People & Places

  • BEST "YOU SHOULDA BEEN HERE"

    It was a bad winter, all right, no doubt about that. More than six feet of snow fell on our fair Twin Cities, the temperature didn't rise above 50 degrees for 147 consecutive days, and, perhaps worst of all, local residents were subjected to a seemingly endless series of stories from the media about the weather, just in case anyone… More >>
  • BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER

    Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears

    Though only one of piano man Tom Siler's many hobbies--he is the key arranger for Tulip Sweet and Her Trail of Tears--Larmes de Colère ("Tears of Rage") have emerged as his rarest creation. The acoustic trio's theatrically poised sound draws equally on torch ballads and circus music for its cheeky pop numbers, à la Sweet, but shares melodies between lead… More >>
  • BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE

    SexWorld

    While Lickety Split gets points for its creative name (or loses them, depending on how easily offended you are), for sheer volume there is no beating SexWorld. This multilevel, carnival-themed erotic superstore fills 20,000 square feet and overflows with the kinds of graphic sexual entertainment that will either thrill or terrify you depending on your tastes. But then, there seems… More >>
  • BEST AIR-TRAVEL INNOVATION

    Northwest Airlines' online check-in

    Not everyone is a people person. Sometimes, frankly, we'd like to try life people-free. Nowhere would this experiment be more potentially rewarding than at the airport, with its interminable lines, surly gate agents, and travelers who despite an uncanny ability to pack and haul seven suitcases can't seem to grasp how to follow instructions or get the hell out of… More >>
  • BEST ALBUM OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Things We Lost in the Fire/Low

    There's nothing like a healthy dose of musical Valium, conveniently packaged in the form of a brand-new Low record, to get you through the long Minnesota winter. Somehow, listening to Low's ethereal slowcore has the ability to make even the bleakest December on the frozen plains seem like June on the West Coast. The band's latest record, Things We Lost… More >>
  • BEST ALL-AGES NIGHT

    In the Garage: All Ages Underground

    Easily shaping up to be one of the hippest hangouts around, the Dinkytowner Café is letting the kiddies get in on the deal, with "In the Garage: All Ages Underground" every Sunday at 7:00 p.m., sponsored by KFAI and Radio K. Since the cancellation of First Avenue's "Spectrum" Sundays, the all-ages crowd has been dispersed: Ravers enjoy open turntables at… More >>
  • BEST BAND NAME

    menstrualtramps

    'Nuff said.… More >>
  • BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Lifter Puller

    The party that was Lifter Puller rocked on for six years, attracting one of the most devoted and diverse assortments of guests since the Replacements. It seemed as though Lifter Puller was bound for indie stardom, but in the end they decided to pack it up before the cops broke it up--leaving Minneapolis with some of the most memorable shows… More >>
  • BEST BAND TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    American Head Charge

    We'll allow that American Head Charge sound like Korn, and that their torsos alone could subsidize the south Minneapolis tattoo industry for a fiscal quarter. We'll admit that the band has gone Hollywood fast enough to make Tommy Stinson look like a tourist, moving into Rick Rubin's Hollywood Hills mansion to cut an album less than two years after opening… More >>
  • BEST BATTING CAGE

    As Dome-detractors will tell you, baseball is meant to be played outdoors. And, as Dome-defenders will tell you, that doesn't mean a whole lot in Minnesota, where spring can find home plate buried under a snowdrift. Minnesota's tardy summers also force a compromise for amateur sluggers hankering for a few swings. During the winter months, the only options around are… More >>
  • BEST BEACH

    Hidden Beach

    As its name suggests, Hidden Beach offers a measure of seclusion rare for a city beach. Tucked in the woods on the east side of Cedar Lake, its sands are not even visible from the nearest roadway, Upton Avenue. There are no parking lots nearby. There are no roped-off swimming areas. And there are no lifeguards to enforce the dreaded… More >>
  • BEST BEER SELECTION IN A BAR

    Bryant-Lake Bowl

    Eighteen beers on tap. Eighteen! Pilsner Urquell, Bell's Amber, Hop Ottin' IPA, Grain Belt--all for a mere $3.75 a pint, and that's not even counting the special, guest beers. Then, another 15 lagers in cans or bottles--from Hamm's in cans to Sapporo. Ten ales of every stripe, from cult-favorite Theakston's Old Peculiar (at $3.75 not much more than you pay… More >>
  • BEST BIKE TRAIL

    Midtown Greenway

    Yeah, it's only two and a half miles long, and yeah, its completion was delayed three years. But when the Midtown Greenway finally opened in August, Minneapolis bicyclists had something to shout about: a safe, quick alternative to risking life and limb on busy, east-west roads like Lake Street. Not only that, the greenway created the crucial link in a… More >>
  • BEST BINGO GAME

    Bingo, unlike bowling, is a blue-collar Midwestern diversion that has never really caught on beyond its core constituency. One reason, perhaps, is that, according to popular perception, said constituency consists primarily of chain-smoking retirees in support stockings. Another reason is that, unlike bowling, you can't play bingo ironically; if you don't get into it, the game will bore you to… More >>
  • BEST BLOODY MARY

    St. Paul Grill

    These days it seems that most joints have forgotten that divinity lies deep within a bloody mary, not in all of the ancillary food fixings stuffed in as an afterthought. In other words, what is in theory a cocktail is too often presented as an appetizer. So, purists take heart: Elegant simplicity can be found at the St. Paul Grill,… More >>
  • BEST BLUES ARTIST

    Joe T. Cook

    The thrill of Joe T. Cook's Longshot (Blue Loon) is in hearing a regular Joe become a bona fide blues singer. It's the sound of a guy who has toiled for years in the local scene, taken a half-decade break from recording, then emerged again sounding none the wiser (or more wised-up) but somehow more confident in his uncertainty. Cook… More >>
  • BEST BLUES BAR

    Where else can you catch both Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter in one exhilarating week of Texas sibling rivalry? Where else can you see exuberant local R&B stalwart Big Walter Smith celebrate his 70th birthday onstage? Where else can you pick up some toilet paper at the neighboring Target store before hitting the bar's video-golf game? Okay, not everything specific… More >>
  • BEST BOONDOGGLE

    Lake Street Sears Building

    For more than 60 years, the Lake Street Sears was a center of commerce in south Minneapolis. But in 1994, after years of losing money at the site, the company decided to close the store. Time passed. A Chicago-based developer proposed to redevelop the site, but Minneapolis officials balked at the subsidy he was seeking, and his plans to tear… More >>
  • BEST BOUNCERS

    Whatever you do, kindly refrain from using that hostile, archaic term in their presence. Bouncers. The very job title makes it sound like these people spend all their time sending heads caroming off a wall. Security personnel deserve a little sensitivity, just like you, and at the Quest, the preferred term is "public-relations specialists." So please courteously dispense with your… More >>
  • BEST BOWLING ALLEY

    Victor's, Southtown attached bar

    Let's face it, bowling is not best enjoyed as a sober activity. Sure, there are plenty of people who take this "sport" seriously, and the sheer number of league games that take place at this particular alley attests to its status as a well-kept venue. The nights, though, are left open for the rest of us, who may need a… More >>
  • BEST BOXER

