Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Local Impresario

    Joe Edwards

    With his impressive lineup of current destinations (Blueberry Hill, the Pageant and Pin-Up Bowl, to name a few) Joe Edwards could be the perennial winner of this category just by resting on his laurels. But that's not Joe's style. In the past twelve months, our town's favorite promoter/developer has opened the impressive Flamingo Bowl on Washington Avenue downtown and commenced… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Female)

    Randi Naughton

    Redheaded television anchors seem about as common as good news in this town. Despite all the talk of job losses, buyouts, floods and famine (OK, we made that last one up), Randi Naughton's ginger top serves as an ever-bright flicker of hope that goes perfectly with our morning coffee. Those gorgeous red locks, cut short and sassy, flip and swish… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Male)

    Marc Cox

    You gotta wonder whether KMOV-TV News 4 This Morning anchor Marc Cox ever feels a slight tinge of guilt when his job requires him to report on global warming. Because the gravity-defying wall of blond hair that sits firmly atop his head appears to be glued in place by enough hair spray to raise the world's temperature by half a… More >>
  • Best TV Station

    KETC-TV (Channel 9)

    Believe it or not, there are people out there who still don't have HDTV or TiVo. More shocking still is the fact that some folks don't even have cable. It's crazy, we know. But somehow these unfortunate souls are able to survive and have televised educational opportunities like the rest of us — and we're not just talking about those… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Chris Higgins

    In these modern times, weather predicting is more than just licking a finger and checking out the sky. There is hi-tech equipment involved with this job, along with a little luck (let's be honest). Not only does this city need someone who can translate all that fancy technology into plain English, but St. Louisans really want a local person to… More >>
  • Best Advertising Campaign

    Metro — Decongestant M

    Say what you will about Metro's budget shortfalls, failed lawsuits and scattershot train and bus service. When it comes to clever commercial spots, the transit agency's "Decongestant M" campaign hits like a bullet train. It's quick. It's timely. And — most important of all — it leaves us wanting to hop aboard. Created by local advertising firm Schupp Co. (,… More >>
  • Best Theater

    Grandel Theatre

    The quality of a theater doesn't enhance the quality of the theater. Church basements, reclaimed storefronts, old black boxes — you can see a great show in any of these spaces in St. Louis almost year-round. But a truly beautiful theater, like the Grandel, well, it has the power to improve you. That steep bank of stone steps out front… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    Dave Sinclair Automotive Group

    In spite of everything that clutters our screens, there actually can be dignity in local television commercials. Auto dealer Dave Sinclair proves it. For years this salesman has politely and respectfully come into our homes to tout his dealerships ("Hi, I'm Dave Sinclair, your south-county Ford dealer..."). Now he's doing more than just that. He's trying to save the American… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Circus Flora

    How do you like your theater? Do you like it high-flying or lowbrow? In your face or coolly sophisticated? Circus Flora has all the above. Are you looking for educational programs that encourage the participation of students? They've got it. Do you want a company that offers a track record of solidity? Circus Flora has been entertaining St. Louis audiences… More >>
  • Best Stage Production

    Rabbit Hole

    The fact that the Studio Theatre is located in a veritable rabbit hole beneath the main stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center has little to do with why the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis staging of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Rabbit Hole was so quietly incandescent. It now has been six months since that exquisite and delicate production closed. With… More >>
  • Best Musical


    Did anyone really want to see yet another Oklahoma! The answer was a decided yes — after we saw it. From the mooing of its offstage cows to the onstage windmill (that invited climbing), this Webster Conservatory mounting of the 65-year-old Rodgers & Hammerstein classic about farmers and cowmen was so infused with zest and vigor (all channeled through Ali… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    George Noory

    Can't sleep. What's on the radio? A deep voice. "From the heartland of America and the Gateway to the West...." Ah, tonight George Noory's broadcasting Coast to Coast AM ( from his "cave" in St. Louis (as he was back in April when the earthquake struck — CNN talked to him about it). Who will be his guest — a… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Play

    Nancy Lewis

    It's not hard to single out Nancy Lewis as an artist of boldness and daring. But how to single out one of her performances during this past year above the others? Lewis veritably slithered through her withering turn as the tyrannical Violet Venable in Stray Dog's Suddenly Last Summer, and she was sweetly endearing as a toothless old theater crony… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Kevin Wheeler

