People & Places

  • BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER

    Mason Jennings

    Having reportedly recorded an entire follow-up to his 1997 debut and scrapped it, dissatisfied with the results, Mason Jennings can hardly be accused of glibly capitalizing on his local popularity. He wants things done just right, it seems. And he still leads his Mason Jennings Band with a rock 'n' roll momentum--fast songs, fast songwriting--without cheapening his relationship with his… More >>
  • BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE

    Lickety Split

    Do the words "clean porn shop" belong in the oxymoron hall of fame? Before making a final decision, those relegated to a lifetime of purchasing erotic material off the anonymous, sterile Internet would be wise to stop by Lickety Split. This is the only adult video/book store in town that can advertise both an extensive selection and a showroom that… More >>
  • BEST ALBUM OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Honorable mentions just disappoint the unmentioned, so let's just say it was an unusually tough year to pick just one best local album--a good sign. With discs from (oh, hell) Trailer Trash, Grant Hart, Mint Condition, Lifter Puller, and others winning serious stereo time with critics nationwide, the slowest and sweetest burn of the past 12 months came from the… More >>
  • BEST ALL-AGES VENUE

    Foxfire

    Amid the meat lockers and parking emporiums that make up the bloated beer garden formerly known as downtown, there is one tiny cause for guarded optimism: In two short years, the Foxfire has already become a fixture on the Minneapolis music scene. Our local emo-punk minirevival can be indirectly traced to the venue's existence, and under-21s finally have a reason… More >>
  • BEST BAND NAME

    Anal Blast

    Dark, growling, pornographic, stunted, and thoroughly underground, Twin Cities heavy metal never had a more succinctly off-putting band title than Anal Blast, Satan love 'em. You'll find the band's CD, Vaginal Vempire, at the heavy music label-cum-disc shack off of East Lake Street in Minneapolis, Nightfall Records, 3011 27th Avenue S.; (612) 724-8166.… More >>
  • BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Trailer Trash

    Though they haven't officially bought the farm, things won't be the same for local country wonders Trailer Trash. Frontman Nate Dungan says the band will keep its half-dozen scheduled wedding gigs this year and return for a Christmas show at Lee's Liquor Lounge. But the band as a live, local institution is on what may be a permanent "what-atus" (rather… More >>
  • BEST BAND TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Tina Schlieske

    Except she keeps coming back. Not that fans are complaining. After leaving Tina & the B-Sides last fall with a three-night farewell of roots-blues-rock at the Cabooze, frontwoman Tina Schlieske flew to England, then returned home for the holidays and a gig with her cover-band/B-Sides alter ego Lola & the Red Hots. She has since relocated to Austin, Texas, returning… More >>
  • BEST BATTING CAGE

    Grand Slam

    Baseball isn't just a summer sport, thanks to this year-round, warehouse-size potpourri of arcade activity. Granted, it's a 20-minute haul from the Twin Cities proper (minimum), and it's located in a mildly depressing strip mall. But from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (and until midnight Friday and Saturday), Grand Slam is batting bliss. With six batting cages, you can… More >>
  • BEST BEACH

    Nowhere can there be found a better endless hack circle, a more diverse mix of hippie wannabes and hippie have-beens, or a better free show (provided by Minneapolis's finest as they cart off the disheveled unfortunates for whom this beach is a favorite drinking spot). But wait! There's more! Cedar Lake's water is the cleanest in the city--this according to… More >>
  • BEST BEER SELECTION IN A BAR

    Lake Bowl

    "Best" doesn't always mean "most." No, Bryant-Lake Bowl does not offer every beer known to man or woman. But they do have a mighty liberal selection of fine, high-quality beers. The tap beers ($3.75) include a nice array of local brands (two each from Summit and James Page, plus one from Schell's, and Grain Belt Premium) as well as some… More >>
  • BEST BIKE TRAIL

    Cedar Lake Trail

    The great attribute of an urban bike trail is that it leads you through familiar city sights while also providing the peace of nature. Hop on at the edge of downtown, at Glenwood Avenue and 12th Street N., and ride under I-394 along the Burlington Northern railroad tracks. Cedar Lake Trail will take you west, out to Highway 100 in… More >>
  • BEST BIKER BLOCK

    900 block of Cedar Avenue South

    Bob's Java Hut has held the title of "Best Biker Bar" for the past two years--what with their fine, strong coffee and that nifty front wall that slides up just like a garage door. (This wouldn't seem to match the Hoover Dam as an engineering feat of the 20th Century...but we digress). And so it's time to crown a new… More >>
  • BEST BLOW FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

    Last fall, while thousands of high-profile citizens were courting arrest to protest the Diallo police shooting in New York City, a lone anesthesiologist in Eagan struck a blow for the rights of the elderly. When 41-year-old Thomas J. Valente narrowly avoided a collision with 69-year-old Virginia Hendrickson after being cut off in traffic, he also steered clear of a stereotype--that… More >>
  • BEST BLUES BAND

    Young guitarist Mato Nanji and his siblings are still more beloved by famous people and unfamous critics than they are by a mass audience. But that list of famous people happens to include some pretty tasteful blues scholars, such as Bonnie Raitt. (True, that same list includes some shrilling no-talents like the Indigo Girls, but you can't pick your fans,… More >>
  • BEST BOONDOGGLE

    trolley line

    On the drawing board forever, the plan to bring a trolley line to the Twin Cities is starting to look like the costliest public project since the pyramids. The official public cost, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, is $548.6 million in public money from various sources. That's more than $48.1 million per mile for the proposed 11.4 miles… More >>
  • BEST BOWLING ALLEY

    Tucked away behind the post office on the first level of the St. Paul Student Center sits one of the best-kept recreational secrets in the Cities: a painstakingly maintained eight-lane bowling alley (with a desert motif!). Cost is $6 an hour for a lane during the week before 5:00 p.m.; $8 an hour during prime time and on the weekends.… More >>
  • BEST BOXER

    Will Grigsby

    We were tempted to give the nod once again to St. Paul's Will Grigsby, the slick and feisty 108-pounder who put Minnesota back on the boxing map by winning the International Boxing Federation's junior flyweight title in 1998. But Grigsby lost a unanimous decision last fall in a slugfest with the great Mexican champion Ricardo Lopez and hasn't fought since.… More >>
  • BEST BOXING GYM

    Circle of Discipline

    In recent years, a growing number of nonboxers have discovered the value of the traditional fistic workout. As a result, boxing gyms have begun to pop up in some unlikely locations, where they can better serve their new, more affluent client base. But the best gyms remain in the tough neighborhoods, with most of the best fighters. Since its founding… More >>
  • BEST CAREER MOVE

    Yes, we know it was all the way back in December 1998 that Erica, Nicole, and Jaclyn Dahm, University of Minnesota students from Jordan, took it all off in triplicate for Playboy. But this was the year the 22-year-old identical sisters parlayed their playmate status into something (nearly) resembling a show-biz career. Having moved to Los Angeles last summer, the… More >>
  • BEST CEMETERY