    "Steel" Will Grigsby

    It probably says something about the Minnesota fight scene that the boxer who had the best year fought only once, was stripped of his title, and was twice arrested in highly unsavory circumstances. But the simple fact remains: St. Paul's "Steel" Will Grigsby is the slickest, most accomplished fighter to lace on the gloves in Minnesota in a long, long… More >>
  • BEST BOXING GYM

    Glancey's

    Back in 1991, when Jim Glancey bought the former Anderson Meat Company building on St. Paul's East Side, he hoped to train and manage professional boxers. But like many who proceeded him, Glancey quickly learned that it's tough to make a buck on the prairie's pro fight circuit. Rather than giving up, the retired pipe insulator decided to focus on… More >>
  • BEST BROKEN PROMISE

    Paul Wellstone

    Being principled and passionate can win you Best Politician tributes, but if you're looking to be a Best of the Twin Cities multiple winner, you've got to be imaginative. Way back in 1990, the day after his upset victory over incumbent Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, Paul Wellstone made a pledge to the citizens of Minnesota: He would serve no more… More >>
  • BEST CAREER MOVE

    The job-placement fee was steep--nearly $12 million. But if money can't buy everything, it can still buy a seat in the U.S. Senate.… More >>
  • BEST CASINO

    Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

    The "bigger is better" principle does not apply to all things. (Think house pets. Alimony payments. Melanomas.) But with casinos, size does matter. Gambling is an inherently grandiose pursuit, and for our money, at least, the bigger and gaudier the venue, the better. For the winners, a roomy casino means a bigger crowd to play to, a better forum for… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP THRILL

    Dollar King's

    Your run-of-the-mill dollar store, with its stockpile of motor oil, off-brand toiletries, and faux Tupperware, is a thing to be celebrated in its own utilitarian right. But let's face it: It's nothing to write home about. Your dollar bazaar, on the other hand--now that's another matter entirely. Dollar King's got the basics bases covered, but for our buck, the thrill's… More >>
  • BEST CHUTZPAH

    Glen Mason

    Following the Gophers' humiliating loss to North Carolina State in the Micronpc.com Bowl, you might think coach Glen Mason would either hang his head in shame for a couple of weeks, hit the streets and sign some hot recruits, or go on the mother of all benders. Mason settled on a fourth option: He attempted to hustle his way into… More >>
  • BEST CLASS ACT

    J.B. Bickerstaff

    J.B. Bickerstaff catches the wrong kind of breaks. As the emotional core of the Gopher men's basketball team for the past two years, he saw each season come to an end courtesy of a broken leg. (This after sitting through the program's term-paper scandal.) The second break was especially painful, as it dashed a once-promising college career and dreams of… More >>
  • BEST CLUB DJ

    DJ E-Tones

    Before DJ culture became so visible as to be co-opted by candy-bar commercials, Tony Larson (a.k.a. DJ E-Tones) was teaching himself to spin with how-to books he'd checked out from the library. E-Tones played the role of bedroom DJ for nearly a year until landing his first gig, at age 18, at Woody McBride's "Impact: Field Trip to Bass Cave… More >>
  • BEST COACH

    Dan Monson

    The guy takes his team out on the hard court and leads the Gopher fans in the U of M rouser after every game, win or lose! Need we say more? Okay. Fine. Relatively speaking, the NCAA went easy on the U's basketball program last October. Still, the already undersize, star-starved hoopsters--facing five fewer scholarships, significant recruiting restrictions, and a… More >>
  • BEST COCKTAILS

    Red Dragon

    We debated what it meant for a bar to have the best cocktails. Does it mean the strongest drink for your buck? If that's the case, we recommend your local American Legion or VFW, where you can play pull tabs and drown your sorrows with vets and neighborhood drunks (who aren't always the same people) for a paltry amount of… More >>
  • BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE

    One of the first lessons taught in judo is that a small fighter can use a larger opponent's strength to his own advantage. Well, Big Ten college football isn't exactly judo. And that makes this Gopher senior's impressive record as center all the more striking. At six-foot-five and 283 pounds, Hamilton is practically a runt compared to the defensive linemen… More >>
  • BEST COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

    Hmong Times

    After floods ravaged Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1997, the Grand Forks Herald won a Pulitzer Prize for public service, for not missing an issue despite the fact that its offices were wiped out. In a slightly less dramatic--but no less important--fashion, the Hmong Times in St. Paul is still publishing after a fire destroyed its offices in early March.… More >>
  • BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Something is missing--something essential. "We need a jug player up here," declares a squat woman with a professional wrestler's voice. She motions to an empty microphone beside her, on the otherwise crowded stage of the Cabooze. It is Sunday, February 4, the afternoon of the 19th Annual Jug Band Contest, and this is no time or place to be without… More >>
  • BEST CONCERT VENUE

    400 Bar - CLOSED

    Perhaps City Pages has been too harsh with the 400 Bar. In the past, we have griped about their beer prices, badmouthed their bathrooms, and, perhaps most unforgivable, unleashed countless lengthy rants about 400-bound artists. (Our feline friend Cat Power was so misunderstood!) What we don't generally tend to write about is the fact that the 400 consistently takes risks… More >>
  • BEST COP

    Andy Schmidt

    This past August, Sgt. Joe Delia of the Maryland Heights Police Department in Missouri was one of 13 officers recognized as a "Top Cop" by the National Association of Police Organizations. The honor was bestowed upon Delia in recognition of his central role in the multi-year investigation of the so-called Evans Family interstate prostitution ring. But Delia would be the… More >>
  • BEST CORRECTION

    Star Tribune

    Corrections are inevitable: misidentified high school athletes, statistics off by one decimal point, misspelled names. We're all human. But there are certain gaffes that can forever destroy a newspaper's credibility. So for posterity's sake, we offer this blunder from the March 31, 2001 Star Tribune. "An item on Page N24 Friday incorrectly said Liquor Lyle's, 3018 Hennepin Av. S., Minneapolis,… More >>
  • BEST DAD

    Rod Grams

    With names like Freeman, Mondale, and Humphrey, Minnesota politics has no shortage of touching father-son moments. But perhaps the most inspiring example of a father's love came last year from then-U.S. Sen. Rod Grams. His son Morgan had been busted in July 1999 for driving a rental car that held, among other things, a pile of empty and unopened beer… More >>
  • BEST DANCE CLUB

    The Quest

    For the past several years, the Quest, located in the historic Wyman Building, has raised the bar (so to speak) on the quality of Twin Cities nightlife. Though it remains a newbie in comparison to other local venues (it opened in October 1990 as Glam Slam, under the ownership of the Artist), this luxurious club's association with the super-booking agency… More >>
  • BEST DAY TRIP

    Downtown Minneapolis

    Hmmm. Let's see, Minnesota day trip. We could go north and have our picture taken with a giant blue ox or south and jam into a crowded warehouse full of pink-colored pottery. It's so hard to decide. Or we could just stay home and take a nice stroll around downtown Minneapolis. Doesn't that sound better? Sure, you'll have to pick… More >>
  • BEST EXAMPLE OF KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

