Arts & Entertainment

  • BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

    Our affection for the campy Bryant-Lake Bowl musical comedy The Temp was due in no small part to the zealous performance of the rubber-faced Michael Ritchie. As Richard, the greasy, bespectacled, sniveling office reject, Ritchie brought apoplectic gonzo gusto to the task of bumbling his way out of a job. As his character turned into a cape-wearing, sneering, Michael Crawford-wannabe… More >>
  • BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA

    For years Janasz has been one of the Guthrie's most underappreciated players, probably because he disappears so far into his characters that we forget there's a man underneath. This quiet depth was evident in his performances as the sputteringly proper Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, the dotty cuckold in A Month in the Country, and the loquacious… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

    Lesheim's liquid performances as the leggy landlady in Loring Playhouse's Killers and the boozing, fading movie star in Red Eye's MAMBO 55 were crucial to the credibility of both of these heavily stylized stage noirs. She melts into her roles and the productions melt with her as she creates fresh and wholly theatrical worlds. Lesheim's gift is the ability to… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

    Kellogg's steepest competition for this category is herself: 1998 saw Kellogg grab audiences with her performances as the dowdy Irish mother and accidental revolutionary in Radio Free Theater's Freedom of the City and as a leather- and fishnet-clad S&M psychic in Outward Spiral's Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love. Nurse Ratched, though, is the part of a… More >>
  • BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Why did Tommy Mischke spend virtually half of last winter off the air on sick leave? Was it detox, as he initially claimed on the night he returned? Or was it a sex change? Or maybe Gulf War Syndrome? The real deal is that it has something to do with stomach problems, but you're not bound to get a straight… More >>
  • BEST ART CINEMA

    As the best art almost always runs counter to commerce, the best art cinema books its schedule boldly without regard to the bottom line. Run since the '60s by the inexhaustible art-cinema guru Al Milgrom and his ever-revolving staff of young masochists, U Film promises to give the local film culture what it can't get elsewhere, and delivers on a… More >>
  • BEST BLUES RADIO PROGRAM

    Pete Lee's Bop Street (4:00-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays) may take its name from the sound of Parker and Gillespie that removed jazz from the mainstream dance world, but the records he plays are geared toward as wide an audience as possible. Bop Street features the R&B shouters and honkers of the late '40s and the smooth doo-wop crooners of the '50s,… More >>
  • BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

    Falcon Publishing's smart outdoor guides have long been essential gear for explorers of Western states like Montana and Alaska, and in 1996, Falcon entered the North Star State with Jay Michael Strangis's excellent Birding Minnesota. Last year, Falcon released Hiking Minnesota, a comprehensive, detailed compendium of great walks by Columbia Heights author John Pukite. From a 2.5-mile loop up Mount… More >>
  • BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER

    Okay, so some might argue that this classic neighborhood theater's five-dollar gate charge bans it from consideration as the best budget cinema in town--but we beg to differ. First of all, five dollars isn't $6.75. And second, what kind of bargain is a two-buck movie ticket if the movie is a waste of time? Which brings us to the Parkway's… More >>
  • BEST CABLE-ACCESS TV SHOW

    Honorable mentions go to Dotty and Margo from Fargo, your drag queen hosts of Get Off My Dress and perennial favorites among the cable-show scene. Whether they are discussing the latest in vintage fashion or demonstrating the best juicing techniques, Dotty and Margo prove that "bad is good"--and they are only getting better. The win in this category, though, goes… More >>
  • BEST CHOREOGRAPHER

    Ballet and modern dance are two entirely different worlds in form and function, so the idea of staking out one's career between the realms could well be an invitation to madness. But Robin Stiehm isn't living on the verge of an artistic split-personality disorder. In fact, the choreographer embraces her dual (and dueling) dance forms, having spent 20 years in… More >>
  • BEST CLASSICAL RADIO PROGRAM

    Mornings are hard enough without having to listen to a crew of nitwits slander indigent immigrants. Compared with the white noise that clutters most of the bandwidth, Top of the Day host Melissa Ousley sounds like a civilized voice in the radio wilderness. If we absolutely must roll out of bed, we'd rather do it to the strains of Verdi… More >>
  • BEST COMEDIAN

    If your past has included picking up your debutante prom date in your dad's BMW, the comedy of Colleen Kruse may be lost on you. But if, like most of us, you've struggled en route to the top, middle, or bottom of the heap, Kruse's musings will bring the laughter of recognition. The comedian is a product of working-class East… More >>
  • BEST DANCE INSTRUCTOR

    Certainly, you'll come away from a Constantine session with the basics of a dance step engraved in your mind and a little more rhythm in your slightly looser booty. But what sets Dean and his partner Dorothy apart from the pack is the vaudevillian patter they keep up as they demonstrate--bedecked in fire-engine-red sequins and spats. He: "And watch how… More >>
  • BEST DANCER