    It may not have the rolling hills of Lakewood Cemetery or the removed tranquillity of St. Paul's Calvary Cemetery, but it sure has historic value. Stretched along a few otherwise busy blocks of Lake Street, this burial ground is simply quiet. With many of the graves more than a century old, the little patch of memories gives a nod to… More >>
  • BEST CHARITY

    Philanthrofund

    Break down the name to its Greek roots and you'll see why this charity has a place in our hearts. "Phil" derives from the word for love, and "anthro" is for humankind. Basically, this organization's mission is to help those who love other people for who they are. What better reason could there be to hand out money? Founded in… More >>
  • BEST CHRONIC VANDALISM

    If a new Cotty Lowry poster goes up the day you read this, trust that by nightfall it will be transformed. Vandals will have used thick black markers and spray paint to add a mustache or beard, big ears, horns, and maybe a pig snout or eye makeup to the face of the smiling Coldwell Banker Burnet realtor. After that… More >>
  • BEST CHURCH FOR THE NON-CHURCHGOING

    House of Mercy

    Between the ages of 18 and 35, an interest in actual organized religion (as opposed to "spirituality") is roughly on a par with an affinity for Garfield dolls: It's tolerable, man, but it's not that cool. There are the basic theological questions--how could just one religion be right? What's all this resurrection nonsense?--and the practical quibbles--Why do I have to… More >>
  • BEST CHURCH FOR THE TIMIDLY RE-CHURCHING

    Bethlehem

    So you're shopping for a church, and it's a personal process. You don't want to stand up during the service and introduce yourself. You don't want to wear a nametag; you don't want to put your name on any mailing lists; and you don't want to be publicly "saved"--not today, anyway. Rather, you want to be able to come and… More >>
  • BEST CITY STATUTE

    Ordinance 385.360

    We were tempted to choose the Minneapolis provision governing "hats, conduct in theaters," which bars the wearing of "any headgear" in a "theater, auditorium or place of amusement." Or the one that says, "No person, in any public or private place, shall enter a toilet designated for the use of the opposite sex..." Or the law that bans "climbing a… More >>
  • BEST CLUB DJ

    Danny Shaffer

    Danny Shaffer is that rare local club DJ whose pacing at the tables emulates flirty, provocative foreplay rather than wham-bam-tip-your-bartender-ma'am crowd pleasing. He'll drop the occasional jungle cut into his Sunday sets at the The Saloon while working the thin line between house and techno, letting some noise spur on his steady boom. This game of bait-and-mix is even more… More >>
  • BEST COACH

    Kevin Garnett is a bona-fide MVP contender, Malik Sealy has stepped up his game to unforeseen levels, Wally Szczerbiak is proving he has NBA-caliber mettle, and Terrell Brandon has shaken the ghost of Marbury past. But credit for the Minnesota Timberwolves' best-ever season belongs to Flip Saunders. For one thing, this guy really wants to win, an attitude he instills… More >>
  • BEST COCKTAILS

    The St. Paul Grill - CLOSED

    Unless you're some sort of preternaturally well-adjusted person, you've probably found yourself at the end of a day when all you'd like is to go someplace where you can forget everything in the company of a good cocktail. The St. Paul Grill Bar is that place. To enter is to be enveloped by the dark wood walls and the warm,… More >>
  • BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE

    Erica Killewald

    Four years ago there was no women's hockey program at the University of Minnesota. Now they're national champions. The entire team--including coach Laura Halldorson--is entitled to share this token of our esteem, but we're bestowing it upon goalie Erica Killewald, a junior who played a large part in the Gophers' 32-6-1 regular season, but saved her best for the four-team… More >>
  • BEST COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

    Minnesota Women's Press

    Since its inception 15 years ago, every issue of the Minnesota Women's Press has featured a front-page profile of one noteworthy woman, from maverick St. Paul schools superintendent Patricia Harvey to Terry Ventura, plus hundreds of poets, rabbis, soccer moms, and entrepreneurs. More than anything else in this biweekly perennial, these pieces reflect the philosophy of "founding mothers" Mollie Hoben… More >>
  • BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    DJ Shadow (a.k.a. Josh Davis) is the most overrated beat-splicer in the turntable trade. Last fall, though, those of us at the Quest had the privilege to see him come damn close to living up to his giant rep. Shadow spun a DJ set that made the long, pretentious intricacies of his artier grooves ready for the sweatiest dancing and… More >>
  • BEST CONCERT VENUE

    BLB

    The First Avenue Mainroom boasts the richest rock legacy, Orchestra Hall claims the creamiest acoustics, and the Orpheum wins points for architectural significance. But when it comes to intimate, instantly memorable performance spaces, the BLB's cozy under-100 seater rules the local lot. Hometown mainstays like Mason Jennings and Happy Apple have built solid foundations here; national acts drop in less… More >>
  • BEST CRAZIEST IDEA WE'VE EVER HEARD

    SKY GONDOLAS OVER THE MISSISSIPPI

    Since first getting elected mayor of St. Paul in 1993, Norm Coleman has played the role of civic cheerleader to the hilt. The pom-poms seem to suit him. He lured Minneapolis-based Lawson Software to relocate in downtown St. Paul and helped engineer the National Hockey League's return to Minnesota. Yeah, he's spent millions of public money along the way, but… More >>
  • BEST DAD

    Rod Grams

    Senator Rod Grams only did what any parent would do. Last July, when his troubled son Morgan had been missing for a few days with a borrowed rental car, the elder Grams placed a call to the Anoka County Sheriff's Department, asking for their help in tracking him down. When deputies caught up with Junior in a vehicle lousy with… More >>
  • BEST DANCE CLUB

    First Avenue

    One never likes to damn with faint praise, but deciding the "Best Dance Club" in the Twin Cities is a little bit like deciding the "Best One-Hit Eighties Pop Star Named Tiffany"--an exercise rendered empty by its obviousness. The Front is fine for what it is--a bar with delusions of grandeur. Ground Zero's floor is far too large for even… More >>
  • BEST DAY TRIP

    This two-hour Sunday summer drive is scenic and peaceful, but rest assured, we've got a destination in mind. From St. Paul, take Highway 61 south through the woods and across the river to Prescott, Wisconsin. Then pick up Highway 35, known as the Great River Road, which will take you all the way to Pepin. The key to enjoying the… More >>
  • BEST FARCE

    It all began on July 2, when Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland took her kids on a day trip to the city's Aquatic Center. By all accounts, Hamann-Roland dutifully forked over for the entry of her three daughters. But according to the pool worker on duty, she declined to pay for her own $2.50 ticket--saying that she was, after all,… More >>
  • BEST FARMERS' MARKET

    St. Paul Farmers' Market

    Oh, we had ideas. For once, this year, we were going to tab a winner other than St. Paul. Maybe somewhere out in the suburbs, closer to the source; maybe in a neighborhood parking lot, where we'd see kids selling produce from community gardens. And we did find other markets--complete with the Hmong and the hippies, the goat-cheese makers and… More >>
  • BEST FESTIVAL

