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Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Newspaper Columnist

    Dana Loesch

    Dana Loesch, who pens the "Mamalogues" column on stltoday.com, picks up where Anna Quindlen left off in her tales of young motherhood, substituting Quindlen's sap for a heavy helping of sass. A twentysomething stay-at-home blogger/mother of two young sons, Loesch says she writes to keep herself "off the bottle." Great thing is, reading her feels like a conversation exchanged over… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Grace Basement

    Once upon a demo, Kevin Buckley planned to release his twangy power-pop solo recordings under the moniker the Harmony Band. But with the summer 2007 release of New Sense, the 27-year-old stepped out in town as Grace Basement — and in the process established himself as one of the most versatile performers in town. Like a less-rootsy Wilco, Fountains of… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Newspaper Division)

    Susannah Cahalan

    Susannah Cahalan wasn't your average aspiring journalist when she snagged her ticket on the Fame Express on the pages of the January 21, 2007, New York Post underneath the headline "I Am Still Too Scared to Tell My Mom and Dad, ÔKidnap' Creep Admits." The then-Washington University senior had previously scored bylines in the Post and the New York Times… More >>
  • Best Old Band

    Tom Hall

    All right — he ain't exactly a band, and he ain't terribly old, neither. But Tom Hall has made the rounds at enough local bars and as the featured guitarist in enough bands to make him an ambassador of acoustic blues music (we'll wait a few years to give Hall the "living legend" tag). And while Hall may have many… More >>
  • Best Reporter TV/Radio Division)

    Tom Weber

    Twenty-eight-year-old reporter Tom Weber wakes at 3:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to spew excellence over the public radio airwaves via the local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, KWMU (90.7 FM). The New Lenox, Illinois, native debuted in St. Louis five years ago and is proving himself an up-and-coming Bob Edwards/Steve Inskeep by regularly freelancing pieces for NPR's Morning Edition and… More >>
  • Best Place to See Local Music

    The Bluebird

    Even though relations are the best they've been in many years, the different factions of the local music scene can still be like oil and water, hesitating to mix unless forcibly thrown together. But at new-kid-on-the-venue-block the Bluebird, none of this cliquey baggage applies. South-city lifers, Soulard frat boys (and the sorority squads who love them), college students, bored county… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local
    TV Personality (Male)

    Jim Hayes

    OK, so that weave atop his pate is not Jim Hayes' actual hair. But then, toupées are a time-honored tradition in television, with famed sports anchor Howard Cosell and weatherman Willard Scott just a few of many broadcasters who've worn a rug before the camera. That said, Hayes' hairpiece is looking especially fitting these days. In past seasons the FSN… More >>
  • Best Open-Mic Night

    Café Soul

    Tedium, tunelessness, embarrassment — even the best open mics in town can't avoid valleys of musical despair. Blame it on the form or on out-sourced, mass-produced acoustic guitars. But Café Soul, the once-a-month throwdown at the Lucas School House, offers more peaks than pits, more groove than grunge, more panache than posturing. With a killer house band, DJ Needles on… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality

    Vickie Newton

    Is it just us, or do you get the feeling that a certain KMOV-TV (Channel 4) News 4 This Morning team member looks in the mirror every day and says to herself, "This is the year I win the RFT's ÔBest Hair on a Local TV Personality (Female)'"? Dream on, babe. To get a load of this year's best hair,… More >>
  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    Flashlights So Many Dynamos (Skrocki Records)

    Although So Many Dynamos recently recorded their third album with Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/keyboardist Chris Walla, the well-respected studio producer/engineer had almost-embarrassingly glowing praise for the quartet's 2006 sophomore effort, Flashlights. "It's an album in the way that nobody makes albums anymore," Walla says. "It's cohesive and the writing is really good. All the through-lines both melodically and lyrically… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Mandy Murphey

    Mandy Murphey is the kind of anchor Ron Burgundy would try to date. The doe-eyed blonde is smart, cute and keeps it classy. During her tenure, the FOX 2 News co-anchor has garnered enough awards to fill a trophy case or three, including back-to-back Emmys for anchoring in '05 and '06 (she's won eleven Emmys total) and four Edward R.… More >>
  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    "Wadsyaname"