    You may have heard that the crowded local sports-talk arena recently expanded to the FM dial, but the most venerable such show in town and its host, Kevin Wheeler, remain the one-stop station for a complete digest of sports news and chatter: Sports Open Line on KMOX. Weeknights from 6 till 8 p.m., Wheeler plies the mic with humor, smarts… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Lewis J. Stadlen

    Mel Brooks' The Producers was a quantum leap from the Muny's usual family-friendly "been there, done that" repertoire. But this paean to crassness was a terrific season opener, thanks in great measure to Lewis J. Stadlen's gloriously misanthropic performance as the incorrigible Max Bialystock. Although Stadlen had already played this eminently corruptible character hundreds of times on Broadway and on… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Katie McGee

    You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is usually about innocuous smiles and chuckles. It preaches the gospel of forgiveness, because it reminds us that we all have more than our share of shortcomings. But the production earlier this year at Saint Louis University was also about attitude. As Snoopy, Katie McGee was so supercharged with breezy, cocky attitude, she made… More >>
  • Best Shakespeare Production

    Measure for Measure

    Why is Shakespeare still being performed with regularity? Because when it's presented as thoughtfully and passionately as Mustard Seed Theatre's production of Measure for Measure, it teaches you more about yourself than ten years of therapy (and there are more laughs, as well). Director Deanna Jent and her abundantly gifted cast took the raw material of the play (What is… More >>
  • Best Children's Theater Production

    Go Dog Go!

    P.D. Eastman's beloved tail (see what we did there?) of dogs coming and going while dissing a lady dog's hat is a quick read. Adapting it for the stage requires a much longer run time than a young audience might be able to tolerate. Hence the ten-minute break in the middle, during which the dogs hurled progressively larger beach balls… More >>
  • Best One-Person Show

    The Good Thief

    It's not that Joe Hanrahan is opposed to acting in the company of other people. But apparently he's happiest onstage alone, getting all his dialogue out of the way in one lump and saying everything he has to say in an hour rather than stretching it out in short speeches over two and a half. When what Hanrahan has to… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast


    What is the measure of ensemble acting? Sometimes it means that actors are breathing in sync and anticipating each other's smallest tics. But the ensemble acting in the New Jewish staging of Diane Samuels' British play Kindertransport was of a different nature. In telling the story of a young Jewish girl who in 1939 was shipped from Hamburg to Manchester,… More >>
  • Best Theater Surprise

    Brian Stokes Mitchell

    Last fall, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Fox Theatre, Linda Eder and Brian Stokes Mitchell appeared together in a concert billed as a celebration of the American musical. Most of the advance publicity went to Eder. But at the concert itself, front-act Mitchell delivered a performance of such charm, humor and ease that he totally… More >>
  • Best Kvetchers

    Dorothy Farmer Davis, Suzanne Greenwald, Eleanor Mullin

    There's Neil Simon, and then there's Neil Simon. The West End Players Guild's recent staging of The Prisoner of Second Avenue offered America's most commercially successful playwright at both his best and his less-than-best. Thirty-one years after it debuted on Broadway, this 1971 comedy-drama about New Yorkers on the verge of nervous collapse seemed to have lost its bite and… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Bob McCabe

    Affable, funny and unfailingly optimistic, National Public Radio local affiliate KWMU (90.7 FM) newsman Bob McCabe makes every weekday brighter. From 5 to 11 a.m. each morning, he puts his own spin on everything from the local stock report to the forecast. McCabe has been in front of people all his life — both in local theater and as a… More >>
  • Best 18th-Century Comedy by Oliver Goldsmith

    She Stoops to Conquer

    So maybe there's not a lot of competition in this category. (OK, not any.) But that's not to diminish the many delights of the Washington University Performing Arts Department's spunky production of She Stoops to Conquer. Even if we added Restoration comedy into the mix, then threw in all Kabuki mime plays, She Stoops to Conquer, or The Mistakes of… More >>
  • Best Curtain Call

    Bernie Passeltiner

    Theater is nothing if not tradition and continuity. So to see Bernie Passeltiner return to the Loretto-Hilton in the title role in the St. Louis Rep production of Tuesdays with Morrie, knowing that Passeltiner had appeared on that same stage 41 years earlier in the company's debut production, was a more genuinely moving experience than anything the play provided. It… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Chesterfield Galaxy 14

