Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Arts Organization

    Opera Theatre of St. Louis

    OK, so Opera Theatre of Saint Louis isn't a scrappy, underfunded arts organization in need of publicity -- any more. Since its humble beginnings in 1976, Opera Theatre has become one of the most celebrated arts groups in the United States, with its performances routinely reviewed by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London.… More >>
  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    Got This Feelin'

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that the same group who took home this year's "Best Rock Band" honors should logically also win "Best Local Album" -- especially when said honoree is Riddle of Steel. Often cited as one of the loudest live bands in town, the trio shows dynamic range and subtlety on its June-released sophomore platter,… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Laumeier Sculpture Park

    Laumeier Sculpture Park turns 30 next year, but it looks fresher than ever. Some of the finest outdoor works have recently been restored; now it's a pleasure, rather than a pity, to contemplate installations by Ursula von Rydingsvard, Beverly Pepper and Jackie Ferrara, among the works of dozens of others scattered throughout the 98-acre museum. Laumeier also showcased some of… More >>
  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    "In Ya Face"

    Although "In Ya Face" has a spectacularly raunchy chorus -- "Now would you let me put my ass in ya face?/If I let ya bend me over by the waist?" -- "Ebony Eyez" Williams is quick to point out that it's a sarcastic response to a dude who decided to work his sleaze mojo on her at a club. But… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    Inside Out Loud: Visualizing Women's Health in Contemporary Art

    By virtue of its name change, the former Washington University Gallery of Art now qualifies as a museum, but it matters not: Inside Out Loud was the best exhibition anywhere this year. Curated by Janine Mileaf of Swarthmore College, this incredible survey brought together poetic and harrowing works by an impressive roster of artists including Orlan, Gran Fury, Nan Goldin,… More >>
  • Best CD Mixtape

    DJ Trackstar

    DJ Trackstar's mixtapes are actually CDs, and he sells them for a buck a pop at a few area merchants. His mixes feature a combination of local and national artists rapping over hit tracks. The whole thing is illegal, actually. Major record labels, however, turn a blind eye to the lawlessness because of a hit tape's ability to build street… More >>
  • Best Museum Improvement

    The New Media Series

    Say you're a well-established art museum in a large-ish Midwestern town. You're not particularly known for showing experimental art in the newer media, but you'd like to be. You have no galleries to spare, but you do have some funky extra space at the top of a stairwell. What do you do? If you're the Saint Louis Art Museum, and… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R.

    With his big braids and big smile, Spaide is everywhere -- car shows, clubs, picnics, even orphanages. His ubiquitous street team is composed of eight women, ages seventeen to twenty-one, and their daughters, and they hand out swag galore at these events -- everything from Spaide CDs to Spaide towels. Spaide's yet to break out on a national level, though… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Brandon Anschultz

    St. Louis is fortunate to possess a thriving art scene, a variety of venues and a roster of artists both well-established and up-and-coming. Some of these artists are making big, splashy noises and poised on the brink of art stardom, and they're finally getting their due. This year the decidedly modest, unsplashy Brandon Anschultz deserves to be recognized too. Anschultzes… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    DJ Crucial

    DJ Crucial founded F5 Records in 1999 and currently runs it with Andrew "Roo" Yawitz. The label has had great years -- like 2001, when it released Crucial and Hi-Fidel's seminal Traveling Between St. Louis and Chicago, and 2002, when it put out Serengeti's Dirty Flamingo. But Crucial and Roo have day jobs, and there are months at a time… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Mad Art Gallery

    St. Louis is lucky enough to support a thriving art scene, a slew of talented artists and an eager audience. This year, as it did four years ago, Mad Art Gallery has proven to be the best art venue to serve the city's cultural scene in its manifold forms. From his ongoing open call for art, gallery owner Ron Buechele… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Rob Lemon

    After years of watching the DJ scene around the world -- the RFT is omnipresent, you know -- one conclusion can be drawn: Half the road to fame is paved on a good DJ name. Sure, the music's important, but if your DJ name is something that's hard to pronounce, confusing or makes people feel dumb for even uttering it,… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show

