Arts & Entertainment

  • Best TV Station

    KSTC 45

    Thanks to services like, Tivo, and Netflix, the way that we watch television is changing. Rather than wading through hundreds of channels in search of palatable programming, we're either turning on our Wiis or laptops and hitting "play" or pirating our favorite shows minutes after they air. That said, the old days of channel surfing still hold a certain… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

    The Weisman's extravagantly fanciful stainless steel facade, designed by Frank Gehry, has always been an artwork unto itself, but there are now more reasons than ever to see the art inside the museum. WAM completed a major expansion last October — also designed by Gehry — that added more than 8,000 square feet of exhibition space to the main floor.… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    "Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870" at Walker Art Center

    The Walker Art Center offered "Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera" from May to September last year, giving visitors a raw look at the world we live in, where we are constantly exposed to being spied on. The photos in the exhibit were pictures taken without their subjects' knowledge, including Brassai's lovers in Paris, photos taken by private investigators that… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    CO Exhibitions

    This northeast Minneapolis gallery is always up to something interesting. Last year the space packed an impressive eight exhibitions into its schedule. Unique shows included work from French graffiti artists 123 Klan, and Scion Installation's video installation featuring work from emerging artists. Though the gallery has brought in national and international artists and cooperatives, allowing Minnesotans a glimpse into art… More >>
  • Best Tattoo Parlor

    Leviticus Tattoo

    Nestled on the very east end of Lake Street, in a garage-type space that only from the outside looks unassuming, sits Leviticus Tattoo, a longtime dream realized and executed by owner/tattooist/art collector Kurt Melancon. It should be disclosed that Melancon illustrated the cover of this very issue and some of the drawings inside after we spent about a year admiring… More >>
  • Best Theater

    Mixed Blood Theatre

    It's not just that Mixed Blood Theatre is coming off a particularly strong season, though its 2011 offerings were excellent from beginning to end. Mixed Blood hit particular highs with its return-to-its-roots production of Avenue Q and the end-of-the-year Center of the Margin festival, which tackled disability issues with the same verve and understanding the company has brought to other… More >>
  • Best Play

    In the Red and Brown Water

    Tarell Alvin McCraney's epic tale of lost opportunity and hope in Louisiana introduced a singular, modern voice to the Twin Cities theater scene and solidified Christiana Clark's position as a local theater heavyweight. Her performance as Oya was the standout of the year, bringing the character's painful descent into sharp, brilliant focus. In the play, the first of a trilogy,… More >>
  • Best Musical


    John Kander and Fred Ebb specialized in bouncy-sounding scores that hid dark hearts. Cabaret's heart is especially bleak, as anyone with even the most basic knowledge of 20th-century history knows where many of the characters in libertine Weimar Germany were going to be in just a few years. That mixture of sweet music and pitch-black mood made Cabaret perfect fodder… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Bradley Greenwald

    Greenwald went from strength to strength in the last year, from the Emcee in Frank Theatre's Cabaret to a trio of turns at the Jungle Theater: as Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as evil King Claudius in Hamlet, and in a return engagement of the one-man I Am My Own Wife. Greenwald… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Christiana Clark

    Christiana Clark's turn as Oya in The Red and the Brown Water was certainly enough to earn her this nod. Physically, the tall and athletic performer fit the role perfectly, and she continued to dig deeper into the character even as Oya's entire world disintegrated around her. But tough drama isn't all Clark can play. She brought great comic timing… More >>
  • Best Director

    Wendy Knox

    It's impossible to separate Frank Theatre from its hard-working founder. Knox's work with the company has been some of the most impressive on local stages over the past two decades. Throughout the last year, Knox was still taking chances. You wouldn't think Cabaret would have a home with the same company that tackled Fucking A, but Knox and the talented… More >>
  • Best TV Newscaster

    Jana Shortal

    She's smart. She's hip (well, she was spotted once sporting a Pavement shirt while reporting on a local CD-release party, so she's hip for a newscaster). We like KARE 11's Jana Shortal because it's unlikely we'll ever see her behind the anchor desk sporting the Republican-wear outfit of most other female newscasters: the pearls, the buttoned-up suit dresses, the shoulder-length,… More >>
  • Best TV Sports Anchor

    Joe Schmit

    Through the good times, the bad times, and the ugly times in Minnesota sports history, one guy has seen, and reported on, it all. Joe Schmit, the resident sports director at KSTP, has been on the front lines of Minnesota sports for more than 25 years and has proven he's not afraid to share his opinions on the latest sports… More >>
  • Best TV Weatherperson

    Keith Marler

    Put a guy in a suit and aim a TV camera at him and more often than not a measure of smugness will overtake him. Whether they're anchors, reporters, or meteorologists, many of our TV news people put on such self-important airs that we can barely stand watching them. One refreshing exception is Fox 9 morning weather guy Keith Marler.… More >>
  • Best Columnist

