Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Addition to Downtown

    Residents

    When it comes to population growth and development, there often arises a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem: Developers won't build in an area sans residents, and people won't move in without access to basic goods and services. That's why downtown had languished for so many years as a traditional "central business district" — a ghost town on nights and weekends,… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Laumeier Sculpture Park

    Being thrifty — or broke — doesn't have to turn you into a Netflix-swilling homebody. Not when there are places like Laumeier Sculpture Park, a 105-acre open-air museum that features some of the world's most renowned modern and contemporary artwork, all for the price of nothing, zilch, nada. And the best part of Laumeier is that it's interactive. Technically, you're… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Bill Hannegan

    A prolific digester of local media and an even more prolific letter writer, Bill Hannegan rapidly responds to the news — and sometimes drives it. Regularly e-mailing detailed feedback, analysis and polite critiques to reporters all over town, he sure knows how to nag, and at the same time feed, journalists with custom tips on everything from a crumbling north… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Father Gary Meier

    Father Gary Meier was never in the closet. But he did keep the fact that he is a gay man under the radar while he was an active priest. However, as the anti-gay rhetoric of the Catholic Church ramped up in the years following the pedophilia scandals, Meier became increasingly uncomfortable with the "don't ask, don't tell" approach to his… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Karlie Kloss

    The white-hot career of supermodel and Webster Groves High School graduate (and winner of 2012's Best Local Girl Made Good, for that matter) Karlie Kloss shows no signs of cooling. She's ranked the ninth most successful model in the world and told Vanity Fair recently that designers have cut her from their shows for being "too famous." Though she may… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Claire McCaskill

    It's been a good twelve months for Senator Claire McCaskill, despite the loss of her mother last October. The Democrat from the red state of Missourah trounced her Republican challenger, former congressman Todd Akin, by double-digit margins to win reelection in November. (This, after early polling in the race predicted Akin would easily defeat the incumbent.) Not one to rest… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    Shane Cohn

    AN ORDINANCE TO CONSIDER WHICH PERSON SHALL HEREAFTER BE KNOWN AS THE PREEMINENT OFFICIAL ELECTED TO SERVE A POPULATION LOCAL TO THE CITY, COUNTY OR REGION OF ST. LOUIS, IN THE YEAR OF 2013: WHEREAS, Shane Cohn, Alderman representing the 25th Ward of the City of St. Louis is the city's first openly gay elected official; and WHEREAS, Cohn actively engages… More >>
  • Best Mile of St. Louis

    Delmar Boulevard from Trinity Avenue to Des Peres Avenue

    It's been named one of the nation's ten greatest streets by the American Planning Association. It's home to the St. Louis Walk of Fame and countless iconic institutions, including Vintage Vinyl, Fitz's Bottling Company, Cicero's, Blueberry Hill, the Pageant and, ahem, Riverfront Times. It's the Delmar Loop, and the hits just keep on coming. Construction is chugging along now on… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Saint Louis Art Museum East Building

    With skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, the Saint Louis Art Museum's East Building is an incredible sight on Forest Park's Art Hill — both from the outside and within. Unveiled this summer, the brand-new wing is home to a range of galleries, expanded public amenities and a restaurant overlooking the park. The project increases the museum's public space by 30 percent… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Baconfest

    Proponents of all things porcine received an answer to their prayers on March 23 as bacon, bacon and more bacon descended on Keiner Plaza for Baconfest St. Louis. The brainchild of bacon enthusiasts Matthew Willer and Matthew Guillot, Baconfest was a porkapalooza featuring bacon-inspired food and drinks, live music and bacon paraphernalia. The pièce de résistance of the free, all-day… More >>
  • Best Thing to Happen to St. Louis This Year

    Marijuana Decriminalization

    It has become increasingly accepted wisdom that incarcerating people for possession of small amounts of marijuana is a waste of police resources and taxpayer money. This spring the board of aldermen did a very smart thing and overwhelmingly passed a marijuana-decriminalization ordinance for the city of St. Louis. Now possession of 35 grams or fewer of pot is a ticketable… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Mayor Gary Brown

    In the battle to save a golden Labrador named Phineas from euthanasia, no one has come across worse than Gary Brown, the mayor of the southern Missouri town of Salem. The debacle began after Phineas bit (or "mouthed," according the gentler version of the story) a seven-year-old girl, and in a subsequent hearing, Brown determined the dog should be put… More >>
  • Best Kept Secret