    1984-2004: Twentieth Anniversary Celebration at Elliot Smith

    Though it took place in the fall of 2004, this very fine group show serves well to mark one of the most significant art events of 2005: the closing of Elliot Smith Contemporary Art. ESCA was a Central West End institution, an anchor in the neighborhood and one of St. Louis' premier art venues. If we'd known back in balmy… More >>
  • Best New Artist


    Berry ain't soul-flattening bombastic insanity rock, which is what lead singer Joey Lemon probably meant when he told the RFT a little while back that some people might find the indie rockers "boring." Berry is not dull, just soft and fuzzy as an old sweater. A little bit of Radiohead , a little bit of My Bloody Valentine and even… More >>
  • Hearts

    Best New Play


    Born and reared in St. Louis, Willy Holtzman came to playwriting late. But once he did, he wrote from the heart. In the late 1990s, he set to work on a play about his father, a University City High School grad who shipped off to Europe in World War II and lived to tell the tale. Countless writers have dealt… More >>
  • Best Local Act Gone National

    Erin Bode

    Story of the Year may have continued to win the hearts of Warped Tour denizens this past summer, but chanteuse Erin Bode is our true breakout star. Nine months after she released Don't Take Your Time -- a jazzed-up mix of pop songs, musical numbers and standards -- an article in the Wall Street Journal waxed enthusiastic about her talents… More >>
  • Best Stage Production

    The Exonerated

    HotCity Theatre got off to a blistering start last November with a compelling Readers Theater production of The Exonerated, a tidy piece of advocacy theater about inmates unjustly sentenced to death row. The script by Jessica Blank and Erik Jansen is clearly a polemic. But the production was a knockout: the moody sound design by Nathan Ruyle, lighting by Don… More >>
  • Alex Failoni Jr.

    Best Lounge Act

    Alex Failoni Jr.

    If you go to Failoni's around 9 p.m. on a Friday, you'll arrive on the cusp of a transformation. It's crowded but worth it. Hey, if wedging yourself in up at the bar doesn't sound appealing, then you should have planned on coming for dinner and staying for when the music kicks up, smart guy. At this point you are… More >>
  • Best Musical Moment

    Beauty and the Beast

    Beauty and the Beast, which opened the Muny season, was an ebullient evening of tuneful family fun. True, too many Muny productions seem antiquated and lumbering. But if any lesson has trickled down through the institution's 86-year history, it's the need to reach out to youngsters. The Muny staged its first children's show (Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland) in its… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Kim Massie

    Although the word "diva" is so overused it's almost a useless descriptor, Kim Massie is one vocalist who deserves the honor. With its brash, gospel-influenced strains of vibrato, Massie's voice can be as big and broad as Aretha Franklin's, but it contains just enough Etta James-ian blues to undercut this strength with sorrow. When Massie sings the standard "At Last,"… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

    The Rep should always be St. Louis' best theater company. Last season it was. For starters, the schedule didn't include a single play by Agatha Christie. On an even more positive note, the Irish comedy-drama Stones in His Pockets was theater perfection -- flawlessly directed and gorgeously acted by its two-man cast (see "Best Ensemble Cast"). The Retreat from Moscow… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Danny Kathriner

    The songwriter and singer behind a recondite, semi-Americana outfit called the Half-Knots, Danny Kathriner is a dark horse of a different shade. He never sang in his previous band, the Rockhouse Ramblers, and he never fully cut loose with the semi-retired alt-country band Wagon. If you've never heard him, it's in part because he tends his music with a modesty… More >>
  • Best Children's Theater

    WiseWrite Festival of One-Act Plays

    Would you believe sixteen plays in one morning? All written by ten-year-olds? On a damp April morning, fifth graders from Cote Brilliante and Hudson elementary schools descended on the Loretto-Hilton Center for the ninth annual WiseWrite Festival of One-Act Plays. A partnership between the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Springboard to Learning, WiseWrite allows fifth graders the rare opportunity… More >>
  • Best Producer

    Kenautis Smith

    Forget the larger-than-life rhythms of the TrackBoyz. In St. Louis rap and hip-hop circles, the man producing the hottest beats is Kenautis Smith. The list of local artists the gifted producer has worked with is staggering: Tucker Booth, Marko-V, Coultrain, Black Spade and Jia Davis -- to name just a few. But being prolific hasn't hurt the quality of his… More >>
  • Best Shakespeare

