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BEST OF ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

Best Museum

Doorway to the daring.. Photo byAndrea Fischman.

Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College
815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs

At first, it was uncertain whether any of the exhibits mounted within the Tang would generate the same controversy and conversation that its exterior did. Architect Antoine Predock’s design generated galvanic and bitterly opposed points of view—and we’re happy to say that director Charles Stainback and curator Ian Berry have lived up to the Tang’s subtle audacity. The most recent exhibit, From Pop to Now, was a marvelous tour through the post-abstract-expressionism art world, proving that the Tang can present an accessible survey-style show without being bland, and earlier thematic exhibitions such as Picturing the Indian: the Politics of Representation, which juxtaposed dated and stereotypical images of the American Indian with new work made by Native Americans, made clear that the museum could tackle political issues without giving short shrift to aesthetic concerns. The Tang is a first-rate and daring fine-arts museum right here in our own backyard.

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Best Movie Theater

Spectrum 7 Theatres
290 Delaware Ave., Albany

Still the best little multiplex around, booking the widest variety of movies. With its flexible scheduling, the Spectrum gives foreign and independent films the chance to find an audience. And don’t forget its upscale snack bar, with specialty treats alongside the traditional candies and popcorn.

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Best Second-Run Movie Theater

Proctor’s Theater
432 State St., Schenectady

Whoever came up with the designation “movie palace” must have seen a flick at this opulent vaudeville hall from the Roaring ’20s. Now it’s 2002, and Proctor’s still presents movies in a style—and at a price—befitting the Golden Age of Hollywood. The vast screen and its gilded surroundings do have a couple of modern flourishes, such as digital sound and AC. But the $2 admission ($3 balcony seating) to this perennial winner remains unchanged by time, and a box of popcorn (yes, an old-fashioned red-and-white box, not a plastic tub soaked in yellow oleo) will set you back less than a buck. Proctor’s also gets kudos for its charming arcade, which is lined with window displays from local museums instead of ear-splitting play stations.

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Best Family-Affordable First-Run Movie Theater

Crandell Theater
Main Street, Chatham

OK, often it’s “tail end of the first run,” but who’s complaining at $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for kids and a buck for popcorn? This family-owned cinema has been around since the ’30s and still offers that pre-war, small-town movie experience, complete with generous screen, high ceiling and really uncomfortable seats.

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Best Film Series

Time & Space Limited
Columbia Street, Hudson

There are a number of worthy film programs in the region, but TSL has the most consistently innovative programming. It hosts intriguing events with filmmakers, and there’s a unique spirit of community associated with it. Gotta love that funky industrial space, too.

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Best Equity Theater
(Big Operation)

Williamstown Theatre Festival
Williamstown, Mass.

The WTF deservedly won this year’s Tony for best regional theater. With a roster of actors, directors and designers that comprises a virtual Who’s Who of American theater, the WTF continues to bring top production values to a heady blend of new and traditional works, a notable number of which have gone on to the tough proving ground of Broadway. With a history of having such major playwrights as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller in residence, the WTF is an important home to creative theater artists.

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Best Equity Theater (Adventurous)

Stageworks
Kinderhook

While other local Equity houses are playing it close to subscribers’ vests, plying the area with safe choices that risk nothing and explore nothing, Stageworks boldly goes where no one else does.

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Best Theater (Defunct)

Proctor’s Too
Schenectady

Always excellent, always risky, Proctor’s Too is missed by everyone who loves performance. No one else in the area offered so much so strangely so infrequently, and now it’s gone.

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Best Community Theater Venue

Steamer No. 10
500 Western Ave., Albany

Where else can you see original children’s theater, French performance dance/art, original plays by teenagers, folk music, recent off-Broadway plays, improv, puppet shows, Shakespeare and sketch comedy—and get fresh popcorn and have the safest parking in Albany (a police substation is attached to the theater)?

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Best Actor

David Bunce

A NYSTI stalwart, Bunce recently has branched out from the usual hale, happy fellow, bringing some edge to the whimsical smile.

