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Best Dancer: Joy French

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Best Filmmaker: Marshall Granger

BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS

Jeff Medley

Keep chopping wood. The mantra usually applies to focusing on one’s work, limiting distractions and taking care of business. In Loon, a Montana-made horror film that premiered earlier this year, Jeff Medley’s character chops wood. A lot of wood. That’s not a spoiler, but rather a character trait that happens to reflect Medley’s continually impressive run on stage and screen. The guy works. Every year, he electrifies as Riff Raff in Rocky Horror Show and reinvents Drosselmeyer in TheNutcracker, while also appearing in feature projects like Loon, starring in ambitious local theater productions like In The Snow and more. Medley finds himself so busy — and atop this category once again — because he remains committed to his craft. And because, put another way, he keeps chopping wood.

FINALISTS, BEST ACTOR/ACTRESS

2. Christopher Morrucci

3. Sean Kirkpatrick


BEST ARTIST

James Corwin

Originally from Kalispell but now living in Hamilton, wildlife painter James Corwin has a sizable internet following, even if you don’t see his work in Missoula galleries. His finely detailed and colorful pieces focus on local wildlife and animals of the African plains, where Corwin has traveled. Around Missoula, you can sign up for his monthly painting classes through the Missoula Chamber of Commerce or travel to Red Lodge or Whitefish to check out his work in person. Soon you’ll be able to order art kits from his website (jamescorwin. com) that contain everything you need to complete a wildlife painting of your own: an easel, paints, brushes and a code to access an online instructional session with Corwin himself. “The reason I do what I do is to inspire people,” Corwin says. “Every idea in my painting is created to move someone and to create an emotional connection between the viewer and the art.” James Corwin: jamescorwin.com 

FINALISTS, BEST ARTIST 

2. Courtney Blazon

courtneyblazon.com

3. Christy Lynn Greene


BEST ART GALLERY

Radius Gallery

Since opening in 2014, Radius Gallery has steadily built a reputation for its contemporary art exhibits. Now it has its first win for Best Art Gallery, just a few months after announcing plans to relocate to the site of the former Uptown Diner on Higgins next year, almost doubling its size and making room for new rotating exhibits and a dedicated ceramics and sculpture gallery. Lisa Simon, who owns the gallery with partner Jason Neal, attributes the gallery’s success to the artists it showcases, especially local and regional women. “One of the things that makes our gallery so different is that it’s 80 percent women, as opposed to many galleries who have 80 percent men.” Simon says the gallery is looking forward to the move, as well as their upcoming exhibits, including a show that pairs furniture by Ty Best with regional artists, and a popular holiday show featuring affordable gifts for loved ones (including yourself). Radius Gallery: 114 E Main • 541-7070 • radiusgallery.com

FINALISTS, BEST ART GALLERY

2. Dana Gallery

246 N Higgins Ave
721-3154
danagallery.com

3. Gallery 709

709 Ronan St
541-7100
montanaart.com


BEST BAND

Shakewell

At any given moment, there are 4,258 bands practicing in Missoula. Punk, garage, hip-hop, whatever — there’s local music to suit just about every taste. But it’s the funk trappings of Shakewell that earned your favor this year, unseating Lil’ Smokies’ five-year run. The band’s slickly produced 2017 debut, Marzoula, is full of tight grooves, soulful vocals and just a pinch of the modern pop sensibility that makes Shakewell almost universally appealing. But it’s their live shows that fans lose their minds over. The band is as locked-in live as it is on their record. The horn section adds a sensual tinge to the rhythm section’s hip-shaking stomp. Wanna see a band Friday night? Hope Shakewell is playing. Shakewell: reverbnation.com/shakewellmusic

