Arts & Entertainment

  • Best New York City Documentary

    Mulberry St.

    What could be more downtown than celebrating downtown's most notorious tourist trap? The fried dough sizzles in Mulberry St., Abel Ferrara's feature-length video doc. With the self-appointed celluloid King of New York extolling the heartburn charms of Little Italy's annual Feast of San Gennaro, Mulberry St. is an extended gloss on Ferrara–ego idol Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, especially the scene… More >>
  • Best Unauthorized Homage To A Rocker

    Night of 1000 Stevies

    This past May, when ex-Fleetwood Mac waif Stevie Nicks canceled her New York concert because of illness, there was plenty of consolation: Two days later at the Highline Ballroom, there was the 21st annual Night of 1000 Stevies, for which Stevie wannabes fly in on white wings from all over the world, aping her fringed ponchos and her gypsy-like, slightly… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Festival

    Howl! Festival

    Every year for three days in early June, the Howl! Festival takes over Tompkins Square Park and fills it with poetry, music, dance, and balloon art, all in celebration of Allen Ginsberg's raunchy but officially not obscene poem "Howl." The fest is family friendly: There's all sorts of face-painting and carnival games for kids in the afternoon. But grown-ups are… More >>
  • Best Public Artwork

    Tribute in Light

    The 10th anniversary of September 11 passed last month and, blessedly, so did the tidal wave of mawkishness. Really, was there ever a time when the citizenry and the media and our elected representatives tried so desperately to out-mourn one another about something? A remembrance of 9/11 is always more than necessary, but to smother the tragedy's anniversary under so… More >>
  • Best Art Festival

    Figment Festival

    Governors Island is already one of our favorite places on earth: a playground of uncrowded pathways, colonial architecture, and pristine views unspoiled by out-of-control condo development—no one lives there. So we didn't think the Island could really get any better, until the massive Figment Festival moved in. The three-day participatory art fest this year featured 400 performances and interactive installations,… More >>
  • Best Way To Not Get Stranded After A Big Arena Event

    Prudential Center

    With Radio City Music Hall given over to Cirque du Soleil and Madison Square Garden closed for renovations this summer, most of the season's big shows took place at slightly more far-flung venues—or at least, ones that would require either some sort of beyond-the-subway transportation to travel between. The four-year-old Prudential Center, located smack in the middle of downtown Newark,… More >>
  • Best Band Name

    Mannequin Pussy

    You gotta hand it to Mannequin Pussy. The rattletrap-grrrl duo of childhood pals vocalist/guitarist Marisita Dabeast and drummer-boy Athanasios Paul was originally founded as a trio. But when a bass-playing third member was uncomfortable with the New York band's mall-perv moniker, the name stayed, the friend didn't, and the rest is Death By Audio history. Dabeast and Paul, both 24,… More >>
  • Best Result Of The '90s Revival

    Widowspeak

    The Brooklyn trio Widowspeak offer up a melancholic take on swirling, country-influenced rock that has just enough low-end oomph to inspire a few comparisons to The Decade That Will Not Get Out Of Generation X's Collective Head. Their single "Harsh Realm" borrows its title from the notorious hoax a Sub Pop employee pulled on an overly gullible Times reporter who… More >>
  • Best Radio Show

    Downtown Soulville

    Before video killed the radio star and the Internet killed just about the entire hierarchy of the music industry, people used to depend on radio DJs to introduce them to music they liked. File-sharing and Spotify have changed all that, but vast corners of the musical universe are still invisible to the algorithms of digital networks. On WFMU every Friday,… More >>
  • Best Singer to Turn Life into a Cabaret

    Molly Pope

    Pop songs get reinvented on YouTube by many an aspiring Esmée Denters, but nobody gives the hits of the moments makeovers like Molly Pope. During her regular appearances at the Top-40-goes-cabaret night Our Hit Parade, she demonstrates her ability to turn even the most recognizable radio hit into something wholly her own. Her brassy voice, which harkens back to the… More >>
  • Best Male Vocalist

    Busta Rhymes

    Less than a year ago, newcomer Nicki Minaj stood on top of a Hammerstein Ballroom stage that had earlier in the night featured New York hip-hop luminaries no less than Fabolous, Lloyd Banks, and Juelz Santana. But it wasn't until Red Hook native Busta Rhymes joined Minaj for a surprise guest verse on "Roman's Revenge" that it really felt like… More >>
  • Best Reinvented Folk-Rocker

