BEST ROCK VENUE: LUPO’S HEARTBREAK HOTEL
79 Washington St, Providence | 401.331.5876 | lupos.com | The house that Rich Lupo built has dominated this category for 17 years — there’s simply no better place to see a concert in the state, no matter the genre. Since opening 39 years (and three locations) ago, they’ve presented thousands of acts, from up-and-comers to established hitmakers — Jerry Lee Lewis, Radiohead, Beck, the National, and Willie Nelson have all graced their stages. And the upcoming lineup — which includes T-Pain, moe., Future, and Interpol — proves they’re ever-diverse and not slowing down.
BEST THEATER COMPANY: TRINITY REP
201 Washington St, Providence | 401.351.4242 | trinityrep.com | This season at Trinity Rep — their 50th anniversary, if you didn’t hear — included a timely adaptation of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the New England premiere of Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the world premiere of Veronica Meadows by company member Stephen Thorne, Lynn Nottage’s moving drama Intimate Apparel, and the crowd-pleasers Oliver! and A Christmas Carol. And Sam Shepard’s family drama, A Lie of the Mind, is still to come. Trinity has always embraced the classic and the contemporary, and their artistry and craft is second to none.
BEST THEATER VENUE: PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
220 Weybosset St | 401.421.ARTS | ppacri.org | This category is brimming with opulence. The nominees — the Columbus, Park, Providence Performing Arts Center, the Stadium, and the Vets — are stately and swanky and majestic, evoking the grandeur of bygone eras. But they’re alive and well and awe-inspiring, and PPAC is the grandest of them all. It opened in 1928 as the Loew’s Movie Palace, has seen good times and bad, and was lovingly restored and renovated in the mid-’90s. It welcomes Broadway road shows, concerts (the July 14 Queens of the Stone Age show is it’s rockingest booking in years), comedians, and other unique entertainments. The next time you go there, arrive early and soak in the splendor.
BEST TRIVIA NIGHT: TRINITY BREWHOUSE
186 Fountain St, Providence | 401.453.BEER | trinitybrewhouse.com | Did you know that in Roman mythology, Trivia was the goddess of sorcery and witchcraft, who haunted crossroads and graveyards? That fact could come in handy at the Tuesday trivia sessions at Trinity Brewhouse. Or maybe you need some Trinity trivia. It’s the title of a novel by Leon Uris, a song by Fleetwood Mac, and a character played by Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix films. With the speed of info flow these days, everything is fodder for trivia — you blink and you miss it. Go easy on Trinity’s Best Brewpub brews so you can dig up trivial-yet-significant data from the deepest recesses of your noggin.
BEST VISUAL ARTIST: WILLIAM SCHAFF
facebook.com/william.schaff.1 | Perhaps you have one of William Schaff’s giant octopi crushing a sailing ship tattooed across your back. Or you’ve received a letter on which the head on the stamp becomes part of a body sitting in a fire. Or you’ve witnessed his haunting dioramas, masks, embroidery, paper cuts, and fierce drumming for the What Cheer? Brigade. There’s an apocalyptic fervor to it all. Yet this righteous creativity goes down like an antidote. As a slogan in one drawing proclaims: “Come hither my friend, hope.”