Best Sign Painter: Forrest Wozniak
Chances are you’ve seen Forrest Wozniak’s work. This modest man is the artist behind the signs that greet you at Izzy’s, Icehouse, Shop Mille, and the Fitzgerald Theater, to name a few. Wozniak has spent more than a decade scaling buildings and facing freezing temps to keep all sorts of structures, boats, and businesses around town looking their painstaking best. When he and Phil Vandervaart painted the F. Scott Fitzgerald mural on the side of the Fitz in 2010, Wozniak was intent on conveying the author’s personality. “We had to capture the glint in his eye, his intelligence,” he says. “I would read F. Scott’s writings—The Crack-Up and, of course, The Great Gatsby—to understand the man I was painting.” To promote the Basilica Block Party, he was hired by Fallon to craft a rooftop confession: “Forgive us for the whole ‘Hammer pants’ thing and we’ll put on a killer show.” He blasted music and painted as a helicopter hovered overhead filming him. Whatever the job, Wozniak will make it a drip-free work of perfection. He likes to get things right. He also likes the thrill factor: “Anytime you’re hanging a hundred feet in the air you are able to clearly feel the value of life.” 3753 Bloomington Ave., Mpls., 612-706-9944, forrestwozniak.com
Best Breaking Pop News
We’ve got to hand it to Lori & Julia. The dynamic duo at myTalk 107.1 (3–6 pm weekdays) made serious waves when they interviewed Leah Remini’s sister about the actress’s departure from the Church of Scientology. Good Morning America took note and shared the news. We don’t imagine Tom Cruise is quite as impressed as we are.
Best Celeb Over-Sighting
Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser played Mr. Darcy in the Guthrie Theater’s production of Pride and Prejudice. He played the local media even better.
Best Repeat Appearance
Amelia Santaniello sure is doing something right, at least in the eyes of those CBS execs with the big offices. The Talk, network TV’s fastest growing daytime talk show, invited Santaniello back to co-host with the A-listers three times this year. Look out, Sharon Osbourne.
Best Locals Blowing Up on Instagram
We crossed our fingers, we held our breath . . . but hope as we might, Minnesota didn’t take home the title in this year’s Miss America contest. However, Rebecca Yeh, our 20-year-old Miss Minnesota who won the talent competition with her classical violin performance, was named fourth runner-up, which still makes us better than all those other states.
Best Lame Duck
Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak’s social-media savvy and crowd-surfing tendencies have made him, like, the funnest mayor ever. But what we’ll remember him for is his legacy. To his credit: the first female police chief, marrying 46 same-sex couples in a night-long celebration at city hall, the City of Lakes Loppet, Nice Ride bikes, and food trucks. We’ll miss you, R.T.
We still tear up thinking about Stillwater native Zach Sobiech and his viral hit “Clouds.” The 18-year-old recorded the catchy tune shortly before he passed away from osteosarcoma, but his legacy lives on: The song made No. 1 on iTunes, and his video has been viewed 8.5 million times on YouTube.