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Best Educational Theater

New York State Theater Institute
Troy

Berkshire Theatre Festival
Stockbridge, Mass.

(Tie)

NYSTI exists to create theater for young audiences, and there are probably few organizations in the country with its sense of purpose and genuine commitment. Its original musical productions, which began with A Tale of Cinderella, are gravy. But the BTF’s education program is growing remarkably successfully and is also marked by sincerity, talent and, most important, respect for its young audiences and participants.

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Best Theater Venue

Adams Memorial Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival
Williamstown, Mass.

One enters beneath its lofty columns and one senses not only the rich history of this venue but also the grand tradition and historical sweep of Western theater. This wonderful edifice will soon fall as a new performing arts complex engulfs it. One can only hope that the ugly new exterior will contain an auditorium of the present AMT’s warmth, comfort, clear sightlines and balance between intimacy and grandness.

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Best Director

Nicholas Martin

Martin has flexed his muscles in a variety of productions that have run the gamut from Hedda Gabler (which went on to fame on Broadway) to the present success of his irresistible Where’s Charley?, which is sure to have a life beyond the two weeks that it graced the stage in Williamstown. Best at rediscovering forgotten gems, Martin directs with honesty and an obvious—and contagious—love of his material and actors.

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Best Arts Venue (With Puppets and Drag Queens)

Hudson River Theater
521 Warren St., Hudson

Behind an attractive but unassuming facade on Hudson’s Warren Street, the impossibly voluptuous Musty Chiffon (who in non-drag life is Dini LaMot, formerly of the band Human Sexual Response) has lit a powder keg of cabaret. On any given night, the lovingly refurbished 100-seat theater hosts the likes of Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, Maggie Moore of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Carol Channing impersonator Richard Skipper. And that’s not the half of it: The theater also boasts puppet shows, movie nights, drag shows and a full bar. As if booze and puppets weren’t enough in and of themselves.

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Best Dance Venue

Jacob’s Pillow
358 George Carter Road, Becket, Mass
.

In a walk, a kick, a strut. The Ted Shawn Theatre was built for dance, so every seat is good. The Doris Duke Studio Theatre provides a frame for younger companies and more experimental dance. The admission-free Inside/Out Stage has become an entrée to dance for kids, old folks and everyone. The Pillow also hosts a myriad of free events—talks, exhibitions, dance classes and parties—almost every day, welcoming audiences even when they don’t have tickets to the evening’s performance.

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Best Dance Company

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company

The most experimental game in town for site-specific dances and inventive collaborations with artists of other disciplines. Now in its 10th year, the company has attracted some smooth, interesting dancers who look good together. As a troupe, it’s never stopped growing.

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Best Unintended Result of the Pampering of Dancers

The women’s bathroom of the National Museum of Dance
99 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs

Alison Moore, the museum’s first artistic director, ordered john seats that curve upward at the back to support dancers’ spines. What’s good for dancers is good for everyone. The lounge is furnished with a comfy-cushioned wicker armchair, lacy curtains and a watercolor poster of the amazing Loie Fuller (1862-1928) floating off the ground, buoyed upward on sails of flowing, colored silks.

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Best Performance Venue

The Egg
Empire State Plaza, Albany

That concrete salad container that hovers over the Plaza has an elegant, intimate surprise inside: a performance theater. Two of ’em, actually, but we especially like the larger Hart theater: at approximately 900 seats, tiered for optimal visibility, it fills the midsize-venue niche perfectly. And what a niche that is when scheduled with the élan that the Egg demonstrates on a regular basis. Take this season, for instance: Youssou N’Dour and Gilbert and Sullivan, classical tabla and Hot Tuna, modern-dance divinities galore, imaginative kids’ shows out the wazoo, stagings direct from Broadway, opera, world music and the Empire State Film Festival to boot. And no, it won’t tip over.

