Arts & Entertainment

  • Best TV Newscaster

    Amelia Santaniello, WCCO

    When we begin preparing our dinner, tuning in to all that is good, bad, and ugly in local news as the long workday slowly melts away, who wants to feel as though they're being assaulted by the newscaster? Some local anchors kill us with kindness — a sparkling smile that screams, "Like me! My hair is so pretty!" Others are… More >>
  • Best TV Weatherperson

    Belinda Jensen, KARE 11

    In Minnesota, keeping up with the next day's weather can be a matter of life and death — or at least of comfort and misery. Even so, determining the best TV weatherperson isn't really about who is the best meteorologist or the most accurate forecaster. TV weathercasters don't launch their own satellites and weather balloons — they get their information… More >>
  • Best TV Sports Anchor

    Mark Rosen, WCCO

    For more than 30 years, Mark Rosen has had the best seat in the house, and we've all been better off for it. The longtime WCCO sports anchor started while still a fresh-faced student at St. Louis Park High School, and as the years have gone by he has aged gracefully into one of the most respected elder statesmen in… More >>
  • Best Columnist

    Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

    Everyone loves City Pages alum and current Mpls/St. Paul magazine senior editor (and most recently, WCCO Radio weekend show host) Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl. Even when she's skewering a new restaurant or food trend with her no-nonsense and accessible writing style, her assessments always come across as fair, accurate, and honest, never biased or mean-spirited. Food writing can be a difficult… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    Radio K

    Being the creatures of habit that we are, it's easy to forget that, hey, there's actually more than one radio station for us to listen to around these parts. And in part, that's why we've been reacquainting ourselves lately with an old favorite — yep, Radio K. Actually, "old favorite" feels like a contradiction here: What's so great about the… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Patrick Reusse, 1500 ESPN

    Patrick Reusse is an old man living comfortably in a young man's world, and that's reflected on the 1500 ESPN radio show he co-hosts with Phil Mackey. Mackey likes to tell listeners he's on the young side of 30, but Reusse, pushing 70 and described as a "curmudgeon" on his own show, doesn't take a back seat to anybody when… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    Minnesotans love a bargain, even in the arts. With the exception of special exhibits, the halls at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts are always free. Have a few minutes to kill before a Children's Theatre Company show, or just looking for a bit of calm on a busy afternoon? You can check out one (or more) of the museum's collection… More >>
  • Best Theater

    Pillsbury House Theatre

    While the main-stage productions draw most of the attention at Pillsbury House — justifiably, as we'll see in a moment — it's important to note how vital the other offerings are for the surrounding neighborhood and theater in general. Arts on Chicago and the Breaking Ice company tackle issues of race and class from the heart of south Minneapolis. The… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Rosalux Gallery

    As the economy continues to flounder, many Twin Cities art galleries struggle along with it. Fortunately, that is not the case with Rosalux Gallery, a space that hit its 10-year anniversary in 2012. Over the years, Minnesota's longest-running collective art gallery has hosted an impressive variety of exhibitions featuring work by both up-and-coming locals and established artists. Events from the… More >>
  • Best Spread at a Gallery Opening

    Mpls Photo Center

    Some galleries seem to think that a cheese platter, some veggie sticks, and a few bottles of wine qualifies as a party. The Mpls Photo Center is not one of them. Every few months, when the center mounts a new exhibit, a crowd floods into its sprawling warehouse space for one of the best gallery receptions in town. The art… More >>
  • Best Street Artist

    HOTTEA (a.k.a. Eric Rieger)

    After MCAD graduate Eric Rieger had one too many brushes with the law over his graffiti habit, he decided to branch out into a form of urban art that was less spray paint, more yarn. Now, nearly five years later, his string creations brighten otherwise gray chain link fences and pedestrian walkways throughout the Cities and encourage passersby to stop… More >>
  • Best Fashion Designer

    Emma Berg

    If fashion design is one part perspective and one part execution, then Minneapolis designer Emma Berg is naturally at the forefront. Her vision and construction are consistently aligned, and her looks prove more daring and entertaining with each season. Berg has shown nine collections since 2009 and had 17 shows in the past year alone, and while so many local… More >>
  • Best Craftspeople

