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Best Art Gallery
Best Concert
Best Dinner Scene In A Play
Best Interactive Dance Performance
Best Leap Of Faith
Best Local Artist--Performing
Best Local Artist--Visual
Best Local Arts Administrator
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Best Local Dance Production
Best Local Theatre Production
Best Movie Theater
Best Mural
Best News About Desert Rock
Best Performance By A Visiting Dance Company
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Best Performance Venue--Outdoors
Best Public Art Commission

Best Local Artist--Performing

Mary Redhouse

READERS' PICK: Her classically trained, miraculous, multi-colored, four-and-a-half-octave voice soars around improvised riffs and bird songs, creating a new music form--Navajazz, combining generations of her family's traditional Navajo music with the jazz stylings of some of her heroes: Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. Mary Redhouse has composed music for a PBS documentary on Native Americans and has entertained Tucson audiences with the Redhouse Trio, featuring Mary on vocal and bass, her husband Larry on guitar and her brother Lenny on drums. She performs frequently with the Primavera Jazz Band and is currently touring with the William Eaton Ensemble, featuring Tucson's beloved and ubiquitous percussionist, Will Clipman. Her star is rising. Catch her while you can.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: No winner; we had a six-way tie for runner-up.

STAFF PICK: What do Billie Holiday, Willie Nelson, Leonard Cohen and Robert Johnson have in common? They each find a niche in the musical ferment that is the mind and talent of Rainer Ptacek. The Thomas Pynchon of the blues, Rainer breaks all the rules; he is so far beyond musical categorization that he is a genre unto himself. Rainer has been tearing it up, in places currently hip and long-ago condemned, twice as long as we've been around. With found sounds, looped shouts, and ever-breathtaking slide guitar work coupled with his haunting, wailing vocals, Rainer churns out new tunes and continually reinvents old ones in seamless fashion. The riffs groove on, never losing time, even when notes fly from his National Steel like popcorn from a movie theater popper. This adds up to incendiary performances with all the gauges pegged, the room rumbling like a reactor nearing critical. He plays the coolest guitars with a nicely oblique demeanor, sports the occasional rakish chapeau, and says he's "tired of being local as a motherfucker." Even without the sorely missed Das Combo, this is a man who can sit on the floor with an acoustic guitar at Hear's Music (2508 N. Campbell) on a warm Sunday afternoon and quietly blow the roof off the joint. Long may you run.

CAT'S MEOW: Does there exist a form of American music that Al Perry has not somehow captured, transformed, transcended, reconfigured, deconstructed, rearranged, fused and otherwise shaped to fit his quietly tortured vision? Well, yes: jazz and Broadway show tunes. Everything else--blues, folk, country, rock, surf, lounge, hillbilly--has been grist for his alchemical mill. Perry's music is impossible to categorize yet immediately recognizable. He is truly a cherished local institution.

Case History

1998 Winner: Mat Bevel
1997 Winner: Lisa Otey
1996 Winner: Linda Ronstadt

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