The readers have spoken
With over 1,500 votes in 44 categories, Monday readers have picked their favourite artists and supporters in all genres to receive a prestigious M Award.
The competition was so fierce in some categories that only one or two votes separated the eventual winner from the runners-up.
This year’s M Award is a wonderfully whimsical yellow ukulele branded with the Monday logo from Long & McQuade, while the presentation event was hosted by the fine folks at Club 9ONE9 and comedian Mike Delamont, Tuesday, April 23.
Favourite Solo Artist
In one of the closest races of the year, folk-pop songstress Steph MacPherson was voted Favourite Solo Artist by Monday readers, beating out runner-up Carolyn Mark by only two votes. Only 10 votes separate first and third place in this all-female shortlist. Let’s hear it for the ladies!
MacPherson released her debut full-length album, Bells & Whistles, on Victoria’s own Cordova Bay Records in April 2012. It was recorded at Electric City Studios with Jason Cook. Raw, yet perfected, Bells & Whistles is an honest and infections offering from the Kiwi-Canadian, Victoria-raised singer-songwriter.
MacPherson played showcases at Canadian Music Week and North by Northwest in 2012, as well as local festival Song and Surf.
Bells & Whistles was also chosen by Monday Arts Editor Mary Ellen Green as one of the Top Local Albums of 2012.
Runners up: One of Victoria’s musical cornerstones and Logan’s Pub Hootenanny host Carolyn Mark; and classically trained violinist-extremist Kytami.
For the second year running, indie-rockers Current Swell were voted Victoria’s favourite band. Fresh off a tour of Australia and about to head to the U.K. in May, this four piece had a huge year in 2012, riding the wave of momentum from its $100,000 win at the Peak Performance Project in 2011.
The band signed a deal with Nettwerk Records in 2012 and opened for The Tragically Hip at the inaugural Rock the Shores festival last July.
Runners up: The dynamic duo of Hank and Lily deserve a huge round of applause for their tight second place finish — by less than 10 votes. The local music veterans’ latest album, Crank City was chosen by Monday music writer Nick Lyons as the Top Local Album of 2012 and is an “exercise in diversity” offering everything from dubstep to elecro-pop and hip hop; and another band featured on Monday’s Top Local Albums of 2012 list, Jon and Roy.
Let it Go by Jon and Roy
Jon and Roy’s fourth release is synonymous with the sounds of summer. Released in June 2012 with an epic show in the backlot of Phillips Brewery (with Carmanah and Wake Owl), Let it Go stays true to Jon and Roy’s sound, but with a much freer tone — the extended instrumental arrangements have the spontaneity you’d expect from a live show. The album also features the ska horns and Spanish flare their devoted listeners expect to hear.
Runners up: In another very tight race, Hank and Lily take second place with Crank City; and Steph MacPherson’s Bells & Whistles takes third.
Favourite Emerging Artist or Band
This five-piece indie-folk band is currently recording its debut full-length album with producer Tom Dobrzanski (The Zolas). After playing Rifflandia 4 and 5, and on the legislature lawn on Canada Day, these youngsters are making their mark on Victotorians. And Monday readers have rewarded them with the most votes in this category.
The Archers also won the “Young Performer of the Year Award” in the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards, and were crowned Youthink’s “BC’s Best Teen Band” in April 2011.
Runners Up: Indie-folk collective Towers and Trees and folk-rockers Bonehoof.
Song of the Year
“Vibrant Scene” by Jon and Roy
Only three votes separated first and third place in this category.
There is no more fitting choice than “Vibrant Scene” for 2012 Song of the Year. This upbeat anthem perfectly describes what it’s like to be young and free in vibrant Victoria — from the strutting down the street with your headphones on, to putting back a few pints of craft brew at a local pub.
After getting tons of radio play and support by local radio, “Vibrant Scene” was the song of the summer for 2012.
Runners up: Towers and Trees’ “Montreal” and Steph MacPherson’s “Bells & Whistles” tied for second place, just two votes shy of the lead spot.