    The Tempest

    This past summer's festival production of The Tempest offered a Dickensian take on Shakespeare: It was the best of productions and the worst of productions. But at its best, it was more rewarding than anything the Shakespeare Festival ever offered before. Among its virtues was the eye-popping (and plot-clarifying) scenic design by Christopher Pickart. Even more important, in the pivotal… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    Riddle of Steel

    They took their name from the film Conan the Barbarian and the riddle of steel he must solve to avenge the death of his family. It doesn't get any more hard-rock than that. In the studio they're comfortable pimping their stoner-rock influences (most notably Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age); their recent release Got This Feelin' (see "Best Local… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    St. Louis Aces Team Tennis

    A handsome young man, naked save for a comically pronounced athletic supporter, stands on a tennis court. A moment passes, allowing this image to sink in -- could that be an actual codpiece he's wearing? -- and then the volley of tennis balls commences. The man spins and ducks, twirls and dodges, but ball after ball smacks him in the… More >>
  • Best R&B Band

    The Bel Airs

    Though based out of Columbia, the Bel Airs are virtually locals. For years they held a regular residency at Off Broadway, and they now perform nearly every month in Soulard. Brothers Dick and David Pruitt and drummer Mike Cherry keep their recordings as stripped-down and muscular as their live shows, with sax and keyboard textures (and Willie Dixon and Earl… More >>
  • Best Media Circus

    Premiere party for The Longest Yard

    St. Louis isn't Hollywood, or New York, or even Sundance. We don't get a lot of movie premieres, so forgive us if we get a little excited when a film chooses to come to us for its unveiling. We'll concede that it was just an Adam Sandler movie (and a Sandler movie on the wrong side of Big Daddy at… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    That '80s Band

    Who cares if the 1990s are the new hip decade everyone's mining for nostalgia's sake? Not That '80s Band, that's for sure; their high-energy live concerts/dance parties feel like the Aqua Net era never ended. Vocalist Valerie Girl and the rest of her decade-appropriate bandmates -- our personal favorite moniker is that of keyboardist/vocalist Mr. Hand (cf. Spicoli's foil in… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Male)

    Len Turner

    In the future, the straight-edge parts of Rather, Jennings and Brokaw will go the way of the dodo. In the new era of TV news, the best reporters will wear their hair gelled, dyed or mussed just so. Unimaginable? Check out FOX 2 reporter Len Turner. Since his 1999 arrival, Turner's been wearing his hair spiked and frosted. But that… More >>
  • Best Country Band

    The Round-Ups

    If the Round-Ups stare down country music with a distorted tunnel vision, they stagger far enough through the underground to reach the light -- a drunk-blind flash, but a light all the same. Booze and bullets, cigarettes and insanity, musical saw and mutilated harmonies, yee-haws and yelps -- by now their cowpunk antics should have worn as thin as lead… More >>
  • Cindy Preszler

    Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Female)

    Cindy Preszler

    No matter the forecast -- be it rain, hail, sleet or snow -- meteorologist Cindy Preszler's hairdo is Santa Barbara in the summertime: golden sunlight, cloudless skies, a hint of lavender on a gentle breeze. It is her silky smoove coiffure that provides the rest of us with the wherewithal to endure each horseshit weather forecast she throws our way.… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    Reggie Thomas

    Other jazz musicians in town may perform more often, but Reggie Thomas makes each club gig or concert appearance count for the maximum. Whether he's providing sensitive accompaniment for his vocalist wife Mardra, playing driving, bluesy soul-jazz with his organ trio OGD or running the musical gamut from avant-garde to bebop to R&B behind baritone sax giant Hamiet Bluiett, Thomas… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Mike Roberts

    If you were to date KSDK-TV's Mike Roberts, you might describe him as a nice guy who, after a few drinks, really loosens up and tells slightly off-color jokes with punch lines like, "Now that's what I call an Alberta clipper!" or "No, I said "dew' point." He has the demeanor of a well-liked college professor, one who would be… More >>
  • Best Jam Band


    Ask anyone who regularly sees music at Cicero's or Magee's or Pop's Blue Moon, and with few exceptions they'll tell you the same thing about Scott Rockwood: He's the best guitarist in town. Within the insular regional jam-band scene, no one can match him, and it is under his lead that Madahoochi has continued to grow musically and thrive in… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Kay Quinn

