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The Ass in "Gracias" 

Help honor unsung Lou heroes at the second annual Kick Ass Awards

There won't be any red-carpet paparazzi moments or lavish production numbers at the second annual St. Louis Kick Ass Awards ceremony, but despite their relative obscurity, the winners of these civic recognition awards are every bit as important as any Best Supporting Actor. "We wanted to find people that were not as recognized as they should be by the larger community," says organizer Thomas Crone. "The same fifteen or twenty people win awards over and over from [local] arts organizations. Those kinds of people are doing good things, but we wanted to celebrate some of the smaller things going on."

Crone, a freelance writer and former editor at the RFT, started the awards last year after writer and former St. Louisan Spike Gillespie launched a similar program in Austin. "I don't mind saying it's a completely ripped-off idea," Crone says. But the slate of winners is as St. Louis as gooey butter cake, ranging from arts educator and activist Ann Haubrich to Cherokee Business Association president Pat Brannon to RFT art critic Ivy Cooper. A few of the honorees may be familiar, but the four-person judging panel chose some that will be new to even the most plugged-in local boosters. The scene-savvy Crone himself says, "I didn't know all the winners last year, and this year I know even less."

But beyond simply saluting the people who make St. Louis an interesting place to live, Crone hopes that the awards ceremony sparks some new connections among the creative class: "It's basically an excuse to get a wider ring of people together in the same room to look at each other's experiences. Just to have these people meet each other, start talking and hopefully combine on some projects — I'd consider that a success."

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