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Best Outdoor Venue

Agnes Macdonald Music Haven
Central Park, Schenectady

Granted, Schenectady isn’t the Berkshires, but the rolling hills of Central Park stand in rather nicely, and the Music Haven stage faces a hill that happens to be perfectly graduated for both terrific visibility and balmy breezes. But it’s the combination of venue and scheduling that makes the Music Haven a destination second to none. Its Second Wind summer concert series sets the park afire with the hottest acts in folk, blues, jazz and world music. And it’s free—you can’t say that about the other green-space stages.

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Best Booked Venue

Valentine’s
17 New Scotland Ave., Albany

Mike Watt, the Young Fresh Fellows, Chuck Prophet, the Asylum Street Spankers, Jonathan Richman, Grant Hart, Steve Wynn (playing the entire Days of Wine and Roses album, no less), Cobre Verde, Rival Schools, Johnny Dowd, Mark Mulcahy, David J, Guided by Voices, not to mention a whole slew of local talent . . . we could go on and on, and we hope that Valentine’s does. Bitch as we may about the dearth of midsize clubs in the region, when we take a moment to think about the big names, the cult-hero names and the Magnet-magazine-
profile names that Howard Glassman and company have brought through our humble burg, we’re forced to admit we sound spoiled and ungrateful.

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Best Eclectic Club Booking

Club Helsinki
Great Barrington, Mass.

Whether showcasing legendary national acts or taking chances on newcomers, no area club is more committed to diversity than Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki. Name a form of modern music, and Helsinki’s booked it—from zydeco to reggae, klezmer to African, jazz to rock, bluegrass to blues. International performers regularly make the trek to this little club in the Berkshires—you may see Senegalese hiphop one night and Australian folk the next. The decor and clientele—also motley assortments—are worth checking out as well.

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Best Place to See a Show

Troy

Where should you go when you just want to head out the door without being a slave to the listings in the paper? Troy. Where are you sure to find some great acts—rock & roll, blues, garage, country swing, what have you? Troy. More specifically, we’re talking about the Ale House and Artie’s Lansingburgh Station. Not only do both of these clubs consistently book great out-of-town and local music, they’re both great places to be (and the Ale House has some of the best chicken wings in town). The Troy crowd is nearly devoid of stiff little hipsters, and people are actually nice to one another. Don’t be afraid when your barstool neighbor leans over to start a conversation: it’s the way of the Troy folk. And their drunkenness doesn’t seem to be the angry sort; they like to have fun. Shit, the Lawn Sausages are from Troy (and a co-front-Sausage owns Artie’s). Any audience that’ll cheer and dance to a man in a Spandex glitter bodysuit is OK in our book.

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Best Band

Wetwerks

Breakout beatmasters: Wetwerks. Photo byJoe Putrock

We’d tell you that Wetwerks are truly at the top of their game right now—except that we see potential for even further growth and development, and we don’t want to sell that potential short. Wetwerks have exploded onto the regional musical collective consciousness over the past year with their over-the-top live performances, and the three sharp new songs they recently recorded with Filter knob-wiggler Rae DiLeo have got “hit” written all over them.

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Best Live Band

Small Axe

Nobody does it better than Small Axe, who continue to amaze on the concert stage, pulling transcendence out of the heaviest and most technically proficient stoner-flavored rock we’ve ever encountered in these parts—or parts beyond. A great collection of songs delivered like a Mack truck grille to the sternum, brakes be damned.

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Best Punk Band

The Erotics

We’re probably selling Mike Trash and company short by labeling the Erotics “punk,” since they incorporate elements of glam and guerrilla art into their excellent onstage adventures as well. But hey, nobody else does the punky stuff better than they do, so let’s just keep it simple and (po)go along for the ride, whatever we (or you) (or they) call it.