FINALISTS, BEST BAND

2. Lil’ Smokies

thelilsmokies.com

3. County Line


BEST DANCER

Joy French

Joy French has a reputation for engaging audiences and making dance accessible — all while showcasing artistic rigor. As the artistic director and founder of Bare Bait Dance, Missoula’s only professional dance company, French often deploys dance to offer commentary on complex subjects. Motherhood and the mythologies of the West, for instance. A colleague of hers describes French as a distinctly physical dancer, saying, “Dance is more a state of being for her than it is an activity, and the division between performance and real life is more or less nonexistent.” Joy French: 114 W Pine St • 214-0097 • barebaitdance.org

FINALISTS, BEST DANCER

2. Heather Adams, Downtown

Dance Collective

121 W Main St
541-7240
ddcmontana.com

3. Tricia Opstad


BEST COMEDIAN

Jacob Godbey and Alex Tait

The duo that created Gingers on Ice makes irreverent sketch comedy in the vein of Saturday Night Live or Mr. Show. Check out last year’s web series pilot, which includes a hardware commercial for a guillotine and a sketch about a phone- stacking game (first person to use their phone while eating at a restaurant has to pay) that goes terribly and hilariously wrong. Godbey and Tait have won statewide improv comedy competitions for their keen sense of the absurd and impressive comedic timing. Now they’ve won your giggling nod for Missoula’s Best Comedians. 

FINALISTS, BEST COMEDIAN

2. Sarah Aswell

3. John Howard


BEST FILMMAKER

Marshall Granger

In a new web series titled Art House, filmmaker Marshall Granger captures the day-to-day life of people working at an art-house theater. Fodder for the series isn’t hard to come by — in real life, Granger is the marketing coordinator for the Roxy Theater, where the series is filmed. But it’s Granger’s pacing and style that gives his films such a natural humanist feel, a la Richard Linklater or Hal Hartley. Granger, who’s in post-production on a film called The Moment and currently in New York City getting editing training, has a knack for uncomfortable comedy and tiny moments of heartbreak — just two reasons he’s become Missoula’s local favorite. Check him out at Bigwhitemoonpictures.com andmarshalldorothygranger.com.

FINALISTS, BEST FILMAKER

2. Michael Workman

3. Michael Aranda


BEST LIVE COMEDY VENUE

Roxy Theater

The Roxy Theater is Missoula’s prime place to experience well-curated standup comedy nights and competitions. Inside the cool community cinema you can drink beer, eat popcorn and giggle to the mostly funny routines of the best comedians in town. Unlike some of our town’s wilder open mics (which can be fun and awful at the same time), the Roxy is an intimate experience with no distractions, which means comedians get the audience’s full attention — for better or worse. Roxy Theater: 718 S Higgins Ave • 728- 9380 • theroxytheater.org

FINALISTS, BEST LIVE COMEDY VENUE

2. Union Club Bar & Grill

208 E Main St
728-7980
unionclubbarandgrill.com

3. The Badlander

208 Ryman St
549-0235


BEST MOVIE THEATER

The Roxy Theater

The AMC Southgate 9 dine-in theater opened this year, offering luxurious seating, signature burgers, the biggest blockbusters and service straight to your chair. And you know what? Missoula’s heart is still with the Roxy.

Our own nonprofit arthouse celebrated its 80th year by lighting up a newly restored marquee. They also continued to show the best selection of indie films and documentaries in town, in addition to screening classics, kids’ movies and cult flicks. At the same time, the Roxy manages to offer a dizzying array of arts programming, from live theater to comedy to fundraisers to festivals. Pass us a Bongwater and some organic popcorn in a stainless steel bowl — we’re going to the movies at the best place in town. Roxy Theater: 718 S Higgins Ave • 728-9380 • theroxytheater.org

