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Top interviews of the year

Accolades for those who made work more agreeable

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If we're doing our jobs correctly, journalists talk to a lot of people. So. Many. People.

This year has been one full of interviews from the politics of arts and entertainment to interviews that offer a glimpse into the very soul of a performer. Pique's going to provide for you the top five arts-related interviewees of the year. They are, starting with the most memorable:

Mike Reno of Loverboy

Probably the best interview I've ever had. He was funny and clearly amused that his band is back in fashion without being a tool about it. Nope, he was gregarious and down to earth, and when the conversation (because that's what it turned into) steered toward the possibility of Loverboy releasing a new album, he asked me for my advice. And believe you me, there's no better way for a musician to secure a favourable write up than by asking for career advice from a staunch music nerd. Gold star, Mike Reno!

The Amazing Kreskin

The esteemed mentalist was one of the last interviews of 2011, but even if he'd been interviewed in February he'd still be one of the most memorable. I literally asked him one question and Kreskin spoke for a solid 15 minutes — an often hilarious monologue punctuated by frequent digressions and a brief insight into the robust mind of a lifelong entertainer. On top of that, his performance at Millennium Place on Dec. 18 was completely mind-boggling. Gold star, Kreskin!

Arnold Schwisberg of Jazz on the Mountain at Whistler

There's no greater pleasure for a journalist than being in the good books of an angry, venting lawyer who feels he's been wronged in some way. It makes for some illuminating discussions. I've had the pleasure of working with Schwisberg a number of times throughout the year, first in covering JOMAW, for which he proved himself to be a quirky and deeply passionate music lover; in covering the liquor licensing issues that plagued the festival, for which he proved himself to be a venomous litigator; and then finally in covering the controversy over the Whistler Presents free concert series, for which he revealed himself to be a biting social critic.

He might seem an aggressive bully to some (he's a successful lawyer, after all), but I've seen several sides of the man, and I see a passionate guy with a singular vision to which he's deeply devoted — to improve the cultural offerings of this town. Gold star, Schwisberg!

Brad Merritt of 54-40

Most musicians are seriously dull. They talk about their music or they talk about themselves. They're rarely insightful, in my experience, so when Merritt started discussing the social aspects that led to the formation of 54-40, it was a welcome change of pace. I've never cared much for the band, but I care for Vancouver and the rise of the band provided an insight into the city that I'd never really known. Plus, Merritt was a thoughtful, intelligent rock star that provided two stories for the paper in the end, which almost never happens in this beat. Gold star, Merrit!

Ash Boo-Shultz of USS

Sometimes, we'll just come across a person that seems to be a universe unto himself. Uqiquitous Synergy Seeker's Ask Boo-Shultz, a.k.a. Ashley Buchholz, is one such person. The band's output thus far hasn't been particularly memorable, but the man was a sparkplug of creativity, throwing out surrealistic metaphors and absurdist humour in regular conversation. For a journalist who gets a lot of one-word answers, it was a welcome relief. Gold stars all around!

Doti Niedermayer of the WAC

This is only partly a public display of butt- kissing. We just give credit where credit is due and Niedermayer, the executive director of the Whistler Arts Council, has given us no b.s. She's always very frank and, best of all; she cares very deeply about the state of arts and culture in Whistler and wants to see it go the right way. In short, she's a journalist's dream. Gold star, Doti!

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