    The first single from Nelly's upcoming CD, Brass Knuckles, is called "Wadsyaname." Using a repetitive piano line nicked from K-Ci and Jojo's "All My Life" as its base — think the soundtrack to a music-box-ballerina — along with a simplistic hip-hop beat, Nelly tells of establishing himself as a gentleman. Even though he's using eye-rolling pickup lines ("What's your sign?")… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Steve Templeton

    As everyone knows, the climate in St. Louis is not particularly hospitable to humans. It's a given that the televised forecasts are almost always going to contain bad news, but that fact doesn't even bother us anymore. And why should it? St. Louis has the most handsome weathercaster in the entire nation. KMOV-TV (Channel 4) hired man-candy, erm, meteorologist Steve… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Jason Hutto

    In addition to running his own studio, touring with national bands and recording with crap-tons of local musicians, Jason Hutto is one of St. Louis' most gifted and prolific songwriters. These skills took center stage in the bands he fronted over the years (most notably Sexicolor and the Phonocaptors). Hutto's current band, Walkie Talkie U.S.A., best utilizes his ability to… More >>
  • Best TV Station

    KPLR-TV (Channel 11)

    If you substitute the word "station" for "magazine," what Homer Simpson once said about Reader's Digest also holds true for the programming on KPLR-TV's CW 11: "It's not just one station, Marge; they take hundreds of stations, filter out the crap, and leave you with something that fits right in your front pocket." Channel 11's new fall lineup includes top-ranked… More >>
  • Best Christmas Carol

    "St. Charles Christmas"

    When not fronting the Falling Martins (www.fallingmartins.com), Pierce Crask strums his guitar around town unaccompanied, weaving his original material in among rock standards from Van Morrison to Led Zeppelin. Between songs he spouts off stories and one-liners that almost always elicit a groan and a grin. His holiday opus, "St. Charles Christmas," is more of the same. It's the song… More >>
  • Best TV Program

    The Fan Show

    At their best, sports are electrifying and suspenseful. So why do most sportscasters opt for the most boring format possible — taped interviews and the like — for their Sunday sports shows? With The Fan Show, shot live on Sunday nights at the Casino Queen's Club Sevens, KPLR's Rich Gould (is that a beer he's drinking?) loosely reins in the… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Toyy

    Women deserve a place in the hip-hop culture — and that place sure as hell isn't leaning against an Impala, cooing insipidly in a hot tub or gyrating on the lap of a male rapper. All that's good about hip-hop — its inventiveness, its passion, its intelligence — owes a debt to pioneering female artists such as MC Lyte and… More >>
  • Best TV Power Hour

    KMOV-TV (Channel 4) Saturdays 11 p.m. to midnight

    Another Saturday night and you ain't got nobody. You're broke, depressed and — worse yet — you drained your last beer an hour ago. You're about to cry yourself to sleep when all of a sudden it hits you like Poison: That jackass from work is on the television aping the lyrics to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" on KMOV's… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    DJ Trackstar

    Calling DJ Trackstar (né Gabe Moskoff) the city's best hip-hop DJ is spot-on but woefully inadequate. Spot-on because the 26-year-old slays on the turntables (and distributes astoundingly tight mixtapes at the rate of about one every ten minutes). Woefully inadequate because DJ-ing is just part of what makes Trackstar so vital to the St. Louis scene. For the past several… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    Reuther Automotive Group

    "I got it! Picture this: A big extravaganza, with hundreds of dancing female chocolate bars. An orchestra's playing while these hottie bars dance up a never-ending staircase. And then this Al Jolson-type bar dances out and sings, ÔWhere the sweet deals are,' like it's ÔSwanee River.'" Brilliant!… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Producer

    Tech Supreme

    "There's a dude from the Midwest, made some dope beats, but his name's not Kanye West. It's Tech," raps the opening verse of "It's a Shame," a track featured on DJ Trackstar's Boogie Bang 7 mixtape. "Tech" is Tech Supreme, a producer whose catalog includes collaborations with Ebony Eyez and Murphy Lee, just to name a few. But in the… More >>
  • Best Podcast

    Jeff Kopp's Savage Kick

    Though terrestrial radio remains relatively relevant, podcasts are increasingly popular, providing music fans with yet another listening convenience. Locally, former KDHX (88.1 FM) host Jeff Kopp (The Wayback Machine) offers the Garage Punk Podcast network (www.garagepunk.com), which features a variety of self-produced garage-punk shows from primitive-rock genre enthusiasts spanning several states — including his own program, Savage Kick. Asked to… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Scotty Mac

