Arts & Entertainment

  • BEST ACTOR

    Steven Epp

    There are actors who disappear inside their characters and actors who always remain their charismatic, unmistakable selves. Theatre de la Jeune Lune's Steven Epp does both. His stage-filling but not scene-chewing style deserves its own adjective (Eppian). Yet his highly physical, idiosyncratic interpretations are always logical and wise character studies, whether he's creating a new role or re-inventing one of… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS

    Charity Jones

    Is it possible that the local theater performance of 2004 will come from an actress who spoke only a handful of lines in a seven-minute play? Well, yes, of course, or we wouldn't have brought it up. Charity Jones has done outstanding work for the Jungle, Eye of the Storm, and other outfits. But she may have topped herself in… More >>
  • BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Mischke

    We had a moment of sheer panic back on a Friday night in late January when we dialed in KSTP-AM (1500) shortly before 10:00 p.m. to catch the end of The Mischke Broadcast. There, to our horror, we discovered the ravings of some Neanderthal named Chris Krok. Our initial fear was that Mischke's battle with depression had permanently sidelined the… More >>
  • BEST ART CINEMA

    U Film

    In what can only be described as an act of God, an obscure documentary ode to Christian activist/theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer drew 10,000 faithful over the course of two months last summer. This miracle booking not only helped U Film to resurrect itself commercially, but to find its religion--in nonfiction. Indeed, the Bell has nearly become the site of a year-round… More >>
  • BEST ART GALLERY

    Ox-Op - CLOSED

    See if you can follow this: Bar owner and ex-Marine starts a punk rock label, puts his logo on a Zippo, sells a bunch, starts putting underground artists' work on Zippos, sells a bunch more. Next, he converts the garage in the back of one of his bars into a gallery and hires the publisher of a hip-hop and graffiti… More >>
  • BEST ARTS ORGANIZATION

    Springboard for the Arts

    Even given our flaccid economy, Minnesota offers a wealth of funding options for artists and nonprofit arts organizations, what with grants from McKnights, Jeromes, and Bushes (no relation to you-know-who) practically begging to be taken. But securing a piece of the pie requires a certain kind of savvy, which is where Springboard for the Arts comes in. The organization provides… More >>
  • BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

    The Language of Blood

    In a frank, poetic style, Jane Jeong Trenka shares the saga of her life. At the painful center of her experience is the adoption that brought her from a volatile life in Korea to a wholesome adoptive family in small-town Minnesota. Yet dark and dangerous resentments run below the surface in this writer. Part of a wave of 150,000 to… More >>
  • BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER

    Riverview Theater

    Looking beyond the exceedingly generous $2 cover charge, this old-fashioned urban showroom has rare virtues aplenty. The inviting art deco lobby, complete with copper water fountain, looks much as it would have when the Riverview was built in '51. Inside, the sound (DTS and Dolby) is state of the art, the room is spacious, and the screen is gigantic. Owner… More >>
  • BEST CHOREOGRAPHER

    Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder

    Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder have spent the past decade setting movement to the words of Gertrude Stein and harmonica practice tapes, diving into wading pools, finding new ways to improvise while grating carrots, creating works for casts of "thousands," and generally elevating the concept of the dance duo to a new level. Last fall the pair decided it… More >>
  • BEST CLASSICAL PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Minnesota Orchestra

    The plane was late touching down in Helsinki the day of the concert, February 26, and the charter bus to Lahti had to drive through a blizzard. So there wasn't even time for the Minnesota Orchestra to get a decent meal before setting up in the hall. After two weeks on the road performing for the world's toughest audiences in… More >>
  • BEST COLUMNIST

    Brian Lambert

    We're not sure how Brian Lambert summons the courage to crawl out of bed each morning. Covering the local media, particularly the broadcast version, is true car-wreck reporting. Run, kids! It's Trish Van Pilsum! And she's got a microphone! And then there's the really ugly part of Lambert's job: critiquing the dreck on TV other than the news. We have… More >>
  • BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE

    The Nutcracker

    Ah, The Nutcracker...that annual tradition featuring a war between rats and toy soldiers, aloof sugarplum fairies, a young girl's coming of age, and a magical Christmas tree that grows larger when the grown-ups go to bed! Hmmm. Seems more like a fine opportunity to riff on dysfunctional family dynamics, consumerism, sex, and all those things that make our seasons bright.… More >>
  • BEST DANCER

    Roxane Wallace

    The most memorable dancers are those who move effortlessly, leaving an imprint on the atmosphere yet barely betraying evidence of any kinesthetic toll. For more than 10 years, Roxane Wallace has shared her singular state of grace with the Twin Cities dance community, combining confident serenity and an ever-present potential for explosive power. Whether tackling West African dance by Chuck… More >>
  • BEST DIRECTOR

