BEST LOCAL IMPRESARIO - 2004
Anyone can book a music show, especially if the promoter has got a bundle of cash and is willing to see it evaporate. But promoting is like any other kind of gambling: When your stake is gone, you're out of the game. For two consecutive years, DeStijl/Freedom From Festival co-creator Clint Simonsen has boldly wielded his own hard-earned nest egg to spectacular effect--and kept his shirt at the end of the day. At last October's two-day extravaganza, Simonsen's fiscal temerity brought us face to face with dozens of musicians from a wild international underground. Jazz iconoclast Arthur Doyle, minimalist pioneer Tony Conrad, and folk legend Bridget St. John probably hadn't played in Minneapolis in years--if they'd ever been here at all. Even fairly frequent visitors to these environs bent over backward to enhance the sonic circus--literally, in the case of New York's No Neck Blues band. That neo-tribalist collective's performance found the band more or less abandoning their instruments to perform various feats of physical derring-do using the Fine Line itself as a prop. Even they were upstaged, though, by veteran Massachusetts sonic disrupter Emil Beaulieau, whose inspired, mock-professorial shtick captured the event's "you can be serious and have loads of fun doing it" spirit perfectly.