    Scotty Mac has to be one of the busiest DJs in town. The man is everywhere. Xes, Mercury, the Speakeasy at Lucas School House, Atomic Cowboy, the Feisty Bulldog — he seems to get gigs at every club, event and opening in the city, and not for nothin'. Scotty Mac spins smooth, ultra-dancable house music, featuring thumping bass and graceful… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    Rhonda's Place

    You've been to Rhonda's before. It's the place where Tony Soprano has an office in the back, Patrick Swayze is the bouncer, and a down-and-out Billy Bob Thornton comes to drown his sorrows. A pasties bar with black-tinted windows decorated with white "mud flap girl" silhouettes, Rhonda's stands like a burnt-out Christmas-tree light at the end of a string of… More >>
  • Third Best Band Name

    Berlin Whale

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  • Best Actor in a Play

    John Flack

    It used to be that the customer was always right. In the theater, the playwright is always right. At least he gets the last word. And when you're writing thinly disguised autobiography, it's only natural to want to make yourself out to be the good guy, more sinned against than sinning. In After the Fall, Arthur Miller's scabrous self-justification for… More >>
  • Best Live Act

    7 Shot Screamers

    The members of 7 Shot Screamers are so unassuming — yes, even with their outlandish hair, punk-for-life tats and Lou-pride patches — it's easy to forget they're one of the more in-demand live acts in certain (a.k.a. punk and rockabilly) circles. After a 2006 stint as Exene Cervenka's backing band, the Original Sinners, the quartet appeared at the SXSW festival… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Play

    Colleen M. Backer

    Who says the Best Actress has to be in a leading role? Two years ago at the inaugural Kevin Kline Awards, the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play may well have been the most competitive category of the night. Teresa Doggett, Michelle Hand, Liz Hopefl, Rory Lipede, Magan Wiles and winner Brooke Edwards were all worthy contenders. Collectively… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    Riddle of Steel

    [Script treatment for Again, This Is Spinal Tap: Gettin' the Band Back Together. The following exchange takes place between Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins, again played by Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, respectively.] Tufnel: So, right, I was at Stonehenge the other day, gettin’ ideas for our new stage extravaganza, and I ran into these chaps taking photos… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Ben Nordstrom

    At first glance Ben Nordstrom is as all-American as Huckleberry Finn, as modestly wholesome as the scrawny kid next door. Next thing you know, he's flying over your head, higher than Peter Pan without the wires. Who is this guy, anyway? In Urinetown he was Bobby Strong, a young innocent who becomes a seditious revolutionary after he allows patrons at… More >>
  • Best Pop Band

    Finn's Motel

    Joe Thebeau's no stranger to the local music community, seeing as he's been playing and constructing music as a member of various bands for many years. But he's struck pure-pop gold with his current project, Finn's Motel, a rotating cast of musicians and personalities that proves just how smart music can be. Literally and figuratively: The scientific references dotting the… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Kari Ely

    The oh-so-civilized Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical A Little Night Music concerns Desiree Armfeldt, an aging Swedish stage star who suddenly finds her oh-so-complacent life under assault at the nubile hands of youth. This is not merely the stuff of musical theater; this is a problem that all actresses must confront as their careers mature. Ely, who of late has found… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    The Humanoids

    The Humanoids are barely a year old, but the group's distillation of old-school punk, pop-punk and hardcore already feels timeless. Shaun Morrissey is a spark plug behind the drums, ably pounding out thrashing tempos to drive the riffs hammered out by dual guitarists Greg Stinson and Bryan Clarkson. Vocalist Tim Clarkson, meanwhile, refuses to stay onstage, drawing people into the… More >>
  • Best Kept Secret (Arts Division)

    Saint Louis Art Museum Print Study Room

    It's not a secret, per se, but it's not widely known, either. The Saint Louis Art Museum holds a collection of more than 14,000 printed images on its fourth floor — and you're welcome to examine them all. At your own table. With the artworks right in front of you. And a staff ready to help you find related works,… More >>
  • Second Best Band Name

    My Hands Are On Fire

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  • Best Arts Organization

    The Black Rep

    It's always amazing to come across a St. Louisan who has yet to attend a production by the Black Rep. We're talking about a theater company that began as artistic director Ron Himes' penniless pipe dream back in 1976 and is now the largest African-American professional troupe in the country, people! Right here in Mound City! Whether performing at the… More >>
  • Best Metal Band

