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Arts & Entertainment

  • BEST ACTOR

    James Craven

    It's a rare performer who can transmit the truth of his character while at the same time seeming to provide an anchor and touchstone for those around him on the stage. Penumbra stalwart James Craven consistently brings a soulful complexity to the roles he plays, while lending authenticity to every scene in which he appears by virtue of his studied,… More >>
  • BEST ACTRESS

    Sarah Agnew

    Sarah Agnew is the very definition of "range." In the last year she lent Shavian barbs to the Guthrie's Major Barbara, then anchored the Blue Battleship's nicely realized premiere of Brian Friel's The Home Place with a light touch that underscored the work's conflicted take on Irish sovereignty. Most recently she appeared in the one-woman The Syringa Tree at the… More >>
  • BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Dan Cole

    One of the great tragedies of the local talk-radio landscape is that the two lunatic geniuses of the AM dial both work their pathos from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays. This means that in the unlikely event you're actually near a radio during the midday hours, you have to choose between the maniacal ramblings of Tommy Mischke and the droll… More >>
  • BEST ART CRITIC

    Patricia Briggs

    Patricia Briggs knows what to say about art, but more importantly, she draws out the inner critic of viewers, too. In her talks in museums, classrooms, and galleries, her savvy, dynamic questions inspire audiences to talk about visual art from personal, local, and international perspectives. Briggs, an MCAD professor of art history and critical studies, independent curator, and local critic,… More >>
  • BEST ART GALLERY

    First Amendment Gallery

    Few commercial ventures offer more risk than art galleries. Sure, paintings, sculpture, assemblages, and whatnot are solid investments...as long as you buy the right ones. They're also one of the first things even the most passionate aficionado passes on when times get hard. Factor in a fickle public and an extremely low looker-to-buyer ratio, and opportunities for ruination lurk in… More >>
  • BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR

    The Dog Says How, by Kevin Kling

    There's no doubt that monologist and NPR contributor Kevin Kling knows how to spin a compelling story. And there's no question that his life provides more than enough drama for a book. Still, the question remained: Could Kling turn his signature style into a compelling read? The Dog Says How not only proved that he could, but provided one of… More >>
  • BEST CHOREOGRAPHER

    Morgan Thorson

    In Docudrama, Morgan Thorson cracks open the tiny stage of the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater and gives us the screwball comedy of post-modern dance. With five of the most charismatic performers now working in the Twin Cities, Thorson creates an homage to smart women who dance—their nerve and verve, their ability to illuminate our mundane world with glimpses of the marvelous.… More >>
  • BEST COLUMNIST

    Nick Coleman

    This was a bad year for columnists, with several high-profile voices—most notably Doug Grow—getting the ax as part of the Strib's restructuring. But it's been a great year for Nick Coleman, thanks in large part to the 35W bridge collapse. In the monumental disaster, Coleman has finally found a cause big enough to support his righteous outrage. Time and again… More >>
  • BEST COMEDY

    Jerry Springer—The Opera

    All right, technically it was an opera, or a musical, or whatever it was, but Minneapolis Musical Theatre took on this British sleaze-fest with happy gusto, and the results were outrageous in the best sense of the word. The first act satisfied itself with a fictional day on the set of Jerry's show, with Carl Schoenborn channeling our head-shaking hero… More >>
  • BEST CRAFT SHOW

    No Coast Craft-o-Rama

    Over the years, craft shows have lost the cozy, crafty coolness they once had. Afghan toilet-seat covers? Lame. Lace tablecloths? Eh. Footrests for your tired feet? Not unless you're approaching 60. That said, crafts have resurfaced over the years with a new, hip attitude—a resurgence of stitch 'n' bitch sessions, subversive seamstresses, and ironic aprons being a few examples. At… More >>
  • BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE

    Zenon Dance Company fall season

    Zenon is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, a significant milestone for any dance company, but the troupe proved during its fall season at the Guthrie Theater that it has not just staying power but a fresh perspective, constantly renewed by its artists. The program sparkled with premieres and favorite repertory works, and the dancers responded with mature, nuanced, and… More >>
  • BEST DANCER

    Anna Marie Shogren

    Every dance community needs a trickster or two—artists who possess a unique ability to make us laugh while at the same time displaying savvy stage presence, crisp technique, and an ability to share—or steal—the limelight when appropriate. University of Minnesota grad Anna Marie Shogren has demonstrated all of that in works by Morgan Thorson, Karen Sherman, Justin Jones, and Chris… More >>
  • BEST DIRECTOR

    Joel Sass

    It's been six years since Sass snagged this award, so we'll risk being repetitive by bestowing it again. As a double-threat designer/director, his work brings to mind local Gandalf Bain Boehlke, so logically enough, Sass got on board this year as associate artistic director at the Jungle. In those cozy confines he directed the one-woman The Syringa Tree, as well… More >>
  • BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY

    Kerri Miller

    Every weekday from 9 to 11 a.m., Kerri Miller, an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, burrows deep into current events and issues that often are nothing more than a sound bite in other media. On her show Midmorning, she's built a base for news and culture that can't be found anywhere else on the FM dial, not from DJs or other… More >>
  • BEST LITERARY JOURNAL

    Rain Taxi

    In a time when most of America would rather watch reality television or talk about Britney's latest mishap than read a book, Rain Taxi is keeping the art of literary criticism alive. Recognized by the Alternative Press Awards for Best Arts & Literature for its reviews of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, the Minneapolis-based quarterly is distributed in more than 250… More >>
  • BEST MOVIE THEATER

    Riverview Theater

    When you can see a movie in a theater for less than it costs to rent one, you know you've found a deal. Add cheap concessions, a cool vintage lobby, and a magnificently large screen, and you've found gold. For more than 50 years, Riverview Theater has been entertaining moviegoers with its blend of Hollywood hits and independent films, all… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    The Minnesota Museum of American Art is sexier than the MIA. The Children's Museum and Science Museum are more likely to hold a child's attention. The Bakken boasts one of Ben Franklin's original glass "armonicas." The Walker's crowd dresses better. We could go on about all the advantages other local museums—including the Bell with its charming dioramas—hold over the Minneapolis… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM EXHIBITION

    "Frida Kahlo," Walker Art Center

    Maybe it was bound to happen. The fierce mug of Frida Kahlo and her endless depictions of it were bound to drill their way to the top of the list. Do not make the mistake, however, of brushing off this year's winner as "too easy." Local collector and influential gallery owner Martin Weinstein points to the Walker's Frida exhibit as… More >>
  • BEST (NON-TV) WEATHERPERSON

    Jimmy "Dutch" Gaines

    Minnesotans pride themselves on their tolerance for brutal, soul-crushingly cold weather. But the truth of the matter—as anyone who's ever listened to the alarmist hokum dished out by WCCO (AM 830) and every TV newscast in town—is we're a bunch of pansies. Minnesotans spend an obscene amount of time wringing their hands over the minutiae of the five-day forecast. They… More >>
  • BEST OPERA

    La Boheme

    It may be easy to make light of Puccini's opera in this post-Rent world, but his work about the dreams of young artists and the deep pains of love can still pull an audience into its seductive spell. That's especially true with the talented team at Theatre Latte Da behind the production. Director Peter Rothstein's intimate, small-scale production had more… More >>
  • BEST OUT-OF-TOWN CHEERLEADER FOR LOCAL MUSIC

    WFMU-FM

    This category doesn't denigrate for one moment the great efforts of local radio stations in showcasing local music, but as any artist will tell you, it's nice when the out-of-towners take notice. WFMU, the freewheeling Jersey City, New Jersey, freeform radio station has taken a liking to Twin Cities locals Michael Yonkers and Paul Metzger, featuring regular airplay and long… More >>
  • BEST PINBALL

    SS Billiards

    Where else would you expect to find the best pinball in the Twin Cities but in a forgotten strip mall in Hopkins? SS Billiards lies off the beaten path, obscure to all but the truly dedicated. SS doesn't wear the glitz of a Dave & Buster's, or the bells and whistles of a Chuck E. Cheese. You won't find jalapeño… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY ART FROM A VENDING MACHINE

    Chambers Hotel

    For those of you who prefer that your experience of purchasing art be unique like the art itself, the ultra-stylish Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis is worth checking out. Breathtaking works of art are displayed on the lobby walls, but the most eye-catching object may be the old cigarette machine just outside the hotel's small but exclusive gift shop. The art… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LEARN AN ART FORM

    Highpoint Center for Printmaking

    As artistic hobbies go, printmaking has to be one of the hardest to take up. It's much easier to, say, buy a cheap canvas and some oil paints, and even creating a home darkroom is simpler than assembling your own lithographic presses, ferric etching tanks, and everything else you need for printmaking. That makes having a community center for the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LEARN TO DANCE

    Zenon Dance School

    Dance schools sometimes get a bad rap. Sequined leotards and recitals set to pop songs may be a valid way to inspire a love of movement, but they don't always lead to serious study of an art form that has many means of expression and a rich history. Zenon Dance School approaches dance education with a bit more depth, offering… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH MOVIES OUTDOORS