    A pinch-hit anchor most frequently found gracing the weekend evening desk, Kay Quinn's utility status means she also must hit the field and report, primarily on matters surrounding health. Quinn's a professional, and when a professional gets her mitts on a story, that's when it really takes off. Moreover, the mark of a competent television personality (it's awfully difficult to… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Bennie Smith

    Recent losses in the St. Louis blues community are a reminder that the music's elder statesmen won't be with us forever, so we'd better appreciate them while we can. Guitarist and vocalist Bennie Smith has been a mainstay in St. Louis for decades, developing a unique musical identity based on his expressive vocals and a distinctive guitar style that incorporates… More >>
  • Best TV Station

    KDNL-TV (Channel 30)

    In the ongoing battle of local TV news teams, one station truly distinguishes itself: KDNL. The sleepy Sinclair station doesn't do this by hustling for scoops or hiring the hottest anchor ladies. Au contraire, mon frère: They refuse to do local news at all! Maligned by local media watchdogs, Channel 30's "No G'News Is Good G'News" attitude is brilliant in… More >>
  • Best World Music Band

    Farshid Etniko

    The definition of "world music" may vary greatly depending on whom you ask, but by bringing together influences from four different continents, Farshid Etniko surely qualifies. Guitarist Farshid Soltanshahi and percussionist Ali Soltanshahi were born in Iran and educated in Paris before coming to St. Louis, and that worldly background has provided a variety of experiences and influences to inspire… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Broadcast Division)

    Virginia Kerr

    Some will argue that Virginia Kerr isn't really a reporter, but rather a performance artist. Then again, people made the same assertions about the late, great George Plimpton and Hunter S. Thompson, both of whom weathered their critics just fine, thank you. While Kerr ain't in the same zip code as that duo journalistically, her early-morning schtick is no less… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    The Sawmill Band

    After jumping around in the big ball pit, the Sawmill Band is the next best thing about being outside at the City Museum on a Thursday night. With no amplification, and frankly none necessary, five men stand under a tree's worth of art and with mandolin, guitar, banjo and upright bass in hand, pump out old-time and bluegrass tunes until… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Newspaper Division)

    Jill Moon

    Jill Moon worked for years as a freelance makeup artist before heading back to school. In December she'll graduate from Webster University with a degree in global journalism. Along the way the thirtysomething writer became the best reporter at the best student paper in Missouri. Moon's Journal reportage on budget overruns at the student cafeteria garnered first-place awards for In-Depth… More >>
  • Raglani

    Best Noise Band


    To paraphrase -- well, to paraphrase somebody, "Noise is in the ear of the beholder." Ringtones, the sound of forced laughter and the entire recorded oeuvre of Creed all qualify as noise to certain listeners. To these discerning ears, the sounds of electronic waves compressed and extruded as pure streams of tone, the distant roar of amplified night sounds and… More >>
  • Best Newspaper Columnist

    Bill McClellan

    For 22 years, Bill McClellan has stood up for the city's lost souls, cheered on the underdog and banged heads with governmental bureaucracies near and far. He may lack the iconoclastic sensibilities of a Jimmy Breslin or Mike Royko. Then again, he's not inclined to invoke Greek tragedy or resort to psychobabble, á la Maureen Dowd. Plain and simple, McClellan… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    The Pubes

    Neither particularly short nor curly, the Pubes earn their name by frequently becoming hot and sweaty. And they get around, too, not only freely sharing their members with such significant others as the Sex Robots and Butt, but also exposing themselves at the Creepy Crawl, the Hi-Pointe and Café Louie on a habitual basis. Their 2003 emission from Roadhouse Tunes,… More >>
  • Best Metro Evening Whirl Lead

    June 14, 2005

    The Metro Evening Whirl popped briefly back on the national radar this year with the passing of founder Benjamin Thomas, who died in Los Angeles at age 94. But even without Thomas, who retired in 1996, the Whirl has soldiered on under the watch of editor Anthony Sanders, generating more buzz in the black community than the St. Louis American… More >>
  • Best Electronic Band