Favourite Local Live Performance
Current Swell at Rock the Shores
The local folk-rockers killed it at the inaugural Rock the Shores festival, hosted by Atomique Productions (Rifflandia) and GoldenVoice (Coachella Music and Art Festival). Not only was their sunshiney performance the best local live performance in 2012, it was also a highlight of Rock the Shores, which featured the likes of The Tragically Hip, Sam Roberts Band and Jets Overhead. Got to love it when they bring in Dave St. Jean on the trombone for the live show.
Runners up: The Archers on the legislature lawn on Canada Day; and Kytami’s electric set at the second-annual Vancouver Island Cultural (V.I.C.) Fest at St. Ann’s Academy.
Favourite Folk/Roots Artist or Group
This Balkan-style brass band took second place in the same category last year. They upped the ante to take the top spot for 2012. After performing at last year’s M Awards and releasing their debut EP, From Bucanistan With Love, Bucan Bucan has marched its way into the hearts of Monday readers.
Runners Up: Indie-folk collective Towers and Trees; and the plucky Sweet Lowdown.
Favourite Hip Hop/RnB Artist or Group
Although they didn’t quite get the 100,000 votes their name suggests, this grimey rap duo made up of Cask and Speakeasy had an easy win in this category. Check out their six-track EP No Future on their bandcamp.
Runners Up: Warriors of the Infinite; and last year’s winner Georgia Murray.
Favourite Jazz/Blues Artist or Group
Jazz and blues singer Maureen Washington takes home her second win in this category (she previously won in 2011). Originally from Prince George, Washington has more than a half-dozen albums to her name and performs often around town as a solo act and also with collaborator Daniel Cook.
Runners up: Prohibition era dance band, Captial City Synchopators; and the “premium western hokum” of Dave Lang and the Twin Otters.
Favourite Classical Performer or Group
Directed by Elizabeth MacIsaac, Ensemble Laude is a women’s community choir dedicated to singing multicultural choral repertoire and early music. Ensemble Laude won the M Award for “Favourite Vocal Ensemble” the last three years running. Catch the ladies’ spring performance “The Voyage” Sun., April 28 at 7:30pm at First Church of Christ, Scientist (Pandora and Chamber). By donation.
Runners up: The ever-popular Victoria Symphony; and chamber choir Vox Humana.
Favourite Hardcore/Metal/Punk Artist or Group
These fiesty females take Favourite Hardcore/Metal/Punk Group for the second year running. With traction from the Born Weird EP, Open Relationship is moving full-steam ahead with their latest recording, a new EP they’re calling Poochie, to be released soon.
Runners up: Metal-heads Scimitar; and a three way tie for third place for Six Brew Bantha, The Stockers and New Krime.
Biggest Supporter of Local Music
The Zone@91.3 FM
With the popular FM radio station’s “Zone band of the Month” program, promoting local bands, it’s no surprise that these modern rock enthusiasts took this category. They also actively promote local live music and other events around town.
Runners up: Concert promoters Atomique Productions and Logan’s Tavern of the Damned.
Favourite Record Store
With over 60 per cent of the votes in this category, it’s clear that Monday readers turn to Ditch Records and CDs for all their music needs — from new and used vinyl and CDs, to cassette tapes and concert tickets. Ditch was also the winner in this category last year, the first time it was put to a vote for Monday readers — so no other store has ever won.
Runners up: Lyle’s Place; and record store and pop culture gallery Talk’s Cheap.
Favourite Live Music Venue
For the second year running, Lucky Bar takes the honours for favourite local performance venue. With its intimate feel and fantastic stage, Lucky consistently hosts some of the best acts to visit Victoria on an annual basis.
Runners up: The Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Alix Goolden Hall; and Logan’s Tavern of the Damned.
Best Open Mic
Logan’s hosts the city’s most popular open mics for the second year running, each and every Sunday and Monday, with Carolyn Mark’s Hootenanny (Sunday) and Steve Barrie on Monday.
