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  • Best Band Name

    We're Wolf

    It's always tempting to give this award to the band with the longest, punniest name, with bonus points for ironic pop-culture or sexual references. But local duo We're Wolf wins the prize for its very simplicity. Not only is the name short, to the point and nicely ironic (for there's nothing terribly rapacious about the pair's whimsical acoustic pop songs):… More >>
  • Best Band to Die in the Past 12 Months

    The 75s

    When the 75s bounced onto the scene in 2007, it was a pleasant anomaly indeed: a three-piece explicitly inspired by 1990s West Coast indie pop, especially the Aislers Set and Sacramento's legendary Tiger Trap. Laurel Mydock, a chemistry student by day, sang such bittersweet songs as "'I Wanna Kill My Boyfriend" and "Oh Tommy O." while drummer Scott Lasser and… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    The Local Gents

    Many young bluegrass bands require a pound of weed and an iPod full of Yonder Mountain String Band bootlegs just to get warmed up. The Local Gents needs only a single microphone. Preferring to perform in the classic one-mic formation of such bluegrass gods as Bill Monroe and Jim and Jesse, the five musicians — stratospheric tenor singer and banjoist… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Big George Brock

    Whether the endpoint is St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis or somewhere else, the path of the blues inevitably seems to lead back to a starting point in Mississippi. Although he's made his home in St. Louis for most of his adult life, that's where Big George Brock is from, and the sounds of his home state still resonate in every note… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    DJ Uptown

    DJ Uptown has only been dominating the wheels of steel for a couple of years, which we find hard to believe given his prodigious skill on the decks. His career is hardly in its infancy, though — there are other DJs in town who have been spinning for two and three times as long as he has, without half the… More >>
  • Best Collaboration

    SLAP Collaborative Electronic Music Performances

    In an insular city like St. Louis, competition can breed contempt. In the even more insular music community, competition and contempt multiplied by alcohol can equal disaster. But sometimes not — and we were gratified to see a room full of electronic beat-heads come together earlier this summer without a shred of ill will in the whole place. Grouped into… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    Elvis Costello & the Imposters

    Spectacles have been a part of Elvis Costello's image from the very start of his 35-year-plus career — his black-rimmed specs practically carry his trademark. But the beloved entertainer brought an entirely different kind of spectacle when his Spinning Songbook tour came to the Pageant in early July. The premise was simple and the set was garish, as fans came… More >>
  • Best Concert Poster

    Times New Viking

    Firecracker's striking color pairings and retro imagery help make the shop one of the most interesting players in the St. Louis design community. The aesthetic was never better than on its purple-and-gray, math-meets-murder poster for Times New Viking's show at the Billiken Club last October. All of Firecracker's adverts for the venue over this past year reveal the same aesthetic… More >>
  • Best Concert Series

    Post Performances

    Last year, the Luminary Center for the Arts teamed up with the Downtown Partnership to bring club-bound concertgoers back to downtown for a series of free concerts: the Post Performances. The Luminary is making a name for itself with thoughtfully curated events, and the Post Performances were no exception. Pairing local artists with touring and local musicians in the gorgeous… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Alternative)

    The Vondrukes

    A manic DIY ethos powers the Vondrukes. That and a whole lot of Uncle Tupelo — or at least the earliest, proto-punk version of the legendary Belleville band. It's a reference the Vondrukes will have to live with, even as these ill-mannered rockers slash and booze and wallow in gloriously over-the-top classic rockisms — in a single song like "RDP"… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Traditional)

    The Western Satellites

    Western swing holds a special place in the hearts of hardcore country-music fans. The genre pioneered by Bob Wills combines the primordial stuff of American music — blues, jazz and country — and, in its dance-oriented freedom, anticipates rock & roll. The Western Satellites isn't precisely a western swing band, but in its sound, the genre's core elements get distilled… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    Capone

    It takes some serious cojones to take on a part-time job (and full-time hobby) with the sole purpose of reviving '80s hair metal. It would appear, then, that Capone is ballsy. The tribute band goes all out in its almost Spinal Tap-like quest to introduce audiences to the full hair metal experience: Mötley Crüe, Warrant, Poison and Ratt all make… More >>
  • Best Folk Band

    The Lulus

    The importance of women to old-time country music can't be overstated. Starting with the Carter Family and running through Ola Belle Reed and Hazel Dickens on up to Dolly Parton herself, the oral traditions of the music have always been disseminated by the cooks in every rural house. And the Lulus definitely know how to cook. Drawing on the infinitely… More >>
  • Best Gospel Artist

    Kenny DeShields

    Whatever you think of the God delusion and the spaghetti monster in the sky, it's clear that something more than material animates the music of Kenny DeShields. One of the young lions on the St. Louis contemporary gospel scene, DeShields clearly loves Jesus, but he also loves Stevie Wonder and D'Angelo. With his wide, infectious smile and a silky tenor… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Rockwell Knuckles

    Rockwell Knuckles may not be the first local lyricist to blur the line between singing and rapping, but that's not to say he's unoriginal. In fact, Rocky's originality is likely his strongest asset; his exaggerated vocal styling and unconventional approach to the genre put him in a class all his own. His latest album, You're Fucking Out, I'm Fucking In,… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    DJ Mahf