    The Grundhofers

    What to do when you become a feared banking mogul in the 1990s, only to see Wall Street turn jittery at your slash-and-burn management style come the dawn of the millennium? If you're Jack Grundhofer, CEO of U.S. Bancorp, you lean on your little brother. Last year, with U.S. Bank mired in two lawsuits over the alleged sale of customers'… More >>
  • BEST EXIT

    Time will tell whether Minneapolis's longtime finance director was a voice in the wilderness or a nattering nabob. For now we're inclined to believe the former. During his eight-year tenure, Moir was always there to slap the hands of politicians when they reached too far into taxpayers' pockets. Always reasonable and always informed, Moir quietly questioned city initiatives such as… More >>
  • BEST FARMERS' MARKET

    St. Pauls Farmers Market

    It has been said that Minnesota's two seasons are winter and road construction. Let's amend that to "winter and farmers'-market season." While we may strike an unhappy accord with the former, accepting subarctic wind chills with a stoic sniffle, winter in Minnesota does make summer's glorious bounty all the sweeter. And there's no better place to sample summer's fleeting delights… More >>
  • BEST FESTIVAL

    Unlike its geographic neighbor, the gargantuan Uptown Arts Fair, and other overgrown summer gatherings, this unassuming yet fun-filled little festival didn't back up local traffic for blocks. It didn't feature national music acts (washed-up or not), but instead hosted a variety of local performers (Matt Wilson being one highlight last time around). It was a one-day thing, so we had… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE (URBAN)

    Lake Elmo

    For anglers seeking obscure quarry like freshwater gar or paddlefish, the Mississippi River probably tops the list. Looking for big catfish? Try the Minnesota River. Largemouth bass? Lake Minnetonka is your spot. But for an angler chasing the ultimate freshwater-fishing thrill, nothing beats Lake Elmo, a smallish but intriguing lake located in the Washington County town of the same name.… More >>
  • BEST FOOD COURT

    Mall of America

    Life is a carnival. With that realization, it dawns on us that we no longer have any excuse for avoiding the Mall of America. Good thing we don't have to do so on an empty stomach. Though the mall is home to far too many eating options, our favorite is the original food court, where one can assemble mix-and-mismatch combo… More >>
  • BEST GADFLY

    Minnesotans for Major League Baseball

    Last summer the Minneapolis City Council appointed a 17-member committee to study the feasibility of a privately financed new baseball stadium for the Minnesota Twins. In early March the committee published its conclusion: It can be done. The group envisions an affordable "compact urban ballpark" inspired by classic venues such as Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston… More >>
  • BEST GAY BAR

    Boom

    Tourists walk into the Stonewall in Greenwich Village--the descendent of many decades of clandestine gay bars and ground zero of the gay-liberation movement--to find a snug little hole in the brick wall. It's as if this symbol of affectional freedom among men feels like the closet, expanded. Similarly, most gay bars in our neck of the prairie still seem like… More >>
  • BEST GOLF COURSE

    Francis A. Gross

    There has been a rash of golf-course development over the past few years, particularly in the exurban metro. While these fancy-schmancy clubs might attract fleeting attention from the new-economy linkheads (the much-raved about course in Prior Lake, the Wilds, costs $99 a pop), regular folk jonesin' for good, cheap golf need look no further than the northern tip of Minneapolis.… More >>
  • BEST GROUND ZERO

    Loring Park

    The weeks leading up to last summer's International Society for Animal Genetics conference brought no shortage of hyperventilating about the impending clash between lefty protesters and The Man. Minneapolis, it seemed, was at risk for a disturbance on the scale of the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle the previous fall. In an effort to justify a heavy police presence… More >>
  • BEST GROUND ZERO (LITERAL)

    U Otter Stop Inn

    In case you thought census data was only good for gerrymandering Congressional districts, there was this revelation, courtesy of the statisticians at the St. Paul Pioneer Press: The U Otter Stop Inn is the absolute center point--or "centroid" in people-counting parlance--of the Twin Cities' population.… More >>
  • BEST GROUP TO WELCOME NEW TWIN CITIZENS

    Twin Cities Transplants

    If you've recently relocated to the Twin Cities, you may have noticed that the natives sometimes seem only slightly less frigid than the winters. Breaking into a social circle (especially ones in which everyone else seems to have known one another since preschool) is no easy task. And while we can probably all agree that meeting people in the postcollege… More >>
  • BEST HAPPY HOUR

    Tracy's Saloon

    Too often "happy hour" can be a misnomer, with some bars harboring an air of melancholy that is only aggravated when the bill arrives. Tracy's Saloon, a quaint joint in the Seward neighborhood, provides a true antidote to the pocketbook blues. All beer and liquor is 75 cents off from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Additionally, Tracy's serves up different deals… More >>
  • BEST HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE

    Joe Mauer

    This year saw some staggering accomplishments in high school sports. Matt Nagel of Frazee became the only wrestler to win five state championships. Roseville's Renee Curtin ended her five-year career in girls' hockey with a record 544 points and two state championships. Still, in a year of standouts, only one athlete dominated in three sports: Cretin-Derham Hall's Joe Mauer. Resembling… More >>
  • BEST HIGH SCHOOL BAND

    Linus

    In a deflated, post-Foxfire all-ages music scene dominated by bands that take their cues from the likes of Green Day and Papa Roach, the Arts High School's Linus stay true to the indie-rock school in a way that appeals to old-timers and the kids alike. With a surprisingly polished EP recorded in the Arts High School's own studio shortly after… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST

    Musab

    Sometimes the best way to act defensive is to be offensive. "My music ain't for liberals/I make cuts for the streets," declares Musab on his newest EP Actin' Rich (Rhymesayers Entertainment), adding, for the benefit of liberals, "So playing me is like the cops bumpin' '[Fuck] tha Police.'" Later, as if to prove his point, he starts dispensing pimp advice… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP DJ

    DJ Andrew

    Remember when adding a DJ to a rock band was a radical move? When hip hop's influence on metal was supposed to save popular music? When we thought every band on earth would have a DJ by now, alongside the guitarist, bassist, and drummer? Well now DJs in rock are more like...tambourine players. Sometimes they are more like triangle players.… More >>
  • BEST IDEA FOR A TWINS STADIUM

    The notion had a certain charm. After years of trying and failing to sell the notion of a big new publicly funded ballpark, the Twins unveiled an entirely original concept last August: a more intimate venue (25,000 bleacher-type seats), outdoors, with real grass--that they'd pay for themselves. What a curveball! There were, of course, a few catches. This ballpark, to… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ ARTIST

    Irv Williams

    He is Mr. Smooth, the dean of local jazzmen, the octogenarian tenor saxophonist who settled here after WWII, and following stints with Fletcher Henderson and Mary Lou Williams. He is the beloved elder statesman, the guy who remembers the Flame, the Key Club, Cassius's Bamboo Room, and countless other bygone spots that once dotted a lost, cool Twin Cities nightscape.… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ CLUB

