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Poets, Artists & Madmen

The culture of a true metropolis is constructed first on a unique foundation, laid down by generations of residents who are of the place. Then, people come from the outside and build upon that.

So cities as bustling as New York and as provincial as New Orleans can appreciate that a culture is at its most authentic when it pulsates with dynamic tension between the old and the new. There’s a sort of mutually beneficial, implied contract at play here: The city’s original culture begins a conversation, but the dialogue gains its energy when the newcomers join in. The idea is to refresh the old without detracting from that which makes it unique in the first place.

That’s why readers and critics alike can agree on the value of something as young as Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, an 8-year-old arts collective that is a mash-up of natives and outsiders who’ve created something as timelessly Atlantan as the High Museum.

Better yet, ask yourself this question: What, or who, can you find in Atlanta that you can’t find anywhere else? What is Dallas’ Apache Café? Who is Miami’s Flournoy Holmes?

We salute the poets, artists and madmen who live in Atlanta, draw from Atlanta and put back into Atlanta to create an authentic culture unto itself.

— David Lee Simmons

Best All-Around Play

Topdog/Underdog

The Alliance Hertz Stage’s TOPDOG/UNDERDOG broke out from the pack to emerge as the year’s undisputed can’t-miss theatrical event. Our best “guest actors,” Joe Wilson »more

Best Art Event

Art, Beats, & Lyrics

Word. As part of the College Night at the High series, ART, BEATS & LYRICS brought together some of the city’s most promising young street »more

Best Art School

Atlanta College of Art

Considering the pending merger with the Savannah College of Art and Design, now seems as good a time as any to celebrate the iconoclastic, artist-centered »more

Best Art Trend

Indie Craft

A new generation of artists, DIY types, post-feminists, lowbrow fans and out-of-the-box thinkers are erasing the usual high vs. low art world hierarchies, but no »more

Best Art World Exit

Helena Reckitt

Always leave them wanting more. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center curator HELENA RECKITT weathered some hairy financial uncertainty at the Atlanta art institution and still managed »more

Best Artist With Staying Power

Philip Carpenter

PHILIP CARPENTER has been a fixture on the Atlanta scene for more than 20 years now, offering painting instruction at the Chastain Arts Center and »more

Best Band Reunion

Pylon and Love Tractor

It’s a tie: PYLON and LOVE TRACTOR, two of Athens’ most influential ’80s new-wave bands, returned to dynamic duty this year following lengthy periods of »more

Best Band to Go Disco

Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes’ Athens psych-pop crew OF MONTREAL has worked from the backbone of Beach Boys’ vocals and Beatles’ straight strum to make records that run »more

Best Band to See Live

We Versus the Shark

Though almost unknown in Atlanta, WE VERSUS THE SHARK has blown the mind of the college town to our east several times over the last »more

Best Band Whose Members Broke Up but the Band Didn’t

I am the World Trade Center

If you read the Vibes section of this venerable rag a year ago, you know all about the troubles that haunted I AM THE WORLD »more

Best Burlesque Performer

CALU

One of the most striking of this fair city’s cornucopia of comely burlesque queens is the delightful CALU. Whether she’s commanding attention as a member »more

Best Cable Guy

Lance Krall

LANCE KRALL, former Atlantan and alumnus of Whole World Theatre, leveraged his breakout performance on Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show” to his own self-titled »more

Best Club DJ

Brandon Sutton

It’s not easy being DJ BRANDON SUTTON’s stalker. Yes, there are plenty of chances to ogle him each week, with his residency at Halo and »more

Best Comedian

Courtney Patterson

COURTNEY PATTERSON excels in such serious roles as Stella in Georgia Shakespeare’s A Streetcar Named Desire or a secretive sister in the Jewish Theatre of »more

Best Country Act

Sonoramic Commando

Sure, the band is named after Plymouth’s Ram-tough engine from the early ’60s, but SONORAMIC COMMANDO’s V-8 powered country can outrun any competitor on the »more

Best Dance Company

Coriolis Dance Project

Artistic director Elizabeth Dishman’s newfound mission is to create dances that even you double-left-footed movement newbies can at least partially appreciate (you seem to be »more

Best Electronic Act

Larvae

Nobody stomps harder in the local electronic scene than Matthew Jeanes’ mostly solo, sometimes three-man electro outfit, LARVAE. This year, Jeanes launched sonic assaults on »more

