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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
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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

Linda Ronstadt

READERS' PICK: We've been blessed with two appearances from Our Miss Linda this year: first, her annual foray into Mexican music at the sold-out mariachi Conference, then just a few weeks ago in an oddly-subdued concert swing backed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. The latter turned out only a half-full house for her mixed bag of Big Band tunes, some rock standards, and an entire section of stuff from Randy Newman's rock opera version of Faust. During the latter section, Linda talked extensively about the play, Newman and her own politics, even to the point of eliciting some boo-hisses from those few Republicans who sneaked in under the phony guise of being music fans. Some people just don't get Linda Ronstadt and her wide range of musical tastes and abilities. We, on the other hand, think she's one of the greatest talents of our time; and the fact that she's a Tucsonan makes her that much more of a treasure.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: A high-style singer and piano player who has won many accolades for her ongoing involvement in Tucson music, Lisa Otey is a polished professional from start-to-finish, with sure hands and a confident, sultry voice. She's entertained audiences in many venues, and has developed a loyal following of fans. Her 1994 album, Blame It on My Youth, will grace any collection with its enjoyable coverage of such tunes as "Black Coffee," "Route 66," and "T'ain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do."

STAFF PICK: Chick Cashman has been picking up fans locally and nationally since his cabaret-style act debuted in Tucson late last year. In addition to playing with the Countrypolitans on Wednesday nights at Club Congress, Cashman presents a multitude of unusual talents from burlesque strippers and fire-eaters to Catskill comics. Call it border-town Borscht Belt: Cashman is equal parts Russ Meyer, Mickey Spillane, Esquerita and Broadway Danny Rose blended into one very naughty cocktail in a cowboy hat.

A PERFECT 10: Something magical happens when you're able to witness someone take the cliché and infuse it with the fresh, infectious energy of the unforgettable. Choreographer/singer/actor extraordinaire Stuart Moulton did just that in his performance as Kitt Starr in Whatever Happened To Tina Louise?, which opened last fall and returned briefly to open Invisible Theater's 1996-'97 season earlier this month. Moulton, who conceived the story in collaboration with Susan Claasen, has delighted Tucson audiences with his voice and dazzled them with his choreography in such recent productions as Stepping Out, Sizzling Summer Sounds and A...My Name Is Alice.

We may not be in New York or Las Vegas, but there are some terrific shows here in the toasty pueblo. When the chance to see such a talented artist comes around, know that it's not a desert mirage--Stuart Moulton is the real thing.

Case History

1998 Winner: Mat Bevel
1997 Winner: Lisa Otey
1995 Winner: Mary Redhouse

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