ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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Posted October 6, 2011 in Feature Story

BEST ART GALLERY 

Andi Campognone Projects

Local champion of visual arts Andi Campognone opened AC Projects two years ago. This repeat winner has claimed the Best Art Gallery title since the category began appearing in our reader’s poll, and fittingly so. Housed in a former bank, the gallery has continued since its inception to feature emerging artists of all mediums. (Lynn Lieu)

Andi Campognone Projects, 300 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 215-3161; andicampognone.com.

BEST BLOG

Brick To Ya Face

This one goes to the blog at www.bricktoyaface.com, which features the finest local R&B and hip-hop news, including tour schedules to plot your weekend to. There are also interviews with top-caliber artists like Quan, Poppo The ILLest & Money Malc. Phil the Thrill’s free download of “Formal Informal” from his album Barely Awake is more than enough reason to surf the web to this island of cutting-edge SoCal music coolness. (J.D.)

www.bricktoyaface.com.

BEST BLUES BAND/MUSICIAN

Bring Your Own Blues

Yeah, we also recognize the acronym B.Y.O.B. for somethin‘ more drinkable than listenable, but this I.E. and San Gabriel Valley-based power trio has a collection of musicians who’ve been active in the local music scene for around a quarter century. And appropriately enough, its bassist’s nickname is “Dusty Keg.” Hey, we’ll drink a few to this group’s blues and early rock cuts any day! (F.L.A.)

www.facebook.com/bringyourownblues.

BEST BOWLING ALLEY

Brunswick Deer Creek

We can’t all bowl a 300. But at Brunswick Deer Creek, it feels like we could get close. The sitting room is spacious and the atmosphere is enjoyable. It’s always accessible but never unbearably busy. If you want to take your friends out for a good night of clean, sober (or really, really not sober) fun, bowling is the best way to go. And these lanes are the best you’ll find. (K.L.)

Brunswick Deer Creek, 7930 Haven Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 945-9392; www.bowlbrunswick.com.

BEST COMEDIAN

Bruce Jingles

A “universal” comedian with intergalactic appeal, Bruce Jingles delivers honest comedy minus the predictable stereotypes other comedians fall into. Jingles has appeared on Comedy Central and has performed on Comics Unleashed. He’s also brave enough to fly out to entertain troops in the Middle East, so it’s no wonder this stand-up star has shined on the stage alongside stand-up legends like Chris Tucker, Paul Mooney and Damon Wayans. (J.D.)

www.brucejingles.com.

BEST COUNTRY BAND/MUSICIAN

Darcie Rickert

Labeling a musician like Darcie Rickert with one specific category (in this case, as “country”) might be a slight disservice to the multifaceted approach she takes to her terrific songs. That’s because Rickert’s output is far more wide reaching and varied, pulling in all flavors of early, rootsy influences, including folk, bluegrass, Americana and much more. She’s a total gem of a performer, with a hotshot backing band (The Ruffnecks) to boot. (Justin Cienega)

www.theruffnecks.com.

BEST DJ

DJ Krim

DJ Krim electrifies the best clubs in Southern California with vibrant mixes of hip-hop, electro and dance hits. Highly influenced by Power 106 and his own favorites, DJ Krim can spice it up with some serious salsa or shake the place down to the rivets with ’80s rock. Check him out at the Chronic Cantina in Upland and Canton Bistro in Redlands. (J.D.)

www.djkrim.com.

BEST DRAG SHOW

Oasis

Like its namesake, Oasis (the drag show) is a beautiful island in a desert. Everybody struts their stuff and shows themselves off in the most glorious fashion imaginable. It’s not all about looking good (though who are we kidding, a lot of it is!); it’s also about making a positive, exciting atmosphere for creative expression and the shaping (or reinforcement) of identity. (K.L.)

Oasis at Oasis Night Club, 1286 E. Foothill Blvd., Ste. H, Upland, (909) 920-9590.

BEST ELECTRONIC ACT/MUSICIAN

Ninja Party

This isn’t the first time Ninja Party’s been bestowed with honors from the Weekly. In fact, the electronic-pop music duo’s been crowned winners of the 2010 Inland Empire Music Awards’ Best Electronic category and were rightfully featured in our pages as a Band of the Week. After some delays, the pair has a new LP on the horizon, dubbed Kick Rocks, with previews available on its website. Scope it! (F.L. Archer)

ninjapartymusic.com.

BEST FILM FESTIVAL

Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Society preserves the art component of the medium with a constant visual feast of events, including the Comedy Film Series, the ShortFest, and the legendary Palm Springs International Film Festival, which will be Jan. 5and 16 next year. The year 2012 is the last one the Earth has, according to the Mayan Calendar, so you certainly don’t want to miss this one. (J.D.)