    While more fuss is usually made over the Declaration of Independence, as liberation documents go the Emancipation Proclamation should not be sold short. That speech is the source of Juneteenth, a celebration of the day--June 19, 1865--when Union general Gordon Granger read the document in Galveston, Texas, belatedly freeing a quarter-million slaves. As word spread to individual plantations, celebrations welled… More >>
  • BEST FEUD

    Minnesota politics is often just too dang polite. Lucky for us, controversy follows Steve Minn... or is that: Steve Minn follows controversy? After five years of playing the loyal (and vocal) opposition on the Minneapolis City Council, the 13th Ward resident was tapped by Gov. Jesse Ventura to head the state Department of Public Service, which regulates utilities. When Department… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE (ICE)

    Lake Calhoun

    Sure, we're skeptical of some of the big fish stories floating around. One chilly February afternoon, a Calhoun angler regaled us with the yarn of how he caught not one, not two, not three, but four tiger muskies in a single weekend--a tale that prompted one acquaintance to frankly and cheerfully pronounce: "That guy's full of shit!" We're inclined to… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE (RURAL)

    Lake of the Woods

    It may be a stretch to call Lake of the Woods a hole. The most impressive remnant of the great glacial lake Agassiz, Lake of the Woods sprawls out over some 950,000 acres, reaching into parts of Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba. Yet despite its tremendous size, an outing on Lake of the Woods can feel remarkably intimate. Unlike the state's… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE (URBAN)

    Mississippi River

    By and large, Minnesotans have always displayed a fierce if somewhat pointless preference for lakes over rivers. Look at your license plate: It says "land of 10,000 lakes" (actually there are more than 12,000), yet nary a mention of the state's many lovely rivers and streams. Fine with us. Let the suckers fish the city lakes for crappie and bluegill… More >>
  • BEST FREE MAGIC SHOW

    Eagle Magic shop

    Larry Kahlow says it's as common as a rabbit in a hat. The close-up conjurer started hanging around Eagle Magic shop in 1958, got a job hawking behind the glass counter in 1971, and became the sole owner in 1976. So he ought to know: Son tells father he's interested in magic, and Dad agrees to take the 14-year-old downtown… More >>
  • BEST FREE TOUR

    Summit Brewing Co.

    Two words: Free beer! Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 1:00 p.m., all drinkers of legal age can sample Summit's collection of barley sodas at the company's own bar. There is a catch, of course: You must endure a chat-heavy tour of the swelling Summit empire. Tour guides narrate the history of beer-making from the birth of agrarian civilization to… More >>
  • BEST GADFLY

    Leslie Davis is no stranger to headlines, having leaped headlong into such high-profile causes as the anti-logging fight in northern Minnesota, the battle against the garbage burner in Minneapolis, and the acrimonious fight against the rerouting of Hiawatha Avenue. But as a 1998 write-in candidate for governor, the founder and president of the environmental organization Earth Protector seldom showed up… More >>
  • BEST GARAGE SALE

    Prince was having a "garage sale."

    The word on the street last August was that The Artist Formerly Known As Prince was having a "garage sale." Would he sit outside selling lemonade? Would he haggle with us over the best price for a pair of rhinestone-studded boots? The lines became longer and the TV crews circled. As it turned out, Symbol Man was nowhere in sight… More >>
  • BEST GAY BAR

    Saloon

    The scene at the Gay 90's just hasn't been the same since hordes of heterosexuals discovered the La Femme drag revue. And certainly, there are newer, perhaps more elegant bars catering to a gay male clientele, like the posh Boom on East Hennepin. But there's just something comfortable about the Saloon, an institution here since the 1970s. You certainly won't… More >>
  • BEST GOLDEN PARACHUTE

    We don't object to the cheating. The NCAA stopped being about academics when Jerry "The Shark" Tarkanian made sure America knew that the University of Nevada was in Las Vegas. And let's face it, after the media circus that followed the St. Paul Pioneer Press's investigative report on fraud in the University of Minnesota's basketball program, U president Mark Yudof… More >>
  • BEST GOLF COURSE

    Baker

    One of two golf courses maintained by the Suburban Hennepin Regional Park District, Baker National is bypassed by some because it's difficult. But when your golf game is as lousy as ours, you tend not to split hairs. We like Baker because it's beautiful, and because it's not prohibitively expensive. The 18-hole course (par 72) is built on the site… More >>
  • BEST GOSPEL SERVICE

    Pilgrim Baptist Church

    Sometimes you just want to praise Jesus. (What's that?) Said praise Jesus. (Tell it.) Said praise him in the morning. (Uh-huh.) Said praise him in the evening. (Amen, brother.) Said praaaaaise. Said praaaaaise. Said sometimes all of God's children want to get the juice out and praise the Lord. And should you get that hankering, the praising-est (Said glory!), shouting-est… More >>
  • BEST GROUND ZERO

    Nearly a decade has passed since the local NAACP joined with public-housing tenants and the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis to sue the city, state, and federal governments for creating a segregated public-housing district along Olson Memorial Highway just west of I-94, and it has been five years since the suit was ostensibly settled. Yet to date the Hollman Decree… More >>
  • BEST HAPPY HOUR

    Lyle's

    Yes, it smells like an ashtray. Yes, the décor is reminiscent of an American Legion hall circa 1985. And yes, that is Kid Rock blaring over the speakers. But sometimes conversation is superfluous. Sometimes you can't stomach another trendy, overpriced martini-and-cigar bar. And sometimes you need a blue-plate special of pork chops and a stiff screwdriver at ten o'clock in… More >>
  • BEST HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE

    Jake Sullivan

    Jake Sullivan couldn't have scripted a better ending to his spectacular career with Tartan High School boys basketball team. It was late March, and Tartan was taking on Maple Grove in front of 8,000 screaming fans at Williams Arena, with the state 4A championship on the line. Sullivan, a star since the seventh grade when he scored 70 points in… More >>
  • BEST HIGH SCHOOL BAND

    The release of Antidisestablishmetabolism, the first disc from these St. Paul Central High polyrhythm practitioners would have been an event by itself--the culmination of a year of sweaty, hilarious Bon Appétit slams and a deservedly burgeoning rep. But February's CD-release show at the Foxfire was more than an event; it was a veritable defining moment in the Twin Cities all-ages… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP DJ

    Abilities

    As with his mates in Atmosphere, Abilities keeps such a high profile in the Cities that you might think his rep is overinflated. But as with his mates in Atmosphere, his skills are too undeniable for backlash to gain any currency. Not only does his mix tape, Finally, display the abilities he's named for, it remains a telling snapshot of… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ ARTIST

    Dave King

    Skeptics insist that if Happy Apple drummer Dave King weren't such a talented between-song yapper (his monologues are more Spalding Gray than Lester Young) and enthusiastic networker (he plays in 543 other bands) or if Apple--music aside--didn't look and act so hip and hop (stocking caps, anyone?), then few beyond a circle of connoisseurs would give a rat's modal scale… More >>
  • BEST JESSE VENTURA QUOTE