    Neon Heritage Preservation Committee

    The Neon Heritage Preservation Committee of the Route 66 Association of Missouri consists of four windbreaker-wearing guys who look as sporty and ready to drive off into the sunset as Martin Milner did in that old 1960s TV show Route 66. There's Jim Thole, banker and photographer; Esley Hamilton, renowned St. Louis County Parks preservationist and historian; David Hutson, expert… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    The Wading Pool in Tower Grove Park

    What the?! Mom, mom, mom, mooooommmmm! Look! That concrete basin over there is filling with water! Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Where'd that lifeguard come from? And those jets of water shooting out of the ground? And that big ceramic urn? Did it just become a waterfall? Is this really happening?! [Insert voice of reason.] You… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Larry Conners

    Though not originally from St. Louis, Larry Conners, the face of KMOV-TV (Channel 4), has been like a long-lost Texan uncle to us for nearly 40 years. You know — the one who keeps popping up every once in a while, like when he wins yet another local Emmy, or voluntarily gets tased on the evening news, or scores an… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Strings of Arda Concert at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium

    It started out so full of promise and potential, this relationship. But like all things on this big ol' piece of granite, it had to end sooner or later. Let's make it the former. Grab your almost-ex and jet to the Saint Louis Science Center when the Strings of Arda — a group composed of Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue

    Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center

    Be forewarned: Pretension is part of the deal with the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. The pretense here is "no booze, no drugs, no jerks." Its nonprofit status allows for a focus on subversive sounds. While some venues may aim to flip bands for dough, the LNAC reaches out, specifically, to a narrow niche. Owner Mark Sarich meets with staff often… More >>
  • Best Local Artist

    Kit Keith

    Kit Keith's life narrative is far from the usual one. The daughter of a traditional sign painter who swept his family away to the circus, Keith can claim having been a trapeze artist as well as a punk rocker, a golf-playing self-taught artist, and an adamant defender of all things antique, handmade and fragilely decrepit. An intermittent St. Louisan since… More >>
  • Best Local Impresario

    Joe Edwards

    Joe Edwards is a man who knows what he likes, and over several years of unofficial crowd case studies, it's obvious that he also knows what keeps people coming back — reliability. For more than three decades, Edwards has made the Delmar Loop his laboratory, guiding venues such as Blueberry Hill, the Tivoli Theatre, Pin-Up Bowl and the Moonrise Hotel… More >>
  • Best Local Poet

    Julia Gordon-Bramer

    Choosing a best poet is about as objective as choosing a best color. (FYI: It's blue!) Julia Gordon-Bramer, however, offers far more to her readers than just "second verse, same as the first." She's been working words since the mid-1990s, when she ran a local alternative-rock magazine called Night Times. That stint morphed into writing advertising copy, which led to… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater

    MX Movies

    Why fly coach when first-class seats are up for grabs? The experience of going to the movies just got an upgrade, thanks to the developers behind the Mercantile Exchange (MX) District -- downtown's newest dining and entertainment venue. MX Movies, located in the renovated MX building, comes fully equipped with luxury seating, an in-seat ordering system and three digital projection… More >>
  • Best Museum

    Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

    The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, which focuses on the myriad ways religious impulses shape art production, consistently has organized some of the most nuanced and revelatory exhibitions in St. Louis since opening in 1991. As the country's only museum to engage this otherwise untouchable subject by the adamantly atheistic contemporary-art world, MOCRA has maintained an expansive and progressive perspective… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    Encor.es

    Sometimes we still can't believe what Jason Stoff has done with Encor.es. A photographer? With a blog? That we actually want to read and not just gawk at? This thing exists? Hell yeah, it does! Through the years, Stoff (who occasionally shoots for RFT) has taken Encor.es from a simple portfolio of his work to a legitimate site for music… More >>
  • Best Musical

    South Pacific

    Monty Python's Eric Idle set the appreciative tone for the Muny summer. In his surprise appearance at the end of the opening-night performance of Monty Python's Spamalot, Idle (who wrote that exercise in tomfoolery) stood on the Muny stage and, with a sense of amazement in his voice, reported that never before had he seen Spamalot staged outdoors, where indeed… More >>
  • Best Open Mic