    Jon Tevlin

    Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin is funny and serious, often in the same piece. Last fall, he followed up a City Pages report about Parasole restaurants charging its servers for credit card tips by asking hard questions of the chain's management and wondering what ad makers would dub the controversy. Maybe, he wrote, they'd call it "Cheapo Latino." Like the… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    89.3 the Current

    No matter how excited we all were to get dressed up and sip martinis for the season premiere of Mad Men, we didn't need Vincent Kartheiser to tell us how great the Current is, as he did in a recent interview with the New York Times. It turns out the man we all know (and despise) as Pete Campbell has… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Jake Rudh

    Jake Rudh is probably one of the most liked guys in the Twin Cities, and he has garnered a name for himself based solely on his music taste and knowledge of its best bygone eras. Before the Current snagged him last summer to showcase his flair for vintage rock, Brit pop, new wave, and dance music on Thursday nights at… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Esme Murphy

    While Saturday nights may not seem like a prime time slot for AM radio hosts, Esme Murphy has owned the weekend talk show world for years. A Harvard graduate, Murphy made her way to the Twin Cities and WCCO back in the '90s and has called it home ever since. Her warm personality and quick wit have made her one… More >>
  • Best Local Music Broadcast

    Radio K's Off the Record

    Minneapolis has no shortage of quality radio stations that do justice to a scene that's in the middle of a new golden age. Off the Record scores points for keeping its ear to the soil, and keeping us aware of what's bustling in the scene's underbelly. With an in-studio every week and a rotation of the choicest local tracks, OTR,… More >>
  • Best Dance Company

    Ragamala Dance

    Founded by Ranee Ramaswamy in 1992, Ragamala Dance has evolved into a company of international stature that performs the immensely complex South Indian dance form bharatanatyam. The company of seven women imbues an ancient art form, originally performed by female acolytes in Hindu temples, with contemporary vigor. The demanding technique takes over a decade to even begin to master. As… More >>
  • Best Dance Performance of the Past 12 Months

    Storm, Zenon Dance Company

    Zenon Dance Company's members are damn good dancers who draw inspiration from the wide range of nationally recognized choreographers artistic director Linda Andrews brings into their studio. The most recent example is Daniel Charon, a New York-based choreographer with roots in Moorhead, Minnesota. His raucous Storm premiered during Zenon's November 2011 program at the Cowles Center, and the dancers rose… More >>
  • Best Dancer

    Eva Mohn

    Eva Mohn divides her time between dancing in Minneapolis, Germany, and New York. Her supreme gifts were on view here all too seldom last year, primarily in two works by Uri Sands that she performed with TU Dance. In ...Just Let Go, she flows around Sands's body like molten lava, yet never loses the classical sense of line, shape, and… More >>
  • Best Choreographer

    Carl Flink

    There's art in science and science in art — a point driven home by choreographer Carl Flink at the February 2012 performance of his Black Label Movement company at the Cowles Center. His 2011 work HIT drew on research by biomedical engineer David Odde about the raucous interior lives of cells. Fearless (and hopefully well insured) dancers Bryan Godbout, Megan… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    The Trylon

    As much as we appreciate multiplex choice, gourmet concessions, and the sightlines of auditorium seating, a movie theater's only as good as the repertoire. And by those crucial standards, the Trylon — all 50 seats of it — is the best movie theater in the Cities. If you're one of those aspiring cinephiles hoping to play catch-up, the Trylon offers… More >>
  • Best Comedy Club

    Acme Comedy Co.

    If standup has a First Avenue, local and touring comedians alike will pinpoint Acme as a top candidate. And it's not just because it's one of the few dedicated Twin Cities venues to tough out two decades, through comedy boom and bust alike. The 275-strong capacity crowds are big enough to make good sets feel utterly electric without dwarfing the… More >>
  • Best Writing Classes

    The Loft Literary Center

    The Twin Cities boasts two fine academic programs for writers who want to hone their craft and get an advanced writing degree: Hamline University and the University of Minnesota. But for the writing dilettante or toe-dipper; or for someone who simply doesn't have the time, money, or desire to pursue a degree; or even for the experienced writer who already… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring)

    tUnE-yArDs at First Avenue

    "You guys sound like an arena," tUnE-yArDs maestro Merrill Garbus beamed halfway through her sold-out set in the Mainroom last fall. And Garbus was right to be impressed by the crowd's reaction — it was one of the most joyous and shrieking receptions a Minneapolis crowd has shown a touring act in recent memory, save for the last time Taylor… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Local)

