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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT
BEST THEATRICAL SUCCESS STORY
The story of New Helvetia Theatre sounds like the plot for a Tony-winning musical. Our hero, theater founder and artistic director CONNOR MICKIEWICZ, leaves his hometown of Sacramento to study theater in New York. He returns to fulfill his dream of sharing lesserknown musical theater productions in intimate venues. With the support of the community and theater-loving fans, he starts New Helvetia Theatre. After 3 ½ years of producing critically acclaimed shows and renting space at various theaters around town, Mickiewicz finds a permanent home for New Helvetia at 10th and R streets downtown. After October's production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal, the theater staff will focus on renovation and planning for the 2013 season. Don't you just love happy endings?
BEST INDIE ARTISTS
Sacramento band KNOCK KNOCK has been entertaining the region since 2000 with its combination of guitar hooks, fantastic harmonies and pop-indie sensibility. With its third album, We Will Raise Your Child, the band has upped the ante by adding humor as well as keyboards. The members liked keyboardist Dylan Barnes so much, in fact, that they added him to the lineup, where he joins bassist/ vocalist Allen Maxwell, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Heather Conway, guitarist Mike Cinciripino and drummer Christine Shelley. While the group's sound has been compared to national acts such as Wilco and Yo La Tengo, Knock Knock is happy to keep it local: The current album was released on vinyl in a joint venture by Sacramento Records and Phono Select Records this past March, while Test Pattern Records released the CD version in September.
BEST BREAKOUT BAND
The past few years have been good to experimental hip-hop band DEATH GRIPS. Formed in late 2010, the Sacramento-based trio of MC Ride, Zach Hill and Andy Morin received acclaim from SPIN Magazine and The New Yorker for its 2011 debut album Exmilitary. The band's raw, subversive lyrics combined with soul-shaking beats got it signed to Epic Records in February. A few months later, its second album, The Money Store, was released and the group appeared at Coachella. Committed to releasing a third album, No Love Deep Web, before the end of 2012, Death Grips canceled its summer tour, instead focusing on recording new songs at studios in Sacramento and Oakland.