People & Places

  • BEST "YOU SHOULDA BEEN HERE WHEN..."

    Jesse Ventura

    On February 21, the state legislature attempted to deliver a new budget to Gov. Jesse Ventura, only to find that he'd headed for the hills. In typical nostalgic Minnesota fashion, reporters dredged up the tale of Joe Rolette: In 1857, Rolette, a territorial legislator, absconded with a bill that would have made St. Peter the capital of our fledgling state,… More >>
  • BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER

    Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet

    Curtis & Loretta are as good an argument as any for the preservation of a space within the current acoustic scene for, you know, folk music. Not that there's anything wrong with coffeehouse singer-handwringers or collegiate rockers with mandolins. And not that space shouldn't also be made for Indonesian gamelans, Nordic roots, or anything else. It's just that the perfect,… More >>
  • BEST ADULT VIDEO STORE

    SexWorld

    SexWorld is still the multilevel adult-entertainment giant in the Twin Cities, offering everything from naughty cakes to plastic wind-up toys with unexpected, and sometimes appalling, surprises. Their rental selection is enormous and meticulously organized, as befits such a giant, and offers up what old-time street barkers for adult theaters might have called "a bounty of pernicious pulchritude for your perusing… More >>
  • BEST ALBUM OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Glamour

    There are plenty of bands who have listened to just as many obscure British new-wave records as Valet singer Robin Kyle, but they lack his unforgettable melodic phrasing. You really can't teach or imitate these things, any more than you can explain why such dead-on-paper Valet choruses as "I hear Zurich's beautiful this time of year" become mental mantras for… More >>
  • BEST ALL-AGES VENUE

    Who would think that finding places to host shows for underage kids would be so difficult? With the end of live gigs at St. Paul's Eclipse Records and Bon Appétit in Dinkytown, this song is getting really tired. That's especially true for the crew that used to run the Bombshelter, the former basement venue now remembered for the 1997 clash… More >>
  • BEST BAND NAME

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  • BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Cenospecies

    Though they had the career lifespan of a suicidal fruit fly, Cenospecies made one cool album before dying. For those who heard it, Indefinition (Peak Records) contains one of the most exciting moments in local recorded music circa 2001: Halfway through the largely a cappella "Hip Hop," the pounding beat of live drums and bass suddenly kicks in, and the… More >>
  • BEST BAND TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Tulip Sweet

    It just doesn't seem fair that Tulip Sweet's Steph Dickson is now singing "'Scuze me for livin' and pukin' up beans on the grass!" in some dive bar in Brooklyn. I mean, come on! They don't even have grass in New York City! (Except, of course, for that crazy, smoky kind.) In any case, we'll miss watching the Muppet-like chanteuse… More >>
  • BEST BARTENDER

    Corky Hisle

    His name is Corky, fer cryin' out loud, and that really should say it all. But in case it doesn't, let us point out that he needs no bartender guide to make, say, a rob roy or a Gibson. And if he ever learns your name, rest assured Corky will never forget it. Besides, he says he has a true… More >>
  • BEST BATTING CAGE

    Located in a domed sports complex across the street from Arlington High School, this no-frills cage is a great all-weather slugging fix. Even when local teams are practicing on the adjacent indoor diamond, it never seems to get very busy. And there are plenty of off-hours to boot, since the cage is open 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. seven days… More >>
  • BEST BEACH

    Hidden Beach

    Known as Minneapolis's beach of ill repute, Hidden Beach is a bohemian haven in the city's otherwise yuppie lake land. To find it, you go to where South Upton dead-ends, and find the entrance to a dirt path, which is near a port-a-potty. Then you wind down a trail through the woods, running counter-current to those swimmers who have finished… More >>
  • BEST BEER SELECTION IN A BAR

    William's Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar

    Sometimes you just have to give Goliath his due. Sure, David had moxie. But there's something to be said for unabashed bigness. That's why we drive SUVs that should have their own congressmen, and shop in grocery stores where you need a GPS to find the produce aisle. According to quantitative criteria, Williams in Uptown is the uncontested heavyweight champion… More >>
  • BEST BIKE TRAIL

    Minnesota River Bottoms

    When you think of Minnesota, you might think of rivers that twist and wind through prairies that are otherwise flat as lefse. You might think of the north country and canoeing, of old railway beds and endless vistas and inline skates. But it's a good guess you don't conjure up images of steep, rocky mountains--those bouncy places that attract that… More >>
  • BEST BINGO GAME

    Saints Bingo

    Why are bingo games treated like the butt of a joke? Of course we all have visions of those beehived, horn-rimmed, polyester-wearing grandmas calling the numbers. But goshdarnit, this is a skill! Witness the denizens of Saints or any other bingo hall worth its salt. The pros often work ten or more game boards at a time. And forget about… More >>
  • BEST BLOODY MARY

    Sushi Tango

    The bloody mary is a drink of solace--whether you're recovering from a simple hangover or a ruined life. It's the perfect prop for The Royal Tenenbaums' Richie Tenenbaum, the emotionally fragile former tennis prodigy (played by Luke Wilson) who is obsessively in love with his own sister. Richie is numb to the world, wearing a blank expression on his face… More >>
  • BEST BLUES BAND

    Obeda's Butanes

    Over the years, guitarist Curt Obeda has exemplified the axiom that when it comes to the blues, if you can retain your passion and enough of your health, the older you get, the better you play. Reared in Chicago, Obeda started out aping the West Side and South Side styles of Windy City blues cats--not a bad foundation. But he… More >>
  • BEST BLUES BAR

    Famous Dave's BBQ and Blues

    Yes, we know it's a rib chain located in a mall. We also know that since the demise of Frogtown's Blues Saloon, there has been no better place in the Twin Cities to consistently catch high-profile national blues acts, along with the cream of the local blues crop. Last March, for example, Eddie Shaw, Magic Slim, and Alberta Adams all… More >>
  • BEST BOONDOGGLE

    Brian Herron

    It seemed like a good idea at the time. In July, when Brian Herron tearfully stepped down from his post as representative of Minneapolis's Eighth Ward after being caught taking bribes, constituents and city leaders called for an independent investigation into possible corruption at Minneapolis City Hall. Then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton heeded the call by appointing...a contributor to her political… More >>
  • BEST BOWLING ALLEY