    First things first: DJ Mahf is not "just another DJ." He proved himself a bona fide turntablist when he went head-to-head with some of the nation's best DJs for the 2010 Red Bull Thre3style Competition — where he took the St. Louis title. He's also shown that he's a capable producer with his mixtape series Homemade Junk and Press Play… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Program to Die in the Past Year

    STL Home Jamz

    For five years we didn't have to worry about finding the best in undiscovered local hip-hop, because Finsta and Sno had it on lock every Sunday night. They introduced River City to the names that have since become synonymous with quality hip-hop: Tef Poe, Rockwell Knuckles, Teresajenee, Yung Ro and the myriad others who got their break in the weekly… More >>
  • Best Homecoming

    MU330 at the Firebird

    Although most of its members still live in St. Louis, MU330 experienced a triumphant homecoming in June, returning to its natural location: the stage. The local ska band, which formed in 1988 and has more than 2,000 shows under its belt, played its first concert in years at a packed Firebird (2706 Olive Street; 314-535-0353; www.firebirdstl.com). Both MU330 and its… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Aaron Kamm and the One Drops

    Stylistically Aaron Kamm and the One Drops does not conform to the jam-band template pioneered by the Dead and Phish; instead, the band's reggae tendencies and Kamm's expressive melodies put the trio in league with Sublime and the Police. Yet the group has been embraced by the Schwagstock crowd, and there are more similarities than a mutual love for a… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    Hamiet Bluiett

    The largest and potentially most cumbersome of commonly used saxophones, the baritone sax can be an unwieldy beast. It takes physical strength and powerful lungs just to lift this horn, fill it with air and produce an acceptable tone. In the hands of less-skilled players, it's useful for filling out the bottom of a big-band arrangement. In the hands of… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    Off Broadway

    Head to the early show at Off Broadway on Saturday night and you might find a seated crowd of senior citizens enjoying some '30s revivalism. Come back the next afternoon, and you might stumble on one of the venue's KDHX-sponsored Musical Merry-Go-Round kiddie shows, which have earned rave reviews and become a nation-wide draw for bands playing to the tot… More >>
  • Best Jazz Radio Program

    Jazz Unlimited

    Though jazz remains a marginal proposition in the overall radio marketplace, the situation in St. Louis actually saw a significant positive development in the last year. WSIE (88.7), a local jazz station that in 2009 abandoned local programming in favor of syndicated fare, began reintroducing locally produced programs. It also began streaming over the Internet for the first time ever.… More >>
  • Best Live Sound Engineer

    Eric Holshouser

    In today's music environment, with the "loudness war" at its peak, it's not uncommon to have an otherwise enjoyable concert experience marred by deafening sound levels, garbled vocals or horrendous feedback and distortion. That's not the case at the Old Rock House (1200 South Seventh Street; 314-588-0505; www.oldrockhouse.com), where head sound engineer Eric Holshouser is on hand to make sure… More >>
  • Best Local Act Gone National

    Prince Ea

    Prince Ea is on a mission to "make smart cool" — "sophisticating millions and revolutionizing thought." We think it's about damn time. Taking his name from the Sumerian engineer of humanity, the young emcee dresses like Brother Mouzone and spits actual knowledge in his precocious raps, and he's ready to school the scores of cellophane rappers who recycle old rhymes… More >>
  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    Les Animaux …pouvantables

    The best albums draw you in by magnetic compulsion, and Magic City's full-length debut is a hypnotizing circus: muddy, spooky, wise and thrilling. The band is packed with scene veterans and anchored by the city's most spellbinding frontman in Larry Bulawsky. There is some honest-to-goodness weirdness on this record; pumping it through headphones is the kind of experience that makes… More >>
  • Best Local Label

    Pancake Productions

    Under the watchful eye of the inimitable king of quirk, Rob "Pancake Master" Severson, Pancake Productions' roster is fished from the deep, eclectic pockets of St. Louis' deranged pop scene. And it all started with some seed money the Pancake Master scratched together after making an appearance on the TV show Jeopardy! Seriously! So you like Bob Mould-inspired, Midwestern power… More >>
  • Best Local Promoter

    Amin Mohabbat

    Without Amin Mohabbat St. Louis would be a desert for dance enthusiasts. After the rave scene ran its course in the late '90s, there was a dearth of big-name DJs making their way to town. Devoted to meeting the music needs of electronic fans, Mohabbat's company B&W Productions has always rolled with the punches — when the scene at Dante's… More >>
  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    "All Noise"

    Old Lights, previously the emotionally damaged and musically enrapturing project of the mercurial David Beeman, emerged as a complete, stable band with this year's Like Strangers. Its six songs unfold like a Greek tragedy, and the EP reaches its dire peak on "All Noise." The song opens with an unstoppable grand-piano-and-guitar hook and builds through peeling harmony and a series… More >>
  • Best Lounge Act

    Mark Dew

    To walk into the Hideaway is to enter a place that seems frozen in time, where the dozen or so seats around the piano are packed with your grandparents' friends, decked out in chunky jewelry and tilted fedora hats. Ostensibly, they're here to listen to Mark Dew play — he's here Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights — but you're… More >>
  • Best Metal Band

    Black Fast

    Thrash-metal quartet Black Fast's priority is self-improvement, not self-promotion. The obsessively tight band has only emerged from its practice space a handful of times since its debut last summer. Most of its fans witnessed the band by accidentally catching opening sets for Liturgy, Cross Examination or the Gorge. Its name is virtually unGoogleable. Its entire Internet presence is an ill-run… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    KDHX Blog

