Arts and Entertainment

  • Best Poetry Collection: “Not Without Our Laughter” By Black Ladies Brunch Collective (Mason Jar Press)

    Best Poetry Collection: “Not Without Our Laughter” By Black Ladies Brunch Collective (Mason Jar Press)

    Formed in 2014 as an actual brunch/poetry talk among black women, this collective (now featuring the book’s editor celeste doaks, along with Saida Agostini, Anya Creightney, Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Tafisha Edwards, and Katy Richey) put out its first collection of poetry last year, covering personal...

  • Best Fiction: “She Named Him Michael” by Heather Rounds (Ink Press Productions)

    Best Fiction: “She Named Him Michael” by Heather Rounds (Ink Press Productions)

    A stark, poetic novella whose root is a real thing (a chicken named Mike that lived for 18 months with his head cut off and became a sideshow act until he died), “She Named Him Michael” author Heather Rounds kneads and pushes that story until it turns into a different kind of legend, an unexpected...

  • Best Storyteller: Andria Nacina Cole

    Best Storyteller: Andria Nacina Cole

    Andria Nacina Cole is meticulous and unrelenting but approachable with her writing—even while she’s telling hard truths: Often, she writes about and for young black girls, their pain and traumas and light, and the love and softness they do deserve. That love seems to drive her work for the program...

  • Best Experience: “Let the Sun Set on You,” Malcolm Peacock at Druid Hill Park

    Best Experience: “Let the Sun Set on You,” Malcolm Peacock at Druid Hill Park

    Whatever we call Malcolm Peacock’s art (not an art show, nor a performance), this event, commissioned by curatorial project Rose Arcade, was in part a slow-moving collective meditation on empathy and the death of Thomas Cummings, a black boy whose 1953 drowning prompted the NAACP to pressure the...

  • Best Solo Show: “Ain’t I A Woman,” Shan at Platform Gallery

    Best Solo Show: “Ain’t I A Woman,” Shan at Platform Gallery

    This past February at Platform Gallery, Shannon Wallace (2016’s Best Photographer), aka SHAN, put up a moving solo show of her candid portraits of young black women, older black women, and little black girls living their lives and doing their thing. Like everything she does, Wallace had the community...

  • Best Crafter: Sam Barsky

    Best Crafter: Sam Barsky

    sambarsky.com The site-specific handmade sweaters of Sam Barsky went viral just this year, though the Pikesville resident has been knitting since 1999. On his website and popular social media pages, Barsky posts selfies as he stands in front of landmarks and scenery both near and far wearing freehand-knit...

  • Best Original Script: “The King of Howard Street” by Anthony Williams and Ren Pepitone

    Best Original Script: “The King of Howard Street” by Anthony Williams and Ren Pepitone

    baltimoreannextheatre.org In his journals detailing his survival while squatting in abandoned buildings on Howard Street, housing advocate Anthony Williams spoke to the narrative that the city seems determined to hide. With the help of playwright and Annex Theater member Ren Pepitone, Williams’...

  • Best Play: “Stranger Kindness” by Acme Corporation

    Best Play: “Stranger Kindness” by Acme Corporation

    theacmecorporation.org Lola B. Pierson and Stephen Nunns’ spiraling adaptation of “A Streetcar Named Desire” was overwhelming to the point that you had no choice but to accept the sensory overload as it washed over, detaching language from narrative by way of a Beckett/Wilder/Brando/feminist canonical...

  • Best One-Man Show: “Twisted Melodies” by Baltimore Center Stage

    Best One-Man Show: “Twisted Melodies” by Baltimore Center Stage

    centerstage.org The story of “Twisted Melodies” is pretty simple: Soul musician Donny Hathaway is alone in a hotel room with a keyboard following a recording session. But as his paranoid schizophrenia creeps in, he engages the audience—he views the patrons as “angels” there to protect him—in a...

  • Best Musical: “Grey Gardens” by StillPointe Theatre

    Best Musical: “Grey Gardens” by StillPointe Theatre

    stillpointetheatre.com StillPointe Theatre’s masterful production of an adaptation of the Maysles brothers’ 1975 documentary still rings in our ears. The problems of wealth and respectability and political gain—themes that underlie Big Edie and Little Edie’s quirks in the documentary—are made bolder...

  • Best Director: Anthony Lane Hinkle

    Best Director: Anthony Lane Hinkle

    Baltimore theater lost a juggernaut with the death of Anthony Lane Hinkle, the vice president of Fells Point Corner Theatre and founding member of The Collaborative Theatre, back in April. Directing plays including last season’s excellent productions of “The Elephant Man” and “Blackbird” with the...

  • Best Solo Debut: Amy Reid

    Best Solo Debut: Amy Reid

    amyreidmusic.com As Chiffon, Amy Reid and Chase O’Hara make slow jamz that wrangle the best production of ‘90s R&B and mix in sounds that make the songs feel like they’ve been beamed back from some distant future. With her first solo album, “hirsute,” Reid tackles some of the same lyrical subjects...

  • Best Theater Company: Baltimore Rock Opera Society

    Best Theater Company: Baltimore Rock Opera Society

    baltimorerockopera.org We’re impressed by how the BROS have bounced back from an all-around awful year—their 10th in existence—kicked off by their sudden eviction from their headquarters at the Bell Foundry. But that’s not really why this award goes to BROS, because no matter how shitty their luck,...