    So: Stories of Life

    Say the phrase "open-mic night," and you'll witness uniform eye rolls and cringing from across the room. But the So: Stories of Life show, created by producer and writer Teya King and held the second Wednesday of each month at the Tavern of Fine Arts, seeks to elicit anything but. In The Moth Radio Hour meets This American Life, the… More >>
  • Best Play

    Waiting for Godot

    Vladimir and Estragon just won't go away. For 60 years, Samuel Beckett's two bewildered, sad-sack clowns have been waiting...and waiting. Meanwhile, the 1950s absurdist plays of Eugene Ionesco are yesterday's news; the profound existentialist dramas of Albert Camus have been relegated to the back burner. Yet Vladimir and Estragon, who understand nothing, continue to speak to the ever-changing times. In… More >>
  • Best Podcast

    Politically Speaking

    OK, an admission: We totally have a journalism crush on Jo Mannies, Jason Rosenbaum and Chris McDaniel. The trio is part of the St. Louis journalism brain trust and, more important, their free podcast whispers sweet political nothings into our eager ears. Every week we log onto iTunes and download the latest installment of Politically Speaking, spending about 30 minutes… More >>
  • Best Arts Organization

    Vision/Strength/Access Missouri

    As a statewide organization that advocates on behalf of those with disabilities for access to the arts, Vision/Strength/Access Missouri is a subtle but powerful force. What, precisely, is a "disability"? And is it an absolute fact that everyone can equally see, hear and encounter art in its various forms? Radically challenging conventional notions of impairment (which, to some degree, is… More >>
  • Best Radio Station (Talk)

    KWMU (90.7 FM)

    In this era of 24-hour news, so much of talk radio is filled with yelling commentators and angry callers. Not over at KWMU (90.7 FM), St. Louis' National Public Radio affiliate. The station has all the thought-provoking NPR shows like All Things Considered, Marketplace and Fresh Air — though we're still pissed that the latter has been moved to nighttime… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    Pyramid of Pleasure

    The Pyramid of Pleasure makes the drive to Centreville, Illinois, worth it for those looking for quality time with boobs in their faces. And what's not to like about the image of an Egyptian burial monument filled with strippers? Alas, the pyramid motif doesn't extend beyond the name, but the club is clean and comfortable with two main stages ringed… More >>
  • Best Theater Company

    The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

    You can spend a truckload of money on sets and costumes. You can thrill viewers with showy lighting effects. But at its core, memorable theater is about performance. This season the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis delivered vital performances in spades. There was Lori Wilner's hardened mother in Brighton Beach Memoirs, the beautifully calibrated work of Mark Anderson Phillips in… More >>
  • Best Theater Surprise

    Underneath the Lintel

    How much do you know about Hoofddorp, Holland? If you took nothing else from Underneath the Lintel, Glen Berger's breathtaking monologue that was one of the peaks of June's St. Lou Fringe, you'd have learned about the high stakes involved for those who do not return library books in Hoofddorp. Our interlocutor here is an obsessive-compulsive librarian (brilliantly, idiosyncratically enacted… More >>
  • Best Zoo Animal

    Dead Leaf Mantis

    If there can be a problem with having a world-class, free zoo in our very own back yard, it's having a world-class, free zoo in our very own back yard. In other words, you can bet your Somali wild ass (found in the Red Rocks section) there's going to be a mass of people visiting the Saint Louis Zoo no… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Good Luck at the Hog Slaughter

    A great band name needs to be singular but clever. After all, a careless one will be buried under piles of websites, never again to be seen or heard. Good Luck at the Hog Slaughter is suggestive, confrontational and clingy. Once a phrase used to usher a friend through an old family ritual, the saying "good luck at the hog… More >>
  • Best Bassist

    Joey Glynn

    With a spry grin and his signature mutton chops, Joey Glynn provides the backbone to arguably the most successful band currently calling St. Louis home: Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. But because there are probably only five standup bassists in the whole city (give or take a few), finding a bassist exclusive to your band is pretty much… More >>
  • Best Blues Artist

    Brian Curran

    Rail thin and bourbon weathered, Brian Curran cuts a mean blues-guitar-slinging figure. But he's no poseur. One of St. Louis' most accomplished finger-style guitarists, Curran mentored with the legends — Bobby Caldwell for starters — and whether playing a big old flat-top box or sliding a metal Resophonic guitar, Curran understands the feeling and the skill needed to play standards… More >>
  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    Dawes with Shovels & Rope