    Responsible for more concert and album reviews, photos and interviews than pretty much any other media outlet in St. Louis, KDHX (88.1 FM)'s blog nevertheless draws us back day after day not for its comprehensiveness but for its energy. The volunteers who write and shoot for the blog have a genuine love for music that is impossible to mistake. There… More >>
  • Best Music Festival

    LouFest

    For two days in August, Forest Park's Central Field become a music fan's paradise with the arrival of LouFest. Even in its second year, the festival has generated national interest, despite its staunch commitment to local provisions. The lineup eschews quantity for quality, giving locals the same stages and set times as their touring peers. And with a more eclectic… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Beale on Broadway

    A home base for many of the city's best blues players, Beale on Broadway is the sort of place where you don't have to check the schedule before you go. The venue's de facto slogan is "Live Blues Seven Nights a Week," and that's usually what you get, whether it's the twice-weekly residency of local legend Kim Massie or visiting… More >>
  • Best New Band

    The Breaks

    The Breaks did not enter St. Louis music meekly. The band's debut EP is brash, straightforward guitar rock delivered at breakneck speed. And that's nothing compared to the live show. There, the band proves it can command a rock club with as much nerve as it does a recording booth, and you can watch guitarist Sean Gartner tease out twitchy… More >>
  • Best New Venue

    The Heavy Anchor

    Anyone can open a business, apply for a liquor license and offer live music in lieu of providing any semblance of atmosphere. It's not encouraged, but it happens. Which is why it's a pleasure to find a bar like the Heavy Anchor: The place is lousy with character. Owners/totally adorable couple Jodie Whitworth and Joshua Timbrook are young enough to… More >>
  • Best Noise Band

    Catholic Guilt

    Since early 2007, south-side demolition quartet Catholic Guilt has been in an endless battle against the sound barrier. Over the years, its lineup and style has undergone drastic changes. With early shows conjuring up thoughts of everything from Crass to Swans to Double Leopards, the band's focus has always been an exercise in sonic warfare. Now in its most realized… More >>
  • Best Old Band

    Whole Earth Nuclear Ukulele Orchestra

    David Henry Spangler looks like a cooler, hipper version of Father Time. He's tall, bespectacled and adorned with flowing gray hair and a matching full-on beard. He may have looked young at one time, but something tells us that he was put on this Earth to be an elder statesman. It's a mantle he wears well in the Whole Earth… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Upstairs Lounge

    When it comes to dance clubs in St. Louis, nothing is as raw as the Upstairs Lounge. Holding the unofficial title as the city's premier place to get down for the past twenty years, the Upstairs Lounge has made a name for itself in both dancing and DJ debauchery. As base for several long-time residencies, the Upstairs Lounge dance floor… More >>
  • Best Pop Band

    The Blind Eyes

    There are few experiences in St. Louis music better for elevating your mood than a Blind Eyes show. Ebullient melodies, bright chords and instantly hummable choruses make up songs that end too soon. And singer/guitarist Seth Porter, bassist Kevin Schneider and drummer Matt Picker are the sharpest, most entertaining purveyors of stage banter in town. This year's sophomore full-length, With… More >>
  • Best Poster Designer

    Sleepy Kitty Arts

    If Paige Brubeck and Evan Sult had never picked up their instruments and began making noise-collage rock & roll, which they do in Sleepy Kitty, their contributions to the St. Louis music scene would still be hard to miss. Under the aegis of Sleepy Kitty Arts, Brubeck and Sult create vibrant, brightly colored posters that make the average rock show… More >>
  • Best Producer

    Trifeckta

    North-county beatmeister Trifeckta has managed to create quite a buzz over the past twelve months. The Force-affiliated producer cut his teeth competing in beat battles at Blueberry Hill's Integrity back in '07, where he won several weeks in a row before the event shut down. His early experiences paid off, as last year he captured the regional title at Red… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    Black for a Second

    Not enough can be said about this town's hardworking, blue-collar ethos and the impact it has on the music scene. The band Black for a Second is living, breathing, screaming proof. Singer/guitarist Joey Jordan's soulful grit — spiked with humor and despair — pours through his searing vocal delivery, leaving any semblance of pretentiousness behind. As far as Jordan's concerned,… More >>
  • Best Dance Club to Die in the Past Year

    The Complex - CLOSED

    For twenty years the Complex was a big gay oasis in the middle of a post-industrial landscape, where the fabulous congregated and the rainbow reigned. A bevy of beautiful drag queens called it home, and made it so, performing raucous live shows two or three nights a week under the ever-glimmering light of the disco ball. It's where Dieta Pepsi… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist

    Teresajenee

    Over the past three years, Teresajenee has developed and refined her genre-bending style of urban contemporary music, which she's dubbed "Soultronicarock." TJ's unique sound has its roots firmly planted in neo-soul territory, but virtually every track explores sounds and elements not native to the genre. Jenee's quirky compositions are beautifully complemented by her playful intonations, and her delectably sweet vocals… More >>
  • Best Recording Studio