    Wood from the Hood

    You've no doubt seen the moniker burned onto a spiffy yardstick-style growth chart, cribbage board, or picture frame in a local gift shop, or seen a truck driving around Longfellow branded with the same logo. But what exactly is Wood from the Hood? Thanks to the organization, neighborhood trees that once provided shade to humans and home to wildlife are… More >>
  • Best Dance Company

    The BodyCartography Project

    This year we celebrate the choreographic duo of Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad, who together lead the BodyCartography Project. Their latest endeavor, Supernature, which premiered at the Walker Art Center last fall, delved into the more peculiar aspects of social behavior among humans but did so with an eye toward exposing, rather than simply studying, how they play out in… More >>
  • Best Dancer

    Stephen Schroeder

    Stephen Schroeder's dancing contains multitudes. His supple athleticism, hunky charm, and subtle ambiguity have illuminated the eclectic Zenon Dance Company repertory for 12 years. Schroeder's moves can be quick and liquid, with the animal alertness of a panther or the friskiness of a puppy in ecstatic play mode, eager to manifest the battalion of impulses that inhabit his fully charged… More >>
  • Best Choreographer

    Chris Schlichting

    Choreographer Chris Schlichting teamed up with visual artist Terrence Payne to create Matching Drapes at Red Eye earlier this year. The tightly wrought work, framed within a strikingly stark, flower-patterned set, was filled with fine character subtleties, intelligent movement choices, and the cleverest hints of subversion. Schlichting's dancers (Mary Ann Bradley, Krista Langberg, Dustin Maxwell, Laura Selle Virtucio, and Max… More >>
  • Best Dance Performance of the Past 12 Months

    Ballet of the Dolls

    The Ballet of the Dolls troupe, under the artistic direction of Myron Johnson, has been adding its own special brand of sparkle and glamour to local stages for over 25 years. And in this particular category Johnson and company actually get credit for two performances — last fall's vividly colored, fantasy-driven The Peruvian Nightingale and their own darkly comic twist… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Riverview Theater

    It's a second-run theater that shows art-house flicks and independent documentaries. A retro-vintage throwback that feels as new and shiny as a recently built suburban multiplex. A luxurious movie palace that sits on the kind of neighborhood corner usually reserved for convenience stores or walk-in pizza joints. The Riverview fills so many roles that its old-fashioned, single-screen setup and non-auditorium… More >>
  • Best Literary Events

    Rain Taxi

    Rain Taxi doesn't necessarily draw the big names some other venues in town boast, so you won't hear authors talking about how an endorsement from Oprah helped boost their book sales and allowed them to quit their job teaching composition to community college students. But Rain Taxi does show quite a commitment to promoting local literary culture, from inviting lesser-known… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Local)

    Prince at Dakota Jazz Club

    With barely a day's notice, Prince launched a three-day, six-concert mini residency at the Dakota Jazz Club in January. Combine the last-minute adrenaline, the intimate environment, and the cold-as-hell weather, and these shows proved to get Twin Cities fans rethinking what was possible — or impossible, if you consider the $250 tickets for the Friday night shows featuring the Purple… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months (Touring)

    Bruce Springsteen at Xcel Energy Center

    No one has higher expectations for a Bruce Springsteen performance than Bruce Springsteen. He can't actually watch himself sing, strum his Telecaster, slide across the stage on his knees, and belt out harmonies with Little Steven, but the guy has an obsessive streak when it comes to the fine details of pleasing his fans. A 90-minute show would be adequate,… More >>
  • Best Concert Venue

    Cedar Cultural Center

    As far as concert venues go, it's hard to find one that encapsulates so much of what's great about the Twin Cities better than the Cedar does. First off, it's always all-ages—an everybody's-welcome sort of policy that tends to be in short supply these days. Second, it's a true melting pot, the standard-bearer for a neighborhood that's evolved into one… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    First Avenue

    First Avenue still rules the roost when it comes to the Twin Cities' top rock-out spots. And with improved lower-level, stage-left sight lines, the same great sound system, and a formidable concert and event schedule as always, plus the welcome addition of the adjacent Depot as a pregame spot, the club Prince made famous has only gotten better in recent… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Bayport BBQ

    Going too long without good barbecue is bound to leave you blue, which is why hungry blues fans line up every weekend for music and grub at Bayport BBQ, a deep-blues juke joint and Texas-style barbecue located near the St. Croix River. The venue draws the best in regional, national, and international blues acts — no Beale Street cheesiness, no… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Artists' Quarter