  • Best ACAB Rock: Joe Biden

    Best ACAB Rock: Joe Biden

    joebiden.bandcamp.com More of a piece with a project such as Melanin Free, where noise is freedom and catharsis and something to reclaim, Baltimore foursome Joe Biden make lumbering, menacing “fuck the police”-powered hardcore and they stood out at a kind of star-packed Snail Mail Ottobar show,...

  • Best Live Act: Bond St. District

    Best Live Act: Bond St. District

    facebook.com/bondstdistrict As the title suggests, “A Church On Vulcan,” the first full-length album from rap duo Bond St. District, weighs in on religion. For the album release show at Ottobar, Bond St. went all out, pulling together various rituals from religious ceremonies and using props to...

  • Best Rapper: Bandhunta Izzy

    Best Rapper: Bandhunta Izzy

    soundcloud.com/bandhuntaizzy Twenty-year-old rapper Bandhunta Izzy’s massive, stomping ‘I Got It’ fits right in on 92Q between the radio hits you’ve heard hundreds of times over. His booming voice, which gets direct and in-your-face on the hook and more nimble on the verse—echoes of a recent street...

  • Best Album: Future Islands “The Far Field”

    Best Album: Future Islands “The Far Field”

    future-islands.com How do you react to your career heading for the stratosphere? For synth-pop trio Future Islands, the answer was a mid-tempo album that sees frontman Sam Herring, rather than ripping his heart out and trying to hand it through the speaker, sounding defeated and forlorn, more like...

  • Best Song: Creek Boyz, ‘With My Team’

    Best Song: Creek Boyz, ‘With My Team’

    soundcloud.com/creekboyz111 The city talks a lot of shit about the county, but it’s rarely that simple in Baltimore. Consider Woodlawn’s Creek Boyz, whose song ‘With My Team,’ which you’ve no doubt heard on 92Q and playing off kids’ phones when you’re waiting for the bus and sailing out car windows,...

  • Best New Band: Snail Mail

    Best New Band: Snail Mail

    snailmailbaltimore.bandcamp.com Could you imagine if the band you played in when you were 17 was suddenly discovered by Pitchfork and the New York Times? God, the humiliation. Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan was still in high school when her lo-fi bedroom pop music was suddenly thrust onto a national...

  • Best Band: Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes

    Best Band: Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes

    thenewvolcanoes.com Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes are one of those bands that get more love in Europe than they do at home. But they have been banging out their big band concoction of funk, go-go, jazz, blues, and soul for over a decade now. And they keep getting better and better—and...

  • Best Rewind: Beyond Video

    Best Rewind: Beyond Video

    facebook.com/BeyondVideoBmore For Baltimore film nerds, a huge void was left once Video Americain closed in 2014. Not long before that some of the video store’s former employees floated the idea of starting a nonprofit video library to offer a similarly eclectic selection of movies. Then not much...

  • Best Film Series: Dinner and a Movie with Shorty and Brian

    Best Film Series: Dinner and a Movie with Shorty and Brian

    Dinner and a Movie is a guerrilla movie series organized by noted activist Duane “Shorty” Davis and fellow organizer Brian Dolge, held around the city throughout the summer and, it seems now, into the fall. At the first screening—a projection of “13th,” the documentary damning the prison system,...

  • Best Movie: “Rat Film”

    Best Movie: “Rat Film”

    Be it rat poison or segregation laws, Baltimore is a city of firsts with national implications that gets treated like a last unless someone wants the National Guard to shut down a protest. Using every format at his disposal, director Theo Anthony pieced together “Rat Film,” a film essay and history...

  • Best Movie Theater: The Parkway

    Best Movie Theater: The Parkway

    5 W. North Ave., (410) 752-8083, mdfilmfest.com/parkway The Parkway (or OK, deep breath, full name: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway), a three-theater movie house that radically reinvents the 100-plus-year-old Parkway Theatre, first opened up during this year’s Maryland Film Festival where...

  • Best Thing We Really Need To Talk About: Abuse in the arts scene

    Best Thing We Really Need To Talk About: Abuse in the arts scene

    A month ago CP’s cover story was about abuse and accountability within the local arts scene—an issue that has always been present here and everywhere, a story that was long overdue. We noticed the story spread far beyond Baltimore (to our surprise) and we were pleased to see critical engagement...

  • Best Abstraction Daddies: “Matisse/Diebenkorn” at the Baltimore Museum of Art

    Best Abstraction Daddies: “Matisse/Diebenkorn” at the Baltimore Museum of Art

    Walking through the overwhelming “Matisse/Diebenkorn” exhibition last fall, we were slack-jawed and gaga and tongue-hanging-out-emoji, just totally losing it among the colorful voids and anxious globs of paint and curving arabesques and soft bodies and winding roads and French fog and California...

  • Best Press: Press Press

    Best Press: Press Press

    427 N. Eutaw St., presspress.info Interdisciplinary publishing collective Press Press has been at it for a few years but became a tad more official this year with the launch of a studio/library space downtown. Through its work with the Refugee Youth Project, a library full of art books and poetry...

  • Best Museum: The Walters Art Museum

    Best Museum: The Walters Art Museum

    600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, thewalters.org The Walters’ collection represents the art and craftwork of long-dead people, so the museum doesn’t really need to engage with the art of the living. But it does, and it’s great. Lately, the museum has included more programming and collaborations...

  • Best Artists: Baltimore Youth Arts

    Best Artists: Baltimore Youth Arts

    bmoreyoutharts.org The most radical arts collective in the city right now is Baltimore Youth Arts, an after-school, artist-led program where young people between the ages of 12 and 22 paint, screen print, write, and design clothes and accessories—and learn a few things about the business of selling...

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