    Sawhorse Studios

    Like the best superheroes, you can't judge Sawhorse Studios by its façade. What looks like a sleepy storefront in a residential stretch of south-city houses actually contains enough top-end recording gear and vintage instruments to make collectors drool. Engineer Jason McEntire runs the show with both the technical know-how and good aesthetic sense to help local bands make a little… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    Sleepy Kitty

    Evan Sult and Paige Brubeck have been the darlings of the St. Louis music scene since their arrival in 2008, but not until this year has their band, Sleepy Kitty, truly ascended to the top of the rock heap. Incorporating elements from post-punk, cabaret, hip-hop and pop with seamless finesse, the duo is at its best wailing away on such… More >>
  • Best Rock Radio Program

    Juxtaposition

    As a concept, rock & roll has become the ultimate abstraction, a tag so overused it's best reserved for music recorded prior to 1970 — it certainly can't be applied to anything made in the last quarter of a century, at least not with a straight face. It's no secret that mainstream radio has suffered a particular dearth of quality… More >>
  • Best Side Project

    The High Dives

    For multi-band veterans like Marc Chechik and Kip Loui, it's a challenge to define where the side project begins and the primary project ends. With Melody Den, Diesel Island, the Transmitters and more, the two have been fixtures in St. Louis bars since the '80s. Filled out by JJ Loui and percussionist Bill Yaeger, the High Dives specialize in familiar… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Justin Johnson

    Prolific and yet self-critical, Justin Johnson makes rock songwriting seem as easy as scribbling emotions or humming a melody. It isn't, as a close listen to his lyrical work with Pretty Little Empire and the Jump Starts proves. Johnson is never clever for clever's sake, never glib in hopes of coming off cooler than he is. He may seem to… More >>
  • Best Tribute Band

    Celebration Day

    St. Louis is a town with an unwavering dedication to classic rock; if the phrase "KSHE Classic" means anything to you, you know what we mean. So it's no surprise that tribute bands dedicated to re-creating the work of rock & roll behemoths have become big business in town. El Monstero's annual Pink Floyd spectacular regularly sells out multiple nights… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Jenn Malzone

    Between her work with Tight Pants Syndrome, the Paper Dolls and Middle Class Fashion, vocalist/keyboardist Jenn Malzone has released dozens of songs in the past twelve months. If her various projects hardly stray from power pop, it's because she embodies the phrase. Her powerful pipes never pull back to manufacture cutesiness or vulnerability, and she never strains her breezy alto… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Greg Silsby

    A great bluegrass band is defined by its singers, and in Greg Silsby, Cumberland Gap has an ace. A long tall drink of mountain water, Silsby has a tenor voice that cuts through the air like a sharpened wing. He's not smooth, he doesn't croon or wail, but his pitch is precise and his feel for original and traditional material… More >>
  • Best Open Mic

    Foam Coffee and Beer

    Once a week on Wednesdays, from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Ellen Cook and Langen Neubacher make everyone feel like an artist. It's not an easy feat at an open mic, but the two are as enthusiastic and encouraging as any hosts in the city, and their delightfully soul-baring contributions to every session are critically icebreaking. You might hear from… More >>
  • Best Place to Slow Dance

    Tim's Chrome Bar

    She lights a cigarette from twenty stools away and you notice her. All is dim inside Tim's Chrome Bar, a super-old-school lounge in Bevo. But between the neon beer signs and lighted Christmas greenery (in August), this lovely lady is the only thing that's really glowing to your twentysomething eyes. Never mind that she's old enough to be your grandmother.… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    The Firebird

    The city's smoking ban and the new A/C have made the Firebird a more pleasant place to see a show, but this midtown venue still isn't built for comfort. The sign outside is inscrutably small, the lights are low and the employees are no-bullshit. But you don't go to a show for pampering. You go for music, and the Firebird… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Club

    Spruill's - CLOSED

    Just a stone's throw from the bustling downtown club scene, Spruill's nightclub sits inconspicuously on the corner of North Jefferson and Stoddard streets. Compared to some of the flashier establishments nearby, the bare-bones dècor gives the modest space a casual, familiar vibe, like a neighborhood bar. Although Spruill's is known for its Saturday-night jazz sets with Willie Akins, weeknights tend… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Jazz at the Bistro

    The recent news that Jazz St. Louis is studying ways to expand or perhaps even replace the Bistro at Grand Center as its primary performance venue portends change, presumably for the better, for local jazz fans. For now, though, St. Louisans can be satisfied that the current version of Jazz at the Bistro already is considered one of the top… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    One Nite Stand

    From the outside this south-city dive may not look like the typical karaoke joint. Standing alone at the corner of Ohio and Gravois avenues, the bar's hard brick exterior may make you question if you've made the right choice in coming here. But One Nite Stand is the perfect place to get your groove on, whether you're a neighbor, a… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Laumeier Sculpture Park

    Even out-of-towners know that the grounds of the Gateway Arch are worth a visit. But only tourists with in-the-know hosts are lucky enough to learn about the other iconic site in the area for sculpture and monument — and it, too, is completely free! The bucolic 105 acres of Laumeier Sculpture Park are home to art fairs, live music and… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date

    Citygarden

    Everyone gets the pre-date jitters. Will he be as nice in person as he is online? Is she really perfect for you, or is your matchmaking friend just tired of you showing up to parties solo? There's the agonizing indecision over what to wear, where to eat, what to say. Any first date can benefit from a conversation-starter — something… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Saint Louis Science Center