    Let's be straight: Wehrenberg's Chesterfield Galaxy 14 Cine takes this category because the sound system here will blow your face off. That and the fact that the Mega Screen (the largest in the Midwest) is big enough to broker the suspension of disbelief if the film's story fails to do so. Haute cinema is cool, yes, but for the price… More >>
  • Best Time Machine

    The Friends of Scott Joplin

    These days, it's hard to see the appeal of the 1904 World's Fair. Yeah, it gave us hot-dog buns and ice-cream cones, not to mention Forest Park, but that song! "Meet me in St. Louie, Louie, meet me at the Fair..." Maybe 104 years ago people actually enjoyed hearing it, but now that we've endured many off-key warblings, it just… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis

    It's often said that St. Louis is a big small town — large enough to be considered a full-fledged city, but small enough that natives manage to run into old high school classmates on every trip to the grocery store. The concept of the "small town" takes on a more literal meaning at the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis.… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings

    Cavemen pondering a pot of gold, jailbirds plotting their escape with a pickax, comic-strip frogs and headless inspectors — for a few months last spring St. Louis got an oversize-canvas look at the extraordinary work of Los Angeles artist Thaddeus Strode. Strode grew up surfing and skating in Southern California, and his work incorporates the pop-cultural iconography of comics —… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    White Flag Projects

    Any talk about our town's tameness when it comes to art and art galleries comes to a quick conclusion with three trips down the tongue each ending in "Y": Tighty Whitey Party. Derided by some as a glorified toga party, regaled by others as our town's answer to American Apparel's heroin chic, last June's Tighty Whitey Party at White Flag… More >>
  • Best Gallery Exhibition

    Every Man For Himself/God Against All

    Curated by Hesse McGraw, Every Man For Himself/God Against All took its name from Werner Herzog's 1974 film, which details the true story of Kaspar Hauser, a wild child who appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 19th-century Nuremberg. Like the title that inspired it, the well-attended show was an exploration of the self in relation to the other — other… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery to Die in the Past Year

    Ellen Curlee Gallery - CLOSED

    Galleries are sort of like plant species: Some are perennial and blossom anew each season, others are annuals that blossom briefly before fading away. The Ellen Curlee Gallery, we now know, belonged to the latter class. But oh, what a bloom it was! Concentrating on modern fine-art photography, the tiny space on Washington Avenue downtown became known for mounting intellectually… More >>
  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    Working in Love

    Rare is the band, in St. Louis or elsewhere, that can match the raw power of its live show with the sonic perfection and nuances of a really great record. Jon Hardy and the Public have achieved that balance with their second full-length, Working in Love. The album explores the ins and outs of romance while never veering into sappiness… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    WARH (106.5 FM "The Arch")

    If the Arch (106.5 FM) were a pair of shoes, it would be lovingly worn-in Converse high-tops: shabby but chic, comfortable and familiar. Driven by the motto "It's all about the variety," the station is actually all about comfort-food music, the familiar tunes that conjure memories of proms, make-outs and lazy summer days spent blasting the stereo. Classic rock, new… More >>
  • Best New Art Gallery

    Maps Contemporary Art Space

    OK, so it's not technically in St. Louis, or even Missouri, for that matter, but Maps Contemporary Art Space deserves honorary St. Louis citizenship for its street cred alone. Working out of a small Belleville storefront, brothers B.j. and Chris Vogt consistently present challenging works that few galleries on the west bank of the Mississippi are willing to touch. Be it… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Traditional)

    The Missouri Valley Boys

    Stovall's Grove in Wildwood proclaims itself the "Home of Country Music since 1935," and the claim sticks in part because of the Missouri Valley Boys. In one form or another, the group has been the house band since at least the 1950s. The late, great John Hartford was a member, and founder Delmar Stovall, at the age of 84, still… More >>
  • Best Art Series

    The Front Room

    If you run a contemporary art museum, you're bound to run into trouble sooner or later. On the one hand, you are running a museum, meaning you have to present formal shows of museum-caliber work. On the other hand, you're running a museum of contemporary art, meaning you want to bring your museumgoing public the freshest, most interesting art around.… More >>
  • Best Arts Organization

    Laumeier Sculpture Park

    Some cities, poor schmucks that they are, feel blessed to have a few pieces of art hanging around the public square — a di Suvero here, maybe a Calder there. We in St. Louis can only look on those poor cities and smile. After all, our town houses Laumeier Sculpture Park, which at 105 acres is one of the largest… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Juan William Chávez