    Femme Fatality

    If Soft Cell had emerged during the electroclash age instead of in the new-wave era, it might have sounded something like Femme Fatality. The black-clad duo of Monanani Palermo and Octavia Leito spews robotic rhymes with the precision of a metronome, over throbbing beats cobbled together from "90s hip-hop and batcave-dwelling synth-punk. The live show is even more bananas, with… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Lavonne Byers

    There's a (specious) rumor floating around town that Lavonne Byers actually had to audition for the role of the cunning villainess in the recent St. Louis Shakespeare production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Audition? The director and producer should have gotten down on their knees and begged her to take the role. No one can reveal the empty core in a… More >>
  • Best Pop Band

    The Mega Hurts

    They will hurt you. They will break your heart. They will trample your feelings with three chords and dump you via text message just to see your eyeliner run. Maybe you missed them when they opened for Holly Golightly at the Creepy Crawl in August. Maybe you're crazy. The pop is so sweet you'll cramp at Jason's first lovestruck blow… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Kevin Beyer

    An actor who knows his role is always a comfort, but an actor who knows his role in the play is a necessity. Kevin Beyer is an all-knowing actor. Long a local theater fixture, never has he been more impressive than in the varied performances he delivered over the past thirteen months. First there was his towering portrayal of Salieri… More >>
  • Best Garage Band

    The Gentleman Callers

    Sometimes we feel like we ought to toss out all these genre categories and just give bands awards for "Best Ass-Kicking Music" and "Now That's What We Call Hair." It's always a bit of a bummer to lump the bands together, and we're afraid that someday we'll have categories like "Best Fourth Wave Rock Steady Group With Stax Influences" and… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast

    Stones in His Pockets

    Two actors might not add up to an "ensemble," but sixteen characters certainly do. And two actors playing sixteen characters in the Rep's production of the Irish comedy-drama Stones in His Pockets was theater perfection. To see two actors breathe as one -- not to mention sixteen -- in the service of the play was the stage equivalent of attending… More >>
  • Harkonin

    Best Metal Band


    A Sunday evening at 6:30 is not the coveted slot on a bill for a metal band, especially at the Duck Room. No offense to the Duck, but cheerful mallard decoys and tasteful lithographs don't provide the optimum ambiance for blasphemous war metal. Factor in that Lael Clark, guitarist and founding member of Harkonin, is no longer in the band… More >>
  • Best Theater Cubed

    Into the Woods

    Schools rush in where angels fear to tread. Although some of the area's larger, more timid theaters are scared to death of Stephen Sondheim, our local universities know a nifty composer when they hear one. So what fun it was this spring when, quite by happenstance, Lindenwood, Wash. U. and Webster gave new definition to the notion of Side by… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    Margaret Bianchetta and Mary Dee Brown

    Margaret Bianchetta and Mary Dee Brown have known each other for years, but familiarity and friendship can't explain their sound. They share a bond of talent and skill. Whether at a clanky Soulard dive or an upper-crust café, Bianchetta and Brown play music folks want to hear, even if they've never heard any of it before. The women cover blues,… More >>
  • Best Theater Memory

    Lobby Hero

    Some productions -- even the good ones -- come and go, and you're ready to move on to the next. But some productions grab hold and don't let go. Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero is overwritten, and parts of the Rep Studio production were overacted. But both the play and the production continue to haunt the memory. And in the end… More >>
  • Best Gospel Artist

    The Lofties Sisters

    Gospel remains the secret sonic foundation upon which St. Louis has always staked its musical reputation. R&B, blues, rockabilly, country and even hip-hop and rap artists -- the original MCs were preachers testifying in church -- owe their souls to sacred sounds. The Lofties Sisters (who sing regularly at Douglas Memorial Church in Webster Groves) are too humble to claim… More >>
  • Best Theater Poster

    The Kevin Kline Awards

    A good poster oughta make you want to see the play. The Deaf West Theatre production of Big River, which played the Fox last April, sported a knockout poster on which the clouds hovering over Huck Finn and Jim on their raft were actually wispy fingers signing in ASL. But the year's most effective poster was the one that heralded… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Joe Stickley

    Dividing his time between Columbia and St. Louis doesn't make Joe Stickley any less our native son. His album, Friendship's Quiet, arrived in 2003 as quietly as its name suggested it might, but it made faithful followers of those lucky enough to nab a copy at a live show or online. Stickley writes simple songs about simple things he loves:… More >>
  • Best Theater Switch

