you'll move through Summit's two buildings on University Avenue, learning the history… More >>
  • BEST HACK

    For several years now, Karlen has covered his home state for the New York Times, and his most distinguished achievement might be 1995's "Greetings From MINNESOBER," a deep and contemplative look at the 12-step culture of our fly-over state. A year later, he impressed the hometown crowd with "If the Shoe (Snowshoe?) Fits, Well...", another ambitious and impeccably researched essay… More >>
  • BEST LITERARY ZINE

    Consolation nods go out here to XCP (cross cultural poetics), a thick journal edited by Mark Nowak that just published its second issue of poetry and essays; and Conduit, a handsome and irregular periodical whose fifth issue defines itself as "the only magazine that risks annihilation." Yet that same claim may be made for the mysteriously titled Rain Taxi, a… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL ARTIST

    This category is an unfortunate catch-all: Comparing photogravurists and painters and sculptors and declaring one of them the victor is a bit like naming a Best Molecule or Best Sexual Position. Still, with that caveat lector firmly in place, we can say that our favorite local artist is Stephen Mohring, who's been gracing such spaces as Intermedia Arts, the Soap… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL CARTOONIST

    Comic books are too often precious in the worst possible way: From the endless list of cover enhancements that offer gimmicks in place of graceful design (pop-up pictures, holograms, some godawful thing called Kirbychrome), it would seem that fanboys love comics but hate books. Thank Galactus for Vincent Stall, who's responding with a series of gorgeously produced mini-comics. Sure, his… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL DIRECTOR

    A director provides vision, constructs frameworks, and creates logic; a director choreographs performers according to an internal sensibility with the hopes of affecting an audience's own vision. Philip Bither may not be a stage director himself, but, as the Walker's performing arts curator, he does all these things on a grand scale through his extremely thoughtful, rich, arousing programming. He… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY GENERATED WEB SITE

    In the same sassy way that Village Voice columnist Michael Musto takes shots at New York's rich and famous in "La Dolce Musto," web designer Rob Levine's free site lampoons the Twin Cities' wanna-be celebrity set--better known as The Media. Launched in February out of a Minneapolis warehouse space, cursor.org combined vivid, cartoonish graphics with off-the-cuff writing in order to… More >>
  • BEST MOVIE THEATER

    How do we love this local museum of the moving image? Let us count the ways: Its current spring calendar would be remarkable simply for premiering such modern classics of world cinema as Wong Kar-Wai's Happy Together and Aleksandr Sokurov's Mother and Son (starts May 29). But there are also newly struck prints of old classics like Jour de Fete… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM

    Sure, the Walker has seen better years. But let's forget about the way it occasionally swallows the worst theoretical excesses of the modern art world hook, line, and stinker. Or the mismarketing of exhibits such as the Diana Thater show and Uncle Walt's architectural drawings. Or the way that its regal ticket prices turn opening nights into frightful reminders that… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM EXHIBITION

    The words "renaissance man" have been affixed to Gordon Parks like a second skin. That's what happens when you've been a photojournalist, film director, composer, novelist, poet, and essayist over the course of more than eight full decades of living. As much as can be expected of a gallery exhibition, Half Past Autumn (continuing through May 17) does justice to… More >>
  • BEST PRODUCTION OF A COMEDY

    As directed by Dominique Serrand, the show had some problems when we saw it on opening night, but overall its postmodern reconfiguration of the classic text virtually tinkled tristesse, wrapping itself in indigo layers of meaning and pricking its own dramatic bubbles regularly with an absurd, dry wit. It was a comedy, and it was a drama, and a dream,… More >>
  • BEST PRODUCTION OF A DRAMA

    In this cautionary tale about the Marquis de Sade's miserable years in a Charenton asylum, Stephen D'Ambrose presented a complex, humane picture of an undeniably sick man who was only made sicker by censorship. But the show's strength went far beyond D'Ambrose's performance: Quills' ingenious set, flamboyant performances, viscerally powerful sound effects, fluid direction (by Casey Stangl), and incisive script… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC-ACCESS CABLE TV PROGRAM

