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Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Male)

    Larry Conners

    Since former KSDK desk jockey Dick Ford has been put out to pasture and long-time KMOV anchor Julius Hunter has retired, Channel 4's Larry Conners has been the elder statesman of the local nightly news. Conners has seen us through the '80s, '90s and the first decade of the new millennium with his Texas twang and no-bullshit demeanor. He's our… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Donnie Fandango

    Donnie Fandango is the antithesis of a corporate-radio stooge. In early 2007 the DJ started hosting the morning show on KPNT (105.7 FM) — where he also worked from 1996 to 2001 — and immediately distinguished the Point from the city's other radio stations with a novel concept: playing music instead of talking. This meant that anyone listening to the… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KDHX (88.1 FM)

    Nestled at the far left end of the radio dial, KDHX (88.1 FM) is almost too easily taken for granted. But after 22 years on the air, the city's only community radio station continues to be as stubbornly quirky and independent as St. Louis itself. The two-hour blocks programmed by its volunteers transcend (and cross) genres; at any given hour,… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    Upstream Theater

    Before Philip Boehm created Upstream Theater five years ago, no one was bemoaning the lack of European theater here in the heartland. So Boehm has succeeded in filling a void that didn't exist. It has been a pleasure to watch this theater company — perhaps more accurately described as a collective, because Boehm is drawn to talent in the same… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Play

    Whit Reichert

    In The Subject Was Roses, a young soldier returns home from World War II. He went to war as a boy; he has returned as a man. But he's still a son, and he must deal with the new family dynamics that the war has wrought. What remains most memorable about Avalon Theatre Company's staging of Frank D. Gilroy's 1964… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Play

    Michelle Hand

    In Rebecca Gilman's involving play, Dana is a frustrated artist who ends up in a sanitarium and then — when she realizes her health insurance is about to run out — pretends to be colorful slugger Darryl Strawberry in order not to get evicted. In this NonProphet Theater Company venture, Michelle Hand's Dana was so bravura, the temptation might be… More >>
  • Best Stage Production

    The Lieutenant of Inishmore

    "It was too bloody," someone was heard to complain. Perhaps some thought it was. But to intrepid viewers made of sterner stuff, this Irish yarn about (among other things) the love of a man for his cat was, to put it mildly, bloody terrific. Not that there is anything mild concerning Martin McDonagh's dizzying parable about the incessant violence that… More >>
  • Best Musical

    The Music Man

    Sure, best musical: With the passing decades, it becomes ever more clear that Meredith Willson's 1957 romantic comedy about a two-bit thimble rigger of a con man who tries to hornswoggle the good people of River City, Iowa, is an essential American musical. From its very first song, The Music Man challenges convention, challenges its performers, even challenges its audience,… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast

    Three Tall Women

    Art isn't easy, Stephen Sondheim laments in one of his more popular theater songs. Art is especially not easy when it's written by Edward Albee — which is why the Muddy Waters staging of Three Tall Women, Albee's dreamlike meditation about femininity, was a jaw-dropping revelation. What happens in this play? Not much. Except did we mention that the three… More >>
  • Best One-Person Show

    An Almost Holy Picture

    What a brave thing to do. Heather McDonald's two-hour monologue about one man's journey to — and away from — God was not kindly received when Kevin Bacon starred in the piece on Broadway. Apparently fast-lane New Yorkers didn't have time to focus on the story of Samuel Gentle, a former pastor whose faith has been challenged beyond understanding. But… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Female)

    Bonita Cornute

    TV hair and regular, non-televised hair are two totally separate things — especially for women. Your average, everyday lady doesn't use a can and a half of Aqua Net on her tresses! Nor is she at the salon every five minutes getting color touchups and the like. In all of local TV land, there is but one coif that stands… More >>
  • Best Trifle

    A Shot in the Dark

    Deep, probing theater has its place, but let's admit it: There's a touch of the tired businessman in all of us. Sometimes at the theater we prefer to put our brains on hold and just coast through the evening. Which is why, a couple of generations back, there used to be a steady diet of Parisian sex comedies such as… More >>
  • Best Guerrilla Theater

