Download our Free Best Of App

Arts & Entertainment

  • BEST ACTOR

    Terry Hempleman

    Over the past year, Terry Hempleman has brought graceful technique and thoughtful interpretations to several area productions. He played a disintegrating cuckold in the Jungle Theater's premiere of Craig Wright's Orange Flower Water and a lovable loser in the Actors Theater of Minnesota's The Weir, and he earned high marks for his turn as Selig in the Penumbra Theatre's Joe… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS

    Jesse Rice

    While Rice has been a local theater presence for a few years, it was her preternaturally focused portrayal of the titular "Cat" in Fifty-Foot Penguin Theater's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof last winter that inspired critics to start the search for superlatives. Indeed, her fluid, feline Maggie might very well have set Tennessee Williams himself to waltzing around Playwrights'… More >>
  • BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Ron Rosenbaum

    We hesitate to give this award to Ron Rosenbaum. After all, the one flaw in his intelligent, provocative morning radio show is that he has a tendency to be, well, an arrogant blowhard. Any number of times over the last year we've been consumed by a desire to drive down to the KSTP headquarters and clamp down on Rosenbaum's tongue… More >>
  • BEST ART CINEMA

    Walker Art Center

    In his two-and-a-half year tenure as film/video curator at Walker Art Center, the Belgium-born Cis Bierinckx imported a distinctly European aesthetic of cinema programming. The philosophy amounted to this: Give the audience what they can't get elsewhere--world cinema of the highest (and rarest) order in particular--and without compromise. (No Tom Hanks or Jonathan Demme dialogues in the Bierinckx era.) There… More >>
  • BEST ART GALLERY

    Joan of Art

    Like a great book or movie, a great art gallery creates a world of its own. Disbelief is suspended and new rules are put in order. In the alternative universe of Joan of Art, the law of gravity is sometimes defied. What goes up at this two-year-old gallery also comes down, but not everything inside is meant to be viewed… More >>
  • BEST ARTS ORGANIZATION

    Springboard for the Arts

    Here's an organization that helps artists and arts organization administrators with the nuts and bolts of art. Sometimes that can be quite literal: Springboard for the Arts provides grants for artists' emergency expenses and loans to help them finish projects. Sometimes it means offering workshops on how to copyright your work; help with managing the little money an artist is… More >>
  • BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

    Was It Beautiful? by Alison McGhee

    Like her two previous books, Rainlight and Shadow Baby, both Minnesota Book Award winners, Alison McGhee's latest novel circles around questions of grief and loss. Her setting is, again, the tiny Adirondacks town of Sterns, and characters from the previous books flit through this one, as though their lives were all threads of one tapestry. But Was It Beautiful? (Shaye… More >>
  • BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER

    Parkway Theater

    Between the economic recession and the near-equally depressing state of American movies, it seems like the right time to reinstate this category after several years' absence. (Gawd--had the boom really seduced us into thinking that movies were worth paying upward of eight bucks for?) And yet a cheap ticket isn't of much value if the ticket is for, say, A… More >>
  • BEST CHOREOGRAPHER

    Ted Shawn

    Dancing outside isn't a new idea. Ted Shawn, for example, founded Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival decades ago in the mountains of Massachusetts so he could commune with nature. On a local level, Mary Lee Hardenberg has made a tradition of welcoming the summer solstice with dances set on bridges across the Mississippi River. But Stevens, a longtime Twin Cities resident… More >>
  • BEST COLUMNIST

    Ruben Rosario

    There's a paucity of pontification in Rosario's Pi Press columns, which revolve around issues of public safety but more memorably serve as portals for ordinary people to tell extraordinary stories. Born in New York, Rosario learned his proletarian-oriented journalism from masters such as Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin before coming to St. Paul in 1991. His knack for getting people… More >>
  • BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Vincent Mantsoe

    Performing in his first major United States tour, South African dancer and choreographer Vincent Mantsoe was a commanding and unsettling presence when he took to the stage at the Walker Art Center last fall. Propelled by his personal Afrofusion style (a mélange of traditional African, Asian, and Western dance forms) he began a journey through three solo works. It was… More >>
  • BEST DANCER

    Susan Scalf

    Susan Scalf, a dancer who continually finds ways to top her last over-the-top performance, made people laugh so hard during Shawn McConneloug and Her Orchestra's Palace of Dreams that they probably didn't notice the enormous effort of her task. Poured into a skintight evening gown, and with scuba flippers on her feet, Scalf flopped onto the stage like a diva… More >>
  • BEST DIRECTOR

    Casey Stangl

    Eye of the Storm Theatre artistic director Casey Stangl has been busy, both at her home base and with several high-profile moonlighting gigs. Late last year, she guided Nathan Keepers to a charming performance in the Jungle Theater's hit comedy Fully Committed. The role required Keepers to play a harried receptionist at a trendy Manhattan restaurant, along with a score… More >>
  • BEST DRESSED TV NEWSCASTER

    Robyne Robinson

    Robyne Robinson's wardrobe is as precise, as pragmatic, and every bit as Seinfeld-ian as the sitcom that follows her newscast each weeknight. Her palette is muted and minimal yet often includes a tossed-in dash of color that pops like a Lichtenstein print. Robinson, who co-anchors the 9:00 p.m. newscast, manages to spare herself from the Minnesota-nice nubby sweater sets of… More >>
  • BEST FILM

    Yes, it is.