    Hard-rocking country-blues duo Shovels & Rope probably could have sold out the Off Broadway music venue on its own, but with LA-based lyrical rock band Dawes headlining, the joint was at sweating-room-only from start to finish. And the headliners proved more than up to the task of following the wild-and-loose opener. Singer Taylor Goldsmith beamed all night long, relishing the… More >>
  • Best Concert -Poster Designer

    Ashley Hohman

    Steeped in DIY punk aesthetic, Ashley Hohman's poster art is bold, utilizing black-and-white photos and text, and employing the use of a copy machine. The images mean to rip you from the complacency of the mundane and drag you into the dark underground, where ugliness is revered, rage and pain are toiled into creativity, and there are no rules for… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Beale on Broadway

    The blues were made for hot, sweaty, steamy nights. On any given evening (at least until winter rolls around), the rustic patio of Beale on Broadway — with its ample tables, excellent sightlines and freight trains rolling into view — throws the sound of the blues out into the open air and dishes out even more heat than it takes… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Alternative)

    The Dive Poets

    With Married to Your Ghost, the first full-length album from veteran band the Dive Poets, Eric Sargent has established himself as one of the keenest songwriters in St. Louis' Americana scene, but it's his band that has come into its own. With Karl Eggers on guitar and Anna Drexelius on viola, the Poets can charge as hard and reckless as… More >>
  • Best Country Band (Traditional)

    Diesel Island

    It's easy to take Diesel Island for granted, to forget that it's still one of the strongest purveyors of classic country music in town. Once a regular at the long-gone Frederick's Music Lounge, the band — led by veteran singer Kip Loui and the Bottle Rockets' Brian Henneman, and featuring new members Tim McAvin and Spencer Marquart — Diesel Island… More >>
  • Best Cover Band

    The VCRs

    In this city '70s and '80s cover bands are a dime a dozen. But the '90s? It seemed like no one wanted to go full-flannel until the VCRs came along. The six-piece group formed in 2011, spitting out Weezer and Pearl Jam covers like all good alterna-kids should. Since then, the group has also taken on artists such as Spacehog,… More >>
  • Best Drummer

    Shawn O'Connor

    "Best" is a relative term, especially when relating to a dense trade like percussion, and one's measure of skill often lies with straight speed or power. Not that Shawn O'Connor (a.k.a. the Defenestrator) of Yowie is lacking in either. He isn't — but his band requires much more mind over matter. His attention to texture puts him one notch above… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Irene Allen Sullivan

    Irene Allen Sullivan is blessed with a powerhouse of a voice. Pound for pound, she can belt it out with the best in the city. It is her techinque and sense of dynamics that separates Sullivan from similarly talented St. Louis singers. She expertly bends pitches on "blue" notes and imbues her melodies with just the right amount of vibrato.… More >>
  • Best Folk Artist

    Indian Blanket

    The songs of Indian Blanket are simple and concise, with an ability to touch even the coldest of hearts. Joe Andert's trusty guitar and his earnest, driving voice lead the listener through anthemic choruses as lonely ghost vocals help carry the refrains, providing hope to the afraid and broken. He's unafraid to wear pain openly through song. When the revolving… More >>
  • Best Gospel Artist

    Arthur Anthony

    Arthur "Flash" Anthony Johnson has an extraordinary story. A fiercely competitive boxer with more than 100 wins under his belt, Johnson won numerous national flyweight titles before representing the United States at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. The East St. Louis, Illinois, native retired while still in his twenties, and then mounted a comeback in the '90s, continuing to win… More >>
  • Best Guitarist

    John Horton

    As one of the finest sidemen in the history of St. Louis music, John Horton understands his role: to serve the song, not his ego. As a former member of Bob Reuter's Kamikaze Cowboy and Mike Ireland's Holler, and a current member of the Bottle Rockets and Colonel Ford, Horton is most at home in country settings, where melody is… More >>
  • Best Jam Band

    Reelfoot

    Jamming takes a lot of work, but mainly it takes stamina to create the longevity expected by tripped-out fans looking to sway and hula-hoop all night long. Reelfoot brings these elongated sessions to each performance, understanding that the jam format calls for song after song to feed into one another, each ending back where it started. This technique causes revelers… More >>
  • Best Jazz Artist