    Ken Iosso's Don't Worry About the Government follows the traditional talk-show format with an opening monologue, guests, and a studio audience--but from there it's utterly untraditional. Broadcast live at 8 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month on cable Channel 33 in St. Paul (and repeated at 8 p.m. on subsequent Wednesdays on that station and at 10 p.m.… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION

    Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the little station that could--and can, and does, and will continue to do--remains the Cities' best example of the dream of community-based, commercial-free, beautiful/ugly radio diversity, with the make-your-own-show ethic of a college radio station and a crazy-quilt cultural mezcla no other station in town can touch. KFAI has built a passionate fan base… More >>
  • BEST READING SERIES

    Good intentions and an "A" for effort add up to second place for everybody else in town. The Hungry Mind virtually owns this category with its venerable and continually ambitious bookstore/culture empire in St. Paul, yearly playing host to dozens of readings by literary fat cats, blockbuster flyweights, shy locals, fierce obscurities, and first-time novelists alike. From Hillary Clinton to… More >>
  • BEST ROAD SHOW

    No contest. Despite its generally lame music and a plot as original as sin, this show rewrote the book on scenic design and costumes for big-budget musicals. Designer/director Julie Taymor's minimalist evocations of an African savannah and her doppelganger/companion animal costumes went way beyond the call of duty, and spoke to something almost unspeakable about the ways humans communicate with… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST

    Okay, so his "Common Man" persona might be pure populist shtick--considering the state of modern sports, such shtick has never sounded so righteous. Cole's gift is for tapping into the amused bafflement of ordinary fans, the sort who'll never come close to seeing the inside of a luxury box, the folks who understand quite well that big-time sports is an… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR FOOD

    With a product name like Fudge Puppy, it's a wonder this concession draws any customers at all, much less last year's line, which frequently blocked access to the Food Building and the dozens of more exotic tidbits within it. But one taste of this ineptly named confection and you'll know nirvana on a stick. The Fudge Puppy is a Belgian… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR RIDE

    Imagine a giant nylon log carrier. Now imagine it has three separate elongated pockets, into which three hapless fairgoers pay big money to get strapped--no doubt after a few too many Grain Belts and Tiny Tim doughnuts. What you have is the Skycoaster, the first vertical bungee ride known to separate thrill-seekers from their bucks at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.… More >>
  • BEST STRESS RELEASE

    Sweating out your week from hell is always more fun with live accompaniment. Every Saturday at SpaceSpace, spiritual (and aerobic) rescue is available to all ages and ability levels via two vibrant Afro-Caribbean-based dance classes, with many of the Twin Cities' finest drummers on hand to keep the beat pure. Beginning at 11 a.m., Morris Johnson serves up his hybrid… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA

    Penumbra has hardly been the most adventurous local theater company of late, relying largely on revivals and family-focused sure things. Still, this African American theater isn't afraid of drama; in fact, unlike too many theaters both big and small, Penumbra actually embraces it. And while a few other small-to-midsize companies also provide consistently high-quality drama--the Jungle and Hidden Theatre, for… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    Talking heads simply aren't supposed to be hip. Or else they don't know how to be. Robyne Robinson, on the other hand, is the antithesis of what we've been taught to expect. She's got the immaculate poise and professionalism that being an anchor requires, but with one crucial detail: She's a broadcaster with personality who doesn't believe her own myth.… More >>
  • BEST TV STATION

    Talk about a heated race for last place. Since losing its quirky independent stations to those ambitious programmers at Warner Bros. and UPN (the latter of whom deserves kudos for airing the wonderful local absurdity that is Let's Bowl), this market bears little to distinguish it from every other media mediocrity in our great TV nation. Talk shows in the… More >>
  • BEST VIDEO ARCADE

    Since 1902 there's been some form of arcade at 5th and Hennepin, and the current Pop's is still a favorite with local gamers. First of all, it's one of the few places in town open past 1 a.m. every day of the week, and on Friday and Saturday you can play 'til 3 in the morning if you're so inclined.… More >>
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