Best Experimental Music Act

Hubcap City (from Belgium)

Banjo/trumpet-playing singer/poet Bill Taft has been one of Atlanta’s most musically interesting and creative fringe dwellers ever since the days of the legendary Mudd Shack. »more

Best Female Actor

Carolyn Cook

In 2005, the acting awesomeness of CAROLYN COOK had a globe-trotting scope. For Georgia Shakespeare’s summer repertory, she played fading aristocrats on two continents: New »more

Best Gothic Delight

The Death Show

While we wish it hadn’t turned out to be such an appropriate year for THE DEATH SHOW, (re: Iraq, London, Niger, Indonesia, the Gulf Coast, »more

Best Graffiti

Krog Street Tunnel

Atlanta’s own Berlin Wall and the city’s favorite soapbox, the KROG STREET TUNNEL is a trippy kaleidoscope of politics and explosive color thankfully overlooked by »more

Best Hip-hop Act

Psyche Origami

In a town where hip-hop super-stardom reigns supreme, PSYCHE ORIGAMI subverts the blingin’ and big pimpin’ of the drrty paradigm with sheer brainpower. Remaining commercially »more

Best Improv Group

Dad's Garage Theatre

The novelty of improvisational comedy is that it’s always a surprise to performers and audiences alike. Also the Reader’s Choice for Best Improv Group, DAD’S »more

Best Instrumentalist

Terri Onstad

A life of classical training has given TERRI ONSTAD a unique set of tools in her role as Atlanta’s musical journeyman, providing cello, rhythm guitar, »more

Best International/World Music Act

Hair of the Dog

Before any purists cry “Foul!” and claim that Cajun and zydeco don’t count as “world music,” last time I checked my atlas, Louisiana was part »more

Best Jazz Act

Takana Miyamoto

Sure, pianist TAKANA MIYAMOTO is known around town as a “sideman” for soul singers Julie Dexter and Gaelle, but her talent on the keys is »more

Best Keeping it Real Gallery

Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery

EYEDRUM ART AND MUSIC GALLERY’s continued presence since opening in 1998 is a reassuring reminder that the indie spirit lives on despite the rising rents »more

Best Kinetic Political Cattle Prod

America! Question!

Here’s something we noticed immediately after Several Dancers Core’s performance of AMERICA! QUESTION: Even people who weren’t so sure they had liked the dance were »more

Best Literary Event

Poetry at Tech

It’s been going on long enough that we’ll dispense with the old jokes regarding what do engineers know about poetry (and poets about engineering). POETRY »more

Best Local Author Who Tells the Truth, the Whole Truth

Mark Bixler

The thousands of young male refugees who fled genocide in Sudan, walking first to Ethiopia, then to Zaire, have been co-opted as the poster boys »more

Best Local Playwright

Karen Wurl

A terrific slam poet and winner of the 2005 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award for new local writers, KAREN WURL debuted deliciously witty dark comedy Miss »more

Best Local Singer/Songwriter

Anna Kramer

ANNA KRAMER is a little lady with a great big guitar who has more in common with the Rolling Stones and Gram Parsons than anyone »more

Best Museum Makeover

High Museum of Art

The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART is hoping to pull some serious attendance with the Nov. 12 unveiling of its $130 million expansion designed by revered »more

Best New Album

Prom

Singer/songwriter Amy Ray began exploring self-image and social injustice with her bittersweet folk duo Indigo Girls. She continued with her first rebellious rock solo album, »more

Best New Art Neighborhood

Decatur

Galleries in the rising art hood of DECATUR run the gamut. Two new venues include the sleek Function Gallery, exhibiting a range of primitive and »more

Best New Gallery

Romo Gallery

With a nose for cutting-edge artists and a willingness to take chances, Sam Romo’s eponymous venue, ROMO GALLERY, has added a fresh new conceptual-art voice »more

Best New Music Act

Tenement Halls

The Rock*A*Teens had a ragged, reverberating wail that was easy to imagine cascading down the time-tattered streets of Cabbagetown. That sound had much to do »more

Best New Play Incubator

Alliance Theatre

You usually see hot new plays emerge from little black box theaters, not a city’s biggest playhouse. But this year, the ALLIANCE THEATRE served as »more

Best Off-Peachtree Museum

Museum of Design Atlanta

MUSEUM OF DESIGN ATLANTA, affiliated with the Smithsonian and über-cool Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, has revved up downtown with an exhibition roster that just keeps »more