    Two thousand and eight may have been the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac, but for the St. Louis art scene it was the Year of the Chávez. Juan William Chávez began the year by winning (along with artists Corey Escoto and Michelle Oosterbaan) the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis' Great Rivers Biennial 2008. While his work… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    The Feed

    Like most genre tags, "rock" is a tricky appellation. It's normally used as a catchall for guitar-based, straight-ahead pop music with an emphasis on speed and volume. Local trio the Feed has a few of those key components — speed and volume are just two of the tools in the band's arsenal — but there's not a guitar in earshot.… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Alternative)


    Theodore makes music, from a hush to a helter-skelter, that feels country but can't be. The sound is too eccentric, too impulsive, too illusory. That steel guitar you hear? That's the cry of a ghost. That high, broken twang in Justin Kinkel-Schuster's voice? That's the way the truth comes out. That 2008 album, Defeated, TN, with songs based on letters… More >>
  • Best Local Poet

    Richard Newman

    There's poetry in basketball, sure, but most people find it in the arc of a perfect free throw, not in a game of H-O-R-S-E. Those same people also don't find much poetry in mowing the lawn. Or in digging coins out of their pockets to pay the lip-pierced cashier at the convenience store. But these are the raw materials Richard… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    The Grass Pack

    Of all the terrors to chill the blood of a bluegrass band, being called "folk" ranks right up there with accordions and requests for "that O Brother, Where Art Thou? song." And so the Grass Pack is only folk in the loosest though not emptiest sense of the word. Composed of wily veterans and energetic youths, and including five able… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    Confessions of a Mob Hitman

    OK. Just look at that title. How can you resist the confessions of a mob hit man? Especially if they're true? Ray Flynn grew up during the Depression in Kerry Patch, the old Irish neighborhood in north St. Louis. He embarked upon a life of crime at the age of seventeen with a fake paycheck-cashing scam. Well, hey, a guy's… More >>
  • Best Comic Book


    A self-published, warts-and-all collection of comic strips banged out while the artist was at his day job couldn't possibly be this entertaining...could it? Wolf's drawing is a little rough at times, and he could really use the aid of a letterer or at least some handwriting practice, but it's the feeling of the work that carries the day. And reading… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    The Monads

    While the roots of the Monads' old-timey sound is firmly planted in the soil of traditional bluegrass music, the band's barnburning, desperately urgent songs combine an amalgam of styles, from traditional country blues to punk and rockabilly. The group's latest full-length album, Ornery, is one of the best local releases of the past year, weaving the band's many-stranded sounds into… More >>
  • Best Local Cartoonist

    Matt Kindt

    Dossier #: 009252008 Name: Matt Kindt Seminal work: Super Spy, graphic novel, released 2007. A collection of 52 intertwined stories about the daily lives of spies in Europe during World War II, Super Spy is by turns thrilling and poignant. It is always beautifully drawn and colored. It is even (in parts) historically accurate. Best deployment of Morse code in Super Spy: Via… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    Left Bank Books

    All of a sudden, it's cool to be an author again. Long stigmatized as reclusive know-it-alls, writers nowadays are enjoying more recognition (and less stereotypical descriptions). As any good independent bookstore knows, author visits make the reading experience that much more enjoyable for the patrons, so Left Bank Books works tirelessly to give a voice to both local and nationally… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Messy Jiverson

    On the surface, Messy Jiverson seems like your average jam band. Dudes with beards? Check. Ridiculous band name? Check. Lots of wah-wah guitar? Check and mate. But appearances are deceiving, as the six-piece hits that sweet spot that so few jam bands manage to find: an allegiance to the groove abetted by topnotch musicianship. Led by a barrage of vintage… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Lumière Place

    From the psychedelic carpet underfoot to whiz-bang gadgetry that hangs in the form of flat-screen TVs above, Lumière Place is St. Louis' newest and only entertainment complex downtown that includes a neon mullet. The light fixture that graces the casino's Four Seasons hotel resembles a mane of hair shocked with Manic Panic hair dye, attracting the eyes of gamers and… More >>
  • Best HardcoreBand