    Head On Collision

    Though it's only been around a short while, Head On Collision is the kind of band audiences remember. Far from existing as one of those ho-hum sludgy Creepy Crawl favorites, the band is tight and interesting. Soon after forming, HOC caught the attention of Beer City Records, a hard-core punk-rock label out of Milwaukee. If that's not impressive enough, consider… More >>
  • Best Local Impresario

    Matt Strauss

    "We made a lot of really good mistakes this year," says Matt Strauss, the driving force behind White Flag Projects, a nonprofit alternative art space that wrapped up its inaugural season in July. "Next year we're going to take a lot more risks." More risks? What, like showing more artists who've been overlooked by the commercial galleries? Or like throwing… More >>
  • Best Garage Band

    The Vultures

    In a few short years, the Vultures have grown from three scrappy, underage rock & roll acolytes into one of the leading lights of this city's garage-band community. The trio's sets have moved from charmingly shambolic to drum-tight, plying audiences with primal screams, twangy guitar runs and a soulful, rubbery backbeat. The Vultures keep the needle moving by touching on… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    Observable Readings

    A good reading series brings famous authors to town, introduces them to the adoring masses and perhaps fetes them with a box of wine and some chunks of cheese. A great reading series honors well-known authors, gives up-and-coming writers a voice (and an audience to hear that voice) and builds a strong literary community. Observable Readings does all those things… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    Raven Moon

    Nearing a decade on the bluegrass scene, Raven Moon frontwoman Christine Peick is a veteran with Dolly Parton's fashion flair and enough of Parton's sweet soprano twang to bring both classic bluegrass and gospel covers to life, and to get her own songs, as well as a few Celtic and folk numbers, across to the ever-demanding bluegrass audience. À la… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    A New Religion in Mecca: Memoir of a Renegade Brewery in St. Louis

    If Tom Schlafly's autobiography will teach you anything, it's that there's always room for one more — even if your competition is Goliath. A New Religion in Mecca: Memoir of a Renegade Brewery in St. Louis retraces his business venture in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch as the president of The Saint Louis Brewing Company (a.k.a. Schlafly Beer). The brewpub opened… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Traditional)

    The Well Hungarians

    Yeah, it's a funny band name. Hysterical. At this point in their career, it's more than likely that the Well Hungarians have succeeded in spite of their moniker than because of it. The five-piece plays straight-ahead, radio-friendly country music with three-part vocal harmonies. Jim Ed Hodges keeps things honest with his fiddle, adding a lilting sweetness or a sawing urgency… More >>
  • Best Coffee Table Book by a Local Author

    Hoorah for the Bra: A Perky Peek at the History of the Brassiere

    Burned in the Sixties, perennially derided in schoolyards as the "over-the-shoulder boulder-holder" — no question about it, the bra has had a tough go. Which makes graphic designer Cheree Berry's Hoorah for the Bra: A Perky Peek at the History of the Brassiere such a welcome fixture on the RFT's coffee table. This little tome is amusing, informative and celebratory.… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Alternative)

    Caleb Travers and Big City Lights

    His Ryan Adams jones shows, but so do his good nature, ambition and talent. Travers is pushing all of 25 and his band, including veteran pedal-steel whiz Scott Swartz of the Linemen, is pushing this son of south city toward more than just Telecaster strumming and dirt-road divining. His band can play it Stonesy, Byrdsy and Whiskeytowny without ever sounding… More >>
  • Best Local Poet

    Qiu Xiaolong

    Chief Inspector Chen Cao, the protagonist of St. Louis author Qiu Xiaolong's entertaining crime novels, is a lover of and writer of poetry. Perhaps not surprisingly, so's Qiu. In fact, it was poetry that lured him to St. Louis from his native Shanghai in the 1980s. A highly regarded Chinese poet, Qiu had translated many of T.S. Eliot's works. Still,… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Jake's Leg

    For more than 30 years, Jake's Leg has performed the music of the Grateful Dead across St. Louis. That's longer than the Dead themselves were together, which says something about the longevity of their music and the dedication of the fellows in Jake's Leg. The five-piece purposefully avoids being a straight tribute act — there are no Jerry Garcia stick-on… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Tom Huck

    Ask printmaker Tom Huck what fuels his work — large, meticulously detailed woodcuts, always grotesque and often violent — and the 36-year-old artist doesn't mince words. It's all about revenge. Huck still smarts when he thinks about his adolescence in rural Potosi, Missouri. Few people thought he would make it as an artist; few people cared about his art, period.… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    The Usual Suspects