    Making Friendz

    Way before Tami Hart started her self-described "punk n' b" outfit Making Friendz, she was putting forth her softer side, crafting soul-wrenching tracks and collaborating with Indigo Girl Amy Ray. But when Hart moved to Brooklyn, she jutted her hips and threw up her arms. Her new dance-drenched project has a single-of-the-year candidate in the spell-it-out jam "Situation." And the… More >>
  • Best Guitarist

    Mary Halvorson

    Mary Halvorson's discography is ever-growing, though it isn't expanding as quickly as the guitarist-composer's seemingly ever-expanding arsenal of ways to use her instrument. Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear), her collaboration with trumpeter Peter Evans and drummer Weasel Walter, is full of improvisations that have her nearly turning her guitar inside-out in order to coax new sounds from it. Her willingness to… More >>
  • Best Rap Moguls With A Business Plan

    Das Racist

    When Das Racist first burst onto the Internet, it was with a meme-ready hook (singing about Yum! Brands' fast-food offerings will, it turns out, garner you quite a bit of Hype Machine traction) couched in an absurdist, tossed-off style. But with their first proper full-length Relax (Greedhead) they've gotten their song craft down. The bubbly "Girl" is not only joyous,… More >>
  • Best Drummer

    Greg Fox

    This fall at Williamsburg's Knitting Factory, the city's two best drummers squared off, one after the other, in a night of ear-bleeding, tom-pounding carnage. The reigning champion, Oneida's Kid Millions, opened with his percussion-only trio Man Forever, but it was Liturgy's Greg Fox who emerged as the new King of New York, hitting his snares at locomotive speeds. Although his… More >>
  • Best Producer

    araabmuzik

    For a quick introduction to what araabmuzik does behind the boards, check the titles of the many YouTube clips documenting the young producer's music-making process. There's "araabMUZIK RIPPIN SAMPLE APPART," then "Araab Muzik killlin' the MPC," and "Araab Musik (Dipset Producer) Killin the Beat." One finds the Providence transplant "goin in on the beats." Either way, it's best to follow… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Venue

    Gowanus Grove

    Warm weather brings the season of outdoor concerts to New York, and there is no shortage of great venues. But as wonderful as all these open-air venues are, they're all big and inevitably crowded and sweaty, and just getting through the gate can feel like an exhausting production. Sometimes what you want is a more intimate experience. And for that,… More >>
  • Best Park for Concerts

    Crotona Park

    Sure, Crotona Park is a great place to watch a show, but it's the city's best park venue because a 40-minute concert there can easily become an evening-long affair featuring any combination of grilling dinner, catching up with old friends, drinking nutcracker, walking through the park's 127 rolling acres, and reminiscing while your kids or grandkids play tops on the… More >>
  • Best Country Venue

    Jalopy Theatre

    For a while, we thought the Jalopy Theatre was the only country venue. But the fact that we knew of it at all says a lot: We grew up in a smelly, armpit-shaped land not far from New York City where country music simply did not exist except in the form of whatever crossover pop from Shania Twain Z100 happened… More >>
  • Best Movie Programming

    Anthology Film Archives

    Anthology Film Archives might be located in a desanctified courthouse and officially consecrated to the most rarefied expressions of cinematic art, but the atmosphere is wildly eclectic and the programming excitingly nonjudgmental: High, low, old, new, obscure, pop, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The venue alternates selections from its collection of avant-garde classics (the so-called Essential Cinema) with… More >>
  • Best Movie Revival

    House of Bamboo

    Erupting for a week-long run out of Film Forum's already zesty Robert Ryan retro, Samuel Fuller's 1955 House of Bamboo is no one's idea of a classic: a wide-screen, luridly Technicolor tale of love and corruption in the pachinko parlors of Tokyo that reeks of grind-house and Eisenhower–era triumphalism. Writer-director Fuller went on location in Japan to make the movie,… More >>
  • Best Free Concert With Unexpected Pyro

    tUnE-YarDs

    The Hudson River's Pier 54, home to the summertime RiverRocks concert series, is a lovely place to take in a show; the sun sinks over the horizon as the headliner really gets going, curious onlookers who have rented boats for the evening paddle up from the right side and peer into the crowd. The July 14 show by tUnE-YarDs was… More >>
  • Best Theater

    Public Theater

    In the mid 19th-century, a group of social elites attempted to found a national theater. It didn't last long. But more than a century on, we have a reasonable facsimile of a properly comprehensive stage. There are places with more innovative lineups and riskier rosters (P.S.122, St. Ann's, Soho Rep), but as a home for both the rising and the… More >>
  • Best Downtown Theater News