    Civic Progress

    This year saw St. Louis' Civic Progress release its second EP, Disposable, and have its debut EP, Petroleum Man, re-released by hardcore-punk tastemaker No Way Records. Along the way, the four-piece grew angrier and its live shows more sweaty and intense. Civic Progress is backed by a muddy bass guitar and the beats of prolific local drummer Tom Valli, while… More >>
  • Best Crime Blotter

    Rock Hill Police Department

    Owing to their hardboiled prose style, crime blotters can be funny to read. (Granted, the types of offenses covered in most law-and-order sections are no laughing matter. But still.) Paul Arnett, the police chief of tiny Rock Hill, is totally down with that. In recent months, Arnett has written most of the Rock Hill blotter items that are published in the… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    Penthouse Club

    You're not here for the cheap cover. You're not here for the cheap drinks. And you're definitely not here for the cheap lap dance. You're here for the ladies. And at the Penthouse Club, "where the magazine comes to life," the ladies rule. This chain, which comprises more than a dozen locations across the nation (and four others in Illinois,… More >>
  • Best Noise Band


    Referring to Raglani's patient instrumentals as "ambient" demeans the complexity of his compositions in the same way that calling them "noise" downplays their overarching beauty. Dense, stacked layers of synthesized sound result in a vast sonic landscape that owes much more to Krautrock and minimalist composer Terry Riley than to Eno's airport soundtracks or the raucous pounding of Wolf Eyes.… More >>
  • Best Sound

    The Delmar Loop on a Friday night

    It's funny how the amalgamation of several individually annoying sounds can sometimes morph into an accidental symphony of invigorating energy. The Delmar Loop on a Friday night certainly qualifies, as droves of chattering teens, cacophonous hippy drum circles, sub-low bass frequencies rattling from the trunks of cars and a street musician's desperate saxophone squeals converge, forming an atmosphere of youthful… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Polar bear

    Sure, there were babies born to other, perhaps more cuddly animals this year. And some of those animals have funny names — if you're of the Beavis & Butt-Head persuasion and involuntarily giggle every time you hear the word "ass." But there's only one polar bear remaining at the Saint Louis Zoo. In the wild, the polar bear is solitary… More >>
  • Best Side Project

    Thor Axe

    By day the kids who compose So Many Dynamos are unassuming indie rockers with thick, black-framed glasses and tight vintage T-shirts. By night they are the metal-worshipping, guitar-shredding demons behind Thor Axe. With more than a touch of irony, they rock songs that are entirely instrumental and sound like the speed-metal soundtrack to a Nintendo video game circa 1991. Each… More >>
  • Best Newspaper Columnist

    Joe Whittington

    It doesn't take a degree to see why the editors of St. Louis' Only Daily run Joe Whittington's weekly business column on Thursday. Most of the "business news" in this town comes out Fridays and reads like "Local Commerce for Dummies." A fix of Whittington, on the other hand, goes down like a juicy soap opera. And he regularly scoops… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Newspaper Division)

    Carolyn P. Smith

    Since 2005 Carolyn Smith has covered crime in the seedy parts of St. Clair and Madison counties for the Belleville News-Democrat. This has to rank as one of the most depressing, frightening and, to put it mildly, lively beats on the planet. In the past year alone, when gunmen opened fire on a moving ambulance in East St. Louis, wounding… More >>
  • Best Reporter (TV/Radio Division)

    John Mills

    John Mills is the best television news reporter in St. Louis because he doesn't try to be your friend through the tube. In a deep voice that makes one wonder why he didn't go into radio, Mills delivers fact-driven pieces that are original and not pulled wholesale from the local newspaper website beforehand. Aesthetically, Mills is refreshingly absent of toothy… More >>
  • Best Recording Studio Engineer

    Jason McEntire

    As home recording becomes more and more accessible and affordable for musicians, it begins to become apparent that the value of hiring an experienced studio engineer has less to do with expensive gear and more to do with his or her ability to bring out the best in a band and offer an environment that breeds creativity and exploration. Jason… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Art Holliday

    Art Holliday's the antithesis of Don Henley's "bubbleheaded bleach-blond...can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye." Even casual viewers of Today in St. Louis or NewsChannel Five at Noon have likely seen the anchor/executive producer's perfectionist nature unfold live on camera, most notably when there's a technical glitch that threatens to send him into a… More >>
  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    "Ol' Girl"