    Doomtree Blowout 7 at First Avenue and 7th St. Entry

    The tagline of their seven-night love affair with the city seemed to say it all: "One whole fucking week." But the full concert experience wasn't limited to the Doomtree marathon's all-hands-on-deck performances in the Mainroom; no, the most spectacular element of last year's Blowout was that it pulled in dozens of the most talented and diverse acts the hip-hop scene… More >>
  • Best Concert Venue

    Varsity Theater

    We in the Twin Cities are pretty spoiled for choices when it comes to quality music venues. Even so, the Varsity Theater is one spot that shouldn't be taken for granted. Simply put, it's gorgeous. The lush decor, the result of a comprehensive remodeling a few years ago, is heavy on style and color and unique for how well it… More >>
  • Best New Nightclub


    Though it's been open since 2009, Honey has been the Cities' best kept nightclub secret, and to many it's still considered new. If it weren't for the thumping sidewalk beneath your feet on weekend nights, you could walk right by this underappreciated gem. Hidden in a basement underneath Ginger Hop, Honey is known for its exclusive feel and look inspired… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    7th St. Entry

    While First Avenue's more spacious Mainroom next door gets most of the acclaim and accolades, the intimate Entry remains the perfect place to see a band before they break big. Ticket prices are usually pretty cheap, the sight lines are perfect, the sound is typically flawless, and fans are regularly able to connect in a personal way with the impressive… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

    Since moving from St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis in 2003, the Dakota has firmly established itself as the preeminent jazz venue in the city. You can regularly catch impassioned performances from jazz legends like McCoy Tyner and Roy Haynes, as well as rising new stars like Esperanza Spalding and the Bad Plus, with most artists frequently performing two sets in… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Bayport BBQ

    You know it's legit when the smell of smoky brisket clings to your hair and clothes for days. Such is the case with Bayport BBQ, the intimate barbecue and blues joint just down the St. Croix River from Stillwater that also happens to snag some of the best burgeoning blues musicians to come through town. The ambiance, fixings, and live… More >>
  • Best Country Music Venue

    Lee's Liquor Lounge

    You're not going to catch Country Music Television's hottest new act at Lee's Liquor Lounge, or whoever happens to be Nashville's flavor of the month, with his frosted hair, neatly torn jeans, tribal tattoos, and baseball cap. And that's just fine by you, because you appreciate real country music, performed by real country artists. You're an aficionado of outlaw, a… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    First Avenue

    We don't need to convince you of First Avenue's longstanding icon status in Minneapolis or that it's one of the top rock clubs in the nation. But you might not know the club has been supporting the little guy — in this case, the electronic music community — from the genre's early days when turntables weren't considered an ancient artifact… More >>
  • Best Dance Night

    Get Cryphy

    In five years, Get Cryphy has grown from a 300-person Record Room experience to a full-fledged Mainroom extravaganza at First Avenue, and for good reason. The famous local foursome composed of Plain Ole Bill, Jimmy2Times, Fundo, and LASTWORD are not only slick DJs and producers, they're also all best friends, and it comes across behind the booth. On the first… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Plain Ole Bill

    Known in the Twin Cities as co-founder of Get Cryphy, the city's top hip-hop night, Plain Ole Bill stands apart from others behind the booth when it comes to his skill, genial attitude, and résumé. He gained recognition outside Minneapolis as P.O.S.'s touring DJ throughout most of 2009, but this year has been especially busy for Bill. He opened for… More >>
  • Best Album of the Past 12 Months

    The Cactus Blossoms

    Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are blessed with two of the sweetest voices in Minnesota. They are the chiseled faces of a young spin on old-time country. Loaded with pedal steel, fiddle, and heartbreak, the Cactus Blossoms' self-titled album could have been recorded decades ago, and it could be their prize for years to come. "Cold Foot Boogie," which… More >>
  • Best Rock Band


    A few days after steamrolling over everyone at the recent Best New Bands showcase at First Avenue, Bloodnstuff reached their Kickstarter goal, which helped them pay for the mixing and mastering of their highly anticipated debut record. That boisterous album (which was set to be released this month) should be a welcome shot in the arm to the Twin Cities'… More >>
  • Best Live Artist

    Zoo Animal

    It says something when a performer can blast an audience's eardrums out one minute and hold them close in a silent, still reverie the next. Which is precisely what happened when Holly Newsom, the songwriter and sole steady member behind Zoo Animal, released her latest EP, Departure, to a sold-out Entry this winter. Whether tormenting her guitar during the dynamic… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist


    Few local artists have taken advantage of their opportunities and good fortune quite like MaLLy. Given a spot to shine at 2011's Soundset, MaLLy rose to the occasion and delivered a knockout set that clearly made a positive impression on Atmosphere's Slug, who proudly sported a MaLLy T-shirt during his headlining performance later that day. From that point on, the… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    Chastity Brown