    Intimate Apparel

    Theaters rely on subscription sales to provide the backbone of their audiences. In order to sell season tickets, folks want to know what they're buying; that's only fair. But it does compel theaters to select their plays months in advance, thus eliminating the possibility for spontaneity. This year the Black Rep, after having announced that its season would conclude with… More >>
  • Best Duet

    Barbara and Bernie McDonald

    Good things come in pairs, and the partnership of a duet can be eternal. When in tune, one half may anticipate the other's next impulse and adjust accordingly. Then again, those pesky creative differences can split a duo's once-harmonious relationship like a chisel through sheetrock. But Bernie and Barbara McDonald wouldn't know anything about that. The pair has been playing… More >>
  • Best Theater Surprise


    And what a felicitous surprise it was! Although Off Center is one of the area's many well-intentioned amateur groups, it's hardly a company for whose productions you cancel all other engagements. But their interpretation of Molière's seventeenth-century romp Scapin was one of the high points of the theater season. Molière's comedies are so overloaded with harsh masters and long-suffering servants,… More >>
  • Best Local Record Label

    Maplehood Rekkids

    The party line about St. Louis is that we have no local record labels -- and, by extension, no good local record labels. Well, somebody forgot to tell Maplehood Rekkids, a -- where else? -- Maplewood-based label that's quietly doing its part to support the scene. Despite the demise of angular noisemongers Commichung and venerable soul-punkers Adam's Off Ox this… More >>
  • Plaza Frontenac Cinema

    Best Art Cinema

    Plaza Frontenac Cinema

    Everyone loves going to work, but aside from all that joy we feel about the daily grind, er, the daily funfest, the most dedicated among us still reflect upon the possibilities a life of leisure could offer. So why not pretend you have nothing productive you should be doing on a Tuesday afternoon? Why not skip work? Live for the… More >>
  • Best Music Web Site


    Long before MySpace helped misfits unite in shared suburban ennui, was electronically bringing together local fans of independent music. Although its bells and whistles resemble other networking sites -- namely in the generous amount of musical and video content and the emphasis on building personal connections -- what sets the "punk apart from other online destinations is its no-frills… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Tivoli Reel Late Movie Series

    Dark Crystal never won an Oscar. Neither did Wet Hot American Summer. So what? The English Patient won a trunkful of the useless golden statuettes and no one in search of a good time would line up at midnight and pay good money to see that torpid prize-winner. That very distinction is what makes the Reel Late Movie Series such… More >>
  • Best Music Festival


    This annual celebration has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a two-day affair in 1997. This year, like every other year, organizers doggedly set out to spotlight lesser-known talent and celebrate established acts with equal gusto. The difference in 2005 was in scope: Expanded into a four-night extravaganza big enough to headline the Pageant on its last… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Moolah Theatre & Lounge

    The entire concept of movie theaters is in trouble. As DVDs become the real moneymaker for movie studios, as high-definition TV sets get bigger, better and cheaper, more and more people are staying home where the seats are better, there's beer in the fridge and you don't have to worry about someone behind you bringing their toddler to The Devil's… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    Wilco at the Fox Theatre

    "This is really weird," frontman Jeff Tweedy exclaimed more than once when Wilco played the Fabulous Fox last September. In spite of all the critical acclaim his band had received in the past few years, Tweedy still couldn't believe that he, a kid from Belleville, was playing a show where, as he pointed out to those in attendance, Hail! Hail!… More >>
  • Best Ushers

    Jeanna and Kelsey

    The once-noble position of movie theater usher seems to be going the way of the farrier and court jester. Apparently nobody told Jeanna and Kelsey, the two teenage ushers who tended the over-long line at the AMC Creve Coeur 12 during the midnight premiere of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, that all they were expected to do was tear… More >>
  • Best Place for Band Practice

    Utopia Studios

    Most bands are broke and lazy, but even those that aren't, like Perth, Australia's Dream Catcha, love Utopia Studios. "I just like the whole feel of the place, mate," says vocalist Jeremy Harris, speaking by phone during Dream Catcha's latest stateside spin. "It was made very, very easy for us just to walk in, plug in and play. That's what… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    WEW (770 AM)