    Michelle Hensley

    Michelle Hensley's Ten Thousand Things Theater Company, which does most of its productions in prisons and community centers, performs with the bare-bones simplicity of street theater: no theatrical lights, minimal props, creative but simple costumes. But as nearly every theater fan in town has been saying for years now, the company's art is far from low budget. Hensley's interpretations tend… More >>
  • BEST FILM

    What America Needs

    It had to happen eventually, and now it has. A major Hollywood studio has announced plans to release a documentary "celebration of a nation told through the voices of its people" (including John Mellencamp singing "The World Don't Bother Me None"), directed by an unknown who "packed up his camera and hit the road, making it his mission to meet… More >>
  • BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Earl Root

    At a certain age, most people lose the ability to appreciate the artistic merits of heavy metal. The relentless screech of guitars. The songs celebrating bestiality and Satan. The face paint. The unfortunate font choices. It all becomes a bit difficult to take once acne and finding someone to score you booze have become things that other people worry about.… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP RADIO PROGRAM

    Saturday night mix

    The difference between the Twin Cities' top two public-radio hip-hop shows is like day and night. We may bounce to Radio K's The Beat Box while we're running errands in our hoopty on a Saturday afternoon. But it's the Saturday night mix of local luminaries Siddiq and DJ Abilities, from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., that really gets our groove… More >>
  • BEST INDEPENDENT THEATER

    Frank Theater

    These are lean economic times for arts groups, and many theater companies have responded either with scaled-down productions (such as one- or two-person shows) and/or safe, box-office-minded fare: familiar scripts, remounts, crowd-pleasers of all stripes. And we understand this, and if it's a good crowd-pleaser, bring it on. But it's heartening to see 15-year-old Frank Theatre completely bucking the trends… More >>
  • BEST JAZZ RADIO PROGRAM

    Monday Evening Jazz

    Let's just put this right out there: If anyone in the Twin Cities knows more about jazz--and how to present it to listeners--than Tom Surowicz does, he should get his own radio show. But until that unlikely font of wisdom emerges, we're sticking with Surowicz's Monday Evening Jazz on Monday nights from 8:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. If anything, the… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL IMPRESARIO

    Clint Simonsen

    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… More >>
  • BEST MOVIE THEATER

    Lagoon Cinema

    "The Twin Cities' essential neighborhood movie house," they're calling it now--and we couldn't convey it more succinctly ourselves. Essential because the programming continues to strike an accessible balance between new and old (Human Rights Watch docs and Buster Keaton silents with live scores); high and low (films by French intellectual Chris Marker and California nudie-king Russ Meyer); near and far… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM

    Walker Art Center

    The St. Paul kid-thrillers are more hands-on than the Walker. The Weisman is prettier, the American Swedish Institute more opulent. MIA guards have better uniforms. Even the modestly funded Bell Museum of Natural History surpasses the WAC in one respect: It has dioramas. But sculptor Ed Kienholz's Portrait of a Mother with Past Affixed, from the Walker's permanent collection, works… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM EXHIBITION

    "Crossing the Channel" - CLOSED

    This summer blockbuster, which came to the MIA after debuting at the London's Tate Britain, is the kind of show that never ends up in Minneapolis. Starting with its centerpiece, Theodore Gericault's macabre yet luminous shipwreck scene The Raft of the Medusa, "Crossing the Channel" constituted a veritable walking tour of 19th-century European art, including a number of well-known paintings… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE TV PROGRAM

    Somali TV

    Most aficionados of public-access television go for some combination of kitsch, zealotry, oddity, or, preferably, all of the above. While you'll encounter all that and more while surfing the many stations of the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN), you may overlook what has earned MTN the public-access medal of honor. Through its three main channels, the network broadcasts community programming in… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC ART PROJECT

    the Krylon

    Most of the workday warriors and nocturnal thrill-seekers who pass the mural on the First Avenue side of Merit Printing probably dismiss it as yet another garden-variety graffiti piece without even bothering to examine its contents. Too bad--the Krylon-covered wall is as much text as it is a work of art. Climb out of the car someday and read the… More >>
  • BEST RADIO PROGRAM AFTER MIDNIGHT

    dub reggae

    Is there a better music in the world for the three hours before 5:00 a.m. than dub reggae? No party-rocking needed at that hour--not on a weekday, anyway--and no wake-up jams required. At 2:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, you're either home from a second-shift job, well into a third shift, leaving the bar, or unable to sleep. In any… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION

    KFAI

    Is KFAI the radio experience most listeners want? Of course it isn't. At least judging by the persistence of commercial radio, people want to hear songs they know, opinions they share, commercials they don't mind waiting through. They want to encounter, in other words, exactly what they expect when they switch on a radio--to turn it on like windshield wipers… More >>
  • BEST READING OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

    Al Franken's pep-rally reading at St. Paul's Central Presbyterian Church

    There couldn't have been a better kickoff to another queasying election year than Al Franken's October 15 pep-rally reading at St. Paul's Central Presbyterian Church. Ever since the Twin Cities' satirical southpaw came to town at the behest of Ruminator Books, we've been singing the praises of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Even if he was preaching… More >>
  • BEST SINGLE-ARTIST SHOW

    Holzschuh's exhibit

    We could all use a Don Holzschuh to make us look good. For almost 25 years, the painter has been transforming Minneapolis streetscapes on canvas with a bright palette: painting sidewalks turquoise, boulevards purple, and White Castles as though they were attractive landmarks. Holzschuh has used all parts of our fair city as muse, even the ugliest concrete spaces, and… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST

    KFAN

    They're not exactly running a think tank over at the Twin Cities' sports talk station. Fellating local athletes, soft-pedaling the loathsome acts of our bargain-ball team owners, pretending that U of M athletics aren't part of a professional sports league that doesn't pay its players--this is the standard for KFAN's on-air talent. And so what distinguishes the "Common Man" Dan… More >>
  • BEST STAGE PRODUCTION

    Children's Theatre Company's teen program

    There's one almost reasonable reason not to give honors here for this second offering from Children's Theatre Company's teen program. Namely, the director (Whit MacLaughlin), several folks on the creative team, and one cast member are from Philadelphia's New Paradise Theatre Company. And this item is not running in Philadelphia's City Pages. But that argument doesn't really hold water.… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR COMEDY

    Bryant Lake Bowl

    One should never count out the yuk-yuk progeny of Aristophanes from Brave New Workshop, Comedy Sportz, or Stevie Ray's Comedy Troupe. But the Bryant-Lake Bowl remains our favorite spot for left-of-center comedy. The Scrimshaw Brothers regularly bring their brainy satire and shameless silliness to the BLB's tiny stage, and Joshua Scrimshaw's moonlighting gig with David Mann and Craig Johnson in… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA

    Mixed Blood Theatre

    Mixed Blood Theatre is on a roll. Last fall, the company enjoyed a surprise sellout with Stephen Sachs's Sweet Nothing in My Ear, a family drama told largely in American Sign Language. They followed that one with a fiery production of Suzan-Lori Parks's Pulitzer Prize-winning tragedy of fraternal rivalry, Topdog/ Underdog, an area premiere that played to regular standing ovations.… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR NEW WORK

    Pillsbury House Theatre

    With the possible exception of a musical version of The Odd Couple starring Donald Trump and Jesus Christ, any theatrical production is a financial risk. But staging a new script, in most cases, is an especially nail-biting affair for those in charge of budgets. Luckily, the Twin Cities has a number of theater troupes that fearlessly bring us new work.… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    Julie Nelson

    In the wake of last year's tectonic shift--Paul Magers's departure from top-rated KARE-11 to the browner--and also greener--pastures of Los Angeles, local TV stations were left angling to fill the vacuum. WCCO, KSTP, and also-ran KMSP responded by going sensationalistic, with pointless live remotes and "breaking stories" about nothing. KARE largely sidestepped this race to the bottom, instead installing the… More >>
  • BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR

    Eric Perkins

    If Joe Schmit, Mark Rosen, and Randy Shaver are the Three Tenors, then Eric Perkins, KARE's lanky Norm Macdonald body double, is Josh Groban. A big goof, yes, but also kind of endearing in his eagerness to please. Perkins's long-running "Perk at Play" segments, in which he performs stunts like trying out for a high school pep squad or driving… More >>
  • BEST TV STATION

    MTN

    Watching community-access cable is like listening to a preacher howling fire-and-damnation across the short wave. Strange, even dislocating, but also hypnotic. That's the thing about MTN. Sometimes you'll be flipping around the dial and you'll come across something so mesmerizingly weird that you just can't shake it: a grainy video of a transvestite dancing in a silver spaghetti-strap dress, or… More >>
  • BEST TV WEATHERPERSON

    Belinda Jensen

    On any given night, the local news broadcasts will lead with an alarmist story about the classic Minnesota obsession: the weather. We reckon that out-of-town visitors find this strange and leave our state wondering what the hell the big deal is. Truth be told, it's usually nothing. Weather is not news. But try telling that to local meteorologists, who dazzle… More >>
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