    Minnehaha Lanes - CLOSED

    Cold hard fact: These towns are lousy with excellent bowling opportunities, the likes of which no longer exist in most metropolitan areas. Notable contenders for the Best Bowling Alley crown include New Hope Bowl and Doyle's up toward the northwest (be sure to avail yourself of the pizza at the former and the karaoke at the latter), and Elsie's in… More >>
  • BEST BOXING GYM

    BT Bombers

    The business of running a boxing gym isn't really a business; it is a form of social work. This is especially true in Minnesota, where you can count the number of legit pros on your fingers. Yet the sweet science is sustained, in large part, by the owners of the 20-some boxing gyms sprinkled across the state. Most of the… More >>
  • BEST BROKEN PROMISE

    For many of north Minneapolis's disenfranchised citizens, promises made by city officials are ephemeral things that fade away into a fuzzy background of unanswered questions until, one day, they're broken. Such was the case this past December, when, to the shock of many north siders, city officials announced the impending demise of the mural that for six years had adorned… More >>
  • BEST CAREER MOVE

    Bob Mould

    We should have seen it coming. The former Hüsker Dü frontman's affinity for wrestling was never a secret. In 1981 the band played a gig at the 7th Street Entry that featured wrestlers grappling onstage beside our fledgling hardcore heroes. And during the Hüskers' heyday, Mould spent a fair amount of time hanging around with Minnesota's wrestling royalty, including the… More >>
  • BEST CASINO

    Grand Casino Hinckley

    The Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe know their customers. They run two highly successful casinos, sucking in neighbors, cabin-goers, and out-of-state vacationers with just the right mix of slot machines, buffets, and special events (which recently included a kickboxing tournament)--all housed in a clean, well-kept space with friendly service. Now, Vegas this ain't: Concerts are geared to Midwesterners, and the… More >>
  • BEST CAUSE

    Women's Prison Book Project

    Two seemingly unrelated phenomena: Americans buy millions of paperback books; Americans incarcerate millions of Americans. Only a fool keeps every book she purchases, and only a fool thinks prisons are adequately stocked with books. Ergo the Women's Prison Book Project, a tiny local volunteer organization that answers hundreds of requests for books each month from women in prisons across the… More >>
  • BEST CHEAP THRILL

    Salvation Army

    The basement of the downtown Salvation Army thrift store puts a new sheen--well, make that a new patina--on the words cheap thrill. Sure, there's the usual complement of beater couches and mismatched bed frames. But there's also a series of long, troughlike tables, onto which staffers periodically dump boxes filled with glorious, unsorted junk. Every day! Nothing in the trough… More >>
  • BEST CHOKE (AMATEUR)

    Kristina Koznick

    Kristina Koznick, a world-class skier and native of Burnsville, gained international notoriety by making the U.S. Team when she was 17 years old. A few years later she qualified for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. But despite coming in as a favorite, she wiped out and failed to win a medal. Heading toward the 2002 Olympics in Salt… More >>
  • BEST CHOKE (PROFESSIONAL)

    Spergon Wynn

    To your average sports fan, the most memorable chokes involve great or near-great athletes failing when everything is on the line. But what of the failures of obscure jocks? Don't they deserve recognition for absolute mental and physical collapses? In that spirit, we ask you to consider Spergon Wynn, the Minnesota Vikings' third-string quarterback. Acquired in a trade with the… More >>
  • BEST CHUTZPAH

    Minnesota Vikings

    You've got to hand it to the Vikes. The 2001 season was among the most wretched spectacles in the franchise's storied history. Nothing went right. It began appallingly, with the heat-stroke death of All Pro offensive tackle Korey Stringer during a preseason practice. Then there were the repeated Randy Moss meltdowns. Losses to NFL laughingstocks like the Carolina Panthers and… More >>
  • BEST CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

    Kathy Lantry

    Watching Jay Benanav on the hustings during last year's St. Paul mayoral race, you couldn't help but come away with the impression that the wrong person was on the ballot. Kathy Lantry was his most important supporter, campaigning almost as tirelessly as the candidate himself, and single-handedly preventing him from being blown out on Randy Kelly's East Side home turf.… More >>
  • BEST CLASS ACT

    Kelci Stringer

    Unless you've been there yourself, it's impossible to fully comprehend the suffering of someone who has lost a spouse. But there was Korey Stringer's wife Kelci, resolutely composed in the family's living room, facing the local media just days after her husband, Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer, died of heat stroke after a practice session in late July. Suddenly… More >>
  • BEST CLUB DJ

    Utter his name around 17-year-old raver chicks and watch them beam brighter than their glowsticks. This frenzied, bleach-blond bombshell really only detonated amid the congested clique of Minneapolis club DJs a year ago. But he's almost instantly turned the city's head. And while some of the veterans on the scene stick to the tables at a single club, 23-year-old James… More >>
  • BEST COACH

    Brenda Oldfield

    Call her a traitor if it makes you feel better. But there is no denying the feats of Brenda Oldfield in her first (and only) year guiding the Gopher women's basketball team. Having inherited an all but dead program, the Iowa native arrived with a fresh attitude by way of Ball State. "I love rebuilding programs," she said when she… More >>
  • BEST COCKTAILS

    St. Paul Grill - CLOSED

    Sad to say, far too many people these days confuse the profession of mixology with the profession of interior decoration. Interior decorators have their place, certainly, but that place is not behind a bar, creating color-coordinated, fruit-festooned concoctions. Call us old-fashioned (hah!) but we prefer to approach our martinis, gimlets, and manhattans on a more utilitarian basis. By our measure,… More >>
  • BEST COLLEGE ATHLETE

    Luke Becker

    If there's one thing in life that we're certain of, it's that you don't ever want to find yourself on the same wrestling mat as Luke Becker. There is no fat on the kid. None. We can't prove this by any standard recognized by modern science, but we swear it's true. He weighs in at 157 pounds of vein-bulging muscle;… More >>
  • BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Code 13

    The space is a sunlit, warehouse-size indoor skateboard park. Half-pints are riding the half-pipes as a shaved-headed Felix Havoc surveys the room. He's standing ten feet from the floor on a stage he helped build. In front of him are about 550 punks and other fans of hardcore and thrash, many of them standing on wooden ramps cleared of skaters.… More >>
  • BEST CONCERT VENUE