    The Dakota

    Lowell Pickett celebrated his club's 15th anniversary in regal fashion this past year, packing his monthly calendars--and testing his precarious bottom line--with a list of national treasures that rivaled jazz-festival lineups from San Francisco to Glasgow. As the seasons changed, the best-known names came through with set after set of memorable work: Avant bopper Steve Lacy blew through the bell… More >>
  • BEST JESSE VENTURA QUOTE

    It's hard to hit a moving target, and when it comes to providing sound bites, Gov. Jesse Ventura doesn't sit idle for long. But it's hard to beat this early-April effort, which is still triggering nasty flashbacks to that Ice-T movie Surviving the Game. It stemmed from a Star Tribune column by Dennis Anderson, in which the outdoors writer cheesed… More >>
  • BEST JOCKEY

    Derek Bell

    Since Canterbury Park reopened in 1994 Luis Quinonez has dominated the track, winning five consecutive jockey titles. But with Quinonez opting to race elsewhere last summer, the door opened up for Derek Bell, the second-best jockey at Canterbury in 1999. Despite breaking his shoulder in January and having to miss six weeks of action, Bell decimated the Canterbury field last… More >>
  • BEST JUKEBOX

    Red Dragon

    Used to be that a jukebox was a window into a bar's soul. Old Wurlitzer machines that took nickels, dimes, and quarters could sometimes house a charming obscurity here, a potent standard there. Now that pretty much every joint has a fancy CD jukebox that contains greatest hits and reissue compilations, a paradox has taken hold: Diversity is king, while… More >>
  • BEST KARAOKE

    The Poodle

    Some might argue that there's something depressing about karaoke: It inevitably leads to tears of some sort, whether they be tears of laughter or of pain. But karaoke at the Poodle, under the wing of host Cary Carlson, goes a long way toward dispelling such notions. It's been ten years since the velvet-voiced Carlson, who may remind some slightly tipsy… More >>
  • BEST LANDMARK

    City Hall's Clock Tower

    Downtown Minneapolis does not have a very good reputation for hanging on to its historic structures. Today, with only a few exceptions, the downtown skyline is a morass of cold, soulless edifices constructed during the Eighties and Nineties. With the exception, perhaps, of Philip Johnson's 1973 IDS Center, this city could be Anytown, USA. But then there's the city hall's… More >>
  • BEST LESBIAN BAR

    Club Metro

    A good lesbian bar should be like the one in the Jonathan Richman song: It should take a few moments for you to realize that's the kind of bar you're dancing in. Although Club Metro's location makes it a difficult place to stumble into by chance, the neighborhood-hangout vibe and jovial crowd guarantee you'll need at least one beer before… More >>
  • BEST LIBRARY

    Minnesota History Center

    At first it seems a smidge intimidating. You climb the marble stairs to the second floor of the Minnesota History Center and tiptoe through the stunning rotunda toward the library, home to 500,000 volumes covering everything from church histories to local labor organizations to the explorers of the Great Lakes. As you step up to the registration desk, you face… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD

    Chuck Foreman

    Minnesota Vikings fans who remember the team's greatest era have fond memories of running back Chuck Foreman. During his seven seasons with the team (1973-79), he went to the Pro Bowl five times and set a host of team records. But last year federal prosecutors weren't interested in Chuck's career 5,879 yards rushing for the Vikes when they charged him… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD

    Rich Kronfeld

    For years Kronfeld was best known to local audiences for his hyper-anal character, Dr. Sphincter, for whom tightness and rightness were one. He popped up a lot on local cable access and did some advertising work. Maybe you saw him fronting a band at the Terminal Bar. Maybe you even saw Kronfeld display his dramatic side, when he starred in… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL GONE BAD

    Remember the good old days, when there were people who cared about reality TV? The early money was on "spunky" 25-year-old drug-company sales rep Brittany Petros to outlast her housemates/foes on Big Brother. Hometown rival Jean Jordan, for one, was an ex-stripper who came off as a borderline sociopath. (See "Best Local Girl Made Good" previous.) But there were mitigating… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD

    Jean Jordan

    When reality TV hit home, it hit hard: Not one, but two Twin Citizens were picked to take part in Big Brother, CBS's attempt to follow up on the Survivor phenomenon (by dumping a group of strangers in a house, training hidden cameras on them, and getting 'em all drunk). Every drama needs an antagonist, and "Jordan the Stripper," a… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL SIGN OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

    U S West becomes Qwest. Minnegasco becomes Reliant Energy. Northern States Power becomes Xcel Energy. At least Twin Citians will always have the Dayton's name to fill us with pride, right?… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY GENERATED WEB SITE

    "Bleats"

    Forget about his namby-pamby column in the Star Tribune; the real James Lileks can be found on his peculiar Web site, which is equal parts personal diary and urban archaeology. Lileks's daily dispatches for the site, which he calls "Bleats," offer curious meditations on the ambiguity of the human psyche without ever veering into self-pity or -aggrandizement. Mostly they resonate… More >>
  • BEST LYNX PLAYER

    Betty Lennox

    There are only two realistic choices here: Katie Smith and Betty Lennox. The two WNBA All Stars accounted for a whopping 54 percent of the Lynx's scoring last season, averaging 20 and 17 points per game respectively. On top of that, the dynamic duo were responsible for more than a third of the team's assists and finished one-two in steals.… More >>
  • BEST MARGARITA

    Chevy's

    A quick look at any bartender's guide lets even the most clueless guzzler in on the little secrets that make for a good drink. In the case of margaritas, it's simple: a shot of primo tequila, one-third that amount of Cointreau--the orange liqueur--and ice and a hearty squeeze of lime juice. Gently shake those ingredients and strain into a salt-rimmed… More >>
  • BEST MARTINI

    Moscow on the Hill

    Walking into Moscow on the Hill you are instantly hit with a wave of nostalgia. The paisley-print scarves draped over the lights, the worn red carpeting and matching red tablecloths and drapes, the antique dishes lined up on wooden shelves--all this is warmly reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinners at your grandmother's house. Now imagine that your grandmother made her own cherry-flavored… More >>
  • BEST MEAT RAFFLE

    Mayslack's

    Long live the meat raffle! This peculiar tradition makes no logical sense: Go to the bar for a beer and a bump and come home with...prime rib! Mayslack's, along with Jimmy's Bar & Lounge and the Knight Cap, forms the epicenter of Nordeast meat raffles. We choose Mayslack's because they've got the best booty: fresh cuts from the renowned Hackenmueller's… More >>
  • BEST MOM

    Audrey Grams

    There's no love quite like a mother's love. Still, Audrey Grams set a new standard for maternal devotion this fall, when she starred in a political attack ad on behalf of her son, then-incumbent U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, who was waging an uphill battle against DFLer Mark Dayton. The Grams campaign already appeared doomed at the time: His poll numbers… More >>
  • BEST MONTH TO BE IN THE TWIN CITIES

    February

    Come on, let's be honest: June, July, and August aren't all that special around here. Sure, the days and nights are balmy and the raspberries are ripening and there's a festival of some sort every weekend and the Twins are playing outdoors on natural grass to sellout crowds in privately financed Carl Pohlad Park--uh, okay, we're awake now. But really,… More >>
  • BEST MONTH TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES

    When famed polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton discovered Minnesota at the far edge of the Ross Ice Shelf in the waning decades of the 19th Century, he instantly grasped the challenges this barren tundra would present to human habitation. Granted, Shackleton was not the first one here. Since the 1850s, Scandinavian tribesmen had roamed over the ice pack in search… More >>
  • BEST MYTH

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  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR--MINNEAPOLIS

    Grumpy's Bar & Grill

    Okay, okay, here it goes. An octogenarian, a neighborhood sheetrocker, and a cutting-edge hipster walk into a bar. The octogenarian says, "I'll have a Grain Belt Golden," and the sheetrocker says, "I'll have a Grain Belt Premium," and the hipster says, "I'll have a half-and-half, Premium and Guinness." And then they all get their drinks, and take them to tables… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR--ST. PAUL

    Willard's Liquors

    St. Paul's neighborhood bars are as integral a part of its fabric as Catholic churches and an abandoned downtown. There's Schwietz Saloon on the East Side, with its rock-bottom prices and its patrons who have been regulars so long that they have their names emblazoned on the bar. On the West Side you won't go wrong with Joseph's Bar and… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD GYM

    YWCA

    We're not knocking the other two YWCA facilities in Minneapolis, but let's face it, natural light--which is so essential to the indoor workout, especially in the land of seven-month winters--isn't easy to come by at the Uptown and Downtown locations. At Midtown, the $21.4 million center that opened August 1, windows are everywhere. Staff members are eager to proclaim that… More >>
  • BEST NEW BAND

    The contrast isn't exactly "librarian by day, stripper by night," but the difference between Alan Sparhawk of Low and Alan Sparhawk of the Black Eyed Snakes is nonetheless comic. In his notoriously slow and achingly lovely pop trio Low, the Duluth singer-guitarist evokes spiritual struggle without preaching or screaming in tongues. In his beat-thwacking, voice-distorting, primal blooze threesome Black Eyed… More >>
  • BEST NON-ISSUE

    Last November, when Gov. Jesse Ventura announced that he'd be doing color commentary for the footballesque venture cooked up by World Wrestling Federation impresario Vince McMahon and NBC, conflict-of-interest questions swirled anew around the man who, since taking office, has uncorked two ghostwritten books, played referee for a WWF circus, and cut a deal with a Broadway producer for a… More >>
  • BEST OLD BAND

    Static Taxi

    Bob Stinson never released an album after the Replacements showed him the door in 1986--not with the Bleeding Hearts, not with Sonny Vincent, not with Dog 994. If this trash-punk guitar virtuoso had a way of making fellow musicians feel like it was him and them against the world, most friends also got the impression that the world was… More >>
  • BEST OPEN-MIC NIGHT

    The Artists' Quarter Jazz Club

    Sitting back at the bar provides an ideal vantage point for appreciating this club. Its pitch-black walls and lack of windows make for a smoky jazz ambiance that will lure even the most timid to take the stage, backed by a smooth drumbeat. Most recently hosted by local poet Matt Harmoning every Wednesday night from 8:00 p.m. until close, this… More >>
  • BEST PARADE

    Did you just get out of mass? Yeah. When can we start drinking? I already started drinking. It's too cold to be outside. That's why I started drinking. Why would somebody paint their dog green? He's Irish. Shouldn't there be more floats in a parade? No, man, this is all about the people, something for the whole family to do… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC SPOT

    Como Park in St. Paul

    American cities sprawl off into unreasonably vast distances, overladen with four-lane highways and drive-thru shopping centers. Even walking to the grocery store is becoming a near impossibility in our car-dependent rim cities. Como Park in St. Paul, designed much like the urban parks in the great cities of Europe, is a rare exception to this dehumanizing rule. Its paths wind… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

    Science Museum of Minnesota

    A first date is a delicate balancing act: You want to be able to talk to each other (only through conversation can you ferret out whether your date is socialized/interesting/funny/needy/psycho), but you also want an easy escape from those awkward pauses. The solution: a Friday night at the Science Museum. A meander through the exhibits is bound to reveal whether… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BIRD WATCH

    Audubon

    The easiest place to bird watch these days might be one's computer. The Minnesota Ornithologists' Union (www.cbs.umn.edu/~mou/) maintains a list--approved by their "records committee"--of some 423 species spotted in the state. And the sad fact is, however many hours you spend with a pair of binoculars glued to your face, you're not going to see a magnificent frigate bird--a glorious… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CAMP

    The Boundary Waters

    From the obscure little gems like the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area to the famous recreational playgrounds of the Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota is dotted with literally hundreds of great places to pitch a tent. But the best? That's a no-brainer. The Boundary Waters aren't a Minnesota treasure, they're a national one--and one of the few remaining places in the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CROSS-COUNTRY SKI

    Lebanon Hills

    We don't have the knees to be graceful downhill-ski bunnies. But we can handle ourselves fairly well on cross-country trails. And a favorite spot for testing our elements is Lebanon Hills Regional Park, where miles of beginning, intermediate, and downright difficult trails can be accessed from trailheads at Jensen, Holland, and Shulze lakes. The latter spot is the busiest during… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DRINK YOURSELF SILLY

    Sacre bleu! The one Jacques tied on last night! Mon Dieu! Eet is no surprise, though. What dreenks! A wine list of hundreds--hundreds!--of never-before-seen-around-here French wines, bewitching house cocktails, French and Belgian ales, even house-made spiced wine. (Try La Trappe Belgian ale on tap ($4.50), served in a signature broad-bellied short goblet to accentuate its sharp, biscuity and flowery aroma;… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DUMP SOMEONE

    Mall of America

    Ending a relationship requires a delicate touch, and one ought to give ample consideration to setting the appropriate stage. In our minds, there's no better place to call it quits with your significant other than smack-dab in the middle of the Mall of America. Confusion is your ally! Hundreds upon hundreds of giddy children towing overwhelmed chaperones supply sufficient background… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO FALL ASLEEP IN PUBLIC

    A lazy Friday afternoon, and you made the mistake of eating a big greasy burger with fries and washing it down with a couple o' brewskis. The thought of returning to the office was about as appetizing as coming down with food poisoning. Nobody in the shop would miss you anyway, you reasoned, at least not for a couple of… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE (URBAN)

    Nicollet Island

    What in God's name is this place doing in the middle of a city? A little less than 50 acres in size, this island seems as if it floated upstream from Stillwater, perhaps, and somehow got lodged in the throat of the Mighty Miss. A few years back, a circumnavigation of this island offered hints of the somewhat seedy neighborhood… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE (WOODSY)

    Mississippi River gorge

    Aside from the occasional clusters of forest and scattered lakes, we live in a flat expanse of citified prairie that bears a disturbing resemblance to greater Des Moines. There are, however, exceptions, and none is more striking than the Mississippi River gorge. It's no accident that the first white settlers--and the Dakota before them--were drawn to the banks of the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ICE-SKATE

    There's something reassuring about our ability to transform nearly everything on earth into a disco. Thirty years after the last train pulled out of the old Milwaukee Depot, this steely monument to the industrial age still looks like something out of a Monet painting. But inside the muscular metal arcade--built a century ago to shelter our mightiest locomotives--there is an… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO JOG