    Is this a movie about marriage? About the equally tricky relationship between a writer and his self-esteem? About how not drinking can be as poisonous for the addict as getting soused? About fiction's function as an anesthetizing agent in the face of real pain (and in the absence of booze)? Answer: Yes, it is. Casting himself as an uninspired husband… More >>
  • BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Joel Johnson

    In an age of cruel stunts and hysterical FM radio personalities in need of serious sedation, Joel Johnson is an oasis from the hype and madness. As host of KFAI's blues show on Thursday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., he calmly growls out details about the blues he's playing--he makes sure you listen for Ernest "Big" Crawford's… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP RADIO PROGRAM

    2 the Break-A-Dawn

    Self-promotional? Sure. Hosts Siddiq and DJ K-Salaam are, respectively, a founder of the local hip-hop operation Rhymesayers Entertainment and a DJ on the label. Siddiq launched the program just as he and some friends were opening a new record shop in Uptown three years ago, so you might call the show savvy marketing. But 2 the Break-A-Dawn (Saturdays 9:00 p.m.… More >>
  • BEST INDEPENDENT THEATER

    Mary Worth Theatre Company - CLOSED

    The Mary Worth Theatre Company produces strange, hypnotizing plays. Plays that don't necessarily make their meaning explicit but always seem to burrow into your consciousness and hang around long after the production has come and gone at one of the vagabond company's temporary homes (the Cedar-Riverside People's Center, the Playwrights' Center, the scene shop (!) of Theatre de la Jeune… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ RADIO PROGRAM

    KBEM-FM 88.5 with Tom Surowicz

    Seasoned music critic and ubiquitous scene-maker Tom Surowicz won this category last year for his encyclopedic musical knowledge, colorful in-studio guest list, and imaginative programming. This last is sometimes theme-driven, sometimes anchored to a musician or musical instrument, and always serendipitously orchestrated, like the genre's memorable moments. It bears repeating that this host's definition of "jazz" is as broad-based as… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL IMPRESARIO

    Brilliant Corners

    For cutting-edge or colossally important arts programming, there are many bigger and better venues than Brilliant Corners, the tiny St. Paul jazz spot that Jeremy Walker and Marsha Corliss opened earlier this year. But the enterprising twosome deserves a big-up for sheer gumption. In this or any economy, it takes profound chutzpah to launch an all-ages (read: good coffee, no… More >>
  • BEST MOVIE THEATER

    Oak Street Cinema - CLOSED

    As time goes by, the Twin Cities' venerable museum of the moving image continues to play it again--Casablanca, that is, or other Hollywood classics. But, like Bogie, it's also learning to forge new and beautiful friendships. The burgeoning number of first-run area-premiere titles that have recently graced the marquee--essential documentaries such as Biggie & Tupac and The Pinochet Case, as… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    The MIA possesses the versatility, imagination, and resources to qualify as a big-league museum in a major metropolitan area. They're on the circuit for blockbuster exhibits such as the recent "Eternal Egypt" collection and the landscapes of "American Sublime"; assemble noteworthy shows such as last fall's collection of more than 70 Picasso prints (60 percent of them owned by the… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM EXHIBITION

    Walker Art Center

    Go-go globalism seems to be the ruling trend in the big brick culture arcade next to the enormous hole in the ground (which, for all we know, might be some kind of Robert Smithson-type landscape installation). But though the current show "How Latitudes Become Forms" could be alternately titled "How Curators Befuddle Museum-Goers," the Walker has actually had good luck… More >>
  • BEST OPERA

    Magic Flute @ Nautilus Music Theater

    If you like the fresh, funky, and finely tuned operatic work you see featured by Theatre de la Jeune Lune in shows like their Magic Flute, you're partly appreciating the creativity of Nautilus Music Theater. Nautilus is a process-based studio that turns out original operatic sounds and character work. In that spirit, their recent showing of The Last Five Years,… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE TV PROGRAM

    The Prima-Donns

    Local public access television truly does offer an embarrassment of riches--with the emphasis on embarrassment, of course. From the virtuous and civic-minded to the indulgent and purely outrageous, the three channels of the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network offer something for the most jaded of viewers. MTN is celebrating its 20th anniversary this spring, and its survival is cause for celebration. Throughout… More >>
  • BEST PUNK RADIO PROGRAM