Best Out of Town Play

The Mystery of Chung Ling Soo

By booking midsized touring shows, 14th Street Playhouse has tapped into a huge Atlanta audience and attracted such appealing one-man plays as Leslie Jordan’s Like »more

Best Overall Music Act

Blame Game

Any given performance from BLAME GAME offers a glimpse of a group driving toward complex, tonal perfection. Along with bassist Chris Ware, guitarists/vocalists George Asimakos »more

Best Place to Hear Spoken Word

Apache Cafe

The old brick building is rough and raw, but the gem-colored fancy drinks are smooth and refined at the APACHE CAFE. All preceding adjectives (except »more

Best Place to See a Play

Balzer Theatre

The Atlanta theater scene’s most impressive newcomer of the past year wasn’t a person but a place. Theatrical Outfit’s new permanent home, the 200-seat BALZER »more

Best Poetry Slam Series

Poetry Atlanta

For several years now, one of the greatest cities for spoken word poetry failed to field a team for the National Slam Competition, but Atlanta »more

Best Promising Young Artist

Heidi Geldhauser

Though she’s still just a pup, recent Atlanta College of Art grad HEIDI GELDHAUSER really goes out on a limb. Her thesis exhibition, Fluff, at »more

Best Promoter

Alex Weiss

The concert business has gone from bad to worse in terms of customer exploitation through ticket brokers and price gouging, and the industry has suffered »more

Best Public Art

Art in Freedom Park

Though the range of work in the summer-long ART IN FREEDOM PARK exhibition ran the gamut from so-so to sublime, it was nice to see »more

Best R&B/Soul act

Slick & Rose

If one thing defines Atlanta, it’s our contrasts. We’re the New York of the South, a healthy drop of Blue in a sea of Red. »more

Best Snacks Served at a Dance Performance

Cake

We’re pretty sure we would have enjoyed the dancing even without the woman who walked the aisles serving us from a tray laden with jars »more

Best Stripper

Sugar

Stripper-turned-actress White Chocolate may get the lion’s share of attention in the media, but Strokers’ other superstar dancer, SUGAR, is truly the best at what »more

Best Surf/Instrumental Band

The Surge

Surf music is a quirky, guitar-driven, instrumental force of rock that comes in waves. Of course, it’s been around for years with artists like the »more

Best Traditional Folk Act

Daniel Clay

DANIEL CLAY doesn’t travel the same dusty roads as folk shouters Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan. His stark and stylish strumming and ominous songwriting offer »more

Best Vocalist

Heather Luttrell

Lately, HEATHER LUTTRELL, the lovely, heavily inked rock and blues performer, has been collecting quite a bit of printer’s ink for her appearance on CBS’ »more

Best All-Around Play

Topdog/Underdog

The Alliance Hertz Stage’s TOPDOG/UNDERDOG broke out from the pack to emerge as the year’s undisputed can’t-miss theatrical event. Our best “guest actors,” Joe Wilson »more

Best Art Event

Art, Beats, & Lyrics

Word. As part of the College Night at the High series, ART, BEATS & LYRICS brought together some of the city’s most promising young street »more

Best Art School

Atlanta College of Art

Considering the pending merger with the Savannah College of Art and Design, now seems as good a time as any to celebrate the iconoclastic, artist-centered »more

Best Art Trend

Indie Craft

A new generation of artists, DIY types, post-feminists, lowbrow fans and out-of-the-box thinkers are erasing the usual high vs. low art world hierarchies, but no »more

Best Art World Exit

Helena Reckitt

Always leave them wanting more. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center curator HELENA RECKITT weathered some hairy financial uncertainty at the Atlanta art institution and still managed »more

Best Artist With Staying Power

Philip Carpenter

PHILIP CARPENTER has been a fixture on the Atlanta scene for more than 20 years now, offering painting instruction at the Chastain Arts Center and »more

Best Band Reunion

Pylon and Love Tractor

It’s a tie: PYLON and LOVE TRACTOR, two of Athens’ most influential ’80s new-wave bands, returned to dynamic duty this year following lengthy periods of »more

Best Band to Go Disco

Of Montreal

Kevin Barnes’ Athens psych-pop crew OF MONTREAL has worked from the backbone of Beach Boys’ vocals and Beatles’ straight strum to make records that run »more

Best Band to See Live

We Versus the Shark

Though almost unknown in Atlanta, WE VERSUS THE SHARK has blown the mind of the college town to our east several times over the last »more