    Perennial fave KDHX (88.1 FM) spins a wide swath of musical genres from around the world. But with few exceptions, most of the spinning is performed by middle-aged whiteys for the pleasure of their fellow middle-aged whiteys. Most of the programming on WEW (770 AM), meanwhile, is spun by actual foreign nationals, and the resulting regional sound never feels contrived.… More >>
  • Best Jazz Radio Program

    Jazz Unlimited

    Like most human endeavors, jazz tends to be needlessly sectarian. You've got your No-Proper-Stuff-Was-Made-After-1960! camp, and your cadres of free blowers and honkers who're into, well, a whole lotta blowin' and honkin'. That's what makes Jazz Unlimited host Dennis Owsley so refreshing. He's passionate about jazz like Dubya's nutty for tax cuts, yet he displays an easygoing, unassuming and wholly… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    DJ Kaos

    It's been chaos this year for the DJ formerly known as Big Sexy Kooool. In July he engaged in a controversial exchange with KATZ (100.3 FM) morning-show co-host Syllli Asz, riffing on a hypothetical situation in which a cop released a suspect from handcuffs and invited him to spar. Suddenly civic muckety mucks and other know-nothings -- who hadn't even… More >>
  • Best Rock Radio Program

    Coin-Operated Radio

    A quick algebraic theory: The kickass-itude of a radio program is inversely proportional to the buckage in our bank account. The theory in practice: Coin-Operated Radio is the rockingest show on the airwaves, and we're totally broke. Each Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., as we spritz Chanel No. 5 on our pulse points in preparation for an evening of… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Martin Kilcoyne, KFNS (590 AM)

    This category's a toss-up between Kilcoyne and Tim McKernan, the wee man who slides into the chair next to the moonlighting Channel 2 sports anchor every weekday morning at 7 at 590's incongruously located studio in Webster Groves. By ditching his TV gig and focusing on the spoken word, McKernan has upped his game, scathingly singling out Blues season-ticket holders… More >>
  • Best Dancehall-Mix Radio Program

    Reggae Mix

    A lot of music freaks fall prey to the grass-is-always-greener syndrome. We listen online to exotic London pirate radio broadcasts, scan the Web for the best Indian bhangra-beat stations, long for the shock-of-the-new epiphany that undoubtedly exists in another radio universe. But heard with alien ears, the reggae, dancehall and reggaeton mix that airs Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m.… More >>
  • Best Radio Gimmick

    "'70s, '80s...Whatever We Want"

    Since developing critical faculties in your early teens, you haven't liked any radio station; the only musical taste you can abide is your own. That is how it should be. But often comes the time when a group of diverse people must compromise and pick a radio station to listen to -- think family gatherings, the office, moving day, etc.… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Bill McClellan Motherfucker

    Readers' Choice: The Well Hungarians… More >>
  • i-Bar

    Best Casino


    Remember when you first walked into a casino? Weaned on images of Robert De Niro playing high stakes games in bespoke suits, you were crushed to discover that in reality today's casinos are populated by blue-hairs who alternate breaths between an oxygen tank and a Misty cigarette as they deposit their pensions, one credit at a time, into video slot… More >>
  • Best Artist to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Johnnie Johnson

    Calling Johnnie Johnson a piano player is like calling a 1988 Chateau D'Yquem an alcoholic beverage: accurate but woefully inadequate. The man's left-hand riffs helped to create rock & roll, while Keith freakin' Richards calls Johnson a rock god and Chuck Berry reportedly even named "Johnny B. Goode" after him. It's no exaggeration that Johnson's death will remain the biggest… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    Hollywood Showclub

    What makes a strip club great? High ceilings that carry away billows of cigarette smoke. Big bathroom stalls. Black-light carpet, for a naughty-roller-rink vibe. Attractive bartenders who distract you from the price of the drinks. Tables set away from the dance stages. Check, check, check, check and check. Hollywood Showclub also offers real music (Black Sabbath, yes! Mariah Carey remix,… More >>
  • Best Place to Blow

    Third Degree Glass Factory

    There are two kinds of oral artists in this world: the Jenna Jamesons and the Dale Chihulys. Both have mastered their mouths to work with delicate media and learned to expand their hardening pieces under seriously hot conditions. In fact, the only real difference between the two métiers can be found in glass blowing's Rule Numero Uno: If you suck… More >>
  • Best Public Art