    The Bosman Twins

    Dwayne and Dwight Bosman have been fixtures on the St. Louis jazz scene since they were teenagers, and though the twins could easily have become a novelty act, a footnote to this city's rich jazz history, they've more than made their mark. The Bosmans have collaborated or shared the stage with everyone from Lester Bowie and Fontella Bass to Roy… More >>
  • Best Casino

    River City Casino

    Many casinos are depressing, exhausting places; after all, watching patrons shuffle along, tired and weary from a combination of money loss and navigating a sprawling labyrinth of sin, is fascinating for only so long. But River City Casino is a happy joint — and a great one in which to misplace some money — mostly because it is so gambler-friendly.… More >>
  • Best Pop Band

    The Educated Guess

    It's sometimes said that the best pop music comes from the heart, not the head, but the Educated Guess might beg to differ. Led by the eccentric, brilliant Charlie Brumley on piano and vocals, the Educated Guess plays brainy and highly orchestrated pop, soaked in soul and rock & roll, as indebted to the Brill Building and Motown as it… More >>
  • Best R&B Artist

    Al Holliday

    Earlier this year Al Holliday emerged seemingly out of nowhere (actually it was Collinsville, Illinois) with a debut album, Made It Through the Mill, Again, and made fans of St. Louis blues, soul and R&B more than take notice. If they weren't pushing back the tables and dancing, they weren't alive. With the voice of a grizzled blues shouter three… More >>
  • Best Songwriter

    Seth Porter

    If we had an award for Most Pinchable Cheeks in St. Louis Pop, we'd totally give it to Seth Porter. But being named the greatest songwriter in all the land isn't so bad, either, is it? Behind the huge grin and under that mop of hair, the Blind Eyes vocalist has major lyrical skills. Take "January," for instance. In the… More >>
  • Best Soul Band

    The Jungle Fire

    It's 2013, and St. Louis is in a weird place. There is a tremendous sense of pride emanating from all sides of the city, but there's also plenty of discontent. In general, the people are fed up with the crime and the lack of solutions, the sometimes-stagnant politics and the overall ambivalence that's bogged down our city for far too… More >>
  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Andy Shadburne

    Deep in the city's concrete jungle, silence can echo for blocks. But listen closely. One voice pierces the hush. Andy Shadburne isn't content to sing lyrics; the Via Dove vocalist prefers to purr them instead, using his crushed-velvet delivery of rock & roll to rush the heartbeats of those listening. Shadburne roars with emotion and whimpers with longing, building heat… More >>
  • Best Metal Band

    Black Fast

    The members of Black Fast don't play games; they play metal. Blistering, bludgeoning, no-holds-barred metal. The band's latest, August's Starving Out the Light, nimbly hopscotches through subgenres while maintaining an impressive technicality throughout. The lightning-quick guitar work by axmen Trevor Johanson and Aaron Akin is particularly noteworthy, as is Akin's unique, scorched-earth vocals. This is the music that the metal… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Lumpy & the Dumpers

    Straight from the demented brain of a man who calls himself "Lumpy" (a.k.a. Martin Meyer, former drummer of St. Louis punk favorite Sweet Tooth), Lumpy & the Dumpers is a band tailor-made to occupy the deepest, darkest corners of subterranean spaces. Like the musical equivalent of the 1984 B-movie C.H.U.D., Lumpy and his band of "cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers" (better… More >>
  • Best Music Festival

    LouFest

    One would be hard-pressed to attempt to justify any other local festival's placement above this year's LouFest — the sheer size and scope of the event easily place it in the top spot. The homegrown festival, founded by St. Louisan Brian Cohen, teamed up this year with C3 Presents, a promotion company best known for putting on Lollapalooza and Austin… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Artist

    Nick Menn

    The Doorway collective (voted Best Hip-Hop Group in this year's RFT Music Awards) contains no shortage of talent in its ranks, but Nick "Whiteout" Menn stands out among the standouts. Maybe that's the result of his energetic delivery, dense rhymes or effortless flow — when performing as a group, Menn's rapidly delivered verses turn heads, and his onstage charisma makes… More >>
  • Best Children's Theater