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Best Rock & Roll Band

Rocky Velvet

Each year Rocky Velvet get something in this issue, and each year they get even better—so we must continue to acknowledge this under various headings: retro, rockabilly, this year it’s rock & roll (like it oughta be, like it used to be). They’ve done away with the matching bowling shirts, yes, but Rocky Velvet have matured into one of the best damn bands in the area. Graham Tichy is no longer a “budding guitar hero,” as we wrote in their Best Of entry in 2001. He’s a full-on guitar hero, and a busy one at that—Tichy also plays with our area’s grand pooh-bahs of rockabilly, the Lustre Kings, and Detroit band Bones Maki & the Sun Dodgers. Ian Carlton has the credentials to teach Frontman 101 to area college students, as he’s one of our area’s best—struttin’, shakin’ and singin’ his pompadoured heart out—with the pipes to back it up. And rhythm section Jay Gorleski (electric and double bass) and Jeff Michael (drums) hold the bottom end like there’s no tomorrow.

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Best Roots Rock

Coal Palace Kings

Another band who just keep getting better. CPK’s current lineup is phenomenal, and they’ve been playing all over our little slice of the country to rave reviews, but unfortunately it has been messed with as of late. Gone is George Lipscomb, who provided much of the band’s rock with his chugging, pounding, spot-fucking-on drumming. With the band being drummerless (or, shall we say, Lipscombless) as we go to press, it’s hard to see where they’ll go from here. But here’s hoping that frontman Howard Glassman keeps writing his heartfelt gems of the lonesome-range variety; that bassist Jeff Sohn and guitarist Larry Winchester continue to add their own nuggets of joy—er, sorrow—to the songwriting mix; that Winchester’s guitar sound continues to make our hearts skip a beat; that Sohn keeps holding up his end of the rhythm section like a pro; and that Rick Morse maintains his pedal steel mastery.

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Best Garage Band

Thee Ummmm . . .

We’re not sure of the exact spelling of Albany’s newest and greatest garage band, Thee Ummm . . . , but we’re sure that we just love ’em. Playing garage songs with wild abandon, the band are helmed by Rocky Velvet frontlad Ian Carlton, who gets sounds out of his Strat that’ll pierce your ears (in a good way). Another Rocky Velvet member, bassist Jay Gorleski, makes the team, and a couple of members of the sorely missed 1313 Mockingbird Lane round out the band: Kim 13, coaxing out pure vintage sounds on her Vox organ, and Brian Goodman, who also pounded skins for Susan & the Surftones and sings a good portion of this band’s songs, on drums. Watch this band. They’ll soon be your favorite.

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Best-Kept Secret

Super 400

Another band who jump categories every year but who we’ve just gotta mention, we love ’em so much. Super 400’s hard-rock psychedelic sound can give you flashbacks all by itself, and the three musicians who make up the band are phenomenal musicians: Guitarist-songwriter Kenny Hohman must have been born with a guitar in his hand, bassist Lori Friday can lay down a groove in her sleep, and drummer Joe Daley has music flowing through his veins. So why “best-kept secret”? Because we just don’t know where to catch them. We’ll hear rumors of shows in the area, but they’re always hard to track down. Our quest is made more difficult by the many bands the musicians play with—we just don’t know them all. Sometimes they back Chris Busone, a couple of them played in Gypsy Soul. And since the band can improvise with the best of them, an impromptu Super 400 show can spring up at the drop of a hat. Can someone out there start a Super 400 show hotline?

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Best Vocalist

Mitch Elrod

He gives us the shivers.

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Best Band We Don’t Have to Kick Around Anymore

Crabapple

Now that Don Bazley has moved to Ithaca, it seems that Crabapple may be no longer. Just when we were going to give them a Best Of.

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Best Big Band

Joey Thomas Big Band

We can’t figure out how the members of the Joey Thomas Big Band can make any money on a gig. Once the cash is divided among the 200 members, there can’t be much to go around. But they play big-band jazz that’ll transport you to the ballrooms of the ’30s, so we don’t really care how they do it.