    Putting Chastity Brown in a single musical category doesn't do justice to the artist's unnerving capabilities, but at least the platform of folk is broad enough to hold her. With three full-length albums already under her belt and another just released (Back-Road Highways, produced and engineered by the revered Nashville-based record label C & D Music Network), Brown — a… More >>
  • Best Male Vocalist


    Astronautalis's versatile vocal delivery is a bit like a pinata. Right at the moment it bursts open, things can go every which way, but each song is a treat once you get your hands on it. The Florida transplant, who became a Minneapolis resident in 2011, never falls into a habitual flow about his singing-rhyming-screaming on This Is Our Science.… More >>
  • Best Female Vocalist

    Brute Heart

    As Poliça fans filed into First Avenue for the band's sold-out Valentine's Day record-release show, they were no doubt expecting to be treated to the ethereally powerful voice of singer Channy Leaneagh — and by the end of the night, they were. But perhaps less expected was how blown away audience members would be by opening band Brute Heart. The… More >>
  • Best Classical Musician

    Osmo Vänskä, Minnesota Orchestra

    Since arriving at the Minnesota Orchestra nearly nine years ago, Osmo Vänskä had taken the longtime ensemble on quite a musical ride, exploring fresh corners of the canon, introducing new work, and forging a signature bond between the local ensemble and the music of his native Finland. That includes a current project to record all of Sibelius's symphonies by 2015,… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Night Moves

    All things considered, it's easy to forget that Night Moves is a new band. The local trio have sounded like veterans from the get-go. While most bands stumble finding their way early on, Night Moves chose to keep their songs in the oven until they were ready, not even playing a show until every sonic detail was in place. The… More >>
  • Best Local Band Made Good


    Most local buzz bands work hard trying to make their name in the Twin Cities music scene before even attempting to blow up across the pond. In the case of Howler, they did things in reverse, signing to the venerable U.K. record label Rough Trade while initially making big waves over in England, just as their hometown was still warming… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    Tramps Like Us

    The Twin Cities music scene seems to be experiencing a resurgence of cover bands. Tramps Like Us is the best in town, covering all of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's biggest hits, complete with swaying saxophone player. While everyone in the group is a current or former member of a band like Gospel Gossip, Pony Trash, Poor Weather… More >>
  • Best Country Band

    Cactus Blossoms

    The Stanley Brothers, the Monroe Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, the Blue Sky Boys, the Maddox Brothers & Rose. Country music has a long-held appreciation for sibling bands, and it seems there's no sweeter sound than two brothers harmonizing over a sad country tune. Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey have capitalized on this tried-and-true formula with their band the Cactus… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months

    Roma di Luna

    Most chatter about Roma di Luna these days seems to focus on what came after their split — namely singer Channy Leaneagh's breakout success fronting buzz band Poliça. But this stellar Americana-turned-soul band deserves a proper farewell. What started as a sweet acoustic collaboration between Leaneagh and her then-husband Alexei Moon Casselle eventually blossomed into a more boisterous, bluesy seven-piece… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson may have left his "hipster cred" in the '90s. Hey, it happens to the best of us when we reach a certain age, or as is Wilson's case, when you sell enough records or pen a tune that becomes the quintessential last-dance prom song for the class of 1999. Since releasing that hit, "Closing Time," and in fact… More >>
  • Best Local Music Compilation

    Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 3

    The last thing the world needs is another tired Beatles compilation. But right from the start, the Minnesota Beatle Project has been anything but a boring, predictable undertaking, as each successive volume captured locally based bands breathing some new life into classic songs by the Beatles. Volume 3 is the best collection yet, with plenty of fresh takes on some… More >>
  • Best Record Label

    Moon Glyph

    In recent years, the ever-forward march of technology has had the curious (and for more than a few people, refreshing) side effect of prompting people to re-embrace supposedly outdated media. The reemergence of vinyl, however much of a niche it may still be, has been the most noticeable in the music world, but last year Moon Glyph reminded us of… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    The Herkimer

    Let's face it: To the majority of us, a jukebox is a jukebox. You and some friends have some drinks, get a little tipsy, then throw a buck into the machine and have a group sing-along to "More Than a Feeling" or "Bohemian Rhapsody." Automatic good time, right? But for others, the thrill of flipping through a jukebox (an old-school… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    James Ballentine VFW Post 246

    The best karaoke tends to be found in dive bars with cheap booze and tipsy clientele. That is certainly the case at Lyn-Lake's VFW. Come early to nab a large vinyl booth, and pick up a Trapper Keeper of tunes. The song selection is vast and pretty varied, from country standards to '80s pop to party anthems (the only criticism… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Hot Rash

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