    Metro Theater Company

    The very phrase "children's theater" often conjures images of condescension — of actors overacting as they sell an underdeveloped story to captive youngsters. If that's your definition, then for the last three decades Metro Theater Company has been St. Louis' best anti-children's theater. During Carol North's 33 years as Metro's artistic director, she has come to believe that young people… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Off Broadway

    It is pretty safe to say that Off Broadway is home base to much of the St. Louis music scene and its many diverse bands. That diversity may render the "rock" part of Best Rock Club a bit of a misnomer, but try telling that to the crowd of folks up front, lost in the music and dancing the night… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Club

    The Gramophone

    Though not specifically designated as a hip-hop club — in fact, you can find artists of all genres here, from blues and jazz to rock and pop — the Gramophone holds a special place in the heart of many of St. Louis' hip-hop heads. For years the venue has served as a home for St. Louis hip-hop, with local mainstays… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    Maximum Effort

    Good, you made it. Were you followed? Are you sure? OK, good. Let's call this meeting to order. Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to report that the Maximum Effort project has been steadily gaining support in the underground community, raising awareness about the lies of the shadow government and finding footing particularly in the St. Louis area. We've found… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop DJ

    DJ Mahf

    DJ Mahf is no stranger to this publication, and we'll stop writing about him and his irreproachable turntable skills if he ever slows down or misses a beat, but 2013 doesn't seem to be the year that that's going to happen. After multiple tours this year with partner Steddy P, including a Canadian excursion this spring to open for the… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    DJ Sir Thurl

    On the scene in St. Louis for more than fifteen years, DJ Sir Thurl is truly a hip-hop force to be reckoned with. As one half of the Lou Gotti Boyz (alongside the esteemed DJ Cuddy), Sir Thurl spins on WHHL (104.1 FM), getting the party started and keeping it going every Saturday and Sunday night. The prolific DJ also… More >>
  • Best Tribute Band

    Capone

    Capone would call itself a "cover" band, but we think that label is an undersell. A "cover" band simply performs songs by artists its members enjoy, whereas a "tribute" band transforms itself into those very artists. While Capone holds no allegiance to any one band in particular, its members' devotion to all things hair metal — down to the falsetto… More >>
  • Best Band to Die in the Past 12 Months

    The Brainstems

    The Brainstems' classic jangly sound first busted up some ears in the latter part of 2011. The raucous crew played little more than eighteen months, serving up a finely tuned brew of garage rock. The band's messy approach felt distinct and planned rather than overly tight — after all, rock & roll happens in the dark where it's hard to… More >>
  • Best Garage Band

    Dad Jr.

    "Cock rock" describes tunes played to the beat of a pelvic thrust, mostly in relation to males working through their midlife crises. The members of Dad Jr.'s crew are barely half as old as most cock-rockers, but they've taken a quick detour that might ruin their chances of being future weekend warriors. Mr. Hands, the foursome's lead guitarist, has literally… More >>
  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    Grace Basement, Wheel Within a Wheel

    Kevin Buckley spent a few years away from his folk/pop project Grace Basement and hit a couple grown-up milestones — turning 30, getting married and playing the Irish folk music that nurtured his skill on the fiddle. After releasing two fine records of rangy indie rock in 2007 and 2009, Buckley started with a clean slate, a new set of… More >>
  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    Bunnygrunt/Trauma Harness Split 7"

    So, we're in River City, and our best single should certainly be some blues rehash or singer-songwriter, right? But howzabout something with some claws instead? Both songs on this single come from opposite sides of the Mississippi. First, there's Bunnygrunt, which, for the last two decades, has stood as a St. Louis beacon for twee-pop indie rock. The band's cover… More >>
  • Best Comedy Open Mic

    Thursday Night Mic Night at Fitz's Balcony Bar

    Open-mic night at Fitz's Bottling Company proves you don't need a traditional club setting to attract great comics and consistent audiences. For the past two years, hosts Jon Venegoni and (RFT contributor) Kelsey McClure have taken over the upper balcony for a late-night standup showcase of everyone from amateurs to polished veterans. And if you're ready to write some dick… More >>
  • Best Noise Band

    The Night Grinder

    The Night Grinder's aural poetry is always improvised and never ill-prepared. Brad Schumacher moves mics with a subtle hand, wielding succinct sounds. Where cables dangle down like puppet strings, connecting mics to processors, Schumacher brings the Night Grinder to life. Often working with feedback, he builds powered drone through exploring a room's space. The stage's floor and walls are vital… More >>
  • Best Radio Show (Music)

