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Acid Tongue: Eden Fineday of the What-Nots performing at Callahan's.

Best Music & Nightlife

Critics' Choice Awards

Best way to get excoriated in song

Piss Off Eden Fineday

Believe me, you don't want to get on the bad side of Eden Fineday, vocalist extraordinaire of the What-Nots and the Peggy Hills. You may think it's cool to have a song written about you (did you know that Carly Simon song "You're So Vain" was written about me?), but being slowly eviscerated by a bunch of drunk clowns is a much better fate than having Eden scribe a song about you. Don't be misled by her petite stature and warm smile--she's armed with a poison pen that can slice and dice you down to permanent midgetdom, an indie equivalent of Clint Eastwood and proof that Canada ain't all peaceful. Here's a sampling of the rage within Eden: "Sad, sad, sad pathetic girl/If you take her away, you'll ruin my whole world/And then you'll rot in hell till the demons eat your soul."

Matt Koumaras


Best cheap thrill

Sexy Answering Machines

What's a single girl to do when she just wants to have fun? Pick up the phone, I say. No, I'm not talking about those 900-number lines. Here's my secret trio of local numbers that provide stimulating aural exchanges, if you know what I mean. The first: David Claytor, of SureThing Productions, at 421.9523. Listen to his deep, sexier-than-Barry White voice as he requests that you leave a message and ... well, I know where my mind goes. (Why would anyone want to press # to bypass this luscious message?) This next tip is a two-for-one deal. Dial Palookaville at 454.0600 and hear Denise Vivar's soothing, suggestive voice entreating you to push extensions, send faxes and otherwise do her bidding. Who could refuse? My personal technique is to listen till I'm told (!) to "Press 20 for Michael Horne." Michael must have one of the most seductive voices on the planet. Combined with Denise, well, the effect can be, umm, staggering.

Noe Sall


Best rock promoter to die for

Jenny Soto

I tried calling 867.5309, but there was no Jenny Soto to be found. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry my band didn't draw any people when you booked me at the Brookdale Lodge. I'm sorry that we made the doorman whine about how he needed heavy-duty ear plugs. I'm sorry that we're the reason that Brookdale Lodge is reportedly haunted by bad metal. But despite it all, you paid us well, and I keep the cash under my pillow every night in hopes that my dream might come true. In addition to booking a wide gamut of local and national musical acts, you skillfully handle the bar and have every patron's universe stopping and melting with you. Marilyn Manson is chanting "Beautiful People" on the jukebox, and I am in a corner thinking of the right words to say. I invariably erupt with a lyrical epiphany of "Another Bud, please."

Matt Koumaras


Best breakup strategy

Karaoke at Polivios

Let's be honest. It's not working out between you two. That mole is just getting bigger, and that Best of the Divas CD you keep throwing in the trash keeps coming back. You want to get out now, but how? The answer: Karaoke at Polivios at 15th Avenue and East Cliff Drive in Live Oak (475.7600). As soon as you take the mic and do a quick spiel about how Billy Ray Cyrus was a very misunderstood individual, you're on your way. Now strap on those Justin boots and kick away the love ball and loosen them chains. During a falsetto-filled third encore, your once beloved will scream "The horror, the horror" right out the back door. Seven nights a week, you too can grab the Dixie Chicks' "Good-bye, Earl" by the horns and ride on to singledom, which leads us to ...

Matt Koumaras


Best pickup spot

The Ultramat

I always thought that the Metro Santa Cruz "Modern Romance" section was the best place to find a brand-new love. All I ever ended up with was a female bodybuilder named Magnus. The best place for natural-born lovers to give it their All and Borax has got to be the late-night scene at the Ultramat on Laurel Street in Santa Cruz. For starters, you've got good tunes playing as you watch clothes go 'round and 'round. Hmm, she's tapping her foot to the Ramones. I move closer. She gets her coffee there and takes it black--undeniably punk rock--and I grow weak. She catches me putting my "George of the Jungle" thong in the washer and seductively raises her unibrow. I'm in love. Use your quarters at Frenchy's in the afternoon, use the remaining quarter at Ultramat at night. As Fat Bastard once told me while stuffing multiple diapers in the dryer, "It's a vicious cycle." (501 Laurel St., SC; 426.9274)

Matt Koumaras


Best place to relive the '60s while sipping designer espresso

Pacific Avenue in Front of New Leaf

In the real '60s, there were no lattes outside of Italy. There was only chai, mu tea and, of course, cheap red wine. There were girls in paisley skirts, with halter tops, hiking boots and strange hair ornaments. Guys wore their hair in long, unkempt manes, purchased clothes from Army surplus and tried to look as though they'd never opened a book--unless it was something by Hermann Hesse, or Gurdjieff. What goes around, comes around. And today, you can visit that same sense of aimless fun, the exact do-your-own-thing ambiance--with all the comforts of the 21st century. And you would be where? Why, right in front of the Pacific Avenue New Leaf Market, of course. That's where the street circus never folds its tent. Flower children and their unemployed parents share the sidewalk with musicians, weekend gurus and the pierced generation. You sit, they perform. New Leaf makes a fine double latte to go, so you can enjoy your politically correct vantage point while dosing on caffeine. Dispensing spare change is optional, of course, but it does get you into that interactive, time-travel mode.

Christina Waters


Best booths

Tampico Lounge's Burgundy Pleather Booths

The spicy salsa, salt-rimmed margaritas and hot Mexican food should be enough to inspire the masses to flock to downtown Santa Cruz's Tampico Lounge. But the massive curved booths of this downtown spot draw tasteful fans who value the cozy comfort only pleather can provide. Whether cooling off patrons on a hot summer day, or providing space for friends to pack into a table at night, the Tampico booths promise chip consumption surrounded by pure lounge bliss. (822 Pacific Ave., SC; 425.9820)

Mary Spicuzza

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From the March 22-29, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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