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Best Resurrection

China White

Albany’s metal gods, China White, have been at it since the dawn of time. Their playing schedule goes in bits and spurts, but it never sputters out—thank fucking God—and you never know when you might get a new album from them (rumor has it that there’s one planned pretty soon). Just when you say to your Pabst-swilling neighbor, “Hey, where the hell have China White been?” is when they’ll play a gig. So keep asking.

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Best Karaoke

Ginger’s Ten-Ten Lounge
State Street, Schenectady

Karaoke is king at Ginger’s Ten-Ten Lounge, and if you’re like some of us, walking through the front door is like going home again. It’s 1970s Christmas all the time: Festive strings of lights hang in the dim air, and the dark walls are filled with images of a family’s important events. Everyone is a star at Ginger’s, and there are some ace singers among the regulars—a crowd that averages 60 years young. The stage where the magic happens is about three feet off the ground at the front of the bar, and there’s an open (yet similarly dark) room off the bar for dancing when a particular song tickles your fancy.

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Best Online Music Resource

BUMrock

bumrock.com

BUMrock has inched past its competitors with its steadfast desire to inform its public of all things musical. It lists live shows, maintains band bios and even hosts events. It also offers videos, local music news and loads of links.

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Best Apartment Serving as an Art Gallery and Performance Space

Miss Mary’s Art Space

5 New Scotland Ave., Albany

This new little art/performance space has an eclectic mix of both, with something going on nearly every night. Legendary improv psychedelic-jam artist Charalambides played the space a while back—and that’s pretty damn cool. Kitty Little, Lincoln Money Shot, Stars of Rock, Jason Martin and many others play there often as well, so chances are something good is a-happenin’ at any time.

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Best Radio Band

The Wait

Nobody sounds as good on the radio—or gets played as often—as the Wait. “Hollywood” sounds so damn good coming out of our cars’ consoles that we consider it only a matter of time before the rest of the country catches up with us and makes the Wait the full-on radio staple that they deserve so much to be.

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Best Jazz Ensemble

Adrian Cohen Quartet

No contest: Cohen and crew have got the songs, the chops and a devoted following. If you like jazz, you’ll love the Adrian Cohen Quartet. And if you don’t like jazz, you’ll still love the Adrian Cohen Quartet.

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Best Latin Band

Alex Torres y los Reyes Latinos

The untimely passing of baritone saxman Nick Brignola this year eliminated one of our annual “sure thing” critical choices—but we’re figuring Alex Torres and his Latin Kings are poised to fill in the breach, dominating their genre just as completely as Brignola dominated his.

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Best New Band

Black Inc.

If the prospect of hearing three former Clay People (who can claim even earlier roots in 1000 Young, Subduing Mara and the Vodkasonics), multitalented stringman George Muscatello and the long-retired singer of early ’90s metal faves East Wall doesn’t intrigue and excite you, then you’re not really paying enough attention to local music.

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Best Metal Band

EN~DoR~PhiN

This challenging trio offer a fresh and effective take on a genre that’s been suffering from a lack of originality around here for longer than we care to admit. We’re glad they survived the theft of their equipment and the loss of their guitarist to emerge tighter and more powerful than ever before.

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Best Electronic Artist

Sara Ayers

After a long absence from the local concert stage, Ayers has begun supplementing her always interesting studio work with a series of live performances that show just how effective and evocative electronic music can be when it’s done right.

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Best Singer-Songwriter (Male)

Rob Skane

Simply put, Rob Skane writes great songs, and he sings ’em likes he means ’em. What more do you want? That is, besides his great new album and the fact that he also doubles as lead guitarist and musical director for the Lawn Sausages. That’s certainly more than enough, isn’t it?

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Return of the tripple threat. Photo byJoe Putrock

Best Singer-Songwriter (Female)

Katie Haverly

Katie Haverly is blessed with copious talent as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, and we are lucky that she’s willing to bless us with the same on a regular basis, seeing as how she’s back in Albany after stints in Colorado, Arizona and Chicago. Their loss. Our gain.

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Best Guitarist

Mike Guzzardi (Black Inc.)

