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Readers Say the Darndest Things: Arts & Culture 

What You Said

Best blues band
Taj Mahal
This side of Senegal and Gambia, no one is more old school than Taj. — Mike Napolitano

Best burlesque show
Hubba Hubba Revue at the Uptown
Did we mention the naked girls? — Sheila Addison

This guy gets naked at practically every show. Cuddley AND Creepy. — Justin Champlain

Best country band
Red Meat
An Alameda County staple for years — new album out last summer, best effort yet. — David Indart

Crooked Jades
It's really bluegrass, but where was that option? — Sharon Grodin

I wish Sweetbriar would come sing me to sleep every night. — Emily Harrison

Best cover act or tribute band
Workingman's Ed
Most likely band to cause an acid flashback. — Patrick Nevins

Best dance club
Friendly people, diverse music, dance lessons. — Ellen Goldstein

One night a month at the Missouri Lounge on San Pablo: It's the best mix of dance songs I've ever heard, and it never loses pace. — Christa Edwards

Kim's Backyard
Because Kim will dance with you to anything you put on the internet jukebox AND drink as much as you do. — Lo Litchfield

I won't dance. Don't ask me. — Jessica

Best gallery
Rock Paper Scissors!
I know it's not expensive, and thus "high," art. It's just damn good showings and value-priced classes with good attitude! (Hooray Art Murmur). — Ken

4th St Studio
This is an amazing selection of some of the best of the bay area artists displayed in a well-lit, pleasant, casual environment right in the middle of Berkeley's premier shopping district. — Audrey Kral

Esteban Sabar
Only spot in the Art Murmur consistently displaying art good enough to be shown in SF. — David Indart

Johansson Projects
Kimberly Johansson's amazing eye for exposing truly worthy artists. — N V

Just hip enough without the smelly art kid crowd. — Linda

Best jazz combo
They bring the romping feeling from the Crescent City into Oakland's backyard and bring the swing in from off the shelves. — Christopher Monaco Glynn

Best local album
Ashkon: the final breakthrough
East Bay rap's best kept secret. — Thien Pham

Jennifer Johns
I feel Oakland in her music. — Melissa Garden

The Lightning Bug Situation's A leaf; a stream.
Brian Miller gets far too little attention. This album is perfect headphones music, for a day when you're feeling worn down, fragile, or like you really could use some help getting your feet back on the ground. — Rachel Reynolds

Outlaw Dervish
The best album I've heard this year — mystic downtempo — using real live musicians, not electronic sounds — and mystical spoken word hearkening back to poets of old like Hafiz. — Mardi Storm

Best local book
Gentlemen of the Road
Michael Chabon is one of the most creative writers of our time with a unique and essential eye for subjects. — Christopher Monaco Glynn

Soon I Will Be Invincible
It's like a combination of The Watchmen and The Great Gatsby; awesome! — Nima Shokat

Best local-topic blogger
A better Oakland
No one puts more effort or detail into their blog, period. — Sean Sullivan

Best metal band
Judgment Day
They thrash and play strings! It's mind-blowing and beautiful and rocking, all at once. — Christa Edwards

Best musician
Terry Riley
He's Terry Riley. — Shelagh

Sebastien Marie
Have you seen this 10 year old rock out?! — Lynn Van Housen

Best old-school club DJ
Joe Quixx
He doesn't play five nights a week because people DON'T like him! — Anne Ayers

Best old-school musical act
McPuzo and Trotsky
What's older-school than singing about Warren G. Harding? — Sheila Addison

Best painter
Chris Schutes
Okay, he paints houses, but he's a real artist with color. — Erica Stone

Jeri Hutchinbson
She could make an old telephone pole look like a swizzle stick should she want to. A wonderful touch with both colors and content. — Tim Hannon

Best piano player
Rod Dibble
Hopefully he's still alive at the time of this vote. — Juanita Carroll Young

Nathan Galanter
He's my boyfriend and I love him. — Cory Gunter Brown

Best poet
Julia Vinograd
Ditto to what I wrote about Rod Dibble. — Juanita Carroll Young

Wendy O'Matik
Cause she is still around, alive and kickin righeous lovin' ass! — Aryana Farsai

Best R&B or soul singer
Rosie Gaines
Rosie, back in the East Bay, has seen and done it all. And she is still doin' it. And doin' it better than anybody else. — Jacqueline Epstein

Best singer or MC
Hot Tub
You guys didn't have a category for Hot Tub! Hot Tub is the best! — Jonathan Bair

Jamie (Kennedy) DeWolf
This dude is a true showman. — Lisa

Too Short
Still. — Connor Morrison

Best string quartet
Kronos Quartet
I mean, come on. — Patrick "Das" Schlesinger

Loop Station
Shit, it's only one person, but he loops the cello, can that count please at least for honorable mention in the "multiple personality" single musician category? — Aryana Farsai

Best theatrical production
Argonautica/Berkeley Rep
Incredible mix of history, fantasy, contemporary politics, plus one of the most beautiful sets ever! — Tracy Tingle

Oakland Opera's Turn of the Screw
The Oakland Opera is always breaking ground with their post-WWII English-language operas, making opera hip and accessible to a new generation. Their penchant for combining different art forms added another layer to this creepy ghost story, as trapeze artists played the ghosts. — Jonathan Bair

Peking Acrobats
When your jaw dropped, it stayed dropped. — CJ Jiang

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