    Oleanna

    There's nothing wrong with advance planning. Some local theater companies announce their plays a year ahead of time; some even cast their shows a year in advance. Then there is the occasional production that slips in under the radar, a story that a few people want to tell so badly that they just go out and do it. And sometimes… More >>
  • Best Theater Surprise

    Abigail Isom at the Kevin Kline Awards

    Nobody quite knows how it happened. (Or perhaps those who do know aren't talking.) But apparently at the eleventh hour, even after Lee Roy Reams had flown into St. Louis to host the fourth annual Kevin Kline Awards in March, he and the show's director, Ron Gibbs, together came up with the idea of surprising Professional Theatre Awards Council executive… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Reel Late at the Tivoli

    Few moviegoing experiences beat catching a weekday matinee when you're supposed to be at work, and the midnight movie is one of 'em. You spend two hours sitting in the dark, absorbed in another world, completely foreign from the one you live in. You emerge onto a street that should be familiar, but it's dark, the stores are closed, and… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Bleeding-Heart Dove

    When it comes to favorite animals, our preferences are a bit atypical. While others seek out fave fauna that can be placed in categories such as "adorable" and "cuddly," our most-beloved are best described with such words as "anachronistic" (giant anteater, our pick for 2004), "badass" (the Ozark hellbender, 2007) and "able to challenge the theory of natural selection" (Henrietta… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Ameristar Casino

    Utter the word "casino" and some people's eyes will light up as bright as the Vegas strip as they imagine swank lounges and $10,000 poker hands. Utter that same word and other people will scowl as they envision pensioners robotically feeding quarters into slot machines. Or avoid this dichotomy altogether and just say: "Let's go to Ameristar St. Charles." This… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    The Dive Bars of Alton

    As it turns out, there are two types of strip joints on the east side. The first are those neon dens in Sauget, Washington Park and Brooklyn that leave no doubt you'll see Live Nude Girls. That is what you pay for via the cover charge at the door. Which brings us to the lesser-known joints located on and off… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Gina Alvarez

    Gina Alvarez may be the consummate materialist, if a deep sensitivity to the textures, hues, transparency and weight of things is a qualifier. Though trained as a printmaker, Alvarez often produces everything but work on paper, ingeniously deploying ceramics and fabric to create almost blossoming sculptural objects and installations. But the trace of a print and the repetition of forms… More >>
  • Best Arts Organization

    Interchange

    "Think about your future!" the woman demanded, her sense of purpose giving her a powerful presence despite her petite frame. "You students who are here on scholarships — you are putting that all at risk." The year was 2009, but fourth-grade teacher Sue Ellen Turner was taking her students back to 1960. The place was a public school in St.… More >>
  • Best Reporter (TV/Radio Division)

    Kevin Killeen

    Let NPR tout its "driveway moments." Over on the AM dial, veteran KMOX radio reporter Kevin Killeen causes a few such moments three times a week on the local level with Whole 'Nother Story. The segment consists of interview-based audio featurettes that, in Killeen's words, "make fun of the odd moments that we all run into" in life. The topic… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Boots Contemporary Art Space - CLOSED

    This sliver of a nonprofit gallery, which occupies a brightly renovated storefront on Cherokee Street's antique row, admirably maintains sure footing in progressive art practices and timeworn good neighborliness. Founded in 2006 by St. Louis artist Juan William Chávez and co-operated by a rotating cast of thoughtful collaborators, this self-described art laboratory consistently offers programming that's exponentially larger in outreach… More >>
  • Best New Art Gallery

    Good Citizen Gallery

    In just under a year since its inaugural exhibition, Good Citizen Gallery has followed through on the promise of its name, hosting a consistently reliable series of well-executed shows that balance neighborly beneficence with integrity in craft. Founder Andrew James, an artist and replanted St. Louisan, rehabbed a slender space on Gravois near Jefferson Avenue with an eye to maintaining… More >>
  • Best New Multimedia Gallery