FINALISTS, BEST MOVIE THEATER

2. AMC 12

3640 Mullan Rd
541-7469
amctheaters.com

3. The Wilma

131 S Higgins Ave
728-2521
thewilma.com


BEST MUSEUM

Missoula Art Museum

This is one of our very favorite places to go, when it’s too hot out or too cold or when we don’t want to drink anything or eat anything or buy anything. When we just want to hear echoey footsteps and look at amazing art and be inspired — without any price of admission. MAM has crushed it this year with top-tier exhibits including Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s In the Footsteps of My Ancestors and current shows such as Corwin Clairmont’s Two-Headed Arrow/The Tar Sands Project (an environmental installation featuring gummy bears) and a collection of John Baldessari’s work that features found photography and appropriated images. If you’re not in the mood to quietly take in art solo, MAM has piles of activities and events for people of all ages, from tours to classes to workshops to artist talks to auctions to First Friday bashes. It’s a pillar of the community, and we’re here for it. . Missoula Art Museum: 335 N Pattee • 728-0447 • missoulaartmuseum.org

FINALISTS, BEST MUSEUM

2. Montana Natural History Center

120 Hickory St #A
327-0405
montananaturalist.org

3. The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

3400 Captain Rawn Way
728-3476
fortmissoulamuseum.org


BEST MUSICIAN

Caroline Keys

Longtime local music fans know Caroline Keys as the unassuming backbone of countless standout acts, including Broken Valley Roadshow, Scrapyard Lullaby and Stellarondo, and as a collaborator with too many others to begin to name. But last year Keys took a bold step into the spotlight with her long-awaited debut album, Mean to Stay. Packed with reflective (and sometimes cheeky) country ballads, an all-star cast of local musicians and Keys’ stellar songwriting (she’s a poet-in-residence at the Arlee School), the album marks a culmination of Keys’ 15-plus years making the Missoula music scene special. It’s also something of a springboard, as she’s now touring nationally with fellow local Izaak Opatz and, of course, bringing home this award for the first time. Caroline Keys: carolinekeys.bandcamp.com

FINALISTS, BEST MUSICIAN

2. Tom Catmull

tomcatmull.com

3. John Floridis

johnfloridis.com


BEST NEW BAND

Mermaid Book Club

It’s difficult to get information about Mermaid Book Club. The aquamarine four-piece seems allergic to social media, and there are no recordings to be found. But catch one of their shows and it will quickly become apparent why Missoula has fallen in love with the band. The all-girl quartet plays infinitely relatable Frankie Cosmos-esque pop music. A semi-recent live performance on KBGA showcased the band’s penchant for turning simple melodies into infectiously watery-sounding hits. We’d recommend not missing MBC next time they play, but it sounds like Indy readers are already on it.

FINALISTS, BEST NEW BAND

2. TopHouse

3. Dorris Doom


BEST PHOTOGRAPHER

Mike Williams

Like so many Missoulians, Mike Williams came here for college and never left. Thirty-six years later, he’s got a photo lab next to Bitterroot Floral and 125,000 followers on Facebook. “I’m kind of like Willie Nelson,” he jokes. “I’ve been out for a long time, so people feel obligated to buy my albums.” But seriously, being a good photographer is about more than name recognition. For Williams, the key is getting the subject’s guard down, to make them forget they’re having their picture taken — in his words, to “get people comfortable with what they are.” The result? Genuine moments, frozen in time. Mike Williams: 736 S Higgins Ave • 549-447 • mikewilliamsphotography.com

FINALISTS, BEST PHOTOGRAPHER

2. Slikati Photography

126 E Broadway, Ste 11
274-0592
slikati.com

3. Sara Anne Sunshine Photography

www.saraannesunshinephotography.com


BEST WRITER

Sarah Aswell

Not only does she grace the pages of the Indy nearly every week, interviewing the likes of Hannibal Burress, Jane Smiley, Dan Savage and Hasan Minaj, but Aswell’s writing has appeared in some of the biggest and most beloved publications on the planet. Her droll wit and devastating command of the English language have been displayed in The New Yorker, Reductress, Mad Magazine, National Lampoon and literally dozens of other publications read the world over. Hell, last year she even authored a children’s book about horse jumping and a YA biography of Kendrick Lamar. Sarah Aswell is the real eff-ing deal. Read up. Sarah Aswell: sarahaswell.com

FINALISTS, BEST WRITER

2. Dan Brooks

combatblog.net

3. Gwen Florio

gwenflorio.net

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