    Since the dawn of time, pop music has celebrated sweet young things, the carefree beauties who tantalize their adoring prey with youthful nubility. But where's the musical love for women who bring experience and wisdom to the table? (Not only cougars, mind you, but pumas and MILFs, too.) That's where local hip-hop charmer Vandalyzm comes in, with his irresistible song… More >>
  • Best Live Sound Engineer

    Jerry Boschert

    The impact of a quality sound system and competent live sound engineer is sometimes underestimated in small and mid-size music clubs. A good ear and knowledge of tendencies of certain frequencies in a room can make the difference between a good show and a mind-blowing, face-melting experience where the kick drum actually kicks, the vocals are crisp and pristine and… More >>
  • Best Producer

    Kenautis Smith

    Everything you need to know about Kenautis Smith you can learn from listening to his work on Rockwell Knuckles' 2008 release Northside Phenomenon. Lesson one: There is a beat for every occasion. Smith matches Knuckles' righteous braggadocio on tracks like "Live Wire" with futuristic swirls of synthesizer, a haunting piano sample and straight-up rock & roll drums. On mellow grooves… More >>
  • Best Recording Studio

    Firebrand Recording

    If you think the phrase "Empirical Labs EL8X Distressor with British Mod Single Channel Rackmount Compressor/Limiter" sounds like a foreign language, you are not alone. Luckily, engineers/producers Brian Scheffer and Nelson Jones speak this language — fluently. The co-owners of Firebrand Recording have mastered every knob on the aforementioned Distressor, as well as countless other pieces of equipment on their… More >>
  • Best Local Label

    Big Muddy Records

    Big Muddy Records understands that there is a distinct musical identity hidden deep in the isolated back streets of south St. Louis. The records released by the small independent label are a microcosm of the type of music and attitude prevalent on these city streets. The label focuses on traditional rock & roll, but it doesn't rely on obvious retro… More >>
  • Best Record Label Packaging

    Pegasus Farms Records

    The advent of the CD killed album art — and yet nobody bothered to tell the mysterious life force behind Pegasus Farms Records. In the true spirit of the avant-garde, these CD-Rs are limited-run, handmade objects that are beautiful simply because — well, simply because they can be beautiful. Blood Piece 2/For A.O., an album of lucid dreams mined from… More >>
  • Best Elvis Impersonator

    Clownvis Presley

    When Clownvis Presley (alter ego of 7 Shot Screamers lead singer Mike Leahy) hosted the RFT Music Awards ceremony in June, one couldn't help but hope that when the Screamers went up to accept the award for Best Rock Band, Leahy would be with them and he and Clownvis would meet onstage in classic Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton fashion. Alas, it… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    DJ Needles

    DJ Needles did more spinning in 2008 than Barack Obama's PR team. Needles (given name James Gates) hosted weekly hip-hop nights at the Gramophone and the 609 Lounge. He was one of the house DJs at Café Soul, the city's premier open-mic night at the Lucas School House. He backed up several of St. Louis' top emcees on the cutz,… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Scotty Mac

    If you're at Upstairs Lounge for one of the monthly FLY events and you see a broadly smiling guy with a trademark flat cap on his head — the kind the chimney sweeps wore in Mary Poppins — that's Scotty Mac. Say hi and bask in the same warmth he deftly packages into the house music he sometimes spins at… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    Carolbeth True

    In sports the designation "MVP" commonly refers to "most valuable player." As applied to pianist and composer Carolbeth True and her relationship to the St. Louis jazz scene, "MVP" also might stand for "most versatile player." True thrives in variety of settings, whether she's working in a duo with singer Debby Lennon, the small combo Hard Bop Heritage, the Sessions… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Rough Grooves

    Some say St. Louis has more working blues musicians than any other city in the USA. Others in places like Chicago or Austin might find such a claim statistically suspect, but there's no question the Gateway City has a wealth of blues talent on display every weekend in local clubs. With elder statesmen such as Henry Townsend, Johnnie Johnson, Oliver… More >>
  • Best New Band

    The Blind Eyes

    With a lineup that consists of three-fourths of the late-great Sixties-pop revivalists the Gentlemen Callers, the Blind Eyes are no strangers to the St. Louis music scene. But the bouncy, stripped-down fervor of the trio's songs is a bit of a departure from its forebears' music. The Eyes' early recorded output calls to mind the late-'70s pub-rock of Elvis Costello… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    Swing Set

