BEST ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE VENUE (2004)
The Paper Heart
It takes a lot of character to get the same "Best Of" two years in a row. And while we still love the Paper Heart for all the same reasons we did last year -- especially its eclectic variety of free or cheap under-the-radar entertainment, like performance art, poetry slams, comedy shows and indie film screenings -- we love it for a whole new reason: its spacious, cool-looking new digs on Grand Avenue. The former used-car dealership faces the street at an angle, making a statement about the beauty of being off-kilter in this urban grid. More gallery space has made for bigger, livelier First Friday receptions, too -- or is it the addition of a bar that now serves beer and wine? Either way, this is a welcome addition to a stretch of downtown we'd like to see flourish.