    The Luminary Center for the Arts - CLOSED

    In a former convent on Kingshighway just west of Tower Grove Park, the husband-and-wife team of James and Brea McAnally have created an unusual new arts venue they call an "artist-run resource center." The Washington University grads (Brea's a photographer, James a musician) offer support for post-BFA/MFA graduates in the form of a residency program; they've transformed the little cells… More >>
  • Best Gallery Exhibition

    Here and There

    This small gem of a group photography exhibition, curated by former St. Louisan Justin Visnesky, depicted the elegant near-nothingness that constitutes our deeper relationship to familiar places and things. A reflection on a life divided between two places — St. Louis and elsewhere — the show included work by Greg Barth, Elizabeth Fleming, Jacob Koestler, Laura McAllister, Ed Panar and… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

    The building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, is gorgeous. The exhibitions are rigorous and pitch-perfect, and often deal with light and space, capitalizing on Ando's minimal but essentialist design (witness this past year's Light Project, Dan Flavin: Constructed Light and Ideal (Dis)Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer). It's pure curation, generous and exacting (there's no text on the… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    Gedi Sibony: My Arms Are Tied Behind My Other Arms

    Anthony Huberman, new chief curator of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, orchestrated a subtle, poetic solo exhibition of work by New York-based Gedi Sibony to resonant effect. Consisting of mostly found construction-grade detritus — chunks of carpet, swaths of plastic drop cloth — lightly leaning and lying against one another, it was as much an exercise in reducing art… More >>
  • Best Installment in an Exhibition Series

    Between Beach Ball and Rubber Raft

    Who among us doesn't struggle with the "anxiety of everyday existence"? For his curatorial debut, recent Webster University grad William Gass (not to be confused with the local literary elder statesman) attempted to confront this universal theme, and the result was widely resonant despite its brief run in the intimate Front Room of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Aiming… More >>
  • Best Gallery to Die in the Past Year

    Maps Contemporary Art Space

    The little storefront gallery that existed for only a little more than a year made such a significant impact on the local arts community that its name deserves mention, once again, if only in memoriam. Co-run by brothers B.j. and Chris Vogt, the Belleville alternative art space offered something truly alternative: just enough room for a single artist to freely… More >>
  • Best New Local Art Trend

    Artist-run print shops

    Cottage industry seems to be seeing a renaissance in St. Louis in the form of artist-run print shops, which are delivering fine, handmade goods out of small studios or neighborhood storefronts. Evil Prints, All Along Press, Rad Lab and the Firecracker Press are producing limited-run printed matter for an eager public, each in its own inimitable way. From Tom Huck's… More >>
  • Best Local Impresario

    Jim Dolan

    Tough economic times have killed a number of local music venues and concert series over the past couple of years, but no presenter in recent memory has bounced back from adversity faster or more decisively than Jim Dolan. His cabaret series at Savor in the Central West End, owned and operated separately from the restaurant, went kaput last summer when… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Newspaper Division)

    Joe Mahr

    Late in the afternoon of Friday, July 18, 2008, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department announced it would hold a press conference at its headquarters — a telltale sign they're trying to hide something. "The Friday-afternoon press conference is the classic m.o. of an agency trying to bury significant news," says St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigative reporter and editor Joe Mahr,… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Artist

    Redd Foxx (a.k.a. Ed Box)

    Daring. Creativity. Respect. That's the holy trinity that defines great graffiti artists. Redd Foxx has all three traits in abundance. He routinely hits the most visible (and seemingly impossible-to-reach) places — see his "4Give Yo Self" message scrawled on a building overlooking I-70 downtown and his ten-story-tall tag on the windows of the tallest building in East St. Louis (painted… More >>
  • Best Comic-Book Artist

    Chris Samnee

    Meet Chris Samnee, the hardest-working comic-book artist in St. Louis. You may have seen his work in DC's The Mighty, which he started drawing earlier this year. Or maybe you've admired the drawing in Marvel's Dead of Night series or Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula or the Oni graphic novel Capote in Kansas. Those are his, too. There's no doubt… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    St. Louis County Library

    In the past year, the St. Louis County Library has booked heavyweights such as Michael Chabon, Daniel Silva, J.A. Jance and Rick Riordan. That last fella, if you didn't know, is the author of young-adult novel sensation The Lightning Thief, and his appearance drew more than a thousand clamoring fans. Granted, not every writer is met with arena-rock crowds, but… More >>
  • Best Local Young Adult Author

