John Paul Jones Arena
Runner-up: nTelos Wireless Pavilion
Size does matter. At least, that’s true when it comes to where you go to see your favorite acts. This year, the likes of Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Bob Dylan graced the stage. Downtown, the former Charlottesville Pavilion welcomed Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top and Arcade Fire, among others.
The Paramount Theater
Runner-up: The Jefferson Theater
There just aren’t enough places in the world where you can watch Pink Floyd The Wall in a neoclassically designed theater from 1931. We suspect that’s why you chose the Paramount as your favorite small venue this year—it’s a charming blend of old and new, with a hefty dose of cultural intelligence.
Dave Matthews Band
Runner-up: The Avett Brothers
It’s no surprise DMB takes the win in this new category. It has two unfair advantages: The band’s a hometown favorite and it doubled its chances of winning last fall by adding an extra date to the John Paul Jones stop on its last (until 2012?) concert tour. In the runner-up spot, another man band: The Avett Brothers strummed their way through a show at the then-Charlottesville Pavilion in October 2010.
PLACE TO DANCE
The X Lounge
Runner-up: The Box
A few ingredients must combine to concoct the ideal dance spot: booze, low lighting and a decent beat bouncing from the speakers. You know X Lounge has all three, which is why you voted it into the top spot again this year. Your runner-up requires a tighter squeeze when it comes to busting a move, but the recipe for best place to dance is still spot-on.
Runner-up: McGrady’s Irish Pub
If you play your cards right, you could show off your trivia chops in this town practically every night of the week. But you say Wednesday and Tuesday, respectively, are the best nights ’round these parts. In one corner, Mellow Mushroom, where a win gets you tons of local schwag. In the other, McGrady’s, with seven LCD TVs for your viewing (and playing) pleasure.
PLACE TO LOOK AT ART
McGuffey Art Center
Runner-up: Second Street Gallery
You’ll find book arts, dance, theater, fabric, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, drawing and sculpture at McGuffey. With so much to see, it’s no wonder more than 7,000 folks pass through the former McGuffey School each year. Contemporary artspace Second Street (the oldest nonprofit artspace in Central Virginia) takes, um, second place.
PLACE FOR KARAOKE
Baja Bean Co.
Runner-up: Fellini’s #9
We admire your chutzpah, reader. It takes serious guts to get up there every Tuesday and Thursday and give your all to The Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself.” Again this year, you say Baja Bean is tops when it comes to belting it out for the crowd. Over at Fellini’s, Retrospective Collective provides live-band background music for ’aoke-ers every Thursday from 10pm-1am.
PLACE TO WATCH THE GAME
Wild Wing Café
Runner-up: Boylan Heights
What do this category’s winner and runner-up both have in common (besides a dee-lish menu and all the brew your sports-loving heart could desire)? TVs! Amtrak-adjacent Wild Wing boasts 32, plus surround sound. And Boylan’s boob tube count totals 20. What’s more, the bartender will accommodate your request for specific games. Talk about backing your play.
When you set out to cut, draw and angle, you head to Rapture, where the beer is cold and you’ve got two floors of pool tables from which to choose. A little further down the Mall, Miller’s provides another dark bar backdrop for those late-night games.
Virginia Film Festival
Runner-up: Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival
There’s no shortage of festivals in this town. Vegetarian, chocolate, book, photography, opera—you’d be hard pressed to find an event that doesn’t pique at least one of your interests. The Virginia Film Festival, a fall fest which last year brought the premiere of ballet-thriller Black Swan to the local big screen, takes No. 1 this year. The Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival, now in its 31st year, takes place twice a year at Claudius Crozet Park.
ANNUAL FUNDRAISING PARTY
Critter Ball (SPCA)
Runner-up: Gala (Live Arts)
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that furry animals always win. And the Critter Ball, which raises funds for the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, is no exception. Last year’s featured a Beatles theme and a “Dancing with the Stars”-like competition, where local figures took to the dance floor after ballroom dance training to compete for donations. Downtown, the 19th annual Live Arts Gala raged on to raise money for the community theater’s upcoming season.
OPEN MIC NIGHT
Runner-up: Fellini’s #9
As a songwriter, it’s no doubt pretty important to you to share your tunes with a captivated crowd. Every Monday, that dream becomes a reality at The Local. Backed by Brian Caputo and a few other local musicians, you’re able to take the stage and sing ’til your heart’s content. (Or until they yank you off with a cane.)
Vinegar Hill Theatre
Runner-up: Regal Downtown Mall 6
Over the years, we’ve called Vinegar Hill convenient, unique and charming. Luckily, some things never change. The pint-size movie spot continues to woo you with its Downtown location, cheap ticket prices (hey, $9 is cheap in our book) and independent film choices. In second place, the Downtown Regal offers you a few more movie choices and discounted popcorn for Regal Crown Club members.
Readers agree Devon Sproule’s got a way with words. She’s your pick for best singer/songwriter this year.
Runner-up: William Walter
Good thing we got local songstress Devon Sproule on this list one last time—she and hubby Paul Curreri are jetting across the pond to Berlin (Germany, not Virginia) this fall, where she’ll be closer to her European fan base and will, no doubt, end up on a few “Best of” lists over there, too. Last year’s winner, William Walter, takes the No. 2 spot.