Palm Springs International Film Festival, 1700 E. Tahquitz Canyon Wy. #3, Palm Springs, (760) 778-8979; www.psfilmfest.org.

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST/RAPPER

P-Nut

Highland-based MC P-Nut sure knows how to rally the troops and get his fans to support him—after unsuccessfully trying to bag the top rapper slot last year, he’s emerged victorious for 2011, thanks in large part to his peeps who dig his flow and form. Wanna know how he snaps his fine, fast rhymes together? His video, the aptly-titled “How It’s Written” (available on YouTube), tells the tale. (J.C.)

www.facebook.com/pages/P-nut/158366087531584.

BEST JAZZ

Hobo Jazz

With all the recent genre splinters of nu, smooth and fusion jazz, it’s hard to discern just what constitutes jazz anymore. The original jazz sounds stem back from roots in the earlier half of the 1900s, and that’s the period where Hobo Jazz are willing to take your ears. Don’t look for fiery bop cuts here, as these guys focus on offering up the pre-WWII slices of the American musical pie. (G.D.)

www.hobojazz.com.

BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE

The Glass House

Does anyone remember what Second Street in downtown Pomona was like pre-The Glass House’s existence? It’s amazing to see the noteworthy transformation that’s occurred since prime destinations like The Glass House opened its doors. After some 15-plus years in the biz, the House has hosted some of the most amazing music performers the IE’s ever seen. Great lights, sound and sightlines make for one of the area’s best venues, indeed. (F.L.A.)

200 W. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us.

BEST METAL BAND

Sangre

Look, if you’re in a metal band, and you haven’t mentioned the word “blood” somewhere in your lyrics or song titles just yet, it’s time to either slip ’em in somewhere, or just unplug and walk away. Fortunately, bands like Slayer, Metallica and the IE’s own Sangre know better. This fivesome’s already been showering its metal wares all over the region for the past decade-ish, including landing a slot on the 2010 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. (J.C.)

www.myspace.com/sangre.

BEST MUSEUM

Riverside Art Museum

Taking back its 2009 title, the Riverside Art Museum continues to be apart of the thriving Downtown Riverside art scene. RAM was established after a group of artists formed the Riverside Art Association and needed more space for studio classes. That was back in the ’60s. Now, the art museum has become a staple in the downtown area hosting an array of events. (L.L.)

Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7111; www.riversideartmuseum.org.

BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL

Coachella Music Festival

The Coachella Music Festival dominates the local music festival scene each summer in SoCal for a reason, and if you haven’t gone you’re missing the biggest and the brightest the state’s music scene has to offer. With lineups this large, including bands like the Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and The Chemical Brothers, there’s something awesome for everyone every year. If three days of 100+ bands doesn’t rock you, maybe six days will! (J.D.)

www.coachella.com.

BEST PLACE TO PLAY POOL

Q Bonkers

If you’re wondering what you should do this weekend, I’ve got the perfect plan. Wake up around noon on Saturday and watch Paul Newman in The Hustler. Now watch The Color of Money with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Then make your way to Q Bonkers and try not to make an ass out of yourself: you’re in the best poolroom in the IE. Now play some pool and make some money. That is, once the place reopens. (K.L.)

Q Bonkers, 9364 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, (951) 688-4866.

BEST PLACE TO SEE LIVE COMEDY

Ontario Improv

There are an increasing number of places to see comedy in the IE Many comics operate a monthly or bi-weekly show in the area, but the Ontario Improv remains the place to go see the best of local comics and seriously funny headliners from around the country. On a recent night, Katt Williams got kicked out of his very own show—now that’s funny. The place has a decent menu and bar too, plus a chance to see the guy you’ve seen on television or maybe your neighbor down the street make you laugh. (B.G.)

Ontario Improv, 4555 Mills Cir., Ontario, (909) 484-5411; www.improv.com/comedyclub/ontario.

BEST R&B GROUP/ARTIST

Mirage Groove

Billing itself as “your party band,” Mirage Groove’s song list covers everything for just about any occasion and age group, ranging from Etta James to Katy Perry (and, uh, yeah, that’s quite a range). The group’s rumblin‘ version of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” is sure to ignite dance floors within close proximity—with all the rhythm, blues, and soul your hearts (and ears) desire. (G.D.)

www.miragegroove.com.

BEST RADIO STATION

96.7 KCAL FM

It’s no surprise that a radio station with as much Inland Empire radio history as KCAL would take top honors in this affair. That’s because there are literal generations of fans tuning in each day to hear the rockin’ antics of morning crew Stu, Tiffany and Jimbo (three years of not forgetting you, Tiff . . . are you impressed?!), plus tunes from midday DJs including Kelli Cluque and Daryl. Don’t touch that dial! (J.C.)

www.kcalfm.com.