    Radio Riot

    For anyone still laboring under the illusion that punk rock is a) dead, b) synonymous with MTV2, or c) as monotonous as a Jello Biafra speech, here's a shockingly good counterargument. Hosted by record impresario and Maximumrocknrolll and Profane Existence music columnist Felix Havoc, Radio Riot flows like the smoothest dance mixtape. But instead of beat matching (ha!) or crossfading… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION

    KFAI-FM 90.3/FM 106.7

    What hour provides the real test of mettle for any great radio station? Try the after bar-time/before drive-time gutter, when most radio goes on pre-taped autopilot to accompany your booty call, trip to Perkins, or third shift at the nursing home. Only KFAI would be busy sequencing "On Top of Spaghetti" (an old grade-school knockoff of "On Top of Old… More >>
  • BEST READING IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS

    You Shall Know Our Velocity

    Quirky was the word of the evening when Dave Eggers brought his latest three-ring circus to town. The event began with the unique stylings of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. This ma, pa, and daughter outfit tell musical stories based on slides found at garage sales and thrift stores--an eye-opening lesson in how not to dispose of embarrassing pictures. Then… More >>
  • BEST SINGLE-ARTIST SHOW

    Aaron Spangler

    Aaron Spangler's collection of militia-themed sculptural woodcarvings, which opened in September 2002, was the highlight of No Name Exhibition's last season at the Soap Factory. These breadbox-sized arsenals and bunkers in army green were perched on pedestals, walking the line between resembling a toy-soldier regiment and a basement-woodshop man-cave. Embedded in these pieces was a timely and deft exploration of… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST

    Chad Hartman on KFAN-AM 1130

    This is not exactly a bang-up market for sports talk radio, which means listeners with a hankering for hours of inane prattle about the ins and outs of the NFL draft or rule changes in the NBA don't have a lot of options. Thankfully, however, we do have KFAN, and by and large the station's roster of hosts is more… More >>
  • BEST STAGE PRODUCTION

    Sunday in the Park with George @ Theater Latte Da

    Local Stephen Sondheim fans have had a pretty good run over the past five years or so. John Miller-Stephany directed winning productions of Sweeney Todd and the rarely performed Merrily We Roll Along for the Guthrie, and earlier this year Theater Latté Da took over the Loring Playhouse for a soaring rendition of Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim's… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR COMEDY

    Bryant-Lake Bowl

    The Bryant-Lake Bowl is, of course, not exclusively devoted to comedy, but it is home to some of the smartest get-your-laugh-on theater in town, from sketch comedy to one-person shows, and a lot of Fringe Festival revivals. Here's where you can catch the acerbic satire of the Ministry of Cultural Warfare, the rock 'n' roll goofs of Ferrari McSpeedy, the… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA

    Jungle Theater

    There's no shortage of deserving recipients of this honor, but the Jungle deserves singling out for its deftly directed treatments of new and rarely seen material. As always, artistic director Bain Boehlke delivered his painstakingly crafted sets, chose excellent plays, and attracted some of the finest actors in town. This year, he also opened the door to visiting directors, including… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR NEW WORK

    Playwrights' Center

    For a regular dose of new work, keep your eye on the Playwrights' Center (visit www.pwcenter.org for its calendar of upcoming events), which has been giving playwrights a leg up for more than three decades. New plays in various stages of development are routinely read or performed for general audiences at the Center's Waring Jones Theater. The Center for Independent… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    Paul Magers

    When NBC honchos needed a stand-in last month for the late David Bloom on the network's popular Today weekend edition, they knew right where to look. And the whole of America soon learned what Minnesotans have known for years: Paul Magers has a great haircut. Just gray enough to convey a well-earned gravitas, yet so lustrous and thick that it… More >>
  • BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR

    Joe Schmit

    Yeah, like his colleagues, Joe Schmit can be a shameless booster. If he sucks up any more to Viking coach Mike Tice, they are going to wind up swapping spit on live air one day. Come to think of it, that would make for some groundbreaking TV--Ellen for the jock set. Still, the usual rules about the appropriate relationship between… More >>
  • BEST TV STATION

    Local WB Affiliate

    With everything that's going on in the world today, it's a blessed relief to find a place on the dial where you can pretend that it isn't. Meet the local WB affiliate, where obliviousness is treated not as a privilege but an American birthright. No news-crawl here. And no solemn network anchors spinning scenarios of eschatological dread. Hell, the WB… More >>
  • BEST TV WEATHERPERSON

    Paul Douglas

    Douglas is a perennial, but that's a good thing. He's been around so long, in fact, that it's hard to say just what makes him such a comforting presence. Maybe it's that amused half-smirk. Perhaps it's the stubborn refusal to shift with the winds of fashion like so much blow-dried jetsam. Or maybe it's just that Douglas's delivery is so… More >>
Loading...