    All Soul, No Borders

    Never mind the calendar; the week ends with Sunday. With Monday hot on Sunday's heels, All Soul, No Borders (10 p.m. till midnight) calms that work-week dread with a genuine jazz show. Host Joshua Weinstein truly educates through trivia and clever quips on each selection. Let's dismiss the classics, or maybe the same five jazz bands everyone likes, and dive… More >>
  • Best Radio Station (Music)

    KDHX (88.1 FM)

    KDHX (88.1 FM) is St. Louis' much-loved independent radio station, going strong for more than 25 years. Not content to simply provide St. Louis with quality programming and the widest range of music in town, the station recently acquired a new building to call home in the heart of Grand Center. Now dubbed the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass Band

    Old Salt Union

    The five young men who make up Old Salt Union grew up in Belleville, Illinois, the flashpoint for the '90s alternative-country scene, and they're still growing (plus the band's bassist, Jesse Farrar, is the son of Colonel Ford bassist Dade Farrar, and nephew of Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt founder Jay Farrar). Dustin Eiskant, Ryan Murphey, Justin Wallace, John Brighton… More >>
  • Best AM Radio Personality

    Frank O. Pinion

    John Craddock has been doing the same shtick for more than 30 years now, delivering playful radio banter under the nom de air of Frank O. Pinion. Tuning into the Large Morning Show in the Afternoon on KTRS (550 AM) is to tune out from the world for a few moments with old friends. Think the Three Stooges with Mr.… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Blank Space

    This storefront Cherokee Street space is true to its name, which readily declares itself a blank page for all things creative. Hosting everything from traditional art exhibitions to game nights to rap performances (and everything in between), this new venue has quickly made itself one of the most inclusive and diverse programs in the city, drawing eager crowds to partake… More >>
  • Best Book by a Local Author

    Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld

    Curtis Sittenfeld moved to St. Louis in 2007 for her husband's job and (sort of) dissed us in a New York Times op-ed piece earlier this year. But the move to the Midwest has served her well, as this city provided the backdrop for her intriguing fourth novel, Sisterland. It tells the story of grownup twins Kate and Violet, who… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    HandleBar

    Say what you will about hipsters, but when it boils down to the basics, urban bikers, tattooed ladies and mustachioed twentysomethings sure know how to have fun. HandleBar, the bicycle-themed watering hole in the heart of the Grove, may look like a mild-mannered neighborhood bar by day, but by night this is the kind of place where bartenders dress in… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality (Male)

    Art Holliday

    Holiday Inn first coined the term "holidome" as a marketing slogan for the hotel chain's indoor waterparks. But here in St. Louis the word takes on another meaning: Art Holliday's head. The veteran KSDK (Channel 5) anchor made the decision years ago to shave off his short and tidy (yet receding) Afro and replace it with a bare, glistening crown.… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality (Female)

    Sharon Reed

    Goodbye, Larry Conners. Helloooo, Sharon Reed. Not only has the "face" of KMOV (Channel 4) gotten a lot better looking this past year, so too has the hair. Reed's highlighted black-and-ginger locks are a waterfall of personality, starting out straight along her cheeks before cascading into loose and layered curls that roll past the shoulders. It all adds up to… More >>
  • Best Live-Music Venue

    Foam Coffee & Beer

    Foam proves that great shows can come in small packages. Not a traditional venue by any means, it straddles the fence between coffeehouse and neighborhood bar, with a cozy, light-strung space for creativity-loving minds to convene intimately between libations. Foam hosts a variety of genres between its brick walls and provides a comfortable musical home for all comers. Over the… More >>
  • Best FM Radio Personality

    D-Ex and Furius "Iceman" Stylz

    Hip-hop owes a great debt to the spoken-word poets and urban radio jocks who came long before the genre fully formed; the art is in the beat, but it's also present in what gets said in, about and around that beat. On air from 9 till 11 p.m. every Friday night on KDHX (88.1 FM), the Wax Murdaraz crew of… More >>
  • Best New Art Gallery