    First Avenue

    Even concertgoers have to make sacrifices. Every week, for instance, tinnitus-afflicted folks wait in a long line just to schlep through ye olde slime-coated, live-crud-harvesting vomitorium--otherwise known by its common name: the 7th St. Entry bathroom. Now that's devotion. What else can you call it when music fanatics are willing to hold both their bladders and their breath in the… More >>
  • BEST COUNTRY-MUSIC SHOW

    Hexagon Bar

    Sunday nights at the Hexagon are a throwback to the halcyon hours of country music in the Twin Cities. Back in the day, the Flame Bar and Café on Nicollet Avenue was a national destination for big-time country stars: Hank Snow and Roy Acuff were among the country luminaries who took the stage at the storied venue. But the Flame… More >>
  • BEST DANCE CLUB

    Quest

    Those who would dispute this choice have likely not visited the Quest on a Saturday night for Sound in Motion's 18+ electronica extravaganza "Plush." Yet even prior to this ultra-successful night's kickoff in January, the club had smartly recognized the need for high-quality dance-music events in the wake of the rave's untimely demise in the Cities. In the process, the… More >>
  • BEST DAY SPA

    Nestled in the corner of one of Edina's upscale strip malls, this little shop creates its own tranquillity with smiling service, calming music, and a wide array of delightfully pampering treatments. Whether you're there for a facial (the $60 Skin Revitalizer leaves your face smooth and glowing) or a pedicure (starting at $45; who doesn't deserve to be treated to… More >>
  • BEST DAY TRIP

    Pepin, Wisconsin

    The concept of working 9 to 5 is a relatively recent invention. Our hunter-gatherer predecessors led comparatively indolent lives, picking berries or catching fish to survive, which explains why so many cities and civilizations were founded along the river byways of the world. This all goes to the atavistic appeal of Pepin, Wisconsin, located on a swollen part of the… More >>
  • BEST DOG PARK

    Minnehaha Off-Leash Recreation Area

    We don't know whether Bob Dylan's ever been to a dog park, but in 1970 he wrote: "In harmony with the cosmic sea/True love needs no company/It can cure the soul, it can make it whole/If dogs run free." No better words describe the sheer joy to be found in a dog park, particularly the Minnehaha site along the Mississippi… More >>
  • BEST ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN

    Paul Birken

    Despite his unpretentious nature, electronica producer (not DJ, mind you) Paul Birken says he has a lot planned for this next year. "Minneapolis WILL be on the map," a confident Birken says, having recently been signed to the Dustraxx artist booking roster and anticipating the release of a full album this July. Having started with his first drum machine at… More >>
  • BEST FARMERS' MARKET

    On Saturdays and Sundays at this time of year, Minnesota farmers begin taking to the streets, transforming vacant city blocks into gardens of earthly delights. All summer long, even the most brown-thumbed city dweller can feast on heirloom tomatoes and corn picked early that morning, so sweet it is sampled off the cob. And there is no better showcase for… More >>
  • BEST FESTIVAL

    Minnesota Fringe Festivall

    Lithe women tied up in rubber tubing. Bumbling actors whose performances are so hammy that any responsible Halakic authority would bar them from kosher homes. More punishing puns than the late Big Pun himself. Yes indeed: The Minnesota Fringe Festival has come into its own. There were years when it seemed unlikely that this two-week bonanza of low-rent theater would… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE (URBAN)

    Ford Dam

    As most anglers know, owing to water temperature, rainfall, barometric pressure, and about 30,000 other factors, last week's hot spot can become this week's dead zone. That said, the waters immediately below the Ford Dam on the Mississippi River are remarkably consistent; sometimes you can even spot fish with the naked eye. At the peak of summer, big carp are… More >>
  • BEST FLIGHT SCHOOL

    Pan Am Academy

    Truth be told, we really don't know much about flight schools. Never flown a plane. Never plan to. In fact, we'd just as soon never ride in one again. Face it: 2001 was a bad year for aviation. In our crankiest moments, we can't help but wonder if the general geopolitical circumstances (let alone the quality of life in south… More >>
  • BEST GADFLY

    Jesse Ventura

    Yeah, we know: He's the guvnah. That's only, like, the most powerful office in the state. A gadfly is supposed to be somebody on the outside of the halls of power. Someone like perennial also-rans Leslie Davis and Dick Franson. Jesse used to fit into this category, but then (as you've heard a million times) he Shocked the World. But… More >>
  • BEST GAY BAR

    Trikkx

    Trikkx is to the Gay 90's as the Turf Club is to First Avenue--more neighborhood bar than a see-and-be scene, more relaxed, more St. Paul. Never mind that the name promises cruising: The two warehouse-size, windowless rooms have a low-key, social atmosphere that recalls the mom-and-pop (make that mom-and-mom/pop-and-pop) discos dotting small towns on every continent. Even with the dance… More >>
  • BEST GOLDEN PARACHUTE

    Dennis Green

    Even Dennis Green's detractors (and there were many) must have felt a little bad about the way it all ended for the coach. After all, Green put up gaudy numbers during his decadelong tenure at Winter Park: playoffs in eight seasons, two NFC championship appearances, the second-best winning percentage in franchise history. His teams, though flawed, were almost always interesting… More >>
  • BEST GOLF COURSE

    One of the oldest public golf courses in the state, this 18-hole stretch is a city gem, smack in the middle of one of Minneapolis's largest parks. After you stop into the Swiss-chalet-style clubhouse, you'll enjoy the sun, the hills (walking the course can provide you a solid physical workout), and the stunning views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline--all while… More >>
  • BEST GOLF COURSE (MINI)

    Lava Links Family Entertainment Center

    "This is so junior high," our friend groans as we tee off beneath a papier-mâché dinosaur head. True. But Lava Links, located next to an army recruiting station in a down-at-heel Roseville mini-mall, remains one of the few places around to get your putt on during the endless winter. True, also, that Lava Links is no Robert Trent Jones masterpiece:… More >>
  • BEST GROUND ZERO

    Minneapolis City Hall

    For a city with a reputation for clean government and a conflict-averse citizenry, Minneapolis has been the scene of a surprising amount of public chaos in recent years. In 1999 there was the occupation of Minnehaha Park by protesters opposed to the reroute of Highway 55, which led to mass arrests and noisy accusations of police brutality. The following summer… More >>
  • BEST HAPPY HOUR

    Poodle Club

    If it's happy hour all the time, can you ever achieve true happiness? That's the kind of philosophical riddle that begins to run through your mind after spending one too many happy hours perched on a bar stool at the venerable Poodle Club. There is no shortage of watering holes around town where the hours of discount alcohol seem to… More >>
  • BEST HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE

    Edward Bowen

    Two years ago Edward "Major" Bowen was an honorable mention as an all-state hockey player, solidly manning the net as a sophomore goalie for the Blake Bears boys' hockey team. A year later, just before a routine team practice, Bowen's father called Coach Jeff Lindquist to tell him that his goalie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, was in… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST

    C.O.R.E.

