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Readers Say The Darndest Things: Arts & Culture 

Reader Comments From 2009 Voting

Best Album
Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown
You can't beat home-grown rock operas. — T. Abaigael

They have more soul in one finger than Green Day can pack in a stadium — Gina Petersen

Best Art Gallery
Johansson Project
There's grass on the ceiling! OK, seriously ... they stay Oakland edgy, but without giving up any integrity of showing real art. — b b

Pro Arts
Pro Artist. — Hiroko Kurihara

Rock Paper Scissors
I once saw a suitcase full of hot dogs there. Works for me. — Justin Champlin

Best Arts Organization
10,000 Steps
Connecting downtown history and community through art installations at the historic parks. — Jonathan Bair

California Revels
An incredible celebration of the solstices through community, ritual, music and dance. — Theresa Nelson

Destiny Arts Center
Serves all kids from all walks of life, teaching violence prevention through dance and martial arts. The real deal. — Karen Hester

Independent Arts & Media
Put on the annual Expo for the Arts in Frisco, helps local arts & media like MRR, Gilman, Hyphen Magazine, Counter Corp Film Fest 2009-06-18 — Jesse Townley

Arts for kids, no brainer. — Jesse Kupers

They represent. — Daniel Schulman

Shawl-Anderson Modern Dance Center
Few dance studios that provide such a high caliber of classes are also so welcoming and joyous! — Amanda Whitehead

Best Artsy Cafe
As opposed to what other kind of cafes? Dive cafes?
— Bridget

Awaken Cafe
Perfect espresso, delicious sandwiches, sexy staff, and local art on the walls. What more could you want? — Brendan Darrow

Cafe 504
It's a wine bar for coffee. It's Blue Bottle without the pretension. — Matt R

Local 123
Finally, a lovely little spot for people to hang out on San Pablo! — Christa

Mama Buzz
Best coffee, most hipsters — Jade

Nomad Cafe
Poetry Readings — Amanda

Rooz Cafe
Rooz is a place to get great coffee without surly-hipster-service. — Daniel McChesney-Young

Best Band
Carne Cruda
Most original, and with a conscience! — Daniel del Solar

Green Day
First I thought my kids were into my music, now I realize I am into THEIR music. — Joe DeVries

High on Fire
Because they effing rock! — Jesica Jordan

Have you heard them? Blow your brains out! — Patricia Wakida

They invade your mind with awesomeness. — Emily Harrison

4 hot girls playing LOUD garage punk. — Mitch Cardwell

The Von Trapps
They play the songs you know that you want to hear but are afraid to admit it! — Kevin Suto

Yoni has the heart of Oakland lodged in his throat. — Bree Phillips

Best Blogger
A Better Oakland
Getting the facts right when Full Disclosure gets them wrong since 2007. — Max Allstadt

Claire Light:
Racial politics, East Bay art reviews, media watchdog, sci-fi writer. She's awesome. — Patricia Wakida

Inhuman Eating Machine
There is something about one guy eating a crap-ton of food that is just awesome. — Henry Garcia

Because farts are always funny. — Kelly Tschantz

Michele Ellson, The Island
Ellson's work covering the town of Alameda is simply incredible. I have no idea how she does it. — Echa Schneider

V Smooth — A Better Oakland
She's thorough, objective, and consistent! — Consuelo Jacobs

Best book
A Dirty Job
Demon fights on BART— need I say more? — Cailey Pedersen

Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food
This book is the Silent Spring of the new century. — Scott Roberts

Leaving India — Minal Hajratwala
Delicious prose about the diaspora of Indian folks and her family in particular. — Margo Rivera-Weiss

The Loneliness of the Electric Menorah
Aaron Cometbus' history of Telegraph Avenue. Easily the best writing to come out of this area in quite some time. — Mitch Cardwell

Bryant Terry, Vegan Soul Kitchen
Have you had any of the recipes? They incite me to violence (in a loving way...) — Tiffany Golden

Best Church Music
Chochmat HaLev
You can't beat get-up-and-dance Shabbat service 1st & 3rd Friday nights! — Kerrick

The church you hear outside San Pablo Park on Sundays
Makes sports fun. — John

East Bay Church of Religious Science
Positive, progressive, accepting, and gospel style — clap your hands, while dancing! big smiles and warmth, friendly people. — Michelle Lane

— Adam Beck

St. Columba Church in Oakland
The wonderful liturgical music styling of Rawn Harbor make this an amazing experience. His blend of Southern Gospel with Catholic hymns is brilliant. — Jefe St. Clair

Best Club
?? in Oakland?? you've got to be kidding
— Kelly D

Funky, fresh, and amazing drinks! — Camille Gebert

Stork Club
That's my life. — Peter St. Lawrence

Coolest bar — the actual wood piece that drinks are placed upon. Formerly at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Jack London Square. — Brent Durning