    Walker Art Center's Summer Music and Movies

    Yeah, this one is a no-brainer—the Walker Art Center has consistently put together the best outdoor movie series in the Twin Cities every summer since 1976. Usually starting mid-July and running through August, these Loring Park screenings aren't your typical kiddie-movie-on-a-lousy-screen gig. Each year the Walker selects a theme, such as 2006's "Screwball Masters: Sturges, Hawks, and Cukor," or the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH MOVIES OUTDOORS AT A BAR

    Solera

    Solera ranks pretty high on the list of bars with great views. Amid the skyscrapers and street-level Block E clatter, it's a posh-yet-casual experience. But the best viewing happens when Solera hosts its summer film series on its rooftop deck Sunday and Monday nights. Movies that have screened over the past few years include hits like Old School, Charlie and… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC ART

    The Merit Wall

    The Merit Wall has been a bright spot of authorized graffiti art in downtown for a decade now, but its birth was not an easy one. Merit Printing, the community-involved business that donated the Second Street surface, played local politics for six months to obtain the permits and permissions they needed to turn their wall over to youthful artists. Since… More >>
  • BEST RADIO PROGRAM AFTER MIDNIGHT

    The Root of All Evil

    For two decades, metal heads, insomniacs, and partying drunks have stumbled onto The Root of All Evil, where host Earl Root and a rotating cast of companions play the best and worst (and trust us, sometimes the two are the very same) of the various strains of heavy metal. Though you will hear it all each week during the show's… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION

    The Current 89.3 FM

    Just like the food you eat, the music on a radio station should contain a healthy variety. Minnesota Public Radio's the Current offers a rich diet of local and new music, with a generous helping of important older songs, a range of styles, and no unhealthy commercial additives. The Current's main course is predominantly non-Top 40 rock from that seemingly… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO READ THE PIONEER PRESS

    Ruben Rosario

    Ruben Rosario is part of an endangered species: the grizzled but tender-hearted metro columnist who has sources from the mayor's office to the morgue. Mike Royko and Jimmy Breslin are probably the two best-known examples of this genus. Nowadays metro dailies seem more interested in devoting column space to ideological blowhards and domestic diarists. The kind of "journalists," in other… More >>
  • BEST RECORD LABEL (COMEDY)

    Stand Up! Records

    "We will only bring the best, funniest, and most thought-provoking in comedy to you," vows Stand Up! Records on its website. "It is time to leave the politically correct behind, to cast off the chains of hack comedy and laugh freely! It is now time to STAND UP!" Sound like delusional bombast? It's not. With a stable of funnymen and… More >>
  • BEST STAGE PRODUCTION

    Peer Gynt

    Credit here goes where credit is due: The Guthrie drew on a largely local cast for Peer Gynt, brought in ace Mark Rylance for the title role, and with director Tim Carroll put on a strange and unabashedly original show that lived and breathed with vitality. Rylance played Peer like an adolescent sociopath, breathing offhanded malice and lust into deceptively… More >>
  • BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA

    Open Eye Figure Theatre

    This category represents an annual embarrassment of riches, but this year the nod goes to Michael Sommers's and Susan Haas's (finally) permanent dedicated space in south Minneapolis. The "drama" that takes place there is of a particular variety, owing to Sommers's wizardry in blending live action, puppetry, and existential weirdness, and in the last year A Prelude to Faust and… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    Bill Carlson

    Any newscaster so dedicated to his viewers that he writes them notes while he's fighting prostate cancer and promises to return to the air soon deserves respect. Anyone who can stay in the high-pressure broadcast news industry for 50 years, all with the same station, deserves recognition. And anyone who has interviewed John Wayne, Paul McCartney, and Britney Spears ought… More >>
  • BEST TV SPORTS ANCHOR

    Eric Perkins

    Yes, we're aware that Perkins has a smugness quotient that sets some people's molars grinding. And we wouldn't blame you for thinking that other sportscasters in town—earnest lug Randy Shaver at KARE, favorite-uncle Mark Rosen at WCCO, or studiously bland Rod Simons at KSTP—might actually know more about sports. But this is television, and encyclopedic knowledge isn't the point. The… More >>
  • BEST TV STATION

    ION Television: Channel 41

    The very fact that ION's broadcast home base is in St. Cloud solidifies its appeal as it wafts quietly through the mindless programming of corporately meted detritus spewed out on broadcast television. With a lineup that's uniformly and deliciously un-hip, ION feels beamed down from some particularly spaced-out and distant galaxy, where Steve Harvey is worshipped as a god and… More >>
  • BEST TV WEATHERPERSON

    Paul Douglas

    Shed no tears for Paul Douglas, for he retires filthy rich, thanks to a pair of farsighted inventions: In 1997 he sold a 3-D earth-modeling system he developed for $3 million, and last year he and a partner pocketed a cool $22 million for Digital Cyclone, a service that sends weather warnings to mobile devices. But viewers have certainly lost… More >>

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