    Sometimes a romance just runs out of steam. Perhaps you no longer have common interests. Perhaps you've discovered his massive trove of hand-painted clown dolls. Whatever the case might be, when it's time to get out of a relationship, it's time. Dragging out the inevitable will make you cranky and delay your ability to find someone without 685 tiny ceramic… More >>
  • Best Place to Let Out Your Inner Artist

    South Broadway Art Project

    Everyone possesses a bit of creative spirit, even if that tiny sliver of imagination has been suppressed since your childhood art classes. Though you might think paint refers just to house colors or that brushes are for unruly hair, at the South Broadway Art Project you can relearn that these are the instruments to uncover and nurture your creative spirit,… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Bellefontaine Cemetery

    Established in 1849, the Bellefontaine Cemetery remains one of the most scenic resting places in the country. Lush and expansive, this 314-acre cemetery was built during a time when St. Louis lacked a proper-sized burial plot for an exponentially growing city. Featuring rolling green hills embellished by ornate headstones, the cemetery lacks any sort of eerie quality and instead offers… More >>
  • Best-Kept Secret

    American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog

    At any other museum, a painting by that masterful Victorian, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, would hang in an echoing gallery, complete with a low, backless bench, a clot of tourists blocking its view and a glowering guard. At the AKC Museum of the Dog, located in the antebellum Jarville House in Queeny Park, all the artwork features dogs, whether painting,… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    City Museum

    The City Museum, of course, is nothing new. In fact, it's almost fifteen years old. But that doesn't make it any less awesome. The key to staying relevant for the City Museum is owner/creative director Bob Cassilly's nonstop imagination. "People keep coming back because we're always changing," director Rick Erwin says. "Bob is here all the time thinking of the… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Play

    Peter Mayer

    Peter Mayer works a lot in this town. He has pretty much cornered the market on blustering belligerence, having played everyone from Lear (as in King) to Loman (as in Willy). But beneath all that bellow lurks a savvy character actor who delights in hiding behind mustaches and wigs. (Remember his foolish crony in HotCity's Filumena?) But as Walter Franz,… More >>
  • Best Children's Theater Production

    The Giver

    Too often "children's theater" is synonymous with slapstick, farce and a general pandering to a younger audience. But Carol North, artistic director of Metro Theater Company, is motivated by the heretical notion that children like to think. Once again this year, Metro linked up with Washington University's Edison Theatre to stage a production that, although geared to a younger audience,… More >>
  • Best Ensemble Cast in a Play

    November

    As President Charles Smith in the St. Louis Actors' Studio production of David Mamet's White House farce, November, Alan Knoll spoke relentlessly for nearly two hours. President Smith has more dialogue than any sane person should have to memorize — and as it turns out, Mamet's prez ain't sane. Knoll's ferocious energy was matched by John Krewson as Smith's implacable… More >>
  • Best Gallery Exhibition

    Larry Fink: Attraction and Desire -- 50 Years in Photography at the Sheldon Art Galleries

    Bringing together work from every point in the celebrated photographer's career, Sheldon Art Galleries curator Olivia Lahs-Gonzales presented an exceptional survey of Larry Fink's diverse oeuvre. Selections from each of Fink's major series, supplemented with intimate portraits of his domestic life, combined to illuminate a complex persona — that of a man who witnessed and documented some of the most… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Female)

    Robin Smith

    Robin Smith isn't the local TV news flavor of the month; if she were a pizza she'd be good old-fashioned pepperoni. Her hairdos, though — those are another matter. Smith, a St. Louis native, rose to prominence in the mid-1970s at KTVI-TV (Channel 2), and even then you could tell she was headed no place but up. The unmistakable harbinger… More >>
  • Best Hair on a Local TV Personality (Male)

    Casey Nolen

    When analyzing hair, let us not take such a narrow view that we consider only the follicles that top one's skull. Take, for example, KSDK-TV (Channel 5) "backpack journalist" Casey Nolen. A cursory evaluation would likely advance no further than Nolen's receding hairline and thus would completely miss the newsdude's oh-so-tasteful addition of a chinstrap and moustache, which complete the… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Peter Pranschke

    Peter Pranschke has a knack for capturing, in painstakingly rendered pencil snapshots, every vicissitude of life's agonized comedy. Be it the Schnucks checkout line, the aisles of a big-box art store, an anonymous office cubicle, a hospital bed or the standard lineup of smokers outside a gallery opening, the St. Louis native is able to discern a small, ready theater… More >>
  • Best Local Poet

    David Clewell

    The second poem in David Clewell's eighth and most recent book, Taken Somehow by Surprise, is called "This Poem Had Better Be About the World We Actually Live In." If it's possible for one title to sum up a poet's entire body of work, for Clewell this would be it. The world he actually lives in is a wondrous place,… More >>
  • Best Local TV Commercial

    InstaCredit AutoMart

    St. Louis lost one of its great TV pitchmen this year, with the passing of "Decent Boy" Steve Mizerany. R.I.P. That said, Mizerany would be happy to know that one local company has stepped up to fill the void. We're talking, of course, about InstaCredit AutoMart, whose commercials feature a trio of talking shelties: Baxter K, Buckey J and Punkey… More >>
  • Best Mother-Daughter Combo