What a treat it’s been to watch Mike Guzzardi grow over the past decade into one of the area’s most accomplished stringbenders. A great natural player who puts tremendous effort into expanding his palette and making whatever band he’s playing with sound absolutely top-of-the-heap tight while still slipping in the naggingly delicious slides and leads that define his work—often while you’re looking someplace else. We like that.

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Best Drummer

Thom Hall
(Small Axe)

John Bonham’s been dead for a
quarter-century, but if you want to hear someone play a monster kit with a monstrous sound approaching Bonzo’s, look no further than Small Axe’s Thom Hall, who provides the thunderous wallop needed to support Jimbo Burton and D.J. Hall’s orgies of sound. If you’ve heard Small Axe live, you know that that’s a helluva lotta support, indeed.

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Best Bassist

Nate Giordano (Wetwerks)

Nate Giordano is the bomb that makes Wetwerks explode, providing the rumbling über-rhythms that drive their material far into new dimensions of space and sound. He’s also one of those rare beasts, a technically adept and intuitive bassist who can play as hard as his band needs him to without ever overshadowing his bandmates and their songs. When you notice him, it’s for all the right reasons.

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Best Keyboardist

Ryan Barnum
(The Wait)

We love Ryan Barnum, who provides all the cool keyboard fills that move the Wait’s songs so far beyond the work of so many like-minded bands. A great player with a great collection of vintage gear (all of which he uses effectively, not just as gimmickry), Barnum also wins utility infielder points for providing the occasional third axe and sweet backing vocals that make us say, “Mmmmmm.”

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Best Flautist

Andrew Tisbert (Attic of Love)

We know, as soon as we say “flautist,” visions of Ian Anderson singing “Cross-Eyed Mary” pop into your head. But there are other things that can be done with a flute in a rock & roll setting, and Attic of Love’s Andrew Tisbert does many of them very, very well. The coolest thing, though, is that instead of doing them atop aspirated-sounding, folkified Brit-rock, he does them in front of an ass-kicking, Tool-flavored modern metal band. Gotta see it to believe it.

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Best Pop Band

The Day Jobs

With a stable of catchy songs and waves of energy, the Day Jobs probably fit the “pop” bill better than any other band around here. We’ve seen more than one headlining band bow in reverence after the Day Jobs pull off a smoking opening set. With the recent return of former-Bloom, former-Lughead member Mike Pauley on bass, this trio will only get better.

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Best Acoustic Performer

Chris Blackwell

He’s not well known around here, but local singer-songwriter Chris Blackwell is a genuine hillbilly-country talent. He’s got an appealing warble and spirited redneck charm, whether he’s performing his own first-rate songs or reverent covers of honky-tonk and bluegrass staples. Better still, he inspires bar patrons to get up off their duffs and boogie. We hear he moonlights in a jam band from time to time, but hey, who’s perfect?

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Best Bad Band Name

Balls Deep

At first we thought this band name was a crude sexual reference. Then we heard it had something to do with the male experience of wading waist-deep into frigid water. Either way, each time we see this band’s name plastered across fliers and stickers in downtown Saratoga Springs, we cringe and think it’s a pretty godawful name to be saddled with.

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Best Tom Burre Vehicle

BoneOil

Not to slag any of the many side projects, support slots and surprise pickup gigs that Tom Burre takes on, but his own outfit, BoneOil, is still our favorite way to catch him doing his thing. BoneOil is the perfect answer to settle that age-old riddle, “What would happen if David Torn and Antonio Carlos Jobim went two out of three falls to see who got to program the iPod?”

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Best Hard Rock

Secretguy

Big Al, of metal-ska mavens Can’t Say, went into the darkest parts of the woods on a vision quest. He came back minus one adjective (he now goes by “Albie”) and one horn section, but he’s up one burlap-sackful of wallop in the form of Secretguy, a monstrous blend of stoner rock, hayseed rave-up and backwoods witchery that’d have Robert Bly making the sign of the Beast and shotgunning Piel’s.