Runners Up: The kings and queens of spoken word, Tongues of Fire (at Solstice Cafe); and the Fort Cafe (Open Mic with Dylan Stone) which closed at the end of 2012 (R.I.P.).
Favourite New Production
God is a Scottish Drag Queen: The Second Coming (Mike Delamont)
After making its world premiere at the Singe Festival (on the fringe of Fringe) in August, Mike Delamont’s second instalment of the ever-popular God is a Scottish Drag Queen series sold out its entire run. He also had a successful run at Montreal’s Mainline Theatre.
Building on the successful formula from the first GSDQ, Delamont takes aim at everything from Noah and Moses to the Mormons and Scientology.
Runners up: Kafka The Musical (a world premiere by Theatre Inconnu); and the stand alone sequel to the Fringe hit Little Orange Man, Kitt and Jane (Snafu Dance Theatre)
Favourite Overall Production
Little Shop of Horrors
(Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre)
Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre has almost a clean sweep in the Performance category with its B-Movie inspired production of the cult classic Little Shop of Horrors last summer at the McPherson.
Directed by Jacob Richmond, starring Sara-Jeanne Hosie and Kholby Wardell, with incredible graphic set design by Patrick DuWors (including four progressively larger anthropomorphic potted plants that feed on human flesh and blood built by Hank Pine and James Insell), this production had the perfect recipe for Victoria theatre lovers.
We called it “an adorkable doo-wopping good time.”
Runners up: The deliriously fun Drowsy Chaperone (Langham Court Theatre, directed by Roger Carr); and Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage (The Belfry, directed by Glenis Leyshon).
Little Shop of Horrors (Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre)
The voices of Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Kholby Wardell, Chris Mackie and Jeff Jones shone in this production, featuring a live band and ‘60s inspired back up vocals by Kelly Hudson, Sarah Carle and Jana Morrison. Brooke Maxwell’s music direction and choreography by Treena Stubel helped make it the huge success it was.
Runners up: The Drowsy Chaperone (Langham Court Theatre); and Kafka the Musical (Theatre Inconnu).
Sara-Jeanne wowed Victoria audiences in two of Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s summer productions, as Audrey in the cult classic Little Shop of Horrors and as country music superstar Patsy Cline. She also led the cast in Saltwater Theatre’s Side by Side by Sondheim in early 2013.
Runners up: Celine Stubel — who shone as Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, and Annette in God of Carnage, both at The Belfry; and Kyle Kushnir as Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone at Langham Court Theatre
Jacob Richmond (Little Shop of Horrors, Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre)
For the second year running, Jacob Richmond takes home honours as Victoria’s favourite director (he won last year with co-director Britt Small for Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone, which also won Favourite Overall Production and Favourite Musical). Clean sweep for Richmond two years running! Congrats!
Runners up: Michael Shamata (A Christmas Carol and Red, The Belfry); and Roger Carr (The Drowsy Chaperone, Langham Court Theatre).
Favourite Dance Performance by a Local Company
Romp! in the Square (Suddenly Dance Theatre)
Suddenly Dance Theatre celebrated its 15th annual ROMP! festival with free dance performances in Centennial Square, featuring aerial-dance troupe AERIOSA (Vancouver), artists from Ballet Victoria, Constance Cook, Monique Salez, Kim Breiland (Stages) and Present/Tense 7, the company’s dancer/writer series. 2012 also featured the premiere of Rush of Water/Rush of Air, an original dance-film installation projected onto City Hall.
Runners up: The Ballet Victoria original The Gift of Pandora’s Box; and “An utterly enchanting hour of dance and theatre that is over too soon,” (Monday reviewer Brent Schaus at the 2012 Fringe) The Damned Girl by Impulse Theatre.
Favourite Comedy Performer
Mike Delamont made comedy history in December 2012, when he became the first local comedian to perform a solo show on the stage at the McPherson Playhouse. An M Award winner and Just For Laughs Comedy Award nominee, Delmont is getting recognition for his hilarity in markets outside the City of Gardens and is heading out on a U.S. tour shortly.