    Sharon Shinn

    Enough with the vampires already. Have our imaginations become so stunted that the only fantasy novels anybody wants to read nowadays are ones about eternally young people with fangs who can only lust after timid virgins? We call for a boycott of the bloodsuckers! Who's with us? Show your loyalty by amputating yourself from your dog-eared copy of Twilight and… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

    Sure, you could fill a small library with recent books on how and why crystal methamphetamine wormed its way into America's heartland. But until you've read Methland, you ain't read nothing. St. Louisan Nick Reding spent nearly four unnerving years wading deep into the life of Oelwein, Iowa, a meatpacking town of 6,772 whose very soul was blackened by crank.… More >>
  • Best Local Poet

    Mary Jo Bang

    "We were going toward nothing/all along." It's an alarming sentiment, but compellingly elegant. Mary Jo Bang's voice is singularly persuasive; following it through her poems is like allowing your hand to be warmly held as you're directed somewhere near-terrifying but undeniably riveting. The author of five books of poetry — most recently, Elegy, which won a National Book Critics Circle… More >>
  • Best Local Poet to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Donald Finkel, 1929-2008

    SHHH Listen, shhh alone among trees I've come for a heart-to-heart with the woods I fall on my knees for a tête à tête with a geode behind his limestone brow I sense the clean hard corners of his thought facet to facet, glinting dimly postulates of amethyst and quartz it's small talk time I'll parley with the loam make peace with the Indian Pipe I'll learn to speak weedish —Donald Finkel Miss you, man. —T … More >>
  • Best Newspaper Columnist

    Tony Messenger

    As editorial page editor for the Springfield News-Leader, Tony Messenger endorsed Republican Jim Talent for the U.S. Senate. As political columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Messenger went after GOP governor Matt Blunt for egregiously flouting the Sunshine Law. What's not to love about a columnist who doesn't toe any party line? Messenger jumped ship at the News-Leader in early… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Sandy Miller

    Most local television stations struggle to fill their nightly newscasts with a half-hour of, well, actual news. FOX 2 (KTVI) does the seemingly impossible, airing a continuous hour-and-a-half of local news. The first hour airs between 9 and 10 p.m. The second program, FOX 2 News Edge, runs from 10 till 10:30 p.m. But what could the FOX 2 team… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Cindy Preszler

    Ah, the plight of the weathercaster. Is there a job more criticized by members of the general public? None of you even know how radar works or what barometric pressure is, yet you think you can forecast the weather. Ha! You couldn't do it! You would look like an idiot in front of that green screen. The best weathercasters make… More >>
  • Best TV Station

    KETC-TV (Channel 9)

    Who needs cable when we have Channel 9? Beginning this year with the digital TV conversion, KETC has been broadcasting four channels on its dial. Channel 9.1 shows traditional PBS programming such as Sesame Street, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Antiques Roadshow, as well as locally produced shows Donnybrook and Living St. Louis. Channel 9.2 (KETC Kids) airs 24 hours… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center

    For too long hemorrhoids have been the malady that dare not speak its name. Now comes the Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center to offer corporeal and psychological relief. MHTC's ad depicts men and women of a certain age leading an active lifestyle: golfing, jogging and shopping in comfort. Ordinary, right? But dig the jingle: "Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center.... Don't Suffer in… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    Sonic Youth

    When it was announced that NYC underground rock legends Sonic Youth were going to play Live on the Levee — the free concert series on the Arch grounds mainly known for booking mainstream-leaning acts — reactions ranged from "Is this a joke?" to "Holy fucking shit." But the May show announcement was no joke — and on a balmy mid-July… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    The Incurables

    The seeming ease with which Jimmy Griffin delivers the no-frills rock of the Incurables is somewhat surprising, at least when you consider his background as a flamboyant and technical guitar wielder. But on the band's album, Songs for a Blackout, Griffin's smoky rasp and jangly guitar stand out because of smart arrangements, which underscore his attention to detail and space. What's not… More >>
  • Best Indie Band