    The Kevin Spacey-led noir film The Usual Suspects is built upon a layer cake of deception, intrigue and obfuscation, where every seemingly innocuous statement belies an intricate web of lies. The local five-piece known as the Usual Suspects pulls no such punches in their live performances, playing rock & roll classics with a soulful flair. Singer and guitarist Barry Lalamander… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

    In the past five years, Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson's site-specific work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, the Gallery Koyanagi in Tokyo, San Francisco's MOMA and...the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis. Wash. U.'s campus gallery packs more punch than you'd imagine. Like most of Eliasson's work, Your Imploded View, purchased for… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Vinyl Bitchie

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  • Best New Museum

    Moto Museum

    Dude. We like the way father and son Steve and Zach Smith roll. Their Moto Museum, vintage April 2007, occupies 15,000 square feet in an old printing factory in the Locust Business District that's been retooled into a hip-industrial showroom by the fashionable architecture firm the Lawrence Group. A window into almost eight decades (1900-1975) of European motorcycling, the MM… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Denise Thimes

    Uptown without being gentrified, swinging without being loungy, wide-ranging without being gimmicky, Denise Thimes is the classiest of the living St. Louis jazz greats — and she is one of the greats. Legendary trumpeter Clark Terry ranks her with Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson and Lady Day herself — and he's not blowing smoke. Thimes can ring all the dreamy, delicate… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    Remote Viewing (Invented Worlds in Recent Painting and Drawing)

    We're living in a windows-within-windows world. Our TV screens display two channels simultaneously, with both channels running graphics crawlers across bottom and top; our computers run simulated game worlds in one window and a live news feed in another; our cars have DVD players for front- and back-seat viewers; and all around us, the same old world spins by. This… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Pat Liston

    For Pat Liston, next year will mark a quarter-century after the founding of Mama's Pride, St. Louis' answer to Little Feat, though only their die-hard fans know that. The band's two classic albums have been locked in Atlantic vaults for years and still haven't seen proper reissue. Liston's band may yet do another reunion show, but if you want to… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Ellen Curlee Gallery - CLOSED

    Time was that if you lived in St. Louis and wanted to see world-class contemporary photography outside the city's universities, you needed an Internet connection with plenty of bandwidth — or a plane ticket. Enter Ellen Curlee, whose eponymous gallery concentrates exclusively on fine-art photography. Smart and sophisticated, Curlee has used her keen eye and vast knowledge of the art… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Big George Brock

    Harmonica player and singer George Brock is noteworthy simply because he's one of the few remaining members of his generation of St. Louis area bluesmen still actively performing and recording. But Brock is much, much more than just one of the last men standing: He's a superb showman and a gritty vocalist whose music embodies the connection between the informal,… More >>
  • Best Gallery Show

    Erik Spehn: New Paintings April 20-May 26, 2007 - CLOSED

    Anyone lucky enough to glimpse St. Louis painter Erik Spehn's spring show at Schmidt Contemporary Art was treated to an eyeful of one of our town's strongest talents working at his meticulous best. For his first solo show in seven years, Spehn flooded Jim Schmidt's Grand Center gallery with painstakingly precise canvases. Composed of contrasting thin vertical lines offset by… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist

    Roland Johnson Soul Endeavor

    The minute Roland Johnson walks onstage for his semi-regular gig at Beale on Broadway, you know you're seeing a performer. The man drips charisma — all the way through his white leisure suit and down to his polished shoes. He can do the James Brown, the Sam & Dave, the Bobby "Blue" Bland, the Otis Redding, and he does them… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    AMC Crestwood Plaza 10 - CLOSED

    No question: Watching a movie at the Moolah Theatre & Lounge (3821 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis 63108; 314-446-6868 or www.stlouiscinemas.com/moolah) is a treat. Who wouldn't enjoy spreading out on a big, comfy leather sofa while sipping wine or a cocktail while watching the newest blockbuster? But success — Best of St. Louis honors included — exacts its toll, and in… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    Hamiet Bluiett

    The St. Louis area has produced many fine jazz musicians in the past century, but there are two who stand out for having shattered the dominant paradigms of their time. One is the late Miles Davis, whose spare yet lyrical trumpet sound provided a unifying element through a series of conceptual reinventions that changed the entire course of jazz at… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    True/False Film Festival