    Kirsten Wylder and Chelsea Serocke

    Janice, the kooky teenage daughter in Sheila Callaghan's odd little play Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), has a difficult time communicating with just about anyone other than her photos of the fabulous JT. Who hasn't indulged in a celebrity fixation? Even Janice's mom once had a thing for Harrison Ford. But mother and daughter don't talk much because they're… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    Keller Plaza Cine 8

    Keller Plaza Cine 8 in south county is exactly the kind of venue entertainment lovers appreciate in this current economy. Admission under $5 and concessions under $10 is a hard-to-beat bargain for a diversion that typically costs three times as much. If you're the type that insists on a flashy, state-of-the-art megaplex moviegoing experience, the Keller 8 probably isn't for… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Musical

    Michele Ragusa

    "They can't make a fool out of Lina Lamont," the ditzy silent-screen star protests in Singin' in the Rain. But Michele Ragusa, who portrayed Lina during a sweltering week at the Muny this past summer, transformed the character into a fool of monumental proportions — which is precisely what needs to be done if a performance is going to reach… More >>
  • Best Musical

    The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

    The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is making the rounds these days. And why shouldn't it? This beguiling musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin is a likable show. Yet something about the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts' recent staging made the piece feel first-time fresh. Surely a big part of that freshness was the focused direction by… More >>
  • Best New Art Gallery

    Los Caminos

    Co-run and curated by Cole Root and Francesca Wilmott, this Cherokee Street apartment artspace has successfully imported the home-based DIY gallery trend to St. Louis with taut, insightful exhibits and resounding local popularity. Since opening in the fall of 2010 with a solo exhibit of (then local) artist RJ Messineo, Wilmott and Root have created a thoughtful season of shows… More >>
  • Best Newspaper Columnist

    Bill McClellan

    Journalism is a dying profession that has been reduced to a motley bunch of bloggers and aggregators who never leave their desks. Tell that to Bill McClellan. Whether reporting from city hall, the courthouse or his favorite tavern, McClellan is always worth a read, four — that's right, four — times each week. Over the decades that he has anchored… More >>
  • Best One-Person Show

    Alan Knoll in This Wonderful Life - Dramatic License Productions

    Truth be told, there weren't many people in the audience the night we attended This Wonderful Life, the one-person retelling of Frank Capra's beloved 1946 movie about poor ol' put-upon George Bailey and the joys of small-town life in Bedford Falls. We're talking single digits here — a low single digit. How, we wondered before the show began, could an… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Newspaper Division)

    Blythe Bernhard and Jeremy Kohler

    In less than a year, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters Blythe Bernhard and Jeremy Kohler have exposed an ophthalmologist who made a fortune by injecting his patients' eyes with inferior medications at half the required dose; a physician who, despite previous sanctions, kept prescribing Oxycontin to a drug dealer until it led to a teenager's suicide; a doctor who continued seeing… More >>
  • Best Scenic Design

    Scott C. Neale

    It was the kind of challenging evening we've come to expect from Upstream Theater. Cooking with Elisa is a 1993 allegorical drama from Argentina about that nation's abuses of political power. But, hey, if political allegory is not your thing, Elisa was also an overwhelming visual experience, thanks to the detailed scenic design by Scott C. Neale. His spin on… More >>
  • Best Stage Production

    Awake and Sing! at Jewish Community Center's Wool Studio Theatre

    Clifford Odets' 1935 saga of restive lives trying to ride out the Great Depression is one of those classic American dramas that, though much revered, is rarely staged. So what a relief it was to finally see Awake and Sing! and learn that its reputation is deserved. Odets crams emotions into this lusty chronicle of three generations of a family… More >>
  • Best Stand-Up Comedian (Female)

    Andi Smith

    Oh, that Andi Smith sure sounds nice. Her sentences just lope along in the lilt of her native rural Wisconsin (she now lives in Dogtown). But none of it prepares you for her sharp left turns — and sharp left elbows. Smith has stored up a leisurely disdain for lots of things: cheerleaders, Justin Bieber, sweatpants, children. And while she… More >>
  • Best Stand-Up Comedian (Male)

    Josh Arnold

    Fenton-born standup Josh Arnold is a big chuckling bear of a comic who often finds it necessary to defend himself from a hostile world. Rather than "fat," he insists that he is "half-fat" — overweight only from his head down to his waist. "I have legs that deer have admired from afar," he points out. Not only has Arnold opened… More >>
  • Best Supporting Actor

    Nino the Clown - Circus Flora

    With his cherry-red cap, tie and nose, Nino the Clown is the most readily recognizable member of the Circus Flora troupe that charms audiences every May. Nino's real name is Giovanni Zoppé; He was once the scion of a sixth-generation circus family in Italy; now he has aged into one of the family patriarchs. When Nino is not here, which… More >>
  • Best Actress in a Play

    Andrea Frye

    Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning account of sexual violation and torture among young women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a Kilimanjaro of a play — and it takes a mountain climber of an actress to scale its lofty peaks. Nottage modeled the swaggering character of Mama Nadi, who runs a bar and brothel in a Congo rainforest, after… More >>
  • Best Swan Song

    Ben Nordstrom

    We remember Ben Nordstrom first in the 2001 Stages St. Louis production of She Loves Me as an eager-to-please delivery boy pleading "Try Me." Over the past decade, it has been a pleasure to watch Nordstrom develop and mature as a performer even as, in the suspicious manner of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, he seems not to have aged at… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    The Black Rep