    Gentleman Auction House

    Of all the indie bands in St. Louis, none is as grandiose and weirdly charming as Gentleman Auction House. The six-member outfit led by Eric Enger creates rhythmically robust and unconventionally ecstatic pop music reminiscent of a more composed Architecture in Helsinki, complete with dual drum sets, xylophone, trumpet, prominent keyboards and a deep reserve of shouted boy-girl choruses. But… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Alternative)

    Theodore

    Lots of bands play loud. Playing loud is easy. Just crank up your Marshall stack and hammer out undistinguished barre chords in varying patterns of D, A and G and you've mastered half the songbook of modern rock & roll. It's playing quietly that's the tricky part, allowing every alcove of a song's structure to be exposed and vulnerable, giving… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Traditional)

    Trigger 5

    In 2009 this honky-tonk and rockabilly ensemble released its first album, Heartbreak and Regret, a concept album about the two sides to every "sorry story," with a bonus track called "Cinder Dick." The jokes mostly stop there, however, and the sound of seriously swinging, smooth shuffling and sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always hard country songwriting takes over. Mike Heeter and… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    Cumberland Gap

    The young upstarts are cagey veterans now, heading into their tenth year of playing bluegrass — real bluegrass with Scruggs-style banjo, jaw-dropping mandolin breaks and taut and lonesome harmonies — the kind you expect from the founding generation of the style but rarely hear from the acoustic jam bands that only aspire to an opening slot at Wakarusa. Cumberland Gap's… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    The Humanoids

    As trying as the past year has been on the local punk scene — what with venue closings, shows pushed down to basements and bands breaking up — the Humanoids have been among the few bright spots in our ever-loosening collective of bands and scenesters. In the past year, the band has released an EP (Year of the Snake), recorded… More >>
  • Best Metal Band

    Head On Collision

    Many say metal is a genre that just didn't age well (or at worst, devolved into a sad sack of feelings and tears blanketed over chugging hardcore riffs). Head On Collision is our city's best argument to the contrary. Combining the right amount of raging adolescent terror, hard liquor and devotion to bands such as Kreator and Slayer, Head On… More >>
  • Best Noise Band

    The Lonely Procession

    As a genre, "noise" is often thought of as anti-music — both for its rejection of the harmonic scale and for the often alienating sounds that result — but the Lonely Procession's Kevin Schlueter and Chris Muether have found a way to use orchestral instruments in their atonal dirges. Alongside the usual arsenal of sonic manipulation (drones, tapes, feedback), Schlueter… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Vitamen A

    Long before there was anything like a jam band scene or the cult of Trey, the heavy-rock veterans of Vitamin A (now spelled Vitamen A) were exploring the outer limits of the Zappa-Floyd-Dead psychedelic nexus, a style that's as brainy as it is blasted by mushroom flashbacks and King Crimson quadraphonic LPs. Formed in 1991 by guitarists Tony Vrooman and… More >>
  • Best Pop Band

    The Blind Eyes

    The Blind Eyes' bouncing rhythm-section romp, jangly guitar and irresistible vocal melodies can add a spring to just about anyone's step. In fact, frolicking pop numbers such as "Pages" and "Find the Time" draw from all things catchy — including power pop's melodies, punk rock's abandon and mod rock's slick attitude. In only a few short years together, the band… More >>
  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    The Loud Wars

    Recorded more than two years ago in various places around the United States — including San Francisco's Tiny Telephone studios and producer Chris Walla's home studio in Portland, Oregon — The Loud Wars marks So Many Dynamos' Vagrant Records (www.vagrant.com) debut. The pedigree of a well-known indie label matches the bigger, more complicated scope of Wars' math-rock/post-punk tunes: Released in… More >>
  • Best Garage Band

    Radical Sons

    Once upon a time, all rock was garage rock — or warehouse rock, or barn rock. Big, dirty spaces served big, dirty dreams. But with the diminished aspirations — of scoring an opening slot for the Decemberists or a 128 kbps download on Stereogum — come diluted exercises in form and fashion. Radical Sons may have received the St. Louis… More >>
  • Best Tribute Band