    FADE IN INT. THE TIGER HOTEL, COLUMBIA — EVENING Nearly 200 people pack into the elegant ballroom. The prime seats were snatched more than an hour ago; latecomers press against the back wall. Columbia residents, Mizzou students and filmmakers sip complimentary Schlafly and whisper excitedly. Over the next three days, dozens of the world’s best new documentaries will… More >>
  • Best Gospel Artist

    Pastor Charles Hilton

    Since 2000, Pastor Charles Hilton has been leading a family quartet, the Consolators, back to the future of gospel music. Recently he has expanded the band to include his father on vocals and added organ and drums, while keeping the sound rooted in the classic close ensembles of the Golden Gate Quartet and the Swan Silvertones. Hilton restores the blues… More >>
  • Best Art Cinema

    Webster Film Series

    Since 1979 Webster University's Webster Film Series has brought art-house cinema to sleepy Webster Groves. Just this year WFS became the first place to see David Lynch's Inland Empire as the Twin Peaks creator's foray into weirdness made the festival circuit, still unready for prime time. As you peruse the calendar, it becomes plain why the series has succeeded for… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    Colin Blair

    At 29 years old, Colin Blair has established himself as one of the most skilled fiddle players in St. Louis. Though he started on the devil's box at a relatively old age (nineteen), he learned deep in the Ozarks, in the lamp-lit shack of Banjo Billy Mathews, one of the legends of Arkansas old-time music. Blair can play fast and… More >>
  • Best Freebie

    "Film Feastivals" at Lemmons

    Mondays. Ugh. Honestly, what could be worse than a flamboyant flair-wearing, disparaging, mentally and physically impairing case of the Mondays? Fortunately, for the past five years Lemmons has countered the fax machine-destroying, f-bomb finger-flippin' monster in all of us with its Monday-night "Film Feastivals," which offer an antidote to the start-of-the-work-week blues in the form of a free evening of… More >>
  • Best Local Label

    Roadhouse Tunes

    Roadhouse Tunes formed "out of necessity" in 2001 when playful punk-rock aficionados Mario Viele and Maysam Attaran of the Pubes (and subsequently, then simultaneously, the Sex Robots) decided they needed a record deal. "Nobody wanted to touch anything called the Pubes, so we just started it as a platform to release our record," says Viele. The Pubes' first CD-R, Lewd,… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Les Aaron

    Les Aaron is the cockroach of the St. Louis airwaves. The native of Brighton, England, has survived (and even thrived) on local radio stations for more than fifteen years now, weathering endless format changes at his various employers. One suspects that what drives the affable announcer — whose high-tea-proper accent remains firmly intact — is his enthusiasm for sharing exciting… More >>
  • Best Local Music Series

    New Music Thursdays

    Back in the day, the old Cicero's — y'know, the one that became Blueberry Hill's Duck Room — was a haven for up-and-coming bands. In 2007 the new Cicero's assumed a similar role for scads of young indie-rockers in town, thanks to the monthly "New Music Thursdays" event. On the first Thursday of each month, new-music fanatics can trek to… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Davie Lee

    Davie Lee has such a leathery, down-home delivery you swear you're listening to the Cracker Barrel pitchman. But more than a sultry voice, Lee is a living icon who got his start spinning records as a Dallas teenager in the 1950s. Like such luminary DJs as Gary Perkins, Wolfman Jack and Bill Randle, Lee knows something today's jocks just can't… More >>
  • Best Music Festival

    Whitaker Music Festival

    All music festivals are certainly not created equal; nor are all music festival locations. On Wednesday evenings during the summertime, the Whitaker Music Festival allows St. Louisans to picnic on the beautiful grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden while listening to live music. The free summer festival, funded by the Whitaker Foundation, offers up a wide variety, including concerts by… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    Movin' 101 (101.1 FM)

    [Setting: A roomful of older women and a therapist. One of the ladies, a nervous-looking fortysomething blonde wearing jeans and a sweater, begins to speak.] Hi. Um, I’m a little embarrassed to be in this support group, but my name’s Sally. [The rest of the room, in unison] “Hi, Sally.” This is a big step for me, but I’m here to confess… More >>
  • Best Music Web Site