    Subterranean, dark, funky, and regularly presenting an impressive array of local and national jazz artists, the venerable Artists' Quarter has all the attributes of a great jazz club. Tucked into the basement of St. Paul's Hamm Building, the AQ boasts intimate confines, classic jazz photos and album covers decorating the walls, a decent bar, a real character manning the door… More >>
  • Best Country Music Venue

    Turf Club

    Though it's become better known as a rock club of late, the Turf Club has over the years managed to cling to its origins as a country bar where folks came to two-step back in the 1940s, a time when it operated as a post-Prohibition bar, restaurant, and entertainment venue named for its founders Kirch & Gillis. This was a… More >>
  • Best Dance Club


    Tucked squarely underneath Asian fusion joint Ginger Hop, Honey is small enough to feel like a hideaway. The glowing bar is stocked with top-shelf booze, the lighting is just dark enough to be concealing, and on certain nights you can find something special on the dance floor. Luckily, you have plenty of options to do just that — its schedule… More >>
  • Best Director

    Marion McClinton

    Marion McClinton's steady hand has been behind many terrific productions in the Twin Cities over the past several years. His work for Pillsbury House in the last year helped propel that company to our Best Theater award, but his work on many stages around the Twin Cities is the reason for this honor. Both Buzzer and The Brothers Size were… More >>
  • Best Club Night

    House Proud at Honey

    The saying goes that the best things come in small packages, and the same can be said for House Proud at Honey, a popular monthly house music free-for-all at the always-cramped underground bar in northeast Minneapolis. Don't let its size fool you, though: The deep bass lines and thick community vibe are big enough to blow up anyone's dancing shoes.… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Hairy Karaoke at Turf Club

    If you were a regular at the sparsely attended Hairy Karaoke series at St. Paul's Turf Club, you were not only in on one of the city's best-kept secrets but you've also likely had an itch to get up on the venue's side stage for quite some time now. Unfortunately, with its many regular offerings, from touring bands to weekly… More >>
  • Best Place to See Throwback Acts

    Medina Entertainment Center

    Eric Burdon & the Animals, America, 38 Special, Foghat, the Bellamy Brothers, Ted Nugent, Vince Neil, and Bret Michaels — these are just some of the names that have appeared at the western suburbs' Medina Entertainment Center in the past year. It's KQ come to life, and the parking lot after the show will make you feel like you're circa-1980s… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    Rick's Cabaret

    When it comes to seeing women take it off for cash, the Twin Cities have plenty of options. For the most part, every club is pretty similar: booze, boobs, bros. So how does a strip club set itself apart from the competition? Two words: lunch specials. Any place can serve you a steak, seafood, and beer, but how many places… More >>
  • Best Record Label

    Forged Artifacts

    In some ways, it might seem like there's a law of diminishing returns when it comes to starting a record label these days. After all, who buys records today? And what band even needs a label to get its music out there anymore? But with that said, it's a perfect time for labels that want to focus on the finer… More >>
  • Best Local Music Compilation

    Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost Grooves from Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979 (Secret Stash Records)

    Sometimes the best new music isn't new at all. In the case of Secret Stash's stellar Funk & Soul compilation, the music has been here for decades, right under our noses, but hidden mostly out of sight. In fact, most of these songs may well have disappeared forever had the south Minneapolis label not undertaken this project, and it's something… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    Prissy Clerks

    One of the things that always keeps us coming to back to rock bands is that, well, sometimes they're just bratty. In Prissy Clerks, we found a band with just the right mixture of pop-power sugariness and sneering 'tude. Sure, some pretty experienced hands are in this group — the fingerprints of former Red Pens ace Howard Hamilton are all… More >>
  • Best New Band


    Minneapolis and St. Paul will never be lumped among the "cities that never sleep," so nocturnal jams for after-bar cocktails will always be essential. Here's where the late-night special that is Carroll's "Billionaire" comes in handy. In the song, the fresh products of Macalester College have hatched upon a keyboard pop strategy that's slow, slick, and filled with evening ambiance.… More >>
  • Best Country Band