    Minneapolis hip-hop duo the C.O.R.E. spend a lot of time making things. On the last Friday of every month, they make a concert hall out of the Circle of Discipline, a boxing gym on East Lake Street. For this event, they make room on the bill for popular out-of-towners (Chicago's Typical Cats) and local up-and-comers (Unknown Prophets). They make you… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP DJ

    Andrew Broder

    While it may have been more predictable to let DJ Abilities (the turntable phenom of Atmosphere fame) rule this category, Andrew Broder (a.k.a. DJ Andrew, a.k.a. Fog) stakes a strong claim to the title this year. Broder's signing to influential Ninja Tune Records--also home to mind-blowing turntablists Coldcut, as well as DJ Food, and Mr. Scruff--caps off years of creativity… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ ARTIST

    Bad Plus

    A few days after New York Time jazz critic Ben Ratliff put the Bad Plus's self-titled debut CD on his year-end list of critic's picks (other honorees included pianists Jason Moran and Keith Jarrett), the obscure, upstart trio showed up for a two-night stint at St. Paul's Dakota Bar & Grill. It was a coming-home party of sorts for Menomonie,… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ CLUB

    Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

    Lowell Pickett's little-club-that-cooks is becoming a perennial in these pages, but not for lack of worthy competition. The Artists' Quarter's new, must-see basement space in downtown St. Paul is as spacious as it is swinging--an aesthetic gem that consistently showcases local and national talent. That said, there's just no denying the Dakota's play list, which rivals that of any jazz… More >>
  • BEST JESSE VENTURA QUOTE

    During a radio show last October, a caller told Ventura that his "insecurities and whining about the media are unbecoming for a statesman and for a Navy SEAL." Ventura replied with an anecdote about a sign he'd seen during the recent strike by state employees, which read: Governor, Do Navy SEALs Run and Hide? "And my response was, 'Yes, that's… More >>
  • BEST JOCKEY

    Derek Bell

    A clear winner in this category for two years running, Derek Bell is a young rider who treats his horses with respect, trains with ambition, and at the end of the day, brings home the big money. During the 2001 racing season at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Bell led the jockey standings. During the Minnesota Festival of Champions, he proved… More >>
  • BEST JUDGE

    Harry Seymour Crump

    No less august an authority than the New York Times has taken to referring to him as the "legendary" Harry Seymour Crump. The Hennepin County District Judge earned the appellation in November, when he stunned Major League Baseball's oligarchs by ruling that the Minnesota Twins were contractually obligated to play out the 2002 season in the Metrodome. We don't pretend… More >>
  • BEST JUKEBOX

    Triple Rock Social Club

    Back in the late Eighties, a cultural divide was bridged when metal fans who listened obsessively to Metallica and albums like Slayer's Reign in Blood were coerced into putting N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton into the tape deck. This landmark event prompted an eye-opening exposure to rap, a genre they'd previously scorned. In the process, these folks learned not only that… More >>
  • BEST KARAOKE

    Tubby's Bar And Grill - CLOSED

    Drunken singing. Collective nostalgia. No, we're not talking about Kieran's Irish Pub on St. Patrick's Day, but rather Tubby's in northeast Minneapolis on Wednesday nights. Punk rockers find their own kind and their own voices at this unique weekly event hosted by man about town Ian Rans. Obviously, the music here is not for everyone. And who gives a flying… More >>
  • BEST KNEE-JERK REACTION

    Clear Channel

    Imagine? By John Lennon? That Imagine? In the days after September 11, the entertainment industry hit a welcome note of self-reflection, but the higher-ups at radio behemoth Clear Channel, owner of seven Twin Cities stations, went a little overboard. Within a week of the terrorist attacks, reports circulated that the company's management had sent a list of 150 songs that… More >>
  • BEST LESBIAN BAR

    Club Ashe

    Ask any Twin Cities lesbian where the nearest dyke bar is, and she will probably pinch you in the arm as if responding to a bad joke. The punch line, she will say, is that there are no lesbian-specific bars here. Which is true, if perhaps misleading, what with Bryant-Lake Bowl and Café Barbette being popular lesbian stopovers. And then… More >>
  • BEST LIBRARY

    Hosmer Library

    With so many libraries about to be replaced or closed for renovation--including the main ones in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul--we thought we'd highlight a small community gem. Located in a diverse working-class neighborhood in south Minneapolis, the Hosmer Community Library was given a massive overhaul and expansion in 1996 with the aid of hundreds of thousands of public and… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY GONE BAD

    Buddy McLain

    Lil Buddy seemed to have been on the verge of hitting the hip-hop big time almost since the day he made his way north to the Twin Cities from Chicago. "My objective is to make history," he was proclaiming over the KMOJ-FM (89.9) airwaves back in the summer of 1997, when his party anthem "What's the Haps?!" was receiving considerable… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD

    Josh Hartnett

    People this famous aren't supposed to be from the Twin Cities. Especially people this famous who are only 23 and who once worked at the Mall of America. Yet there's no denying that Josh Hartnett is a bona fide star, and one who just had a very good year--make that an incredible year. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who cast Hartnett in… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL EXAMPLE OF THE DOT-COM BUST

    Born Information Services

    It takes a certain kind of man to make a splash out on Lake Minnetonka. Money alone doesn't do it. Gigantic homes and big boats don't, either. But software consultant Rick Born had what it took. In 1990 Born Information Services was a tiny startup. By 1999 it boasted $125 million in revenues, more than 1,100 employees nationwide, and an… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL GONE BAD

    Winona Ryder

    Reality bites, indeed. It's maybe a stretch to call Winona Ryder a local girl. And after the mercurial pixie was busted in December for allegedly swiping nearly $5,000 worth of threads from a Beverly Hills boutique while toting a stash of painkillers without a prescription, we're not in any hurry to claim her. But Ryder did borrow the name of… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MADE GOOD