BEST REGGAE BAND/ARTIST

Natural Heights

Seems like you can barely take a step without seeing a flier, poster or online mention of an upcoming local gig by Riverside’s Natural Heights. These four reggae-rockers can put some booking agents to shame with the sheer amount of shows they’ve landed in the SoCal region (which has tallied about 200 in one year’s time). If you’re seekin‘ some irie in the IE, it won’t be hard to find. (G.D.)

www.myspace.com/naturalheights.

BEST ROCK BAND

The Veil Between

If you live in California there is a lot of rock to roll to, especially in SoCal. With band members hailing from Upland, Claremont, L.A. and Montclair, The Veil Between has violent, progressive metal for those damn tired of not rocking, and more subdued, controlled ballads when the audience needs a breather. Its West Coast summer tours also include the Tattoo Convention in San Francisco. How’s that for chops? (J.D.)

www.myspace.com/theveilbetweenwww.facebook.com/The-Veil-Between. 

BEST POP ARTIST

The Lowkeys

The Lowkeys have been out recently promoting its “Don’t Sleep” movement. But trust us, if you’ve got the Rancho Cucamonga-based Lowkeys bumpin‘ on your speakers or performing in front of your face, there’s not a chance in hell you’d be snoozing—or even yawning. This new-school soul/hip-hop/pop trio predicted in 2010 that 2011 was going to be a “monster.” Looks like its crystal ball’s working better than ever. (F.L.A.)

www.thelowkeys.com.

BEST PUNK BAND

11 Five 50

With the blazing tempos found in much of 11 Five 50’s material, there’s a very good to almost definite chance that mosh pits will eventually swirl into a frenzy at one of the band’s live gigs. And that’s just because this Rancho Cucamonga outfit has no fear in dishing out its double-timed hardcore punk anthems—hey, ballads need not apply here. (G.D.)

www.11five50.com.

BEST SINGER-SONGWRITER/FOLK

Jordan Randall

While plenty of rock singers can hide in the mix of amplified, distorted guitars and a full backing band to drown out any imperfections, singer-songwriters performing as solo acts don’t have that same luxury or latitude. It takes tons of talent to write and perform songs without the aid of a backing band, but that’s just what we’ve heard Jordan Randall doing, putting his heart and voice on display for all to hear. (F.L.A.)

BEST THEATER COMPANY

Center Stage Theater

Tibbie’s Center Stage Theater in Fontana has been creating magic on the stage to entertain audiences since 1937. After a $6.5 million dollar renovation in 2008, the theater has played some of the most legendary broadway productions including Xanadu. The Center Stage Theater is also home to Tibbie’s Great American Café, dinner theater productions for the crowd that enjoys fine dining and finer performances. (J.D.)

Center Stage Theater, 8463 Sierra Ave., Fontana, (909) 429-SHOW; www.centerstagefontana.com

BEST TRIBUTE/COVER BAND

Iron Maidens

Yes, those Iron Maiden tracks like “Killers” and “Wrathchild” that you’ve been blasting since high school are now 30 years old—and after three decades of anything, you’re likely up for a change. But . . . you don’t want to leave your Maiden behind. That’s where The Iron Maidens (yes, note the plural) come into play, as this Maiden tribute band is all female and it rocks with all the power and precision of metal’s golden years. What’s old’s new again. (F.L.A.)

www.theironmaidens.com.

BEST VISUAL ARTIST

Alex Couwenberg

Alex Couwenberg’s solo exhibitions have been presented at the Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Los Angeles, where he found employment after working at the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena. Couwenburg’s art is distinctive, featuring simplistic designs reminiscent of ’60s and ’70s art-deco, dominated by groovy geometrical shapes dripping with stylish color. His work has also been displayed at the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica and the Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach. (J.D.)

www.couwenbergfinearts.com.

BEST WRITER

Stacy Davies

With a rapier-like wit, penetrating analyses and whip-smart writing chops, Stacy Davies has been the curator of the cool and the cultured here at the Weekly since day one. She knows art. Damn straight. Better yet, she can write about it. And the girl (a 2011 OC Press Club first place winner for “Best Arts & Culture Story,” mind you) is funny!!! Last week, in her write-up on ceramic sensei Paul Soldner, she wrote: Perhaps the piece that will actually elicit an audible gasp followed by a chuckle (that’s what happened to me) is Pedestal Piece, a three-foot tall, banana curved phallus adorned with painted silhouettes of dancing nude women—a definitively modern tribal totem celebrating the apparatus that apparently makes the world go round. All levity aside, Stacy has the power to define the indefinable and make the intangible as real as brick and mortar. Too bad this award isn’t called Most Kick Ass Writer. Cuz Stacy would win that, too. (M.T.)


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