    It would be so easy to pick one of the many sage insights from the now-famous Playboy interview, wherein the First Rube offered excuses for sexual harassment in the navy, professed his profound desire to be reincarnated as a 38DD bra, and mocked suicide. But for our money, Ventura's downright stoopidest crack of the year was less moronically foot-in-the-mouth than… More >>
  • BEST JUKEBOX

    Triple Rock's

    The temptation to give this category to some vintage jukebox spinning old 45s is strong, but the Triple Rock's giant, impossibly diverse trove of CDs represents something a bit more salient: a challenge. Find another jukebox where you can program Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl," Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You," Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype," and… More >>
  • BEST KARAOKE

    Elsie's

    In a city where speakers and microphones are practically handed out with liquor licenses, the criteria used to determine karaoke excellence must be strict. After eliminating bars where the bulk of the song list is music most often sold in truck-stop cassette bins, many local karaoke facilities remained standing. Weeding out places with words like "Stand-up" or "Last Chance" in… More >>
  • BEST LANDMARK

    Mississippi River

    It takes out-of-town--make that out-of-country, out-of-continent--visitors to remind us: "Where is it?" they inquire, barely out of the airport. And they're not talking about the St. Paul Cathedral, the Minnesota Zoo, or Nye's. They want to see the feature that places Minnesota on the world map, the one schoolchildren in India and street vendors in Senegal can identify. You'd think… More >>
  • BEST LESBIAN BAR

    Club Metro

    No one wanders into Club Metro by accident. If you can find the place, squatting off the main streets on what looks like an industrial service road, you can't miss the neon rainbows. And if you miss the neon rainbows, it's difficult to overlook the out clientele (which makes the large population of het couples there on a recent Saturday… More >>
  • BEST LIBRARY

    Wilson Library

    For researchers (especially procrastinating ones), we must recommend the Wilson Library on the West Bank of the University, as it's open until midnight on Sundays. Problem is, if you're not a student or faculty member you'll have to shell out $60 a year for a borrowing card. So Minneapolis Central it is, especially given some recent improvements: Last year the… More >>
  • BEST LINE IN MAYOR SHARON SAYLES BELTON'S STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

    Maybe to you February 10 was just another day in the chilly city. But for City Pages it was the time to hear Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton deliver her seventh State of the City address at Plymouth Congregational Church in south Minneapolis! Only 9 of 13 council members made it--fairly weak attendance for elected officials, we thought! As the… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD

    Dino Guerin

    The news dribbled out slowly, as if from a cracked sewer pipe: Ramsey County commissioner admits to gambling addiction. Ramsey County commissioner charged with check-kiting. Ramsey County commissioner denies renewed allegations of cocaine problem. Ramsey County commissioner linked to questionable loan. Ramsey County commissioner linked to another questionable loan. Ramsey County commissioner's questionable loans subject of federal inquiries. We can… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD

    Steve Zahn

    In 1990, Marshall-born Steve Zahn quit his job in a machine shop and took a gig in a Chanhassen Dinner Theater production of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues. Next was a two-year stint with the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a turn on the New York stages and, finally, a Hollywood career in which he first gained favorable notice for… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL GONE BAD

    Who knew?… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD

    Immediately after stopping China's soccer team from scoring a game-winning penalty kick in last summer's World Cup Championship and setting up Brandi Chastain's photo-finish goal, the soccer star from Dayton was publicly slighted. Instead of making her the center of their postgame coverage, the wizards at ABC decided not to give the only African-American woman on the field any face… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY GENERATED WEB SITE

    Before you mutter, "What the fug--a government site?" take a peek. Too many Web hot spots offer nothing more than a quick chuckle, which grows old after a visit or two. But bookmarking this baby can actually help make you a more informed Web citizen. During the legislative sessions, you can track proposed laws as they live and die at… More >>
  • BEST LOST CAUSE

    We know the oddball collection of vagabond protesters, lost souls and assorted activists who waged the long and ultimately futile fight against the rerouting of Highway 55 in south Minneapolis were sometimes hard to stomach. Their rhetoric was both overblown and strategically ill-conceived; the oft-repeated claim that the project amounted to "cultural genocide" (because Mendota Indians regard some of the… More >>
  • BEST LYNX PLAYER

    Tonya Edwards

    Given all the wheeling and dealing that went down at the Target Center this winter, our selection of the Lynx's finest b-baller has less to do with talent than with who's left standing. At the end of last summer's inaugural season, sinuous forward Brandy Reed led the team in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, crowd-wow, and disciplinary benchings. Status: Traded to… More >>
  • BEST MARGARITA (CLASSIC)

    Boca Chica

    Okay, okay. So it's dull to whip out the same superlatives year after year to describe the same spot as purveyor of the best of anything. But when it comes to the La Señora margarita at this family-owned West Side institution, we can't help it. Because year after year, like overexcited Cinco de Mayo celebrants, we just keep heading back… More >>
  • BEST MARGARITA (REINVENTED)

    Bar Abilene's

    Between the buckskin-colored walls and the rich cherry-hued wood booths, the entire bar area fairly sparkles at this little chunk of the New West right here in the Minneapple. So it should come as no surprise that the cocktails described on Bar Abilene's two-page margarita menu come to the table looking like translucent gems. Think of the Hibiscus margarita ($5.95)… More >>
  • BEST MARTINI

    The liquor proletariat has slammed TOC for its downtown prices and decidedly loose definition of a martini (not to mention its continuous milking of the shapely cocktail's vogue, which appears to be fast on the wane). But let's face it: "Real" martinis are for balding Forbes subscribers and pretentious Rat Pack wannabes. If you're going to revive something, why not… More >>
  • BEST MEAT RAFFLE

    Mayslack's

    Applying the term "best" to any meat raffle is a bit of an oxymoron, since the title this long-standing Nordeast custom truly deserves is "Best Racket." If you've never been to one, here's how it works: A guy lugs in a big cooler and sets up the contents for display: stuffed pork chops, chicken breasts, steak, and the like, usually… More >>
  • BEST MEDIA EVENT

    Yes, the first 16 months under Gov. Jesse Ventura have certainly been, uh, er, ahem. What we mean to say is that the Ventura Era has redefined, well... Let's be frank: In the governor-as-celebrity age of Ventura, about the only thing that seems different from politics-as- usual is the insane amount of press coverage devoted to one bald-headed state official.… More >>
  • BEST METH-LAB STORY

    Back in January 1999, Wright County authorities busted three men for operating a meth lab in an ice-fishing house. Comedic value aside, the discovery fueled the widely held perception of meth as a trailer-trash drug, a notion reinforced by a succession of highly publicized drug busts in rural Minnesota over the past few years. The truth, of course, is that… More >>
  • BEST MONTH TO BE IN THE TWIN CITIES

    July

    At its hottest, stickiest, and buggiest, July can make one yearn for winter. But given the length of winter in these parts, that is a perverse virtue. Besides, the month has other allures. On weekends, most everyone with means has fled town, leaving those remaining behind with plenty of elbow room. It is as though some great equalizer has descended… More >>
  • BEST MONTH TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES

    August

    Sure the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian once made 80 percent humidity and air pollution sound, well, cool. But even he'd have a hard time with a Twin Cities summer. Where's the poetry in getting strafed by wasps while choking down a charred bratwurst at a backyard barbecue? Shoving your way down Nicollet Mall on Farmers' Market Thursdays? Feeling your eyeballs… More >>
  • BEST MURAL

    Olson Memorial Highway at I-94

    Highway overpasses are among the least glamorous spaces in urban environments. So what a pleasure it is to drive along Olson Memorial Highway heading west over the eight lanes of I-94 and discover stately African masks lined up along the sound wall, gazing toward the Minneapolis skyline with the quiet ceremony of ancient elders. Created by John Biggers, an internationally… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR--MINNEAPOLIS

    Eli's

    There's a sign hanging behind the bar at Eli's that pretty much sums it up: "Where the regular people feel special and the special people feel regular." Damn straight. Even though Eli's sits at the southwestern edge of downtown, not far from Loring Park, there's a decidedly comfortable, neighborhood feel to the place. There's a just-rightness to the size of… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR--ST. PAUL

    Dubliner

    The Dubliner is a spacious, unpretentious Irish pub populated by neighborhood regulars and Irish expatriates. When there isn't live Irish music being performed on a small platform across the room from the long, wooden bar, you can hear the expats jawing away their workaday woes or reminiscing about the old country. Couples usually huddle at tables near a picture window… More >>
  • BEST NEW BAND

    Okay, so the local music scene hasn't exactly been fallow over the past decade, but it's hardly been breaking new ground either--even our most distinctive acts have played catch-up with national trends best exemplified elsewhere. But with the computer-generated pop of Triangle, our towns are finally out ahead of the (sine) curve. Others have thought of mixing intelligent drum 'n'… More >>
  • BEST OBITUARY

    Beatrice Rutman

    A lot of folks think we at City Pages are a hard-bitten, jaded lot of cranks. Well, yeah, so we are a hard-bitten, jaded lot of cranks, but we do have a soft spot, and the Star Tribune's January 27 obituary for 84-year-old Beatrice Rutman hit it dead-on. The piece included what was purported to be Robert Zimmerman's first-ever poem:… More >>
  • BEST OLD BAND

    The Phones were part of that sudden rush of bright, tight, energetic local bands that came out of the Longhorn-Sweet Potato-First Avenue-Twin/Tone cauldron of postpunk culture at the start of the Reagan era. It was a best-of/worst-of-times type deal. Politics had gone right wing; television stank, however you stroked it; local radio played it so safe that the Twin Cities… More >>
  • BEST OPEN-MIC NIGHT

    Southern Theater

    After another year of bringing the best in experimental dance, music, theater, and what-have-you to the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, this perennial favorite again wins the golden mic award. Hosted by charming chanteuse and ubiquitous local-arts activist Leslie Ball, Balls gives five to seven minutes of stage time to anyone with something to say, play, express, show, or prove. Acts… More >>
  • BEST OPPORTUNITY TO CLEANSE YOUR SOUL

    the Simpson

    In the down-and-out crowd, the Simpson is known as the best place to sleep, short of a pad of your own. The staff is stern yet understanding, never dispensing so much as spare change for a bus ride, but offering effective programs geared at helping homeless people onto their feet and into apartments. The space itself is well-maintained with… More >>
  • BEST PARADE

    winter carnival

    So this guy--thirtysomething, hint of a paunch, touch of a mustache--bounds up to us, stops dead in his tracks, and beams: "May I mark you?" And before we can so much as blurt out a "Huh?" the greasepaint is on our cheek, and the guy is gone, and we turn slack-jawed to our native-born companion. "They didn't used to ask,"… More >>
  • BEST PICKUP BASKETBALL GAME

    In a decade's time, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has ripped out ten of the city's most storied basketball courts. Mercifully, they spared one of the two full-court runs that made this picturesque park on the edge of Edina a summer hot spot. (In 1996 the other full court was split into two halfs). From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00… More >>
  • BEST PICKUP HOCKEY GAME

    In 1996 the Bagley/Fosston Flyers skated their final game on an outdoor rink, putting an end to one of the state's greatest, most rugged traditions: high school hockey played in the elements. It ought to go without saying that God intended hockey to be played thus--not in some antiseptic heated rink on a suburban frontage road. But respect for His… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC SPOT

    Powderhorn

    Often during the brief but glorious spells of unseasonably warm weather that have brightened recent winters, it seems that entire populations have materialized to stake claims on the outdoor grills that dot the gentle slopes of Powderhorn Park. They've got the right idea. Whatever the season, Powderhorn is a picnic favorite, and for good reason: Families can play soccer and… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

    The Omnitheater

    If there is such a thing as a failsafe venue for a first encounter, this has to be it. The brand-new building gives you a lovely excuse for initiating the date (You: "I've been dying to see the new Science Museum." Date: "Me too. Let's go this weekend, there's a new critter show opening.") The children's exhibits facilitate self-disclosure. (You:… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BIRD-WATCH

    More than 250 species of birds spend some time each year in this marshy refuge, surrounded by the bustle of people and cars. When you arrive, stop in at the visitor center to pick up maps and tips on how to spot what you're looking for. On recent trips we've witnessed egrets, herons, and several types of warblers. If you're… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CAMP

    If you like camping trips that don't require hours of driving but manage to provide the feel of the great outdoors, have we got a park for you! In a less than an hour, you can be sitting outside your tent roasting marshmallows, glimpsing the occasional deer and shooing away the frequent raccoon. Hikers can trek 35-plus miles of trails,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CANOE

    It is a peculiar accident of our times that a summer afternoon spent on the waters of Lake Calhoun or Lake of the Isles--in the heart of the state's biggest city--is often more tranquil than an afternoon on many outstate waters. All right. It's not an accident. It's a product of sensible regulation. On city lakes you can't operate an… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CROSS-COUNTRY SKI

    Inquire of Twin Cities cross-country enthusiasts and you'll quickly notice a common theme: When they haven't got the time or the cash for a jaunt to the Arrowhead, it's all about Hennepin Parks. All of the district's eight preserves boast cross-country ski trails (Bloomington's Hyland is a particular favorite), and all are exceptionally well maintained and clearly marked, and they… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DUMP SOMEONE

    The sagacious Billy Corgan once said the fall from our expectations and idealism is much harsher than the fall from reality. Using this as our koan, it is only appropriate that Apache Mall, once one of only two indoor malls in the world but now nothing more than a sad relic, serve as the sayonara point. As you stroll through… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET A DRINK AT 8:00 A.M.