    El Monstero

    The term "tribute band" is thrown around pretty loosely these days. But as the guys from El Monstero know, it takes a lot more than donning a wig and learning eighteen Pearl Jam songs to pull off the essence of another band's craft. Since formed in 1999 by Kevin Gagnepain (former bassist of '90s alterna-rockers Stir), El Monstero has added… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    Asbury Park

    What's the point of a cover band? Have a good time, hold the room past last call and, above all else, get paid. But as St. Louis' only Bruce Springsteen cover band, Asbury Park never comes across as mercenary, never phones it in, unless it's to dial up the socially conscious joy and sing-along release that's always been the point… More >>
  • Best Side Project

    Pangea

    "Pangea" is the name of the ancient landmass formed before the seven continents drifted apart millions of years ago. It seems like it's been almost as long since the seven-emcee hip-hop supergroup of the same name formed in St. Louis. Like its prehistoric equivalent, the group drifted apart, leaving just two supremely talented members: Rockwell Knuckles and Wafeek. The former… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Jim K

    If you've wearied of DJs who mash up one slick soulless pop song with another, head over to the Upstairs Lounge (see Best Dance Club in the Bars & Clubs section) on the second Saturday of the month for a prescription-strength dose of DJ Jim K's dubstep. Jim K's not a self-promoter, but he's an underground ambassador who's as knowledgeable… More >>
  • Best Lounge Act

    The Charlie B Group

    Charlie Boehme's smooth, raspy vocals paired with the trumpeting acrobatics of local musician Jim Manley make for a lively, jazzy Wednesday evening at Jimmy's on the Park on DeMun Avenue in Clayton (see www.jimmyscafe.com). Lounge sentiment is there, and the quiet camaraderie of the band — which also includes Dave Fowler on guitar, Mark Friedrich on bass and keyboards, Jim… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    DJ AJ

    In the big leagues of St. Louis hip-hop, the Derrty DJs reign supreme. A loosely affiliated group of DJs, producers and promoters, they are the mainstream tastemakers who often pick the hits. (Hence their motto: "We Run These Streets.") The unofficial leader of the crew is DJ AJ. An accomplished turntablist, he's mostly known for spinning old-school jams on 100.3… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Black Spade

    What's left to say about Black Spade? In last year's edition, we named him Best Local Artist Gone National after his debut record, To Serve with Love, became one of the first underground hip-hop albums from St. Louis to draw praise from critics and bloggers across the nation. Locally his fans voted him Best Hip-Hop/Rap Artist (Solo) in RFT's 2009… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist

    Teresajenee

    To call Teresajenee an R&B artist is somewhat of a misnomer — after all, the pint-size Walnut Park native is much more than a purveyor of honeyed slow jams, and she's worked with some of the city's best underground hip-hop artists. But like any good R&B singer, her sense of phrasing is absolutely impeccable, and her emphasis is always on… More >>
  • Best Gospel Artist

    Flame

    You won't hear Hammond organs or heavenly choirs on any of Flame's three albums. The rapper chooses to spread the gospel using the music of the streets. Flame favors a hard-edged, rapid-fire type of hip-hop to share his beliefs and preach the Word. In doing so he retains the power of the message while updating the medium for younger ears.… More >>
  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    "Electric Babies"

    An adrenaline shot of garage-punk sleaze, "Electric Babies" is a single in the grand tradition of crackling 45 rpm vinyl. Recorded in Detroit with noted garage-blues producer Jim Diamond (the White Stripes, the Dirtbombs), the two-minute song explodes like a bottle rocket streaking upward. Vocalist/drummer Jason Potter's manic shrieks and surf-blues rhythms drive forward guitar riffs that rain down like… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    Cassie Morgan

    If folk music is to remain vital, evolving and yet faithful to a timeless tradition, then it needs more artists like Cassie Morgan. Though she probably prefers to be backed by the percussion, banjo, bass and glockenspiel of the Lonely Pine (and would probably prefer not to be saddled with the folk label to begin with), Morgan can silence a… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Chris Grabau