Best Band Whose Members Broke Up but the Band Didn’t

I am the World Trade Center

If you read the Vibes section of this venerable rag a year ago, you know all about the troubles that haunted I AM THE WORLD »more

Best Burlesque Performer

CALU

One of the most striking of this fair city’s cornucopia of comely burlesque queens is the delightful CALU. Whether she’s commanding attention as a member »more

Best Cable Guy

Lance Krall

LANCE KRALL, former Atlantan and alumnus of Whole World Theatre, leveraged his breakout performance on Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show” to his own self-titled »more

Best Club DJ

Brandon Sutton

It’s not easy being DJ BRANDON SUTTON’s stalker. Yes, there are plenty of chances to ogle him each week, with his residency at Halo and »more

Best Comedian

Courtney Patterson

COURTNEY PATTERSON excels in such serious roles as Stella in Georgia Shakespeare’s A Streetcar Named Desire or a secretive sister in the Jewish Theatre of »more

Best Country Act

Sonoramic Commando

Sure, the band is named after Plymouth’s Ram-tough engine from the early ’60s, but SONORAMIC COMMANDO’s V-8 powered country can outrun any competitor on the »more

Best Dance Company

Coriolis Dance Project

Artistic director Elizabeth Dishman’s newfound mission is to create dances that even you double-left-footed movement newbies can at least partially appreciate (you seem to be »more

Best Electronic Act

Larvae

Nobody stomps harder in the local electronic scene than Matthew Jeanes’ mostly solo, sometimes three-man electro outfit, LARVAE. This year, Jeanes launched sonic assaults on »more

Best Experimental Music Act

Hubcap City (from Belgium)

Banjo/trumpet-playing singer/poet Bill Taft has been one of Atlanta’s most musically interesting and creative fringe dwellers ever since the days of the legendary Mudd Shack. »more

Best Female Actor

Carolyn Cook

In 2005, the acting awesomeness of CAROLYN COOK had a globe-trotting scope. For Georgia Shakespeare’s summer repertory, she played fading aristocrats on two continents: New »more

Best Gothic Delight

The Death Show

While we wish it hadn’t turned out to be such an appropriate year for THE DEATH SHOW, (re: Iraq, London, Niger, Indonesia, the Gulf Coast, »more

Best Graffiti

Krog Street Tunnel

Atlanta’s own Berlin Wall and the city’s favorite soapbox, the KROG STREET TUNNEL is a trippy kaleidoscope of politics and explosive color thankfully overlooked by »more

Best Hip-hop Act

Psyche Origami

In a town where hip-hop super-stardom reigns supreme, PSYCHE ORIGAMI subverts the blingin’ and big pimpin’ of the drrty paradigm with sheer brainpower. Remaining commercially »more

Best Improv Group

Dad's Garage Theatre

The novelty of improvisational comedy is that it’s always a surprise to performers and audiences alike. Also the Reader’s Choice for Best Improv Group, DAD’S »more

Best Instrumentalist

Terri Onstad

A life of classical training has given TERRI ONSTAD a unique set of tools in her role as Atlanta’s musical journeyman, providing cello, rhythm guitar, »more

Best International/World Music Act

Hair of the Dog

Before any purists cry “Foul!” and claim that Cajun and zydeco don’t count as “world music,” last time I checked my atlas, Louisiana was part »more

Best Jazz Act

Takana Miyamoto

Sure, pianist TAKANA MIYAMOTO is known around town as a “sideman” for soul singers Julie Dexter and Gaelle, but her talent on the keys is »more

Best Keeping it Real Gallery

Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery

EYEDRUM ART AND MUSIC GALLERY’s continued presence since opening in 1998 is a reassuring reminder that the indie spirit lives on despite the rising rents »more

Best Kinetic Political Cattle Prod

America! Question!