    Not only does this quintet play jazzy '40s-era swing tunes and cover well-known favorites like Rosemary Clooney's "Don't Fence Me In" and "Ragg Mopp," the combo explores a wide range of styles — like, from mambo to traditional Serbian tunes. They're danceable if you can keep up with the fast-paced beats and the perfect accompaniment to a good beer at… More >>
  • Best Tribute Band

    Mean Street

    The fact that Mean Street guitarist Chuck Reusnow can play Eddie Van Halen's shredderific masterpiece "Eruption" note for note is impressive enough, but when you take into account the fact that this is the first band he has ever played a proper show with it seems all the more impressive and unlikely. Riding on the shoulders of local cover band-circuit… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist


    The MoTre trio of Angelo Blakely, Santana Barnes and Jermaine Casey deploy mellow harmonies à la Nineties R&B, but they're not afraid to throw in some modern Midwest dirrty dirty, compliments of local hip-hop star Potzee, whom they feature on the racy track "Hot Spot" from their album Imperfect Gentlemen. Regularly showcased at Old Rock House's Suite Soul Spot (on… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist


    Vandalyzm kicked off the year by releasing his debut full-length album Megatron Majorz. He then proceeded to drop "Ol' Girl," the catchiest local single of 2008, kick it with underground icons like 9th Wonder and Little Brother and pack nearly every venue in town from the Old Rock House to the Gramophone. He even smoked the 2008 RFT Music Showcase,… More >>
  • Best Lounge Act

    Sky West

    With set lists that can run the gamut from Radiohead to Motown jazz standards, Sky West brings a canny blend of lighthearted novelty and musicianship — a prerequisite for any entertaining lounge act worth its salt. Chris "Luppy" Swan heads up the trio on piano and vocals and deals out an infectious, positive energy that's bookended by accessible stage banter… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Caleb Travers

    With heart-on-his-sleeve, real-world honesty, a slightly gritty baritone and the ability to paint believable portraits of love gone wrong, Caleb Travers' brand of twang-tinged Americana calls to mind Beck's breakup masterpiece Sea Change — but with a fervor and style all his own. Travers' songs tell stories of everyday life in a way that seems romantic but not over-idealized or -dramatized.… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Larissa Dalle

    In the '90s, Larissa Dalle shape-shifted across the St. Louis music scene, first as part of an electronic-rock duo called Collaborateur, then in the dream-pop band Crushed, then as a solo country-torch singer with punk instincts and a sixth sense for the blues. Now as lead singer with rock and garage blues heavies the Wormwood Scrubs, her twangy moan has… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Kevin Butterfield

    By day Kevin Butterfield pursues his Ph.D. in history at Washington University. By night he revels in another kind of history with his band the Linemen, playing country music that sounds like it was plucked from a transistor radio in 1959. But the Linemen are no novelty throwback act, and Butterfield's high, nuanced tenor voice delivers the goods with the… More >>
  • Second Best Band Name

    Gangsta Gritz

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  • Best Rock Radio Program

    New Music Sunday

    With its club-ready remixes of bangin' techno and electro, Les Aaron's early-Thursday-morning Love Mix show on KDHX (88.1 FM) appeals to a niche market. But Aaron's venerable New Music Sunday, which airs at 7 p.m. on "The Point" (105.7 FM), has a little something for everyone. In a crisp, jaunty British accent (he's a Brighton, England, native), Aaron informs listeners… More >>
  • Best Old Band

    Riddle of Steel

    Gather 'round, children, and let Grandpa tell you a story about the way music used to be played back in the good old days before all of this indie nonsense and blogs and death cabs and such. See, way back in the late '90s when bands like Riddle of Steel were starting up, they didn't need two drummers — they… More >>
  • Best Jazz Radio Program

    All Soul, No Borders

    For all of the dedication and discipline required to play jazz, it's discouraging that even the genre's most expertly executed music seems doomed to be digested as background music, as a white noise to drown out life's other white noises. Few seem more hip to this struggle than Joshua Weinstein. Every Sunday night at 10:30 he packs his KDHX (88.1… More >>
  • Best Local Music Website

    New Tune of the Week

    Perhaps the most endearing thing about Kurt Kerns' website New Tune of the Week ( is his notice to music critics: "Unless you have sold over a million records and have played around a thousand shows...shut your hole." Kerns would know; he's best known as the drummer from Gravity Kills. Kerns, who now toils as an architect, started the site… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    Toe Taps and Spastic Claps