    Rebirth of the Ohio Theatre

    We still refuse to walk past 66 Wooster Street, the former home of the Ohio Theatre. God knows what's in that space now. Maybe a Stella McCartney boutique with in-house Cinnabon. Over the years, the Ohio had evolved into one of downtown theater's principal artistic homes and almost a kind of clubhouse for the scene. When the building's ownership changed… More >>
  • Best Theater Actress

    Kate Valk

    It's the eyes that grab you first: round and liquid, and with a stare intense enough to make you squirm in your seat whenever it strafes you. But this performer has other distinctive qualities: that high forehead, that lank hair, the habit of throwing herself into any role with such intensity that you think she might just tear it—or herself—in… More >>
  • Best Theater Actor

    David Greenspan

    Can this actor control the elements? Anyone who attended Target Margin's 2006 Faust believes it. Making an entrance as Mephistopheles, he stretched out his arms in front of him and then to each side, appearing to part the air as he stepped onto the stage. The devil was in such details. Certainly David Greenspan has control over any character he… More >>
  • Best Playwright

    Lynn Nottage

    In the last scene of a recent Pulitzer Prize winner, a character says soothingly, "I think we can do better." We're not so sure about that. In Ruined, star scribe Lynn Nottage combined a compelling plot and assured characters with a certain sense of place, history, and politics. But that script was merely the culmination of an already remarkable career,… More >>
  • Best Theater Director

    John Collins

    Some directors might be content to keep churning out familiar hits. Some directors, after nearly two decades of work, likely deserve a rest on their considerable laurels. Some directors aren't John Collins. Collins and Elevator Repair Service, the group he directs, recently staged Gatz, the seven-hour retelling of every word of The Great Gatsby, and followed it with a buoyant,… More >>
  • Best Choreographic Glut

    Alexei Ratmansky

    It's not as though his products were unfamiliar to New Yorkers before. Ever since Peter Martins first imported one in 2006, they've been the must-haves of their kind. It was big news when Martins failed to hire the maker himself, and Kevin McKenzie nabbed him instead. More pieces followed, more successes. But this is the year it really got out… More >>
  • Best Long Goodbye to an Irreplaceable Force in (Not Just) Dance

    Merce Cunningham

    We knew it was coming. And when the decision was made, years ago, it seemed reasonable, even noble and wise. But then came the death and the countdown began, and now it's nearly over, and we're having second thoughts. Before Merce Cunningham died at age 90 in 2009, he decreed that the company he founded in 1953 would last only… More >>
  • Best Betting-Person's Dance Venue

    The Chocolate Factory

    The place is so downtown it's in Long Island City. Catching a dance show at the tiny white-brick space is not like buying tickets to Swan Lake. You don't know what you're going to get, and it might not be anything you'll recognize as dance. It might even suggest the facile ruminations on philosophy, politics, and dance-insider arcana that many… More >>
  • Best YouTube Souvenir From A Show You Probably Didn't Get Into

    St. Vincent

    The lionization of The Indie Years has ensued all over the city recently, and in May, a concert paying tribute to Michael Azerrad's DIY chronicle Our Band Could Be Your Life—celebrating its 10th anniversary of being in print this year—sold out the Bowery Ballroom faster than you could say "Dinosaur Jr. original pressing." The show was filled with indie acts… More >>
  • Best 'Secret' Show At A Temporary Venue

    Yelawolf

    Corporate-sponsored "secret" shows—where the word gets out just in time for the hoi polloi to hear about the concert's headliner and sponsor but to miss their ability to get on the guest list—have become more and more plentiful in the post-recorded-music-as-moneymaker era, and few were more impressive than the transformation of a Bleecker Street space by the PepsiCo-owned Lipton Brisk.… More >>
  • Best Festival Set

    Slayer

    When the titans of thrash collectively known as the Big 4—Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, and Metallica—announced that their second U.S. show would be at Yankee Stadium this fall, there was some concern. The new iteration of The House That Ruth Built, after all, was a bit shinier and classier than its predecessor; the Bronx grit was still there, but corporately sponsored… More >>
  • Best New York Band to Break Up in the Past 12 Months

    LCD Soundsystem

    DFA Records co-founder James Murphy always insisted that his nearly flawless dance-punk band LCD Soundsystem carried an expiration date, especially once the project's nearly universal adulation began consuming the DJ/producer's life. But Murphy's preemptive warning still made this past spring's "weird last show and reunion" done "before we're all fucking old," as the brawny frontman informed the Terminal 5 crowd… More >>
  • Best New York-Based Record Label

