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.
Moments & Spaces
Best Event Space: ARIA
If you feel like you’ve been to Aria a bunch lately, then clearly you’re attending all the hot events. From fashion shows to fundraisers, Peter Remes has made Aria—in the historic North Loop warehouse that was formerly home to Theatre de la Jeune Lune—the place to be. With its original brick walls, cavernous ceilings, funky artwork (Remes’s personal collection), and crystal chandeliers, Aria is a modern alternative to hotel ballrooms. And don’t discount its location in the neighborhood that is currently the pulse of hipness in Minneapolis. 105 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-342-2742, ariampls.com
Best Neighborhood: The North Loop
(How do we love it? Let us count the ways.)
Martinpatrick3, which recently expanded (again), continues to remind us why online shopping will never replace the retail store as theater experience. #inspired
Handsome Cycles. Cool bikes. Cool clothes. Cool space.
Askov Finlayson is designing its own products and hosting events for a steady stream of hip heritage brands.
New women’s boutique D.NOLO (Destination North Loop) continues the trend of high-design spaces showcasing fashion-forward apparel. Plus, it makes the neighborhood nickname official.
Whole Foods! Whole Foods! Whole Foods! (Did we mention Whole Foods?)
The swank new Brunsfield Residences, designed by Julie Snow Architects with interiors by Cy Winship, is complete with a dog-washing area and fitness center.
You can outfit your loft with refillable laundry detergent, wooden brushes, and Italian napkins from Foundry Home Goods.
Cocktail hopping doesn’t get better than Parlour, Marvel Bar, and the classic Monte Carlo.
The lobster boil parties on Smack Shack’s patio are going to be the stuff of summer legend.
Fulton Brewery, one of the taproom pioneers, hosts a regular turn of food trucks and beer-fueled merriment on the patio in the shadow of Target Field.
HauteDish is the hipster brunch of your dreams; the chef’s bloody mary comes with a whole chicken wing perched on top.
The best recycling trend isn’t the single-sort phenomenon; it’s the rebirth of great old buildings. The Blue Plate folks are giving the North Loop’s Loose-Wiles building new life with the opening of The Freehouse restaurant and brewpub, and new craft distilleries are coming to the old Schmidt Brewery.
Best School Facelift: Lake Harriet Lower Campus
This year Lake Harriet Lower finished an expansion just in the nick of time for the first day of school. The new wing’s exterior melds modern paneling with classic brick, a seamless design by Luken Architecture that fuses the old with the new. “The building exterior is constructed of brick using precast concrete and a high-impact phenolic panel system in colors compatible with the existing school materials,” says architect Ellen Luken. “The image captures both proportions and mimics some of the detailing of the original 1924 school.” While parents are happily surprised with the striking facade and teachers are thrilled to finally be out of portables, the school is a reminder of the value we put on education and how careful design can evolve a community landmark. 4030 Chowen Ave. S., Mpls., 612-668-3210
Best New App: Edina Realty
With detailed maps and photos of homes for sale near wherever you are right now, this house-hunting app is addicting even if you’re not in the market.
Best New Law: Same-Sex Marriage
On May 14, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage. At the stroke of midnight, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak presided over the state’s first legal wedding ceremony—between Cathy ten Broeke and Margaret Miles—ushering in a welcome new era of matrimonial freedom.
Best Reason to Celebrate
We wouldn’t be surprised (nor would we blame them) if “We Are the Champions” was on repeat in the Lynx locker room. The team, led by head coach Cheryl Reeve, won its second WNBA championship in three years, making it our most successful pro team in recent history.
Best Football Moment
Our crop of professional footballers may not have given us much to cheer about this year, but when the Gophers upset Nebraska in late October, our faith in Twin Cities football was restored.
Party Like It's 1999
No, you're not having hazy purple flashbacks. Prince way upped his public profile this year.