    A good music blog entertains and enlightens. A great music blog entertains, enlightens and posts free 'n legal MP3s for download — which is why Toe Taps and Spastic Claps stands above its competition. Co-run by Saint Louis University students (and Billiken Club co-bookers) Alison Arida and Sanita Saengvilay, the website specializes in the underground — whether the acts are… More >>
  • Best Song Under One Minute

    "Raid Your Fridge"

    Andrew W.K. parties hard, but Cross Examination parties harder. In the time it takes most college freshmen to choke down a Bartles & Jaymes, the members of Cross Examination can finish a 30- pack of Keystone Light and lose track of their tally of bong rips. Witness the brief "Raid Your Fridge," in which a galloping guitar introduces a thrashy… More >>
  • Best Music Festival

    KDHX's Midwest Mayhem at the City Museum

    Civic pride is a funny thing — you can be down on this town one day and then have a twelve-car pileup of love for the Lou the next. The latter was the case at this year's Midwest Mayhem, the early-summer party thrown by community radio station KDHX (88.1 FM) at the City Museum. A dozen fantastic local bands playing… More >>
  • Best Local Act Gone National

    Black Spade

    In 2008 Black Spade released To Serve With Love, an eclectic, futuristic fusion of hip-hop, soul and R&B. The disc put him on the national map. He signed to the chic San Francisco label Om Records (home to underground hip-hop icons People Under the Stairs) and received a glowing review from the tastemaking hipsters at Pitchfork Media. He played to… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

    Despite a late beginning — more than an hour past the scheduled start time — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed a show for the ages at the Scottrade Center this past summer. For three-plus hours, the Jersey homeboys performed 29 songs spanning the Boss' entire catalog, including a generous bunch of covers (like Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie"… More >>
  • Best Homecoming


    Although Wilco released Sky Blue Sky in May 2007 the band's subsequent (and multiple) U.S. tours never hit St. Louis. The grumbling increased earlier this year after Jeff Tweedy and Co. announced a five-night stand in Chicago — a slap in the face to those in town who most remember the Belleville, Illinois, native from his stint at Euclid Records… More >>
  • Best Band to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Ghost in Light

    Ghost in Light never followed prevailing musical trends — or really even cared (or knew) what those trends were. What the band brought to the St. Louis music scene was honesty, a staunch commitment to emotional authenticity and musical experimentation. 2007's After Fox Meadow (and the released-for-free follow-up EP, Window Shade Reminder) echoed the instrumental swells of Explosions in the… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Dude Nukem

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  • Third Best Band Name

    Red Ass Jones and the Gold Bondsmen

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  • Best Pop Band

    Say Panther

    All who've experienced Say Panther's triumphant choruses and trumpet blasts need no explanation for how the group has transcended its status as the town's most promising young ensemble to become the city's best pop band. Formed in 2005 with Strokes-y ambitions, the group has spent the better part of three years whittling its danceable, exuberant tunes into bite-size nuggets of… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    The Humanoids

    Given that the Humanoids attack guitar strings and drumheads with the fury of a thousand pubescent teenagers, it's refreshing that their tunes are so damn singable. The five hardcore scene veterans in the band cut their teeth in local thrashy outfits such as Step On It! and Kill Me Kate before ditching the discord and embracing the melodic hardcore stylings… More >>
  • Best Metal Band

    Cross Examination

    In the very front row at Cross Examination's shows — whether there's a stage or not — you'll encounter fist-banging idiots. And the band would have it no other way, because those idiots up front are partying. As hard. As they can. Cross Examination inspires that kind of Awesome Partying via its "totally sweet" thrash metal. In a scene filled… More >>
  • Best Garage Band

    Left Arm

    Left Arm's raucous, sweaty frenzy of garage-punk rock & roll sounds unabashedly south-city St. Louis but (gasp!) this power trio hails from the east side of the river, where bands have historically tended toward the more artsy end of the rock spectrum and songs with only a single time signature and three chords are thought to be somewhat inferior. Left… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    St. Louis International Film Festival

    It happens all the time. You're on the phone with your friend in New York or LA or Chicago and she says, "Omigod, I've just seen the most amazing movie! You have to see it. It will change your life." Invariably it's not scheduled to play St. Louis for three more months, and by the time it opens, you've forgotten… More >>

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