    A few caveats before we begin. With this recommendation, we assume that you, gentle reader: 1) work third shift; 2) are suffering terrible-but-temporary emotional storms following a breakup; 3) have made it your personal mission to utter--once--the phrase "Beer: It's not just for breakfast" with conviction; 4) are a college student; 5) used to be a college student before enrolling… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET DUMPED

    Sebastian Joe's

    The stark lighting at Sebastian Joe's will illuminate your response--recalcitrant, guilt-inducing, whatever the situation inspires. Once the exchange is over, the atmosphere will remind you what's really important. Little girls in patent leather shoes, launched into glee by sprinkles. Sebastian Joe's homemade fudge sauce melting on your tongue. Each spoonful provides perspective: life offers many pleasures that don't snore beside… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GO ROCK CLIMBING

    Interstate State Park

    Let's face it, within the city limits, there just isn't a lot of great rock-climbing to be had. But just a quick 45 miles north of town (via Highway 8) in the scenic St. Croix River Valley, you can scale cliffs galore. Novice and expert climbers alike can find a rock that's right. Take a break and inhale a deep… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE (URBAN)

    Lake Street,

    It took a visiting relative to point it out to us: You can walk the length of Lake Street, from the Mississippi River to Uptown, in just a little over an hour. Okay, there are times when it might get a bit lonely, but we're not talking midnight exercise. We're thinking Saturday-afternoon sightseeing-and-shopping odyssey. Start with the car-parts-and-vinyl enclaves at… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE (WOODSY)

    Despite the seemingly endless sprawl of the metro area, it is possible to get lost in the woods in these parts. In our view, no place within easy striking distance beats the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area, a pristine 39,000-acre mix of swamp, woodland, and water just south of the lake from which it derives its name. Established from tax-forfeited… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ICE SKATE

    Isles

    Oh, we've tried them all--and, more to the point, so have our friends, who are the kind of people who actually look good precariously balanced on steel blades. Walnut Ridge in Edina, tucked away off Biscayne Boulevard where only the locals are supposed to find it. Crosby Lake out in Chanhassen, where deer sometimes watch you glide; Langford Park in… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO JOG

    Stone Arch Bridge

    The meandering and hell-bent alike will find much to recommend this most democratic of jogging trails. If you are gradually increasing your mileage, you'll discover that the bridges are perfectly placed. A loop encompassing Boom Island and the Hennepin Avenue bridge is just over two miles. Go to the Stone Arch Bridge before crossing over and you'll log three and… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE

    Tapestry

    Hey, hipster, don't you think it's about time you gave up your pursuit of the lambada and the macarena? If you want real, up-to-the-minute information on what's hot in dance these days, try Tapestry. The place offers instruction in everything from the Lindy hop to Latin, from Cajun to contra, from Finnish to Balkan, and all points in between. What's… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (GAY)

    "Do you mean scum?" Person One asks. "If you mean scum, try the Saloon." "Well, everyone knows about Lunds on Sunday morning," says Person Two. We're standing in Calhoun Square just outside Starbucks talking about where the boys are, and he points to the Borders across the hall--"And there." Person Three remarks that, since they've put cameras in the bathroom… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (STRAIGHT)

    Origami's

    Now, when it comes to categorizing the eager, not-so-young businessmen who take lunch at Origami's sushi bar, everything turns on your interpretation of the word single. Do we mean available? Definitely. Interested in sending some sake your way, and perhaps underwriting a slab of unagi? Most certainly. Do we mean in possession of sufficient resources, judging by the suit, the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (LESBIAN)

    Anyplace that has three cookie jars laden with hunky treats and three types of mocha (dark, white, and Hershey's) qualifies as a great hangout. As a bonus, there are more cute, friendly, young people at Café Wyrd than at an Up With People rally. (Some of them are young men, but the first Wednesday of every month is Ladies' Night.)… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (STRAIGHT)

    Somewhere, in a room thick with cigarette smoke, women of all ages, shapes, and sizes are shakin' their moneymakers like there's no tomorrow. They dance alone, with one another, in pairs and in groups and sometimes, intoxicated by euphoric memories and 2-for-1 Bud Lights, with an unsuspecting gentleman plucked from the throng of onlookers. The place: any local watering hole… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH

    Mall of America

    For the professional and the serious dilettante, there's no place like the Mall of America to refine the art and science of people-watching. The sheer diversity and quantity of subjects can't be beat; add the variety of potential approaches and locations (Preteen social initiation at Camp Snoopy? Weekend-warrior training in East Market? The mating dance around Michelob Gulch?), and you… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ROLLERBLADE

    Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

    It may be true that Minnesota has oodles and oodles of well-kept, 'blade-friendly trails, and it may be true that the dang things were invented here, but, honey, try telling that to two feet of snow. Don't mean a whole goshdarn lot in January, now, does it? And so enter...the Hubert H. Metrodome. Truly, what's more important: outdoor baseball or… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SALSA

    Latin dance nights have loomed grande in downtown Minneapolis ever since salsa eclipsed swing as the rigorous couple dance du jour. But salsa kings and queens seeking cutting-edge Spanish-language techno and live Mexican dance music should tool down East Lake to Vannandy's restaurant and ballroom, where gringos will find few conversation partners, but everyone finds a dance partner. Well-dressed Mexicans,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE BLUEGRASS

    To a lot of folks, bluegrass is out of place just about everywhere--anachronistic in its instrumentation, themes, and values. And the little stage in the back of a shabby Lake Street pizza and karaoke joint would seem a particularly unlikely spot. But Dulono's Pizza has long been a pillar of the local old-time string-band scene, hosting local and regional bluegrass… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE THE TOTS

    Minnesota Children's Museum

    Get those screaming tykes out of your claustrophobic house even in the dead of winter--and without ever having to set foot inside the Mall of America! If the smaller members of your household can tear themselves away from the arts and crafts and storytelling stations set up throughout the museum, they're likely to find a gallery that brings out some… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TANGO

    Yes, Morticia, there is a tango community in Minnesota--and quite a healthy one at that. And no, we flat-footed, body-shy Midwesterners do not necessarily recoil and run when asked to touch (much less dance with) someone we are not married to. Indeed, we are quite good at imitation (if we are shown a couple of times), and when the lights… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO THROW A POT

    Fired Up's

    Is there a frustrated ceramist inside you aching to construct a slender porcelain vase, a sturdy mug, a matching set of dinnerware? Fired Up's spacious yet homey 4,000-square-foot loft is the perfect place to unleash your clay fantasies without gouging your pocket. Membership prices start at $80 a month (it costs more if you want additional storage space or a… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE OUTDOORS

    Red Eye Cinema

    The movies-and-music-in-the-park combo has long been a local tradition, and lately no one puts on a more stellar show than Red Eye Cinema, proud cosponsor of the Wednesday-night summer series in Minneapolis's Stevens Square Park. That Red Eye brings its typically astute programming skills to bear on an outdoor series with already ample appeal--arranging entire eight-week seasons around a given… More >>
  • BEST POLITICAL EMBARRASSMENT

    When Renee LaVoi first expressed interest in running for the school board last spring, her colleagues in the Minneapolis GOP knew she was conservative. During the endorsement process LaVoi, a therapist with a Bible-based private practice, had espoused boilerplate party rhetoric. In the course of various campaign forums and appearances, she teetered further to the right. But nobody was prepared… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN

    Mike Hatch's

    Never mind whether state Attorney General Mike Hatch's corporate watchdoggery is motivated by altruism or political self-interest: We're just glad someone has come along who's willing to split hairs and pick nits on behalf of Minnesota consumers. The Duluth native and former sailor did battle with the insurance industry way back in the Eighties, when he headed Rudy Perpich's Department… More >>
  • BEST POOL HALL

