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Best Amateur Music Blog 

Field Mic

Chicago-based monolith Pitchfork has a profound influence on the gravitational field of the indie-rock universe, not to mention its own festival. But what about the little guys, who don’t pay attention to release cycles and aren’t driving the zeitgeist—the folks who don’t share the blogosphere’s obsession with being the first to cover the next new thing? Instead of slathering adjectives all over Best Coast seven-inches, Field Mic collects what it calls “sound from the field.” That means several posts a day that range from performances of music by little-known contemporary composers to video of oddball circuit-bent instruments and elaborate mechanical ensembles that play themselves, along with the occasional dude-and-guitar clip or actual music video. The blog is ecumenical in its tastes, though it leans a little toward the electroacoustic and ambient—and there are absolutely no reposts of clubby remixes of popular indie bands. Founded in April and curated by three far-flung editors—Chicago audiovisual artist Cole Pierce, Brooklyn-based New York Times blog specialist Jeremy Zilar (who also runs Silence Matters), and North Carolina collage artist and designer Able Parris—Field Mic doesn’t offer deep analysis, usually just a sentence or two of enthusiastic explanation. It’s heavy on reader submissions, and every page is charged with the thrill of someone with a brilliant new discovery he’s aching to pass along to the wider world.

Critics' Picks

Best Dance Party

Chances Dances continue

Best Fashion Watching

School of the Art Institute, Columbia College continue

Best New Musical Group

Bin Laden Blowin' Up continue

Best Michael Jackson Cover

"Billie Jean" by Robbie Fulks continue

Best Mustache in a Local Band

Stavros "Steve" Giannopoulos of the Atlas Moth continue

Best Lawn Seat at Ravinia

Green Bay & Lake Cook 847-266-5100
The little hill that faces the main entrance to the Ravinia pavilion, Highland Park, Illinois continue

Best Microscene

No Coast Collective continue

Best Free Movie Series

Cinema/Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center continue

Best Moonlighting Witch

Jackie Hoffman in Whining in the Windy City: Holiday Edition continue

Best Theatrical Hat Trick

Chris Sullivan in The Hairy Ape, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and The Illusion continue

Best New Play

Agon Trilogy continue

Best New Theatrical Form

One Thing, and Everything Else continue

Best Theater History Collection

Chicago Theater Collection at the Harold Washington Library Center continue

Best Puppeteer

Michael Montenegro continue

Best Place to See a Seven-Man Pyramid Cross the High Wire

Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale continue

Best Variety Show

Impress These Apes continue

Best Improv Group

Cook County Social Club continue

Best Stand-up Comedian

A tie between Beth Stelling and Junior Stopka continue

Best Sketch Show

The Best Church of God continue

Best Commentary on Modern Technology by a Choreographer

Julia Rhoads at Lucky Plush Productions continue

Best UnderĀ­appreciated Chicago Novel

Bertram Cope's Year by Henry Blake Fuller continue
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)