    Lake of the Isles

    Saturday afternoon in mid-March and the endless winter has finally begun to lose its bite. The temperature is a balmy 45 degrees and the sun (sun!) is shining. Staring out our dank apartment window, we can no longer resist the lure of the outdoors. So we turn off the TV, put the unopened beer back in the fridge, and lace… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE

    Tapestry Folkdance Center

    A year and a half after settling into its new space, the already reputable Tapestry has improved its repertoire by leaps and bounds. With two new dance spaces, featuring glossy maple floors, the center has room to balance its own programs with outside rentals. The classes are truly cross-cultural spectacles: Irish steppers will test themselves with salsa; English country folkies… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LOSE YOUR SHIRT

    Canterbury

    Go ahead and toss your money down the toilet at one of the state's cheap Sin City knockoffs. Just don't come crying to us when you've blown the Wisconsin Dells family-vacation fund in one debauched weekend because you were too foolish to heed the cardinal rule of casinos: In the end, the house always wins. The poker tables at Canterbury… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (GAY)

    The Saloon

    Okay, so this category is a bit misleading. Everyone knows that the best way to meet gay men is through friends or at parties or through various leisure activities. But let's say you're feeling old, fat, unloved, in need of a self-esteem boost. Then welcome to the Saloon--a.k.a. "Old Faithful." This is one place you need never leave alone. The… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (STRAIGHT)

    Borders

    Once upon a time, a twentysomething Minneapolitan female who was considering a more rigorous study of the Japanese language gathered up an array of textbooks and planted herself at a little table inside this alcove of bookshelves. Preoccupied in a reverie of katakana characters and seemingly backward sentence structures, she was somewhat amazed when, in the span of ten minutes,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (LESBIAN)

    Look, we hate to marginalize any facet of the crowd. And we hate to solidify stereotypes, especially the one that insists that all women athletes and their fans are a bit butch. Still, even if the National Basketball Association doesn't want to admit it, we will: Lesbians attend women's professional basketball games. The WNBA has a refreshing sense of community… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (STRAIGHT)

    The Quest Club

    First, there's las matemáticas. When the Quest's dance instructors show you the steps every Monday night at 8:30 p.m., women outnumber men by a factor of two. (Lessons are complimentary with the $10 cover.) Those "odds" improve still further when the Caribbean and Mexican rhythms of the Latin Sounds Orchestra or Orquesta Sabor Tropical saturate the palatial dance club's 24,000… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH

    Nicollet Mall

    Much of downtown Minneapolis is prime real estate for people-watching. Nicollet Mall has an edge, thanks to its office towers, hotels, and posh shops, not to mention its status as a major bus hub. And if the mall has a center, it's the Crystal Court. Downtown workers of every stripe pass through here: fast-moving business types in suits, slower-moving business… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PLAY BOCCE

    Half Time Rec

    Saturday afternoon in January and we're whiling away the winter hours stupidly drinking beer in the middle of the day--again. A pint here, a bottle of Bud there, another pint God knows where, until we somehow find ourselves jacketless at the Winter Carnival, standing slack-jawed in the middle of the ice-sculpture maze wondering if there's actually a way out of… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PLAY GOLDEN TEE

    Mortimer's

    There's something perverse about the soul who seeks sports and recreation within the confines of the darkest, smokiest bar in the Twin Cities. But several such souls can be found on any given sunny afternoon at Mortimer's, standing among the rows of antiquated pinball machines and video poker games waiting to play Golden Tee 2002, the latest version of a… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PRACTICE JUGGLING

    Matthews Park Center

    On Monday nights at 7:00 p.m., they start to trickle in, sometimes just a handful, sometimes 20 or 30 of them. They smile and greet each other, or introduce themselves as if it's their first time. In a flash, balls, clubs, and rings are flying. And for the next two hours, in a gymnasium shared by the Matthews Park Center… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ROLLERBLADE

    Metrodome

    There are many beautiful paved trails in Minnesota--trails that wind through beautiful river bluffs and past exquisite prairie vistas. And many of these trails were considered for this category. But alas, the Northland, beautiful though it may be, is off-limits to skaters at least six months a year. Fortunately for the in-line-deprived there is help: Rollerdome. From November through April,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ROOT AGAINST THE VIKINGS

    Lee's Liquor Lounge

    Though this joint has achieved near-legendary status as a great roadhouse for local and national live music, Lee's Liquor Lounge is still essentially what owner Louie Sirian calls a "saloon." And so on Sundays the regulars trickle in to catch the games in what was once a liquor store owned by former Purple People Eater Carl Eller. Viking faithful will… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS

    From The WPA Guide to Minnesota (1938): "A short distance upstream and about halfway down the riverbank were the Chalybete Springs. Early residents of St. Anthony Village, impressed by the healing properties of the waters, built paths and steps to their outlet. But the spring lost its reputation, its steps, and its platform, when an analysis, urged by skeptics, showed… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE OUTDOORS

    Vali-Hi Drive-In Theatre

    Having awarded this category to the artfully programmed Stevens Square Park movies-and-music series in past years, we're not now confessing our latent preference for the likes of Gone in Sixty Seconds and Driven over, say, Thelma & Louise and Putney Swope. It's just that Gone in Sixty Seconds and Driven can be damn fun to watch through a car window… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WEAR BLACK LIPSTICK

    Y'all Come Back Saloon

    For this weekly goth drama scene of tortured industrial music and gloom-and-doom ambiance (appropriately placed on the most depressing day of the week), it's best not to stop the theatrics at the lips. Black, and nothing but black, is the unstated but understood dress code. For how does one convey that gorgeously tormented sense of one's existential conflicts and misunderstood… More >>
  • BEST POLITICAL EMBARRASSMENT

    Sharon Sayles Belton

    How, how could we possibly narrow this down to just one winner? There's simply too much to choose from. Like, for instance, the parade of sensational headlines generated by former Ramsey County Commissioner Dino Guerin, who admitted to having a gambling addiction and to passing $35,500 in bad checks; was forced to resign his seat on the county board; filed… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN

    Paul David Wellstone

    Minnesota's senior senator had a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment last year: As the Senate gave a free pass to the China trade bill, Wellstone raised his voice in protest of that nation's history of human-rights abuses and religious persecution. Though he wasn't alone in his opposition to normalized relations with China (he had an unlikely ally in North… More >>
  • BEST POP GROUP

    12Rods

    One barely adequate explanation of the difference between "rock" and "pop" is that the former describes a song's life in the moment (e.g., "That song rocks!") and the latter describes its half-life in your memory (e.g., "How did that song go again?"). By these definitions, 12Rods are...a very good band. But since cheeky singer-guitarist Ryan Olcott has long complained that… More >>
  • BEST PROOF THAT THE END WAS REALLY NEAR

    From a Minneapolis Police Department memo: "The groups that have traditionally supported animal rights are very committed to their cause and frequently use tactics including property damage, arson, and violent/nonviolent demonstrations." Hey, better safe than sorry, right?… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC PARK