    Any seasoned shark will tell you that the game of pool is all about placement. Any weekend hacker will tell you that choosing a place to shoot stick is all about the same. Sure, you could drive to the 'burbs for the scenery. Hustlers are more abundant in some more out-of-the-way establishments, where cherub-faced regulars roll wads of cash into… More >>
  • BEST POP GROUP

    Walker Kong

    What seemed merely cute and novel a year and a half ago is starting to look like the next force for rejuvenation in local pop--though, admittedly, the brow-furrowed Walker Kong and his smiling Dangermakers remain as cute as ever. If rockers can't get behind the vintage organs, the oh-wee-oh female backup vocals, the tambourine, the bongos, and the Archies-like stage… More >>
  • BEST PROPOSED STADIUM SOLUTION

    As both the Minnesota Twins and the Guthrie Theater were searching for a new home, St. Paul Pioneer Press theater critic Dominic Papatola hit upon what he modestly termed "a solution so simple, so elegant": A combination baseball stadium and theater. "Can Guthrie patrons learn to do the wave?" wondered Papatola. "Is it even legal to sell Chardonnay at a… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC CLOCK

    Back in the good old days, before the banks began plastering their bland digital clocks in every strip-mall parking lot from Burnsville to Coon Rapids, the public clock was a stylish thing. It was designed to be appreciated by pedestrians rather than speeding motorists; thus form was given its proper place beside function. None of the old clocks remaining… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC PARK

    Fort Snelling State Park

    During the summer months, the stone wall running along the bluffs above Minnehaha Falls can get so crowded with kids trying to see over the three-foot-high edge you'd think some real-live Pokémon was down there. So cross the bridge and veer right a bit. From there you'll be able to see the falls up close. The park has been recently… More >>
  • BEST PURGE

    After Dennis Green became the Minnesota Vikings head coach in 1992, the "new sheriff," as he called himself, quickly embarked on a wholesale housecleaning; within two years, all 11 assistant coaches who'd worked under his predecessor, Jerry Burns, were gone. In most businesses, a new manager would be pilloried for such ruthlessness. In pro football, such cutthroat efforts are invariably… More >>
  • BEST R&B BAND

    With the lamentable split-up of Tony! Toni! Toné!, St. Paul's Mint Condition are also the only best-selling purveyors of contemporary R&B anywhere that you can call a band. That is to say this sextet play guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and horns, just like in the old days, rather than relying on loops, samples, and drum machines. But there's nothing musty… More >>
  • BEST RAP GROUP

    Little Buddy

    Hip-hop bigness is part art, part the art of public relations. So let's measure "best" in terms of cold, hard hype. To wit, The Source and Vibe love Little Buddy, whose "What's the Haps" is perhaps the biggest-selling local rap single ever. An album is on the way. Blaze and Spin, meanwhile, love Slug of Atmosphere, whose Overcast! is perhaps… More >>
  • BEST RAP RADIO

    KMOJ-FM's Real Radio

    The Point's new slogan is "Today's best music, with no rap or hip hop," which is a little like saying, "Today's best movies, with no directors or stars." Thankfully, locals interested in more than 50 percent of the vital music out there can hear great hip hop nearly round the clock Friday and Saturday nights on various local stations. Minneapolis… More >>
  • BEST RENOVATION

    state capitol

    A beer hall at the state capitol? Okay, you can't get a beer here, but the recently renovated subterranean cafeteria was originally designed with a rathskeller theme. The 1905 décor was painted over in 1917, amid a wave of anti-German sentiment during World War I. In 1930 some of the art was restored, albeit with temperate, Prohibition-era themes, only to… More >>
  • BEST ROCK BAND

    Lifter Puller

    The marble-mouthed stream-of-unconsciousness ranting of Lifter Puller headman Craig Finn makes this one of the most pleasurable postpunk vehicles to cruise local stages in recent years. On Fiestas and Fiascos, the band's third album and smoothest to date, Finn and the gang sing songs about drugging, party girls, and scenester posing--old-fashioned rock material, in other words. Yet Lifter Puller isn't… More >>
  • BEST ROCK CLUB

    First Avenue

    Okay, bad things first: The perennial torrent of grumbles emerging from the club make it sound about as convivial a place to work as your average gulag, a fact sneering staffers take out on anyone foolish enough to get in their way. Countless organizational shake-ups, a mess of an in-house mag, and endless political intrigue make the club a wellspring… More >>
  • BEST RUMOR ON THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE

    Though it had a life span of less than 24 hours, the erroneous "news" that First Avenue would be relocating to the outlying suburb of Blaine had the merit of actually being broadcast regionwide one morning on WCCO-TV (Channel 4), with a live shot from outside the big black bus station shot the day after...April Fool's Day. As it turned… More >>
  • BEST SELF-PROMOTION

    Our jaw dropped when we first saw Serving Time: America's Most Wanted Recipes last December. On the cover, a chipper Sara Jane Olson (formerly Kathleen Soliah and currently accused of helping the Symbionese Liberation Army place bombs under police cars back in 1975) glibly holding a spatula in one hand, a pair of handcuffs in the other. The spiral-bound book… More >>
  • BEST SETTLEMENT

    It's the classic David-and-Goliath story, except that Xena the Warrior Princess is a more appropriate protagonist for this version. Amazon Bookstore, now celebrating its 30th anniversary as a haven for women's literary minds, has been around a heckuva lot longer than its similarly monikered dot-com adversary, but when the online bookseller made itself into a favorite credit-card destination, our local… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF SPRING

    This year we saw the first one in early March. Granted, this year was not a normal year, and it was 60 degrees in Minnehaha Park, and people were out in T-shirts. But the ground was still frozen solid under the muck, and nothing except the usual squirrels was stirring. Which is why, when we saw the tip poking out,… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF THE LONG-RUMORED RENAISSANCE OF DOWNTOWN ST. PAUL

    Now that we're done wailing and gnashing our teeth over Norm Coleman's use of tax dollars to spiff up RiverCentre, we'd just like to say how secretly pleased we are that hockey will be back in St. Paul come October. It's been a long seven years since those turncoat Stars moved to the other end of I-35, and even longer… More >>
  • BEST SLEDDING

    Theodore Wirth Park

    Grab your mittens, load the sleds into the car, and take Lexington south from Larpenteur. Four blocks in, when the road veers to the left and heads downhill, look to your right. You can't miss it: there, spread out below, you'll see as perfect a panorama of winter wonderland as you're going to find in the metro area. Little kids… More >>
  • BEST SONGWRITER

    Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears

    Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears are damned and sainted with the same descriptive tag: "thespian." This seems to imply that the band and its frontwoman, Steph Dickson, value drama over what's called "songcraft," presence over substance. Sure, it's hard to argue there isn't a good actor behind the mic on a tune such as "B.A.D.B.O.YS." On this track,… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR FOOD