    BANK Projects

    Located in a former bank half a block off of Cherokee Street's business district, BANK Projects hit the ground running since opening this past March. Founded by artists Mitch Kirkwood and Marianne Laury, this brightly refurbished space — freshly emblazoned with a massive neon sign reading "BANK" and a matching neon-graffittied van parked in front — has already played host… More >>
  • Best Reporter (Newspaper Division)

    Paul Hampel

    Where is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Paul Hampel these days? The answer: everywhere. The watchdog who for years made lunchmeat of lying and hypocritical St. Louis county officials is now covering the Metro East, where he has been all over one of the biggest stories of 2013: the drug scandal inside the St. Clair County courts. At the same time,… More >>
  • Best Reporter (TV/Radio Division)

    Rachel Lippmann

    St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann is always where the action is, be it on the campaign trail, on the scene of a shooting or wherever citizen tempers are boiling over in public hearings around the greater St. Louis area. While her coverage of such serious matters is precise and dogged, she also had one of the best and quirkiest… More >>
  • Best TV News Anchor

    Pat McGonigle

    The Today in St. Louis anchor has only been in town since 2011, but he has already set himself apart from the rest of the pack. McGonigle is pretty much down for anything in the name of "journalism" — including getting peed on by a cat, which made Jennifer Blome laugh so hard that she cried. He got pranked by… More >>
  • Best Weathercaster

    Chris Higgins

    Chris Higgins may not be able to fight the weather, but he can — and did — fight the Internet. Back in February the KTVI (Channel 2) weathercaster underestimated a forecast, and "a dusting of snow" turned out to be four inches. The Internet collectively called him out on the mistake, and Higgins publicly admitted he got it wrong. But… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Super-8 Movie Madness

    With all due respect to the mighty Webster Film Series and its continually impressive roster of films, there's nothing like Tom Stockman's Super-8 Movie Madness. The labor of love — heavy emphasis on love — happens on the first Tuesday of the month at the Way Out Club, and it celebrates the weird and wonderful world of Super-8 films. These… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Jazz at the Bistro

    There's a reason why Jazz at the Bistro has held the honor of best jazz club for several years running. As St. Louis' premier venue for renowned jazz acts, it hasn't stopped short of fulfilling its mission to educate audiences of all ages about jazz since its inception in 1995. JATB has hosted everything from living legends to rising stars… More >>
  • Best Local Actor

    Justin Ivan Brown

    We saw a lot of Justin Ivan Brown on St. Louis stages this year and with good reason. Brown has established himself as an actor whose name you look for in the playbill, because he consistently delivers cerebral, affecting performances. Back in January he dazzled as the self-centered and sex-hungry Young Soldier in Café Chanson with Upstream Theater. In July,… More >>
  • Best Local Actress

    Nancy Bell

    Nancy Bell scared the shit out of a theater full of people, and it had nothing to do with the goat carcass she dragged onstage. As Stevie, the wife chucked over for an actual goddamn goat in Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (St. Louis Actors' Studio), Bell delivered the kind of indelible performance you see on the… More >>
  • Best Local Cartoonist

    Matt Bryan, Book of Da

    There have been and will be many locally made, self-published comics in St. Louis, but it's impossible to understate the achievement of Matt Bryan and Mike McCubbins' Book of Da. Superfunded on Kickstarter (they raised more than five times their target of $3,000), Book of Da comes in gorgeous hardcover and clocks in at 148 pages — many of them… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    Just John Night Club

    Karaoke is all about crowd participation — it's just no fun if folks aren't fist pumping as you butcher "Separate Ways," right? You'll never have to worry about that at Just John. Karaoke veteran or verse virgin, you'll be surrounded by divas, drag queens and the rest of Dorothy's friends, and they'll shake a tail feather to every damn word… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    Tok

    Guitar licks galore, grooving bass lines, the hair, by God, the hair. Though we couldn't reach the mother of brothers Bryan and Matt Basler for comment, we like to believe that they were born armed with guitars, put on this planet to sing and shred. Tok & roll combines feel-good licks with solid midtempo beats and impeccable dance moves that… More >>
  • Best Live Music Venue to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Mushmaus

    Mushmaus stood just a few doors down from 2720 Cherokee. It was a beacon of nightlife; the yin to the average clubgoer's yang. If dubstep was down the street, Mushmaus would likely host a dance party of warped wax and broken strobes. Its two stories of gear and garbage often bustled with noise, hosting the seedy underbelly of St. Louis… More >>
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