    Powderhorn

    While most parks offer greenery and hiking trails designed to take visitors as far away--at least psychologically--from the city as possible, Powderhorn revels in its urban community vibe. In addition to hosting the Powderhorn art festival, a massive Fourth of July fireworks display, and at least one summer installment of Shakespeare in the Park, it also has an annual Mayday… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC RESTROOM

    Monte Carlo

    Humans often require privacy, even in public places. To put it delicately, the less of an audience one must endure in the lavatory, the better. If only all public restrooms were like those at the Monte Carlo. First, and most important, you get your own room. Not merely your own stall, mind you, where you must be a yoga master… More >>
  • BEST QUOTE ABOUT JESSE VENTURA

    After his debut as the very poor man's Dennis Miller for the XFL, Governor Ventura got some tough reviews. Our favorite zinger came from out of state (a fresh perspective always helps). Richard Sandomir, a sportswriter for the New York Times, offered this withering assessment to the local Associated Press: "I don't know if he was told to be a… More >>
  • BEST R&B ARTIST

    Toriano Sanzone

    Sure, the hallucinatory hip hop of Red Lights and Poetry-founder Toriano Sanzone resembles R&B (a.k.a. contemporary black pop) about as much as Basehead, Tricky, or the Black Album does. But, like that company, Sanzone deserves a special designation outside of rap, even if the new Beautiful Darkness 44:44 (GG Entertainment) contains little singing. One reason is that Sanzone and his… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO MOVE TO WOODBURY

    We can handle 40-below wind chills, and 75 inches of snow, and potholes the size of Dodge Neons. It's all part of the secret-handshake agreement one makes when one opts to live in this frozen metropolitan paradise. Ain't nothin' you can do about Mother Nature, after all. But you'd think some benevolent municipal soul (or is that an oxymoron?) would… More >>
  • BEST RENOVATION

    Loft Literary Center

    Amid the patchwork of 19th-century flour mills and 20th-century kitsch (and vast expanses of parking lot) that forms its downtown-Minneapolis neighborhood, the Open Book literary center manages to fit right in, in the best possible way. Rather than snub the surroundings, architect Garth Rockcastle took an archaeological approach to the renovation of the center's three turn-of-the-century commercial buildings and created… More >>
  • BEST RISE AND FALL

    Chris Clouser

    The baseball season of 2000 was still in its adolescence when the Minnesota Twins proudly announced that the team had a new CEO: Chris Clouser, a former senior vice president for Northwest Airlines. (Baseball, airlines--it's all business, right?) Clouser's primary goal was to sell the public on the idea that the Twins really, really, no kidding this time, need a… More >>
  • BEST ROCK BAND

    Dillinger Four

    Too pigheaded to admit that they are no match against Yahweh, too popular to play the basement shows that made them legendary, and probably too proud (or punk) to accept this award from your favorite alt-weekly behemoth, Dillinger Four are more themselves than ever in 2001. They teach the children well, announcing on last year's Versus God (Hopeless Records), "We… More >>
  • BEST ROCK CLUB

    First Avenue

    In case you hadn't noticed, First Avenue is that Walkman next to the Target Center's boombox. It's that old black bus station that's been turned into a concert venue and dance hall. It's a former transfer point between Seattle and the East Coast that now serves as a transfer point between musical tastes. Inside, salsa royalty mingle with punks, weekenders… More >>
  • BEST RUMOR ON THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE

    Not that we blame ravers for being edgy: From 7th Heaven to Coca-Cola spots, from Groove to the evening news, rave culture has gone from underground youth phenomenon to object of mass parental concern. Locally, the war on Ecstasy has led the city to crack down on public events that just resemble a rave. And kids who like the idea… More >>
  • BEST SCANDAL

    Minnesota Timberwolves execs

    We'd hardly had the chance to absorb news that the University of Minnesota men's basketball team was a hotbed of academic fraud when news came that Minnesota Timberwolves execs had inked an under-the-table deal to retain the services of Joe Smith, salary cap be damned. Thus did our fair state achieve the elite status of World's Most Corrupt Basketball Venue.… More >>
  • BEST SECOND-BEST MYTH

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  • BEST SELF-PROMOTION

    Mike Hatch

    Having twice run unsuccessfully for governor (in 1990 and 1994), Mike Hatch tried a new gambit in 1988, and it paid off. Casting healthcare companies as the Devil, Hatch won the DFL primary and then defeated Republican Charlie Weaver in the general election. And he has been on a tear ever since. Sometimes it seems Hatch is on TV more… More >>
  • BEST SHORTCUT

    If you've lived in Minneapolis for more than a little while, you're probably aware that if you're driving north on Cedar Avenue, hanging a left just before you reach Washington Avenue and following the arrow that says "To Third Street" affords speedy access to westbound I-94 and southbound I-35W (and, for that matter, to the new Hiawatha Avenue speedway). The… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF SPRING

    May Day Parade

    The trees might be turning green, the birds might be singing, and the temperature might have risen enough to allow us to trade our puffy, down-filled jackets for lighter windbreakers. But six months of relentless winter always leaves us a little paranoid: It may snow yet again. It is only with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre's annual… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF THE LONG-RUMORED RENAISSANCE OF DOWNTOWN ST. PAUL

    Regardless of what it says about Gov. Jesse Ventura's nationally televised observation that St. Paul's streets were designed by drunken Irishmen, traffic in the capital city's center has become a heartily welcomed constant. While one might be concerned that stop-and-go on Kellogg Boulevard might herald a new era of road rage, you can bet Norm Coleman is flaunting his cosmetically… More >>
  • BEST SLEDDING

    Wirth Park

    Given the length and severity of the winter that has finally, mercifully passed, the thought of putting on snowpants and schlepping a sled up a steep, icy hill on a butt-cold afternoon is probably the last one you'd care to entertain. But in a few short months (!), when the temperature drops again and the kids are sliding down the… More >>
  • BEST SONGWRITER

    Rich Mattson

    The late Glenrustles piled great line atop great line like coats on a bed at a party, but frontman Rich Mattson always seemed ready to flop down on them anyway. It wasn't that his songwriting lacked wit or passion, just that his spiritual weariness ran so deep that for 12 years he seemed perilously close to becoming a mellower, crustier… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR FOOD

    Andersons mini-doughnut

    Is Ed Anderson a genius? Here's a better question: Could any man with an IQ below 175 invent the Lil' Orbit automatic mini-doughnut machine? Since 1974 Anderson and his Minneapolis company have, by their count, produced 9 billion doughnuts through their itinerant (and noble) proxies at county fairs. That's roughly 1.47540984 Mini-Donuts for every man, woman, and child on the… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR RIDE

    Ye Old Mill

    Here we were, all worked up about bungee jumping and ejection seats, placing gravity-defying thrill rides over nostalgia and tradition. While the 88-year veteran Ye Old Mill embodies the simpler ways of celebrating our Minnesotan heritage, the continued existence of the ride is more than an oversight--the dang thing's a historical landmark, recently recognized by the National Amusement Park Historical… More >>
  • BEST STRIP CLUB