    The Cactus Blossoms

    "Country" and "music" has become such an unsavory combination of late. On the other hand, the Cactus Blossoms are the result of myriad wise pairings. Start with the interweaving of brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey's voices, which are era-less, ageless, and fearless. Second, the Turf Club has such faith in teaming with the Cactus Blossoms that it has etched… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Gavin Lawrence

    Gavin Lawrence thrilled audiences on Twin Cities stages in 2012 with a pair of impressive leading roles. In Carlyle Brown's Are You Now or Have You Ever Been..., Lawrence became Langston Hughes, the legendary African-American poet whose appearance before Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist witch-hunt committee is the trigger for an epic self-examination on the nature of his art. Playing historical figures… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    B-52s Cover Band

    Their name — B-52s Cover Band — isn't all that clever, but it's to the point, and besides, this B-52s cover band not only expertly tackles the output of the best LGBT- and cowbell-friendly party band to come out of Athens, Georgia, but they do it in costume, and with a dancing lobster hype man onstage. Featuring members of Hot… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Greg Grease

    The beats on Greg Grease's late-2012 release Cornbread, Pearl & G are a decidedly fresh mix of smoky turntablist throwbacks, jazzy loops, and psychedelic textures, but they're just the trimmings for his meaty rhymes. A master of cadence, mood, speed, and content, the Minneapolis rapper could have released all of the tracks a capella and they'd still glisten. "For what… More >>
  • Best Live Artist

    Retribution Gospel Choir

    It's one thing for a band to sound big, to fill up a room, or to just plain rock out. But it's another thing altogether for a band to make its audience feel as though time has stopped, and to transport them to other places. Retribution Gospel Choir might as well be relaying their songs from another planet. Singer, guitarist,… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    John Mark Nelson

    Don't let John Mark Nelson's age fool you. (He's old enough to grow a very fine beard, after all.) This kid has a precocious talent, and what's more, he already has an old soul's feel for folk music. Nelson, straight out of high school, gate-crashed the local music scene last summer with his crisp melodies on Waiting and Waiting (already… More >>
  • Best Female Vocalist


    Lizzo is not from Minneapolis, but her time spent in Detroit and Houston enriched her soul and voice with confidence, originality, and a competitive streak that immediately endeared her to all corners of the local community. Be it in the Chalice, a power trio of Lizzo, Sophia Eris, and Claire de Lune bringing '90s-era rap and R&B to our ears;… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Actual Wolf

    It took the threat of doing hard time to get Eric Pollard to prioritize writing songs, and it turns out he's damn great at it. In an impassioned couple of months leading up to a court date (he got busted for selling pot), Pollard banged out 70 compositions — which is about as many as Leonard Cohen writes in a… More >>
  • Best Local Musician Made Good

    Jeremy Messersmith

    One of the quirkiest and most clever songwriters to reside in the Twin Cities is Jeremy Messersmith. Renowned for his unorthodox touring methods — supper-club-style house shows have become his trademark for spreading his jaunty melodies across the land — Messersmith is getting a major boost for his follow-up to 2010's The Reluctant Graveyard via his recent signing to Glassnote… More >>
  • Best Club DJ


    Techno has always been an important but decidedly underground part of the Minneapolis club scene, and often lately it finds itself triangulated from the hipster, hip-hop, and dubstep scenes. But techno has a solid fixture in Zak Khutoretsky since his days in the early aughts throwing raves in north Minneapolis warehouses and, most memorably, under highway bridges in St. Paul.… More >>
  • Best Classical Musicians

    Minnesota Opera

    Admittedly, this hasn't been the greatest year for classical music in the area, with both professional orchestras shut down due to lockouts. That does not diminish the accomplishments of the Minnesota Opera one bit, however. The company has gone from strength to strength over the past year, presenting a mix of innovative takes on classic pieces (last year's Werther comes… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Christina Baldwin

    Christina Baldwin's work over the past year has taken her to stages both large and small, but each time she has been riveting, whether as the Mother in Park Square Theatre's Ragtime, the lover to the sad hero in the Moving Company's Werther and Lotte, or the inquisitive housewife in the Jungle Theater's In the Next Room. The first two… More >>
  • Best Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months