    STL Stonehenge

    St. Louis has some great public art. The Gateway Arch is wonderful. The new Fernando Botero sculpture in Clayton is fabulous, cheeky fun. And who doesn't love to picnic next to Richard Serra's Twain downtown? But this year we salute the mysterious rock sculpture popularly dubbed the Shrewsbury Stonehenge. Much like the original Stonehenge, which we hear is somewhere in… More >>
  • Best Public Art (Temporary)

    I Give Up: The Comic Art of Ted May

    If you were fortunate and paying attention while driving between October 1 and November 15 (give or take a day) last year, you may have spotted Ted May's work on display throughout the metro area. Images from May's award-winning comic-book work were printed onto magnets and affixed to Lisa Bulawsky's Blindspot Gallery (actually a white Ford minivan) in the form… More >>
  • Best Local Impresario

    Steven Fitzpatrick Smith

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch society spectator Deb Peterson has referred to Steven Fitzpatrick Smith as "one of our town's favorite gadflies," but that's so inaccurate. Gadflies are merely politely tolerated. Smith runs the frickin' show. While his Hoosierweight boxing series continued to stage matches by and for the layman, and his Panda Athletic Club continued to give cheap (and often free)… More >>
  • Best Rock Show Posters

    Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center

    The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center embodies the best possible interpretation of the original "punk" ethic: interesting, artistic, against the grain. With a schedule of shows that cleave strongly to these ideals, it's no surprise that the posters created to advertise LNAC bands hew to paths less traveled. While many bands make their own unique flyers, the LNAC has three "in-house"… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    Capote in Kansas

    Rarely do graphic novels attain the respect accorded "serious" literature. For many readers, the very term is synonymous with camp or worse, conjuring images of be-tighted men flying hither and yon, saving the world with their otherworldly powers. A shame that these readers will miss Capote in Kansas, written by Ande Parks and illustrated by St. Louisan Chris Samnee. It… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    River Styx Poetry Series at Duff's

    First, a nod to the obvious: For the number of readings given, let alone for the luminosity of the authors invited, no local reading series can compare to that hosted by stalwart independent Left Bank Books. Still, it's refreshing to head across Euclid Avenue to Duff's restaurant (392 North Euclid; 314-361-0522) to hear some of poetry's most celebrated voices as… More >>
  • Best Local Web Site

    St. Louis County Library

    Amazon lets you shop for books and music any time of day, in your PJs. The St. Louis County Library's Web site lets you do the exact same thing -- for free. Their catalog has more breadth and depth than Barnes & Noble's, the revamped home page is friendly in a Borders-ish way -- and it's free. Make a selection,… More >>
  • Best Listserv

    Critical Mass

    Despite sending out 175 messages a month, the 800-odd Critical Mass listserv members somehow never engage in Internet shorthand, name-calling or even petty bickering -- three staples of the mass e-mail genre. Founded in 2000 by Meridith McKinley, an arts administrator, Critical Mass describes itself, HAL-like, as "a nonprofit, self-formed visual arts collaborative dedicated to promoting, enhancing and initiating contemporary… More >>
  • Best Newsletter

    Dunaway Books

    The newsletter is a holdover from a more genteel age. Prior to Web site updates and (God forbid) online streaming media, if a business wanted to keep its employees and clientele abreast of new developments, said business relied on the humble newsletter. The more creative (or perhaps just more determined) employees usually assumed the task of writing informational blurbs about… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Malayan sun bear

    In a teen comedy cast entirely with bears from the Saint Louis Zoo, the Malayan sun bear would be the geek. The littlest bear (both at the zoo and in nature), the sun bear is pigeon-toed and funny-faced. His zooey habitat isn't even grouped with the other bears. Surely, the gorgeous brown bear will never break up with the burly… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal to Die in the Past Year


    In the end, it wasn't a hunter that brought down Churchill, the Saint Louis Zoo's eighteen-year-old polar bear. It was a fist-size ball of cloth that occluded his lower stomach. Born in Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Churchill arrived in St. Louis in 1991, where he proceeded to spend his days sitting on the rocks of "Polar Bear Bluffs" and watching… More >>

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