Best Of 2012

Best Underground Music Series: Side Door Cabaret at Palladium Theater

It’s not underground, actually — it’s just down a short flight of stairs from the Palladium lobby — but the Side Door Cabaret is the closest thing to a basement boîte à la the Village Vanguard as you’ll find in these parts. Palladium Executive Director Paul Wilborn is a piano man himself, so he knows how to set the scene — round tables, low lighting, slightly raised stage. Even more important, he knows how to program, bringing in top-flight jazz, roots and blues performers as well as Broadway spellbinders like Susan Egan who sing as if they’re having a private conversation with everyone in the room. Coming attractions include jazz vocalist Whitney James and cast members from St. Petersburg Opera’s Sweeney Todd. 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. 727-822-3590,

Watch: Paul Wilborn — executive director of The Palladium in St. Pete, whose Side Door Cabaret won Best Underground Music Series — with his wife, actor/director/teacher Eugenie Bondurant, who puts everyone else's posture to shame. They talked with CL's David Warner during the Best of the Bay awards reception on Sept. 19 at Creative Loafing.