    The Circuit

    The Circuit is only a few months old and already it's the best local resource for musicians and concert seekers. St. Louis vlogger and man-about-town Bill Streeter designed this sister site to his Lo-Fi Saint Louis (www.lofistl.com) to cater to your rock & roll heart's desire. The Circuit's a great place to catch videos of local bands and Streeter's own… More >>
  • Best Radio Program After Midnight

    The Space Parlour

    The music Nick Acquisto cues up on The Space Parlour isn't as cosmic or lounge-y as its title suggests — Acquisto sticks to a steady diet of new releases, college-rock favorites (Ween gets played on almost every show) and the occasional cut from the Who or the Kinks. While the mix is relaxed and informative, Acquisto always champions this city's… More >>
  • Best Rock Radio Program

    The Greaser's Lunchbox

    A mouthful of blues, a string bass slap-in-the-face sandwich and a fruit-cup-size helping of country — all these things come standard in The Greaser's Lunchbox, the rock & roll food pyramid served up by three parts suave and one part snarky host Al Swacker. Since 1999 Swacker has prepared the best in the "past, present and future" of rockabilly, from… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Rep Studio

    The operative word here is "company." For better or worse, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is an all-out, full-fledged, Equity-sanctioned company. The better part is almost always found in the belly of the beast, downstairs in the Emerson Studio Theatre — one of the few stages in town that succeeds in making claustrophobia an adventure rather than a limitation.… More >>
  • Best Blues Radio Program

    Blues in the Night

    The Monday-through-Friday grind can be enough to give anyone the blues, so St. Louis is lucky to have Art Dwyer sitting in the Friday drive-time DJ seat at KDHX (88.1 FM), spinning the soul platters that matter and stacks of hot blues wax to unwind your mind and rethread your head. Dwyer's "regular job" as bassist and leader of the… More >>
  • Best One-Person Show

    Via Dolorosa

    Even on a good night, British playwright David Hare can be one of the most tendentious of modern playwrights. But in Via Dolorosa the playwright who usually has so much to tell us switched roles and became the listener. Via Dolorosa is Hare's travel diary that chronicles his 1997 trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. The 90-minute monologue shows… More >>
  • Best Jazz Radio Program

    Jazz Unlimited

    Jazz Unlimited host Dennis Owsley wrote the book on St. Louis jazz. No, really: Owsley's 2006 tome City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973 is the first comprehensive, book-length history of jazz music in St. Louis. Owsley's erudition on musical matters local, national and international informs his radio show, too. Often building broadcasts around a specific… More >>
  • Best Theater Surprise

    Darrie Lawrence in Doubt

    For months the Fox advertised the appearance of Cherry Jones in Doubt, John Patrick Shanley's much-honored parable about suspicious goings-on in a Catholic school in the Bronx. It's always exciting to see an acclaimed actor in his or her Tony Award-winning performance. As opening night neared, the drumbeat grew ever louder: Cherry Jones! CHERRY JONES!! So you can imagine the… More >>
  • Best Lounge Act

    Bobby Schuessler

    The Hideaway Restaurant & Lounge (5900 Arsenal Street, St. Louis; 314-645-8822) is a lounge in the truest sense of the word. The south-side institution is bedecked in a warm red (right down to the hand-knit placemats on the bar), and the mood invites you to grab a drink, sit back and, well, lounge. The relaxing, throwback vibe is heightened by… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast

    Noises Off

    Just because Noises Off, Michael Frayn's chaotic farce about the trials and travails of a touring theater company, is one of the funniest plays ever written doesn't mean it's a sure thing. It requires an ensemble of stellar actors. What is ensemble acting? It's a cohesiveness that often begins with actors taking the time to listen to each other. But… More >>
  • Best Local Act Gone National

    Gentleman Auction House

    Bands containing many members — we're talking enough to populate a football team here — are still in vogue in the indie-rock world. And while the seven-member collective Gentleman Auction House is only large enough to populate a smallish basketball squad, its orchestral indie-rock is making incredibly loud noise outside of St. Louis. The buzz began at this year's SXSW,… More >>
  • Best Children's Theater

    Hana's Suitcase

    If it's escapism you seek, you don't have to look far. Wherever we turn, hucksters are only too eager to take our money and help us forget the world's ills, when sometimes what we need most is to remember them. The U.S. premiere of Hana's Suitcase, a stage adaptation of the popular children's book by Karen Levine, was billed as… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    Morrissey, May 22, 2007