Best Concert Venue
Fox Theater
Phil, thanks. — Max Allstadt

Beautiful. Just the sound needs improvement. — Ken

Freight and Salvage
Except for the chairs. — Jenmy Holland

Cheeseboard pizza collective
Price of a piece of pizza = you get to hear the INCREDIBLE California Honeydrops live band. — Alice Armstrong

Roosters Roadhouse
Best underground metal scene. — Michelle

Best Dance Club
All Mighty
All Mighty is the joint we all should experience at least once, with its b-boys and b-girls battling it out juxtaposed next to all the beautiful people shaking what their mother gave them. — Maurice Lyles

At least until they went under due to City of Oakland permit hassles! — Ken

White Horse
Best mix of people of all races, ages and sexual expressions. — Lisa Harbus

Best Event
Chapel of the Chimes — Summer Solstice concert
Experimental music in a mausoleum on summer solstice ... eerie and amazing. — Patricia Wakida

Election night 2008!
— Gwynne Coffee

First Friday Follies
It's a monthly community-supported burlesque variety show. Nothing beats NPR with boobies! — Margaret France

Maker Faire
Some of the best creativity the Bay Area has to offer — and flaming metal death on a stick. — J. Crow Bolt

Best Festival
California Coastal Cleanup Day
Do good, have fun for our bay and oceans. — Eli Saddler

Fire Arts Festival
How can you not love things made with fire? — Adan Tejada

The Outer Lands
Whatever the concert is called. — Kevinn Minor

Best Museum
Oakland Museum
Wiggle yer toes and the mammoth koi will nip them. — Shirley Brewin

Makes you proud to be a Californian — Claudia Perkins

Best Musician
Gary Hegedis
The oud player for Stella Mara. He's awesome. — John C. Sulak

Gene V Baker
His Supreme 80's show off not only his skills as a composer & performer, but also his heart & originality! All while u tappin' ur toes! — La Mantia

Best New Culture Scene
It should be best old culture scene. — Margaret France

Hyphy-Norteño aka Corrido-Hyphy
Haven't heard of it? Check it out. — Camilo Landau

First Friday Art Murmur
Live bands and weird art. — Vanessa Brake

Assuming good bar drinks count as culture. — Susan Raffanti

Best Painter
Tyrell Collins
Lovely surreal oils on brushed metal canvases in her West Oakland studio — a great place to check out during East Bay Open Studios! — Mindy

Best Performer
Bronkar Lee
Beatboxing juggler, houserocker, heartbreaker. — Margaret France

Honey Lawless
Her burlesque performances are like no other! Perfect and utter madness. — Maggie

Best Photographer
Jason Montano
His pictures are all local that expresses the soul of the Bay Area. — Fred Montano

Jennifer Waicukauski
Best pinhole photos I have ever seen. — Jon Freel

Richard Misrach
He captures the true spirit of the West with his eye and his political conscience. — Lisa Harbus

Best Purveyor of Local Crafts
All products are handmade locally, with toxic free, environmentally safe dyes and methods. And the stuff is freakin awesome. — Mai Nguyen

50 yrs of cooperation! Gallery/store — still going strong! — Hannah Jo

I can't afford most of their items, but they're gorgeous and handmade! — Alexis Babayan

Art in the Park (Alameda)
100 percent local (so local it was canceled last year). — John

Metro Lighting
Super cool handmade fixtures and blown glass! — Christa

Rock Paper Scissors
Uterus panties! — Vanessa Brake

Best Sculptor
J.B. Lowe
Creepy, well-constructed objects that evoke magical stories. — Christa

Richard Akers
His sculptures tower up to seven feet in the air. Sociological stalagmites, as he calls them, are an assemblage of cultural icons relating to the post 911 world. — Mike Paunovich

Best Singer or MC
Too Short
The best experience of my life in the East Bay occured when I saw Too $hort emerging from the Oakland Grill. I asked him to "Blow the Whistle" and he obliged by giving me the power fist. Awesome. — April de Costa

Best Theatrical Production
1001 Arabian Nights @ Berkeley Rep
Mary Zimmerman is amazing, always. — Tracy Tingle

Beach Blanket Babylon
Hilarious, always fresh and relevant. — Miyoko Kawashima

Dracul: Prince of Fire at the Crucible
Fantastic multimedia extravaganza. And fire! — Dunn

Faust at Ashby Stage
Absolutely brilliant. I hope this one sees many revivals. Faust done with 2 simple sets, 5 actors, 2 hours and perfectly. — Steven Schwartz

Walden School upper group play — every year!
Russell Wright, the drama teacher at Walden, is amazing and gets the kids doing the most awesome work. — Christa

Best Warehouse Parties
Andy Warhol Factory Party
I saw a six year old pulling off the warhol schtick and I nearly peed my pants. — Little Lisa Chavez

Not the Amoeba/wharola Factory
Talk about facetiously crass. — East Bay Big Balls

Your Mother's
When you print _________, it puts them above ground, hence they'll most likely get shut down this year. Don't "help 'em out" anymore. Like you helped all the other warehouses. :) — Willis Stork

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