Here’s something we noticed immediately after Several Dancers Core’s performance of AMERICA! QUESTION: Even people who weren’t so sure they had liked the dance were »more

Best Literary Event

Poetry at Tech

It’s been going on long enough that we’ll dispense with the old jokes regarding what do engineers know about poetry (and poets about engineering). POETRY »more

Best Local Author Who Tells the Truth, the Whole Truth

Mark Bixler

The thousands of young male refugees who fled genocide in Sudan, walking first to Ethiopia, then to Zaire, have been co-opted as the poster boys »more

Best Local Playwright

Karen Wurl

A terrific slam poet and winner of the 2005 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award for new local writers, KAREN WURL debuted deliciously witty dark comedy Miss »more

Best Local Singer/Songwriter

Anna Kramer

ANNA KRAMER is a little lady with a great big guitar who has more in common with the Rolling Stones and Gram Parsons than anyone »more

Best Museum Makeover

High Museum of Art

The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART is hoping to pull some serious attendance with the Nov. 12 unveiling of its $130 million expansion designed by revered »more

Best New Album

Prom

Singer/songwriter Amy Ray began exploring self-image and social injustice with her bittersweet folk duo Indigo Girls. She continued with her first rebellious rock solo album, »more

Best New Art Neighborhood

Decatur

Galleries in the rising art hood of DECATUR run the gamut. Two new venues include the sleek Function Gallery, exhibiting a range of primitive and »more

Best New Gallery

Romo Gallery

With a nose for cutting-edge artists and a willingness to take chances, Sam Romo’s eponymous venue, ROMO GALLERY, has added a fresh new conceptual-art voice »more

Best New Music Act

Tenement Halls

The Rock*A*Teens had a ragged, reverberating wail that was easy to imagine cascading down the time-tattered streets of Cabbagetown. That sound had much to do »more

Best New Play Incubator

Alliance Theatre

You usually see hot new plays emerge from little black box theaters, not a city’s biggest playhouse. But this year, the ALLIANCE THEATRE served as »more

Best Off-Peachtree Museum

Museum of Design Atlanta

MUSEUM OF DESIGN ATLANTA, affiliated with the Smithsonian and über-cool Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, has revved up downtown with an exhibition roster that just keeps »more

Best Out of Town Play

The Mystery of Chung Ling Soo

By booking midsized touring shows, 14th Street Playhouse has tapped into a huge Atlanta audience and attracted such appealing one-man plays as Leslie Jordan’s Like »more

Best Overall Music Act

Blame Game

Any given performance from BLAME GAME offers a glimpse of a group driving toward complex, tonal perfection. Along with bassist Chris Ware, guitarists/vocalists George Asimakos »more

Best Place to Hear Spoken Word

Apache Cafe

The old brick building is rough and raw, but the gem-colored fancy drinks are smooth and refined at the APACHE CAFE. All preceding adjectives (except »more

Best Place to See a Play

Balzer Theatre

The Atlanta theater scene’s most impressive newcomer of the past year wasn’t a person but a place. Theatrical Outfit’s new permanent home, the 200-seat BALZER »more

Best Poetry Slam Series

Poetry Atlanta

For several years now, one of the greatest cities for spoken word poetry failed to field a team for the National Slam Competition, but Atlanta »more

Best Promising Young Artist

Heidi Geldhauser

Though she’s still just a pup, recent Atlanta College of Art grad HEIDI GELDHAUSER really goes out on a limb. Her thesis exhibition, Fluff, at »more

Best Promoter

Alex Weiss

The concert business has gone from bad to worse in terms of customer exploitation through ticket brokers and price gouging, and the industry has suffered »more

Best Public Art

Art in Freedom Park

Though the range of work in the summer-long ART IN FREEDOM PARK exhibition ran the gamut from so-so to sublime, it was nice to see »more

Best R&B/Soul act

Slick & Rose

If one thing defines Atlanta, it’s our contrasts. We’re the New York of the South, a healthy drop of Blue in a sea of Red. »more

Best Snacks Served at a Dance Performance

Cake

We’re pretty sure we would have enjoyed the dancing even without the woman who walked the aisles serving us from a tray laden with jars »more

Best Stripper

Sugar

Stripper-turned-actress White Chocolate may get the lion’s share of attention in the media, but Strokers’ other superstar dancer, SUGAR, is truly the best at what »more

Best Surf/Instrumental Band

The Surge

Surf music is a quirky, guitar-driven, instrumental force of rock that comes in waves. Of course, it’s been around for years with artists like the »more

Best Traditional Folk Act

Daniel Clay

DANIEL CLAY doesn’t travel the same dusty roads as folk shouters Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan. His stark and stylish strumming and ominous songwriting offer »more

Best Vocalist

Heather Luttrell

Lately, HEATHER LUTTRELL, the lovely, heavily inked rock and blues performer, has been collecting quite a bit of printer’s ink for her appearance on CBS’ »more

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