[the Goldies: Best of Santa Cruz 1998

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Staff Picks - Music and Nightlife

[whitespace] KPIG

Best Corporate Roadkill
KPIG Radio

Once upon a time--long before the KFCs and Taco Bells and Kmarts--Santa Cruz used to look a little different from Dubuque, Iowa. It also used to sound a little different because of an odd little radio station known as KFAT. Of course, a station that broadcast DJs having fun and smoking dope on the air had to die. But, fortunately, KFAT was eventually replaced by the also-odd KPIG. However, media corporations smell individuality like a shark smells blood in the water, and, before you know it, KPIG was snapped up and vomited back out to fit that all-time favorite format--cheesy classic rock. Listening to the station was about as pleasant as tuning into child abuse. Outraged piggies squealed until the corporate honchos allegedly backed down--at least for three months. Hmm, sounds like those ol' pelagics are merely circling the life raft.
Kelly Luker

Best Dive
The Jury Room

Better known by its sign which proclaims "HOME OF GIANT GOPHER," the Jury Room wins a victory for the psychological retreat known as "returning to the womb." It is small, warm, dark, typically vacant and, most importantly, red. A red fireplace with heated plaster log shields the cushioned door from the street. Inside are red barstools, red carpet, red lights and, yes, a red-topped pool table carefully positioned in the center of the room. The jukebox adheres to the Unwritten Rule by Which All Jukeboxes Shall Abide (but seldom do, these days), by having at least one Hank Williams Sr. album in rotation at all times. The Giant Gopher, while not newsworthy itself, has given rise to local legend. But you'll just have to ask the bartender about that.
Arwen Curry

Best Public Relations People
Kuumbwa Jazz Center Staff

Not only is Kuumbwa one of the nicest places in town to see a show, it's also the proud godparent of some of the best darn PR folks in town. Skilled at the art of writing press releases, creative in booking acts, and even able to deliver thorough (complete with pretty pictures, no less!) press packets well in advance, Kuumbwa is like the Hall of Justice for its super-hero staff. It's been rumored they even have a psychic link to the sun--these folks deliver the goods practically on the hour, every week, like clockwork. You could set your watch to them, and we here at Metro Santa Cruz often do.
Karen Reardanz

Best New Musical Talent
Bob Dylan

Yes, he is technically the same Bob Dylan who blew in on Highway 61 Revisited and then re-arranged the neural nets of an entire generation with Blonde on Blonde. But like the Boomers, Dylan has matured. And suddenly--just when people had him all but embalmed--here's the nasal-toned geezer writing poetry like he was on fire. And love songs. Love songs for adults. Ohmygod every single cut on Time Out of Mind is like a concentrated hologram that requires days, weeks, months to fully download. My 60-year-old dissertation advisor emailed me about it. My 23-year-old former student went crazy over it. "The end of time has just begun." Bob said that. "Trying to get to heaven before they close the door," is Dylan, funny and deep--back being the poet laureate for an entire generation, writing the stuff most people don't even have the guts to think. But you don't have to think twice--just buy the CD. It's true: like ice, like fire.
Christina Waters

Best Cure for a Hangover
Bloody Marys at the Crepe Place

A good friend swears that two Bloody Marys at the Crepe Place will restore the most viciously hung-over slob to wholesome, glowing health before you can say "I'm never drinking again." Spicy yet soothing, toxic yet tonic, the Crepe Place's healthful, tomatoey concoction really works wonders. I know. One wretched morning several months ago, on my friend's recommendation, I took the cure and by the time I'd finished the first one, I was tap-dancing in the atrium even though I'd never tap-danced before. By the end of No. 2, I was composing poetry in hendecasyllabics, filling out marathon entry forms and eagerly mapping out the route of my solo transatlantic balloon flight. So it's true. A well-timed Crepian Bloody Mary works absolute wonders on body and soul.
Traci Hukill

Best Music Store
Steve's Music World

This G-string gem gets an enthusiastic stamp of approval, Steve's has guitar strings, cables and straps at dirt-cheap, wholesale prices, plus the selection of electric and acoustic guitars is mammoth. I just bought an Angus Young-style Gibson SG in excellent condition here for hundreds cheaper than going to commission hell over the hill. SMW's employees also are more than willing to let you try something out, give you musical advice, and more. Their tip-top customer service is definitely a rarity. With a well-balanced union of new and used merchandise, minutes of perusing at Steve's rapidly become hours of joy. How 'bout keeping this place open 24 hours a day like 7-Eleven. Just give me gulps and guitars.
Matt Koumaras

Best Pick-Up Spot for
Up-and-Coming Yuppies
Neighborhood Night at Seabright Brewery

Right now they may see themselves as free-spirited young things, but soon those rock-climbing, Teva-wearin' Eastside twentysomethings will be raking in their own triple-digit incomes instead of living off of Mummy and Daddy. Akin to the trust-fund babies wandering around Santa Cruz, these future yuppies of America are also famous for being on the prowl, and Tuesday night at the Seabright Brewery is definitely a prime locale for them to hook up with a tanned and toned surfer bunny for life (or at least a night). It may be hard to tell the smell of pheromones from that of desperation, but after a few pints of Oatmeal Stout, these well-coifed youngsters probably won't care.
Karen Reardanz

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From the March 26-April 1, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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