    Morrissey's first show in St. Louis in a decade or so was special for many reasons. For starters, Affton native Kristeen Young opened the night with a PJ Harvey-meets-Diamanda Galas art-rock bang. Second, this gig coincided with the crooner's 48th birthday — and as any rabid Moz fan will tell you, a Morrissey birthday show is a concert worth traveling… More >>
  • Best Musical

    A Little Night Music

    Last November, when Urinetown received a brilliant staging by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, this paper wrote that "the bar has been raised for locally produced musicals." Without in any way tarnishing the memory of that glorious accomplishment, the nod here goes to Stages St. Louis' pitch-perfect production of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler confection A Little Night Music —… More >>
  • Best Local Concert of the Past 12 Months

    The Hibernauts' CD release, July 21, 2007

    July 21, 2007, was one of those Saturday nights in St. Louis where there was almost too much going on, too many good shows to attend. Pete Yorn downtown at Live on the Levee, Junior Brown at Beale on Broadway. Venerable rappers Midwest Avengers in one club, venerable indie-rockers Bunnygrunt in another. But even with this stiff competition, local indie-rock… More >>
  • Best Stage Production

    A Number

    It was short: just 55 minutes. It was small: just one set and two actors. But the Rep Studio staging of A Number, Caryl Churchill's (hopefully not too) prophetic parable about the difficulty of "human" relationships in a futureworld where human cloning is a given, delivered a potent, enervating, exhilarating evening of theater that shone with the brilliance of a… More >>
  • Best In-Store of the Past 12 Months

    Silversun Pickups, April 4, 2007

    Los Angeles buzz-band Silversun Pickups had a good reason to cancel their November 2006 appearances in St. Louis: Instead of opening for Aussie rockers Wolfmother at Mississippi Nights — or playing its Vintage Vinyl in-store — the quartet was taping an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. But the fuzzed-out rockers made good on their promise to perform… More >>
  • Best Sound Design

    Amanda Bruggeman

    The Orange Girls opened their season with Standing on My Knees, an intense melodrama about a poet trying to control her schizophrenia in a manner that will restore order to her life yet not diminish her creativity. The story calls for the poet to play an LP of a Bartók symphony. It was so unusual — yet so authentic —… More >>
  • Best Band to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Corbeta Corbata

    You could've called the late Corbeta Corbata a punk band, or a hardcore band, but that would have left out most of the truth. They warped the loud-fast-dumb tenets of hardcore into a serrated instrument of absurdist torture. Any chump can get on your nerves with a couple of amps and a drum kit, but Corbeta Corbata brought its own… More >>
  • Best Play You Didn't See

    Beautiful Resistance: Confessions of a Hoosier in Palestine

    On a wintry February night, for one performance only (and one not very well promoted, at that), Magan Wiles made theater in a Saint Louis University classroom. There was no stage, no real lights to speak of (other than turning them on and off). But the small crowd in attendance was treated to a rare evening of authentic, been-there, done-that… More >>
  • Best Musical You'll Probably Never See

    Soapdish

    Fairview Heights native Mark Hollmann, the Tony Award-winning composer of Urinetown and all-around good sport, returned to town in March for the Kevin Kline Awards. In addition to presenting two Kevins and delivering a 40th-anniversary tribute to the Rep, Hollmann agreed to perform a song from his new musical-in-progress, Soapdish, based on the 1991 movie farce that starred — who… More >>
  • Best Curtain Call

    You Can't Take It With You

    A popular adage proclaims that it ain't over till the fat lady sings. At the end of the madcap You Can't Take It With You, Stray Dog Theatre's ode to eccentricity, everybody sang — cast and audience alike. Never mind that this wasn't a musical. After the play had ended and the bows proper were done, the play-ful actors tore… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Casino Queen

    "Casino Queen/my lord you're mean/I've been gambling like a fiend/on your tables so green." So sang Jeff Tweedy on Wilco's 1995 album A.M. Of course, back in the mid-1990s the Queen could afford to be a little ornery — even seedy — if she wanted to be. The East St. Louis riverboat was one of just three casinos in the… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Ozark hellbender

    You wouldn't go in the Herpetarium if you weren't in search of a thrill. Something to make your skin crawl. When a pile of Gila monsters lying next to their own recently shed skin fails to do it for ya, try Missouri's own Ozark hellbender. The weird, primitive look of this harmless salamander elicits an eeewwww from just about everyone… More >>
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