    Chris Grabau has led Magnolia Summer through three albums, each one further refining his vision of direct, heartfelt American music. But with this year's Lines From the Frame, Grabau and his bandmates have perfected the balance between plangent guitar rock and delicate introspection. On Lines, the Superchunk-meets-Son-Volt rock of "Like Setting Suns" glides into the string-laden "Diminished Returns," a song… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Justin Kinkel-Schuster

    Few local bands share the all-for-one camaraderie of the experimental roots quartet Theodore (see Best Country Band [Alternative], in this very section). The bandmates swap instruments midsong and support each other onstage with an intuition that's equal parts musical skill and emotional intelligence. It is upon this bed of mutilated electric guitar, bowed upright bass and sympathetic drumming that guitarist… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Maureen Sullivan

    Trying to compete with your siblings for approval or attention can put a strain on a family, and there're bound to be untold layers of resentment and hurt feelings. (What, after all, are families for?) So it's all the more remarkable that the Sullivan siblings have pulled a Partridge Family and pooled their musical skills in the country-rock outfit Red-Headed… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    Hamiet Bluiett

    Fellow musicians, critics and knowledgeable fans all consider Hamiet Bluiett to be not only the preeminent baritone saxophonist of his generation, but one of the very best ever to play the instrument in jazz. With a powerful tone that spans the entire range of the big horn and the ability to play with a fluidity and nimbleness that rivals any… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Big George Brock

    From the top of his broad-brimmed hat to the tips of his gleaming shoes, Big George Brock is most definitely a man of style. The 77-year-old's eye-catching outfits, imposing physical stature and outsize personality make him the focus of attention wherever he goes, even if his showmanship and energy onstage would be impressive even in a man half his age.… More >>
  • Best Local Label

    Big Muddy Records

    With the death of the major-label record industry just around the corner, and with many good independent labels struggling to stay solvent, why would anyone want to undertake the thankless task of running one? The MP3 revolution has made CD shelves veritable landfills, and this recession has made music an increasingly expendable commodity. Luckily the plucky folks at Big Muddy… More >>
  • Best Recording Studio

    Sawhorse Recording Studio

    In the past couple of years, Jason McEntire's Sawhorse Recording Studio has become a destination for local acts looking to capture a very professional representation of their music. But it has doubtless become harder to book time, as McEntire's inviting space and expertise have been shanghaied on a regular basis by national acts such as Ludo and Ha Ha Tonka,… More >>
  • Best Producer

    Phaseone

    The Internet's been the capital-lettered bogeyman of the music industry for years now — the fall guy record execs blame for plummeting sales of overpriced CDs and the impossible hurdle new musicians must clear if they hope to gain the attention of easily distracted fans in an oversaturated market. The rules of the game have changed, and while some of… More >>
  • Best Live Sound Engineer

    Ryan Adams

    For the true live-music connoisseur, quality sound might be the most important element of a concert experience — even the actual quality of a band's performance takes a back seat. Think about it: Shoddy sound can quickly and completely ruin a night out at a club and have you cursing the waste of the hard-earned $8 that got you in… More >>
  • Best Homecoming

    Nelly and the St. Lunatics

    Nelly strode onto the Pageant's stage, gazed at the adoring crowd and smiled like a man who was king of all he surveyed. Then, aided by his crew the St. Lunatics, the man who put St. Louis hip-hop on the map proceeded to drop hit after hit, from "Shake Ya Tailfeather" to "Air Force Ones." When he finally paused to… More >>
  • Best Remixer

    André Anjos

    As a founder and principal of the Remix Artist Collective (RAC), André Anjos has had his music appear during the HBO series Entourage and on well-respected music blogs such as Stereogum.com. But as the RAC's reputation continues to grow, so has the caliber of gigs he's received: This year alone Anjos remixed singles for U2, John Legend, Kings of Leon… More >>
  • Best Rock Radio Program

