Best of the CRANDIC 2020: Arts & Entertainment

The results are in! Browse the winners of Little Village’s 2020 Best of the CRANDIC competition in the Arts & Entertainment category, representing voters’ favorite artists, groups, venues and organizations in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area.

Best Local Band: Elizabeth Moen

Iowa City singer-songwriter Elizabeth Moen in 2020. — Elly Hofmaier

Her stage presence is as beautiful as her voice, if you can believe it. —Heather D.

Dan Padley’s guitar playing really fills out Moen’s soulful, beautiful sound. —Andy K.

What a wild betch. —M.M.

Runner-up: The Pork Tornadoes

I absolutely love me a good cover band, and these guys exceed that…they are GREAT!! I have their music from Spotify on my favorite playlists that I listen to daily! —A.B.

They perform covers that are better than the originals. A must-see show if you ever get the chance. —D.A.

Best Musician Overall: Kevin Burt

Kevin Burt performs during a Joe Biden campaign event at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. Wednesday, May 1, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

I have listened to him for years! Always loved his voice! Kindhearted person who stuck it out and was recognized for it. —Dawn W.

Heart and soul, justice- and community-minded —Annie T.

He speaks from the heart, and his music always moves me. —David H.

Runner-up: Elizabeth Moen

And she just keeps growing as an artist. —Paul J.

Best Arts Presenter: The Englert Theatre

221 E Washington St, Iowa City

Englert Theatre, 221 E Washington St, Iowa City, on April 1, 2020. — Jason Smith/Little Village
Runner-up: Riverside Theatre

Best Local Theater Company: Riverside Theatre


Riverside Theatre Artistic Director Adam Knight, Irena Sarić and Kate Markham cheers to their old building and a bright future next to the theater’s backstage light during their June 2020 virtual fundraiser. — video still/Riverside Theatre

Riverside’s commitment to diversity and originality is tremendous, plus its creativity in coping with COVID challenges. —Natasha W.

Most thought-provoking professional theater around! —Lesanne F.

Riverside Theatre is amazing! Also, I love that their Shakespeare in The Park makes theatre accessible to so many people. —Scott Y.

Runner-up: Theatre Cedar Rapids

Best Theatrical Production of 2020: Riverside Theatre’s The Agitators

By Mat Smart, directed by Chris Okiishi
Jan. 24 — Feb. 16, 2020

Jessica Link and Curtis M. Jackson in ‘The Agitators.’ — Rob Merritt/Riverside Theatre

One of the best productions I have ever seen! —Amelia K.

An amazingly directed and designed play that pushes what is possible on that stage. —Mark H.M.

Runner-up: Theatre Cedar Rapids’ A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best Concert of 2020: Mission Creek Underground

Penny Peach Jr. performs her Mission Creek Underground set for a near-empty Englert Theatre. — video still
Runner-up: The Pork Tornadoes at Paramount Theatre

Best Place to See Art: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

410 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

A Cedar Rapids staple that just gets better! —Angie S.

Runner-up: Public Space One

They are true activists and artists. The vision of love for our community is spectacular. They haven’t slowed down for a second since the plague hit; they’re all about modeling how art can save our lives in day-to-day living. —Kymburly K.

Best Local Stand-Up Comedian: Megan Gogerty

Megan Gogerty performs ‘The Tether: A Pandemic Play’ for an Iowa City household on April 25, 2020. — Genevieve Trainor/Little Village

An awesome feminist comedian who pushes the package on intellectual comedy and theater. —Jamie H.

So smart, funny and so much heart. —Karlē M.

So approachable. So clever. Sometimes so clever, it doesn’t hit you until later. —Kate M.

Runner-up: Spencer Loucks

Best Local Author: Marilynne Robinson

Best in the U.S. —Ann R.

Runner-up: Caleb Rainey

Best Local Artist: Sayuri Sasaki Hemann

Runner-up: Shadow Fox Photography

Best Place to Dance: Studio 13

13 S Linn St, Iowa City

I have been dancing like a fiend at Studio since I was 19, I’m 25 now. —Lauren M.

Runner-up: Gabe’s

Best Movie Theater: FilmScene

Ped Mall — 118 E College St, Iowa City
The Chauncey — 404 E College St #100, Iowa City

Filmmaker Alex Gibney participates in a Q&A moderated by Andrew Sherburne following a screening of Gibney’s new documentary ‘Citizen K’ at FilmScene–The Chauncey. Sunday, Nov. 9, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The most beautiful and modern cinema in the country! Their shift to online cinema and concessions pick-up (benefiting other nonprofits) shows they are the most community-minded theater around. —Katie R.

Runner-up: Collins Road Theatres

Best Local Record Label or Recording Studio: Flat Black Studios (Long Play Records)

5012 540th St SE, Lone Tree

Runner-up: The Sound Box

Best Community (nonprofessional) Music or Theater Group: Theatre Cedar Rapids

102 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids

Mic Evans as Monty Navarro in TCR’s ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.’ — Studio Reserved

TCR presents something for everyone from family musicals to cutting-edge plays. —Lisa K.

Runner-up: Iowa City Community Theatre

Best Place to See Local Music: Gabe’s

330 E Washington St, Iowa City

Jim Swim performs on the Gabe’s Iowa City stage on May 29 for the No Touching Sessions crowdless concert series. — video still/Threshold of Sound
Runner-up: Trumpet Blossom Cafe

Best Cultural Event: Iowa Arts Festival

Summer of the Arts,

Runner-up: Mission Creek Festival

Best Drag Performer: Frisbee Jenkins (a.k.a. Sasha Belle)

Instagram: @sashabelley
Twitter: @SashaBelle3

courtesy of Frisbee Jenkins
Runner-up: Roxie Mess

Best Place for a Kid’s Birthday Party: The Iowa Children’s Museum

Coral Ridge Mall, Coralville

Runner-up: Lake Macbride State Park

Best Poet/Spoken Word Artist: Caleb Rainey

Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Hands down my favorite! I wait each day in anticipation for new work! Thanks for all that you do to positively impact our community, Caleb. You’re an absolute gem! —Anna W.

Not only is Caleb an incredible poet and performer, but he’s also an effective community organizer and local arts programmer. —Elly H.

Runner-up: Nora Claire Miller

Best Radio Station: KRUI 89.7 FM

Inside KRUI 89.7 FM’s studio in the Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City. — Jason Smith/Little Village
Runner-up: KCCK 88.3 FM

Best Place for a Cheap Date: Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

The Ped Mall is Iowa City’s agora. —Matt D.

Runner-up: Lake Macbride


Best Free Fun: Lake Macbride

Looking north at Lake Macbride from Macbride Nature Recreation Area. — Zak Neumann/Little Village
Runner-up: University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

Keep calm and sloth on! —Ashley B.

The Giant Sloth is Iowa’s true mascot. —Neil G.