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Best Songwriter
(Grad School)

Ed Gorch

Knotworking’s Ed Gorch writes literate and lyrical songs that can be considered a kind of Northeastern gothic. He’s got a way with metaphors such that you lose sight of the device and get hit square in the face with the melancholy—but that doesn’t mean the craft ain’t there. Shambling edifices betray the sorry state of their occupants’ emotional states; the natural wonder of the night sky is washed away in unflattering, earthly incandescence; tawdry lawn ornaments stand as sorry sentries guarding against patient indignity . . . all to poignant melodies that will have even the strictest thesis adviser toe-tapping.

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Best Songwriter
(Vocational School)

Steve Gaylord

You work like a dog to put the KFC on the table, ’cause Rent-a-Center don’t trade on good looks alone. It’s an ugly world, and what you see is just the presentable face of an even deeper, ages-old ugliness that goes way back before we got the natives drunk and scared enough to take the shittiest of all possible real-estate deals. So you keep your head down and your nose to the grindstone till it buffs your features flat and you’re left with no mouth but a slit fit for fast food in and little sense out. Every now and then, though, something deep inside wrenches free of its malt liquor-and-Olestra bed, seeps up your windpipe, oozes round your clenched cuspids, and frightens the women and the children half to death. If you’ve ever heard a Steve Gaylord song—either with his now-defunct band Beef or with his latest venture, the Wasted—you know exactly what we mean. It’s like a paranoid schizophrenic’s public reading of Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States.

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Best Songwriter (Home School)

Gaven Richard

Gaven Richard, whom you probably know best as drummer-vocalist for the Kamikaze Hearts, saves some of his, shall we say, less mainstream material for solo release—though he can be cajoled into performing them with the band. So you may have heard “Pink Huffy,” the tale of the inebriated father pedaling around town on his adult daughter’s discarded bike; giggled appreciatively at the gentlemanly sentiment expressed in the outro refrain of “You Don’t Have to Go Down on Me”; and marveled at Richard’s reworking of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby,” in which the narrator psychokinetically influences the outcome of both billiards games and affairs of the heart. But have you heard the tale of “Little Crystal”? See, Crystal’s dad really didn’t want to get a job, so he spent his days trolling the chemical-slick river for his family’s dinner; meanwhile, Crystal’s mom became convinced by a TV documentary that water birthing was really where it was at. So a hole was cut in the dock, and a net was rigged up to catch the baby, but mom’s unvarying diet of iffy fish seemed to have affected her little one’s neonatal development, and her teeth are more barracuda-like than is usual in one so young, and she gives her parents the slip. Needless to say, this puts a strain on connubial relations, and . . . well, we’re loath to give away the ending. But if you think simultaneously sparse and adventurous Mountain Goats-style songs populated by characters seemingly lifted from the films of Harmony Korine may be your cup of tea, you’ll thank us profusely for spurring you to check Richard out.

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Readers Poll Results:

 

Best Local Band

  1. Lawn Sausages
  2. Burners UK

Best Solo Artist

  1. Paddy Kilrain
  2. Rob Skane

Best Local Live Venue

  1. Valentine’s
  2. The Van Dyck

Best Dance Club

  1. Sneaky Pete’s
  2. Jillian’s

Best Movie Theater

  1. Spectrum
  2. Hoyt’s 18

Best Art Gallery

  1. Albany Institute of History and Art
  2. Albany Center Galleries

Best Performing Arts Organization

  1. SPAC
  2. Capital Repertory Theatre

Best Visual Artist

  1. David Arsenault
  2. Robert Gullie
  3. Alison St. Marie
  4. Dean Giagni (tie)

Best Local Filmmaker

  1. Masucci Brothers
  2. Glen Slingerlands
  3. Best Local Author
  4. William Kennedy
  5. Dan Masucci

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Copyright © 2002 Lou Communications, Inc., 4 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210. All rights reserved.