    What an audacious season the Black Rep mounted this year. At a time when a moribund economy encouraged the downsizing of theater, the Black Rep sneered into the gloomy face of reality and presented super-sized productions. They didn't merely produce plays; they assaulted them. The result was a veritable barrage of drama and comedy. The season opened with a sumptuous… More >>
  • Best Theater Surprise

    Alexis Kinney in The Wonderful World of Dissocia - Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts

    Alexis Kinney has been producing a fulsome sound from her diminutive frame for so many years now she should have lost her ability to surprise. Her powerful and affecting singing voice has long been a cause for astonishment. But this past March she pulled off a surprise of jaw-dropping proportions without singing a note. Kinney's portrayal of a young woman… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Tim Ezell

    By 9 a.m., some FOX 2 anchors have been on live television for four hours. Personalities like April Simpson and Kevin Steincross occasionally (and understandably) show signs of fatigue during the nine o'clock hour, but host Tim Ezell is a bottle of 5-Hour ENERGY compacted into FOX 2 News at 9am's 60-minute time slot. Ezell looks and acts like a… More >>
  • Best Actor in a Musical

    Gregory B. Cuellar

    Bruce Campbell created his own legend — or maybe revealed his godhead — as Ash in the Evil Dead trilogy. For Evil Dead: The Musical to work, you can't just strap a fake chin on a dark-haired guy and expect audiences to buy this non-Bruce Campbell Ash; you need someone who can wear the S-Mart vest with pride and respect… More >>
  • Best Audience

    Evil Dead: The Musical - Stray Dog Theatre at Tower Grove Abbey

    Evil Dead: The Musical is the theatrical equivalent of a deep-fried Twinkie. There's nothing artistically redeeming in it. It says nothing about the human condition. Even the love story, that staple of traditional musicals, is subverted and perverted and decapitated before the first act is over. And the full house that jammed Tower Grove Abbey for pretty much every night… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Lumière Place

    Lumière Place feels like Las Vegas. And there is no greater compliment for a casino in the heartland. Its gambling floor is sleek and elegant, with muted tones and soft lights framing 2,000 slot machines, more than 50 tables and, in an adjacent room, a baker's dozen of poker tables. Strolling through the grounds, you'll notice the pleasant diversity of… More >>
  • Best Director

    Milt Zoth for Rock 'N' Roll - Gaslight Theater

    Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll is a concept album of a play, an expansive, indulgent re-creation of '60s protest morality and musical idealism told across three decades and two countries. The sheer scope of the thing lends itself to actors noodling around onstage in hopes of that Kevin Kline nomination or, worse, scenes being performed with a perfunctory "keep it… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Vincentennial

    Vincent Price made a long and fascinating career out of portraying ridiculous characters with relish and compassion. Thomas Stockman and Cinema St. Louis paid tribute to our native son's centenary in the same fashion: with gusto, understanding and a fond appreciation for his more ridiculous onscreen moments. Marshaling the forces of historians, film buffs, monster-movie fans, a theater company, two… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Dr. Jeff

    "Dr. Jeff" is not a glib radio moniker. Jeff Hallazgo is a bona fide doctor — specifically, the attending physician at Des Peres Hospital's emergency room. His show, The Big Bang! which airs every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. on KDHX (88.1 FM), is a rollicking romp through an hour of R&B, followed by two hours of pop. What… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Johnny Rabbitt

    More than half a century ago, way back in 1954, Ron Elz first took to the airwaves. Like the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, Johnny Rabbitt was a construct of KXOK (630 AM), passed from DJ to DJ, but Elz made the name his own. He further cemented his identity by creating his trademark top hat with bunny… More >>
  • Best Local Cartoonist

    Mike Harvey

    Mike Harvey began 2011 with a simple, demanding plan: He would produce an eight-page minicomic every Wednesday for 52 straight weeks — all on his own. Harvey had experience self-publishing comics (his series, Knuckle Buster, remains ongoing), but this time he'd be doing everything himself, right down to printing and distribution. With no boundaries other than the page count and… More >>
  • Best Local Impresario

    Jimmy Tebeau

    It's been a rough year for Jimmy Tebeau, lead singer of the popular Grateful Dead cover band the Schwag and owner of a rural Missouri concert venue. Last November federal agents began the process of seizing Tebeau's 350-acre Camp Zoe on charges that he looked the other way as concertgoers bought, sold and consumed drugs on his premises. According to… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Saxquest

    Compared to such old stalwarts as the trumpet and the flute, the saxophone is, relatively speaking, the new kid on the block. Invented by Adolphe Sax in 1846, the curvy woodwind has come to be a defining voice in jazz music as well as a boisterous addition to many fine rock & roll bands (rest in peace, Clarence Clemons, towering… More >>
  • Best Museum Exhibition

    Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea

    To walk through Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea was to be transported completely. During its springtime engagement at the Saint Louis Art Museum, this exhibit whisked visitors centuries back in time to the world of the ancient Maya. Water, to this civilization, was at once a sustaining life force and an object of great spiritual reverence. To… More >>
  • Best Radio Station

    KWMU (90.7 FM)