Runners up: 2010 and 2011 winner Wes Borg; and actor, comedian and all-around great guy Morgan Cranny. Incidentally, the top three formed the Comedy Six-Pack at Langham Court Theatre at last year’s Fringe.
Favourite Spoken Word Performer
Performance poet and active community builder Jeremy Loveday takes home his first M Award after being shortlisted on numerous occasions. Loveday is a three-time member of the Victoria Poetry Slam team and has represented our city on the national level. He is an active member of Tongues of Fire, helped organize Canada’s first ever Youth Poet Laureate program (he also mentors the YPL) and organizes Victorious Voices, Victoria’s High School Slam Championships.
Runners Up: 2010 and 2011 winner Missie Peters; and Shayne Avec I Grec (of 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac).
Biggest Supporter of Local Theatre
Janis La Couvée
You can find social media maven and blogger Janis La Couvée at almost every arts function or performance around town. At her blog I Have my own Life to Live, La Couvée actively promotes and reviews almost every theatre performance. It’s no doubt why Victorians chose her as the most supportive advocate of local theatre.
Runners up: Michael Stephen; and Intrepid Theatre
Biggest Supporter of Local Dance
Dance Victoria’s Stephen White
Most know Dance Victoria for the high-profile dance groups it brings to the Royal Theatre and McPherson Playhouse. In 2012 alone, we saw Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Rubberband Dance Group and Joe Laughlin. But White’s team at Dance Victoria is also a huge supporter of local dance, through programs like Dance Days, Dance Accelerator and bursaries.
Runners up: David Ferguson (Suddenly Dance Theatre); and Little Shop of Horrors choreographer Treena Stubel.
Film and Visual Art
Favourite Visual Artist
Kristin “Urbanheart” Grant
Last year’s winner of Favourite Emerging Visual Artist, Kristin “Urbanheart” Grant has really made her mark on the visual art scene in Victoria. Widely known for her airbrush body painting, Grant also creates custom canvases and paints windows and walls. One of the highlights of Grant’s work for the 2012 season was Stand Together: Art for the Love of BC, a fundraiser for the Dogwood Initiative’s NO TANKERS campaign.
Runners up: Pop surrealism squirrel artist Carollyne Yardley; and the architectural etherealism of Martin Machacek.
Favourite Art Show
Donkey/Kong (Wolf/Sheep Arthouse)
Whether you saw Mario’s castle on Browns Mountain at Tall Tree Music Festival, played some live Duck Hunt at last year’s Vancouver Island Cultural Festival at St. Ann’s Academy, or caught a glimpse at Victoria Pride Society’s Drag Ball, you loved Wolf/Sheep Arthouse’s Donkey/Kong. A fresh street-art inspired interactive installation based on classic video games like Super Mario Bros, Pac Man, Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong, these pieces were snatched up within 24 hours at a first-come-first-served sale.
Runners Up: Art Gallery of Greater Victroria’s William Kurelek: The Messenger; and the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula’s First Nations Art Show and Sale.
Biggest Supporter of Local Visual Arts
Joey MacDonald (Olio Artists and Workers Cooperative, and InterArts Centre for Makers)
Olio Artists and Workers Cooperative director and innovative thinker Joey MacDonald takes this category for the second time. As one of the main forces behind the InterArts Centre for Makers, which would create a combined space for Olio, CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers and Victoria Makerspace, its no surprise that the Victoria’s visual artists chose him as their biggest supporter, again.
Runners up: Wolf/Sheep Arthouse; Kristin “Urbanheart” Grant; and the fifty fifty arts collective
Favourite Art Gallery
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
2012 was another banner year for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the highlight of which was the exhibition William Kurelek: The Messenger. The gallery also hosted Clint Neufeld’s Powertrains and Peacocks, In Support of Now: 60 Years of the Associates Championing Contemporary Art at the AGGV, Capturing the Inner Essence: Chinese and Japanese Portraiture, Back to the Land: Ceramincs from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 1970-1985, Beyond Likeness: Contemporary Works from Librabry and Archives Canada, Virtuous Vendetta: The Story of the Forty-seven Ronin in Prints, and John Cage: Devoted Play.