    Whether performing with her mother Ranee Ramaswamy in Ragamala Music and Dance Theater or setting her own high standards in recent solo efforts, Aparna Ramaswamy has made a unique impression for one barely out of college. Of course, Ramaswamy has been studying bharatanatyam, an ancient dance form originating in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, since the tender age of… More >>
  • BEST EXHIBITION

    In Mexico and many other Latino cultures, the first day of November belongs to the dead. Special breads are baked, graves are cleaned, and ofrendas (altars) are built in homes, all to help lost souls find their way back to the land of the living. CreArte marks the occasion annually by commissioning artists to create their own ofrendas. The results… More >>
  • BEST FILM

    Far and away the richest local film released in the last 12 months, director Rolf Belgum's dark horse rock-doc got a jump on a subgenre that's fast becoming de rigueur: the portrait of the artist as loser or vice versa. This real-life Spi¨nal Tap brilliantly leaves it to the viewer to decide whether the wildly driven courier and metal-band headbanger… More >>
  • BEST FILM FESTIVAL

    This category will be no contest as long as U Film Society's Al Milgrom continues his annual workaholic binge otherwise known as the Mpls./St. Paul International Film Festival. The '99 edition flaunted 93 films from more than 35 countries, including a great many movies that had never played in this country and might never again. Nevertheless, we greatly appreciate the… More >>
  • BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY

    When the topic is broadcasting food, the only thing we can think of that would keep us from tuning in to KNOW (91.1 FM) to hear Minnesota Public Radio's nationally syndicated show The Splendid Table would be if the Food Network were to suddenly start airing the original black-and-white episodes of The French Chef every Saturday afternoon from 1:00 to… More >>
  • BEST FREE TOUR

    Dreaming of a kitchen that doesn't have parquet flooring on the countertops? Or a bathroom with adult-size fixtures? Wondering if you'll go mad if you buy, gut, and restore that dilapidated Queen Anne? Want it all but don't want to commute? The home tour is your chance to tromp through several dozen urban homes representing virtually every architectural style and… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ RADIO PROGRAM

    We keep waiting for some other DJ to step center stage and challenge jazz ambassador Leigh Kamman to a full-blown battle royal, juke-joint style. Since he created The Jazz Image for Minnesota Public Radio in 1973, though, the veteran host has faced few worthy adversaries. That's because the tireless night owl, a mainstay (and frequent host) at Twin Cities' jazz… More >>
  • BEST LITERARY ZINE

    With a nod going out to the redoubtable Rain Taxi, whose continued existence seems to contradict every accepted truth about today's publishing industry, this year we recognize an equally unlikely literary endeavor, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. As that title suggests, there's an academic bent to this journal--its editor is St. Catherine professor Mark Nowak--and the thing doesn't always make easy… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL ARTIST

    There are many good artists and many good people, but only one who tops our list in both categories. After decades of quietly beautifying the Twin Cities with public murals that look like splashes of living color on the dreary concrete shells of parking ramps and office buildings, St. Paul painter Ta-coumba Aiken is enjoying some much-deserved attention. His vibrant… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL CARTOONIST

    Although Chris Monroe's work is made in Duluth, its greatest audience is here in the Cities: Her regular comic strip is currently one of the best reasons to read the local news weekly Pulse. Each issue, Monroe's scratchy, winsome Violet Days meanders through everyday topics: the merits of various candies, the habits of squirrels, the shoplifting rituals of young girls.… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL DIRECTOR

    Finding common ground among diverse cultures is no mean task. Since 1995 Mukherjee and his colleagues at Pangea World Theater have shown they can walk the delicate line between poetry and polemic in such productions as Conference of the Birds and The Winged Seed while making eloquent statements about the volatile substance of human interrelationships. Mukherjee's choice of material is… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY GENERATED WEB SITE

    In the days before the Internet, St. Paul Pioneer Press writer James Romenesko hinted at his publishing future with a book called Death Log. Compiling grisly reports from the Milwaukee morgue about auto-erotic asphyxiation, fatal pork-chop disputes, and the like, this self-published 1981 book stood as a kind of update of that 1970s Midwestern classic, Wisconsin Death Trip. About a… More >>
  • BEST MOVIE THEATER

    From its splendid art deco exterior to its handsome and spacious screening area, this theater has long been the class of local film houses. But for how much longer? Even as we speak, the Twin Cities' last remaining movie house of decent size is being scheduled for vivisection, its balcony slated to be split in two for the purpose of… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM

    Consider this the meat-loaf-and-mashed-potatoes choice. The Institute is not the most adventurous of art museums--we leave that role to the Walker Art Center--but the exhibitions displayed along the grand marble hallways provide the same sort of soothing effect as our favorite comfort foods. There's something pleasantly familiar about spending a gray afternoon traversing galleries filled with art from a bounty… More >>
  • BEST NEW RADIO STATION

    These days it seems that the concept of locally programmed radio has headed the same way as the independent newspaper. Most commercial broadcasting either comes over a satellite, or is decided down to the last reverb-laden promo by certifiably soulless executives in offices far away--or perhaps by the kind of modular programming robot imagined on an episode of The Simpsons… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE A FOOT-OPERATED BREAST ENLARGER

    How can anyone resist a place that bills itself as "the world's largest display of what the mind has devised without the benefit of science or common sense"--and is free, to boot? The museum is a modern-day testimonial to greed, desperation, and quackery--all the virtues that describe the AMA to this day. Among the "medical devices" on display are a… More >>
  • BEST PRODUCTION OF A COMEDY

    Before last November's opening of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the Hidden Theatre ensemble admitted to some nerves about their first foray into straight comedy. They needn't have worried. The company that gave us Ibsen's hyper-Nordic, funereal Hedda Gabler in the summertime also delivered Steve Martin's comic ode to genius, art, and anxiety as a giddy joy ride. The play… More >>
  • BEST PRODUCTION OF A DRAMA

    Casey Stangl and her Eye of the Storm were probably the best company in town when it came to tackling Paula Vogel's 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, bringing a sharp sense of staging to the playwright's intellectual journeys. Vogel's story of a woman looking back on an affair with her uncle that spanned her teen years upsets all the traditional tropes… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION

    With hip hop and R&B responsible for the most energy (and the most listeners) in contemporary popular music, KMOJ--the only urban music station in our market--would be worthy of attention regardless of quality. KMOJ, our least celebrated community station, shares an immediate rapport with its callers and has created a dialogue that allows the broadcasts to become a focal point… More >>
  • BEST READING SERIES

    Rain Taxi deserves a nod for attracting authors like Clayton Eshleman for their Brainstorm series, but the main magnet for top-shelf literary acts is still the Hungry Mind. In a given month, the national notables stopping by the store (or its satellite stage at the Macalester College chapel) might include the ever-glamorous Bret Easton Ellis, local hero Tim O'Brien, and… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST

    Given the stupefying proliferation of generic shticks that now clog the sports talk airwaves (the white hipsters, the braying hysterics, the lackluster stat hounds, and so on), Reusse wins points for originality alone. The longtime Strib columnist possesses one of the funniest, least affected voices in local radio--a sort of wacky croaking interrupted by abrupt shifts in pitch and punctuated… More >>
  • BEST THEATER (INDIE)

    The selection of the movie-of-the-week script Standing in the Shadows to open this year's season may have been a misstep for the company. Their true strength lies in edgy contemporary theater like 1998's Why We Have a Body and Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love. Directors Suzy Messerole and Timothy Lee demonstrate an ability to express experimental… More >>
  • BEST THEATER COMPANY

    All right, maybe their recent Macbeth didn't go over so well. We still think you're better assured of quality theater at the Jungle than anywhere else in town. This troupe is responsible for many of the most heralded productions in the last several years (Bus Stop, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The House of Blue Leaves), and although last season… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    We scoured the A-teams for a likely candidate, but found ourselves numbed by all those primping youngsters and slick ironists. Call us traditionalists: We like our TV news delivered by an anchor with a hint of maturity and reserve--someone in the mold of Uncle Walter. Carlson began his long career producing on-air programs for WCCO Radio and started at WCCO-TV… More >>
  • BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR

    Sure, Grayson, age 33, hasn't been around as long as his colleagues at the big three network affiliates. And maybe he doesn't have the insider connections of hometown guy Mark Rosen, or Randy Shaver, or even Joe Schmidt. No matter. The appealingly untelegenic Grayson works harder on his prose than anyone in the market, and that makes his reports the… More >>
  • BEST TV STATION

    Oh, how we yearned to give this one to KTCA, our diligent and earnest friends at public television. How we wish we could say that we really wanted to watch all that wholesome, informative TV. But faced with the classic desert-island conundrum (if you could view just one station, which would it be?), the choice is clear: Fox. Sure, the… More >>
  • BEST-DRESSED TV NEWSCASTER

    Is this newscaster's personal shopper involved in a practical joke or a pernicious psy-ops experiment? Purple blazers with mustard-colored ties. Mustard-colored blazers with grass-green ties. Patterned blazers that recall the psychedelic '70s. Eyeglasses previously available only in East Berlin. All topped by a dye job that Dennis Rodman might consider too obvious. Not since Morris Day and the Time have… More >>
Loading...