Sons of Bill
Crozet-bred boy band Sons of Bill takes home the win this year, edging out stiff competition from the likes of runner-up Parachute and last year’s winner, William Walter & Co. These local rockers have been busy touring the country’s middle (to Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest) and back again (for Campout East in their hometown). Parachute’s been busy too, promoting the latest album, The Way It Was, with TV appearances on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Runner-up: James Wilson
There are only two things you need in a winning front man: good looks and a great voice. This year, you say William Walter, of William Walter & Co., has what it takes. But Sons of Bill’s front man (and perennial winner in this category) isn’t too far behind. His blue eyes and Southern drawl secure the runner-up spot.
LOCAL PLAY OR MUSICAL
Phantom of the Opera (Albemarle High School)
Runner-up: The Drowsy Chaperone (Live Arts)
It takes a strong bunch of performers to beat out Live Arts, a perennial winner in the Best Theater Group category (which was left off the ballot this year). The Albemarle Players take the cake in this new category, after a slew of superb performances from the likes of Jeremy Weiss (“The Phantom”), Halley Gilbert (“Christine Daae”) and Rives Gentry (“Raoul Vicomte de Chagny”), among others. LA nabs second place with another musical, directed by Ray Nedzel.
Runner-up: Lee Alter
What has Sharon Shapiro been up to since her win in this category last year? She hopped down to Georgia, carrying out a residency at The Hambridge Center and participating in two shows at local GA galleries. In other words, she’s keeping busy. As for your runner-up, a newcomer this year, she’s been working on portraits of musicians. Rock on, ladies.
Runner-up: Carl Anderson
Apparently it takes a little longer to emerge as a performer than we thought, since Cody Purvis wins once again this year. What’s Cody been up to since taking home the trophy last year? A joint show with Down Til Now at The Jefferson and an opening gig for Lee Ann Womack tops his to-do list.
That’s a tall tail! Thomas Givens’ sculptures on the 250 Bypass are worth a second look, readers say.
“Whale Tail Trio” at Meadowbrook Heights and 250 Bypass
Runner-up: “A Bad Case of the Mondays” at 250 Bypass
Like people, some stretches of road are simply artier than others. In this town, that road is the 250 Bypass, where you can catch a glimpse of this category’s winner (Thomas Givens’ three mahogany and epoxy fiberglass whale tails) and runner-up (Rob Tarbell’s metal working man).
Sarah Cramer Shields
Runner-up: Jen Fariello
These days, any Tom, Dick or Harry with a point-and-shoot thinks he’s a photographer. In reality, it takes real talent to see something truly photo-worthy and you say these shutter-happy ladies—both wedding photographers with a keen eye for capturing special moments—are up to the task again this year.
LOCAL RADIO STATION
106.1 (The Corner)
Runner-up: 91.9 (WNRN)
It’s true; different really is good. While other radio stations continue to hit Repeat on “Rolling in the Deep” and “Dog Days are Over,” 106.1 takes listeners to another level, playing lesser-knowns like Billy Preston and Sara Jarosz (though Adele and Florence and the Machine aren’t too far away). We’ll leave the constant Top 40 repetition to those other stations. They wouldn’t know good music if it bit ‘em on the—well, you know.
LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITY
Runner-up: Jay James
When you wake up to the same person every morning, it becomes a bit…monotonous. Luckily, 106.1 music man Brad Savage never lets things get boring. Savage plays everything from Eddie Vedder to Diego Garcia (with a little Coldplay thrown in for good measure). WINA Sports Director Jay James, whose “Best Seat in the House” program takes to the airwaves every weeknight from 6 to 8pm, takes the runner-up slot.
Mas to Millers
Runner-up: edible cville
With more than 300 restaurants in Charlottesville and its surrounding counties, we’re not surprised readers are food-focused beyond their tummies, too. When you’re hungry, you feast your eyes on Mas to Millers, which this year added a few extra writers to round out its local restaurant coverage and edge out 2010 winner edible cville. Maybe what they say is true: Two (or more) heads really are better than one.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Runner-up: Humpback Rocks
Seventy-five years old as of last year and the longest single unit road in the United States, the Blue Ridge Parkway spans 29 counties and 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. You’re fond of every last one of ’em, but single out the self-guided trail from mileposts 5 through 9.3, Humpback Rocks, for your runner-up in this new category.
Trippple Play may not win any spelling bees, but readers say he’s tops when it comes to live DJing.
DJ Trippple Play
Runner-up: Derek Tobler
Music so nice, he plays it thrice? Not hardly. Trip’s beats are fresh, which is why you voted him—a regular entertainer at The Box—the best in town. Runner-up Derek Tobler can be found pumping up the jam at weddings, corporate events and other parties around the area.
Runner-up: Dan Eichelberger
Leah Woody told us earlier this year that she got into stand-up comedy because “It was my New Year’s resolution to do more things that scare the shit out of me.” Not to sound unsupportive, but we hope she never gets too brave, and you readers agree, as you gave her top billing in this new category.