Runners up: The fifty fifty arts collective; and Madrona Gallery
Favourite Emerging Visual Artist
Pop surrealism painter Carollyne Yardley has unique subject matter — The four legged, bushy-tailed nut gatherers in her front yard.
Inspired by her own collection — of vintage clothing and costume jewelry — Yardley first styles all of her paintings in photoshoots before she puts brush to canvas. Highlights for Yardley in 2012 included the TD Art Gallery Paint-In on Moss Street, AGGV’s Small Works Show and Sale and the Sooke Fine Art Show, where her piece “The Dovekeeper” won the Best 2D Award.
Runners up: Illustrator Tyler Witzel; and multimedia ink artist Caitlin McDonagh.
Favourite Art Event
TD Moss Street Paint-In (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Commonly known as the Moss Street Paint-In, this annual event celebrated 25 years in 2012 as one of the highlights of the summer for Victorians. Organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Paint-In invites 150 professional and emerging artists from around the South Island to set up studio on the street to display and produce their work for the public. Expect large crowds and usually a lot of sunshine.
Runners Up: Last year’s winner, the Fernwood Pole Painting Project (Fernwood NRG); and Intergrate Arts Festival (the fifty fifty arts collective).
Favourite Film Event
Victoria Film Festival
For the third consecutive year, the Victoria Film Festival comes out on top in this category. The 2012 festival featured Canadian zombie bro-mance film A Little Bit Zombie as the Canadian Gala and boasted celebrity guests including the Exorcist’s Linda Blair, and Blues Brothers director John Landis.
Runners up: Open Cinema; and Reel-to-Reel (CineVic).
Favourite Local Filmmaker
This local filmmaker thinks outside of the frame. With interactive film installations grabbing people’s attention, it’s no wonder Victorians voted him as their favourite filmmaker. One of the highlights of 2012 for Amos was his gesture controlled kinetic sculpture and musical instrument built from repurposed analog sound and film equipment, Atagamaton, that tracked users movements using the camera on an XBox Kinect.
Runners up: CineVic president Bryan Skinner; skilled animator Denver Jackson; and documentary filmmaker Krista Loughton.
Biggest Supporter of Local Film
CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers
For more than 20 years, CineVic (cinevic.ca) has been helping Victorians realize their visions in the medium of film. Whether you want to make a music video or your first feature film, CineVic will not only rent you equipment, but they’ll guide you through the process from from start to finish.
Runners up: CineVic president Bryan Skinner and Medianet Media Arts Centre.
Favourite Fiction Book
Floating like the Dead by Yasuko Thanh
Victorians must have felt the sensations close to home as Yasuko Thanh’s book about leper’s on D’arcy Island, not far from Victoria, debuted with awesome reader response all over the country. A 240 page midnight oil burner, that’s why you voted her book Floating Like The Dead your favourite fiction book of the year.
Runners up: Songs of Kosovo by Chris Gudeon and Stony River by Tricia Dower
Favourite Non-Fiction Book
The Zero Mile Diet Cookbook by Carolyn Herriot
It’s no secret that Victorians love their locally grown foods, but the only thing better than eating fresh organic Island-grown produce is growing it yourself. The Zero Mile Diet author Carolyn Herriot demonstrates to readers how to take the wonderful fruits and veggies they grow at home and put them on the table with delicious recipes, making The Zero Mile Diet Cookbook the No.1 voted non-fiction book of the year.
Runners up: All The Dirt by Rachel Fisher, Heather Stretch and Robin Tunnicliffe; and Unbuilt Victoria by Dorothy Mindenhall.
Biggest Supporter of Local Literature
Tongues of Fire
Tongues of Fire is a Victoria based poetry community committed to the art of spoken word/performance poetry. They are diverse in background, writing style and lifestyle, they meet every other Thursday at the Solstice Café, and have thus been voted No.1 among Victorians as the biggest supporter of local literature.
