Cardboard Playhouse just couldn't wait to be king, and so, here they are, coming in at the top of the bracket for the Best Local Theater Performance, despite a cadre of epic shows taking place within the past year. The Lion King Jr.—which went down at the South Broadway Cultural Center—was a more detailed account of those tender adolescent years of Simba and the gang. Apparently “Hakuna Matata” is a theme that really resonates with Burqueños.
Best Performing Arts Group
Apparently, many a child (or child theater enthusiast) voted in the BoB polls this year—because Cardboard Playhouse swept several categories, including the coveted Best Performing Arts Group. Cardboard Playhouse is one of our fair city's only all-kid performing arts companies, and as such, it is wholly unique. Since 2004, this organization has been fostering self-expression amongst even the smallest thespians—and the joy of acting is never afforded only to those who can pay.
2) Tricklock Company/ Baile! Baile! Dance Academy
Best Performing Arts Venue
Many times have we shuffled down the long aisles to find our seat in the nosebleed section of Popejoy Hall, and somehow, there never manages to be a bad seat in the house. This could purely be a benefit of the fact that every show that graces the stage of Popejoy is of immense quality, filling up the vast hall with music, dialogue and theatrical magic. It makes sense, then, that the long-lived theater on UNM's campus would clutch the title of Best Performing Arts Venue in this year's poll.
2) KiMo Theatre
3) Box Performance Space
We've said many times that 516 Arts makes writing the Arts section of this paper very easy. That's because the tireless and intelligent staff of the nonprofit arts space consistently brings exciting and interesting art to venues across the city and to the walls of their Downtown gallery space. 516 Arts doesn't stop at presenting art, however, they consistently host talks and workshops that contextualize craft and concept and encourage community members to create. Their expansive, always timely programming make 516 Arts more than deserving to tout the Best Gallery title.
2) Stranger Factory
Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
If you're in the mood to stroll top-tier galleries of art that hit every medium and all sorts of conceptual points too, you needn't go any further than the near Old Town area and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. The museum features a trove of permanent art, as well as ever-changing special exhibits, all of which serve to illuminate the art of our region, as well as draws far-ranging connections to art across the world over. An afternoon spent here is a truly educational experience, no wonder this museum has earned a top spot in the Best of Burque polls.
2) New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
Best Local Poet
For may of us, poetry is an essential way to make sense of the world. To have a local poet making sense of both the hyper-local and the universal is truly a blessing. Our city is lucky, as ever, to have Hakim Bellamy writing and sharing his words with us. Whether presenting his words in text, or performing them as slam poetry, he never fails to inspire. Named the inaugural Albuquerque Poet Laureate in 2012, five years later, Bellamy still belongs in the top tier of local poets. Good on you all for voting him in for another year.
2) Carlos Contreras
Best Local Author
There are a goodly number of profoundly talented, keen witted writers who make their home in Albuquerque. So much so, that we are consistently awed by the breadth and quality of literary work that surrounds us. Yet, Rudolfo Anaya remains a New Mexican literary behemoth. Bless Me, Ultima is a title known by nearly every reader who's paying attention, and Anaya's canon beyond his most famous work has effectively put New Mexican culture and Chicano literature on the map. Really, we're lucky that Anaya's home is here.
Best Comedy Venue
The Box Performance Space
Albuquerque knows how to have a good time. For some people that means getting really drunk and wobbling down the middle of Central circa 2am, for others, it might mean cozying up in the darkness of The Box, Albuquerque's premier comedy venue, evidenced by the fact that it has won this distinction in Best of Burque four years running. Anchored by staples like The Show, this improv and comedy theater never fails to entertain. For laughs, look no further.
Best Local Comedian
No Clear Winner
There's a wealth of talent in the Duke City. No matter the style—from improv to long-form routines to knock-knock jokes—Albuquerque is home to a cadre of funny folks. As such, despite hundreds of votes trickling in to the Best of Burque polls, no clear winner emerged in this category. For all you comedians out there, consider this a challenge for next year to set yourself apart. In the meantime, we remain impressed by the quality of jokes in our fair city.