    Emotional Rescue

    Monday morning, 7 a.m. Beeeep beeeep. Ugh, it's the alarm. Ugh, it's a Monday meeting looming. Ugh, it's Monday. Maybe the radio will help wake me up. Let's see — hey, it's Cat Pick's Emotional Rescue on KDHX. And ooh, she's playing mopey Brit rockers Elbow — right into country sweetheart Patsy Cline! Wow, didn't expect that — and hey,… More >>
  • Best Jazz Radio Program

    Jazz Unlimited

    Tune into KWMU (90.7 FM) on any given Sunday night, and between the tracks selected from great jazz recordings spanning the past century, you'll get a steady stream of facts, anecdotes and trivia from Dennis Owsley, host of Jazz Unlimited. If Owsley seems somewhat professorial, there's a good reason: He's the author of City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz… More >>
  • Best Concert Poster Designer

    Jason Potter

    Jason Potter has designed T-shirts for bands and for the local 2010 census in between his gigs drumming for rock bands such as Left Arm and the Midtown Thieves. But his screen-printed concert posters — which he creates in the basement of his Edwardsville home — are some of the sleekest in town. They're at once old-fashioned and modern, somewhere… More >>
  • Best Concert Poster

    Tom Huck

    It's a vast understatement to say Tom Huck is a Motörhead fan. Dude has a tattoo honoring the UK metal legends on his neck. His love for the band is woven into the detail and care he took with the poster for its September 2008 show at the Pageant. Scenes of fire, military destruction and other tough-guy flourishes — barbed… More >>
  • Best Band to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Bad Folk

    Save for the occasional spurt of Mexican-jumping-bean stage moves, nearly everything about Bad Folk was understated. Vocalist Tim Rakel's gravelly monotone and strummy banjo, as well as plenty of noir-twang color fit the band's macabre-folk tales and desolate-road-trip revelries. It's not surprising, then, that the October 2008 split was just as low-key: With nary an official announcement, Bad Folk played… More >>
  • Third Best Band Name

    Quief Quota

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  • Second Best Band Name

    DinoFight!

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  • Best Band Name

    Egg Chef

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  • Best Music Festival

    Live on the Levee

    Live on the Levee isn't your traditional music festival in the sense of a consecutive-days event, but it has become a staple of St. Louis summers. This year's edition of the concert series raised the bar with a double-barreled shot of a diverse talent pool — including college-popsters Guster, hometown country gal Gretchen Wilson and indie hip-hop fave Lupe Fiasco… More >>
  • Best Cover

    "Crazy on You"

    Heart's dynamic performance at the Illinois State Fair in August proved that the act hasn't lost a vocal step, even after decades together. Equally, uh, heartening was a cameo cover performed by Shara Worden and Becky Stark during orchestral-indie-rockers the Decemberists' sold-out Pageant show this past spring. The two ladies — who as solo artists record under the names My… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    Last Days of Man on Earth

    Music blogs are a dime a dozen nowadays, but well-informed, well-written ones are still an all-too-scarce commodity. It's precisely those two crucial qualities that make Last Days of Man on Earth a diamond in the Internet rough. Written by Joe Stumble, who lived in the underground music meccas of Boston and Columbus, Ohio, before landing in St. Louis, the blog… More >>
  • Best Local Act Gone National

    Cavo

    Cavo's success is a long time in the making — the modern-rock band has existed in some form since 2001 and honed its chops for years at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room and at now-defunct clubs such as the Hi-Pointe and the Galaxy. But after its song "Champagne" experienced some regional radio success in 2007, Cavo's star began to rise. Warner… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Old Lights

    St. Louis' local music scene was given a considerable boost a few months back when Old Lights started playing shows locally and regionally. The brainchild of David Beeman, Old Lights constructs rootsy and concise acoustic-driven songs dressed up in the guise of bouncy indie-pop in the vein of Okkervil River and early Shins. Warm and inventive home-crafted studio production —… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Chase Park Plaza Cinemas

    Netflix, the megaplex and the Internet have all but sucked the magic and decadence out of the moviegoing experience. Chase Park Plaza Cinemas fights to bring back that special-occasion feeling. Nestled within the capacious Chase Park Plaza, the theaters are intimate but not too close for comfort, built to reflect the screening rooms of Hollywood's golden age. Picture yourself next to Howard Hughes… More >>
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