    Brenda Oldfield

    The University of Minnesota women's basketball team was full of surprises this past season. One, certainly, was 31-year-old Brenda Oldfield, who took over the reins from scandal-plagued former coach Cheryl Littlejohn--and promptly guided the team to a 22-8 record, a tie for second place in the Big Ten, and a near trip to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 (which would… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL MUSIC COMPILATION

    Apartment Music

    Some of Minnesota's all-time greatest records are compilations, starting with 1968's The Big Hits of Mid-America. Yet "various artists" packages have since diminished in influence as Mid-America artists have become ever more various. Each new local free-for-all seems to lose in cohesiveness what it gains in diversity, straining far too hard to encompass every genre. That's why Apartment Music may… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL OLYMPIAN

    Courtney Kennedy

    When the U.S. women's hockey team fell to Canada in February, ending a miraculous 35-game winning streak, the cameras trained in on the teary faces of Team USA. Nobody in that crowd was more crushed than Courtney Kennedy, a powerful defenseman who just a year earlier was pounding slap shots as a senior for the University of Minnesota women's team.… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL RECORD LABEL

    Solus Productions

    After throwing two successful parties ("Solus" and "Ghost Planet") in 1998 under the name Solus Productions, electronica producers Scott Radke and Dave Olson began HiPass Music out of their own pockets (and out of Radke's home in northeast Minneapolis). The ten-record roster of "weird, dark techno and electro" features work not only by Radke and Olson themselves, but by producers… More >>
  • BEST LOCALLY GENERATED WEB SITE

    www.musicscenenetwork.com

    Though www.musicscenenetwork.com may not be the most visually stimulating or graphically savvy locally spawned Web site, it's primarily about function over form. The site, developed and maintained by one Conal "Gonzo" Garrity, offers local music fans of all persuasions a go-to point for updated show information, CDs by a plethora of beloved native acts, and a spot to sell your… More >>
  • BEST LYNX PLAYER

    Katie Smith

    Even if the rookie-heavy, injury-hobbled Lynx didn't give fans much to cheer about in 2001, this first-team All-Star remains one of the brightest marquee players in the WNBA. In the midst of a 12-20 season, the hot-shooting forward seemed to smash a league record every week: single-season scoring (739 points); points per game (23.1); and single-game scoring (46 against Los… More >>
  • BEST MARGARITA

    Bar Abilene

    As you slide into a booth in the bar area--under the industrial ranch décor of barbed-wire wreaths and lasso light fixtures--you may be momentarily overwhelmed by the two dozen margarita choices on the menu. You could try the tart "Baja Breeze," a concoction of tequila, triple sec, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice ($5.95). Or the sweet "Pecos Peach," which mixes… More >>
  • BEST MAYOR

    Pat Awada

    With the exception of the leaders of the two Twin Cities, metro mayors don't spend much time in the limelight. Not so 35-year-old Pat Awada, who, in addition to leading Eagan for four years, is running two businesses and a campaign for state auditor. Awada, whose politics skew to the right of even some of her fellow Republicans, has never… More >>
  • BEST MEAT RAFFLE

    Dusty's Bar

    What is it about northeast Minneapolis and meat raffles? "People in Northeast like to gamble," reasons Pat Stebe, who has owned Dusty's for 20 years (his parents owned it the previous 30). "And they love their meat." Fair enough. It's Friday at 5:00 p.m., time to commence Dusty's weekly raffle, whose proceeds go to the Church of the Incarnation just… More >>
  • BEST MONTH TO BE IN THE TWIN CITIES

    May

    Never again. You know you've said those words. Press your tongue against the arched vault of your palate and image the beginning of the "N" sound. Never. Never. Never again will I be here in November when the ficus tree starts expelling its leaves as if they had wicked-bad cooties. Never again will I be here in December when an… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR (MINNEAPOLIS)

    C.C. Club

    Okay, choosing the C.C. Club as Minneapolis's best neighborhood bar may seem a woefully obvious pick. But the fact is, it's as good a choice as ever. Ground zero for the Eighties' local punk scene, as well as the counterculture watering hole of the Uptown area, this local landmark now has the dubious honor of being one of the last… More >>
  • BEST NEIGHBORHOOD BAR (ST. PAUL)

    Spot Bar

    A bar has occupied the northeast corner of Randolph and Victoria streets since 1885, and it's safe to say little but the name has changed in those 117 years. Then it was Wittmer's Saloon and Tobacco Shop; now it's the Spot. Michael O'Toole, the current proprietor, took over with a fellow bartender in 1983. "I was tired of working for… More >>
  • BEST NEW BAND

    Hundred Flowers

    Long live the Twin Cities music scene! And I do mean scene. Judging by the cult following of fashionistas that frequent the Hundred Flowers' shows, the band's performances are as much about manipulating visual delights as aural ones. Still, if a band that plays as well as the Hundred Flowers can generate such a sizable following, then hooray for the… More >>
  • BEST OLD BAND

    When this storied trio reunited last January for a surprise performance (their first since 1994) at First Avenue's annual staff party, over-30s gaped with reverent nostalgia. Under-30s and recent immigrants to the local scene paid attention to the band's three-directional experimental excursions if only because the band's three-directional experimental excursions made for such disorienting background music. But a recent Turf… More >>
  • BEST OPEN-MIC NIGHT

    Cultural Center of Minnesota

    In this town, even the Irish pubs host open mics. But if you're serious about your slam, head to the Cultural Center of Minnesota, where you can find experienced hosts and an audience that understands the art. Twin Cities spoken-word/music ensemble Edu-Poetic Enterbrainment--formerly the innovators behind Jazzville's open mic--hold the event every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Within… More >>
  • BEST PARADE

    Celebrate Nordeast

    A good parade tickles everybody. "The old and young at heart" are easy marks, of course, but there is also a delightful quotient of pomp and circumstantial kitsch for the more cynically inclined. And when it comes to that difficult-to-achieve blend of cornball poignance and sardonic sweetness, we recommend the oom-grand-pa-pa of the annual high-steppin' and elderly-shuffling, Celebrate Northeast (formerly… More >>
  • BEST PICKUP BASKETBALL GAME

    Arena Health Club

    On weekends during the summer, getting a run on is no problem. As local ballers know, it's the other eight months of the year that can be tricky. For those with game (and some serious dime), the Arena Health Club in Target Center is becoming legendary, as it attracts the cream of local high school and college talent, along with… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC SPOT