    In the age of iPods, earthlings are hesitant to surrender control over their music. Genre-specific and "we'll play anything" radio stations alike have lost the power to impose their tastes upon the subordinate public. Listeners in St. Louis are rebelling by turning their dials to 90.7 KWMU. The local NPR affiliate, also known as St. Louis Public Radio, shines most… More >>
  • Best Reading Series

    River Styx at Duff's

    Since 1975 poetry has had a home in St. Louis. The gorgeous magazine River Styx comes out three times a year, stuffed with art, poetry, essays and fiction. Truly a big deal in the poetry world, it's featured Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners and earned a great reputation all over the country. And it's at Duff's, the cozy brick-walled restaurant/bar… More >>
  • Best Reporter (TV/Radio Division)

    Véronique LaCapra

    Decent journalists report the news. Outstanding journalists live the news, relentlessly pursuing every relevant angle. Véronique LaCapra belongs, undoubtedly, in the latter category. St. Louis Public Radio scored a serious coup by hiring LaCapra, a seasoned reporter who happens to have a PhD in ecosystem ecology (and a BA in environmental policy and biology). Not surprisingly, LaCapra's focus is on… More >>
  • Best Shakespeare Production

    Much Ado About Nothing

    You know you're watching a fine Shakespeare production when the audience is crackling with as much energy as the cast. Tim Ocel and Saint Louis University's theater department had the house rocking during their rollicking staging of Much Ado About Nothing. Romantic leads Beatrice (Katie McGee) and Benedick (Gregory B. Cuellar) fought falling in love almost as passionately as they… More >>
  • Best Stage Combat

    Todd Gillenardo

    Stage combat is all about the comfort level of the participants; if one combatant feels unsure about what he's doing with that blade, the fight looks staged and phony. During his turn as the title character in St. Louis Shakespeare's production of Cyrano de Bergerac, Todd Gillenardo made it appear as though his life hinged on his ability to wield… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    Roxy's

    The metro-east outskirts of St. Louis are hardly lacking in topless fare. And Roxy's, a Brooklyn, Illinois, joint that can be equal parts classy and sleazy depending on the night, isn't lacking in anything. The truth is that the area's other strip clubs — many of them owned by Roxy's parent company, VCG Holding Corp. — might offer more polished… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    The Luminary Center for the Arts - CLOSED

    With their dual program of curated group exhibits and solo, artist-centered projects, husband and wife James and Brea McAnally have made the Luminary Center for the Arts a leading alternative venue for challenging, conceptually driven work by emerging local, national and international artists. Aiming direct questions at our technologically saturated culture, the McAnallys have positioned their gallery-in-a-former-convent as the Marshall… More >>
  • Best TV Station

    KPLR-TV (Channel 11)

    If aliens want a quick primer on the last few decades of American pop culture before they stage their inevitable coup d'etat, they'd be wise to tune their interplanetary television sets to KPLR (Channel 11). Our future overlords can witness the hoosierific, chair-throwing antics of The Jerry Springer Show (weekdays, 1 a.m.) and then check out The Doctors (weekdays, 10… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Kent Ehrhardt

    When St. Louis was battered by severe weather this spring, KMOV-TV (Channel 4)'s Kent Ehrhardt was the area's most compelling televised meteorologist. Some of his contemporaries approached the storms with the detachment of a taxed clock-puncher, but Ehrhardt reported each new tornado sighting or flash-flood warning with the perfect level of urgency: Just enough to justify the interruption of your… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Hippopotamus

    Nobody messes with a hippo. Hippopotamus amphibius, the heavyweight champion of the Saint Louis Zoo's River's Edge habitat, weigh between 3,000 and 8,000 pounds, and they're always hungry. One of the most aggressive creatures in the Sub-Saharan or anywhere else, hippos can outrun the bejeezus out of the average human (up to an impressive 30 miles per hour), despite the… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Jim Schmidt Contemporary - CLOSED

    When Jim Schmidt closed the doors of his Grand Center gallery earlier this year, it marked the end of an era. For decades Schmidt had provided St. Louisans access to the work of local, national and international artists of every medium, with a scrupulous eye for elegant minimalism and obsessional craft. Considered in retrospect, the exhibits illustrate Schmidt's singular way… More >>
  • Best Arts Organization

    St. Louis City Open Studio and Gallery (SCOSaG)

    In a Tower Grove Park edifice that can only be described as a castle, a group of anime lovers is learning how to draw the Japanese figures. This is the St. Louis City Open Studio and Gallery's most popular class, characterized by the nonprofit's marketing and development director Amy VanDonsel as "always booked." Ever since it was founded in 2001… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    The Adjustment

    During World War II, Wayne Ogden, the narrator of The Adjustment, Scott Phillips' latest novel, was a supply sergeant in the Quartermaster Corps in London and Rome. He was also a thief, a pimp, maybe a murderer and a truly awful human being, though Ogden would probably tell you that he's really just a man who knows how to take… More >>
  • Best Burlesque Act

    Mimi Le Yu

    With her baby-doll eyes and revealing outfits, Katy Perry is a pretty sexy act to top. Dancing to Perry's "Firework," though, Mimi Le Yu blows the pop tart out of the water. Grab a table at Al Waha Restaurant and Hookah Lounge (3191 South Grand Boulevard; 314-664-3940) on a Saturday night, and you'll get a little burlesque with your water… More >>
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