    BJ's

    If your ideal night at a strip club involves jockeying for position with a mob of drunken, Dockers-clad conventioneers, paying eight bucks for a juice concoction, and hooting at a silicone-stuffed porn star as she submits to something resembling a full-blown gynecological exam...well, BJ's is definitely not the place for you. This scruffy little North Side club has little in… More >>
  • BEST TENNIS COURTS

    Richfield Courts

    Richfield, anyone? While many park officials are likely cringing at the sight of asphalt scarred by a six-month winter, these half-dozen courts just south of Minneapolis have fared remarkably well and will no doubt be in full swing come mid-May. Nestled on the edge of Augsburg Park near a residential street and behind the Hennepin County Augsburg Park Library, they're… More >>
  • BEST TILT AT A WINDMILL

    There's no doubt that Gov. Jesse Ventura is Minnesota's preeminent windmill--if only for the amount of hot air he spins. Phil Krinkie, the Republican legislator from Shoreview, might be the Minnesota House of Representatives' preeminent Don Quixote, by virtue of his vociferous and futile opposition to light-rail transit. Earlier this year Krinkie took aim at the governor's wallet, sponsoring legislation… More >>
  • BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER

    In the waning minutes of a midseason, 21-point rout at the hands of the Portland Trailblazers, superstar Kevin Garnett sat on the Timberwolves' bench, head draped in a towel, unable to watch the massacre. Had he looked up, he would have seen Sam Mitchell scrapping for loose balls and hitting jumpers, the very definition of dedication. In the midst of… More >>
  • BEST TWINS PLAYER

    Matt Lawton

    We flirted with bestowing this honor on Jacque Jones, the Twins' young, powerful outfielder with oodles of potential. But Jones could hit .300 and drive in 100 runs this season, or he could be shagging flies in Edmonton by the time the mosquitoes start biting. There's also a strong case to be made for anchors Eric Milton and Brad Radke.… More >>
  • BEST USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS

    Some wise person once said that public schools are the hothouses of a city. This holds true in Minneapolis, anyway, where, beginning each October, January, and April, our schools play host to hundreds of continuing-education programs, classes that bring together citizens curious about, say, Appalachian basketry, or sushi rolling. We kid you not. In truly democratic fashion, subjects include virtually… More >>
  • BEST VANDALISM

    It was like something out of a true-crime thriller: A head found beneath a blanket in a St. Paul back yard; a reward for information; a police force helpless to stem the carnage; a tireless journalist on the trail of the culprit. The victim: One of the 101 Snoopy sculptures plopped around St. Paul to honor Peanuts creator Charles Schulz… More >>
  • BEST VICTIM

    Jerry Janezich

    Poor Jerry. After serving six terms in the Minnesota House and Senate, the native Iron Ranger/bar owner played it by the book last year when he made a bid for the DFL nomination for U.S. Senate. Following the traditional populist road to DFL glory, Janezich lined up union backing, worked the party delegates, and generally paid his dues. After nailing… More >>
  • BEST VIEW

    Foshay Tower

    Few local buildings are as thick with legend as the Foshay Tower. When it was completed in 1929, it was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi River, and for decades it remained the tallest building in town. At the gala opening, John Philip Sousa's band was on hand, playing a march written specifically for the occasion. But as grand… More >>
  • BEST VIKINGS PLAYER

    Randy Moss

    By mid-December, as the Vikings' season was proving once again to be a cruel mirage, the critics began casting about for someone to blame. Predictably, and rightly, the squad's defense took most of the heat. When the late-season collapse worsened, though, it became fashionable to point a finger at the team's most sensational player, wideout Randy Moss. ESPN commentator Merril… More >>
  • BEST VILLAIN

    In order to live up to its name, a villain must simultaneously embody a critical mass of loathing and an undertow of complicity. That disqualifies winter and the mosquito, though not Gov. Jesse Ventura. (But we're not gonna go there.) This past year saw a number of small victories nationwide for consumers against Big Tobacco, but here on the home… More >>
  • BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE)

    Kat Bjelland

    "These are the good years," begins the fake "Ketchup Advisory Board" commercial on A Prairie Home Companion, in which an empty-nesting dad touts ketchup's "natural mellowing agents" as a panacea for his wife's boomer angst and restless sexual urges. It's a good joke, but some people over age 30 really haven't been getting enough ketchup. Take Kat Bjelland, the Björk… More >>
  • BEST VOCALIST (MALE)

    Plenty of young R&B lovermen tout their bedroom stamina, but few prove as enduring in our bedrooms as Next. Nearly a year after entering the Billboard charts, the trio's conjugal hit "Wifey" is still at No. 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Recurrent Airplay chart. That's above Memphis Bleek's woman-swapping "Is That Your Chick" (with Jay-Z and Missy Elliott) and… More >>
  • BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY

    For 13 years this 40-acre farm just southwest of Annandale has been a quiet haven for rejuvenation and meditation. Although Clare's Well is run by Franciscan nuns (the name is inspired by Clare of Assisi, a 13th-century saint and friend of Francis), the retreat isn't traditionally religious. Rather, the place is devoted to personal reflection and spirituality, whether it's found… More >>
  • BEST WILD PLAYER

    Marian Gaborik

    You were all thinking we were going to bestow this accolade on Darby Hendrickson because he's our homie, Richfield native, and an alum of the University of Minnesota men's Gopher hockey team. But we just can't do it. Not with Marian Gaborik, a 19-year-old left wing from Trencin, Slovakia, breaking club records left and right. Gaborik was the Wild's first-ever… More >>
  • BEST WINE BAR

    Bev's Wine Bar

    How do we say this place is perfect without sounding over-the-top? Tucked in the first floor of a nondescript warehouse on a one-way street just off Washington Avenue North, Bev's is every bit as understated as its location. Yet there's something about the sparsely modern but warm atmosphere of this space that makes regulars out of many who just happen… More >>
  • BEST ZONING VIOLATION

    When Coon Rapids police raided the residence of Robert and Myrna Kokesch on the evening of July 29, 2000, they weren't certain a crime had been committed at 341 106th Ave. NW. But they sure weren't in a mood to let any zoning violations slide. Acting on a tip that the middle-aged suburban couple was running a thriving swinger's club… More >>
  • FOURTH-BEST BAND NAME

    The name might easily prompt you to dismiss this band as another amateur blues duo awaiting their once-in-a-lifetime gig at Famous Dave's. But insiders are on to the fact that this experimental electronica outfit is cheekily spoofing on a certain holy connotation. And while said connotation would pitch any given televangelist into a hellfire-filled diatribe about the heresy and insolence… More >>
  • SECOND-BEST BAND NAME

    Har Mar Superstar

    Finding the right band name is as difficult as finding the right bandmates. The perfect moniker should be catchy, memorable, unique, easy to pronounce. In short, it must distill the band's essence down to a few syllables. If nailing these elements constitutes success, then Har Mar Superstar is a smash. In three rhyming words, the band (actually a pseudonym for… More >>
  • THIRD-BEST BAND NAME

    Did you know the city of Montreal has a monument to its own 'Nuck nosecrooner? Here, we have to settle for the next best thing--a dollop of mustard and a slice of satirical cheese.… More >>
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