    Noerenberg Garden

    Edward Hopper once said, "I hated to draw people gesturing and grimacing. What I wanted to do was paint sunlight on the side of a house." In that quote, the modernist painter perfectly captured the art of picnicking: When you finally lay your wine, cheese, and baguette down upon your blanket, you want to do so in a place where… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR A FIRST DATE

    First dates are inherently risky, and Saturday night comes but once a week. So think twice about wasting those precious hours with a potential loser, and consider suggesting an afternoon outing instead. Hours and allergies are about the only restrictions on visiting the 87-year-old domed conservatory, as admission is laughably affordable (a buck) and the place is open every day… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BIRD-WATCH

    True, "effluent channel" and "sewage treatment plant" don't conjure up images of bird watching. Still, this is one of the few places in Minnesota where visitors, even in midwinter, can not only catch a glimpse of bald eagles, great blue herons, belted kingfishers, and hawks, but actually observe them hunting and feeding. The reason? The warm, treated effluent from the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CAMP

    Apostle Island

    Four hours by car to Bayfield, another hour or so on a ferry boat, and you're suddenly on a secluded island in the middle of Lake Superior. Perhaps you've secured a campsite safely near the dock, with water and a tent pad readily available. Maybe you've selected one farther out, near the old-growth forests or sandy beaches. Or maybe you've… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CROSS-COUNTRY SKI

    Wild River State Park

    Stretching 18 miles along the upper reaches of the St. Croix River, Wild River State Park boasts plenty of splendid, unsullied vistas, a pleasing mix of aspen, pine, maple, and oak forests, and tons of wildlife: ospreys, eagles, black bears, even the occasional timber wolf. Not surprisingly, Wild River offers some of the best cross-country skiing anywhere within convenient driving… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DUMP SOMEONE

    Movie Theatre

    You can learn a lot about being a sensitive and honest individual by watching an art-house film. Ha-ha! We lied! You don't learn much of anything at all. But after paying to sit through a sappy romance, you'd better be sure you've observed enough to fake it. After all, if you've decided that you and your date are headed for… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE (URBAN)

    It ain't a walk around the lakes. But if you're looking for a snapshot of where the city has come from--and where it's going--the streets in and around this strange neighborhood might hold the key. Though the river gurgles in the near distance, the Metrodome of Doom is a dead zone; when it's not game day, the acres of surface… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE (WOODSY)

    Mendota Heights

    Fact is, there are dozens of fine hiking routes within easy striking distance of the cities--which makes picking a best problematic. Such determinations often come down to issues of personal taste--a preference for woods over fields, or rivers over lakes, or the like. In our view, the best hikes offer a little bit of everything. Constructed along the old Minnesota… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ICE-SKATE

    Most people might choose to skate in the warmish, comfyish confines of your typical indoor skating rink. But, we wonder, why should one have to pay to skate when it means dealing with all the piped schlock-pop, those crazy kids in their floppy hockey gear, and the creepily primped, five-year-old future Tara Lipinskis? Truth is, skating is best done at… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO JOG

    Harriet-Calhoun-Isles

    The Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs offer some of the best running opportunities in the country, a fact proven by the popular annual marathon, the thousands who show up for shorter-distance events like Race for the Cure, the plethora of amateur teams, and a wide array of running-gear shops. The Harriet-Calhoun-Isles chain of lakes is certainly the most popular and… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE

    Four Seasons Dance Studio

    Four Seasons Dance Studio is a dancers' co-op offering instruction in any number of partner dances. The studio is decorated in sensual, Loring Park bohemian chic, and is as romantic a date destination as any of the places in which you'll be trying out your new steps. The instructors are experienced, accessible, and professional. So you'll be comfortable letting your… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (GAY)

    Sure, your chances of ending up in the sack with some hardbody on a Saturday night are better if you go to any one of the bars in town catering to gay men. You can do the beer-blurred mating dance at the Saloon or Boom or Over the Rainbow or--if you don't mind putting up with a bunch of drunk,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE MEN (STRAIGHT)

    First Avenue

    There are only two reasons you won't get chatted up at Pastor Paul's Acoustic Garage Sale: Either all the knickknacks for sale are too ugly to be conversation pieces, or you're too ugly to be a conversation piece. Actually, even if both of the above are true, you're likely to snag a date at this annual First Avenue charity event.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (LESBIAN)

    Amazon Bookstore

    Maybe you start with a little innocent scoping. You're just minding your own business, flipping through a poetry anthology, pretending not to look at that dreamy specimen lounging on the couch nearby. What's she reading? You crane your neck, careful not to appear too nosy. Alison Bechdel? Ellen Gilchrist? You feel emboldened to approach, make a little eye contact, smile.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN (STRAIGHT)

    First off, the numbers are in your favor. Moreover, the women you meet either take good care of themselves or are attempting to do so. Finally, if you think you're not getting lucky in a yoga class, you're missing the point: Try actually learning the yoga--you'll be at your physical and mental best when you go out into the world.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH

    Minneapolis Municipal Impound Lot

    Sure, there are more obvious choices: the walking path along Lake Calhoun on the first warm day of spring, as pleasing swaths of flesh are displayed for the first time in too long; the State Fairgrounds on a sticky August afternoon, as sweltering seekers of deep-fried foods jockey for position in the feed lines; Dinkytown at midnight, as beer-fueled frat… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL

    Billiard Street Pro Shop

    Not only the top spot for stick in the Twin Cities, this impeccably kept, family-friendly establishment is one of the finest billiard parlors in the country; just ask the experts at Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard magazine, who have both given Billiard Street Café props. Start with the top-of-the-line tables, all 55 of them, brushed and buffed as though… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PRACTICE PIANO IN PUBLIC

    Friends of Minneapolis Public Library

    Scoot up the escalator, head toward the reference desk, and turn left beyond the popular CDs, the cabinets of sheet music, and the shelves of musical scores. It's dead ahead of you now--in fact, if someone's already in there, you might hear it before you see it. Tucked away in this corner of the downtown Minneapolis library is a smallish… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ROLLERBLADE

    Okay, so you've been in all day, working on your novel or your screenplay, it's hot, and you're itching to head out to see and be seen. You've got the fancy new skates and all the protective gear with nary a scratch on it, your fanny is toned and your deltoids and abs are just screaming for attention after all… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS

    Paisley Park Studios

    Caustic critics and disaffected fans aside, who wouldn't jump at the chance to see Prince perform live? He's the Eiffel Tower of the Twin Cities, still more iconic than the Leno guest in the governor's office. Lots of folks who don't know the Mall of America from the Spoonbridge know "Pussy Control" from "Under the Cherry Moon." And for friends… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE OUTDOORS

    A Bit Wilder

    The oldest of several Twin Cities movies-and-music-in-the-park programs regains the outdoor-film title this year by paying worthy tribute to an old master: director Billy Wilder, who died in March at the age of 95. Not only is "A Bit Wilder" (co-presented by Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board) perfectly timed, it's also ideally suited to the… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN

    Mee Moua

    If it's true that the future for Hmong Americans starts in St. Paul, then there's no question that Mee Moua took a giant step toward leading that charge. In January Moua became the nation's first Hmong legislator, a feat that drew enough attention to land her on the pages of the New York Times. Perhaps the important thing about Moua's… More >>
  • BEST POP BAND

    Triangle Camp

    Though they've garnered their fair share of laudatory ink, Brian Tester and Amanda Warner get less respect around these parts than they deserve. When Billboard called a few local record stores to gather background on the electro-pop duo, one clerk told the reporter he thought they had broken up. Why this fickle flitting away of scenesters from the Triangle camp?… More >>
  • BEST PRODUCER

    Mike Wisti

    There are more recording studios in town right now than there are rock clubs. And the work of Twin Cities producers is louder in the mass culture than is any local musician--Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson) and John "Strawberry" Fields (Andrew W.K.) being the most obvious examples. Yet many engineers unknown to the national music industry serve a… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC PARK

    Powderhorn Park

    Ira Glass, of public radio's This American Life, dedicated several programs to a common human subgenus: do-gooders. More specifically, "Stories of people who try to do good: Why they often fail and why they occasionally succeed." One might say Mr. Glass could have made a good case study of the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association. Known for its vigilant neighborhood-watch groups… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC RESTROOM

    Chino Latino

    A recent study of New York City bathrooms found that of the public restrooms surveyed, 100 percent at subway stations, 91 percent at city parks, and 53 percent at public libraries were in unsanitary condition. The foregoing is by way of pointing out that we've generally got it pretty good in the Twin Cities. That said, Chino Latino goes above… More >>
  • BEST R&B BAND

    Moveable Feast

    Like hip-hop purists, jazz players tend to chafe at the description of themselves as "R&B," and for similar reasons. R&B means soft, commercial, girlie-chicks-and-kids-dig-it; it doesn't usually refer to real musicians. So the members of Moveable Feast might already be writing half-flattered, half-pissed-off letters to the editor about winning this category. But wait, guys. I know you're all accomplished improvisational… More >>
  • BEST RECORDING STUDIO

    The Terrarium

    The twin towns have their share of world-class studios, from Prince's Paisley Park to Pachyderm in Cannon Falls. But those are playgrounds for the not-yet-rich-but-sure-to-be-famous, with rates that, more often than not, can only be paid by the major labels. Luckily there's the Terrarium, which has moved into new, state-of-the-art digs next door to the U Otter Stop Inn after… More >>
  • BEST ROCK BAND

    Lift Puller

    Hardcore-inspired punk rock with synthesizers or organs as frosting may be nothing new. But no synth-punk band since Lifter Puller has worked the concept with as much pure, sweaty, manic live energy as Song of Zarathustra. How fitting, then, that the group recruited former Lifter Puller guitarist Tad Kubler for an expanded double-guitar lineup in December. You can see what… More >>
  • BEST ROCK CLUB

    Turf Club

    You know that a musician-frequented club is a good one. On any given night down in the Turf Club's Clown Lounge, one can find drummer JT Bates cracking a beer, Exercise's Preston Olson cracking a joke, or any number of riled-up local drummers looking as if they might want to crack some heads. In fact, you can gain so much… More >>
  • BEST ROLLER RINK

    Roller Garden Skating Center

    A Saturday afternoon at this 73-year-old converted horse arena proves that skating is still popular with kids and families. A closer look reveals that most of the tykes now prefer in-line skates to the old-school, square-soled four-wheelers. Still, there's been a revival for fans of the clunky skates over the past couple of years, according to manager Kim Swenson, as… More >>
  • BEST RUMOR

    We'll admit to being a little freaked out when, in early October, a mysterious jellylike substance was discovered at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The nation was, after all, in the grip of terrorism-induced hysteria, and it seemed plausible at the time that some malefactor had set his or her sights on downtown St. Paul. Even as moon-suited firefighters and… More >>
  • BEST SCANDAL

    We couldn't help feeling a little nostalgic last summer when the FBI nailed Minneapolis City Council member Brian Herron for extorting $10,000 from grocer Selwin Ortega. It's not that we're in favor of municipal graft. But corruption comes in such nebulous forms these days; the deals between government insiders and their friends in the private sector are usually so cleverly… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF SPRING

    Cinco de Mayo

    In 1862 a small Mexican army defeated their considerably better-equipped French occupiers at the Batalla de Puebla. Even though the Gallic adversaries went on to win the war, Mexicans have always revered their ancestors who, at least temporarily, bested a giant. The holiday is not so much a remembrance of war but rather a celebration of tenacity, something any Minnesotan… More >>
  • BEST SLEDDING

    Buck Hill

    One of the less well-reported tragedies related to global warming is the loss of sledding as a reliable winter sport. Particularly devastating is the emotional impact of this loss upon small children, who naturally find it hard to accept that their vague yet fond memories of older siblings breaking collarbones on the icy slopes must, in a snowless context, remain… More >>
  • BEST SONGWRITER

    Sean Tillman

    Upon first, second, and fourth listen to Sean Na Na's My Majesty, you're struck by the fullness of sound. Finally, a backup band worthy of Sean Tillman's writing, a fleet but heavy collective of local stalwarts to replace his skeletal, semi-acoustic shuffle. But on that crucial third listen, you stop humming and you wonder, "What's this dude talking about, anyway?"… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR ATTRACTION

    Talent Show

    "I'm going to sing something from an opera that most of you probably have never heard of. It's called The Magic Flute." So began the mincing--and wholly endearing--performance of a young Mozart scholar during the teen portion of the 2001 Minnesota State Fair's talent competition. (Rest assured, such naive snobbery will be beaten out of this boy in the junior-high… More >>
  • BEST STATE FAIR FOOD