    The Tribe & Big Cats

    Artistic tension is a blessing and a curse. A good group self-edits within its ranks, but when talented collaborators both have the right answer, but can't reconcile their creative differences, the foundation cracks. Such seems to be the tale of the Tribe & Big Cats' dissolution. Vocalist TruthBeTold, now known as Rapper Hooks, and beatmaker Big Cats seem to have… More >>
  • Best Emerging Actor

    Namir Smallwood

    It's not that Namir Smallwood hasn't been a presence locally before — he starred in one of 2010's best shows, Life's a Dream — but his two leading roles in the past year announced him as a definite talent in the already crowded local acting pool. The two characters — lawyer Jackson in Buzzer and young ex-con Oshoosi in The… More >>
  • Best Emerging Actress

    Cat Brindisi

    Cat Brindisi comes from acting stock — her father has been in charge of Chanhassen Dinner Theatres for many years, while her mother has been featured on stages throughout the Twin Cities — and she is quickly building her own reputation. Her featured performances have come via Theatre Latte Da, starting with the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee and continuing… More >>
  • Best Designer

    Joel Sass

    While Joel Sass is highly regarded — rightfully so — as a director, his design work is just as accomplished. In show after show, when he is either at the helm or is brought in, the set design work is impeccable, clever in its own right, and absolutely appropriate for the production. For Noises Off! last year at the Jungle… More >>
  • Best Play

    Measure for Measure by Ten Thousand Things

    Bringing Shakespeare to the masses is the avowed intent of most productions of the Bard, but all too often we get a dumbed-down version that sacrifices too much in the name of clarity. Not so when Ten Thousand Things tackles Shakespeare, especially in the company's brilliant retelling of Measure for Measure. Much of the company's audience is watching live theater… More >>
  • Best Ensemble

    The Birthday Party at Jungle Theater

    Harold Pinter plays are often oblique, brutal, and savagely funny affairs. They are also notoriously difficult to stage, as the Nobel Prize-winning playwright leaves nearly as much out of the dialogue as in. Actors are pushed hard, but the results can be absolutely bracing. The six performers in The Birthday Party at the Jungle Theater — Stephen Cartmell, Claudia Wilkens,… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    "The Common Man" Dan Cole

    Whether it's the end of the end or merely the beginning of the middle of the end, the higher-ups at KFAN have yet to pry the microphone out of "The Common Man" Dan Cole's hands — and that's a good thing for connoisseurs of Twin Cities talk radio. The most esoteric host on the dial continues to mix and match… More >>
  • Best Local Music Broadcast

    89.3 the Current's The Local Show

    All radio programs exploring Minnesota music are not created equal. One irreplaceable charm is the venerable voice of David Campbell. When hosting The Local Show, the Current's weekly dip into everything locally grand, he's a relatable everyman musician who has spent more than a few nights onstage, but he also serves as an encyclopedia (and trusted arbiter) of local trends.… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    "Rembrandt in America" at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    The name "Rembrandt" has become symbolic of great artistry, in the way that "Einstein" has come to represent high intelligence or that "Shakespeare" is the epitome of writing. If you were fortunate enough to catch the stunning "Rembrandt in America" exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts last summer — and more than 100,000 people did — you now have… More >>
  • Best Musical

    Spring Awakening by Theatre Latte Da and U of M Department of Theatre Arts and Dance

    Spring Awakening was such an unlikely Broadway hit that other productions have had trouble recapturing the anarchistic spirit and deep emotions of the original. That wasn't a problem for this co-production between Theatre Latte Da and the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Loaded with youthful energy and a sharp staging, Spring Awakening brought the awkwardness of… More >>
  • Best Album of the Past 12 Months

    P.O.S, We Don't Even Live Here

    Exemplary albums aren't fenced in by current trends. Instead, the apocalyptic rap opus We Don't Even Live Here spins the steering wheel with tattooed fists until we're speeding at the brick wall we'll crash through sometime in 2015. A thoroughly scorched listen, P.O.S.'s fourth solo album anticipates heightened chaos in our cities, on our screens, and in our minds. As… More >>
  • Best Male Vocalist

    Nick "The Feelin'" Mrozinski

    Nick "The Feelin'" (or Nick David, or Nick Mrozinski) was the feel-good story of the year for Minnesota musicians, and we were rooting for our down-home family man along with everyone else in town. He might have come up just short of the grand prize, but third place was nothing to sneer at — and good Lord, did you hear… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Tom Selleck's Moustache

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