Runners up: Bolen Books; and Munro’s.
Favourite Local Book Store
After starting out in Montreal in the ‘60s, Russell Books founder Reg Russell brought his bookstore savvy to Victoria’s Fort and View streets. The second and thrid generation bookstores now offer more than 13,000 square feet of new and used books, as well as a large selection of cards, journals and calendars. The staff is always helpful and quick to offer a recommendation.
Look for a new event space opening in May.
Runners up: Munro’s; and Bolen Books.
Favourite Foodie Event
Dine Around & Stay in Town
Hosted by Tourism Victoria and the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservice Association, Dine Around won a landslide vote from Monday readers who wanted it known how much they like sampling local restaurants and hotel fare. During the festival, which just celebrated its 10th year in Victoria, participating restaurants offered delicious three-course meals, and some establishments even offered celiac-friendly menus. Meanwhile, participating hotels offered one-night rooms at lower prices. The special opportunity for visitors and locals to explore all the treats of the city has yet again, not gone unnoticed.
Runners Up: Culinaire; and the Fernwood NRG’s Fernwood Bites.
Favourite Boozy Event
Great Canadian Beer Festival
Victoria’s social event of the year turned 20 in 2012. From humble beginnings as a one-day indoor festival with 15 breweries and 1,500 people, the Great Canadian Beer Festival has grown into a world-class, two-day outdoor event that attracts more than 50 breweries, 8,000 people (20 per cent from out of town) and injects more than $200,000 a day into the local economy, according to GCBF chairman Gerry Hieter.
In 2012, the festival had a strong focus on Canadian beer, after having its consular liquor privileges revoked in a debacle with the B.C. Liquor Distribution and Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. Luckily, Canadian brewers make some of the best beer around, and Monday readers love Canadian beer and the Great Canadian Beer Festival.
Runners Up: Spirited fall favourite Art of the Cocktail ( a fundraiser for the Victoria FIlm Festival); and the Victoria Whiskey Festival.
Favourite Music Event or Festival
Four days, nine stages, 117 artists — including headliners The Flaming Lips. When it comes to local music marvels, it doesn’t get better than this. Riff started with a 10x10 tent and a handful of colourful pins. Since its 2008 maelstrom of popularity, 1,500 attendees has turned into over 4,000, and Monday readers aren’t shy in picking the festival as their most anticipated live music event every year.
Runners Up: The ever-popular Victoria Electronic Music Festival; and the epic Victoria Symphony Splash.
Favourite Non-Music Event or Festival
Over the last 26 years the Fringe has grown to become Vancouver Island’s biggest theatre event. In 2012, the Fringe boasted 56 shows spread over eight venues, with productions coming from as far as Japan, Australia, Ireland, England and Israel — bringing 11 days and nights of comedy, drama, dance, spoken word, physical theatre — and a whole lot of fun to the Capital city.
Runners up: Victorious Voices, the high school spoken word festival; and perennial favourite Pride Week.
Canadian College of Performing Arts
The Canadian College of Performing Arts celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2012 with the biggest singing, acting and dancing party Victoria has ever seen, Sept. 22 at Uptown.
As one of Canada’s top training centres for careers in the arts, CCPA has seen many successful alumni, including Grammy nominated singer Carly Rae Jepsen and Victoria’s own Georgia Murray.
Runners Up: Lifecycles Project Society; and AIDS Vancouver Island ( AVI ).
Newsmaker of the Year
Aysia Law, a second-year UVic Writing student, was named Victoria’s first Youth Poet Laureate and now Newsmaker of the year.
Law isn’t only Victoria’s first Youth Poet Laureate, but the first in all of Canada. Law won herself an honorarium and a year-long mentorship with Victoria’s 2012 Poetry Slam Champion, Jeremy Loveday. Law will perform alongside current Poet Laureate, Janet Rogers, at many events this year.
Runners Up: Christy Clark, Mike Delamont, Janeece Edroff; and, of course, The Blue Bridge. M