    Sweet Martha's Cookies

    The God's honest truth: Sweet Martha's chocolate-chip cookies are manufactured and marketed by Mrs. Martha Rossini Olson, a beloved elementary-school art teacher at Highland Catholic in St. Paul. No one is disputing that this woman exists, and that it is her diligence and culinary genius that is behind the state fair's favorite cookie. The facts are the facts. But the… More >>
  • BEST STRIP CLUB

    Skyway Lounge - CLOSED

    The Skyway Lounge might very well be downtown Minneapolis's last remaining heckhole, and as such, one of its greatest treasures. For one thing, there's something about the place's exterior--the doorman maybe, or the vaguely seedy location next to a bus stop and an abandoned movie theater--that's just intimidating enough to fend off those members of the hooting classes (fratboys, conventioneers,… More >>
  • BEST SUBURBAN DOWNTOWN

    Downtown Hopkins

    In recent years it has become fashionable among suburban pooh-bahs to promote the development of more traditional downtowns. The results have been mixed. That's not surprising. The best downtowns are fundamentally organic in nature. They are not the result of some master plan cooked up by bureaucrats who feel bad about letting the big-box retailers pave the countryside. The charms… More >>
  • BEST TENNIS COURTS

    Bryn Mawr Neighborhood

    Nestled in the middle of this 50-acre basin of green space in Minneapolis's Bryn Mawr neighborhood are two tennis courts, ideal for a summer match. Set back from the basketball court and the softball fields, there's enough serenity to concentrate on putting the spin on your serve, powering through those ground strokes, or finessing those volleys. Depending on which end… More >>
  • BEST TILT AT A WINDMILL

    You have to give Paul Metsa credit for perseverance: Even after a November Minneapolis City Council vote made the razing of the Guthrie Theater a virtual fait accompli, the folk musician/preservationist continued to advocate fiercely for Ralph Rapson's 39-year-old building, distributing leaflets, circulating petitions, and lobbying any public official who would listen (not many did). It was an uphill battle… More >>
  • BEST TIMBERWOLVES PLAYER

    Kevin Garnett

    Gotta be Mark Roth. Man he can jack up those threes. Whaddaya mean he's retired? Well then, Gundars Vetra, the Latvian with the quick first step, is a solid pick. Long gone, you say? Okay, we'll go with that kid straight out of high school: Garnett... uh...Kevin Garnett. That's him: freak of nature; more than seven feet tall, with Inspector… More >>
  • BEST TWINS PLAYER

    Doug Mientkiewicz

    At the end of the 1999 season, Twins first-baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was on the verge of washing out of baseball. Though always solid on defense, Mientkiewicz struggled at the plate throughout his rookie season, hitting a dismal .229 with 51 strikeouts and a paltry 32 RBIs. After he was sent down to AAA in 2000, some of us even wondered… More >>
  • BEST USE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS

    Since 1999, 58 percent of Minnesota's budget surplus was swallowed by tax cuts and rebates. None has gone to children and families. The multi-pronged "Leave No Child Behind" bill aimed to change that by, among other things, eliminating the state's waiting list for childcare, increasing the minimum wage to $7 per hour, and directing tax relief to families with children.… More >>
  • BEST VICTIM

    Watching the old man shamble out of the November Major League Baseball owners' meeting in Chicago, you couldn't help but feel a twinge of pity. After all, he never wanted to do anything but make an honest buck (or a few billion of them).… More >>
  • BEST VIEW

    For a skyline that's so compact, downtown Minneapolis lends itself to a number of dramatic views. Maybe that's because it's compact: Rising out of the flat, unremarkable landscape, the skyline creates a striking contrast--almost as if it were set atop an actual hill! The freeways that loop around the city provide notable views, but they're fleeting (unless you're hitchhiking. But… More >>
  • BEST VIKINGS PLAYER

    Randy Moss

    As far as we're concerned, this marquee superstar (with a salary and swagger to match) deserves a medal for managing to prick the thin skins of this team's fickle fans, not to mention the tight, white local sports media. Red McCombs might even think about sending the wide receiver a spring bouquet, since Moss's off-field diatribes got the Texas owner… More >>
  • BEST VILLAIN

    Bud Selig

    The past year provided a surplus of villains. Fanatics and miscreants seemed to be breeding at a preternatural rate, all skulking in the shadows and plotting our doom. And compared with anthrax-posting maniacs and the Axis of Evil (whoever they turn out to be), the sins of a Major League Baseball commissioner seem piddling. But perhaps because the whole world… More >>
  • BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE)

    Kat Bjellan

    The "best vocalist" category is always a suspect one, particularly when it comes to women. "Good" singing has less to do with great pop pipes than some people pretend. In fact, one of the biggest musical breakthroughs of the past half-century has been the move away from traditional ideas of vocal prowess and prettiness toward a wider appreciation for idiosyncratic… More >>
  • BEST VOCALIST (MALE)

    Robert Robertson

    Robinson has the girth and the pipes to justify his boast that he's the "Pavarotti of Gospel." This round mound of enormous sound has been awarded such a gorgeous gift from God that it's no wonder he's so devout. As director of the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, Robinson can make song titles such as "Amazing Grace" and "On Eagles'… More >>
  • BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY

    Gunflint Lodge

    Make it a long weekend. Crack open the piggy bank, drive about five or six hours to the North Shore (and a bit beyond--but watch out for moose!), and discover this nature lover's nirvana in the Superior National Forest, adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. We daresay there's nothing else like it in the state. Deer regularly come to… More >>
  • BEST WILD PLAYER

    Marian Gaborik

    A no-brainer. As the first player ever selected by the Wild (and the third overall in the 2000 draft), expectations were high from the outset for the then-18-year-old Slovak phenom. He hasn't disappointed. A strong, quick skater and top-flight puck handler, Gaborik set the tone in his Wild debut, when he scored the first goal in franchise history. Despite coach… More >>
  • BEST WINE BAR

    Chiang Mai Thai

    What makes a good wine bar, anyway? Well, the wine, of course. It doesn't matter how friendly the servers, how inviting the room--if there isn't some exciting, interesting wine at the end of the journey, why bother? Absurdly, that criterion actually knocks out most of our stand-alone wine bars with their god-awful, lowest-common-denominator lists. But with spectacular wine often comes… More >>
  • SECOND-BEST BAND NAME

    ...because, in our nasty little hearts, we all secretly wish the worst for them.… More >>
  • THIRD-BEST BAND NAME

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