    Let us tell you something about those most splendid young people who operate the Gopher Dairy Club concession a few cows' lengths from the public milking parlor. Every one of them is a virgin. This is a fact; you can tell just from looking at them. Only the purest hands are allowed to attach metal suction cups to a glistening… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR RIDE

    Ferris wheel

    While there are those who come to the Great Minnesota Get-Together for a fix of excitement--witness the line of folks waiting to get slung or dropped or twisted about by one of the fair's daunting diversions--we like our rides tinged with nostalgia. Our vote goes therefore to the Ferris wheel, a standard of Fairs past and undeniably one of the… More >>
  • BEST STRIP CLUB (FEMALE DANCERS)

    Jake's

    Let's face it. When you go to see exotic female dancers, you don't want to go to some hyped-up, franchised, McDonaldized club five blocks from your office. You want a strip joint. You want some little place tucked away in a rural area where you're not likely to be seen by your boss, minister, or girlfriend's little sister. You want… More >>
  • BEST STRIP CLUB (MALE DANCERS)

    Sharx

    This year, we resolved that the male of the species needn't have all the fun in the strip-club category, and so in this space any discussion of the dude-directed acts at Gay 90's or Club Metro's Friday-night show has been strictly excluded. (And, yes, we know about the secret room at the 90's, and we don't care. Stag videos and… More >>
  • BEST SURPRISE APPEARANCE OF UNLIKELY FAUNA

    In 1998, an old female lake sturgeon washed up on the shores of Lake Harriet. No one knew that sturgeon, a prehistoric and pollution-sensitive species, still lived in Lake Harriet, yet here it was--six feet and 105 pounds of evidence that nature retains the power to surprise. The sturgeon's appearance seemed unlikely to be topped anytime soon. But then last… More >>
  • BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER

    Kevin Garnett

    Kevin Garnett spent the off-season perfecting his midrange jumper--perhaps the single weak spot in an otherwise flawless offensive arsenal. The work paid off. Garnett's shooting percentage put him in the NBA's top 15 this year, and he now draws double teams whether he is under the basket or at the top of the key. He even averaged a respectable 37… More >>
  • BEST TOURIST TRAP

    First Avenue

    While the city pours its treasury into the drama of underwriting a Hennepin Avenue theater district, artless entrepreneurialism rules on First Avenue. It is here that the people flock in droves any time the mercury climbs above 50 degrees--like animals strutting to the watering hole come springtime to select fit mates. It's Brothers. Liquid. South Beach. Club Ashé. The New… More >>
  • BEST TRADE

    Pop quiz: Name a single big-time trade engineered by a Minnesota professional sports franchise in the past year. Stumped? So were we. The Vikings' biggest acquisition of last season, quarterback Jeff George, came (and went) as the result of free agency. The Timberwolves haven't done much since the Stephon Marbury-Terrell Brandon deal more than a year ago. The Twins...well, who… More >>
  • BEST TWINS PLAYER

    Eric Milton

    Oh, who are we kidding? Brad Radke stands out on this year's roster. But the Twins' ace is almost certain to be gone by the All-Star break, a casualty of a small-minded ownership and a small-market town. So we're going with 24-year-old southpaw Eric Milton, Radke's heir apparent. Milton, selected in the first round of the 1996 draft by… More >>
  • BEST URBAN LEGEND

    Y2K

    Some day a few thousand years from now, anthropologists from another solar system will sift through the fading digital traces of once-urgent chain e-mails (PASS THIS ON!!! YOU'LL NEVER EAT CHICKEN AGAIN!!!) and form a pretty good picture of the strange culture that dominated Earth around the turn of the third millennium. They'll discover that we were deeply suspicious of… More >>
  • BEST URL

    The Web address for Progressive Anesthesia Services, Inc., a Twin Cities nurse-anesthetist group.… More >>
  • BEST VICTIM

    Clem Haskins

    It's a good guess former Gophers coach Clem Haskins never thought a 50-year-old, somewhat frumpish office manager would or even could take him down. But that's exactly what Jan Gangelhoff did on March 10, 1999, when she blew the whistle in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, alleging academic fraud in the men's basketball program. By admitting that she'd written more… More >>
  • BEST VIEW

    Tower Hill

    First things first: Forget climbing the IDS--we're thinking rustic. So bring along the picnic basket, be sure to invite your significant other, and head up to Tower Hill, nestled above southeast Minneapolis's professorial Prospect Park neighborhood. A spectacular vista awaits those who climb the steps to the top of the 371-foot-tall Witches' Tower, but it's open only one day of… More >>
  • BEST VIKINGS PLAYER

    Randy Moss

    Just how good is Randy Moss? Let's review the second-year wide receiver's 1999 stats: 1,413 total receiving yards, 17.7 yards per reception, 11 touchdowns. While those numbers are down from '98 (17 TDs!), and the wunderkind did seem to contract a troubling case of fumble-itis midseason, Moss was much more assured when running routes across the middle of the field.… More >>
  • BEST VILLAIN

    Stephon Marbury

    During football season the Viking faithful have two favorite teams: The Purple and whoever's playing the Green Bay Packers. Since NBA sensation Stephon Marbury packed up his ego and left for New Jersey last season, fans of the Timberwolves have reveled as the Nets struggle to play .500 ball. The hate can be rationalized, of course. Besides thumbing his nose… More >>
  • BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE)

    Brenda Weiler's

    It's not just that Judy Collins vibrato--so assured, so second-nature, and never really precious. And it's not that post-Ani delivery, with the funky stops and starts, bent words, and hard R's. She's a DiFrancophile, alright, but Brenda Weiler's own rapt following--at countless coffee shops and the 400 Bar--connects with her on her own terms. The Weilerphiles have good reason, too,… More >>
  • BEST VOCALIST (MALE)

    Mark Mallman

    A friend says ex-Odd keyboardist Mark Mallman made clubgoing fun again this year, and we won't argue. Eleven months after City Pages took a long look at this largely ignored showman and shut-in, "Mall Man" made the evening news in September by playing a 26.2-hour song (titled, appropriately, "Marathon") in the tiny Clown Lounge of St. Paul's Turf Club. Backed… More >>
  • BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY

    Stillwater

    There is something absurd and wonderful about a hot tub fronted with fake rocks in the corner of a Victorian bedroom got up to look like colonial Burma, particularly if it's the middle of July and you have to turn up the air conditioning before taking a bath. And yet, we can say with authority that if this were the… More >>
  • BEST WINDOW DISPLAY

    Burch Pharmacy

    Walk into this Burch Pharmacy and find yourself transported back to the 1950s or thereabouts. They have lots of food, much of which will bring back memories--like those little wienies packed in that weird, salty yellow broth; all that's missing is a soda fountain. Several of the employees have been working here for years and they're not shy about giving… More >>
  • BEST YOGA CLASS

    William Prottengeier

    Madonna may be striking a few of the poses these days, but the act of seeking inner peace while working up a sweat was around long before the Material Girl rolled out her exercise mat. Take B.K.S. Iyengar, for example. The guru is past 80 and his leg still goes behind his head just as easily as you please. Of… More >>
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