    Frenchkiss Records

    For the past decade, absurdist art-punk firing squad Les Savy Fav have been one of the city's most consistently entertaining live acts. But as the five members have confronted adulthood's gnawing responsibilities and even sprouted families, the post-hardcore veterans have understandably become far more selective about their public engagements. That same curatorial fastidiousness dominates Frenchkiss Records, the indubitably excellent Manhattan… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Old Movies

    Film Forum

    Full-time nonprofit cinema Film Forum is still your go-to place for watching classic, avant-garde, independent, and foreign art films, not only because it features more of them, consistently, than just about anyplace else, but also because, like many of the movies it shows, it has its own rich history. It opened in its initial spot in 1970 as a screening… More >>
  • Best Gallery

    Gagosian

    New Yorkers are used to colossal pricks becoming No. 1. As Frank Sinatra (Exhibit A) sings after every Yankees (Exhibit B) game: "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." And so a former Los Angeles poster salesman parlayed connections to pop-art dealer Leo Castelli into a globe-girdling conglomerate that regularly tosses up museum-quality exhibitions at three… More >>
  • Best Artist

    David Hammons

    Who's the best artist in NYC? Is residency a requirement? Born here? (That last criteria probably eliminates 99 percent of the candidates.) How about a 68-year-old from Springfield, Illinois, who has flummoxed and thrilled New York's cognoscenti for decades? In 1983, he sold snowballs outside Cooper Union, merging the Duchampian conundrum of what, exactly, constitutes an objet d'art with the… More >>
  • Best New(ish) New York Band

    K-Holes

    They christened themselves after a ketamine trip. They have aptly titled songs called "Werewolf With a Tan," "The Gutter," and "Swamp Fires." The ladies outnumber the guys, and it's nearly impossible to tell who's who from the unisex psuedonyms: drummer Bam Bam, reed-blower Sax 5th Ave, bassist Junglaya, guitarist Creepy D, human maraca-seizure Cha Cha Con. Exports of local bands… More >>
  • Best New York Band That's Been Around For A While

    Oneida

    Oneida has been shape-shifting in the name of rock and roll for more than a decade now, and lately they've been specializing in endurance tests. During their eight-hour set at the All Tomorrow's Parties-produced I'll Be Your Mirror festival in Asbury Park, they showed off their formidable ability to shift from mind-evacuating drones to jitter-inducing music in the course of… More >>
  • Best Local Music Twitterer

    Tanlines

    These days, 140-character bursts of self-promotion and self-flagellation and other forms of self-elevation can make even the most revered artist sound like a charlatan waiting for the next unwilling victim to lure into a trap of remixes and VIP packages. Standing astride the pack of twittering twits is Tanlines, whose ruminations on baseball, reality TV, and unpleasant cultural developments ("Kinda… More >>
  • Best Fiddler

    Jenny Scheinman

    Jenny Scheinman has sawed away at her violin for the likes of Norah Jones, John Zorn, and Bill Frisell. On many a Tuesday, she can be found collaborating with a variety of musical co-conspirators at the Brooklyn performance space Barbès, and she'll also be heard on the forthcoming Metallica/Lou Reed meeting-of-the-minds Lulu. Her latest project, Mischief And Mayhem, is a… More >>
  • Best Live Entertainment

    Japanther

    Here’s the thing: If you call yourself a New Yorker, then you need to see Japanther at least once. It’s unfair to deprive yourself of the art-punks’ fantastically high-energy live shows. Do you want to be subjected to the same incredulous stares every time you admit to being a Japanther virgin? Do you like repeatedly hearing about how “epic” their… More >>
  • Best Requiem for a DIY Venue

    Monster Island - CLOSED

    Allow us a moment of silence for a victim of soulless Williamsburg gentrification: the dearly departed Monster Island. A former spice factory that housed Oneida's soundproof jam-factory production space, the Ocropolis, and spent the past seven years as a de facto artists' colony, the Kent Avenue creative hive deservedly had more send-offs than that other monster-island catastrophe, Lost: an end-of-summer… More >>
  • Best Small Venue

    Is there a new name for the basement of the old CBGB space yet? The legendary rock venue lives on with an entrance tucked away on Extra Place (the only other business on the alley right now is a newish branch of the Oaxaca taqueria) and a slowly growing number of gigs over the last year. It's a place for… More >>
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